Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897
[p. 593] In giving a list of the prominent and representative citizens of Lawrence County it would be a greivous mistake on the part of the publishers of this Book of Biographies to omit mentioning the name of the leading farmer and miller of Scott township, William D. Elliott, who is entitled, both by reason of his own eventful life and present position and by the leading part his father and grandfather took in the settlement and development of this section of the country, to honorable mention. From the time that our subject first struck out for himself his lines were cast in many different occupations over widely separated stretches of country, until at the age of thirty-five he returned to his native State and county and settled down in his present position. His grandfather was one of the early surveyors of Mercer, and what is now Lawrence County, and performed valuable work in inducing settlers of the better class to come to this undeveloped country and take up homes.
Our subject was born Jan. 2, 1832, and was a son of James P. and Margaret (Dennison) Elliott, the former of whom was born in Scott township in 1800, and the latter was born in Springfield township, Mercer County, in 1805. William Elliott, our subject's grandfather, was a native of Pittsburg or its vicinity. He took up the civil engineer's profession and fitted himself for frontier work. About 1791 he came into Mercer County and surveyed the country for miles around, and took a hand in building up the country and developing its wonderful resources. He was one of the very first men to settle in Mercer County, and it was through his efforts that many pioneers attracted by his accounts of its excellent features, resolved to make that their home, and so became valued citizens and the ancestors of many of our best people. He became a very prosperous man of that time, and although he died when only thirty-eight years old, about 1812 or 1813, he owned at one time 1,000 acres of land. He did not follow his trade continuously, but settled down on a farm and followed the steady, well-tempered life of a tiller of the soil. The homestead is now owned by his grandson, William D., the subject of this writing. He was liberal and not at all exacting in his religious belief, and was a Whig politically. He married Agnes Perry, a native of Scotland, and to them were born five children: James P., the father of our subject, deceased, July, 1884, aged eighty-four years; Cyrus; Benjamin F.; Nancy, deceased; and Eliza, deceased. Our subject's grandmother departed this life in 1848, aged sixty-five years.
James P. Elliott, the father of our subject, early took up the occupation of an agriculturist, and followed that most independent of all callings for the rest of his life; he also carried on an extensive milling business, which is now one of the chief sources of income of his son, our subject. In his political belief he was originally a Republican, but of late years before his death he voted with the Democratic party. He was a live, energetic, public-spirited man, who was never found lacking in interest in any movement that was calculated to better the condition of the community and result in its advancement from a business, educational, social or religious point of view. He married Margaret Dennison, daughter of William Dennison of Springfield township, Mercer County, and to them were given five children, whose record is given below: Eliza married John Elder and reared a family of five childrenóMargaret, William J., Lillie, Mary, and John; Caroline married Albert G. Courtney of Emsworth, Allegheny Co., Pa., and made him the father of three childrenóJames P. E., Clarence C., and Margaret; Rebecca is deceased; as is James also; and William D. is the subject of this writing. In his religious belief James P. Elliott was liberal in general tendency, and did not belong to any church organization. His wife survived his death one year, passing away to rejoin those gone before, in 1885.
As soon as his schooling was completed, our subject engaged as a clerk in a retail dry goods store in New Castle, where he worked and became acquainted with the business until he went to Philadelphia, where he clerked in a wholesale dry goods store. He remained in that city about two years, and from there went to Pekin, Ill., where he became bookkeeper for a grain and lumber firm, in whose employ he remained for a year and a half. He then engaged as manager and head bookkeeper for a large distilling company in the same place. His next location was in St. Louis, Mo., where he was employed one year as a bookkeeper. He later engaged in the commission business with a Mr. D. B. Martin, continuing in that connection for about three years. He then went aboard the Mississippi steamboat, the Polar Star, which ran from St. Louis to Memphis, Tenn., and was employed on the boat as clerk for about two years. In 1867, having seen enough of a wandering life and desiring to settle down and enjoy the rest of his life, he returned to the old homestead, and has since devoted his attention to farming and milling. He has found the latter business very profitable, and Elliott's mills have a wide reputation among good housewifes for the excellent character of the flour, which is considered to be without an equal in this section. In his political views he adheres strongly to the Democratic principles, and he has held the office of postmaster of Elliott's Mills, besides divers township offices.
In 1878 our subject was joined in marriage with Margaret J. McNair, daughter of William McNair of Erie, Pa., and to them have been given two childrenóJames B., who died when four years and a half of age, and Gertrude, who was born April 9, 1883. In his religious belief our subject is liberal. Socially he is a Mason, being a member of Mahoning Lodge, No. 243, F.& A. M., of New Castle, Pa.
Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897
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Updated: 19 Jul 2001