Was born in Hawley, Berkshire county, Mass., June 3d, 1796. He is the oldest son of Ira and Hannah Shelley. They are both natives of the state of Massachusetts. They are of English extraction. Mr. Shelley did some good service in the war of 1812. In 1820 he moved with his family to Illinois, locating in Morgan county, where he engaged in farming. Mrs. Shelley, the mother of Abel, died June 25th, 1825. Her husband was afterwards married to a Mrs. Yates. Mr. Shelley then moved to Pike county, and engaged in farming, near Pittsfield, Illinois, where he died in August, 1843.
The subject of this sketch received his early education in Washington and Ontario counties, New York, where his parents were then residing. At the age of twenty-one he was married to Miss Lucy Keene. She was a native of Maine. She died in the fall of 1820, in Morgan county, Illinois, whither they had moved.
In February, 1823, Mr. Shelley married his present wife, Mary A., daughter of John and Susan Kinney. She was born May 16, 1801, in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. Her parents were formerly from Ireland.
As the fruits of their marriage, they have had a family of ten children, of whom only five are living — all married and settled in life, and doing well. Two daughters are living in Kansas. The remainder of the family are residing in Illinois. Mr. Shelley is among the oldest settlers of Griggsville township. His vocation has always been that of a farmer. By perseverence and attention to business, he has succeeded in accumulating a competence. Having come to the country among the earliest they had many hardships to undergo, which are not known to the present generation.
Mr. and Mrs. Shelley are both members of the Baptist church. In politics, he was whig, until after the organization of the republican party, since which time he has voted in its ranks. He voted both times for Abraham Lincoln, for president. Himself and wife are both hale and hearty, and are now residing at their residence in Griggsville.