If you’ve read my first book, ‘Jesse James and the Lost Templar Treasure‘, then you may recall my mentioning The College of William and Mary in Virginia. You might imagine my surprise when; on the morning of January 1st, while researching some of my family history, I found an article titled: ‘The Shelton Family‘, written by A.E. Whitaker and published in 1929 in The William and Mary Quarterly.
While the article mentioned above is only eight pages, it contained some very exciting information for me and I would suspect, for anyone related to the Shelton or allied families as well as those interested in history. Jesse James descended from a very reputable family with ancestors tracing back to royal lineages and that has been well documented. Jesse’s wife, Mary Ellen Barron, (my great, great grandmother) descended from an equally impressive line, if not more so, than that of the James family. Finding ‘The Shelton Family’ article was a great way to start 2020.
I have to add that it seems very fitting to me that the year 2020 is upon us, as much of the fog of misinformation and outright lies which have been spread by some self-proclaimed historians has faded away, and we have a much clearer view of the truth regarding Jesse James and those around him. More of that truth will be available when “The Mysterious Life and Faked Death of Jesse James” by Daniel J. Duke and Teresa F. Duke, is released this coming June 2020. I am also excited to announce that this forthcoming book is listed among the ‘Editor’s Picks‘ under my publisher Inner Traditions’, Destiny Books imprint.
Now back to the Shelton Family info that made my day. My great, great grandmother Mary Ellen Barron, married Jesse James aka James L. Courtney. Mary’s parents were Texas Ranger Captain, Thomas Hudson Barron and Mary Jane Shelton.
I knew about some of the Shelton history and the general descriptions like this one from Wikipedia’s Shelton Family page:
John De Shelton, the first Lord of the Manor, was born c. 1140. It is said that Nicholas De Shelton was among those barons presenting Magna Carta to King John, while Sir Ralph Shelton was knighted for his services to Edward III at the Battle of Crecy (1346). In the Tudor period Sir John Shelton, the twenty-first Lord of the Manor, and his wife Anne Boleyn were entrusted with the custody of Princess Mary and Princess Elizabeth as children, partly because Anne was the aunt of Queen Anne Boleyn and the mother of Mary Shelton, the mistress of Henry VIII during his marriage to Anne. They reached the peak of their influence during the Tudor period, when Mary Shelton became the mistress of Henry VIII.”
Source: Wikipedia contributors, “Shelton family,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shelton_family&oldid=931754185 (accessed January 3, 2020).
But the excerpt below is the part that really made my day:
“All of the Skeltons in England and America are entitled to the Shelton history. Nicolas de Shelton of the Norfolk house married in 1215 and bought an estate in Cumberland Co., he was one of the rebelling barons against King John. Only 16 of the Magna Carta Barons left descendants, and the Sheltons have direct descent from 14 of these.”
Source: Whitaker, A. E. “The Shelton Family.” The William and Mary Quarterly 9, no. 3 (1929): 201-08. doi:10.2307/1921301.
The Shelton family is a very interesting family indeed, and for those who are interested, you can find more about them in a book titled: ‘A History of the Shelton Family of England and America‘, by Mildred Campbell Whitaker. This book is free to read online and you can even download a pdf copy of the book via The Internet Archive.
If you’re not really sure what the Magna Carta was or is, you can find out more about it online at sites like History.com whose website states that:
The Magna Carta “…eventually served as the foundation for the English system of common law. Later generations of Englishmen would celebrate the Magna Carta as a symbol of freedom from oppression, as would the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, who in 1776 looked to the charter as a historical precedent for asserting their liberty from the English crown.”
History is full of treasures, and I hope you too get the chance to dig into your history. It has a way of broadening your horizons and opening your mind while simultaneously bringing the world closer through knowledge. And a ride with Clio, the Muse of History, can make for a very enlightening road trip.