James & Elizabeth SHELDON (nee STAFFORD) - missing for 40 years

2 replies [Last post]
donjen
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 6 days ago
Joined: Monday, 20-04-2015

Hello everyone.  This is my first post so please forgive me if I've made any glaring errors.  My query is about Elizabeth STAFFORD & her husband James SHELDON, Elizabeth being the sister of my great, great grandfather Joseph Stafford.

James Sheldon who was born in 1811 in Bonsall, Derbyshire was the son of Job Sheldon Esq who died in Aberystwyth in 1844.  In Job’s very lengthy and wordy Will written circa 1837, it mentioned that James was living in Old Hall St Liverpool where he worked as a druggist. This address is also found on the record of his marriage to Elizabeth Stafford at Liverpool St Bride in 1842. Their first two sons were born in Lancashire but the third son, John Sheldon, was born in 1850 at Llwyntidman, Shropshire.  In the 1851 census, Elizabeth (married, head of household) and her three sons are living in Llwyntidman but there’s no sign of James.  However, there is a James Sheldon, (aged 41, visitor, landed proprietor) recorded in this same 1851 census at Pier St, Aberystwyth.  This may just be a coincidence, however property in Pier St is mentioned in Job’s Will.

Elizabeth disappears for 40 years but in the 1891 census she’s recorded as being a widow, living in Alvanley, Cheshire.

As their two older sons, James Stafford Sheldon & Job Sheldon emigrated to New Zealand & Australia respectively, I’ve searched countless records to see whether the whole family emigrated, with the possibility of James dying and Elizabeth returning to England. However both James Stafford Sheldon (the eldest son) and Job Sheldon (the middle son) emigrated at different times so the above theory is unlikely.

James Stafford Sheldon married Bridget SULLIVAN in Dublin in 1868 where they were both working as servants.  On the marriage record it states that James Sheldon, chemist was his father. It doesn’t say that he was deceased but of course there’s nothing to say he was living either.  After  Bridget died in 1874 James Stafford Sheldon emigrated to New Zealand and it was there in 1877 that he married for a second time, but I’ve been unable to find any immigration records for him.  He & Bridget had a daughter, Mary Anne, who was born in Ireland in 1869 but apart from her appearance in the 1871 England census, I can find no other records for her.

In 1869, his brother Job Sheldon married Eliza Sophia BOUCHARD in London where he was working as a schoolmaster with the Grenadier Guards at the time.  James Sheldon, surgeon, is named as his father on his marriage record.  Eliza died in 1881 and by the end of 1884, Job and his three children had all emigrated to Australia.  On Job’s death certificate in 1914, James Sheldon, medical practitioner, is named as his father.  Job was the local Member of Parliament for Narrabri, NSW between 1891-1894.  In the archives of the NSW Legislative Assembly it names his father as James Sheldon, medical practitioner and his mother as Elizabeth Stafford.  Elizabeth died in 1911 in Penketh, Lancashire.

So, just where did James Sheldon spend his life between the birth of his third son in 1850 and his death, presumably before the England census of 1891 when Elizabeth said she was a widow?  And where was Elizabeth for those 40 years?

I’d be most appreciative if anyone out there who knows anything at all about this family can give me a few clues to help solve the mystery.

With kind regards,

Jenny Grant

Burradoo, NSW, Australia

Peter John
Offline
Last seen: 25 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: Saturday, 2-07-2011

Jenny, 

It seems unlikely that James was born in Bonsall, given that the Aberystwyth Observer issue of 18 November 1909 shows that his father Job was Mayor of Aberystwyth in 1804, 1810, 1812 & 1814 (and also in 1815, 1821, 1823, 1825, 1827, 1829, 1832 & 1834) [see this link: http://welshnewspapers.llgc.org.uk/en/page/view/3051072/ART33/job-sheldon]

However what is intriguing is that a fellow Mayor (in 1813 & 1822) was a George Bonsall.

That said Job himself did hail from Derbyshire, so perhaps his wife returned there to give birth to James?

Peter

donjen
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 6 days ago
Joined: Monday, 20-04-2015

I'm so sorry to have taken so long to thank you for that link Peter, but I wasn't aware that you'd replied to my post.

I agree with you that it's unlikely that James was born in Bonsall, but in Aberystwyth and this fact is stated on his record in the 1851 Wales census.  James's & Elizabeth's children were born in Childwell, Lancashire (James Stafford Sheldon - 1843); Birkenhead, Cheshire (Job - 1847); & Llwyntidman, Shropshire (John - 1850) so with each new birth the family were making their way back closer to Wales.  These three boys were given the names of their father, paternal grandfather & maternal grandfather in that order.

At the time James was recorded as visiting Pier St, Aberystwyth in the 1851 census, Elizabeth & family were living in Llwyntidman, Shropshire but between then & the 1891 census I can find no records at all for James or Elizabeth.  It is sooooo frustrating.  I've been able to trace the movements of James Stafford & Job but not John.  While these people are not on my direct line, Elizabeth was my gx2 grandfather's sister, I'm just very very curious to know what happened to James as he seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth.  

With kind regards,

Jenny Grant

Mittagong, NSW, Australia