Jane DeForest Shelton


Photo Courtesy of the Shelton Historical Society

Jane DeForest Shelton (1843-1914) was one of six children of Edward Nelson Shelton and Mary Jane DeForest. Edward Shelton is better known because the city of Shelton is named for him.

Jane grew up in Derby and lived in the famous Shelton family mansion - "Greystone" built by her father and now the site of the Irving School. She was very social and entertained often at Greystone. She was also independent and wealthy. However she chose a career as a journalist, historian and author rather than a life of leisure. Like Fanny Osborne Kellogg and Ann Stephens, she was a woman far ahead of her time.

She wrote articles for the "Magazine of American History" in New York and earned quite a reputation as both a local and national historian. She also wrote for "Harper's Monthly Magazine."

However, it was her description of the family's roots in the Huntington area of Shelton which served as the basis for her most famous work - The Salt-Box House: 18th-century Life in a New England Hill Town published in 1900. The story is an account of the Shelton family, of Derby, and of neighboring towns up to the early nineteenth century. She used family papers owned by the family as the basis for her beloved and historically accurate account of life through the colonial period of American History. It still makes great reading today, and you can find a copy at the Derby Public Library!

Our thanks to  the Shelton Historical Society for providing the picture.

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