Shelton, Ralph Sr. 1 2

Birth Name Shelton, Ralph Sr.
Gender male
Age at Death 49 years, 2 months, 12 days


Ralph Shelton lived only five years after the birth of his son Daniel. He died March 13 1733/34. His will, badly damaged in the old Middlesex Will Book, was dated March 10, 1733/34. Some of the provisions still legible on the torn pages are , " My son Ralph Shelton should have my Land…." "……zabeth Davis twenty five Shillings to buy her---", "------Ralph Shelton one cow and calf,", "… son Thomas Shelton should take care of my children, and if in case my son Thomas should Die, my Desire is that my Children should be left to the -----of my other two sons, Ralph and Crispen." "Appoint my L (oving) wife Mary Shelton and my son Thomas Shelton to (be executors of) my Last will and Testament." The witnesses were William Buford, Thomas Clarke, Henry Buford and Abraham______.





Please be careful with merges and updates. There has been a lot of confusion around Ralph Sheltons. There were several of them in Virginia, and they all seemed to use similar names for their children. Add to that, their wives were all named "Mary".

Disputed Origin and Parents

Despite a common supposition, Ralph Shelton was definitely not the son of Peter Chilton (not Shelton) and Susanna Jackson . See the Research Notes for discussion of this issue.
Planter in Virginia

Ralph Shelton spent his adult life in Middlesex County, Virginia as a planter.

In his last Will, dated 10 March 1733, he mentioned his son Ralph, Thomas Crispin, his daughter Elizabeth Davis, and his wife Mary. He stated that in case his son Thomas should die, he wished his sons Ralph and Crispin would take care of Thomas’ children. Thomas died five years later.
1733 Death

Ralph died on 17 March 1733 in Middlesex County, Virginia at age 48.[1]
Remarriage of Widow

After Ralph’s death his widow married William Clark (Clock). Mentioned in her last Will, were her sons Crispin Shelton, John Shelton, Benjamin Shelton, James Shelton, Ralph Shelton, Daniel Shelton, grandchildren Reuben Shelton and Patience Catesby Blakey, and daughter Elizabeth Davis.
1702 Importation of Servants

The following is from the book "Ralph Shelton of Middlesex County, Virginia" by Kenyon Stevenson, 1955. Corrections added by Margaret Alford, 2002:

1. On 10 October 1702, Thomas Meriwether had recorded in the Essex Court OrderBook this entry:" Certificate according to Act of Assembly is granted to Tho. Meriwether for the importation of seven persons into this colony by name Sarah Eaton, Richd Cullen, Ralph Sheldon, (name illegible), Mary Millner, Isaac Bayly, Edw Cartwright." This is the first appearance in the Virginia of Ralph Shelton of Middlesex County. There is no indication of Ralph' s parentage or age, actual date of importation or place from which he came.

2. In 1708, six years after his importation to Middlesex, Ralph Shelton, signing his name Ralph Shelteon, was a witness to Thomas Meriwether' s last Will. He was also a beneficiary of the Will, which read: "I give unto Ralph Shelton & his heires forever the Sixty five acres of Land Grantedto me by Patent joyning to the Land of Rice Jones, John Lohees (Toslees?) & the Land formerly belonging to Capt. Edward Thomas." This 65-acre tract appears to be one granted to Meriwether on 2 May 1706, described in patent as follows: " Sixty five acres of Land part of a patent of four hundred and fifty acres in Essex formerly Rapp County bounded as follows (Vizt) beginning at a decayed walnut and a great mulberry tree marked by it (at the upper extent of a devident of Land belonging unto John Jones, orphan) standing by the Dragon swamp side in the point of an old field just below the mouth of a great branch and running thence North East by sd Jones. land . . . to a red Oake in John Masses' Line thence . . . to the main run of the Dragon swamp . . .sd Land formerly granted Edward Thomas Gent by patent dated 20th of October 1691, and by him deserted and since granted sd Meriwether by order of the genll Court dated 25th of October 1705.

3. The Will and Patent descriptions place this land on the Essex-Middlesex boundary line. This location is further indicated by a description of Middlesex County written 14 April 1700, which reads in part, . ." said County is bounded on the head with the lower part of the land of John Jones dec' d which runs up from Rappahannock River on the upper part of Cock' s Bay next above ye land of James Blaise and so crossing the Ridge along the land of Thomas Tosley including the same from the outline of Thomas Toseley' s land down a great Branch dividing the land of Edward Thomas dec' d and the land of Rice Jones dec' d, including the said Rice Jones dec' s Land to the dragon swamp.

4. Ralph Shelton married about 1707, either in Essex or Middlesex, a wife Mary, whose surname had been guessed to be Crispin. No record of the marriage or suggestion of a maiden surname has been discovered. Births of the three oldest children :. Thomas, about 1707, Ralph, about 1709, and Elisabeth, about 1711, are not in the Christ Church Register, where all the other births are recorded. There were 11 children in all, as follows:

Thomas, born about 1707, married Mary Probert, 14 January 1730.
Ralph, born about 1709, married Mary Daniel, 10 June 1731.
Elizabeth, born about 1711, married William Davis, 29 October 17**. (Her mother's last Will was recorded in Pittsylvania County in 1770, mentioning daughter Elizabeth DAVIS, leading to the false supposition that she was either the wife or the mother of William Davis (d. 1791), miller of Pittsylvania County. Elizabeth could have been the wife of a different William Davis of Culpeper County, who did have a wife named Elizabeth.)
Crispin, born 1 April 1713, married Letitia ____ about 1734.
Reuben, born 1 February 1715, died 8 October 1715.
Mary, born 21 January 1716, died 18 July 1719.
Catherine, born 26 January 1719, married George Blakey 31 December 17**.
John, born 14 July 1722.
Benjamin, born 18 June 1724.
James, born 23 February 1726.
Daniel, born 27 May 1729.

Ralph Shelton lived only four years after the birth of his son Daniel. His last Will, badly damaged in the old Middlesex Will Book, was dated March **, 1733. Some of the provisions still legible on the torn pages are: "My Son Ralph Shelton should have my land . .. .___zabeth Davis twenty five Shillings to buy her __. ._____ Ralph Shelton one cow and calf.. .___m** son Thomas Shelton should take care of my children, and if in case y son Thomas should Die, my Desire is that my Children should be left to the ____ of my other two Sons, Ralph and Crispin.. Appoint my Loving wife Mary Shelton and my son Thomas to (be executors of my) Last will and Testament." The witnesses were William Buford, Thomas Clarke, Henry Buford and Abraham _____.

5. The Will was presented in Court 2 April 1734 and proved by oaths of Henry Beauford and Thomas Clark. Thomas Buford, John Jones, John Clark and Garrit Daniel were sworn to appraise the estate. Inventory and appraisement were presented to the court on 2 July 1734. After this there are no further entries in the Middlesex Court Orders or other county records regarding Ralph Shelton. His widow, Mary, remarried to a Clark, perhaps Thomas or Peter, and as Mary Clark made her last Will in Nottaway Parish of Amelia County on 30 June 1750. A Middlesex deed dated 5 October 1757 by Mary Clark and Peter Clark of County Middlesex to John Lamboth transfers 150 acres beginning at a deep bottom between Edward Bristow and William Bristow' s line, thence along Elizabeth Smith' s line to main run of the Dragon Swamp &

1. Essex Co. Deeds & Wills Vo. 10, (1699-1702) Page 133. 2. Virginia Land Office Patent Book 9 (1697-1706), page 727. 3. Virginia Mag. Vol. 12, Page 285. 4. Middlesex County Will Book (1734), pages 418-419. 5. Middlesex Deed Book 1754-67, part 1, page ___.
Research Notes
Origins and Parents

Ralph Shelton's origins and his parents have been the subject of significant dispute. This is discussed at the following website: Our First Known SHELTON Family in America.

It has been commonly supposed that Ralph Shelton emigrated from England, based on an assumption in his 1955 genealogy. There is no evidence to support this, and Ralph could have easily come from Maryland, where there was an early Shelton family with a Meriweather connection:

1. Thomas Meriwether, the man who imported Ralph Shelton to Virginia, was the brother of Francis Meriwether who married Mary Bathurst, according to a Meriwether Society website that is no longer available or archived.

2. The aunt of this Mary Bathurst was another Mary Bathurst who married a James Shelton (son of Thomas of Cecil County, Maryland), who had sons Reuben, Daniel and Thomas[2], and Ralph Shelton of Middlesex County also had sons Reuben, Daniel, Thomas, and James. (Daniel and especially Reuben are rather uncommon names.) This and the Bathurst connection would seem to indicate a close family connection between the early Maryland Sheltons and Ralph Shelton of Middlesex County, Virginia.

From the redacted email address mailing list for the surname SHELTON, comes this interesting thought from one of the members, January (her 1997 E-mail address was redacted email address): " researching the Meriwethers and in touch with the Meriwether Society. They have the theory that Ralph was a Skelton and that Thomas married his sister, Susannah. They base this on the fact that everyone in Thomas's will were family named as brother, sister, nephew; except for Ralph. They think that is the reason Thomas imported Ralph. That and the fact that Thomas bequeathed to Ralph in his will 65 acres. Dr.Frank Shelton has another area to explore. In the mentioned will of Thomas he asks to sell his tobacco and to pay his debts to Messr. Micajah Perry, London merchant. Dr.Frank thinks if we knew more of Mr. Perry and his type of trade it would lead to more clues as to Ralph's parents."

This is a good theory, worth exploring, and might well explain just why Thomas Meriwether gave Ralph Shelton the 65 acre legacy in his 1708/9 Will. NOTE: This SHELTON research is confusing for several reasons. There was another Ralph SHELTON, a younger man than our ancestor, who was of King William County. He married Mary Pollard. The two Ralph Sheltons lived, according to Jan, on opposite sides of the Dragon Swamp and were about 15 years apart in age. This was established by a bond for 200 pounds in King William County dated 30 September 1703, entered into by Joseph Bickley of King and Queen County with Major John Waller, (see notes below regarding Crispen Shelton's children), King William Co., to cover two years schooling for Ralph Shelton, son of Mrs. Sarah Gissage, whom Bickley contemplated marrying soon. A good article on "the two Ralphs" can be found at Brian Eddy's helpful website (outdated URL - if you know about his new URL, please let me know). In correspondence from Katherine Snow redacted email address 2/2000, she wrote that the marriage of Ralph Shelton (supposedly b. c1698, while our Ralph SHELTON was b. 1685) and Mary Pollard occurred on 5 December 1721, which certainly would exclude Mary ? Crisp/Crispen? from being the same person as Mary Pollard. I have not researched the SHELTON/POLLARD connection, so I cannot say for certain if this is all true.

This Ralph Shelton of Essex-Middlesex is not to be confused with the younger Ralph Shelton of King William County who married Mary Pollard. They lived on opposite sides of the Dragon Swamp and were about 15 years apart in age.[3][4]

It is unknown who the parents of Ralph Shelton were at this time. Some researchers would like to believe that Ralph was the son of Peter Shelton and his wife Susannah Jaxon/Jackson, but it appears this assumption is incorrect after all the evidence is viewed. Kenneth Shelton, who wrote "The Shelton Trek Across Kentucky", (LIBRARY of CONGRESS Call #CS71.S545 1987a), said on page 7 of his book that he believed Ralph Shelton was not a son to Peter Shelton. He believed that Peter was actually a CHILTON. Although Peter CHILTON (1664-1718) did live in Middlesex Co., Virginia, he left a Will which did not name a Ralph Shelton as a son, and all of Peter Chilton's children are noted in the Christ Church Parish Register (no Ralph was listed there). Ralph Shelton, by English primogenitor law, would have been included in this Will if he was the first born son, and by law, would have inherited Peter Chilton's 100 acres of land had he been the son as claimed by some researchers. Why would Ralph SHELTON b. 1685, be "imported" if this supposed father, Peter Shelton/Chilton, was already residing in America, as documents prove? There may have been a connection between Peter and Ralph, but it apparently was not as father and son. The following is another comprehensive message regarding this issue. It was also posted to the redacted email address SHELTON mailing list: Subject: Chilton vs. Shelton, Date: 7 June 1999, From: redacted email address To:redacted email address "Dr. Frank H. Shelton wrote a pamphlet: Sheltons in the Christ Church Parish Register-in Virginia, copyright 1985. He descends from Ralph & Mary, through their first son Thomas. Source of his information is "The Parish Register of Christ Church Parish of Middlesex Co., Virginia, From 1653-1812" published by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Virginia, Richmond: Wm Ellis Jones, Steam Book And Job Printer - 1897. Also, Essex Co. Court Records. I quote the following. "There are records for Peter Chelton (and descendants) in the Christ Church Parish Register from 1685 when Peter Chilton married Susan Jaxon until 1725 when Abby was born to ZebuIon & Mary Chelton. Over this period of 38 years and three generations it was always Chilton/Chelton. There was never any mixing of the Shelton and Chelton names over a period of many years in the Christ Church Parish Register. There is only one exception to this fact: unaccountably on page 54 "Peter ye sone of Peter & Susanna Shelton baptz ye 15th November 1687" does a Shelton enter into the Chilton's records and never a Chilton in the Shelton's records of Christ Church Parish. The above Parish Register records indicate the following concerning the Peter Chilton family: Peter Chilton 1st married in 1684 Susanhah Jackson and by her had William and Peter (Jr) - 1687. Peter Chilton then married 2nd Abigail and by her had Henry - 1691, Thomas and Zebulon. Peter Chilton died October 1718 and his widow Abigail Chelton married Robert Holderness a short time later - Feb 1719."......"I think that Dr. Frank Shelton provides the most compelling evdence, backed up by direct research, that Peter was not a Shelton. Also that he could not have been the father of Ralph. Regards, Wayne Shelton

Read more on the SHELTON/MERIWETHER connections here at Glen Shelton's page.

↑ Christ Church Parish, Virginia Deaths, 1653-1812 (
↑ See Ralph Shelton, of Middlesex Co., Virginia, and Some of His Descendants
↑ RALPH SHELTON, OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, VIRGINIA AND SOME OF HIS DESCENDANTS. An Account by Kenyon Stevenson, a Shelton Descendant, Hudson Ohio, 1955 Version
↑ "Ralph Shelton of Middlesex County, Virginia" by Kenyon Stevenson, 1955. Corrections added by Margaret Alford, 2002

See also:

Source: Christ Church Parish, Virginia Births, 1653-1812.
Source: Christ Church Parish, Virginia Deaths, 1653-1812.
Find A Grave: Memorial #167756213 for Ralph Shelton Sr.




Event Date Place Description Sources
Birth 1685      
Death 13 March 1734 Middlesex Co., Virginia, United States of America    


Family of Shelton, Ralph Sr. and Crispin, Mary

Married Wife Crispin, Mary ( * 1690 + 1771 )
Event Date Place Description Sources
Marriage about 1707 Middlesex Co., Virginia, United States of America    
Name Birth Date Death Date
Shelton, Ralph Jr.23 October 1709March 1789


    1. Shelton, Ralph Sr.
      1. Crispin, Mary
        1. Shelton, Ralph Jr.