Early life[edit | edit source]
Shelley was born in Sullivan County, Tennessee. He moved with his father to Selma, Alabama, in 1836. He received limited schooling, but showed an aptitude for architecture. He became an architect and builder in the 1850s.
In the 1860, 1880, and 1900 Federal Censuses, he was listed as having been born in Tennessee (as were his parents in the latter two censuses).
Civil War[edit | edit source]
With the outbreak of the Civil War, Shelley first entered the Confederate Army in February 1861 as a first lieutenant and was stationed first at Fort Morgan. Afterward, he was attached to the 5th Alabama Infantry and rose through the ranks to be commissioned as a brigadier general.
Postbellum career[edit | edit source]
Shelley was first elected to Congress on November 7, 1876. He received only 37.77% of the vote, but since the Republican vote had been split between their nominee James T. Rapier and the incumbent who was running as an independent, Jeremiah Haralson, Shelley won the election.
Shelly ran for reelection in 1878. With the end of Reconstruction and the rise of intimidation and violence against African American voters, his reelection was much easier. He got 55.38% of the vote. This was 8,514 votes, less than the 9,655 he had gotten two years before, indicating a contraction of the size the electorate in the interim. Haralson made another run for office this year but only received 6,545 or 42.57% of the vote.
Shelley presented his credentials as a Member-elect to the Forty-seventh Congress, but the election was contested by James Q. Smith and the seat declared vacant July 20, 1882. Shelley was subsequently elected to fill the vacancy thus caused and served from November 7, 1882, to March 3, 1883. He presented credentials as a Member-elect to the Forty-eighth Congress and served from March 4, 1883, to January 9, 1885, when he was succeeded by George H. Craig, who contested the election.
He returned to Birmingham, Alabama, and engaged in promoting the industrial interests of that region until his death in that city. He was interred in Oak Hill Cemetery, Talladega, Alabama.
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Charles M. Shelley at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Retrieved on 2008-02-13
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This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.
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