Back to Gillett History GEORGE WILLIAM (BILL) GILLETT FAMILY HISTORY BACK to the SHEDDEN FAMILY

Great-Great-Grandparents    (Father's Mother's Grandparents)

James Elmer Shedden

James Elmer Shedden

Born: April 7, 1836 in Scotland,
   7th child of Robert and Margaret (Young) Shedden
Died: February 16, 1921
    in Dundee, Illinois, at age 84

Elmira Jane Reser

Elmira Jane Reser

Born: February 23, 1838 in Brooklyn, Ohio
   1st child of Anthony & Phylecta (Soule) Reser
Died: January 7, 1929 ,
   in Dundee, Illinois, at age 90

Married: October 17, 1856 in Kane County, Illinois
GO TO THEIR CHILDREN

James Elmer Shedden's occupation was a farmer and blacksmith.

James came to Kane County, Illinois in 1842 from Scotland with his father, Robert Shedden. At the time he was only 6 years old.

James Shedden married Elmira Jane Reser on October 17, 1856 in Kane County, Illinois. At the time he was 20 years old while Elmira was 18 years old. Three years later, on December 25, 1859, they had their first child, George William Shedden, when they were 23 and 21 years old, respectively. Their second child, a daughter, Margaret Mira Shedden, was born January 24, 1861.

On July 4, 1861, when he was 25 years old, he enlisted to serve in the Civil War. For his life in the service, go to:

James Shedden continued his life as a blacksmith in Plato Center, Illinois. During this time James and Elmira (Reser) Shedden had two additional children, Leonard Shedden on December 21, 1866 and Alanson Shedden on March 9, 1869.

On October 11, 1869, James Shedden applied for United States citizenship which he received on October 22, 1869. He was the only Shedden from Scotland that applied for citizenship. This might have been done to receive his land grant for his service in the army.

In October of 1870 the family started their cross-country trip to Kansas when they were 34 and 32 years old. At the time they had four children, ranging in age between 19 months and 11 years.

Still only a young family, together they had been in at least 11 different states between them. (New York - Indiana - Kansas - Tennessee - Pennsylvania - Illinois - Arkansas - Georgia - Ohio - Missouri - Kentucky). They very easily could have also been in Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Mississippi, South and North Carolina. With their mode and speed of travel, this seems to me to be quite an accomplishment and still be so young. For more information on their move, go to:

They all had settled close to one another in the Clear Fork Township of Marshall County. The center of the area was a county cross-roads that became the neighborhood center, which came to be called Reserville because of all the Resers in the area. It was approximately nine miles southwest of Frankfort, Kansas.

All that remained of the area in the 1980's was the cemetery and school house which was rebuilt in 1880. The cemetery is about a half a mile from the school house. Some of the family also lived in Bigelow Township and nearby Pottawatomie County.

The James Shedden farm contained 160 acres, as did the farms of Anthony Reser and John B. Reser.

In 1888 or 1889, Anthony and Phylecta (Soule) Reser were also convinced that they had enough of the Kansas adversity and returned to the Kane County, Illinois area. They were 72 and 71 years old at the time.

Of all the families and their children making the trip to Kansas, only two families remained in the area for their lifetime: George William Shedden, son of James and Elmira (Reser) Shedden, and John and Phoebe (Ellithorpe) Reser.

After arriving in Kansas, James and Elmira (Reser) Shedden had two additional children on their Reserville farm, Willis Shedden on October 15, 1872 and Florence Shedden on August 9, 1876. When their last child was born James Shedden was 40 years old while Elmira was 38 years old.

After the death of their fifth child, Willis Ray Shedden, in 1898, the James Sheddens sold their Kansas farm and returned to Dundee, Illinois where they were listed as living at 351 W. Second Street. They were 62 and 60 years old at the time. For the story of Willis Shedden's death, go to:

In Dundee, James Shedden was very active in the G.A.R. (a Civil War Veterans Association) and prominent in social work.

James Shedden passed away February 16, 1921, at the age of 84. His funeral service was held at the home on Saturday, February 19 at 1 o'clock. Rev. H.H. Henry of the Dundee Methodist Church officiated. Interment was at the Udina, Illinios cemetery.

Showing the costs of the times, the total funeral bill was $182, with $150 for casket and service, $15 for embalming and $17 for hearse.

Elmira (Reser) Shedden died January 7, 1929 at the age of 90. She was buried January 11, 1929 at the Udina, Illinois cemetery next to her husband and two of their children, Willis and Florence.

For Clair Mann's account of events at this time, go to:

Her funeral costs (8 years after her husbands) were $280, with $200 for casket and service, $20 for embalming, $25 for dress, $20 for hearse, and $15 for flowers.

When Elmira (Reser) Shedden died she left a will, dated January 6, 1926, which was recorded at the Kane County Court House in Geneva, Illinois. Only one of her children, Leonard Shedden, was still living at the time of her death. Of her six children, only three had had families. She had 11 living grandchildren at the time and at least 29 great-grandchildren.

Her will was as follows:

First, I order and direct that my executor hereinafter named pay all my just debts and funeral expenses as soon after my decease as conveniently may be. I request that he be excused from giving security upon his bond as such.

Second, after the payment of such funeral expenses and debts, I give and bequeath to my son, Leonard A. Shedden, all my household furniture, chattels and like personal effects.

Third, I next direct that my said executor shall sell and convert into money all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate of every kind and nature, and from the sum obtained by such sale or sales, I direct that he shall first pay to the Udina Cemetery Association or to the proper trustees or other officers thereof, the sum of $50 to be used as a trust fund to cover the expenses of keeping the Shedden family Cemetery lot in order.

Fourth, I next direct that my said executor shall divide the remainder of my estate, being the remainder of the fund obtained by the sale or sales above provided for, into three equal parts, and make distribution thereof as follows:

(a) One-third to himself, Leonard A. Shedden, and in the case of his death prior to my death, the one-third part which he would have received shall go to his children in equal shares to each.

(b) One-third to be equally divided between the four children of my deceased daughter, Margaret Mann, namely:
    1. Leo G. Mann, now of Oklahoma City, Okla;
    2. Clair V. Mann, now of Rolla, Missouri;
    3. Herbert E. Mann, now of Greeley, Colorado;
    4. Mrs. Mary Eberhart, now of Loveland, Colorado.
(c) One-third to be equally divided between the children of my deceased son, George W. Shedden, namely:
    1. Charles R. Shedden, now of Neillsville, Wisc.;
    2. Sana E. Shedden Gillett;
    3. Fay M. Thomas, now of Concordia, Kansas;
    4. Anna Stinson, now traveling.

Fifth, In case of the death of any one of grandchildren above named prior to my death, the share of the one or ones so dying shall go to his or her children if he or she leaves children, and if not, the same shall go to the brothers and sisters of the grandchild so dying prior to the date of my death.

Lastly, I make, constitute and appoint Leonard A. Shedden to be executor of this my last Will and Testament.
                            Signed on January 6, 1926     Elmira Shedden

This will was approved and recorded March 20, 1929, by Harry C. Daniels, Probate Judge.

Elmira (Reser) Shedden left an estate of $3,500. Therefore each grandchild received about $300.