Sangamon County ILGenWeb © 2000
In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, data and images may be used by non-commercial entities, as long as this message remains on all copied material. These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format for profit or for other presentation without express permission by the contributor(s).

By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

Page 1346

GARRETT ELKIN is a representative of one of the leading pioneer families of Sangamon county. The name figures prominently in connection with the early history of central Illinois and the family record has ever been one of honor, characterized by loyalty in citizenship and trustworthiness in business relations. Mr. Elkin of this review was born in Indiana March 2, 1823. His father, William F. Elkin, born in Clark county, Kentucky, April 13, 1792, removed to Ohio at a very early day and then engaged in clerking for Thomas Constant, whose daughter Betsey became his wife December 5, 1813. She was born in Kentucky June 14, 1799. The removed from Xenia, Ohio, to Brownsville, Indiana, in 1820 and later to Illinois, settling in Sangamon county about 1827. Their home was eight miles north of Springfield on the Peoria road, in what is now Fancy Creek township. The Indians were very numerous in this state, and when the Black Hawk war broke out Mr. Elkin became colonel of a regiment that aided in subduing the uprising of the savages. On his arrival here he purchased a claim and added to it a tract of government land, for which he paid a dollar and twelve and a half cents per acre. This property is now worth one hundred dollars per acre. He followed farming in order to provide for his family and not only became a leading agriculturist but also largely molded public thought and feeling in his locality in an early day. He represented his county in the state legislature in 1828-9 and was again elected in 1836 and for a third term in 1838, being a member of the house at the time of the enactment of the law for the removal of the capital from Vandalia to Springfield. He was one of the famous "Long Nine" members of the legislature - so called because of their height - and among the number was Abraham Lincoln. His last legislative service was during the first session held in Springfield - a call session, December 9, 1839. In 1840 and again in 1842 he was elected sheriff of Sangamon county and he was appointed register of the land office at Springfield in September 1861, by his former colleague and friend, Abraham Lincoln. IN 1867 he removed to Decatur, Illinois, but continued to hold the office in Springfield until 1872, when he resigned. His wife died August 25, 1872, in Decatur, and he passed away in his eighty-fifth year.

Garrett Elkin was reared in the usual manner of farm lads and after his marriage remained on the old homestead for one year. When the Civil war broke out he enlisted in the First Illinois Cavalry under Captain Mohn Burnap and was taken prisoner in Missouri. He afterward returned home, organized a company and joined the Tenth Illinois Cavalry, his command - for he was made captain - becoming Company A. He served with his rank until the close of hostilities and was all through Missouri and Arkansas. In the latter state he was taken ill and left the command at Helena, never expecting to recover, but his constitution finally triumphed over disease. When honorably discharged he returned to his home and family, then living in Springfield. Later he was engaged in the livery business in Jacksonville, Illinois, and in Warsaw, Hancock county, followed merchandising. Subsequently removing to Decatur he engaged in making brick as superintendent for the Illinois Central Railroad Company for three years, and then came to Springfield, where he has since resided. He has witnessed the development of this city from its primitive conditions. He remembers being in Springfield when about six years of age, the place at that time containing a blacksmith shop, saloon, store, a thread mill operated by horse power and a store conducted by Major Iles.

Mr. Elkin has been twice married. In Jacksonville he wedded Mrs. Martha (Church) Tegarden, a widow, who died October 24, 1872. There were seven children by that union. Edwin, the eldest, born in Fancy Creek township, Sangamon county, July 23, 1844, was educated in the public schools of Springfield and when the war broke out he enlisted under his father in Company A, Tenth Cavalry, and was afterward engaged in guarding prisoners at Rock Island. Following the war he learned the tinner's trade and for twenty years he was in public office, proving most loyal to the trust reposed in him. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. He was married in October, 1866, to Ann M. Brown, born in Springfield in 1848, and continued her education in the high school fo Springfield until her senior year. Her parents were William M. and Julia (Swigert) Brown, and she is the third child and only survivor of their four children. She has lived at her present home for thirty-five consecutive years and by her marriage has one son, Lee B. Elkin, who is now deputy circuit clerk and who for seventeen years was with the Adams Express Company. He married Ann McLellan of Decatur, Illinois, June 6, 1893, a daughter of Ed and Judith (Snyder) McLellan, who were pioneer settlers of Macon county, Illinois, and are now deceased. Unto Edwin and Ann (McLellan) Elkin were born three children, two now living - Mary J. and Isabel, both attending school. Lee B. Elkin and his family reside with his mother at No. 310 West Monroe street, and many a family dinner has been served there when four generations were represented, ere the death of Edwin Elkin. There was always an ideal relation between Edwin Elkin and his father Garrett Elkin, before the former died October 2, 1901. His widow is a member of the King's Daughters of the First Christian church, which she and her family attend, and she leads the singing in that church. Charles M., the second son of Garrett Elkin, resides in Springfield. Frank, of Texas, is married and has one child. Walter is married and lives in California. Marietta is now Mrs. Fulham, of Jacksonville, Illinois, and has a daughter Minnie. Ellen and Richard, members of the family of Garrett Elkin, have passed away. On the 1st of May, 1873, Garrett Elkin married Mrs. Matilda Conner, nee Gibbons, who graciously presides over his hospitable home at No. 1232 West Governor street. He owns his own residence and other property on the same street, and is now living in honorable retirement from labor. He belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic and to the Christian church and has led a life of usefulness and activity. Fearless in war, he has been equally devoted to his country in days of peace and has also been true to the teachings of the church with which he has long been identified.

Return to 1904 Biographies Index
Return to Sangamon County ILGenWeb