Born in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, Scotland on November 4, 1825, the son of John Shedden and Jean Wyllie young John was educated at the Irvine Academy. He worked on the Glasgow and South Western Railway, later moving to Virginia. Shedden came to Canada in 1855, creating a cartage firm with partner William Hendrie. They serviced the Great Western Railway, and later the Grand Trunk Railway, and maintained offices in Toronto, Hamilton and London. The partnership dissolved in 1859, with Shedden remaining as cartage agent for the Grand Trunk Railway, and he opened another office in Detroit. Shedden was also involved in construction, having worked on the Grand Trunk grain elevator in Toronto and Union Station. He worked on the construction of the Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway and was also a stock-holder and director for the railway company. He also worked on the Toronto and Nipissing Railway which operated from Toronto to the woodlands near Coboconk, with a spur to Jackson’s Point on Lake Simcoe, and eventually became part of the Grand Trunk, then the CNR, and served as its president. Shedden was also a director for The Toronto Daily Telegraph, and served as a director for the St. Lawrence Bank. He was killed at Cannington Station at the age of 47 when he fell trying to walk between moving railway cars on May 16, 1873.