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Past and Present of Hardin County, Iowa

Sheldon History's
Many Thanks to Linda Suarez for these transcriptions, and Linda's Harding County GenWeb Page

Past and Present of Hardin County
ed. by William J. Moir. Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen, 1911., Iowa

George W. Sheldon

A man who possessed the respect and good will of all who knew him and was classed with the representative men of Hardin county, was the late George W. Sheldon, a man whom to know was to admire, for he led a most exemplary life and sought to do his full duty in all relations with his fellow men, being a man of honor, public spirit, charitable impulses and unswerving integrity and enterprise, consequently he is deserving of conspicuous mention in a history of his county along with other well known and worthy pioneers who did so much for the general upbuilding of the same.

Mr. Sheldon was born in Holmes county, Ohio, June 16, 1834, and he was the son of Thomas Sheldon and wife, a complete sketch of whom is to be found under the caption of T. J. Sheldon, appearing on another page of this work.

The subject attended the public schools in Ohio and he assisted with the general work about the home place until he was married, on November 4, 1854, to Aleva Sevilla Lohr, who was born in Holmes county, Ohio, June 20, 1834, the daughter of Henry and Eliza (Porter) Lohr, of the county mentioned above. Mr. Lohr was a tinner by trade and he spent his life in Ohio. He was twice married, his last wife being Rebecca Richardson, also of Holmes county, Ohio.

The following children constitute the family of the subject, two of whom are of the first union: Melissa A. married Walter Race, of Eldora township, this county; William H., who is farming in South Dakota, married Ada Biglow; Loretta J. married Jerry Hayden, of Jackson township, this county; Aleva Catherine died young; George D. is a merchant at Ratcliffe, Iowa; Leonard Lee is farming near Trenton, Nebraska; Ida May married Ralph Glidden, and they live near Ratcliffe, Iowa; John L. is farming in Hardin county, Iowa; Thomas L. is also farming in this county; Bertha Belle is at home.

It was about 1856 that Mr. Sheldon and his wife came to Hardin county, Iowa. They settled at Point Pleasant, Tipton township, when the country was new and undeveloped, and although they underwent many hardships and inconveniences, they persevered and succeeded. Later they bought a farm in Pleasant township and there they made their home until 1900, when they retired and moved to Hubbard, and there Mr. Sheldon lived until his death, on May 19, 1906. He had bought a neat and comfortable home there and had a small farm. His widow and daughter are living at Hubbard. He was very successful as a farmer and stock man and left a valuable estate to his family.

Politically, Mr. Sheldon was a Democrat, but he was not a politician. He was a member of the Methodist church, as is also his widow. No family in the county is held in higher esteem than the Sheldons, they having been prominent here from the days of the first settlers.

Thomas Jefferson Sheldon

The subject of this review, a prominent and well-known early settler of Hardin county, now living in Eldora, was born in Licking county, Ohio, near Zanesville, August 31, 1828. His ancestors were pioneers in that country. His parents were Thomas J. and Huldah (Thorpe) Sheldon, both natives of New Jersey, where they were married. They settled in Ohio before the war of 1812, and the father entered the service from that state. They cleared up a timber farm in the wilderness. About 1831 they moved to Holmes county and opened up another timber farm and lived on it about eighteen years. In 1849 Thomas J., of this sketch, came to Iowa, traveling the entire distance across the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois on foot, and arrived at the home of a married sister in Louisa county, Iowa. In the spring of 1850 five men started from his sister's home for California, by the "overland route," with an ox team and one cow. The entire summer was spent in crossing the plains, and the caravan arrived at Placerville, California, in the fall. Of course it is understood that the subject of this article was one of the five men in the party. He had but fifty cents in money, a meal cost a dollar, and there was no "trust"! But a sequel to this dilemma resulted from one of the party picking up an old broken-down horse abandoned to die and trading him for a set of mining tools. He and Sheldon went to the then new "diggin's" on Weaver creek, and in time relieved their pressing needs. After working two weeks, and demonstrating that there was gold in sight, they hired out for five dollars a day, boarded themselves and slept in an old wagon box. Finally they built a cabin, but an extremely dry winter was upon them and they were unable to get water for their "washings," hence they were unable to accomplish much in the way of separating the gold from the refuse material with which it was mixed. Meeting an old schoolmate from Ohio, Mr. Sheldon was urged to join him for a trip to the Feather river country. At Sacramento they purchased two mules and loaded them with supplies and provisions, and spent a year mining on Feather river. They were well-equipped and lived well, having a tent for their home. They found an abandoned "diggin's" from which they took out one hundred and twenty-five dollars in a day, and many other days were nearly as profitable. But they tired of the rough life and isolation from friends, and at the end of a year returned to Ohio. Mr. Sheldon took about four thousand dollars home with him. But the spirit of adventure, combined with the "gold fever," was upon him, and after spending a few months at home, he again (in 1852) fitted out at St. Louis for another trip across the plains. There were four "Buckeyes" in this party. They went direct to the American river country, where the party took our five hundred dollars in a single day. They remained there a year, when they returned to Ohio, via the Nicarauga route, but returned again to the mining regions by way of the Panama route. The final return to the East was made in 1854, and the beautiful prairie country of Iowa was explored on the return. Mr. Sheldon came to Hardin County in November, 1854, his sister having remained here during all the family exploits in the mining country of the far West. He settled on the South Fork of the Iowa river, in Tipton township, but soon thereafter located at Point Pleasant, where he built a log house and put up a log store building, and opened the first store in the place. From the first Mr. Sheldon took an active part in the public affairs of the new county, and was one of the most aggressive workers in the county-seat contest of the late fifties. The question was decided in favor of his town, Point Pleasant, and he at once took active part in the building of a court house, and otherwise providing for the "guest" whose prospective coming had cost him so much time and effort. But when it was sought to remove the records and other county property from Eldora to Point Pleasant, an injunction was filed which brought the matter into the courts, and Eldora still held the prize! Mr. Sheldon succeeded in selling out his stock of merchandise to advantage, and he engaged in farming his lands near the village of Point Pleasant, where he had entered eight hundred acres. This he divided into three farms, and considered himself "land poor" for many years. Finally he was able to make a few trades which brought him some ready cash, and this he used in stocking the balance of his land. He was one of the early stock farmers in that locality. In thisbusines he was prosperous, and as a stock raiser, buyer and shipper, a business which he followed for more than thirty years, he became wealthy. His principal business during these years consisted of rearing, fattening and shipping cattle and hogs, the grain for this purpose being raised on his own farms. But he also carried on an extensive business as a buyer and shipper of live stock. He retired from farm life in 1890, and took up his home in Eldora, where he still lives, and owns a good farm nearby. Up to the time of locating in Iowa Mr. Sheldon was unmarried, his sister being his housekeeper for a time after locating in the Hawkeye state. He wrote a letter to his "girl" in Knox county, Ohio, and asked her if she "would like to come to Iowa and keep his house and live with him"! The reply soon came, in which she stated that she would have to see him again before deciding such a momentous question! (Sensible girl!) He adjusted his affairs and left for the old home place country, where he married Henrietta Majors, thus closing a "contract" which neither party has ever had occasion to regret having made! Nine children, who are now living, were born to this union, all being married and happily engaged in life's struggles on their own account. These are Isabella, who is the wife of John Lynn, of Thompson, Winnebago county, Iowa; Huldah R., who became the wife of Daniel Blair, of Hubbard, Iowa; Malinda A., wife of Frank I. Stowe, of Winnebago county; Evans Hayden Sheldon, a retired farmer living in Eldora; Thomas C., engaged in operating the parental farm in Eldora township; William C., a farmer at Iowa Falls; Viola, wife of Lem. Harris, cashier of the Citizens Bank, Eldora; Frank, a farmer in Jackson township, near Eldora, and John P., who owns the old home farm near Point Pleasant.

Mr. Sheldon has been an active Democrat in political affiliations and now stands with the "progressives" on questions of internal politics. Throughout his extensive business and political career he has come in contact with the people in every sphere of human effort. He is a reader of men, as well as of current literature, and is thoroughly well informed. He has served as a member of the county board of supervisors, as justice of the peace, etc., and is the present Democratic candidate for the office of county treasurer. In point of religious affiliations, Mr. Sheldon has been a member of the Baptist church for thirty-five years. The "would-be" court house at Point Pleasant was merged into a house of worship, and in this building, erected for an entirely different purpose, several early church organizations held their services.

History of Hardin County, Iowa
Springfield, Ill: Union Publishing Company., 1883

T. J. Sheldon

T. J. Sheldon located at Point Pleasant in 1854, and engaged in general mercantile business; also engaged in farming. He remained in the mercantile business until 1858, when he removed to his farm on section 11, where he still resides.

T. J. Sheldon was born in Licking county, Ohio, August 31, 1828, where he received a common school education. In 1839, ( [my note] The publication, Past and Present of Hardin County, Iowa ed. by William J. Moir. Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen, 1911., has this date as 1949 which makes more sense. In 1839 T.J. would have been only 11 years old.) he came to Louisa county, Iowa, remaining a short time; thence overland to California, where he was engaged in mining two years. He then returned to Ohio, and after six months, once more went to California, where he spent two years. In the fall of 1854 he came to Hardin county, and in the spring of 1855, opened the first store in Point Pleasant. In 1857 he turned his entire attention to farming, and now owns 1,400 acres in this county. He was one of the county commissioners during the county seat war. He was married November 1, 1856, to Miss Henrietta Majors, a native of Knox county, Ohio. They have nine children, all living.

Linked toGeorge Washington Sheldon; Thomas Jefferson Sheldon

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