Documentary History of American Water-works

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Biography Nathan Shelton

Nathan Shelton

Nathan Shelton was born in Jamaica, Queens on July 15, 1846.  He worked in a New York City bank before moving to Omaha in 1868, where he worked for the Union Pacific railroad until 1880.  He was an incorporator of the City Water Works Company of Omaha, and was its treasurer.  The village of Shelton, Nebraska is named after him.

He built the water works system in Freeport, Illinois and was its principal owner.  He also formed, built, and owned the Galesburg Water Company.

Nathan Shelton, from History of the state of Nebraska, by Alfred Theodore Andreas (1882)

He died in 1896 when he walked out of this second-floor bedroom window while sleep walking.

Nathan Shelton's Water Works Experience
City State Years Projects
Omaha NE 1880 Incorporator and Treasurer of City Water Works  Company
Freeport IL 1882 Built and owned Freeport Water Company
Galesburg IL 1883 Incorporator, builder, and owner of Galesburg Water Company

1880 The Railway Age Monthly and Railway Service Magazine 1(11):662 (November, 1880)
The Omaha Republican says:
Mr. Nathan Shelton, who has for many years been connected with the Union Pacific railway as cashier, has resigned that position to enter a wider field of business – the investment of securities, state, county, municipal, bonds, etc. Mr. Shelton’s ability as a financier is well known in this city. He is the treasurer of the White Lead works, which institution he helped to establish, and which has proved a magnificent success. He is also the treasurer of the Waterworks company, of which he was one of the originators, organizers and promoters. He is an active, enterprising and successful business man. His successor as cashier of the Union Pacific is Mr. Frank D. Brown, who has long been assistant cashier. The position upon which Mr. Brown enters is an important and responsible one, but he is in every way competent for the place, as he has long been thoroughly posted with the duties. He has been one of the most faithful and competent employees in the service of the Union Pacific, and the promotion is a deserved one, and at the same time the selection is a very wise one on the part of the company, and will prove eminently satisfactory.

1882 "Water-Works Completed," Chicago Tribune, December 7, 1882, Page 6.
Freeport, Ill., Dec. 6.- The citizens of Freeport are in high glee because of the completion of an excellent system of water-works at a cost of over $100,000, built under the supervision of Nathan Shelton, a prominent Omaha citizen.  The steam pumps were successfully operated today, and the city is well supplied with water for both fire and all other uses.

1882 History of the state of Nebraska, by Alfred Theodore Andreas
NATHAN SHELTON came to Omaha March 20, 1868. He was assistant cashier and cashier of the U. P. R. R. until October, 1880, when he resigned and devoted his time to his private business. He organized the Omaha White Lead Works, and was secretary and treasurer of that company until June, 1881. He organized the Omaha Library Association, and managed it until it was turned over to the city. Mr. Shelton formed the City Water Works Company, of which he is treasurer. He gives his attention to investments in real estate, bonds, etc. He was born at Jamaica, L. I. October 12, 1846, and prior to coming to Omaha was in a bank in New York City. He was married at Grand Island, Neb., June 4, 1872, to Maria D. Jordan, a native of Chillicothe, Ohio, and a daughter of Robert C. Jordan. They have one son, Nathan Jordan. He is a member of the A., F. & A. M.

1896 Nathan Shelton 1845-1896 grave

1896 "A Somnambulist's Death," The Jersey City News, July 7, 1896, Page 1.
Nathan Shelton Walks Out of His Bedroom Window

1896 Engineering News 36:9 (Supplement, July 9, 1896)
Mr. Nathan Shelton, of Brooklyn, N. Y., formerly Treasurer of the Union Pacific Ry. Co., was killed by falling from the window of his bedroom, July 7. The window was close to the floor and Mr. Shelton, who was a somnambulist, is supposed to have walked out in his sleep. He was 46 years of age and was the President of the Midland Guarantee & Trust Co., of Omaha, Neb., and President of the Water Supply Co., at Freeport, Ill.

1923 "Circus Man's Father Built Local Waterworks," The Freeport Journal-Standard, September 4, 1923, Page 3.

© 2018 Morris A. Pierce