Among the better known and older citizens of St. Paul, Indiana, is James M. Shortridge, formerly a well-known hardware merchant of this community, who is now living retired. However, he devotes considerable time to the business of W. W. Townsend, a dealer of this place, and acts as a bookkeeper for him.
James M. Shortridge was born on November 6, 1849, in Johnson county, Indiana, the son of John and
Ellen (Smock) Shortridge, the former of whom was born in 1822 and who died in 1899. The father was a native of Wayne county, Indiana, the son of George Shortridge, Sr., a native of Kentucky and an early settler in Wayne county. The parents of Ellen Smock were also natives of Kentucky. Her mother died in 1885 at the age of over ninety years.
The parents of James M. Shortridge moved to Greenwood and retired late in life and there died. The farm located near Greenwood, Johnson county, was purchased by James M. and his brother, George, and was farmed by the latter until his death. There were three children in the Shortridge family, George, now deceased; Mrs. Vandelene Washard, of Greenwood, and James M., the subject of this sketch.
When a lad of twenty-two years, James M. Shortridge became a brakeman on the Pennsylvania railroad and followed this occupation for four years. He then took up carpentering and house building in his home locality and also worked for the railroad as a carpenter. He was for four years employed by the Lake Erie & Western railroad as a bridge carpenter.
On November 26, 1879, Mr. Shortridge was married to Allie Martin, of St. Paul, the daughter of Ralph Martin, an early settler of Decatur county. After his marriage, Mr. Shortridge engaged in the hardware business. He bought out the store owned by John Buell and remained in business for thirty years, having been very successful. In 1909 Mr. Shortridge sold out the business. He has extensive real estate holdings in St. Paul, owning a two-story brick building on Main street, a one-story stone building and residence property. He also has two lots and fifty-five acres of farm land, beside other personal investments.
Mr. and Mrs. Shortridge have had four children, Elmer, who is a motorman on the Indianapolis & Cincinnati Traction line and is a machinist by trade; Mrs. Hazel Clark, of Indianapolis; Irene E.*, who is a teacher in the public schools and lives at home, and Helen, who also lives at home and is a student in the high school.
James M. Shortridge was reared a Republican as was his father before him, but late in life the father voted the Prohibition ticket. Mr. Shortridge voted for Horace Greeley and was a Democrat until 1896, when he refused to subscribe to the free-silver doctrine of the Democratic party and voted the Republican ticket, which he has voted ever since. Mr. and Mrs. Shortridge are members of the Christian church, in which he is a trustee. Fraternally, he is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons and is a member of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Masons of Indianapolis and also the Murat Temple, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, at Indianapolis. He is a member of the Baldwin commandery and the KNights Templar at Shelbyville. In May, 1915, he attended the golden jubilee of the Scottish Rite Masons at Indianapolis. In addition to these fraternal relations, Mr. Shortridge is a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks No. 475, at Greensburg.
Of Mr. and Mrs. Shortridge's children, Elmer married a Miss Hess and has one child,
Priscilla. Mrs. Hazel Clark also has one child, June Ellen.
It will have to be admitted that the life of James M. Shortridge has been a distinct and unqualified success, that he has accomplished a reasonable measure of the things he set out to do, and that in his declining years, he may enjoy the comforts of life without the necessity of the toil which characterized his earlier years.
History of Decatur County, Indiana, Lewis A. Harding, Editor. B. F. Bowen & Co, Inc, Indianapolis, 1915, page 786-788.
Submitted by Phyllis Miller Fleming
* Irene Elizabeth Shortridge married Elmer Virgil Rutherford - PMF