Readers Comments and Queries

I hope you have found this ramble through Shelley history informative and interesting and would invite any comments or queries you may have.

Please email me if you have your own Shelley family history to relate, if you have genealogical inquiries that can be pursued here, or if there are any particular Shelley stories that you would like to pass on. We will post them all here.

Colin Shelley

Comments and Queries

18 October, 2018.  Shelleys in Pennsylvania

I am in the process of researching the Shelley line, which, on my mother’s side of the family, ended with my grandmother, Irene Shelley Stettler of Allentown in Pennsylvania.  Her brother, whose name I can’t recall at the moment, was one of the original curators of the Philadelphia Zoo, the oldest zoo in the US.  My great-grandfather, Freeman Shelley, owned a hardware store in Allentown.  If there are any people or websites you can direct me to that would help me go back further, I would appreciate it.

Jack Walter (

21 May, 2018.  Henry Shelley of Jamestown...and of Warminghurst?

My name is Jennifer Tiyce.   I am researching my very distant Shelley ancestors.   I am interested in the Henry Shelley that sailed to Jamestown in 1609 and was shipwrecked.  He could be my Henry Shelley, born in 1582 to Henry and Barbara Shelley of Warminghurst in Sussex.

My Shelley
s start with Henry and Anne Shelley nee Sacville and descend seven generations to my James family in Australia.  My great great grandfather George Walter James arrived in Australia in 1854. 

Jenni Tiyce (

3 April, 2018Shelleys in Brighton

My brother-in-law lives in Surrey and I have over the weekend been tracing his family back through the ages and have so far arrived in Brighton.  Then the picture becomes a little confused and I can go no further.

Here is the family line:

This is where it is a little confusing.  James Richard Shelley appears to have had the following sublings:
I am not sure if the mother, Elizabeth Julia Myers, is the same for all the children.

William's father appears to have been called John, born about 1776, also in Brighton.  Wife possibly Ann Weller.  That is as far as I have got.  Is this line familiar?

Regards Mark (

22 September, 2017.  Christoph Schelly in Pennsylvania

Gravestones at the Zion Lutheran cemetery in York county, Pennsylvania are planned to be moved.  The agencies involved would like to contact descendants of those buried there.  One of these gravestones relates to Christoph Schelly who was born in 1749 and died in 1800. 

German records showed a Joh. Christoph Schall born in Wurttemburg in 1749.  Pennsylvania records showed a family of Christopher and Cathrina Shealey and their son George Shealy.

Rosemary Mohn (

31 August, 2017.  Shelleys in Florida

I work in people's homes in Florida and have an elderly couple with plaques which have recently come to light.  The wife has been holding on to them for many years.  She's 92.  Anything you know of the family or where to begin? She'd like to get them to the family for their history.

The main details are:

Jessica Basinger (

26 March, 2016.  William Shelley's Trunk Found in New York

I have a 1920’s antique theatrical trunk belonging to a William Shelley.  It has a label addressed to Hotel Bristol, 129 W. 48th St, New York, NY 36.  It has a brass plate that says Samuel Nathan’s Theatrical Luggage, New York.  Do you have any info.  I would like to restore. 

James Matheny (

18 March, 2016.  Alfred Shelley in South Africa

I am researching my great great grandfather Alfred Shelley who possibly arrived in South Africa between 1861 and 1872.  He married Agnes (maiden name unknown) and lived in the Eastern Cape until the discovery of gold in the Transvaal in the 1880’s.  He was born circa 1849 and died in 1903.  

He and Agnes had five children, one of them was Emma, my great grandmother who was, born in 1880.   I also came across the names of possibly three other children, Edmund, Alfred Arthur Edwin and Hilda Mary Jane Shelley, born in Grahamstown.  No confirmation or living family members to confirm as fact unfortunately.

That’s all I have to go on as well as a copy of a 1932 newspaper article on Agnes Shelley.  The newspaper article reads:

Granny Shelley dies at 91.  Wild Mining Camp Memories. 

“Another pioneer who knew the Rand as a wild mining camp of tin shanties and open claims died yesterday.  She is “Granny Shelley” of Bezuidenhout Valley and was one of the members of the diminishing band of “old timers” who are associated with the infancy of the city of Johannesburg.  “Granny” (Mrs Agnes Shelley) was born on April 6 1841 in Glasgow and came to South Africa in the Birkenhead in 1851, a year before the ship was wrecked.  They landed at Algoa Ba, and even when she was almost 92 “Granny” had many vivid memories of those times.  “I remember ….”  The story was usually about some event which today is regarded as “history” 

Mrs Shelley has been a widow for 29 years and has three daughters, two sons and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.  The funeral will take place tomorrow at 03:30, in the old Braamfontein cemetery.  Mrs Shelley will be buried in the family plot.” 

By the way, I think Alfred Shelley may have been the son of Edmund and Mary Anne Shelley from Sussex.

Karen Swanepoel (

18 February, 2016.  David Shelley from Pennsylvania and Descendants

My mother is Mary Lou Shelley McCleary.  Her father was Earl William Shelley, born in Puyallup, Washington in 1891 to Adam Wilson (sometimes listed as Wilson Adam) Shelley and Nellie. 

Adam Shelley was born in Pennsylvania.  Census records list him in 1880 as still living with his parents.  His folks, Daniel Shelley and Matilda Smith-Shelley, lived in Luzerne county in Hollenback township, Pennsylvania.  Daniel was born in 1829 in Pennsylvania to David Shelley and Anna Maria Gruver-Shelley.  David Shelley was born in 1807 in Milford, Bucks county, Pennsylvania.

That’s as far as I have gone in my Shelley genealogy search to date. 

Marsha Christensen (

21 October, 2015.  William B. Shelley from North Carolina

I am researching my ancestor, William B. Shelley, born in 1826 in Iredell county, North Carolina and later settled and raised his family in Henry Co, Indiana.  He died in 1890. He was married to Elizabeth Moss. 

I cannot find his parents. There are numerous Shelley families from Iredell county that ended up in Henry county in Indiana but none of them give me any leads.  One family tree posted on Ancestry that his father was Jesse Shelley but I can’t find any documents to verify this. 

Brenda Todd (

10 August, 2014.  Charles Shelley in South Australia

Charles Shelley, my great great great grandfather, arrived in South Australia on the Orleana with his wife Harriet (nee Green) and their three children, one son and two daughters, in 1840.  They were possibly assisted passengers. 

The Shelleys settled in Yankalilli, South Australia where three further daughters were born.  Charles Shelley witnessed the marriage of his daughter Ann (who had come on the Orleana) to John Flavel in Yankalilli in 1854.  Ann and her child died in childbirth in 1868.  Charles Shelley died in Adelaide in 1900.  I am endeavoring to uncover more information on the family. 

Jenny (

1 August, 2014.  Edward Shelley of Wythe County, Virginia

I am researching my four times great grandfather Edward Shelley.  He was quite an interesting man, from what I’ve learned. 

He first appeared in Wytheville in Wythe county, Virginia about 1869.  He owned his own company called Edward Shelley & Co., real estate brokers, and was also referred to as a land and emigrating agency.  In a newspaper article in Wytheville in 1871 he stated that he was ‘recently from England and had made arrangements in Liverpool, Manchester, London, Birmingham and other places, to forward purchasers of land and emigrants to this section of Virginia.’  He also spoke of years of experience in England handling ‘landed estates.’ 

In 1870 he advertised in the newspaper that he ‘will furnish and forward to any part of the South, reliable, skilled and agricultural laborers, of every description; mechanics, house servants, etc.   Laborers will contract for one year and refund them their wages the money advanced for their transportation and food.’ 

Family history says that Edward was related to Percy Bysshe Shelley.  In the 1880 Wythe county census he stated that he was 60 years old, giving him a birthdate of 1820.  But I also have a birthdate for him of 1813.   I know that he married Mary Ann Millington on November 18, 1848 in Pancras, London.  Aside from his daughter Annie Elizabeth, born in 1856 in Clarence Cottage in Cosley in Staffordshire, he also had a son, William Millington Shelley.  He also came to the US and he settled in Georgia. 

Edward lived in the Crockett Hotel in Wytheville while in the US, so not a settled man.  There is also some speculation that he is the person spoken of in the book titled "Edward Shelley’s Journal, 1856-1861: A Victorian Remittance Man," edited by Lawrence M. Woods (available online). 

I’ve been told that he traveled back and forth between England and the US during the 1870’s.  His daughter, Annie Elizabeth Shelley, came to the US in 1873 and married James Bascom Jordan, in Wythe county in 1880.  Annie attending finishing school at Martha Washington University in Abingdon, Virginia and was a governess in the home of the Trickles.  E. Lee Trickle, whom she taught, later became Governor of Virginia. 

Anyway, I’m trying to figure out if this Edward Shelley is indeed related to Percy Bysshe Shelley. 

Kathy Stuck (

4 April, 2014.  Shelley Potter Family from Staffordshire

Looking for a family tree of the Shelleys of pottery fame.  Alice Shelley, born in 1859 was married to Dixon Longstaff and migrated from the UK in the late 1800's to Australia.  According to a news article from 1930 in Adelaide, “Alice Longstaff was the last survivor of the Wedgwood family of pottery fame.”  She was buried in Adelaide, South Australia. 

24 July, 2012.  Shelleys in Tennessee and Arkansas

I know very little about my Shelleys.  What I do know is the following.  Marion Augustus Shelley, known as Gus, was born in Tennessee in 1852 and he married Elizabeth Shelton in Tippah county, Tennessee in 1873.  They had moved to Mississippi by 1876 and Sevier county, Arkansas by 1880.  Most of their children, starting with the eldest my grandmother, lived out their lives in Sevier county.  Gus died in Lockesburg in Sevier county in 1944.

Sue Sillivan (

8 January, 2012.  Shelley the Coal Merchant, not Shelley the Poet 

My great aunt always claimed that our family was related to Shelley the poet but my mother said this was nonsense - the Shelleys were coal merchants in Brighton and your website would seem to show that she was right. 

Our connection seems to come through William Crossley.  My grandmother, Gertrude Crossley, married John Brooke, my father's father, in 1916.   Her father was, I believe, a builder who built a lot of houses in the Preston area of Brighton and was presumably the William Crossley who married Kathleen Shelley. 

When I was a child in the 50s, my grandmother used to go around on a Saturday morning collecting the rents from the houses.  My father and his brother sold the last of these houses in about 1987.  Mr. Crossley must have done quite well because my grandmother lived in a comfortable detached house on Dyke Road and the money almost certainly didn't come from my grandfather's side of the family. 

Rosie Brooke Harper (

9 April, 2011.  Shelleys from Tumbleton, Alabama 

My name is William Shelley and I currently live in Georgia; but my father's side of the family are in Tumbleton, Alabama.   It was interesting to hear how my ancestors migrated to Alabama.  Shelley's garage is right down the road from where my dad (William Major Shelley) was born and raised and took me to as a child.  If you have any more history about the Shelleys that migrated to Alabama it would be great to hear. 

William Shelley (

23 February, 2009.  Shelleys, Arkwrights and Kin in Staffordshire 

I myself am not a Shelley, but, as far as I can find, the following is the route by which my kinsmen of Sims and Doxey married into the Shelleys. 

John Shelley of Rocester in Staffordshire lived at Fox Clouds (which is land on the Cromford & High Peak Railway on Botany Bay on sheep pastures near Cromford) and was gamekeeper to the Arkwrights of Cromford.  

Sir Richard Arkwright and partners built a mill which is known to this day as Haarlem Mill.  It is situated just a few hundred yards from my home today   Members of my Flint family had lived at Rocester, having gone there from Darley Hillside near Matlock in the 1740s.  These Flints became surgeons and solicitors, marrying into the Aston and Moorcroft families of Burslem and Stoke on Trent.  My cousin today lives by Fox Clouds and members of my family once owned shares in a lead mine near Botany Bay, my Hall and Bond families having lived there in the 1880s.  

John Shelley married Mary Talbot and: 
- son William Shelley married Sarah Parker of Wirksworth in Derbyshire in 1792 
- son Thomas Shelley married Anne nee Toplis of Wirksworth in 1832 
- son John Shelley, born in 1834, married Hannah Blackwall of Wirksworth in 1860

John and Hannah's children were: 
Mary Shelley, who had a son out of wedlock, Frank Shelley, and then married Aaron Doxey of my kin
- George Shelley, who married Mary Sims of my kin
- Robert Sims Shelley, who married Mary Anne Bown
- Frank Shelley, who married Rose Wain of Wirksworth (in 1896).

Stuart G. Flint (

28 August, 2008.  Christopher Columbus Shelley

What a surprise to see my great grandfather, Christopher Columbus Shelley, as part of your Shelley gatherings! 

I would like to make a couple corrections, if I may.  First off, this was not from an obit - but word for word from my submission to our local UDC chapter about my great grandfather under whose name I was admitted into the UDC in Richmond.  It was written back in 2006 or so, a long way from his death in 1915. My mother (d. 8/2000) was one of the two granddaughters raised by him and 'Mama,' his wife Susan Yates. Many of those words in the piece were almost direct quotes from her.  I can almost hear her telling the stories once again.  He was quite a man who was loved by so many. 

Secondly, if you present it again, please remove the 'William' from the William Malachi as his father. That was my error.  I had taken it from a genealogy source (my late cousin) who added the 'William' thinking that was what it was.  Upon further research, it has been determined that there was no 'William' in his name after all. 

Dinah Kahler  Canon City, CO (

13 July, 2008.  Shelleys in Sussex (West Firle) 

I have been researching my family history for just under a year and came across your website whilst researching the Shelley branch of my Grigson family tree.

My great x 3 grandfather was Charles Shelley, born c.1813 in West Firle.  His father was John Shelley and mother was I believe Ruth Mepham.  He married Elizabeth Reed who died in West Firle in 1880.   Charles then moved to Lewes where he died in 1889. I have no other details but I am working on it!  Do we have a connection here? Obviously there must a have been quite a few Shelleys in West Firle so maybe it is just coincidence.   I found your site extremely interesting and I am somewhat envious as I would love to be able to create something similar, but I am a novice at that sort of thing. 

Vivienne Grigson  (

10 June 2008.  Robert Shelly in Newfoundland  

Hi, my name is Sarah Shelley.  I recently visited your website and it was quite interesting.  However, I am having some trouble with my family tree.  I am trying to find information on Robert Shelly (later Shelley). From what I know he is my fifth great grandfather 

I know that he came from Hampshire, England.  I know he had three sons, one possibly two daughters, and a wife Mary.  They were all born here in Newfoundland.   He was the first settler in Aspen Cove (my hometown), in Newfoundland.  He originally came to settle at Barr'd Islands, Fogo. 

I am assuming that he came to Newfoundland between 1825 and 1836, but that's just my guess.   I am finding this so difficult because I can't find out his date of birth or record of his death.  If you can help me on this or give me some advice, it would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance, 

Sarah Shelley (

29 April, 2008.  Shelley Lines in Sussex

After discovering your own website and seeing the details of your early Shelley connections, I can tell you I have some info on children that you have not included. 

Charles & Sarah’s son Thomas married Ann Pierce at Jevington on 20 Nov 1822.   Daughter Ann is a slight uncertainty and I would welcome your thoughts on the info I have pieced together as I believe she is my mother-in-law’s ancestor.  This means my husband has Shelley on both sides of his family. 

In 1791, John Stephens had married Mary Shelley at West Firle.  Although I haven't yet searched for a death of Mary, I believe that John Stephens may have later married his wife's niece Ann at Ashurst, Kent (near East Grinstead) on 24 Oct 1820.  I imagine, if true, this may have caused friction in the family and be the reason they married just across the county border.  I do know that my mother-in-law definitely descends from a John and Ann Stephens. 

Sandra Shelley ( 

27 February, 2008. Shelleys from Staffordshire 

I stumbled across your website after googling Shelley and Staffordshire, and had a good read - well done!

I'm researching my husband's Shelley family.  They originated from Staffordshire in the late 1700s.  With certainty, the furthest I've traced back to is Robert Shelley (b 1781) a coal dealer/merchant who was based in Stone, Staffordshire.  He was possibly christened in Rolleston, and the son of Joseph and Mary Shelley. Robert married Sarah Pyatt/Pyot and had six sons.  The second eldest, also named Robert (b 1816) was a joiner/carpenter, and married Ann Turner.  Their son, William (b 1851 in Stone), also a joiner, moved to Cheshire and married Emma Crawford. 

One of William and Emma's sons, Alfred Crawford Shelley (b 1878 in Cheshire), a cabinet maker, emigrated to South Africa in 1902 and married Ada Elizabeth Millington.  One of their son's children (both named Frank Raymond Shelley) emigrated to New Zealand in 1993.  I married the son of Frank Raymond (jnr) and have three young children.  So as you can see, the Shelley family has spread even further down under than Australia. 

Best wishes 
Shelley (

29 January, 2008. Maureen Shelley from Australia 

What a delightful website. I am the Maureen Shelley who is the Convenor of the Australian Classification Review Board. I am also a Councillor and former Deputy Mayor of Ku-ring-gai Council and am a journalist with The Daily Telegraph in Sydney, a News Corporation paper. 

My family is descended from Albert Edward Shelley who migrated to Australia with his first wife in 1912, they settled in Western Australia. He had one daughter from his first marriage and then married a war widow in 1918 (she had two children) and they had four more children. Whilst I have retained my birth name and my children have it as their third given name, it may well be that the name from this branch of the Shelley’s will die out within a generation. My uncles had daughters, and whilst I have two brothers only one of them has children and his only son does not have children as yet and is in his mid-thirties. Another cousin, Ron Shelley, also settled in Perth and he has two daughters. 

We keep in touch with the English Shelleys who were descended from Thomas Shelley and Lucy Frances Preston. This includes the Muirs in British Columbia. The astonishing thing is how alike the family members all look when they are fifth cousins – or something equally distant. 

Maureen Shelley (

4 December, 2007.   Charles M. Shelley from Alabama and Descendants  

My great grandfather was Charles M. Shelley from Alabama.  My grandfather was James Etter Shelley who also served in the military, married Ms. Christine Roosevelt (Theodore Roosevelt's cousin).  My father was William B. Shelley, also a military man and latter in life a parole officer.  I hold a Ph.D. and am the Dean of the Graduate School at Eastern New Mexico University and have published dozens of scholarly articles on archaeology and higher education. 

Phillip Shelley ( 
Dean, Graduate School Eastern New Mexico University  

23 June, 2007.  Shelley's Crossing on the GWR

What a fascinating website.  You should possibly add my father and late grandfather.

Father: Robin Arthur Shelley. Working in engineering until mid 50’s when he trained and became a vicar in the Church of England, working in the two parishes of Thurlaston and Enderby. Now remarried after Margaret’s death in 1999, he lives an active life in Hull.

Grandfather: Leslie Shelley.  Worked all his life on the Railways based in Wiltshire and later in Bodmin, Cornwall.  Famous in the Great Western Railways during and after the war, he died in the mid 70’s.  There is a railway crossing near Kennet and Avon canal named after him as Shelley’s Crossing, because the inter-city trains used to stop and pick him up for work every day!

Chris Shelley (