William "Bill" Shelton was born Homer William Minnix on November 14, 1923 at Sumner,
Illinois, one of the five sons of Alva, born July 7, 1882, died November II, 1944,
and Rachel Jane Murray Minnix, born May 20, 1904, died October 23, 1930. His four
brothers were: Francis Odin; Robert Cloyd; Harold Alva (now David): and Dewey Wesley.
Their paternal grandparents were William P. and Alice Woodall Minnix; and on their
maternal side were Drury W. and Carrie Pemberton Murray, all of Lawrence County.
After the death of their mother, in 1930: the brothers became residents of the Methodist
Children's Home at Mt. Vernon. "Bill" remained in the Home about five years. He and David
were raised by their foster parents, Gale D. and Mary Ruth Claspell Shelton, a well known
family of Elk Prairie Township. In 1946 "Bill" legally changed his name to William Shelton.
He started to school in Pepple District near Sumner, attended the Lincoln School while in
the Orphanage at Mt. Vernon, and in 1939 finished his education at the Cross Roads School
in Elk Prairie Township.
When his family moved to Peoria he worked for the Kroger Company, and also at Salem, Illinois
where he later was working at the Brown Shoe Company. He was inducted, February 26, 1943, into
the United States Army. He received his basic training at Camp Roberts, California and went
abroad to Liverpool, England, in November of 1943. There he joined Company C. 116 Infantry,
29th Division, serving as a private. He landed in France on D Day and on July 1. 1944, was
wounded by shrapnel at St. Lo, France. After being flown to England for medical aid, he returned
to duty, August 21. 1944. He saw action at Normandy, Rhineland and central Europe and was awarded
three battle stars; was also awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Good Conduct medals.
After receiving an honorable discharge on November 1, 1945 he had lived in Elk Prairie Township
working at the International Shoe Company. the Car Shops, East Side Lumber Company: along with
farming and raising registered Hereford cattle. He filled the office of Tax Assessor in 1954 and
1955 for Elk Prairie Township. He began his occupation as a coal miner at the Nason Mine Company,
being later employed at the Freeman Coal Company mines, Orients #3, #5, and now #6. He worked
underground for 25 years, but since April, 1977, is employed on top as a laborer at Freeman's
On August 22, 1953, William was united in marriage in Jefferson County to Sylvia Faye Bean,
daughter of Adam A. and Mary Ann Osborn Bean. They are the parents of three
children all at home. Michael William, graduated from high school on June 4, 1975, and is now
employed at the General Tire & Rubber Company at Mt. Vernon. He plays the trumpet and guitar.
Steven Blake, graduated from high school on May 27, 1977, and he is employed at General Radiator
Division of Chromalloy in Mt. Vernon. He plays the saxophone and drums. Kristina Diane, is in the
fifth grade and plays her clarinet in the beginners band. They are in the Waltonville Community
Unit # I school district.
In the beginning of their marriage, Bill and Sylvia lived on his parents' farm while Gale and
Mary moved to Vienna, Illinois to work. When Michael and Steven were born, they were living on
the Earl Rogers place at the south edge of Nason, Illinois. Their present home is the remodeled
Dareville School in Section 3 of Elk Prairie Township. This structure is now a modern four bedroom
home, the original school building still standing with only a few changes and additions.
Sylvia attended grade school at the Rightnowar School in McClellan Township and three years
of high school at Waltonville. The summer before her senior year she married Bill and in the
autumn went to work at the International Shoe Company where she worked until the birth of their
first child. She is an Ordained Minister of the Gospel in the Full Gospel Fellowship of Churches
and Ministers, International. The family are members of the Marcoe Church. They enjoy attending
church, singing, playing music, gardening, camping, fishing, and collecting relics and keepsakes.
Bill is jovial. but devoted to providing well for his family. He is a Republican and rarely misses
going to the polls to vote.
Facts & Folks
Submitted by Sandy Whalen Bauer