A Celebration of Women Writers

SHAW, Emily Elizabeth [Mrs. Frederick Beavan]
(1818 - 1897)
Author, Teacher

Emily was born in Belfast, Ireland the daughter of Samuel Shaw, Master Mariner, and Isabella Adelaide McMorran. Emily's father was a Sea Captain who made numerous journeys between Belfast and Dundalk, Ireland and Saint John, New Brunswick Canada with side trips to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia where the ship was owned. He is said to have died in Saint John about 1845 but this has not been confirmed.

Emily spent her childhood in Belfast and lived at 54 Tombe Street, which adjoined Lime Kiln Dock, Belfast before immigrating to Canada. This address has her father listed there in the 1835-36 Directory. She appears to have had at least two sisters Frances and Matilda and two brothers Samuel and Pringle.

Emily and her siblings arrived in New Brunswick in 1836 and it is said Emily's name appears in school records as a student. Her first teacher's license was granted on 18th Sept 1837 in Kings County after she had been teaching for some time in the Parish of Norton and had been examined by the Board of Education.

On 19th June 1838 at Sussex Vale, Kings County, she married Frederick Williams Cadwalleder Beavan, surgeon and teacher. Rev. Horatio Nelson Arnold performed the ceremony and the witnesses were George Baxter and D.P. Coffin. They then took up residence at Long Creek, New Brunswick later moving to Mount Auburn, English Settlement.

While farming at Long Creek Emily also found time to follow literary pursuits and contributed at least ten tales and five poems to the Amaranth, the first magazine in New Brunswick to devote the bulk of its pages to literary materials. Generally her articles were published under Mrs B----n or occasionally Emily B----n as was the custom at the time. Much of her writing appears to be based on her own life experiences.

Poems published:
8 Aug 1841 Vol 1 Song Of The Irish Mourner
7 July 1842 Vol 2 The Mother's Prayer
9 Sept 1842 Vol 2 On Prayer
10 Oct 1843 Vol 3 The Mignonette
12 Dec 1842 Vol 2 A Vision

Tales published:
5 May 1841 Vol 1 The Lost One
5 May 1841 Vol 1 Adelaide Belmore
5 May 1841 Vol 1 Recollections of Tombe St
9 Sept 1841 Vol 1 Edith Melborne
11 Nov 1841 Vol 1 A Tale of New Brunswick
12 Dec 1841 Vol 1 Madeline St. Clair
3 Mar 1842 Vol 2 Story of Deara, Princess Meath
9 Sept 1842 Vol 2 A Tale of Intemperance
10 Oct 1842 Vol 2 The Enthusiast
Aug 1843 Vol 3 Lines (The Lost Children)

On 4th October, 1842 Emily sent a Petition requesting to have a teacher's license granted to her enabling her to teach in Queens County as she 'found it necessary, in order to overcome the first difficulties of settlement, to aid her husband in his endeavours to provide a comfortable home'. Emily wished to set up a "Model School" which was a school used for training school teachers. The Reverend Horatio Nelson Arnold who was the minister at the Church of England Trinity Church at Sussex vouched for her character.

In 1843, with their children Alfred Spurzheim Beavan and Isabella Barbara Beavan, they returned to England where her husband took up the position of his recently deceased father as Surgeon at the Derwent Mines in Blanchland, Northumberland.

In 1845 George Routledge of London published Emily's first book titled Sketches and tales illustrative of life in the backwoods of New Brunswick, North America, gleaned from actual observation and experience during a residence of seven years in that interesting colony. This book gives a very informative account of Emily's observations of a settler's life and conditions at that time. She most likely did all her writing with a wild goose quill pen and ink made from white maple bark and it was written with the idea of informing future immigrants what they could expect in the settlements of New Brunswick. Perhaps this was the forerunner of the Travel Brochure.

Print 'n Press Publications Ltd, 164 Milltown Blvd, St Stephen, NB reprinted Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick in 1980, but they are no longer in business. ISBN 0920 732-20-8 The author in this reprint was incorrectly published as Mrs Frances Beavan. It seems the book is now of historical interest to students of history, education etc. and a copy of the original book is also available on microfiche and as an online edition.

In the opinion of Marjorie Thompson, one modern day critic:

Emily had neither the acidulous wit of Mrs Trollope nor the conversational repartee of Susannah Moodie's characters but her honest background of New Brunswick life in the early 1800s will not be met in other writings and her contribution to the background material of her day, though slight, is not to be overlooked. "Recollections of Tombe Street" and " Adelaide Belmore" are in the main romantic tales, improbable to modern readers. Until one realises that privateers, or pirates, had been, quite recently in Emily's day, a harassment off the east coast of New Brunswick and still were in other parts of the world. As to the tale of where the heroine begs mercy for her husband, a prisoner of the King of France, and the King turns out to be her former tutor! The Boston Richelieu Club holds the distinction of meeting in the exact rooms where Louis Philippe, later King of France, taught French to Bostonians during his exile in America.

On a journey that began in London on 6th March, aboard the ship Mariner, Emily and her husband and two of their children, Alfred and Isabella arrived in Melbourne, Victoria on 29th June 1852 and soon took up residence at Kilmore. It is not known why one of their daughters, Edith Florinda was not aboard. Perhaps she stayed behind with family. However she is mentioned on the birth registration of Amy born in 1856 and on her mother's death registration in 1897.

In Australia, Emily continued to write and it is known she contributed to Eliza Cook's Journal and to newspapers. Her album reveals a newspaper cutting of poem called Blackberries in Australia published in the Kilmore Standard but the date is unknown.

Widowed in 1867, Emily moved to NSW in 1881 where she died on 6 Aug 1897 at Surrey Hills, Sydney at the residence of her son, Alfred. She is buried in an unmarked grave in the Church of England Cemetery at Rookwood NSW with her grandson, Walter Llewellyn Beavan. However a memorial to her has been placed at Kilmore General Cemetery on the grave of her husband.


January 2004


Thanks go to Mary Alice Downie and Lynette Nunn for providing this information!

GLAZEBROOK, Harriet Ann [Mrs. Ebenezer Beavan]
Author, Temperance Supporter

John Heap of the British Library, and Christopher Glazebrook of the Glazebrook Record Society, have submitted a correction: they report that another writer also published under the name "Mrs. E. Beavan". Mrs. Ebenezer Beavan, who also published under her maiden name of Harriet Ann Glazebrook, was an English author and temperance supporter.

Harriet Ann Glazebrook was born in 1847, in Glossop, Derbyshire, a daughter of the Rev. Benjamin Glazebrook (1815 - 1885-12-12) and Betty Eckersley. The 1861 Census for Worksop, district 6, Sheet 18, Netherton Road, #63, shows Benjamin, Betty, Sarah, Harriet, Alice, Florence, Hannah, and Benjamin Jr. living together. Harriet, age 14, is listed as a milliner's apprentice.

In 1878, Harriet Glazebrook married Ebenezer Beavan of Cardiff, a Methodist minister and temperance advocate. She was his second wife. To complicate matters for genealogists, Ebenezer Beavan's first wife was also named Harriet, as was his eldest daughter by his first wife. The family was a blended one, with three children from his first marriage to Harriet Prewett (m. 1863, d. 1877): (1) Harriet, b. 1866, d. 1954 (2) Sarah Ann, b. 1869 (3) Edwin, b. 1872; and three children from his second marriage to Harriet Glazebrook (m. 1878, d. 1937): (1) Thomas A., b. 1881 (2) Florence, b. 1885 (3) Alice Rose, b. 1889.

Ebenezer Beavan was born in 1841, and died 12 April 1925. He was a Alderman of Cardiff, and in 1897 became Mayor of Cardiff. The Beavans organized a public subscription for a "Mayoress' Chain" to be worn by the Lady Mayoress as part of the Mayoral regalia. The chain contained diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and an enamel portrait of Queen Victoria. The first name inscribed on the chain is that of Mrs. E. Beavan.

The Beavans were active in the temperance movement throughout their lives, as can be seen from Harriet's publication history. Harriet Glazebrook died 16 December 1937, in Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales.

The temperance movement and its workers: A record of social, moral, religious, and political progress by P. T. Winskill, Vol. IV, London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and New York, 1892, p. 159, contains the following biographical entry for the Beavans:

COUNCILLOR EBENEZER BEAVAN, of Cardiff, was born at Newport, Monmouthshire, in 1841, and began life as a working-man. At the age of fifteen he became a Methodist preacher, and is now most popular, and sought after by various denominations for special occasions. He was a frequent speaker at the Llanarth Street Temperance Hall, Newport. In 1862 he removed to Cardiff and commenced business, in which he has greatly succeeded. In 1879 he was returned to the town-council, where he has proved himself a most able and useful member. As a temperance reformer he is known in the council, in the pulpit, and on the platforms of the wide district in which he labours. As stated in a previous chapter, he rendered much service to the cause during the agitation for Sunday closing, while the bill was in the House of Commons, after it became law, and during the inquiry by the royal commission.

Nor must we omit to notice Mr. Beavan's partner in life, who in her own sphere has rendered valuable service to the cause she most ardently loves and labours for. Mrs. Beavan, better known as HARRIET A. GLAZEBROOK, author of Readings in Rhyme from the Drama of Drink, is a native of Glossop, Derbyshire. Her father, the REV. B. GLAZEBROOK of Bridgewater, Somerset, was one of the earliest temperance reformers, and took his stand on the temperance platform at Heywood, near Manchester; and also at Rochdale, at the time that the late Mr. John Bright began his first attempts at oratory. His daughter Harriet, at a very early age, espoused the cause of temperance, and became an enthusiastic Band of Hope worker. Her first poem was published in 1867, and was entitled "Farewell to Cornwall." A temperance ballad entitled "Alice Lea: or the Lips that touch Liquor shall never touch Mine," became very popular, and is her most widely known poem. As a Good Templar she was well known, and in constant request for her musical and recitative assistance in lodge entertainments, in which she was often assisted by two like-minded sisters. In Miss Glazebrook Mr. Beavan found a true helpmeet, and an earnest co-worker in his Christian and temperance work.

The Literary Year-book and Bookman's Directory, Vol. XVI. Edited by Basil Stewart. London: George Routledge and Sons, Limited; New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1912, p. 87, contains the following entry.

BEAVAN, Mrs. Harriet A. Verse: Readings in Rhyme from the Drama of Drink: Recitations in Verse (Kempster); Brooklet Reciter (Tweedie); Temperance ballads and Poems (Union Pub. Co.); Dialogues in Verse for Temperance Platform (ditto); Children's Steps to Heaven (R. J. James); Encore Tit-Bits Reciter (ditto); Fiction: Brought into Subjection (Daniel); Lil Grey (Partridge). I Balaclava Road, Cardiff.

Harriet Ann Glazebrook (Mrs. Ebenezer Beavan)'s publications may include:

  • Alicia
  • Brought into Subjection (pub. Daniel)
  • The Beavan reciter: a collection of original temperance poems for old and young by Harriet A. Beavan. Union Pub. House, n.d.
  • Beavan dialogues
  • "Brownie of Battery 6" by Harriet A. Beavan, in The halfpenny illustrated temperance reciter, no. 32. London: UK Band of Hope Union, n.d., pp. 63-64.
  • Children's steps to heaven (pub. R. J. James)
  • Encore tit-bits for reciters (pub. R. J. James)
  • "Olga Noromme: A Cornish Story" by Harriet E. [sic] Glazebrook. In The juvenile companion and Sunday-school hive Volume XXI, London: W. Reed, 1868, pp. 255-263, 283-293 , 310-317.
  • Readings and recitations (chiefly upon temperance) written and selected by Harriet A. Glazebrook. London: John Kempster & Co., 1874.
  • Readings in rhyme, from the drama of drink by Harriet A. Glazebrook, author of "Recitations in Verse," "Readings in Rhyme," "Lil Grey, or Arthur Chester's Courtship." London: John Kempster & Co., 1876.
  • Lil Grey: or, Arthur Chester's courtship by Mrs. E. Beavan, Authoress of "Readings in Rhyme," "Alicia," "Olga Noromme," &c. London: S. W. Partridge & Co., 1878.
  • The Brooklet Reciter for Temperance Societies and Bands of Hope by Harriet Glazebrook. London: National Temperance Publication Depot, 1883.
  • The "Bobs" reciter: for bands of hope, temperance societies and Sunday schools by Harriet A. Beavan. (Mrs. Beavan's special series of reciters, no. 1), 1901.
  • The "Collection" reciter : containing only recitations suitable for reciting as appeals for help (Mrs. Harriet A. Beavan's series of special recitation numbers for Sunday schools and bands of hope, no. 2), 1901.
  • Dialogues for the temperance platform. by Harriet A. Beavan: United Kingdom Band of Hope Union: 1928. Includes "Too old for Band of Hope", "Taking a tavern", and "Daddy's shoeless pet."
  • Temperance ballads and poems by Harriet A. Beavan, author of "The Beavan reciter", "Beavan dialogues", "Readings in rhyme from the drama of drink", "The brooklet reciter", "Children's steps to heaven", "Encore tit-bits for reciters", etc. Union Pub. House, 1928.

Harriet's husband, Ebenezer Beavan, published an account of temperance work, History of the Welsh Sunday Closing Act by E. Beavan (Cardiff). Cardiff: Daniel Owen and Company, Limited, 1885.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom