The Shelton family was one of the early settlers of Jefferson County. Six generations back,
shortly after Illinois became a state, George Shelton (1793-1844) moved his family from
Kentucky to north of Opdyke. The first legal record here was in 1836 when Joel. son of George,
homesteaded 30 acres north of the family farm. He married Mary Green in 1838 and they had a son,
George, 1839-1914) who remembered being frightened by Indians prowling around the farm at night.
In 1844, after his father's death, Joel bought up the interests in the farm of his brothers and
sisters: John, William, Susanna (Tarwater), Elizabeth (Book), Margaret (Green), and Hannah (Jones).
The Books moved to Missouri and George forded the Mississippi in a wagon to visit them.
George Shelton married Sophia Angeline Wilkerson. Their children were David, Florence (Moore),
Alice (Burnette), Joel.. Eva (Cuneo, Bube), and Rosa (Miller).
Eva (1870-1959) married Charles Cuneo (1867-1893),a school teacher and storekeeper in Opdyke
who died of typhoid fever. Eva then married Herman Bube (1878-1967), a barber and storekeeper,
and they had one daughter, Georgia Ruth who remembers living with her grandparents and seeing
homespun dresses for which her grandmother had sheared the wool and then had washed, spun and
woven it into cloth which she dyed to make the dress. They raised vegetables and apples and stored
them for winter in a stone cellar. Her grandfather cut ice from the creek and stored it in straw
in the cellar so they could make ice cream for the 4th of July.
Georgia's father was Charles Cuneo, son of Alonzo Cuneo from Marsailles, France who came on a
ship with the grandfather of Pauline Cleveland Waters to New Orleans. Hearing of free land in
Illinois they came to Mt. Vernon. Alonzo was a Civil War veteran. In 1866 he married Parthenia Wells,
daughter of a hotel keeper. Alonzo and Parthenia kept a hotel on 10th street for several years.
She was a sister of Bart Wells, one of the early mayors of Mt. Vernon, and when her husband died
she lived with Bart.
Georgia Ruth married James Eckert (1895-1969). He operated a barbershop in Mt. Vernon for 50 years.
Their children were J. Murray (1925-1971) and Evelyn. J. Murray played basketball at Mt. Vernon
High and Casey Junior High and was awarded seven battle stars in World War II. later becoming state
veterans' representative. Evelyn, an artist, had paintings exhibited at the New York World's Fair,
worked as an illustrator and research analyst in Washington, D.C. for 30 years, and is now retired
and living with her mother in Mt. Vernon. Evelyn E. Eckert
Facts & Folks
Submitted by Sandy Whalen Bauer