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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - Elihu T. McCann

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations," 1878


ELIHU T. MCCANN - Was born in Erie county, Penn., October 7, 1824. Mr. McCann is of Irish ancestry; his grandfather, Hugh MCCANN, emigrated to America from Ireland, about the close of the last century, and settled in Lancaster county, Penn. There were eight children in the family. The third, whose name was Thomas, was the father of the gentleman whose name stands at the head of this sketch. When Thomas MCCANN was a mere boy, he moved with his family to Erie county, Penn., where he afterwards married Harriett CLARK, daughter of Timothy CLARK, a native of that state. This union was blessed with three children - two boys and one girl. Elihu is the eldest. Mr. McCann passed his early life upon a farm, and as his father was an invalid he found the management of affairs largely devolving upon himself. He had but little time to attend school, though he made good use of his opportunity, for acquiring a rudimentary education, and added these to a large experience. On the 13th of May, 1856, Mr. McCann was united in marriage to Martha J., the accomplished daughter of George BROWN, a native of Pennsylvania, but of German extraction. During the following August Mr. McCann and his wife moved to Champaign, where he engaged in the lumber trade for a couple of years. He was appointed to take the census of 1860. When that was finished he engaged in buying stock for the army, with his headquarters in St. Louis, where he resided at that time. In 1864 he went to the oil regions of Pennsylvania, but failing to "strike oil" returned to the city of Champaign, where he has ever since resided. When the town of West Urbana was incorporated and raised to the dignity of a city, with the name of Champaign, no one was found more worthy of the honor of Mayor than the subject of this brief sketch. He was, therefore, the first Mayor of Champaign. He has also served as Marshal four years, and has held the office of constable for sixteen years. So well has he discharged all the duties devolving upon him, that he was unanimously nominated for the office of Sheriff, by the Democratic party, with whom he has always been identified. Although descended from a Whig family, Mr. McCann has been considered a Democrat ever since his majority, but never enters any of the partisan strifes. He has been nominated for various offices, at different times, but was never personally present at a convention in his life.

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