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Below is a family biography included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  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.

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During a period of more than 30 years, the late Dr. Silas E. Sheldon, whose portrait accompanies this sketch, practiced the profession of medicine in the city of Topeka, where his life work ended on April 19, 1900. Dr. Sheldon was born in Lorain County, Ohio, and was a son of Elam and Azubah (Robinson) Sheldon.

Silas E. Sheldon was reared on his father’s farm and attended the local schools until 1854, when the family moved to Berea, Ohio, and the young man entered Baldwin University where he enjoyed collegiate advantages for two years. In that city he began the study of medicine, in 1856, with Dr. Alxander McBride as his preceptor, and in 1858 entered the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. In 1860 he was graduated in medicine at the Cleveland Medical College. Until 1862 he practiced in Cleveland but then entered the army in the capacity of assistant surgeon of the 32nd Regiment, Ohio Vol. Inf., with which he continued until 1864. He remained in the service until the close of the war, from the above date being medical inspector on the staff of General Cox, who later was elected Governor of Ohio. During a portion of his army service, he was surgeon of the 104th Regiment, Ohio Vol. Inf., with the rank of major, and was mustered out as surgeon.

Dr. Sheldon’s coming to Topeka was probably for the same reason that at that time brought professional men, business men and laborers here a search for a wider field of opportunity. He was welcomed by the physicians already established who found in him a congenial co-laborer, a valuable assistant and a careful, scientific investigator as well as a skilled practitioner. The work he accomplished in the line of medicine in his chosen city fills an important chapter in its history. For a considerable period, he was chief surgeon for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company. Dr. Sheldon was noted for his earnest and careful private practice and he carried the same qualities into the various lines of public work which called for his disinterested services on many occasions. His death brought to a close a life rich in good deeds, high endeavor and notable achievement.

In politics, Dr. Sheldon was only active so far as he thought the success of his party would promote the best interests of his country. He was elected and served two sessions in the Kansas State Senate. His first vote was cast for Abraham Lincoln, for whose life, character and principles he entertained the most profound respect. He was one of the organizers of Lincoln Post, G. A. R., and the post’s first commander. An enthusiast in Free Masonry, he held many of the high offices of the order. In this body he was prominent for many years and held high rank, in 1876 being elected grand commander of Knights Templar of Kansas. He was a vestryman in the Protestant Episcopal Church for 17 years and devoted to church work. The State and local medical societies had in him a useful and learned member. He successfully maintained his private hospital in Topeka for many years. Dr. Sheldon is buried in a most beautiful spot opposite the Garfield Monument, in Lake View Cemetery, at Cleveland, Ohio, the home of his earlier years and successes.

In 1866, Dr. Sheldon was married to Ann Eliza Ball, a daughter of Captain John Ball, one of the leading citizens of Cleveland, Ohio. She still survives and occupies a warm place in the hearts of a large circle of friends and of those whom her many charities and beneficences have reached. She gave to the State Library a collection of 100 valuable books, at the same time providing for the maintenance of the collection by a gift of $5,000 as an endowment fund. She resides in handsome apartments at the Copeland Hotel. Like her late husband, she is very liberal in her gifts to worthy objects.

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This family biography is one of 206 biographies included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  For the complete description, click here: Shawnee County, Kansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Shawnee County, Kansas family biographies here: Shawnee County, Kansas

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