This is the third article about the woman who people in Waitsfield called Grace Shaw. She was the second wife of the town doctor, Dr. Carlos Shaw, who died in 1950. It’s time I introduce you to some other members of the Mehuron/Shaw family. This photograph was taken at a wedding. In the back row to the left are Elmer Mehuron and Grace Aurelia Shaw Mehuron. She was the daughter of Doc and Grace Shaw. Elmer and Aurelia, as she was known, were the founders of Mehuron’s Market which was housed in the Artisans’ Gallery building until 1969. Their son Allen is standing next to his mother; he is the groom. Next to Allen is his brother Calvin and seated all the way to the left is his sister Anne. Seated to the right is the woman responsible for this series about Edith Grace. Her name was Ruth Mehuron McGill, Elmer’s sister and affectionately known to us as Aunt Ruth. She taught English at the high school in Barre her entire career. She was also the family historian -- what I know about my husband’s family I mostly learned from her papers and photographs. 


When I decided that I wanted to write more about the historic women of the Mad River Valley, I went through the documents she left behind. In the plastic storage container, at the very bottom, was a document titled, “Life Sketch of Edith Grace Henderson Shaw.” Ever since I opened that manilla envelope further research has consumed me -- for I had never heard the name before.

She was abandoned by her already married and much older “husband” in Lowell, Massachusetts. This left her with three children and her widowed mother. Her mother met a man named Charles Fowler from Northfield, Vermont. Though she was 59 years old, she married him and moved to his hometown. Ruth wrote, “Edith Grace took her children to visit her mother and met a young doctor who was a widower with very young twins.”

The following is the original obituary for Dr. Carlos Adams Shaw Sr. dated February 17, 1950, and reported by Kevin Eurich. 

“Dr. Shaw was married three times. His first wife, Aurelia Mary Peck, of Brookfield, died only three years after their marriage, although they had two children, one of which survived. The marriage was in 1899. In 1907 he married Edith Henderson (this is our Edith Grace) of Northfield who is also deceased. The third marriage took place in 1944, the bride being Martha Miles of Waitsfield who survives. (Doc Shaw was clearly the marrying kind.) 

“Besides his widow, he is survived by six sons, Carlos Jr., Max and Donald of Waitsfield, Benjamin and Phillip of Monte Carlo, CA, and Alden of Swanton; and by one daughter, Mrs. (Aurelia) Elmer Mehuron of Waitsfield.” 

Dr. Shaw was left with young twin boys after his first wife died and one of them was quite sick. I’m sure he was happy to have someone to take care of the children but with her own three kids that made five. Ruth said, “During the years of having and raising this large group of children, her husband had to be shared with the community. Any hour of the day or night, regardless of his own family’s need, he might have to leave to follow his chosen profession. His reimbursement for services rendered might be a chicken or a promise to pay later.

“But the “thank yous” and “promises” did not feed his family. So, he moved them up to Roxbury to a farm way up a dirt road and decided to give up doctoring for farming. When World War I broke out Doc Shaw mentioned the possibility of going.” This upset his family so much that some of the kids went outside and broke the spokes off the wheels of their buggy so he couldn’t leave. Though he had resigned to farming full time, there were many in Roxbury who would still come and beg for his help. At times he would spend 48 hours at a bedside and not get paid for it. In the end he took a job as the town doctor of Waitsfield.

If you travel through the Waitsfield covered bridge heading toward Warren, count the third house to the right. That was the family home of Edith Grace Henderson Minot Shaw. Her daughter Aurelia grew up there. And when Aurelia married, she and her young family lived in the second story of the Artisans’ Gallery building until they could afford to buy a house across the street from her parents. It’s the big white one next to Miramar Ski Club. 


While they were finally able to settle in one place, Ruth’s document presents the couple as opposites, “Life with the Doctor was quite a challenge. Not just because of the hours he spent away from home, but because of the nature of the man. No one who ever lived was so unpretentious as Dr. Shaw. He would dress in old clothes and walk into a hospital or church with no thought of how he appeared to others. . .  a new suit was just as good to work on the car motor as anything else was.”

Of Grace Shaw she wrote, “From the sophisticated atmosphere of Europe and one of Massachusetts larger towns, Grace had moved to the small village-type towns of Vermont. Life’s patterns changed.” Besides the five children they started their blended family with: Carlos Jr. was born in 1908, Max (who worked at Mehuron’s for years) in 1909, Aurelia (wife of Elmer Mehuron and co-founder of Mehuron’s Market) in 1910. Benjamin in 1911, Phillip in 1913 and Donald in 1915.  

Yet she shared her love of music by playing at the Universalist Church, accompanying the silent movies of the day, at dances and kitchen junkets. In the end, Grace was a professional musician who earned her own money with her God-given talent. 

By contrast the doctor enjoyed playing practical jokes on his wife -- and always at her expense. The magazine Embolden Psychology wrote: In psychoanalysis, motivations for the impulse to prank one’s own family or friends has been described as a subtle form of the desire to do bad things to the very people one claims to care for. It may be one of the modalities through which everyday sadism can manifest (i.e., potentially obtaining pleasure from hostile forms of humor, sarcasm, and practical jokes). 

Grace didn’t like it. He was especially fond of making it look like she was stealing something and calling out the theft at the most embarrassing moments. But you see, if something is really funny, everyone is laughing. Neither his wife nor the neighbors he forced to be part of these scenes were. And it is telling that her oldest child, Ned, left home while still a minor, moved far away and changed his name. On her deathbed Grace called for her son but was never to see him again. This heartbreak is underscored by the fact that he was the only family member at his father Charles Minot’s graveside.

Here are Aunt Ruth’s final thoughts: Although her smile is no longer around to remind those left behind of her vibrant personality, her attitudes and talents have left their mark on this span of eternity. We as descendants and those who knew this kind, talented, and loving friend and progenitor own much to her contribution to all.” 

Edith Grace Henderson Minot Shaw is my son, Dr. Thomas Mehuron’s great-great grandmother. Thomas is both a physician and a musician. DNA will have the final word. Thank you, Grace.

Mary Kathleen Mehuron lives in Waitsfield. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Reach with stories about the women of the Mad River Valley.