Van Buren County
Also see [Railway Officials in America 1906]
JASON A. SHELDON.
The gentleman whose name heads this sketch is worthy of conspicuous mention. He was horn April 15, 1799, in Stephentown,
Rensselaer Co., N. Y., and is one of a family of ten children. His father, Benjamin, was born in Dutchess Co.,
N. Y. ; his mother, Elizabeth Gardner, was born in Newport, R. I., and both were of English descent. Jason’s father
was a Baptist minister. His grandfather was one of the first settlers of Stephentown township. Benjamin remained
there until 1816, when the family moved to Western New York, and settled in what was called “the Genesee Country,”
latterly known as Orleans County, where Benjamin died in August, 1832. When about fifteen years of age Jason commenced
assisting on the farm, and working at anything else he could find to do, until 1820, when he hired out on the Erie
Canal, under the supervision of Major Adams, discharging each and every duty faithfully. He soon became foreman,
which position he held three years. June 1, 1823, being then twenty— four years of age, he married Miss Sabrina
M. Glidden, in the town of Clarendon, Orleans Co., N. Y. Her parents were natives of the Green Mountain State,
where she was born June 4, 1799. To this marriage were born six children,—five sons and one daughter, viz.: Oliver
Hazard Perry Sheldon, born Dec. 12, 1824, now married and living in Paw Paw; Ellen Adelia, born Oct. 10, 1826,
died when two years of age; Asa Glidden, born Sept. 15, 1828, died June 15, 1857, in his twenty—ninth year; William
S., born Nov. 22, 1830, now living in Antwerp township; Job G., born May 1, 1833, lives in Prairie Ronde, Kalamazoo
Co.; Benjamin Clark, born Sept. 7, 1835, lives oii part of the old homestead.
After leaving the canal Mr. Sheldon chose farming as his vocation, improving some wild land which he had previously
purchased. In 1845 he sold his farm, and with his family came to Michigan, settling in Antwerp township, on section
7, which is one mile, east of Paw Paw village. His farm at first only contained one hundred and twenty acres, to
which he afterwards added one hundred and seventy—five acres, improving his farm until 1854, when he sold a part
of it to Mr. Cliapin, dividing the remainder between his children. Since then he has lived on the interest of his
money. There was no sudden accession of wealth, but slowly the work was carried forward year by year amid the severest
hardships, until, in the lapse of time, ease and comfort have been reached. In January, 1879, Mr. Sheldon was bereft
of his loving and faithful companion, who is kindly remembered by many friends.
In politics he is a Republican, though in early days a Democrat, representing his party in New York as supervisor
for several years, also as justice of the peace. He represented his party in Michigan as judge of the County Court
for one term, when the Court was changed to Circuit Court. He has also been town clerk and justice in Antwerp four
years. He had only ordinary educational advantages, never attending any but a common school; yet, by making good
use of the advantages within his reach, he has acquired a practical knowledge sufficient to enable him to do any
ordinary business. Himself and wife were both members of the Free—Will Baptist Church since 1833, both joining
at the same time.
Mr. Sheldon and his brother, William, who resides with him, are the only ones left of their father’s once unbroken
and happy family. Mr. Sheldon’s mother died at her old home in New York, March, 1845, at the good old age of eightyfour;
and when the lamp went out, they laid her in a sunny nook, where the marble marks her quiet resting-place.
History of Berrien and Van Buren Counties, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers.
D. W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincoff & Co., Philadelphia.