MS 349 mf - Henry O. Sheldon Collection
|Title||MS 349 mf - Henry O. Sheldon Collection|
The Henry O. Sheldon Collection consists of fifty-seven volumes of journals, dating from 1817 through 1882, and four volumes of Sheldon family genealogies. The journals written by Henry O. Sheldon, document the daily activities of this Methodist preacher who settled in northern Ohio, specifically Huron County and later Cuyahoga County, and who traveled extensively throughout Ohio and the northeastern United States as a circuit preacher. The family genealogies also were compiled and later published by Sheldon.
The journals were loaned to the Center for Archival Collections for microfilming by the Firelands Historical Society, Norwalk, Ohio. The family genealogies were loaned for the same purpose by Dale Kellogg, Elyria, Ohio. No restrictions exist on the use of this collection and duplication is permitted for the purposes of scholarly research. The collection was prepared for microfilming and the finding aid was completed by Ann Bowers in March 1984.
Henry Olcott Sheldon was born in New York on September 15, 1799, to parents Joseph and Catharine Olcott Sheldon. In 1818, Sheldon traveled throughout northern Ohio seeking farm land to purchase. In 1819, he purchased land in Peru Township, Huron County, and began farming. On March 15, 1820, he married Ruth Bradley. She bore him twelve children, three of whom died in infancy, between the years 1820 and 1852. During this time, Sheldon joined the Methodist Church (1823), became a licensed preacher (1824) and eventually a deacon and elder of the Church. He traveled extensively throughout Ohio, specifically northern Ohio, as a circuit minister during the 1820s to mid 1830s returning to his home for short but frequent visits to check on the health of his ever-growing family and the care of his farm, and to participate in community affairs. One such community activity was the establishment of a school, the Lima Academy of Peru, Huron County, in 1822. Sheldon was elected clerk of the board. However, the academy only lasted one year. While a resident of Huron County, Sheldon was described as being "...sublime in eloquence, of noble bearing, with a voice musical and penetrating; was the type of a missionary." (A. J. Baughman, History of Huron County, volume 1. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 96.)
In 1836, the Sheldons moved to Middleburg Township, Cuyahoga County. There Sheldon and others formed a "religious community" along Rocky River, and named the community Lyceum Village. This village later became Berea, Ohio (For more information about the development of Berea, Ohio, please see Crisfield Johnson, compiler, History of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Cleveland, Ohio: D. W. Ensign and Co., publishers, 1879, pp. 474-476). During the 1830s through the 1850s Sheldon continued to play an active role within the Methodist Church in Ohio and traveled extensively throughout the northeastern United States, mainly to attend religious conferences. During the late 1850s, he moved his family to Sidney, Ohio. On March 15, 1859, Ruth Sheldon died.
On April 22, 1860, Henry Sheldon married Eleanor Robertson in Sidney, Ohio and they moved to her father's farm near Hamilton, Ohio. During the 1860s, Sheldon worked for the Missouri State Board of Immigration. He traveled frequently to Missouri and upon his return trips to Oho, he attempted to induce people to settle and form religious colonies (Lyceum Villages) in Missouri. On January 25, 1867, Eleanor Sheldon died.
On August 1, 1867, Sheldon married Pamelia Tower in Oberlin, Ohio. Sheldon continued to work for the Methodist Church and care for his wife's farm until his death in December 1882.
|Scope and Content|
The journals of Henry O. Sheldon (1817-1882) provide many valuable insights for the social, religious and/or state and local historian. These journals are rich in detail and fairly complete with gaps appearing only from January-December 1820, January-May 1836, and August 1847-February 1850.
Sheldon writes lengthy narrative descriptions of the people he meets as he travels throughout Ohio and the northeastern United States, his physical environment, his farming activities, and his won as well as others' religious, political, and social views, with an emphasis on the discourses with tavern keepers, dancing instructors, gamblers, drunkards and prostitutes regarding their "sins." His observations and comments also provide insights as to the formation of a national character during the early part of the nineteenth century. Sheldon provides details as to sicknesses and diseases, home herbal cures and medicines prescribed by doctors. He even performs and describes an autopsy. Family relationships are portrayed and he specifically describes the change from his first long and happy marriage to a very unhappy second marriage. Of interest to note is that his second and third marriages are motivated largely by economic reasons. Also of interest are Sheldon's descriptions of his first and second wife's verbal wills as each lay dying.
The journals written during the late 1830s provide many details on the establishment of Berea, Ohio as a religious community. Sheldon describes the many problems and frustrations in developing such a community.
For the genealogist, Sheldon keeps records within the journal entries of baptisms, marriages, and funerals performed while a circuit preacher. Also the last four volumes included in this collection are family genealogies compiled by Sheldon during the 1850s and continuing until his death in 1882.
SHELDON FAMILY GENEALOGY
|Order of Microfilming|