Shelton, James Sr. 1

Birth Name Shelton, James Sr.
Gender male
Age at Death less than 81 years, 9 months


Some of the points are:
- There is no known documentation that James' middle initial was "J." As best as I can tell, someone jumped to a conclusion after reading either an original county deed record of November 1, 1794 in Patrick County Virginia, or having read one of the abstracts that made a similar mistake. There is every indication that neither James nor wife Susannah were literate. There are three Patrick County deed records involving James' land sales in the 1790s as he was preparing to move to Kentucky; in all instances, both he and Susannah had to make their "mark", and they are clearly indicated as such. Susannah made an "X" in each case, but James' "mark" was not consistent; in the deed records of November 1, 1794 the clerk who transcribed the record copied James' "mark" as something that looked like a cursive "J". However in the subsequent deed recordings, James' "mark" is clearly not a "J".
- Again, there is no documentation to my knowledge that James' wife's maiden name was Vardaman. Many of us suspect that it was, but again there is no proof, and the Vardaman researchers have no indications that a Susannah Vardaman married James Shelton. The reason that some have made the leap of faith regarding Susannah's maiden name is that one of James' sons was named "Vardaman", and it was common at the time, particularly within the Shelton clan, to name one of the sons by the wife's maiden name. Those of us who have looked deeper into this, have also found that there was a Peter Vardaman in Henry County in the 1780s, on property apparently not too far from the Ralph Shelton Jr. extended family enclave. The Vardaman researchers haven't been able to place this "Peter" for me, and I haven't been able to find anything else about him as yet. However, if Peter was the father or prior husband of Susannah, it implies that Susannah was somewhat younger than James. I won't bother you with the logic of it, but it might also explain why the younger sons (the only ones that can be documented) stayed with James and Susannah when they were preparing to move to Kentucky. Any older sons James had (and there must have been some) did not apparently follow James to Kentucky and then on to Tennessee.
- There are those who claim (incorrectly) that this James Shelton was a Revolutionary War veteran. As you may be aware there were at least three James Sheltons, and possibly more) in Halifax County, later Henry County during the Revolutionary War. One was "our" James Shelton, born supposedly in 1734 of Ralph Shelton Jr. and Mary Daniels; one was "our" James Shelton's uncle born in 1726 per Christ Church Parish records, and son of Ralph Shelton Sr. and Mary Crispin; a third was James' (1726) son. It also appears that Thomas and John, both sons of Ralph Shelton Jr. may also have had sons named James. James Shelton (1734) also had a son James, evidently by Susannah, but he was not born until after the war. We "know" that James (1726) was the Revolutionary War Captain, but by inference only. That stems from an entry in the index of Deed Book 3 of Henry County on April 25, 1778, wherein the clerk entered the name "Capt. James Shelton". The land entry concerns a land survey which had been requested by James, and contained a fair description of the location (on Horse Pasture Creek). James later "sold for love and affection" this same land to his sons; we know these sons from James' will in which he spelled them out, and therefore we know that this was James (1726). There are also other Revolutionary War records, such as expense chits which James submitted, but none of these give any clues.
- The only sons of James (1734) that can be documented are still by inference, though a strong inference. These come from the probate records of Lincoln County Tennessee in 1816 following James' death. James died intestate, and the County Courts recorded only the results of some deed manuvering regarding the split of James' 100+ acres. Those who received shares of James' land were Peter Shelton; Vardaman Shelton's family (including wife Priscilla - Vardaman had died in 1815); Haman; James Jr.; and daughters Letty (or Lettice) Shelton Duncan (her husband Charles also died in 1815); Melinda Shelton Hudson, wife of Benjamin; Susanna Shelton, wife of Michael Luttrell; Priscilla Shelton, wife of Nathan Luttrell. We believe there was also another daughter Clary Shelton, wife of Jesse Luttrell of Kentucky but there is no mention of her in the court proceedings.

Of other sons attributed to James (1734), there were in Lincoln County in 1816 when James died, Sheltons with the given names of Mark, Anderson, William, and David among others. Yet none of these people were included in the court distribution of James' property. While it is not unusual that a father did not mention all his children in his will if he had given some of them estates during his lifetime, it would be extremely unusual that the courts would ignore them during probate of an intestate. This is particularly true because all of those who shared in James' estate also had land holdings in Lincoln County. The court might logically have ignored older children long established in other states, but it is not likely those living in the same county would have been ignored.

As you're probably aware, the source that a number of books have used to state authoritatively the names of James's (1734) children was a Mrs. Catherine Shelton Moser, born in 1854. She is said to have stated quite authoritatively in 1940 in her 86th year that "James Shelton, brother of Ralph who married Mary Crispin was married to Jincie (last name unknown) may have been my ancestor. He was born Middlesex County, Virginia in 1726. James and Jincie had sons: Thomas, James, Joseph, Mark, Anderson, Frederick, Jarrett or Garrett, Porter, George, William, and David, the 13th
not remembered, something like Rawleigh. David was founder of the Shelton Laurel Branch of the family in the North Carolina mountains". You will recognize that the James to whom she was referring was of course the son of Ralph Sr., and the one we have called James (1726). However, the sons (Thomas, Nathan, James Jr., and William) of James (1726) and Philiapinea ? are well documented by virtue of his will in 1784. (While James (1726) may have had sons by an earlier wife that fitted the names given above, there are several reasons I won't bore you with that make that questionable.) As a result some of the researchers from the 1940s onward concluded that Mrs. Moser had her "James" ancestor mixed up and that she must have meant James (1734) was her ancestor. Several have published "books" to the effect of the latter.

It is quite unfortunate that well-meaning people, trying to be helpful,
have propagated and compounded errors by passing in an authoritative manner the shabby research behind some of the published books. As you no doubt can tell, after going back to ORIGINAL RECORDS to research this area, I've become quite cynical about some aspects of the information being published on World Family Tree and in the GenForum. (Look at the current
communications on the forum regarding Roderick Shelton, another supposed son of James (1734), John (son of Ralph, Jr.), and/or James (1726) - everyone has some authoritative information - but my estimation is that the subject is thoroughly confused).

In any event, best wishes with your research, and don't let yourself reach my level of cynicism before you get where you wish to be.

Garvin Fryar

Children were: NANCY SARAH SHELTON, Vardeman SHELTON, James SHELTON, Susanna Ann SHELTON, Peter SHELTON, Malinda SHELTON, Letty SHELTON, Hamon SHELTON, Jarmon SHELTON, Priscilla SHELTON, Clary SHELTON.
jbutler291 added this on 21 Jun 2010. Posted to Accessed 7 Nov 2011 by SD.

According to historical records, James Shelton was one of the first settlers of Lincoln County, Tennessee and arrived there in about 1808. He was born in 1734 in Middlesex, Virginia, was listed as "blind", and was exempt from paying Virginia taxes.
In 1813, James bought 105 acres in Lincoln County from William Bond and several of his sons also purchased land nearby. A creek, previously called Clear Creek, near Smithland, was renamed Shelton Creek, which it is still referred to today.
This James, who had a grandson named James Shelton (son of Peter Shelton) had two sons (Peter and George) who are recorded as being killed during different battles in the Civil War.
Bob Shelton 7 Aug 2011 Shelton & Wood Family Tree,
\b«i»Adams County, Ohio Deedbook Volume 4, Page 111; 30 March 1804. Bill of Sale\b0«/i»
Know all persons who it may concern, I George Shelton of Huntington Twp. for $50 in hand paid by James Shelton of the same place, sell and deliver to said James Shelton, one dark bay mare, 2 cows, the one a pide with a white face and the other a black -- 2 yearlings, the one a paid heifer and the other a pide steer; 2 beds and furniture, one earthen dish, 6 earthen plates, one pot, one frying pan, one duch oven, one skillet, 2 flat irons, one play & gears and three weeding hoes to have and to hold the said bargained property unto the said James Shelton his heirs and assigns forever and the said George Shelton my executors and administrators do in good faith deliver the said property unto the said James Shelton in order to satisfy the sum of $50 which I the said George Shelton am justly indebted to said James Shelton and I the said James Shelton and out of the charity of my own good will doth agree to lend the aforesaid property unto the said George Shelton until I the said James calls for it and the said George Shelton doth agree that if the mare or any of the cattle should die or any of the other property should get wasted before the said James calls for it to pay him the full amount thereof in leighbour at a reasonable rate as witness my hand and seal this 30 day of march 1804. Signed with marks by George Shelton and James Shelton. Attested by Simon Reeder and John Shelton.
«u»JAL_45123 «/u»added this on 12 Jan 2009
Co. Tn Deed Index 1810-1907 & Deeds (Index 968,740; SLC 9/13/86)

D1-264: 1 Nov 1816, Nathan Luttrel, Priscilla Shelton admx. of Verda Shelton decd, James Shelton Senor, Michael «b»Luttrell«/b», Peter Shelton, Benjamin Hutson, Letty Duncan, Haman Shelton, all joint heirs of James Shelton decd of Lincoln Co., TN, to Jarman Shelton of same; that said Nathan Luttrel, Priscilla Shelton, James Shelton Senor, Michael «b»Luttrell«/b», Peter Shelton, Benjamim Hutsel, Letty Duncan, Harmon Shelton, for (Blank) dollars paid by James Shelton; sell to Jarman Shelton, 105a. Wit. John «b»Luttrell«/b», James «b»Luttrell«/b». proven in court oaths of wit. posted by Melissa 24 May 2001, accessed by SD 2 Jan 2012


Event Date Place Description Sources
Birth February 1734 Amelia Co., Virginia, United States of America    
Death before November 1815 Lincoln Co., Kentucky, United States of America    


Relation to main person Name Birth date Death date Relation within this family (if not by birth)
Father Shelton, Ralph Jr.23 October 1709March 1789
Mother Daniel, Susannah Mary7 March 17131766
         Shelton, James Sr. February 1734 before November 1815
    Sister     Shelton, Catherine about 1760 after 1827


Family of Shelton, James Sr. and Vardaman, Susanna

Married Wife Vardaman, Susanna ( * 1738 + before November 1815 )
Event Date Place Description Sources
Marriage about 1760      
Name Birth Date Death Date
Shelton, James Jr.17864 June 1831