William R. Shelton (1805–1860) owned a hat-making company in the 1830s until the 1850s. Working with his business partner Walter Pease, Pease & Shelton—later, known just as the William Shelton Company—he made hats from otter, beaver, and nutria (a South American animal similar to beaver) for dealers in New England, New York, and Philadelphia.
His daughter Lucy A. Shelton (1836–1892) married Samuel C. Loomis, a local blacksmith, in the late 1850s. Much business correspondence links the Shelton and Loomis families. The letters of Jeannette Shelton, daughter of Lucy and Samuel Loomis, to her husband Lodewick Hudson, can also be found in this collection. Their eldest son, Ralph Hudson (1887–1967) worked as the Director of the School of Religious Work at Yale University before he was drafted in 1917, spending part of WWI in France.
A large portion of this collection deals with William Shelton’s third living son, Henry Clay Shelton (1838–1909). Henry C. Shelton lived in New Haven, Connecticut for the majority of his life and ran a number of businesses both there and in Windsor.
Scope and Contents
The bulk of materials in this collection are business papers including account books, business correspondence, and receipts. There are also photographs, personal correspondence, newspaper clippings, a collection of jokes, and official documents pertaining to the Shelton family.