Thank you for your outline and history of Woodlawn. A little more explanation may be in order. The Sheldon Family Association is one of the longest running family associations in the country and has quite a following of several hundred members. Their purpose has been to mainly study the descending families of five main colonial progenitors. For more information, you can find the list of five at http://www.sheldonfamily.org -- in their database, names and vital data of some 70,000 descendents have been recorded.
Thus, you know your initial query was checked against this database to determine if he can be identified with a particluar family. Often a connection is made based on vitals and family members, and when it isn't made then someone like me or another Sheldon family researcher comes along and digs a little deeper based on the initial information given. "Elisha Sheldon" of CT also happens to be the name of a famous Veteran of the Revolutionary War who headed the Sheldon Light Horse Dragoons, so in my searching, I came across many notations referring to this Elisha (and so difficult to research your Elihsa).
It is when I find a Sheldon individual who cannot be linked into the database most challenging. Some of these Sheldon names have been the study of many folks and for some years, and the SFA has kept record of the correspondence. There are some areas of interest, for example, some Sheldon names from New Jersey... Thomas Jefferson Sheldon (now linked via DNA to the Godfrey line) and we just most likely need that next generation to tie things together yet the records are just not there. There are a few from New York who have been followed, for example a Paul Hale Sheldon b. NY d. WI. (again if I remember correctly, now linked via DNA to John Sheldon of South Kingstown, his line known as SFA numbering system S0013 -- and my Colonial Progenitor).
There were some Sheldon families originating in the New England states who relocated to Canada, and then returned later, again with some missing information researched for years.
You mentioned that this Elisha Sheldon's wife Adeline presceded him, and in his VT death record it notes "Cons. Adeline Sheldon," and off the top of my head other than "consumption" I don't recall what "Cons." might refer to other than conservator. So, possibly she did not die first (?). Finding Adeline's death record might be of some help. Of interest is Elisha's cousin, F A Lawrence. Here is a cousin in VT and a possible reason why Elisha was there. If the cousin could be identified, that might open doors for you.
I find a Frank A. Lawrence, age 28, in Falmouth, Stafford County in 1880, with his wife Adeline also age 28. He was born NY, she VA; and his occupation was Manager. Going back to 1860, I find two Frank Lawrence names b. 1852 and both then living with parents in NY, so without understanding the family, it is anyone's guess as to which family to follow. (I was hoping to follow them back to see if a Sheldon name came up).
Since you are a local historian, you may have more access to some genealogically related material. How fun your occupation must be!
Here's my take... "Very little is known locally of Elisha Sheldon, born about 1811, from Homer Township, Cortland County, New York who is the next subject owner of Woodlawn. Some research has been undertaken to locate his family, and although he is found in US Federal Census Records in that area dating from 1850 through 1870, his parents remain unidentified. Not long after he purchased the Virginia property on July 16, 1877, he died that same year on 20 August from paralysis according to his brief death record. It is noted that the informant was his cousin, F. A. Lawrence. Research in Cortland County has also found that his remains were returned to New York for burial."
I'm interested to know what you are able to find and if you have the time / resources to dig further in your area. If you find something of interest, please be sure to let us know...
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