Sunday, February 9, 2014

Black Sheep? Sunday: Jacob Shelton, 1822 - ABT 1874

Jacob Shelton, my great- great-great-grandfather on my mother's side, was born in Alabama in 1822, the ninth of ten children of Mark Shelton and Susannah Luttrell.  On September 18, 1842, he married an Elizabeth Stone in Lauderdale County, Alabama (per Alabama Marriages, 1809-1920, and Alabama, Marriage Collection, 1800-1969).  However, this Elizabeth apparently died, as there are also records in three Mississippi Marriages collections showing Jacob marrying Elizabeth A. Bridges on December 28, 1845, in Marshall County in that state.

Jacob and Elizabeth appear on the 1850 Census on September 12 in Southern Division, Marshall County, Mississippi, with sons Joseph L., age 3 (born in 1847), and John E., age 1 (born about 1849).  Four more children were born somewhere in Mississippi, probably in Marshall County:  Bennett A. (named for Elizabeth's father, Matthew Bennett Bridges) about 1852, Sarah J. about 1854, Jacob H. about 1856, and James William about 1859.

Jacob purchased 317.92 acres of land near Sardis in Winn Parish, Louisiana, for $158.96 on December 16, 1859, according to an Affadavit for Actual Settlement and Cultivation.  A land patent was issued on July 2, 1860:
A declaration dated November 28, 1860, states that Jacob had been residing on the land since Christmas Day, 1859, had a house with a kitchen, and had 25 acres under cultivation.

The 1860 Census, taken on June 21, shows the family in Winnfield in Winn Parish with one additional person - a Samantha K. (or R.), age 21, married within the year.  Her last name is not shown as being different, so either she was a Shelton (perhaps a niece of Jacob’s), or the enumerator assumed she was.  I have not figured out who she is.  However, there is a Samuel Newman, age 23 and married within the year, just above Jacob’s name on the 1860 Census.  On the 1870 Census for Winn Parish, I found an S. B. and S. K. Newman of the right ages.  Perhaps this Samantha was simply listed in the wrong household on the 1860 Census.

The 1860 Census Slave Schedule shows that Jacob owned one slave, an unnamed 14-year-old black female.

My great-great-grandfather, Levi Marion Shelton, the youngest child of Jacob and Elizabeth Bridges Shelton, was born on January 28, 1863, in Winn Parish. 

Jacob apparently served in the Confederate Army in the Civil War.  He was a private in Company B of the 6th Regiment, Louisiana Cavalry.  This unit was assembled in January, 1864,
and saw light action in Louisiana. Later it operated a courier-line between Camden, Arkansas and Alexandria, Louisiana.  According to Civil War Prisoner of War records, Jacob surrendered to the Union in New Orleans on May 26, 1865.  He was paroled in Natchitoches, Louisiana, on June 13, 1865.  This is the only record of his service; he is not on any muster roll, and an application for a pension was never made.

Now this is where the "black sheep" portion of Jacob's life begins.

Jacob's wife Elizabeth apparently died sometime in 1865.   Jacob fathered a black son out of wedlock, Van, born in February 1868.  Supposedly his mother was Jacob's housekeeper.  I would not be surprised if she was his former slave.  In fact, I found a record in the 1870 Census in Winn Parish of a Susan Jane Shelton, black, age 24, living with a black boy named Van McLain, age 4, and another mulatto boy, William Shelton, born in June 1870.  Supposedly Van had a brother named William Shelton and a sister named Anna Shelton, born about 1874 (She shows up on the 1880 Census in Winn Parish with a Susanna Shelton, age 33).  Whether or not they were also Jacob's children or just took that surname is unknown.

According to one Shelton family story, Elizabeth contracted tuberculosis.  Catherine Dove Chitwood, a Civil War widow with three children and four younger siblings living in Winn Parish
 (sister Elizabeth, and brothers John, James and William), came to live with the Shelton family to help take care of Elizabeth and the Shelton children. After Elizabeth died in 1865, Catherine continued to live in the Shelton home.  However, this story is unlikely, because Catherine and her three children (and her sister Elizabeth, also a widow at that time, and her three children) are listed in the August 4, 1866, issue of the Bienville Messenger - a parish northwest of Winn, indicating that Catherine and her offspring did not move to Winn Parish until after this time.

Jacob and Catherine had a daughter, Susan, out of wedlock, around June 1870. (She's two months old and "infant not named Chitwood" on the August 9, 1870, Census in Winn Parish, but is on the 1880 census in Catherine's home in Sabine, Texas, as a ten-year-old named Susan Shelton.) 

Apparently the census enumerator talked.  Just a few days later, on August 13, 1870, the minutes of the Sardis Baptist Church in Winn Parish indicate that Catherine was charged with adultery and excluded from the church. Catherine had joined the church in May 1867, and asked for and was granted a letter of dismission on October 9, 1869 (about the time she would have have realized she was pregnant). 
Eventually Jacob and Catherine apparently were married, since an August 1873 entry in the church minutes states that "Catherine Shelton" was received by restoration and Jacob Shelton "on confession of faith." 

Jacob Shelton was killed by Catherine's brother John Dove.  There are many variations in the stories on just when and why this occurred.  I think he died in 1874.  But that will be another post.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

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