Benjamin Sheldon (1820-1859)

Biography (tree link)

Benjamin Sheldon was born in about 1820 to Gardner Sheldon and Nancy Gorum.  He married Louisa Vaught in Edgar County, Illinois in 1846 and shortly thereafter moved to Fond-du-Lac County, Wisconsin where their first children were born, Olive (1847) and Alvah (1849).  Louisa and the kids were listed with her father in the 1850 Census, while Benjamin had already moved to Goliad County, Texas to re-establish the family there.

Louisa and the children followed him and the family continued to grow in Texas – twins Mary and Marion (1855), and John (1858) were born.  At some point in Texas, and perhaps early on, the family moved into their own farm at nearby Helena, Karnes County, Texas – now a ghost town.

It was here in 1859 that Benjamin was shot and killed by Alexander Selser, a man who lived and worked on Benjamin’s farm.  According to Martin Vaught, brother of Louisa, the murder was due to Benjamin’s outspoken anti-slavery views.  It may have also been for this reason that the trial was continually put off from session to session for a decade before the Attorney General finally decided to drop the case and the court held a verdict of dismissal.  Alexander Selser was never tried for the murder.  Martin Vaught came out to Texas to take in his sister and the Sheldon children.  They moved back to Illinois for a short time before settling in Kansas.  Louisa never remarried.



  • 1820 – Edmeston, Otsego, New York – with parents.
  • 1830 – Pittsfield, Otsego, New York – with parents.
  • 1850 – Edgar County, Illinois – his wife and kids with her parents
  • 1850 – Goliad County, Texas – Benjamin boarding

Court Records:


By |2023-07-19T00:54:56-04:00January 16, 2022|Comments Off on Benjamin Sheldon (1820-1859)

About the Author:

Dale has been studying genealogy heavily for over 30 years, since the age of 10. Although he does not seek professional clients, he has helped a family regain property lost during the Holocaust, and has assisted to obtain historical preservation status for a building in San Francisco. He is a co-admin of the ftDNA Sheldon DNA Project. He lived most of his life in California but has recently moved to upstate New York. He works in the travel industry.
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