Charles Monroe Sheldon, pastor of the Central Congregational Church of Topeka, Kan., is not only one of the most eminent divines in the West, but is also an author whose contributions to sacred literature have attracted world-wide attention and distinction. He comes of good old English ancestry, with a tinge of Scotch-Irish on the maternal side, and was born at Wellsville, N. Y., Feb. 26, 1857. His father, Rev. Stewart Sheldon, a native of the State of New York, was born Dec. 20, 1823, and was also a Congregational minister of note, having spent over forty years in active ministerial work in the states of New York, Rhode Island, Michigan, Missouri and South Dakota. While a resident of South Dakota, he held the position of superintendent of church missions, in which capacity he organized as many as a hundred new churches. He was the son of Horace Sheldon, a native of Massachusetts and an agriculturist of western New York, and at present (1910) is a resident of Topeka where he has lived practically retired from the ministry since the death of his wife, Mrs. Sarah (Ward) Sheldon, on Dec. 25, 1906. She was born in the State of New York, Aug. 21, 1831, the daughter of Dr. Jabez Ward, a native of Vermont.
Rev. Charles M. Sheldon's boyhood was spent in several different states in which his father happened to he engaged in the ministry. When three years old he accompanied his parents to Rhode Island, where the following five years were spent. At the close of the Civil war in 1865 the family removed to Chillicothe, Mo., thence to Michigan, and from the latter state to Yankton county, South Dakota, where the father had taken a homestead which required his residence on the claim in order to prove up the title and secure the land. There young Sheldon spent five of his youthful yearsfrom the age of twelve to seventeenabout as close to nature as one could desire. He attended the public schools of South Dakota and then entered Phillips Academy at Andover, Mass., where after two years of hard work he graduated in 1879. He then took a course at Brown University, Providence, R. I., in which institution he graduated in 1883, receiving the degree of A. B. He then matriculated at the Andover Theological Seminary where he spent three years and graduated in 1886. He at once accepted the charge of a parish and the Congregational church at Waterbury, Vt., and on Nov. 23, 1886, he was ordained a Congregational minister. After two years of successful ministry at Waterbury, he came to Topeka, and in January, 1889, became pastor of the Central Congregational Church. At that time the congregation was small in numbers and the house of worship was a small frame store building. However, a progressive spirit prevailed in the hearts of the little congregation and this was soon cheered into enthusiastic work by their pastor, the result being the erection at the corner of Huntoon and Buchanan streets one of the finest churches in Topeka. It is of stone construction, and of an architectural design that makes it not only a beautiful structure but also one that is convenient and commodious in all of its appointments. The church has prospered both financially and spiritually, for when Mr. Sheldon took charge the total membership was but fifty-seven, while now it has 750 members and under his able pastorate the congregation is rapidly becoming one of the largest in the city. Mr. Sheldon has gained fame as a minister and at the same time he has won distinction in the literary field through his numerous productions, some of which rank among the best ever written on religious themes. Probably his book entitled "In His Steps" has been more widely read and commented on than any other similar work in the world. It has had a wonderful circulation throughout the world, having been translated into twelve different languages. It has been produced by fifteen different pubushers, who, so far as known, have disposed of over 10,000,000 copies. He has also written many other books of great popularity, among them, "Crucifixion of Philip Strong," "Robert Hardy's Seven Days," "Richard Bruce," "The Twentieth Door," "Edward Blake," "John King's Question Class," "The Miracle at Markham," "Born to Serve," "His Brother's Keeper," "Malcolm Kirk," "The Wheels of the Machine," "His Mother's Prayers," "How to Succeed," "The High Calling," etc., all of which have proven popular.
Mr. Sheldon was married on May 20, 1891, to Miss Mary Abby Merriam, the daughter of Everett Brooks Merriam of Topeka, and they have one child, Merriam Ward Sheldon, born Feb. 23, 1897. Mr. Sheldon is a member of the Fortnightly Club of Topeka, and at the present time (1910) he is serving as its president.Pages 37-39 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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