Jesse Shelton

Taken from Loose Leaves of the History of Lamar County
Article appeared in The Paris News on Tuesday, July 12, 1921

Jesse Shelton came originally from Kentucky and settled at or near old Ft. Towson when that region was a part of Arkansas. When the government of the United States ceded that section of the Arkansas territory to the Indians all of the American settlers who had lodged there were required to move. Mr. Shelton was not long in determining what he would do; he came over to Texas in 1937 and settled down near Roxton having previously built a house which had all of the appurtenances of a fort and for two years kept his family inside that structure. The Indians were giving so much trouble that it was necessary for the few settlers in that locality at that time to work their farms in companies. Some would work and other scout or stand guard.

Shelton's Fort was a refuge to all of his few neighbors for those two troublesome years. After that time the tide of savagery was rolled back further west and it was only now and then that they would escape the vigilance of the Rangers and make a foray into the settlements.

Captain Shelton was an old Indian fighter. He had been living in the Arkansas territory since the very earliest of the 20's and was so familiar with the methods and practices of Indian warfare that he never suffered at their hands. After the county was organized he was for many years connected with courts and congressional commissions and was also a justice of the peace for several years. He died in the year 1854 in his sixty-eighth year. He left a large family all of whom made good citizens. His son, Capt. E. J. Shelton, however, deserves special mention because of both his prominence as a citizen and the conspicuous role he played in the stirring scenes of pioneer days. When he was only 15 years of age he entered the service as a frontier Ranger and served the Republic of Texas. He was a magnificent horseman, a bold and daring rider, a courageous and fearless Ranger. The settlements were secure only when policed by such heroic bands of men as that to which Eli Shelton belonged. He was married to Miss Martha Yates in 1846, was a farmer by occupation but served his county in the State legislature from 1857 at intervals when not in the war until 1873.

When the civil war came on he promptly answered his country's call and was in the line of duty in various capacities until the surrender.


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