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Jenna B Howell | all galleries >> nonpublic >> Historical Document Collection >> Franklin House Hotel Guest Register 1854 - 1855 >> hotel_guests > Rev. Frederick W. Shelton LL. D.
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12-JUL-2015

Rev. Frederick W. Shelton LL. D.

from:
http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~vtwindha/vhg4/0400_montpelier.htm




REV. FREDERICK W. SHELTON, LL. D.



BY H. A. HUSE.



Frederick W. Shelton was born in Ja­maica, Long Island, in 1814, and died at Carthage Landing, N. Y., June 20, 1881 . He was the son of Nathan Shelton, an eminent physician. His preparation for college was at the Jamaica Institute, and he graduated from the College of New Jersey, Princeton, and from the General Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1847, and was rector successively in Huntington, L. I.; Fishkill, N. Y.; Mont­pelier; and Carthage Landing, (Low Point,) Dutchess County, N. Y. He for some months in 1848 officiated in Montpelier in the absence of Mr. Manser, and was rector of Christ Church from 1854 to 1866. Dr. Shelton went from here to Carthage Land­ing, where he remained rector till his death. His home at Carthage Landing was beautifully situated on the banks of the Hudson, and his situation there was one well suited to a man of thoughtful and genial temperament.

He left a widow and two sons. Mrs. Shelton, who now lives in Carthage Land­ing, was Rebecca R. S. Conkling, daugh­ter of David S. Conkling, (a brother of Judge Alfred Conkling,) who married Isa­bella Fletcher, a daughter of Col. Fletcher of the British Army, who was a descend­ant of Fletcher, the dramatist. Of the six children of Dr. and Mrs. Shelton, four are dead. The two oldest, born in New York city, died of scarlet fever in Montpelier the second year after they came here; a baby 8 months old, also died in Montpelier. The second year after they went to Car­thage Lauding, a boy of thirteen died. The two youngest sons are now living, and are in business in Omaha. The older of them graduated at Trinity College, Hart­ford, in 1879.

Dr. Shelton was a man of marked influ­ence on the parishes of which he had charge, and this, though he had, and none knew it better than he, but little of what is known as executive or business ability in his make-up. His preaching was of the best, and his own life was, in its Christian graces, a model.

Dr. Shelton's writing, whether in ser­mon or in book, had many charms for all who heard or read. In an article in the "Churchman" of July 23, 1881, is found the following:

One might say that Dr. Shelton's literary faculty amounted almost, if not absolutely, to genius. His invention was fertile and various, his fancy delicate, and his humor ever fresh and delightful. His mind was of the same type with Washington Irving's, although it was marked by a mystical force and tendency, evinced by the romance and allegory it gave birth to, which the elder and greater writer has not exhibited. While a collegian he became a contributor to the Knickerbocker Magazine, then and for many years afterward the chief organ of American periodical literature. Before he came of age, Bartlett & Melford pub­lished for him a satire in rhyme entitled, "Trollopiad; or, Travelling Gentleman in America," annotated with sketches of the series of foreign travellers whose flippant descriptions of the land of freedom once provoked the ire of our native writers. Besides many papers buried under the covers of divers magazines, he published "Gold Mania," 1850; "The Use and Abuse of Reason," 1850, and other minor





420 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.



works, and "Salander and the Dragon—a romance," 1851; "The Rector of St. Bar­dolphs," 1853, (second edition. 1856); "Up the River," 1853; "Chrystalline; or, The Heiress of Fall Down Castle—a romance," 1854; "Peeps from the Belfry; or, The Parish Sketch Book," 1855, (second edi­tion, 1856.) Latterly he has spent much time and labor upon a translation of sev­eral of the "Dialogues of Plato," and it is believed that his manuscript is ready for the press. It should also be said that his sermons were characteristic compositions, original in thought, brightened often by unconscious strokes of humor and quicken­ed by touches of genuine pathos.

Among the resolutions passed by the clergy present at the funeral of Dr. Shel­ton, was one in which they said, "we bear our willing and grateful testimony to the delightful personal character of our dear friend, to the exquisite charm of his con­versation, to his genial hospitality, to the high principle which singularly distinguish­ed him, and to the sweetness, humility and devotion of his Christian life and walk."



Two weeks after his death, a committee, consisting of Charles Dewey, Fred E. Smith, J. W. Ellis and T. C. Phinney, for the wardens, vestry and parish of Christ Church, said in a letter to Mrs. Shelton, of which a copy is spread upon the parish records:



We remember the loyal service which he did for Christ while Rector in this Parish. We recall how he faithfully ministered the sacraments of life. We think of the instructions which his lips gave and his walk enforced. We review the memory of his presence when joy was warm and fresh in our homes, and when sorrow brooded heavily upon us. We think of him as the genial friend who was with us, and whom we rejoiced to have with us. We call up the past relations which he bore in this community as a man and citizen. And al­though we have but recently learned the story of his declining health from his own lips, and felt, with him, that his life could not be protracted very long, the news of his going away has come to us to awaken a host of memories which we cannot name, but only suggest. We desire to assure you that at this hour our prayers and thoughts are with you, and that we are only repre­sentatives of many in whom the recent tidings have revived many fond recollections of that one who has gone on but a little while before.

From several unpublished poems of Mr. Shelton, which, with the historical sermon, were kindly sent to us by Mrs. Shelton to select from, we give:—



THE SKEPTIC TO HIS SOUL.



"Animula, vagula, blandula,

Hospes comesque corporis,

Qua nunc abibis in loca,

Pallidula, rigida, nudula,

Nec, ut soles, dabis jocos?"



Invisible one! little elf!

Who makest my bosom thy home,

Hid away in the midst of myself,

I have asked thee, like Hadrian of Rome,

Have implored with a passionate cry,

With a tear of affection, a sigh,

Come, tell me a part or the whole,

What is it, what is it to die?

But never a word in reply,

Oh Psyche, may Darling, my Soul!



Say, is it not due to my love,

Thou close-nestling one, winged-dove,

Since thou hast been with me from birth,

Though than camest down from above,

And I am a clod of the earth?

Near, near as my tremulous heart,

Why far, far away as the pole,

Guest of mine that thou wilt not impart,

Nor tell thy poor friend what thou art,

In a voice or as soft as a breath

As it slips from the chill lips of death,

Or loud as the thunders that roll,

While I stand with expectance and wait,

Like a beggar for crumbs at a gate,

Oh Psyche, my Darling, my Soul!



Forever I count thee within

The retreat of thy innermost shrine,

But enwrapt in a body of sin

Shrink as if from a presence divine.

And vain are my struggles to win

What no art of the living e'er stole,

The key of the mystery dread,

And rifle it from thy control.

Thou giv'st it alone to the dead,

As be lies in his cold, narrow bed,

Oh Psyche, my Darling, my Soul!



Thus I con thy enigma, my wife,

One more blind than the Sphinx could propose.

That we, fondly wedded through life,

Should be only acquaint at its close.

Ah! cause of contention and strife!

That thou wilt not breathe in my ear

What is writ on thy mystical scroll,

But keep'st it away from thy dear

As if it were something to fear,

Oh Psyche, my Darling, my Soul!



In the twilight of groves I have stood,

In the shadow of solitudes vast.

Where nothing of earth could intrude,

To question my soul as I would

And wring out the secret at last.

But the night, it is coming on fast,

When thou shalt be winging thy flight

Toward the rivers of crystal that roll

Through the regions of beauty, thy goal;

I shall know what thou knowest, aright,

I shall go where thou goest that night,

Oh Psyche, my Darling, my Soul!





MONTPELIER. 42I



EXTRACTS



From a Poem entitled "THE SIRENS," delivered before

the Literary Societies of Norwich University, Aug. 17, 1865.



Ye who embark as with the risen sun,

On the rude sea, life's voyage just begun,

Ev'n as the East the rosy day-dawn streaks

With purple light of youth upon your cheeks,

Ponder the story well,

Whatever shore you reach, wherever you may dwell!

When ye approach the realm

Of weird enchantment, steady hold the helm.

For soon the Siren strain

Will visit you again,

Impalpable and fine,

As if it were divine,

Sweet as it was of yore,

Beguiling evermore,

Lure you to ruin on the rock-bound coast,

Where all your precious argosy is lost.

Hence ye delusive joys!

Stop, stop your listening ears with wax, my boys!

Or mixed with silvery voices you may hark

The sea dogs bark!

Lo: Sylla and Charybdis on each side

Are yawning wide!

With strong determination bind yourselves,

Nor own the fetters of perfidious elves.

When the wild nymph of Pleasure from her lair

Spreads her white arms and makes her bosom bare,

And beckons as she shakes her flowing locks

To woo, and lure you to the perilous rocks,

Fly from the promise of Elysian joys,

Cling to your oars for life, and pull, my boys!



Where dwells not soul-destroying witchery?

Whither we fly—

To try her subtle arts

On these fond, beating hearts,

With necromantic spell

To lead thro' Error's portals down to hell—

Watching our frail barques as we glide apace,

On to eternal glory or disgrace.

Around her may be amaranthine bloom,

Flowers of loveliest hue and sweet perfume.

And she is sometime beautiful; her wand

Holds, like a goddess, in her milk-white band;

Beams a fond welcome from her starry eyes,

And all the waste is changed to Paradise.

Ye mariners! ye red-lipped, rosy youth,

Oh! list the music of celestial truth;

For Duty is the polar star to guide

To home, to Heaven, in spite of wind or tide.

Should folly tempt you with its base alloys,

Cling to your oars for life, and pull, my boys!

Regard Ulysses in his golden prime,

And reign like him upon a throne sublime.



Even vice may have a face

Of bright, potential charm,

A soft, bewildering grace

To mitigate alarm.

Of flowers she weaves her chain

To bind the victim up,

Love-philtres for the brain

Are mingled in her cup.

She with fleet and gay advances,

Song and viol, mazy dances,

Glancing smiles with each emotion,

Like the sunbeams on the ocean,

Woos you from the path of glory,

Beckoning from her promontory.

Set thro' the flimsy gauze, and spurn her joys,

Cling to your oars for life, and pull, my boys!

Where dwells the craven coward on these hills?

Oft glittering with their diadems of snow,—

The air is fraught with freedom, and the rills

Leap forth, and chant its pćan as they go.

The pulses beat, the heart with rapture thrills

At the all-beautiful, majestic scene,

Mountains on mountains piled, sweet vales between.

It is the clime where stalwart men have birth,

Full-panoplied as from the very earth.

When the war-bugle sounds the first alarms

Peak back to sun-lit peak clamors, to arms! to arms!



Once when the tide of battle raved.

And rolled o'er many a blood-stained wreck,

And the Star-Spangled banner waved

Beneath the old Chapultepec;

When Mexic legions numbered strong,

And gleamed on high their pennon'd spears,

A horseman bore the word along.

Where stood the bold Green-Mountaineers,

"Help from Vermont, upon the right!

Our ranks are reeling and unsteady!"

Then rose the wild shriek of delight

From those who never quailed in fight,

"Aye, aye. VERMONT IS READY!"

Onward they dashed upon the foes,

As loose the mountain torrents break,

And swift the starry banner rose

Above the old Chapultepec.

Then ever let the watchword fly

From rank to rank to rank, from earth to sky,

And Echo catch the glad reply—

Vermont is ready!



———



SOLDIER BOY TO HIS GREEN MOUNTAIN



MARY.



Oh, sweet is the breath or the morning

And sparkling the dew on the lawn,

When fresh is the summer's adorning,

And the winter Is over and gone.

But my Mary is purer and sweeter,

And bright as the day-star of Truth,

When waking or dreaming I meet her,

In the light and the freshness of youth.

She has cheered on her soldier to duty,

Though afar from the scenes of his toll,

From her home by the river of beauty,

On the banks of the charming Lamoille.



Oh, sweet is the carol of birdlings,

When the forests are budding in May,

When the bobolink sings in the meadow,

And Robin replies on the spray;

But in silence and gloom of midwinter,

In battle with treason and wrong,

One thought on the face of my Mary

Steals into my heart like a song.

So she cheers on her soldier to duty,

Though afar from the scenes of his toil,

From her home by the river of beauty,

On the banks of the charming Lamoille.



Oh, dear is the home of my childhood,

Each valley, and mountain and lea.

But vain without love is the wild wood,

Without love in the land of the free.

When the flag floats from ocean to ocean,

And the din of the battle is o'er,

I will fly on the wings of devotion.

And part with my Mary no more.

Then she'll welcome her soldier from duty

To her arms from the scenes of his toil,

By her own lov'd river of beauty

On the banks of the charming Lamoille.

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