While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Aragorn Storm Miller and Laurie E. Jasinski

SHELTON, ELI JENWAY (1823–1912). Eli Jenway Shelton, Texas Ranger, Confederate officer, and state representative, was born in Miller County, Arkansas, on April 11, 1823, to Jesse and Rachel (Marrs) Shelton. In 1837 the family immigrated to Texas to the region that would become Lamar County. They lived in a fortress that became known as Fort Shelton and was the forerunner to present-day Roxton, Texas. Shelton’s father, Jesse, became one of the leading citizens of the community. Around 1838 Eli Shelton served in a Texas Ranger company operating in Red River County under William B. Stout. On September 13, 1841, Eli received a grant of 320 acres of land. On May 19, 1846, he married Martha Ann Elizabeth Yates in Lamar County, Texas. They had five children. Shelton was active in the community affairs of Lamar County and joined both the Masons and the Methodist Church. He served as Democratic representative for Lamar County to the House of the Seventh and Eighth Texas legislatures from November 2, 1857, to November 4, 1861. He also represented Lamar County at the Secession Convention in January 1861.

During the Civil War, Shelton enlisted in Company A of the Ninth Texas Infantry, Maxey’s Brigade. He saw action at the battles of Shiloh and Corinth and also served with Burnett’s Texas Sharpshooters Battalion. He received promotion to captain on October 14, 1862. Shelton was eventually transferred to Bonham, Texas, and given command of the district Quartermaster’s Department where he served for the remainder of the war. Following the war he returned to Lamar County, where he remained active in both local and state politics. Representing Fannin and Lamar counties, he was elected to the House of the Thirteenth Texas Legislature and served from January 14, 1873, to January 13, 1874. During this time he chaired the Public Debt Committee. Shelton died on September 14, 1912, in High, Lamar County, and was buried at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Lamar County.


Biographical Souvenir of the State of Texas (Chicago: Battey, 1889; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). “Eli Jenway Shelton,” Find A Grave Memorial (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=26704458), accessed September 10, 2014. Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861–1865 [Volume 3] THURSDAY, April 30, 1863
(http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/hlaw:@field(DOCID+@lit(cc00387))), accessed September 11, 2014. Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Eli Shelton (http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legeLeaders/members/memberDisplay.cfm?memberID=4825&searchparams=chamber=~city=~countyID=0~RcountyID=~district=~first=~gender=~last=shelton~leaderNote=~leg=~party=~roleDesc=~Committee=), accessed September 10, 2014. A. W. Neville, The History of Lamar County, Texas (Paris, Texas: North Texas, 1937; rpt. 1986). Gifford E. White, The First Settlers of Lamar County, Texas (St. Louis: Ingmire Publications, 1982).

Aragorn Storm Miller
Laurie E. Jasinski

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Aragorn Storm Miller and Laurie E. Jasinski, "SHELTON, ELI JENWAY," accessed July 09, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsh77.

Uploaded on September 13, 2014. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...