The Dusenbury Family (Page 1 of 3)
Henry and Caroline Butler Dusenbury had seven children who, like their parents before them,
contributed greatly to the communities in which they lived.  The boys, all raised with their father’s
astute business sense, would inherit the family lumber and mercantile business, upon the death of
their father in 1860.  Their mother would pass away ten years later in 1870.  Unfortunately, Henry
and Caroline did not live long enough to be rewarded with the most significant accomplishments of
their children. They did not all remain in Portville, though, after leaving their parents’ home on the
hill, at 65 Temple Street.  Two of the girls married very well and their lives with their husbands and
children took them to other places.  The family business would also demand the Dusenburys’
attention in other locales, such as Forest County, Pennsylvania.  Whether they stayed near Portville
or not, the second generation of Portville Dusenburys certainly left their marks, as they made their
way in the world.
The Portville Historical and Preservation Society
17 Maple Avenue
Portville, NY 14770

www.portvillehistory.org
Portville, New York
The eldest daughter, Catharine Butler Dusenbury, was born on December 5, 1829, in Deposit,
Delaware County, New York.  She married Allan Shelden, who was born on July 16, 1832, in
Kinderhook, N. Y.  Shelden was, at one time, a wholesale merchant and later became a banker.  
They had one son, Henry Dusenbury “Harry” Shelden (1862-1941).  Sheldon’s banking business
took them to Detroit, Michigan, where they raised their son and lived for most of their married
life.  Catharine died on October 16, 1916, in Gross Pointe Shores, Michigan.  Her husband
predeceased her in 1905.
Catharine Butler Dusenbury Shelden
The second child, a daughter, was born on February 27, 1832, in Deposit.  She was named Sarah
Elizabeth and was known as “Elizabeth” and "Lib."  Rev. John Heyl Vincent had first heard of
Elizabeth through members of a class and when he visited the Dusenbury home, they immediately
developed a mutual admiration of each other.  They were soon married in Portville on November 10,
1858.  Elizabeth's love of books had led her to teach, a career that complemented his work and
helped him realize his dream.  Sadly, her parents, who tried to discourage her from a life of teaching,
would not live to see their unprecedented success.  In 1874, Vincent, with his partner, Lewis Miller,
cofounded the
Chautauqua Institution.  Begun as a religious education facility, Elizabeth’s influence
broadened the scope of the institute to including a more diverse curriculum for adult learning,
including music and art.  Vincent was appointed Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church from
1888 to 1920.  They had one son, George Edgar, who became an educator as well.  He was the
president of University of Minnesota, and later became president of the Rockefeller Foundation.  
Elizabeth Vincent passed away in 1909 and Bishop Vincent followed many years later in 1920.  Their
busy lives took them to many different places, but their family ties brought them back to Portville in
the end and they are buried not too far from her parents in the Chestnut Hill Cemetery.  George
Vincent (1864-1941)and his wife, Louise Palmer Vincent (1865-1953), were also interred in the
family plot.
Sarah Elizabeth Dusenbury Vincent
The third child of Henry and Caroline Dusenbury, Henry B., was born on April 4, 1834, in Deposit,
N. Y.  He had barely reached adulthood when he passed away in 1856 at only 22 years old.
Henry B. Dusenbury
Catharine Dusenbury Shelden
Allan Shelden
Harry Shelden
Mrs. Harry Shelden
(nee Caroline Annette Alger)
Sarah Elizabeth Vincent
Bishop John Heyl Vincent
George and his mother, Elizabeth Vincent, share their love of reading
Their son, George Edgar Vincent
Henry Dusenbury “Harry” Shelden
(1862-1941)

Henry Dusenbury Shelden was born in Portville, N.Y., June 17, 1862, the
son of Allan and Katharine (Dusenbury) Shelden.  He obtained a B.A. at Yale
College in 1886, studied law and was admitted to the Michigan bar in 1887.  
He entered the wholesale dry goods business in Detroit, in 1887, and
continued until 1890.  After 1890, he devoted his attention mainly as member
of various corporate boards; director Detroit Copper and Brass Rolling Mills,
Fort Street Union Depot and Station Co., and Alger, Smith & Co.  Harry was
a Republican, Presbyterian, Member of the Detroit Board of Commerce.
Club: Detroit Racquet and Curling, Country, Old Club. Recreation: Horseback
riding.  Office: 14 Shelby Blk. Residence: 196 Fort St., W.
(This biography was derived from the website genealogytrails.com [Source:
"The Book of Detroiters". Edited by Albert Nelson Marquis, 1908 -
Submitted by Christine Walters])
(1865-1935)

Mrs. Caroline Annette Alger Shelden was a Detroit society leader. The
daughter of General Russell A. Alger, former Governor of Michigan and
Secretary of War in President McKinley's cabinet, she was born in Grand
Rapids, but lived in Detroit most of her life.  She was educated at private
schools in Detroit, Mich., Farmington, Mich., Paris, France, and Lucerne,
Switzerland.  Caroline and Henry Dusenbury Sheldon married in 1887, and
they had three children.  Their home in Grosse Pointe Shores, "Deeplands",
became known as a fashionable showplace.  Caroline had a great number of
social affiliations, including Colonial Dames of America in Michigan,
Daughters of the American Revolution, Needlework Guild, Society of Arts
and Crafts, Detroit Colony Club, Women's City Club (Detroit, Mich.),
Detroit Museum of Arts Founders Society, and Garden Club of Michigan.
She died while on vacation in the Upper Peninsula, at Huron Mountain, in
August 1935.
(This biography was transcribed from the dplbibdiv.pbworks.com website
which belongs to the Detroit Public Library.)
This page was last updated on 11/08/2013