JOHN R. SHELTON, a farmer residing on section 2, Lowe Township, was born in
Chatham Township, Sangamon County, Ill., April 28, 1833. His father, the late William
Shelton, was a native of Virginia, while his mother, whose maiden name was Prudence Neal, was born
in Kentucky. They came to Illinois early in life, and after their marriage in Sangamon County, settled
in Chatham Township, where after a long and honorable life, the father died about 1878, at the
age of seventy-two years. The mother survives at an advanced age and makes her home in Sangamon
The seven children born to this worthy couple were named as follows: William, John R., Amarine,
Daniel M., Zarilda, James and George. The second son, John R., the subject of this biographical
notice, was reared to manhood in Sangamon County, his youth being passed in much the usual
manner of farmers' boys of that period. He gleaned the rudiments of his education from the primitive
text books still in use in the district schools, and this knowledge has been enlarged and broadened
through subsequent study, until he is now thoroughly informed on all events of local and general
importance, and an agreeable conversationalist with whom many a pleasant hour may be passed.
When ready to establish a home of his own, our subject left the parental roof, and with his bride,
began life on a farm in Loami Township. He has ever received the cheerful co-operation of his wife,
with whom he was joined in the holy bonds of wedlock in Loami Township, Sangamon County,
November 30, 1854. Mrs. Shelton bore the maiden name of Eliza J. Kinney, and was the daughter of
the late Henry and Margaret (Dorronce) Kinney, natives respectively of Madison and Oneida
Counties, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Kinney passed the first years of their happy wedded life in
Loami Township, whence after a sojourn of many years, they removed to Chatham village and there
the mother died in September, 1883. The father afterward made his home in Springfield and also
with our subject until his death in Springfield, April 2, 1889. His family comprised five children,
namely: Daniel, Clarissa, Caroline. Eliza J., and Rebecca M.
The birthplace of Mrs. Shelton was Loami Township, Sangamon County, and her natal day October
9,1834. Under the careful training of her parents she grew to a noble womanhood, well fitted to take
charge of a home of her own. Her first home after marriage was in Loami Township, but later she and
her husband settled in Chatham Township. This was not their permanent home, however. In September,
1874, they came to Moultrie County, where they purchased a farm on section 2, Lowe Township,
and here they still remain. The farm comprises one hundred and nine acres, and he has a
neat set of buildings, including a commodious, conveniently-arranged residence, where comfort
reigns supreme and hospitality abounds.
Seven children have been born of the happy wedded life of Mr. and Mrs. Shelton: William and
Lewis are deceased, the former dying at the age of one year and the latter when seven years old;
William (2d) died in Lowe Township in 1876 when seventeen years old; Richard is a farmer in Colorado;
Luella is the wife of Frank Kagey, Charles and Caroline M. are still at home. Mrs. Shelton is
a member of the Missionary Baptist Church, to which she has belonged since 1865. Her maternal
great-grand father was a surgeon in the Revolutionary War and lost his life at Ft. DuQuesne. On
her father's side Mrs. Shelton is of English extraction, and on the maternal side of Irish descent.
When the preservation of the Union was threatened Mr. Shelton was deeply devoted to her welfare
and enlisted in her behalf in August, 1862, in Company B, One Hundred and Thirtieth Illinois
Infantry, serving three yeara until the close of the war. During this time he was on constant duty
and the hardships and exposures so undermined his strength that he has since never regained his
former health. He participated in the following important engagements: Magnolia Hill, Champion
Hills, Jackson, Miss., Vicksburg, Ft. Blakesly and Spanish Fort, besides numerous skirmishes of minor
importance though not less dangerous. He was with the One Hundred and Thirtieth Illinois from
the time of his enlistment until May 6. 1863, when he was detached and joined the Mercantile Battery
of Chicago. After remaining with this battery one year he rejoined the regiment with which he
had originally enlisted. This was consolidated with the Seventy-seventh Illinois Infantry, of
which it was an integral part until peace was declared.
As might be expected Mr. Shelton is a prominent member of Harker Post, No. 189, G. A. R.
In politics he is a firm Republican, but has never been an office-seeker, preferring domestic pleasures
to the turmoil of public life. He is a fine type of our self-made men, as he entered upon his career
as a farmer with but little means and only by the exercise of ambition and industry coupled with
practical economy and excellent business judgment, has he worked his way up to a position of
importance among the most substantial citizens of Lowe Township.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 358/359
Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb