Pueblo County, Colorado

Contributed by Karen Mitchell.

Mr. Sheldon is a resident of South Pueblo of eight years standing, which entitles him to be styled " an old-timer," by which he is well known in his city—and to a place in the ranks of its pioneers, and, in reality, in the ranks of the pioneers of the State, for while the experience of those who came to Colorado between 1870 and 1875-76 was not generally as severe as the experience of those who came in " '59 and '60," no more than the latter's was equal in hardships to that of Carson and other scouts of his day, yet it was at least similar in privation, and the application now of " Old-Timer," pioneer, etc., to them, is appropriate. He was born on his father's farm in Vernon, Trumbull Co., Ohio, August 31, 1844. For a few years he attended the Vernon District School, but being desirous of receiving higher education and culture than was conferred at Vernon, he entered the Western Reserve College in Farmington, Ohio, for a thorough course of study and graduation. During vacations, he worked on the farm at home. The summer he was eighteen, overwork in the harvest field injured his health to a degree which made close application to study impossible, and necessitated his immediate departure from college and the engaging in employment which would not further injure his health. To recover, he went to his father's and stayed on the farm four years, working or not, according to his health conditions. At the end of four years there was no change for the better, and in hopes of finding a climate in which his health would improve, he left Vernon, and made a tour of Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, and settled in Prairie City, Jasper County, Iowa. At Prairie City he formed a partnership with D. M. Bartlett and H. C. De Wolf, and began retailing general merchandise under the firm title of Bartlett, Sheldon & De Wolf. Another four years passed and health again demanded a change. This time, to meet the requirements of his failing health, he sold his interest in the stock and business of Bartlett, Sheldon & De Wolf, to Bartlett & De Wolf, and moved on a quarter-section of land which he bought in the township, resorting the second time to farming for a restoration of health. Working the raw land, putting up buildings and otherwise improving the section occupied his mind and gave promise—in appearance only—of improvement, to disappear at the end of two years, when the quarter-section was transformed from a tract of wild prairie land into an improved farm, comfortable and desirable home, which he would soon be obliged to leave to another to enjoy. At the close of the two years just mentioned, in 1873, with no financial consideration in view, but solely to seek the health he lost years before, he and his estimable lady loaded a few necessary articles into a wagon, hitched a span of mules to it, and, taking a lingering look at the farm which had witnessed the beginning of their housekeeping, in a cabin by themselves, at a considerable distance from any neighbor—but the happier because of the newly married life they had just entered upon—the farm which together they had made and surrounded with conveniences and luxuries, with many silent and spoken regrets at having to leave, they sadly yet courageously, and resigned to the will of Him who " doeth all things well," got in and started across the plains for Colorado, the El Dorado of health for the invalid as well as that of precious minerals for the fortune hunter. Greeley was their objective point, where they arrived after days of tedious riding in a variety of weather. His health being the same as when he started, he had a desire to travel farther and drove on to Denver, South Park, Colorado Springs and Canon City, finding no place where he wished to locate until he arrived in South Pueblo, in September of the same year. Four years more was passed in a vain pursuit after complete health, by camping in the mountains during the summer, and particular care during the winter. With the same spirit which has enabled him to endure and accomplish so much in the face of poor health, he commenced the business of selling the best brands of heavy wagons, in 1877, and shortly thereafter opened a lumber yard. He is doing probably the most extensive retail business in Eastern and native lumber of any dealer in the city, and is one of the citizens of South Pueblo who has accumulated a competency. His integrity is above question and a refined organization has made him deservedly popular. For several years he has been Treasurer of the School Board. He was Treasurer the first year of the organization of the South Pueblo Loan Association, an eminently successful enterprise, and re-elected to the same office, which he holds at the present time; he also was a member of the City Council during the year ended April, 1881, and was elected City Treasurer at the expiration of the term of that office, for the ensuing year. When he left Ohio, he had hemorrhage of the lungs, which continued up to the second year of his residence in Colorado, and was so frequent when he left Iowa, as to make it impossible for him to ride all day. In the winter of 1880-81, he enjoyed the best health he had enjoyed in eighteen years. His health improves every year. He is strictly temperate, seldom ever drinking a cup of tea or coffee. He has not had an hemorrhage since the first year of his residence in the State. Mr. Sheldon is a Christian; a member of the Congregational Church and an efficient worker in that body, and Superintendent of its Sabbath School.  History of the Arkansas Valley, Colorado O L Baskin & Co., Chicago, 1881

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