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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of William G. Elder

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



Mr. Elder, one of the substantial farmers of Ogden township, was born in Green county, Pennsylvania, August 16th, 1828. His grandparents on his father's side were from the neighborhood of Dundee, County of Cork, Ireland. They came to America when young and lived and died in Indiana county, Pennsylvania. His father, John ELDER, was born in Indiana county, moved to Green county when a young man, and married Mary Ann THROCKMORTON, whose ancestors were from Berkeley county, Virginia. Mr. Elder was raised in the county of his birth. His educational advantages were limited. He learned the alphabet in Pennsylvania, and after that the only school he attended was a Sunday-school in Virginia. Like Andrew Johnson his wife learned him to write after he was married. He now has a good business education.

He was married December 3d, 1850, to Jane THROCKMORTON, of Green county, Pennsylvania. Previous to this he had traveled through Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Maryland. He had no capital, but about 1850 began the mercantile business, buying goods on credit. He was very successful and accumulated considerable money. An unfortunate venture in the distilling business proved disastrous, and in eighteen months he sank six thousand dollars. He paid his creditors in full, and in 1861 removed to Douglas county in this state. From 1862 until 1866 he was farming near Fairmount in Vermillion county. The latter year he bought his present farm in Ogden township. He owns 246 acres of land, one hundred of which is in Iowa. He has also followed the business of an auctioneer, and has the reputation of being the best in that line in this part of the state. His first wife died October 31st, 1877. His second marriage was on August 1st, 1878, Nancy BEARD, who was born in Union county, Ohio, but was living in Ogden township at the time of the marriage.

In politics he has been an ardent and sincere Democrat. He was a Douglass man in 1860, and through the rebellion believed in supporting the administration in its efforts to preserve the country. Before Ogden township was organized he was elected justice of the peace in Homer township. He was again elected in 1872 in Ogden township, and again in 1873. Although his part of the county was strongly Republican he was elected to this position by a large majority, and performed the duties of the office so impartially and faithfully that on his re-election he received the support of men personally opposed to him in politics, and were not even his personal friends. He had nine children by his first marriage, of whom seven are now living.

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