George W. Sheldon was born in 1840 in Marshall, Calhoun County, Michigan, the son of William (b. 1806) and Pernelia or Parmelia (b. 1820).
New York natives William and Permelia were married probably in New York (it is possible that she was his second wife) and the family moved to Michigan sometime before 1840. By 1850 George was attending school with his siblings and living with his family in Portland, Ionia County where his father possibly kept a boarding house. The family eventually moved to Barry County and by 1860 George was a carpenter living with his family in Hastings, Barry County and working with his father who was also a carpenter.
George stood 5’11” with gray eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 21 years old and still residing in Barry County when he enlisted in the Hastings Rifle Company in April of 1861. The company was disbanded shortly after it arrived in Grand Rapids and its members distributed to other companies of the Third Michigan infantry then forming at Cantonment Anderson just south of the. George eventually enlisted in Company E on May 13, 1861. He was absent sick or wounded in a general hospital from August of 1862 through April of 1863, and reported absent sick in the hospital, and a Corporal on September 17. On September 1 or 7, 1863, George was transferred to the Twelfth Veterans’ Reserve Corps.
George was eventually discharged from the VRC and returned to Michigan where he reentered the service as Sergeant in Company D, Third Michigan Reorganized infantry on September 10, 1864, at Hastings, Barry County, crediting Tyrone, Kent County, and was mustered September 12 at Grand Rapids. He was promoted to Sergeant Major on May 1, 1865, and appointed Second Lieutenant of Company I in mid-June of 1865, commissioned as of May 19 and mustered on June 16 at New Orleans, Louisiana, replacing Lieutenant Sprague. He was on special duty from September 8, 1865, although by the following month he had returned to Company D in October, and was Acting First Lieutenant of Company E from November 25 through December, promoted to First Lieutenant, and commissioned on November 28, 1865.
He returned to Company I on January 8, 1866, and served with Company I at Gonzales, Texas from January 8 through February. He was mustered out with the Regiment at Victoria, Texas on May 25, 1866.
It is not known if George returned to Michigan after the war.
In fact, he may have remained in Texas after he left the army. George was probably working as a carpenter and living at the Clark boarding house in Houston’s 4th Ward, Harris County, Texas in 1870. (That same year his father, who remarried to a woman named Rhoda, was living in Hastings; by 1880 his father had moved to Paw Paw, Van Buren County.)
By 1880 there was one George Sheldon (born 1842 in Michigan), single and working as a dry goods dealer and grocer in Ispheming, Marquette County (he listed his father as born in Vermont and mother as born in New York).