Date:  September 30, 2007
"Sister" Sylvia, the D.A.R.,  and William C. Shelton's Diary
My sister-like niece Sylvia is back in Danville, Virginia.  
She and John bought a second house and drift back
and forth from Hot Springs Village in Arkansas.

My dad died when I was 16 back in the “happy days”
of 1957. I inherited the family 1951 Chevy “power
slide” and Sylvia helped get together a car load of girls
who rode with me to the Civil Air Patrol meetings at
the airport and our “cabin” on the farm, which never
seemed to get far off the ground.  

Sylvia Lee Lynch Matthews is a prolific producer of
paperwork for the Daughters of the American
Revolution (DAR).  She made the Ricketts family
famous in Arkansas, actually convincing them that we
had accomplished something.   In 2006, Sylvia invited
us to Arkansas and I was presented both the NSDAR
awards for History and Historic Preservation.  My son
Bobby, grandson Joey also received awards from the
DAR and we all received the beautiful Arkansas
Traveler Awards, which are signed by the Arkansas
governor and secretary of state.  See our DAR
Awards page.

Shelton Diary
Lately, Sylvia has been a great help in finishing up the
publication of an important and interesting diary for
three years beginning in January of 1850.  We now
have the years of 1850, 1851 and 1852 listed
separately on EBAY with Southside Books
[NOTE: this
was in 2007; the books are now out of print]

My wife and I have had this handwritten treasure for
about 35 years.  We bought a house on US 29 in
1972 where we began an antique shop called The
Heritage Shop.  We had JoAnn, age three, Bobby, age
one, and then came Paul in 1973.  Nancye was
running the shop in her “spare” time while I carried
mail and attended college for the GI Bill money three
nights a week.  A lady came in from North Carolina
with some old magazines and the 1850-52 diary and
sold them to Nancye.  The lady promised to bring
more old "magazines" to our shop, but we never saw
her again. She said the landlord told them to clean
out that old room, so instead of bringing it up to
Danville, they may have thrown away everything else
in the old house.  Sadly, inside the cover of the diary
was written “20th Album.”  

The writer of the diary was William Christopher
Shelton (1814-1869).  At the time of writing the
diaries we have, he taught in a one-room log
schoolhouse near the Greenfield Baptist Church,
located about five miles east of Gretna, Virginia, in
Pittsylvania County.  His great grandfather Crispen
Shelton came to the waters of Whitethorn (also called
Panther) Georges Creek in 1762, five years before the
formation of Pittsylvania County in 1767.  Crispen had
eleven children.  When he died in 1794, he gave his
youngest son Vincent Shelton, Sr. (Wm. C.’s
grandfather) land and five of his 51 slaves.  They were
West, Essex, Betty, Rhoda and Edy. Vincent Senior
was born in 1754 and served as an officer during the
Revolutionary War.   

Wm. C. Shelton’s father was Capt. Vincent Shelton,
Jr. who was born in 1792 and married Nancy Waller in
1813.  Capt. Vincent was a Deputy Sheriff and served
as a captain during the War of 1812.  In addition to
William C. Shelton, the Sheltons also had another
child named Elizabeth Ann Shelton, born in 1816, who
married William Stone in 1837.  After he died,
Elizabeth married William B. Swann of “Woodfern.”  
Swann gave the land for the Pelham, North Carolina
Methodist Church.  Pelham is a small community near
the state border with Virginia.  Elizabeth and William’s
mother Nancy Waller Shelton died in 1875 and is
buried in the church graveyard.  The old home place
where the diary was found and the Swann family lived
is northwest of the church on the eastern side of the
present highway US 29.  

William Shelton had hard times after the Civil War and
met a tragic end.  The first volume for 1850 has the
story about his life after the 1850s.  

We have a section under Pittsylvania County, Virginia
William C. Shelton.

Our next project is to publish the diary of a Danville
attorney who was a Confederate captain who became
very wealthy after the War.  
Here I am with my older sister
Idella and her new baby Sylvia -
DAR Hot Springs, Arkansas President
Sheila Beatty, Danny Ricketts holds one
of the awards, and niece Sylvia Lynch
Matthews holds the other
DAR award.
Uncle Danny Ricketts and
Niece Sylvia Lynch - only two
years apart in age.
My grandson Joey Ricketts' "Mary
Desha Award" from the
Daughters of the American