ELIAS H. BABCOCK. - Elias H. Babcock, who is now living a retired life in Springfield, where he has made his home since 1887, dates his residence in Sangamon county from 1852, and in the half century which has since elapsed he has witnessed many changes here as old time conditions have given way to modern improvement and the work of progress has been carried forward. Mr. Babcock was born in Muskingum county, Ohio, March 16, 1827, upon a farm situated in the midst of the forest. He is of German lineage and a son of James I. Babcock, who was one of the pioneer settlers of Ohio, removing to Muskingum county from Orange county, New York. In the Buckeye state the father married Jeanette Sarch, who was of English lineage, and they resided in Ohio until 1853, when they came to Sangamon county in a prairie schooner. Their children, Isaac, Julian, Elias, James, Luke, George, Charles, Zale and Mary, were all born in Ohio, and attended the early schools of Muskingum county, while later they became students in the schools of Sangamon county. The family home was established on Sugar creek near Auburn, where they lived for some years, and then removed to Gardner township, where the father purchased land and carried on general farming until his death, which occurred November 5, 1864. His wife passed away in 1883, and like him, reached an advanced age. Two of their sons, Luke and George, were soldiers of the Civil war, the former enlisting at Kansas City, Missouri, and the latter in this county. Isaac is now living in Gardner township at the age of eighty-two years; James makes his home in Macon county; Luke is living in Kansas City; George is a resident of Gardner township, this county; Charles is also living in Kansas City. Through a long period the representatives of the family have been numbered among the honored residents of central Illinois.
Elias H. Babcock, the fifth child of his father's family was educated in the subscription schools of Muskingum county, held in log schoolhouses. In his youth he assisted in the arduous task of developing a new farm in the midst of a densely timbered region, and after he had reached manhood he chose as a companion and helpmate for life's journey, Miss charlotte Reed, their marriage taking place in Licking county, Ohio, December 22, 1850. Mr. Babcock had gone to Hanover township, that county, in order to learn the blacksmith's trade, and while there became acquainted with Miss Reed, who was born in that township, February 17, 1823. Her father, Samuel Reed, was a carpenter and one of the pioneers of Licking county, where he died about 1842. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Elsie Nichols, passed away about 1853, and the only surviving member of the family, as far as is known, is Mrs. Babcock. The only child born to our subject and his wife died in infancy.
In 1852 Mr. Babcock and his wife came to Sangamon county, settling in Gardner township, where he established a shop and engaged in blacksmithing and wagon making, in addition to the cultivation of his farm. He purchased seventy-five acres of land in that township, and his landed possessions still comprise ninety-six acres. In 1875 he abandoned blacksmithing and gave his entire attention to farming from that time until 1884, when he went to Santa Barbara, California, intending to make his home there, but he found that Sangamon county was to him a better place of residence, and in 1887 he returned. He then took up his abode in the city of Springfield, and, purchasing his present home at No. 624 South New Street, he has since lived retired here, merely giving his attention to the supervision of his invested interests. In addition to his residence and farm property, he owns a dwelling at No. 622 West Edward street.
In politics Mr. Babcock is a Republican, but has never been an aspirant for office. His father was a poor man, not able to aid his children in the business world, and as a boy Mr. Babcock started out to make his own way in life. What he has is attributable to his earnest labor, careful management and the assistance of his estimable wife, who has indeed been a faithful helpmate and companion to him. They have always been liberal supporters of church and charitable interests, and are people of genuine worth, and have lived quiet, unassuming lives, but have gained the respect of all who know them.