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George Shelton

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 

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

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