My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chautauqua County, New York published by John M. Gresham & Co. in 1891.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

* * * *

HON. PORTER SHELDON is one of Jamestown's most distinguished citizens, and Chautauqua county's most eminent lawyers. With Chief Justice Fuller, of the Supreme Court of the United States, Long John Wentworth, and other able and talented men, he took prominent part through the many stormy sessions of the Illinois Constitutional Convention of 1861 that gave to Illinois her present State Constitution. Porter Sheldon was born at Victor, Ontario county, New York, September 29, 1831, and is a son of Gad and Eunice (Horsford) Sheldon. The genealogical record of the Sheldon family in western New York begins with Capt. Sheldon, who was a descendant of the Sheldons who emigrated from Germany to England, and from thence came to Vermont, and afterwards settled in New York. Capt. Sheldon (grandfather) was an officer in the war of 1812, and after its close removed to Monroe county, this State. His son, Gad Sheldon (father), was born in Vermont, reared in Monroe county, and early in life became a resident of Ontario county, where he died in 1874. He was a farmer, and married Eunice Horsford, a native and resident of New York. Their family consisted of five sons and one daughter: Mary E.; Charles H., a real estate dealer of Rochester, N. Y.; Carton W., of Rockford, Illinois, and secretary of a large insurance company having its principal office at that place; Alexander, a prominent lawyer; Porter and Ogilvie.

Porter Sheldon received his education in the common schools of Ontario county, and Fredonia academy of Chautauqua county, from which he was graduated in the class of 1852. After graduation he took up the study of law with George Barker, afterwards read with Alvah Warden, a prominent lawyer of Ontario county and a brother-in-law of William H. Seward, and was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court at Batavia in 1854. Immediately after admission he formed a partnership with his brother Alexander, at Randolph, Cattaraugus county, where he remained until 1856, when he came to Jamestown and opened an office. The next year he removed to Rockford, Illinois, where he secured a lucrative practice, and attained such favorable standing with the people of Winnebago county that he was elected in 1861 from that county as a delegate to the State Constitutional Convention of that year. He was one of the twenty-two republican members of that notable body, which contained many of the leading men and ablest jurists of that State. Convened amidst the opening scenes of the greatest war of modern times, the convention was agitated in its deliberations by the introduction of sectional topics and the exhibition of sectional prejudice. He took a prominent part in some of its stormy sessions, and thus became well known throughout the State. Five years later — in August, 1866 — he returned to Jamestown, and formed a law-partnership with his brother Alexander, who died shortly afterwards. From that time until the present he has practiced continuously, but about five years ago he retired from the main part of his common practice, and since then has only appeared in some of the most important cases that have come before the courts. In 1868 he was elected a member of the Forty-first Congress to represent the then Thirty-first District of New York, composed of the counties of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus. His services in that body were of such a character as to win the approval of his entire constituency of all parties.

May 12, 1858, he married Mary Crowley, daughter of Hon. Rufus Crowley, of Randolph, Cattaraugus county, N. Y., who was a prominent republican leader of that county, and has served several terms as a member of the State Legislature. Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon are the parents of three children: Cora, wife of Herbert W. Tew, cashier of the City National Bank; Ralph C., engaged in business with his father ; and Harry, a clerk in the City National Bank.

Mr. Sheldon is a large man, of fine personal appearance and agreeable manners. He is president of the American Aristotype Company of Jamestown, and in various other ways is interested in the thrift and advancement of his city. No man in the State has made a better reputation as a lawyer, and no man in the county is more popular with his fellow-citizens than Mr. Sheldon. His reputation is lasting and his popularity is enduring, for the one is founded on his acknowledged ability as a lawyer, and the other upon his useful services rendered this county.

* * * *

This family biography is one of 658 biographies included in Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chautauqua County, New York published in 1891. 

View additional Chautauqua County, New York family biographies here: Chautauqua County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Chautauqua County, New York here: Chautauqua County, New York Map

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.