History of Sheldon Illinois, 1859-1959

The “History of Sheldon Illinois, 1859-1959,” compiled by the Sheldon Centennial History Committee, offers an immersive journey into the development of Sheldon, Illinois, over its first century. It seeks to celebrate and memorialize the efforts of those early settlers whose dreams and toil laid the foundation for the Sheldon we know today.

From the outset, the reader is invited to explore Sheldon’s evolution through a series of carefully curated chapters, each delving into different facets of the town’s history—from its early days and pioneer life to the establishment of schools, churches, and local government. The book promises not just an account of the physical growth of Sheldon but also a glimpse into the character and ethos of its people. It is their resilience, their commitment to communal well-being, and their pursuit of the Jeffersonian ideals of life, liberty, and happiness that have shaped Sheldon into a community noted for its comfortable homes, accredited schools, and fertile farms, as well as for its accessibility to the broader Midwest.

Acknowledging that it would be impossible to give credit to everyone who contributed to Sheldon’s century of progress, the authors dedicate this work to the memory of all those who came before—pioneers, educators, clergy, and civic leaders—who worked and sacrificed for the town’s betterment. Their collective story is told with an eye toward inspiring current and future generations to continue building on this legacy, making Sheldon an even more admirable place to live in the years to come.

With chapters ranging from the technical advancements like the establishment of water supply, telephone service, and electricity to the social and cultural aspects such as entertainment, athletics, and notable events like the Merchants Carnival and the Sheldon Horse Fair, the book paints a comprehensive picture of a community’s life across a century. It also highlights the significance of natural events and their impact on the community, such as the Cyclone of 1939 and the memorable Snow of 1900, embedding the town’s history within the larger narrative of natural and national history.

Table of Contents

  1. Early History, p. 7
  2. Pioneer Life, p. 8
  3. Early Settlers, 1830-1860, p. 9
  4. Early History of Town, 1859-1875, p. 11
  5. The Village of Sheldon, p. 25
  6. Schools, p. 28
  7. Churches, p. 36
  8. Township and Roads, p. 45
  9. Postal Service, p. 45
  10. Newspapers in Sheldon, p. 47
  11. Sheldon Building and Loan Association, p. 47
  12. Water Supply, p. 51
  13. Telephones, Sheldon Telephone Co., p. 51
  14. Electricty, Sheldon Electric Light Plant, p. 55
  15. The Sheldon Volunteer Fire Department, p. 55
  16. Merchants Carnival, March 1893, p. 65
  17. Elevators, p. 67
  18. Scenes from Cyclone of 1939, p. 73
  19. The Snow of 1900 Must be the One the Old Timers Talk of, p. 73
  20. Teacher’s Pets, p. 73
  21. Daniel Webster’s Classmate, p. 73
  22. Business of Sheldon, p. 75
  23. Items of Interest – Hoagland and Clark Families, p. 75
  24. Landmark Passes On, p. 75
  25. Reminiscences of Decoration Day, p. 77
  26. Items of Interest, p. 77
  27. Organizations, p. 81
  28. Veterans, p. 83
  29. Entertainment, p. 95
  30. First Sheldon Horse Fair, 1901, p. 102
  31. Athletics, p. 108
  32. Homes of Sheldon, p. 114


Sheldon Centennial History Committee, Sheldon Centennial, a century of prairie progress, 1859-1959, Sheldon, Illinois : Centennial History Committee, 1859.


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