Samuel Sheldon was born in 1786 in Salisbury, Connecticut. In 1810, he moved from Salisbury, Connecticut to Salisbury, Vermont. According to his descendants, once in Salisbury, Vermont, Sheldon “acquired 100 acres and spent the rest of his life carrying on the farm by manual labor, without a single labor-saving machine or implement.”(1) Farming was a typical lifestyle of many Vermonters during that time. Samuel Sheldon married Sarah Weeks (1785-1870) shortly after moving to Vermont, in 1813. Ultimately, Samuel Sheldon died in 1866.
While Samuel Sheldon did not partake in public or political affairs, he was informed on the important issues and affairs of the time.(2) Samuel was a “hard-working industrious man, and but for a severe loss by fire” would have been rewarded financially from the success of his farming.(3)
Henry Sheldon removed a piece of wood from his father’s barn for this spindle. The family’s house, located in Salisbury, Vermont, was built in 1811. In 1836, the house burned down, but the barn was not affected. As of 1884, the barn was still standing.
While the barn might not hold as much national significance as Old Ironsides or link to America’s past, Henry Sheldon used this spindle for another purpose. This piece of wood gives meaning and legacy to the greater Salisbury, Vermont area. More importantly, it provides a medium to establish his family as important and relevant, cementing the Sheldon family’s value to the community.
-Ryan Rudolph ’18
1. Henry Luther Sheldon, Family Record Book (volume 2, Sheldon personal papers), quoted in “Background: Manuscript Collection Inventory of the Papers of Henry L. Sheldon (1821-1907),” Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History.
1. ,3“Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History -Middlebury, Vermont.” Manuscript Collection Inventory Inventory of the Papers of Henry L. Sheldon (1821-1907), Range 2B-D 70 linear feet (188 volumes, 37 boxes).
1Staff. “Henry Sheldon and His Museum.” Henry Sheldon Museum · Middlebury, Addison County, Vermont, 1 May 2013, henrysheldonmuseum.org/about/henry-sheldon/.