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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - Leonard C. McElwee

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


LEONARD C. Mc ELWEE. This gentleman, one of the substantial farmers of St. Joseph township, is a native of Pennsylvania, in Dauphin county of which state he was born, November 29th, 1837. His father's name was Carson L. Mc ELWEE and his mother's maiden name Eliza J. BUCHANAN. When the subject of this sketch was three years of age his father emigrated from Pennsylvania and settled in Fountain county, Indiana. This was in the year 1840. In that part of Indiana Mr. Mc ELWEE was raised. He attended school in old log school-houses with split puncheon benches, and teachers with notions about instruction as old-fashioned as the buildings in comparison with the advanced methods of the present day. In the year 1856 his father removed to St. Joseph township, Champaign county, and settled on the farm in the northeast corner of the township where Mr. Mc Elwee now lives.

In March, 1859, he was married to Anna M. SIMONS, of Fountain county, Indiana, where the marriage took place. After that event he moved on an old worn-out farm in Fountain county, which gave a man a poor chance of making a living, and went to farming. His farm he rented ten years. In 1869 he bought eighty acres of timber in Fountain county, part of which he rented to other parties for a year, and then lived on it himself for three years, fencing it and putting forty acres under cultivation. In the year 1874 he purchased his father's farm. His father subsequently moved to Cherokee county, Kansas, and is now living there. Mr. Mc Elwee has since been living on this farm, in section 1, township 19, range 10, where he owns 120 acres of land. He has six children whose names, in the order of their ages, are as follows: Samirah J., Charles F., Eliza D., James C., Aderson C., and Orpha L.

Mr. Mc Elwee, previous to the war of the rebellion, was of democratic sympathies, but is a man who has been conservative and independent in his political ideas. He supported the government during the rebellion, in its efforts to preserve the Union, but at other times has voted sometimes for Republicans and sometimes for Democrats, as he considered they were best qualified for the position to which they aspired. His first vote for president was cast for General Grant, in 1868. He is now a member of the national party, and believes in so conducting the finances of the country that they will serve the interests of the producing classes as well as of those of wealthy capitalists. He was one of the first men to vote the national ticket in St. Joseph township. Personally Mr. Mc Elwee is a man who is favorably known in his part of the county.

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