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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company.  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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JOHN W. SHELLY, formerly a successful teacher, now a substantial farmer in South Middleton township, Cumberland county, comes of a family, whom, tradition says, descended from an uncle of the poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, who settled about two hundred years ago, on Shelly’s Island in the Susquehanna river.

Ephraim Shelly, father of John W., was born March 6, 1822, near Shelly’s Island. In the schools of York county he acquired a good education, and for a short time he was engaged in teaching. He then clerked in Gardner’s store, Rossville, York county, and while there became acquainted with his future wife. In 1849, after his marriage, he settled on a farm of sixty acres about five miles south of Carlisle, in South Middleton township, Cumberland county. The only improvements at that time were a log house and an old straw roofed barn. Mr. Shelly set to work systematically to care for and improve his land, and in a few years had entirely transformed the place. He was a good citizen, always interested in the moral and material progress of his town and county, and always willing to perform his full share of the necessary work. One of the first members of the United Brethren Church, he was a leading member in that denomination, was instrumental in building the Springville Church, and for forty years was Sunday School Superindendent. Politically he was a stanch Republican. For seven years he served as school director, and as he was an incumbent of that office at the time of the Civil war, he was exempt from the draft. He collected the bounty tax of $21,000, in South Middleton township, the largest amount collected in any township in the State. In 1848 he married Harriett Spangler, daughter of John Spangler, whose home was on the banks of the Conewago. The Spanglers are descended from John Spangler, a lieutenant in the German army, who settled at York, Pa., some two hundred years ago; his descendants now number some five hundred. Mrs. Harriett (Spangler) Shelly was a woman of considerable education, and of decided literary tastes. She died April 11, 1874, aged fifty-two years, five months and four days. Ephraim Shelly died Dec. 7, 1894, aged seventy-two years, nine months and one day. Their children were: Almira Louise, born in 1848, died in 1850; David Spangler, born in 1852, died in 1862; and John W.

John W. Shelly was born May 22, 1854, on the old home farm, where he still resides. The old house was destroyed by fire on the night of May 14, 1901, and the present comfortable home was erected the same year. Mr. Shelly received his education in the district schools, and, having inherited from both father and mother a natural taste for study, he applied himself both in and out of school, thus acquiring a great deal of general information. At the age of seventeen he was qualified for teaching, and for four years, three years in the primary and one in the graded, he taught the home school, situated about a mile from his home. After his marriage he settled down to farming on the homestead, and has met with success in his chosen calling. He is progressive and industrious, and, like his father, is one of the honorable and useful citizens of the town.

On Sept. 9, 1875, Mr. Shelly was married to Frances A. Rebman, who was born Oct. 26, 1835, and is the only surviving child of the late Gotlieb Rebman. To bless this union have come the following children: Anna Rebman, born Sept. 20, 1876, married, Jan. 3, 1899, H. W. Baker: Harriett Spangler, born Nov. 22, 1877, a graduate at the age of fifteen, of the Shippensburg State Normal School, winner of the Wakely prize at Dickinson College, a graduate of the Lebanon Valley College, author of a book of poems “Life and Loving,” is at present the teacher of music, elocution and physical culture in the schools of Lebanon City; Emily May was born Oct. 23, 1881; and Mary Ellen was born March 4, 1887.

GOTLIEB REBMAN was born in Wittenberg, Germany, Nov. 7, 1816, and was brought in 1819, by his parents to York county, Pa., locating near York. When quite a boy Gotlieb was thrown upon his own resources, and he endured many hardships before his success was won. For some time he was engaged in wagoning to Pittsburg. In 1867 he purchased the Henry Brechbill farm, and moved there, passing the rest of his days in agricultural pursuits. On Sept. 11, 1851, he married Anna B. Eshleman, of Lancaster county, who died Jan. 31, 1897, aged seventy-seven years. He died Oct. 16, 1902, aged eighty-five years. They had two children: George Washington, born July 4, 1852, died Feb. 10, 1873; and Frances A. is now Mrs. John W. Shelly.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company. 

View additional Cumberland County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Cumberland County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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