This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by Celia Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Eli J. Heller

SOURCE: "Early History and Pioneers of Champaign County, Illinois," by Milton W. Mathews and Lewis A. McLean, editors of the Champaign County Herald, published by the Champaign County Herald, 1886


ELI J. HELLER. In the language of Prof. Draper: "Tell me of the country, the nature and fertility of its soil, the lay of its land, &c., and I will tell you the kind of men it raises." Nothing is truer. Good, rich, generous soil produces broad, liberal-minded men—no narrow contracted creeds or isms shrink and shrivel up the soul of the man who is born, lives and thrives on the broad fertile plains of the west. Ohio has sent to Illinois a class of men who have been an honor to the state.

Eli J. Heller was born in Tuscarawas county, Ohio, Dec. 24, 1836. He is the offspring of Thomas and Mary (TAYLOR) HELLER. His father brought his family to Urbana in the fall of 1851. Here young Heller grew to manhood. He remained at home until the breaking out of the late war. In July 1861, he enlisted in Co. I, 2nd Illinois cavalry. He served three years when he veteranized with his regiment and remained in the service until the close of the war. He was mustered out and honorably discharged in 1866, having served four and a half years. He returned home to Urbana and engaged in draying, and in connection run a hack and baggage line. He subsequently added coal to the business. Under his industrious management the business grew to such proportions that he found himself unable to attend to it, and was compelled to call in assistance. He then formed a partnership with Josiah Toy, and together they have built up a trade that is second to none in this part of the state. They are well equipped for the business, with carriages, baggage wagons, vans and drays, and at a moment’s notice will fit you out with an elegant turnout, haul your baggage, move your furniture, supply you with soft or hard coal in quantities from a bushel up to a car load. Mr. Heller has grown up with the town and is numbered among its most respected citizens. He was a member of the board of aldermen for eight years, during which time many of the substantial improvements of the town were made. He is prominent in Masonic circles and holds membership in various orders in that body.

Mr. Heller was united in marriage with Miss Sarah Ella BLACK, Nov. 20, 1866. She died in April, 1881, leaving three children, named Opal B., Birdie and Aaron T. Heller. Politically Mr. Heller comes from old line whig stock. He cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1860. He attested his adhesion to that party (republican) and loyalty to his country by his enlistment in the army, where he remained, as before stated, until the war was over. Political comment is unnecessary. (Picture available.)

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