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Posted By: Jean Kramer (email)
Date: 7/29/2003 at 21:09:55

Biography reproduced from page 572 of Volume II of the History of Kossuth County written by Benjamin F. Reed and published in 1913:

George C. Shelley, who opened a monument business in Algona in 1888 which he operated for twenty-two years, has the distinction of being the first man to engage in that business in Kossuth county. He was born at Little Haywood, Staffordshire, England, on the 30th of March, 1847, and is a son of William and Sarah (Hopkins-Shelley) Capewell. The parents passed their entire lives in the mother country, where the father engaged in contracting and building. George C. Shelley is the only son and eldest child born to his parents, and he is the only member of the family now living, his parents and four sisters, Jennie, Elizabeth, Eliza and Sarah, all being deceased.

The education of George C. Shelley was begun in the schools of his native land, but as a young lad he was brought to the United States by an aunt, Lucy Shelley, and thereafter went by the latter name instead of that of Capewell. He and his aunt first located in New York city, but later went to Berkshire, Massachusetts. He remained in school until he was thirteen years of age, when he laid aside his text-books, and apprenticed himself to the marble cutter’s trade. About 1863 or 1864, he ran away and enlisted in the navy, joining the North American squadron at a port in Maine. He served under Generals Porter, Radford and Admiral Farragut and was on nineteen different vessels. He participated in a number of skirmishes, mostly in the river service, where he spent the greater part of his period of enlistment, being stationed upon the James river and at Fort Fischer a large portion of the time. Upon receiving his discharge he returned to New York city and worked at his trade for three or four years. In 1870, he went back to Massachusetts, locating at Ashley Falls. The following year he was married and immediately thereafter he and his bride went to Salisbury, Connecticut, and he went into the marble business. He disposed of this enterprise in two years and went to Stouffville, Canada, and there engaged in the same business until 1877. In the latter year he once more located in Ashley Falls, Massachusetts, where he followed his trade for nine years. The west had always had a strong attraction for him and in 1886 he disposed of his interests in New England and came to Wisconsin, locating in Fond du Lac. He engaged in business at that point for a year, then went to Ripon, Wisconsin, and followed the same occupation for two years. From there he came to Mason City, Iowa, to take a position as traveling salesman for a marble and monument firm of that city. The next year he went to Emmetsburg, this state, remaining there until the autumn of 1888, when he located in Algona. Upon his arrival here he established a shop which he successfully conducted for twenty-two years. In 1910, he disposed of it and went to Texas and for a time conducted a confectionery and ice cream parlor at Corpus Christi, that state. He only remained there for a brief period, however, and then returned to Algona and assumed charge of the Northwestern Granite Works, which he formerly operated under the name of the Algona Monument Works. Mr. Shelley formerly owned a residence here, but he sold this when he removed to Texas, but he still holds the title to the lot and building where the marble works are located.

At Millerton, New York, in 1871, Mr. Shelly was united in marriage to Miss Ida W. Parsons, of Ashley Falls, Massachusetts. He is an honored member of the Grand Army of the Republic and gives his political support to the republican party. At the present time he is acting as city weighmaster and for many years he was county sealer. He attends and contributes toward the maintenance of the Congregational church, of which Mrs. Shelley is a member. Mr. Shelley is one of the well known citizens of the town and is highly esteemed by all who have had dealings with him as both in his private and public life he has ever manifested the most upright principles and highest standards of integrity.


Kossuth Biographies maintained by Linda Ziemann.
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