Benjamin E. Shelland

Contributed by Rene' Treffeisen

Benjamin E. shelland, a prominent resident of Worcester, was born in the town of 
Westford, Otsego Co., N.Y., January 4 1829. he is the son of Samuel Shelland, who,
it is thought, was born in Montgomery County, and his father, James Shelland, was
born in Scotland. He and his brother William were the only members of the family
who ever came to the United States. The latter spelled his name Shldon, as do his
descendants to the present day. James Shelland resided in Montgomery County for a
time, but finally settled in the town of Westford, Otsego County, where he bought
a farm and upon which he spent the remainder of his days. Samuel Shelland was young when his parents came to Otsego County, and at that time
the country was quite new. For many years afterward there were no railroads, and
Albany was the nearest market and the principal depot for supplies. Samuel Shelland
was of a speculative turn of mind, and at different times owned a number of farms in
this county. At one time he owned a farm which included the Worcester House in the
village of Worcester, and the railroad depot was also on this farm. He gave the
right of way to the railroad company, and also the land upon which to erect the depot
and lay the side tracks. He also gave them a spring on the side hill and the right
of way to lay a pipe to it. The maiden name of his wife, mother of the subject of
this sketch, was Anna Smith. She was born in Brattleboro, VT., and was a daughter
of David Smith, a Revolutionary soldeir. His wife, the grandmother of our subject,
was first married to a Mr. Carpenter, who was also a Revolutionary soldier, and died
in the service. The mother o fMr. Shelland died about 1880. She reared six children,
viz: Isaac, Benjamin E., John D., Mary, Augusta and Elvira. Benjamin E. Shelland attended school in his youth, and worked on the farm until his
eighteenth year, when he went to Richmondville, and served an apprenticeship to the
wagon-making trade. After working at his trade two years at Schenevus he went to
Richmondville, and remained there two years. He removed thence to Worcester, and
was actively engaged in the business there for twenty-five years. In 1856 Mr.
Shelland married Clara Chamberlain, who was born in Worcester, this county, and is
a daughter of Joel M. Chamberlain, who was born in Great Barrington, Mass., a son
of Joel Chamberlain, who was a son of Merrick and Betsy Chamberlain. He was a well
educated man, and taught school in Boston and other places many years. He spent his
last years with his sons, living in different places, and died in Blenheim, Schoharie
Co., N.Y. He was a soldier in the war of 1812. His wife, who maiden name was Mercy
Everest, also died in the town of Blenheim. The father of Mrs. Shelland was a very studious man, and in his youth learned the
trade of cabinet-maker in Greenville, Greene County. During the war of 1812 he
assisted to build the barracks on the east side of the Hudson River. From Greenville
he removed to Otsego County, and was here engaged at his trade in Worcester and the
surrounding county until his death in 1843. The maiden name of his wife was Clara
Van Deusen. She was born in Claverack, Columbia Co., N. Y., march 14 1800. Her
father, Jacob Van Deusen, was also a native of Claverack, and his father Abraham
Van Deusen, was born in Holland. He came to America with his parents, who were also
natives of Holland, in Colonial days, settled in Claverack, and bought land which
remained in the possession of the family for more than 100 years. Abraham Van Deusen
was quite young when he came to America. he inherited and died up the old farm.
Jacob Van Deusen came to Otsego County in 1811, bought land in the town of Maryland,
and moved into a log house, which his family occupied until he was able to erect a
frame one. After having made quite a clearing on his land he found that his title
was defective, and the result was that he lost the land. he then removed to
Cattaraugus County, which was then in the Far West, and there purchased timber land,
cleared his farm, and resided thereon until his death. The maiden name of his wife
was Clarissa Horton. She was born in New England, and was a daughter of John and
Sarah (Beaman) Horton. The parents of Mrs. Shelland reared ten children, Viz:
Charles, Joel M., Catherine, Lucy, John, Ira, Mary, Clara, Alida and Minnie. The
mother of Mrs. Shelland is still living, hale and hearty, at the age of ninety-three.
She retains her mental faculties, especially her memory, in a remarkable degree.
She was one of the most useful of the pioneer women of the county, carding, spinning
and weaving for many years, a species of labor from which her daughters are glad to
be free.
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