Sunday, September 30, 2012

The McNaughtons, Haze and Artifact

I visited my Shanower grandparents at their home in Mentor, Ohio, many times when I was a child. On the wall between the dining area and the living room hung a tile that pictured a coat of arms labeled McNaughton. I had only a vague idea what the name meant, but at one point I asked an adult—my mother, I think—about it and was told how McNaughton was a family name. I retained only a hazy concept of the connection.

In the early 1980s, while I was attending art school, members of the family each received a Christmas gift of a winter scarf in McNaughton plaid. I still didn’t have a clear idea of exactly how I was related to the McNaughtons, but I loved that scarf and wore it regularly during the winter. When I lost it about 1986—left it somewhere? dropped it accidentally?—I was disappointed.

My paternal grandfather, Stanley Raymond Shanower (1917-1987), died the next year. He had owned one of the McNaughton scarves. Since my scarf had been lost, I got his. I guess you could call it an inheritance. I didn’t want to risk losing Grandpa’s McNaughton scarf like I lost the first one, so I’ve never worn it. Losing Grandpa’s scarf would mean also losing a tangible connection to him.

In the past few years my hazy connection to the name McNaughton has grown more concrete. Since I’ve started delving into my family genealogy, I have a better idea of who my McNaughton forebears were.

David Elmer Shanower (1885-1967) and his wife Edna Marietta McNaughton Shanower (1891-1964), my great-grandparents, circa the late 1950s.



Edna Marietta McNaughton Shanower (1891-1964) was the mother of my paternal grandfather Stanley Raymond Shanower, the one who’s scarf I now own. My father knew her well, since Stanley’s parents lived with my father’s family when he was growing up. I met my great-grandmother Edna when I was a baby, but I have no memory of her. She died in a car crash six months after I was born.

Edna’s father William Malcolm McNaughton (1850-1914) was born in Galt, Ontario, Canada, and ended up in Claridon, Geauga County, Ohio.  He died before his grandson Stanley, my grandfather, was born, although his wife, Mary Elizabeth Grant McNaughton (1856-1946), lived a few more decades. My father knew Grandma Mac when he was a child. I recently visited their gravesite.


Gravestone of William Malcolm McNaughton (1850-1914) and Mary Elizabeth Grant McNaughton (1856-1946) in Claridon Center Cemetery, Claridon, Geauga County, Ohio.



William Malcolm McNaughton was a blacksmith and the sign that hung outside his shop still exists. It’s two-sided, each side bearing the painted words: W. M. McNaughton Blacksmithing. The side with fancier lettering seems a little more weathered, so maybe it’s the older side.

William Malcolm McNaughton's blacksmith shop sign, one side.
William Malcolm McNaughton's blacksmith shop sign, the other side.
Family records show that William Malcolm McNaughton’s parents were Malcolm Duncan McNaughton (1823-after 1871) and Sarah Jane Mann McNaughton (1825/29/31?-1866/1907/25?), both born in Canada. Despite Sarah Jane’s uncertain dates, these names are sure.

I have Malcolm Duncan’s father as Malcolm McNaughton (1790-1870) and coming to North America from Reispole, Strontian, Argyll, Scotland. This information is unproven and has some details I find questionable, but it’s reasonable to believe that the McNaughtons came from Scotland.

Farther back than that, however, my McNaughton ancestry is lost in the haze of time. I wish I knew more about my McNaughton family, but for now I’ll be content to look at pictures, to know that the McNaughton blacksmith sign survives, and to own my Grandpa’s McNaughton scarf.

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