Joseph Earl Sheffield Photo

Joseph Earl Sheffield

Born: Jun 19, 1793

Death: Feb 16, 1882

Birthplace: Connecticut

Nationality: United States

Joseph Earl Sheffield

Date of Birth : Jun 19, 1793
Date of Death : Feb 16, 1882
Birth Place : Connecticut

Joseph Earl Sheffield was an American railroad magnate and philanthropist. Sheffield was born in Southport, Connecticut, the son of Paul King Sheffield, a shipowner, and his wife Mabel. He attended public schools, and moved south to enter the cotton trade. He was a clerk in a drygoods store in New Bern, North Carolina from 1807 to 1812, and moved to Mobile, Alabama in 1813, where he became a very successful shipper of cotton. He married Maria St. John of Walton, New York in 1822 and relocated to New Haven, Connecticut in 1835. He became owner of the Farmington Canal, a charter member of the New York and New Haven Railroad company, and president of the New Haven and Northampton Company. The town of Sheffield, Illinois was founded by Sheffield and Henry Farnam in 1852. Sheffield and Farnam constructed the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad, and the townsite was intended as a coaling station for trains. According to Farnam, he and Sheffield flipped a coin to see for whom the town would be named. A monument to Joseph E. Sheffield and the Rock Island Railroad stands today in Sheffield's town square.

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