SHIVES, ROBERT, printer, publisher, and public servant; b.c. 1815 in Aberdeen, Scotland, son of Robert Shives and Martha Wiggins; d. a bachelor on 7 Jan. 1879 in Saint John, N.B.
Robert Shives, whose father was a Saint John merchant, was born during a visit by his parents to Scotland. He was raised in Saint John, and in 1827 apprenticed as a printer to the New Brunswick Courier. Upon completion of his apprenticeship in 1834 he went to Scotland for two years before settling permanently at Saint John.
Shives was responsible for adding another dimension to the increasingly sophisticated urban settlement of Saint John in the 1840s. From 1840 to 1843 he ran the Amaranth, one of the first literary magazines in the Maritime provinces. The 36 monthly editions, of approximately 30 pages each, contain a bulk of original prose and verse contributed by New Brunswickers and Nova Scotians. As well Shives carried reprints from foreign sources. From the London Sporting Review, for example, were drawn articles written by the ubiquitous Saint John attorney, Moses H. Perley*. A short story, “Mark Meriden,” may have been from another source: it had an American setting and was written by Mrs Harriet Beecher Stowe. Partly because of the disappointment of getting less public support than he had hoped for, but mainly because of “the slenderness of the pecuniary returns” Shives stopped publishing the Amaranth.
Robert Shives probably continued his trade as a printer on one of the Saint John newspapers until he succeeded Moses H. Perley as immigration agent in the late 1840s or early 1850s. Shives led an active life in the community. He was elected a director of the Mechanics’ Institute in 1844, was a freemason, a member of the St Andrew’s Society, and held the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the provincial militia.
Amaranth (Saint John, N.B.), January 1841–December 1843. Daily Sun (Saint John, N.B.), 8 Jan. 1879. Daily Telegraph (Saint John, N.B.), 8 Jan. 1879. Morning News (Saint John, N.B.), 13 Dec. 1843. New Brunswick Courier (Saint John, N.B.), 9 Jan. 1841, 9 Dec. 1843. Royal Gazette (Fredericton), 14 Feb. 1844. Saint John Globe, 8 Jan. 1879. Saint John Weekly Freeman, 11 Jan. 1879. Harper, Hist. directory, 47. D. R. Jack, “Acadian magazines,” RSCT, 2nd ser., IX (1903), sect.ii, 173–203.