Adelaide Catherine Gustavia Martha Weiss

Born: 9 September 1829, St Pancras, London, Middlesex, England
Died: 24 July 1918, Weston, Somerset, England

Father: Charles Nicholas Weiss, 1789-1845
Mother: Benigna Catharina von Holst, c1801-1845

Spouse 1: Patrick White (1814-1853)
Married 12 October 1846, in Bombay India.

Spouse 2: James Sheldon (1828-1910)
Married 9 July 1861, in Bombay India. Adelaide was a resident of Kotree, James a resident of Kurrachee. James's profession was clerk. Witnesses: HR Hughes, T Fletcher, Samuel Barker, Lucy G Burn, and HN McLaurin.

  • James Frederick, 1862-1942
  • Annie, 1863-1864
  • Lucy, 1864-1948
  • Arthur Henry, 1866-1895
  • Adelaide Mary, 1869-1954
  • Emily Benigna, 1870-1947

Biographical information
Adelaide, the firstborn child of Charles and Benigna Weiss, was born in the area of Hampstead Rd, St Pancras on 9 September 1829. She was baptised on 1 October 1829 at St Pancras Old Church, with the baptism record stating that the family residence was on William St, St Pancras. Little is known of her childhood, though the family moved around a bit, from London to Liverpool to Manchester, and then to India when her father was stationed there after joining the British Army.

According to an obituary of Adelaide's youngest brother Frederick (The Methodist, 9 January 1932, p15), both Adelaide and her sister Caroline were away at school in England when they were orphaned by the death of their parents in 1845 in the tropical conditions of India. The obituary does not mention Adelaide's marriage to Patrick White in Bombay a year later - when she was only 17 years old, and he was 32 - but she clearly must have returned to India. It is reasonable to assume that Adelaide married someone much older than herself in order to provide some stability and security for herself and her siblings. There is no evidence that the marriage produced any children, and Adelaide was then widowed in 1853, at the age of 23, upon the death of Patrick.

In the intervening years Adelaide's sister Caroline had also married in India, and it is possible that Adelaide spent time with Caroline and her family until she married again in 1861.

Adelaide's second husband was Reverend James Sheldon, who was a missionary with the Church Missionary Society in Kurrachee (Karachi), Bombay Presidency, India (now Pakistan) from 1861 until 1883. They married in Kotree (Kotri), Bombay Presidency, India (now Pakistan), where Adelaide had been living, but settled into married life in Kurrachee. James and Adelaide had six children, some of whom went into mission/church work themselves.

From The Church Missionary Gleaner, vol 5, 1878, p.130

Adelaide was involved in the mission work, focusing on the women of the area, complementing James's efforts with the men and boys. "Efforts for many years have been made by Mrs. Sheldon to reach the hearts and homes of the people, with considerable success." (Clark, 1885, p. 238)

The Sheldon family left India to return to England on 13 May 188, where James took up a rectorship at Atlow in Derbyshire. They were farewelled with great fondness by their "Native" friends, the following address given at their farewell:
"The Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon. - We, the undersigned, the principal members of the Native Congregation of your fold, cannot allow you to leave the scene of your labours without taking the opportunity of expressing our heartfelt and sincere thanks for the many privileges and benevolent acts we enjoyed at your hands during the lengthened period of service in the most responsible, onerous, and difficult work of disseminating the Word of God. To describe at large the most valuable and praiseworthy services you have rendered in the cause of the propagation of the Gospel truth, and the sterling qualities you possess, would require volumes. However, permit us briefly to allude to some of them here.
Nearly twenty-eight years have passed since you came to labour and dwell in this land. The best part of your life has, therefore, been devoted to the service of the Mission, and lasting friendship and kindly associations are connected with those bygone days.
Consequent upon your connexion with Missionary work many persons have been benefited in a religious point of view. Several to whom the Word of God was a drop of poison have through your faithful and persevering exertions been reclaimed, and now enjoy the fruits of your labours.
Your mild and affable manners have secured for you the goodwill of all the communities in Karachi and elsewhere; and in fact your name has become a household word in every family, and it is only the possession of sterling qualities that has enabled you to conduct the work connected with the Native Congregation with such success.
You carry from us our true and sincere blessing and goodwill, which are the only recompense we can make for your valuable services.
We are extremely happy to bear testimony that you possess all the requisite qualities becoming a Minister of God, and no one can find a tittle of blemish in the career of your life. Man can do more than appreciate your good actions, but it is only God who can reward your most excellent and energetic services.
It is with very sincere regret for your departure, and with an earnest prayer for your future welfare, that we bid you a hearty farewell.
May God be with you both, during your voyage, and take you to your native land, there to enjoy perfect safety, health and rest, of which you are so deserving." (Clark, 1885, pp. 226-7)
The family lived in Atlow for 13 years while James was the rector there, and then James and Adelaide retired to Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset. Aged 80, Adelaide was widowed for the second time. She herself died eight years later, and was buried with James in the Milton Road Cemetery, Weston-Super-Mare.

Church Missionary Society. (1878). Church Missionary Gleaner, Volume 5.
Clark, Robert. (1885). The Punjab & Sindh Missions of the Church Missionary Society. Church Missionary Society, London.