From A Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. II, p. 978
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902


   J N Sheldon is a representative of one of the honored pioneer families of Kansas and is now associated with the farming interests of Rice county.  He was born in Grant county, Wisconsin, February 2, 1859, and was reared on the home farm.  The family is of English lineage, however, and was founded in America by the grandfather of our subject and his six brothers, who were born in the Merrie Isle and crossed the Atlantic to America, taking up their abode in New England.  John Sheldon, the father, was born in Vermont and remained in that state until he had attained his majority, when he made his way westward, locating in Wisconsin, where he followed both carpentering and farming.  He was there married to Miss Martha A Dyer, a native of Tennessee.  They began their domestic life upon a farm, where they remained until all of their ten children were born.  In 1867 they emigrated to Kansas, locating in Marion county, where Mr Sheldon located a claim which he afterward sold.  He then removed to Abilene and resided with one of his sons until his death, which occurred in March, 1874.  He followed mechanical pursuits and farming throughout his business career and did not aspire to public office.  His wife brought the children to Rice county in 1873 and took up a homestead claim, when there were few permanent settlers in this portion of the state.  She had owned and conducted a hotel in Abilene, and on coming to this county she tore down the building and brought it with her, where it was put up and again used as a residence.  Here she homesteaded a tract of land, which under her supervision was operated, raising both corn and oats the first season.  In the summer of 1874 farming was carried on upon her own land there seemed good prospects for excellent crops, but the grasshoppers came and destroyed everything green.  This was very discouraging, but the family managed to get along through strict economy and capable management, two of the sons being employed as herders and their wages going to aid in general support.  In 1875 times were more prosperous and good crops were raised.  From that time on the farm was self-supporting, the sons carrying on the active work of the fields and meadows.  The mother kept her children together, carefully managing for them and making every personal sacrifice and effort that would promote the welfare and happiness of her sons and daughters.  She bore cheerfully the hardships and trials of pioneer life for the sake of bringing up her children to honorable manhood and womanhood, and in this she was successful, for she lived to see them all grown and comfortably settled in life, and on the 23rd of June, 1894, she was called to her final rest.  Her devotion, her sacrifice and her efforts won the undying love of her children who venerate her memory.  She was born in Tennessee and her father was of Irish descent.  He was a shoemaker by trade and followed that pursuit throughout his business career.  The children of Mrs Sheldon were:  Mrs Sarah Barstow, whose first husband was killed in the Civil war, after which she became the wife of P Benedict, but she is now deceased; Sophia, the wife of J Prather; Henry, who served in the Rebellion and died in Oklahoma; Lucretia, who became the wife of G Molton, and is now deceased; Brunilda, the wife of B F Beale; Samuel, of Oklahoma; Laura, the wife of W A Howard; and J N.

   The last named pursued his education in the common-schools of Kansas and remained at home with his mother, relieving her as much as possible of the care and responsibility of the farm.  He had the entire management of the farm after the other children had left home and thus he paid in part the debt of filial love and devotion which every child owes to the mother who makes her chief object in life the care of her children.  At the time of his marriage he did not leave home, but brought his bride to the old place and purchased the farm, receiving the title from his mother, who made her home with him and his wife during her declining years.  All of the improvements upon the place he assisted in making and today he has a commodious and convenient residence, a large new barn and other outbuildings, while an orchard yields its fruit is season.  The place is located two miles southeast of Mitchell and is most neat and thrifty in appearance, being supplied with all the modern accessories for progressive farming.  Mr Sheldon now owns an entire section of land, well improved, and on this he has several tenant houses.  His fields are highly cultivated and his possessions stand as a monument to his thrift and labor, all having been acquired through his own earnest effort.

   In 1886 Mr Sheldon married Miss Emma Holmes, who was born in Iowa, August 16, 1862, and is a daughter of J P and Mary A (Anderson) Holmes, both whom are natives of Virginia.  Their marriage, however, was celebrated in Iowa, where they spent their remaining days, the father devoting his attention to agricultural pursuits.  Their children were:  John, who died in the Union army, while serving in the Civil war; Martha, the wife of O S Sherrick; B F, of Lyons, Kansas; W D, of Iowa; Reuben, who died at the age of sixteen years; Mary, the wife of J W Miller; Mrs Emma Sheldon; and Charles, of Geneseo, Kansas.  The mother was a member of the Methodist church.  After her death the father was again married, his second union being with Sarah Burk, by whom he had one daughter, Anna, now the wife of A G Brown, a Presbyterian minister.  Mrs Sheldon came to Kansas in 1885, joining her brother in Rice county.  Here she formed the acquaintance of him to whom she gave her hand in marriage.  Four children grace their union:  Mabel, who was born September 23, 1889; Alva, born August 8, 1891; Esther, born July 30, 1893; and Blanch, born October 30, 1898.  Both Mr and Mrs Sheldon hold membership in the Methodist church and their Christian belief permeates their lives.  Politically he is a Republican and keeps well informed on the issues of the day.  He has filled a number of offices and is now serving as township treasurer, discharging his duties with promptness and fidelity.  He is certainly a self-made man, for in early life he was thrown upon his own resources and has had no outside aid or influence to assist him in gaining the present financial position which he now occupies.  Brooking no obstacles that could be overcome by sincere effort he has advanced steadily to the goal of prosperity, and his life should serve as an inspiration and encouragement to others who are forced thus to depend upon their own efforts for material advancement and progress.