2022 Sheldon Family Reunion - Boston, MA

2022 Annual Meeting Notes

By Libby Wilson

Twenty five Sheldons and their guests met at the Doubletree Hotel in Chelsea, Mass., on Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022. We gathered in the hotel pub for snacks and drinks, while meeting new Sheldon “cousins” and catching up with friends we hadn’t seen in awhile.

The next morning we boarded a coach bus for a day of exploring in the Salem and Danvers area. The first stop on the tour was at the Veterans Monument in Danvers, (Civil War), listing Charles Wentworth Sheldon and William Everett Sheldon, both of Danvers, who died in service. Next we stopped at Walnut Grove Cemetery, and with help from one of the caretakers, Jared, we found several Sheldon grave sites, including that of William Everett Sheldon. 

From the road near the cemetery we could see the bright red house at the Nurse Homestead through the trees. During the witch hysteria in Danvers, the Nurse and the Sheldon families were neighbors. Rebecca Nurse was accused of being a witch, and was hung. Susannah Sheldon accused many of her neighbors of being witches. We drove by the Ingersoll’s Ordinary on Hobart Street in Danvers. It is currently a private residence, but in the 1690s it was a busy tavern and inn. During the witch trials, some examinations of suspected witches took place here.

Just a few blocks away we saw the foundation of the Parish House, uncovered in 1970. A sign on the property states “It was in this house in 1692 that Tituba, Rev. Parris’ slave, told the girls of the household stories of witchcraft which nurtured the village witchcraft hysteria and resulted in the deaths of 23 persons.” Just around the corner is the Witchcraft Victims Memorial, where we spent a few minutes reading the last words of several convicted witches. It was quite a sobering memorial.

Our next stop was at the North Beverly Cemetery, where we searched for Sheldon grave sites. Thanks to all of you who took photos and notes and also swept off the gravesites. The new information and photos we collected will be added to our family tree.

After lunch in Salem, we had time to explore. We fanned out over the town to see the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, the National Park Service Visitor Center, the House of the Seven Gables, and the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, or browsed the shops on Essex Street.

On Friday, we boarded the bus again for a quick trip to central Boston and the Freedom Trail. We started with a group photo on Boston Common before we hit the trail. One of the first stops was in front of the Massachusetts State House, where Jim Russell pointed out that his ancestors provided the logs that created the pillars on the front of the building! Another interesting find was to see the name Thomas Sheldon on the 54th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw. This bronze relief sculpture by Augustus Saint-Gaudens was unveiled in 1897 and is the first civic monument to pay homage to the heroism of African-American soldiers. The 1989 movie, “Glory,” is the story of the 54th

At the Granary Burying Ground nearby we found an interesting headstone with the Sheldon crest. Who is up for some detective work? We made it to Faneuil Hall and the Quincy Market for lunch and to rest our tired feet, get a cold drink and maybe a lobster roll, too. Some of us continued on to Paul Revere’s home and to Bunker Hill and the USS Constitution. So much history packed into one day!

Saturday was a more relaxed day with the annual meeting in the afternoon. We had an interesting presentation from the staff of the Henry Sheldon Museum in Middlebury,Vt. We learned about the history of the museum and their plans for the future of the institution, including the new garden space between the buildings. They also expressed their appreciation for our personal and association’s donation toward their window replacement project this year. 

We look forward to getting together again next July in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Allen County Public Library houses our SFA genealogy records and also has an immense collection of books and databases to help you with your own family research. See you in Fort Wayne!

Libby Wilson and Jim Russell, Reunion Committee