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Tilman (Tillman) Sheldon (Skelton), George Tillman Skelton,

This is my greatgrandfather on my mothers side.

I have read in several places that the names Sheldon and Skelton were interchageable, even within the same immedidiate family members, and that many Sheldons and Skeltons were from Virginia.


George is first listed in the 1850 Census for Lawrenceburg, Dearborn County, IN as:
Tilman K (or H) Sheldon (age 3).
He is listed in household of William Sheldon (50)and Elizabeth Sheldon (50).
Others listed in household are (male/female age):
Nancy E (f24), Francis (m19), James (m17), Susannah (f16), Polly (f13), John F (m9), Tilman (m3), Elizabeth (f21).
Roll M432_141, page 269

Indiana Marriage Records Database 1845-1920
03 May 1860, Dearborn Co, IN
spouse: Nancy Ellen Skelton
spouse: Barnet Folderman (sp? Falderman)
Book: 10, page 72

George is listed in the June 1860 Census for Lawrenceburg, Dearborn County, IN as:
Geo T Skelton (m12).
He is listed in the household of Barnet Folderman (m28) and Nancy E Folderman (f33)
Roll M653_252, page 28

Civil War Records (www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/soldiers.htm)
05 June 1864 - 29 September 1865
George Skelton served in the Civil War, 139th Regiment, Company I, Indiana Infranty.
Organized at Indianapolis, IN, and mustered 5 June 1864.
Ordered to Tennessee and assigned Railroad Guard duty in Tennesse and Alabama, Department of the Cumberland. Mustered out 29 September 1865.
Film: M540, Roll: 70

1870 Census, George not yet found listed.

Indiana Marriage Records Database, 1845 - 1920
20 September 1870
Marion Co, IN
spouse: George T Skelton
spouse: Mary Heistaud
Book: 174, page 11

Side note on Mary above:
an obit for their son Clyde (my grandfather) lists Mary's maiden name as "Heaston", marriage record of their son Fred to Carrie Bell Pickerell (31 Aug 1901) lists her maiden as "Heaton", while familysearch.org submiter file 1760874 lists her maiden as "Hiestand".

1880 Census, Center Township, Marion Co, IN
(First use of last name "West", which he caried until his death)
George West (m32)and wife Mary (f31).
Others in household: Barnet (m9), Belle (f6), Clyde T (m3).
George listed mother and fathers birthplace as OH (?).
Roll: T9-0294

Side note to above: George must have thought highly of his stepfather Barnet to name his first born son after him.

1900 Census, Noblesville, Hamilton Co, IN
George West, head, born 1848, (m52), fathers place of birth = NJ, mothers place of birth = KY
Mary West, wife, born July 1848 (f52)
Clyde West, son, (m23), born Aug 1876
Fred West, son, (m19), born Nov 1887
Geo (George)West, son, (m16), born July 1885
Lee Roy West, son, (m11), born Aug 1888
Flora Brown, granddaughter, (f10), born Nov 1889
Roll: T623-375, page 170

1910 Census, Noblesvill, Hamilton Co, IN
George S West and Mary A (both age 63, listed that there were 7 children, 5 still living)
Roll: T624-353, Part 1, page 175

Hamilton County Death Records 1882 - 1920
Obituary dated 04 April 1917 in the Hamilton East Library, Noblesville
George S dies at age 69. . .
Burial at Crownland Cemetery (1776 E Monument St), Noblesville, IN, Section 9 DI, Lot 12
Book: H-5, page 27

George carried the last name "Skelton" (Sheldon) while growing up, through his service in the Civil War, and for his marriage on 20 September 1870 to Mary. By the 1880 Census he has three children and is using the last name "West", which he used the remainder of his life.

What happened between 20 Septembet 1870 and the Census of 1880 to make him change his last name?
I am assuming he was born out of wedlock to Nancy Ellen Skelton since Nancy and Nancy's parents were named Skelton, and George lived with Nancy and her husband Barnet Felderman in Indianapolis, IN.

Did he discover at some point who his father was and take his name?