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Sheldon Griswold Catlin. A notable figure in the commercial life of the City of Leavenworth was the late Sheldon Griswold Catlin. He was a Yankee, of Connecticut birth and ancestry, and possessed the genius of a typical New Englander for trade. Bulwarking his genius in this direction was a remarkable integrity of character and a wholesomeness and breadth of mind which made his presence in any community a source of strength and uplift.
It was in 1863 that he came to Leavenworth and became a member of the old wholesale shoe firm of George O. Catlin & Company, a business which is still in existence and which had had a consecutive history of prosperity and success for more than half a century. Sheldon G. Catlin was born at Harwinton in Litchfield County, Connecticut, September 28, 1806. He was descended from Thomas Catling, a native of England, where the common method of spelling the name was Ketling. Thomas Catling settled in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1642, and was the progenitor of all the various branches of the Catlin family now known in the United States. The Catlins were Connecticut people until after the Revolutionary war, and several of the name were soldiers in that struggle.
After an education in the common schools, Sheldon G. Catlin inaugurated his business experience as clerk in a store. His enterprise soon took him out of the ranks of the employe. Loading a wagon with tinware and other merchandise he peddled out his stock along the road until he arrived in South Carolina, and at Edgefield in that state he established a permanent store. While in South Carolina he met and on September 6, 1843, at Vernon, New York, he married Caroline Matilda Carter. She was a native of Saybrook, Connecticut, and her mission in South Carolina was as a teacher.
After being in business in South Carolina for some years the advancing age of his parents called Mr. Catlin back to Connecticut, and he took the active management of the home farm and continued it until his father and mother died. He then sold the farm. A short time before his brother George O. Catlin had become a resident of Kansas and had located in Leavenworth, in 1859, which was then the principal jobbing point on the Missouri River. In 1863 Sheldon G. Catlin joined his brother there, and their business was begun under the name George O. Catlin & Company. The next firm name was S. G. and E. L. Catlin, the latter a son of George O. In 1870 the firm again became George O. Catlin & Company. At that time there were four partners, George O. Catlin, Sheldon G. Catlin, E. L. Catlin and L. A. Knox. After three years under this title the firm became Catlin & Knox, composed of S. G. Catlin and L. A. Knox. As Catlin & Knox it had continued to the present day, though the older members of the firm have all passed away. On January 1, 1880, the owners became E. S. Catlin, a son of Sheldon G., and Lorenzo A. Knox. Since the death of Mr. Knox on December 31, 1899, the business had been conducted by Mr. E. S. Catlin as the sole owner.
From the formation of that party Sheldon G. Catlin was an active republican. In Connecticut he served as a select man and was twice elected a member of the Connecticut State Legislature. During the Civil war he was a member of the Home Guard. His life was primarily identified with business affairs and through that avenue he rendered his chief service to the world. He was a devout Methodist, and was one of the generous contributors to the prosperity of the church in Leavenworth. His wife who was born August 13, 1813, died September 17, 1879. There were three children of their union: Ella Elizabeth, now deceased, was the wife of the late Judge Harvey W. Ide. The only son is Elbert Sheldon Catlin. Caroline Carter Catlin, now deceased, was the wife of C. L. Knapp.
Elbert Sheldon Catlin, now proprietor of the business of Catlin & Knox, wholesale shoe merchants, was born at Harwinton, Connecticut, November 22, 1849. He was educated in his native state, in the public schools at Harwinton, and the high school and academy at Westfield, Massachusetts. He came with other members of the family to Leavenworth in June, 1867, and since then, for a period of almost half a century, he had been actively identified with mercantile interests in that city. On October 18, 1883, he married Clara Belle Whitaker, daughter of Joseph Whitaker of Leavenworth. They are the parents of two daughters, Florence Adele and Eloise.