Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


W. B. SHELTON. After a man has devoted almost a half century to as hard and exacting a work as railroading, he is entitled to spend his old age in quiet. So no one will think it amiss that W. B. Shelton is now taking his well-earned respite for he has now attained his three score and ten, and it was just fifty years ago that he began his career as railroader, and he has worked in various capacities in this vocation in the Mississippi Valley. He is one of the gallant veterans of the Confederate army, and when he recently retired from active life was one of the oldest railway conductors in Springfield.

Mr. Shelton was born, September 12, 1844, in Staunton, Augusta county, Virginia--a historic locality in the midst of the "land of Presidents." He is a son of William and Matilda (Fauver) Shelton. The mother was born near Middlebrook, Virginia, on a farm, May 27, 1818, and there she grew to womanhood and was educated. Her death occurred at Middlebrook, January 6, 1887. The father of our subject was born near Richmond, Virginia, September 12, 1810, and there he grew to manhood, received a good education and spent his entire life in Virginia, dying on December 21, 1891. In his earlier career he taught school, later learned the jeweler's trade, which he followed in Middlebrook, but failing eyesight finally compelled him to retire. He was a great worker in the cause of temperance, and was active in an organization known as the Sons of Temperance. His family consisted of ten children, eight of whom are still living, namely: John H., born August 27, 1838, died March 21, 1914, in Tacoma, Washington, having spent most of his life in the West; Mary J., born May 11, 1840, lives in Alderson, West Virginia; Francis E., born May 1, 1842, is deceased; W. B., of this sketch; Margaret S., born October 27, 1846, lives in Columbus, Ohio; Martha A., born October 3, 1848, lives in Craigsville, Virginia; Amanda K., born July 29, 1850, lives at Goshen, Virginia; David F., born August 28, 1853, lives in Indiana; Rebecca E., born April 3, 1856, lives in Craigsville, Virginia; Joseph C., born June 21, 1859, lives in Staunton, Virginia.

W. B. Shelton grew to manhood in his native vicinity and received his education in Staunton and Middlebrook. He left home when thirteen years of age and went to Tennessee, where he lived for over ten years and was there during the Civil war period, and at Greenville he enlisted for service in the Confederate army, in April, 1862, in Company H,. Twenty-ninth Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, under Capt. Henry Coulter, and was in active service fifteen months, taking part in numerous engagements, including the battles of Wild Cat, Kentucky, Mill Springs and Shiloh, Mississippi, and was in many skirmishes. He proved to be a courageous and faithful soldier under the stars and bars, and he was discharged in October, 1863, at Knoxville, Tennessee. Soon thereafter he was captured by the Federals near Knoxville and held for some time. He first went to railroading August 10, 1864, in Tennessee, as a superintendent for Mr. Talmage, who was president of several roads. Remaining in the service in Tennessee until 1868, he came to Missouri, first stopping in Greene county, but it was not long until we find him working for the Missouri Pacific out of Jefferson City as brakeman. He remained with that road from April, 1869, until October, 1871, when he went to work for the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad; then he moved to Springfield and was promoted to freight conductor on the Frisco in August, 1872, and on December 10, 1887, he ran his first passenger train as conductor on the old Blair line into Kansas City. He ran on various divisions for the old Gulf road and Frisco, but the Memphis division was his main run. He was recently retired by the Frisco and placed on the pension list being at that time the oldest conductor on the Memphis division south of Springfield.

Mr. Shelton was married September 16, 1883, in Springfield, to Martha R. French, who was reared and educated in this city, having been graduated from the high school. At the present time she and her daughter are living at Los Angeles, California. To our subject and wife two children have been born, namely: Guy A., born January 17, 1885, died May 18, 1894; Louise, born January 29, 1887, in Springfield, was educated in the local schools, and is at this writing on the Pacific coast for her health. Mr. Shelton lives on East Commercial street, Springfield.

Politically, he is a Democrat; fraternally, a member of the Local Order of Moose. He is a member of the Order of Railway Conductors. In his youth he belonged to the Sons of Temperance.

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