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Five Colonial Sheldon Families…

By now, you’ve probably read about the beginnings of the Sheldon Family Association, and the work done by Reverend Henry O. Sheldon, a 19th century Methodist circuit preacher who traveled 3,000 to 4,000 miles in Ohio on horseback every year.

In his travels, Rev. Sheldon “collected” the names and family connections of the people he met who shared his Sheldon surname.   In organizing the data, it appeared that these Sheldons were all members of five apparently unrelated Sheldon lines.  The progenitors of these lines, who came to this country in Colonial times, are:

  1. Godfrey Sheldon (S0004), ca.1599-1671, settled Saco/Bluepoint/Black Point, Maine.  Godfrey’s wife, Alice Frost, and the early grave of a child of this couple is found in Bakewell parish, Derbyshire records (published in a Sheldon Family Association Quarterly). The identity of Godfrey’s father is yet undetermined.  Godfrey’s home was a fort during the Indian Wars, when he moved to Salem. His son, William, inherited it. We are still seeking Godfrey’s descendant Susannah Sheldon who testified at the Salem Witch Trials and then disappears from view.  See Sheldons in the Salem Witch Trials”, #16 on the Publications page.   Related families: Alger, Frost, Goodale,Giles, Scarlett.
  2. Isaac Sheldon (S0005), ca.1629-1708, who came with the Dorchester Group (the town later named Windsor, Connecticut), is believed to be the Isaac Sheldon mentioned in a grandfather’s will, as shown in The Sheldons of Bakewell, Derbyshire, England, and Isaac Sheldon of New England”, Sheldon Family Associations Publication #31 (reprint from the New England Historic Genealogical Register, October 1926).  This professional researcher, hired by a Sheldon descendant, went to England to research Isaac Sheldon. Isaac’s first wife, Mary Woodford, is also an ancestress of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. His second wife was Mrs. Mehitable Gunn.

  3. John Sheldon (S0008), CA. 1630-1708, is found in early records of Providence, Rhode Island.  His wife, Joan Vincent, is the daughter of Nicholas Vincent and Fridgeswith Carpenter, of Amesbury, England. Joan is the niece of William Carpenter, an early founder in Providence Records. Fridgeswith inherited the home in England from her brother William.

  4. John Sheldon (S0013), ca.1628-ca.1679, is found in early records of South Kingstown, Rhode Island.  He was apparently involved in a drinking party and brought into court. John’s wife Sarah and his son John S0023’s original will, transcriptions and papers are in our files and available on CD .

  5. Richard Sheldon (S0022) Little is known but his name and that he had 2 sons.  The first son was named Thomas, who had 2 sons and 4 daughters (his wife’s name is unknown as yet).  Richard’s other son, Lemuel, married Millicent Brock; they had 7 sons (including two sons named Lemuel) and 4 daughters.  Richard may have other descendants as yet unreported as well.

Your Sheldon Ancestors

If you have a Sheldon ancestor and would like to find out if your Sheldon line is descended from one of these five colonial Sheldon families, contact our Membership Chair at the address below and he or she he will work with you to help make the connection. Our Membership Chair will also assist with free database searches for a Sheldon.

To search we need a Sheldon name, and a birth or marriage or death date. The reason – a search for the name John Sheldon with no additional information returns 409 hits. A name-only search for Isaac Sheldon returns 55 hits, and Mary Sheldon, 658 hits. The more you can narrow it down, the better the search!

For a free search of the award winning Sheldon Family Association Database (a composite of the Sheldon Magazine brought into the present day with information supplied by Sheldon descendants), please email: Our Membership Chair Click here to send Email

And please don’t forget to contribute your Sheldon family genealogy for our database, and to keep us updated on any changes.