Thursday, February 18, 2010

A fallen hero

Lloyd Shelton was my great grand uncle. He was the younger brother to my great grandfather, Ira Shelton. During the past year when I started looking through the compiled histories that my Grandma Graham sent me, I took note that Lloyd was killed in France in 1918. But since he was not a direct ancestor, I put learning about his service in the back of mind--on my endless "to do someday" lists.

A new found cousin,who is also a niece of Lloyd's, sent me these photographs and it has me itching to learn more about what happened to Lloyd. Born on 29 October 1891, Lloyd was one of 8 children born to Nathaniel and Sarah Shelton in Memphis, Missouri. His younger brother, John Benjamin Shelton, also served during the Great War.

The Missouri State Archives reports that Lloyd was inducted into the Army on June 3, 1917 in Nebraska City, Nebraska. when he was 22 2/3 years old. He served with Company B of the 6th Nebraska Infantry, and then was in Company L of the 59th Infantry. The Nebraska connection was odd to me, but I learned from a very wise genealogist friend that this is probably where the military recruiter was from. All of his recruits he essentially had inducted in his home area.

Lloyd served overseas from June 29, 1918 until his death on December 4, 1918. The Missouri State Archives remarks that Lloyd "DIED 4 DEC 1918 OF WOUNDS RECEIVED IN ACTION; MOTHER, MRS SARAH SHELTON, MEMPHIS, MO NOTIFIED." Another distant relative who has an excellent website here reports that Lloyd died in a military hospital in France.

Lloyd died just two weeks after peace was declared on November 11, 1918. How tragic. Imagine the relief Sarah must have felt when she heard about the Armistice. Then two weeks later to learn that one of her two boys would not be coming home in the way that she had hoped.

Although a student of history, I have never learned that much in particular about the American involvement in World War 1. This family connection makes me want to learn more. I've learned from a quick search that one of the greatest battles fought by Americans was the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. It went from September 26, 1918 until the end of the war on November 11th. I'm assuming (maybe not a wise thing to do), that Lloyd was wounded in this battle.

Lloyd's unit, the 59th infantry, was a part of the 8th Infantry Brigade, 4th "Ivy" Division of the American Expeditionary Forces. (Interesting note-my brother who is currently in the Army was part of the 4th infantry division!)

I think I need to see what the National Archives has about this battle, as well as Lloyd's military records. Anyone else interested?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Cool Guy

Today is my great-grandfather, Guy Graham's birthday. Guy was born Horace Guy Graham on February 3, 1877 in Centerview, Missouri. He was the seventh of eleven children born to Civil War veteran Robert Barnett Graham and Nancy King Graham.

Guy grew up on the family farm in Missouri. His childhood was described as, "a farm-bred boy who divided his time between the acquirement of an education and the work of the fields." (1) According to an Idaho historical book, after Guy attended the State Normal school as well as the Missouri State University at Columbia. (2) I did some research and contacted the archives at the University of Missouri-Columbia. According to their records, Guy was a student for a winter short course in agriculture for the school year 1900-1901. The archivist described the course to me as one that would be taken by farmers for training in a specific area without going for a four year degree-the precursor of today's extension programs.

Guy enlisted in Company L, fourth Missouri Regiment during the Spanish American war. I have not done much research on Guy's military record. I do have a copy of the muster roll that shows his service dates from April 27, 1898 to February 10, 1899. This is an area where I would like to do some research in the future.

Guy married fellow Centerview resident Jennie Olivia Shipp on February 25, 1904. The couple soon relocated to Fruitland, Idaho, where they purchased a fruit farm. There he became known as an expert on apple farming. He, "closely studied every question relating to fruit raising, the condition and needs of the soil, the best methods of protecting the trees and evertying that has to do with the propagation of fine fruit." (3) He testified before the United States Congress in 1936 on agricultural matters. (4)

Guy was active in politics as well. In 1915, he was appointed horticultural inspector for the state of Idaho. He later became the Commissioner of Agriculture for the state of Idaho. He also served terms in the state Legislature in both the house and Senate. This is another area I would like to learn more about and verify. I would welcome any comments from fellow grandchildren of Guy's who many know more about his political life than I do at the moment. In 1952 he was a delegate in Chicago at the Democratic National Convention.

Guy and Jennie had eight children. My grandfather, Don, was the second youngest. My grandpa followed in his father's agricultural footsteps and became a fruit farmer as well. My dad told me that the farm he grew up on in Fruitland was adjacent to Guy's place. On his last birthday, dad shared some of his memories of his Grandpa Graham. His first comment was that, "He was just a really cool guy!" I regret very much that I did not have a voice recorder at the table that night! (Lesson learned)

I would love to learn more about Guy's character and personality by hearing other descendant's memories and stories about him. I encourage anyone with anything to share to leave a comment in the box below so we can all learn about this really cool guy!

Below is a picture of three generations of Graham men: Guy, my dad Greg as a child, and Donald.

1. "History of Idaho. The Gem of the Mountains." Illustrated, Volume III, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1920, page 761.
2. Ibid
3. Ibid, page 762
4. "Long and short haul charges: Hearings on H.R. 3263, May 11 to May 28, 1936 by Unite States Congress. Senate. Committee on Interstate Commerce.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Family History Blog Success!

One reason I started this blog was to connect with distant relatives who may also be researching our common family lines.

I'm happy to report that my first connection was made recently, thanks to this blog! I received a letter in the mail from my Grandmother last week. She forwarded me a letter written to her by her cousin. (I need to double check the relationships to be exactly sure). This lady's grandmother was the sister of my great-grandfather, Ira Shelton. She also is a granddaughter of the mysterious Nathaniel Shelton! She was doing some searches online and ran across one of my blog posts about Nathaniel Shelton. Like we are so apt to do while online, she navigated away from my blog and couldn't find it again. But she figured I belonged to my Grandmother, so she wrote her a letter asking to find me. Viola!

Like me, she is an amateur family history researcher. We've exchanged some of the information that we each have on Nathaniel. Some of it conflicts, and like my information much of it needs to be verified and sourced. So there is some work ahead of us. But I would like to share with you something she e-mailed me today--a photograph of Nathaniel and Sarah Deen grave site in Memphis, Missouri. I'm excited to get to know this new cousin and work together with her in discovering more about our common ancestor.