Winfield H. Sheldon, deceased.In the passing of judge Sheldon Paola lost one of its most distinguished lawyers and eminent citizens, whose position in the ranks of the legal profession was indicated by the fact that he served as district judge of Miami county from 1902 until his death, on May 22, 1909, and to those to whom he was known his memory is endeared by his upright life and noble character.
Judge Sheldon was born in Ontario county, New York, March 10, 1851, and in 1858 accompanied his parents to Wyanet, Ill., where they resided until 1860. In that year they continued westward to Kansas, and located on a farm in Osage township, Miami county. The border warfare in Missouri and Kansas, incident to the outbreak of the Civil war, required the services of the father, Dudley M. Sheldon, prior to his enlistment in the regular army, in the fall of 1862, so that it devolved upon Winfield, as the eldest of the children, to assist his mother in the management of the farm until the father's return, which was not until after he was wounded at Jenkins' Ferry, in April, 1864. Winfield Sheldon was from youth, industrious, ambitious and energetic and those qualities were as evident in the performance of the duties incident to farm life as they were in his subsequent professional career. He was reared to manhood on the Miami county farm and attended the district school near his home. When the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf railroad (now the St. Louis & San Francisco railroad) was built through that section of the state, he secured employment at construction work, and for fourteen years following that employment he was engaged with Byran Lane and Conrad Bair, in running a threshing machine.
In 1872 Judge Sheldon married Miss Sarah A. Russell, of Osage township, Miami county, Kansas, a woman of rare personal qualities, who was an inspiration to her husband in all of his labors and ambitions. To them were born five childrenfour of whom survive. When war was declared against Spain in 1898, Jay Sheldon, the eldest son of judge and Mrs. Sheldon, along with hundreds of other patriotic young Kansans, answered President McKinley's call for troops by enlisting in Company I, of the famous Twentieth regiment, Kansas infantry. He was made commissary sergeant and accompanied his regiment to the Philippines, arriving there in time to take an active part in suppressing the Filipino insurrection headed by Aguinaldo. At the battle of Hombre, two miles from Manila, on Feb. 7, 1899, while on the firing line, he was so severely wounded that he was carried from the field by two comrades, Robert Crea and Walter Rainey, of Paola, to the hospital line, and from there was transferred to the government hospital at Manila, where he died the following day. He was one of the first Kansans to sacrifice his life in the war with Spain. The surviving children of Judge and Mrs. Sheldon are: Iva, the wife of Fred Myers, of San Francisco, Cal.; Mrs. Winnie Tyson, of Neodesha, Kan.; Emmor R., and Burton.
Judge Sheldon taught one term of school in Liberty district, Osage township, prior to taking up the study of law, in 1876. He began his preparation for the legal profession in the office of Maj. B. F. Simpson and W. B. Brayman, and to his studies gave the same unremitting energy and close application which characterized his physical labors. On his admission to the bar on June 4, 1879, he formed a partnership with one of his former preceptors, W. B. Brayman, which partnership continued several years. Later he became associated with Capt. Thomas M. Carroll, in practice, until the latter's retirement, when his brother, E. J. Sheldon, became his partner. In 1886 he was elected county attorney and in 1888 was reëlected to that office. When the biennial election law was passed in the state, a vacancy was formed in the office of district judge of Miami county, and to that office Mr. Sheldon was appointed by Governor Stanley. At the regular election in November, 1902, he was elected judge of the district court, and in 1906 was reëlected to the office, each time receiving large majorities. As a lawyer he was exceptionally energetic and able, and, being by nature dignified, just and tactful, he was well qualified for his duties on the bench. Prior to becoming judge he had acquired a large practice, but in all of his professional work he was actuated more by a desire faithfully to serve his clients, rather than he was for the remunerative reward for his services. He was a man of warm heart and kindly nature, one who sympathized with suffering and distress wherever found and whose sound judgment was ever helpful to those who sought his counsel. No appeal of the destitute was ever made to him in vain. Fraternally, he was a member of the Masonic order, the Knights of Pythias, Knights and Ladies of Security, and the Triple Tie Association. Judge Sheldon was royally endowed with those rare qualities which attract and endear man to his fellow man in ties of friendship, and no other man in Miami county enjoyed a larger and more sincere friendship. By his death Miami county and the state lost a most worthy citizen.Pages 157-159 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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