The Sheldons were early settlers in Sanilac County, Michigan. James Sheldon was born in Connecticut in 1780 and his wife Mary
Shennich was born in New York in 1791. During their early marriage, they lived in Canada, probably somewhere in Ontario. The
birthplace of their oldest child Henry is unknown, however, the other five were all born in Canada. James brought his family to
Sanilac County sometime 1837. Apparently, the two older sons had a case of the wanderlust, as they both left the county for other
places. After a couple of years, John returned to Lexington Township and settled down. In the 1850 census, James and Mary were
living in Dwelling #343 in Lexington Township, John and family were in Dwelling #341, George and his wife and sister Mary in #344,
and Charles and wife Mahala were in #345. Ebenezer, the oldest of the siblings who were still in the county, was located in Worth
Township with his family.
There is no information on what might have happened to Henry.
John, the third oldest, was the most notable of the Sheldon siblings. He was featured on pages 251 and 252 in the “Portrait and
Biographical Album of Sanilac County”, published in 1884. Over the next years, John served as assessor, treasurer for three years,
clerk for three years, supervisor one year, and was elected the County Sheriff in 1862. For a more complete description of John’s
exploits, you can go to http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=micounty;cc=micounty;q1=sanilac%20county;rgn=full%20text;
view=toc;idno=BAD1048.0001.001 and click on page 251.
Ebenezer married Almira Schell in 1841 in St. Clair County. They settled raised their seven children in Worth Township, which is the
southeastern most Township of Sanilac County. It’s incidentally, the same township where my Gt-Gt-Grandfather brought his sons
after their arrival in the mid 1850s. Ebenezer and Almira’s daughter Sarah Sheldon married Thomas F. Purkiss in 1866. They moved
to Lexington where Thomas first owned a meat market with his brother Samuel, and then a brewery with his brother Alfred. After the
brewery burned down in 1888, Thomas and Sarah moved with their five children to Port Huron, where he opened another meat
market. Thomas died of cancer in 1901. Sarah remained a while in Port Huron and then moved to western Michigan with her
daughter Nellie, who was a school teacher. They later moved to Elgin, Illinois where the oldest son Arthur was the Pastor of the First
Baptist Church. Sarah passed away in 1931 and is buried in Elgin.
|My Father's Paternal Grandmother
Sarah Sheldon Purkiss