GEORGE J. SHELDON, a prosperous farmer of this county, a descendant of an old and highly respected New England family, was born in the town of Sullivan, N.Y., June 21, 1828, son of Justus and Lucinda (Bates) Sheldon. Caleb Sheldon, the paternal grandfather of George, a native and farmer of the State of Massachusetts, had eight children, who all lived to be over fifty years of age. In politics he was a Federalist, and served as a very brave soldier in the War of 1812. He died in Chesterfield, Hampshire County, Mass., at the age of sixty-two years.
Justus Sheldon and his wife, who were both natives of Massachusetts, were married there, and afterward came to the town of Sullivan, and bought one hundred acres of new land, on which they did general farming. Mr. Sheldon was also a wagon-maker by trade, and was a hard-working man. He died, at the age of seventy-nine years, on the farm where he had resided since coming to the county; and his wife died when she was seventy-eight years old. They were good and pious members of the Presbyterian church, and in his political preferences Mr. Sheldon was a Whig. Of the seven children born to them, five grew to maturity, but only four now survive: George J., our subject; Henry W., of Ontario County; Mary L., widow of John J. Ingalls, residing now with George; and Martha L., also living with her brother. Richard B., a son, died at the age of fifty-three years. Henry and Louise died when infants.
George J. Sheldon grew to manhood in the town of Sullivan, and has always resided here. When he was a boy and attended the district school, it was a common sight to meet the red men of the forest as they strolled along; and often they would give him wild game and venison in exchange for a little package of ammunition. They were peaceful and friendly Indians, seeming not to understand the value of the land they were so easily bartering away, and content with a little powder and shot, a few pounds of tobacco, and perchance a little "fire-water." Mr. Sheldon remained on his father's farm until his marriage, which occurred in
1863, to Miss Mary Rankin, a native of Madison County, daughter of John and Abigail Rankin. Mrs. Sheldon died July
19, 1877, at the age of fifty-three years.
Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon's domestic circle was never cheered with the sounds of children's songs and laughter; and, when Mrs. Sheldon died, her husband was indeed left desolate.
He has never married again, but takes fraternal pleasure in the society of his sisters, who manage his household. He has a large area of land, over two hundred acres, on which he raises hay, wheat, oats, corn, and also small fruits. He runs a dairy of
fourteen cows, but does not care for fancy stock, preferring native breeds. By birth and convictions Mr. Sheldon is a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, and steadfastly adheres to the principles of that party. He has a comfortable supply of this world's wealth; and in his beautiful home, surrounded with shade-trees and flowering shrubs, evidently the abode of one who thrives by good husbandry, he leads a serene and contented life.
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