WILLIAM S. ELLIOTT. Grant county, Indiana, has among its honored retired citizens many men to whom it owes much, men of the highest type of responsible citizenship. They have been useful to the community through their activities in business and agriculture, their public services and their professional achievements, and now, having, stepped somewhat aside from the busy paths that their descendants still creditably occupy, they are entitled to the consideration which they universally receive. Among, these men, one who holds a prominent place in his community is William S. Elliott, now living a retired life at Fairmount, after many years spent in agricultural pursuits.

Mr. Elliott is a member of a family that originated in New England, but which for more than a century and a half made its home in the South. His grandfather was born near Dobson's Cross Roads. in North Carolina, about the year 1800, and was reared to agricultural pursuits. As a young man he moved to Virginia, where he was married to Rachael Overman, a native daughter of the Old Dominion State, and a member of an old and honored Virginia family, and as young married people came to Wayne county, Indiana, probably about the year 1818, as their youngest child was born there in 1819, and the second child, Reuben, the father of Williain S., was horn in the latter part of 1821. In 1822 the family carne on, as they had come from the old Quaker settlement of Virginia, with wagon and teams, and located at what is now the land and location of the present Soldiers' Home in Center township, Grant county. Here Mr. Elliott purchased government land, all wild and undeveloped, and from this property started to carve out a home. The first family residence was a little log cabin on the banks of the Mississinewa river, and there the grandfather died in 1868, his widow passing away at an advanced age some years, later. They were both of old Quaker stock and were themselves well-known and prominent Quakers of this settlement, having come North to avoid the slave-holding element. For many years Mr. Elliott was an elder in the Quaker meetings, and at the time of his death was the head of his church. He and his wife were the parents of twelve children, of whom about one-half died in childhood, while the others grew to maturity, while three are still living, as follows Isaac, who is married and lives in Fairmount, Ohio Elijah, who is married and resides with his family in Michigan and a sister, the Rev. Rachel, wife of Henry Thomas, residing in Howard county, Indiana, and a leading minister of the Quaker faith.

Reuben Elliott, the father of William S. Elliott, was reared in Grant county, Indiana, at the old homestead of his father, and received his education in the church schools. After his marriage he settled down on a part of the homestead, and later, in 1849, the father purchased eighty acres of land from the government, which was then known as Sugar Creek Settlement, at that time in the Indian reservation, hut which later became the site of the present city of Amboy. This became the home of Reuben Elliott, and here he resided until 1869 or 1870, when he moved with his family to Wabaunsee county Kansas There he took up a section of school land and broke a fine farm from the raw prairie developing an excellent homestead, and planting an orchard which became famous throughout that locality and was noted for its beauty being located on a plateau which gave it eminence for many miles surrounding. Reuben Elliott died, honored and respected by all who knew him, in 1897, while his wife passed away there in 1903 at the age of eighty-four years. Mr. Elliott was for many years an elder in the Quaker church, in which his wife was a noted preacher He was a stalwart Abolitionist, and when the Republican party was organized he joined its forces. His children were as follows: William S; Elwood who died unmarried when a young man; Keziah the wife of Pleasant Perry, residing on the old Elliott homestead in Kansas; Mary E who died in infancy; Sarah, who is the wife of William Hinshaw and lives in the vicinity of the old homestead in Kansas; Viretta the wife of Marceta Walton, living at Sunnyside, Washington; Isaac N for years a railroad conductor and engineer in Kansas, who died at the home of his brother William S., of injuries received in a wreck, while his widow and children live in Kansas City, Missouri; and Joseph Clarkson, a railroad carpenter and contractor whose home is in Topeka, Kansas.

William S. Elliott was born on the old homestead farm in Grant county, Indiana, on the present site of the Mess Hall of the National Military Home, January 20, 1844. He received his education in the Quaker and public schools and the Friends' Academy, and in reality has never ceased studying, as he has been a keen student of human nature and an observer all of his life, as well as a great reader. He became a pioneer tile-maker, the first in this section of the State, starting in a crude way and gradually developing his business until he had produced the first steam and gear machine, this being later worked out from his method by Chandler & Taylor, of Indianapolis. This has since been the plan and principle by which all of these machines have been manufactured. In addition, Mr. Elliott early turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, in which he met with unqualified success, accumulating a handsome property in Center and Liberty townships, a part being the present city of Radley, which was named in honor of his wife. There he has more than 200 acres. all in a high state of cultivation, being operated by the most up-to-date machinery and modern methods.

In August, 1862, Mr. Elliott enlisted in Company C Eighty ninth Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry as a private being then not nineteen years of age. He joined for three years service but before he had been out five weeks he was taken prisoner by the Confederates, at Mumfordsville. Shortly thereafter, he was paroled and sent home and six weeks later was exchanged and rejoined his regiment at Memphis, Tennessee. There he did post duty while the army marched on to Vicksburg. Mississippi. but eighteen weeks later during which time Mr. Elliott did much special duty of an important nature, lie was appointed a non-commissioned officer. Early in 1864 the regiment was ordered into the field and went to Vicksburg under General Sherman to raid all that section in the Mississippi as far as Meridian, destroying the enemy's stores, factories, etc., and then returned to Vicksburg. The Eighty-ninth was later sent to meet Banks , at Alexandria , to support that general, but never lost its identity as a part of the Sixteenth Army Corps. Later the regiment was engaged in moving gun-boats and transports up to the Mississippi river, but in April, 1864, left the transports to assist General Banks and his retreating army. . The Sixteenth Army Corps allowed him to retreat through their lines, and then checked the Confederates in the Battle of Pleasanthill, where both sides met with great loss. Later the Union Army retired from the Red river country, and was subsequently sent North and West, against Forrest at the battle of Tupelo, Mississippi, where the general's army was scattered. Returning to Memphis, Mr. Elliott's regiment was sent with others to St. Louis and took part in driving General Price and his army out of Missouri, and then returned to St. Louis and was sent by transport to Nashville, arriving there on the eve of the great Battle of Franklin. Two days of hard fighting ensued, following which Hood's defeated army was pursued to the Tennessee river. The regiment was then sent to New Orleans, and thence via the gulf route to Mobile, where the men were discharged and mustered out of the service, July 26, 1865. Mr. Elliott's record was that of a faithful soldier, who won promotion by reason of his bravery and gallant service.

Returning to his home by way of Indianapolis, Mr. Elliott again engaged in farming on an extensive scale, but for the past two years has made his home in Fairmount, having retired somewhat from active life. He has always been a staunch Republican, and has served as a member of the common council for ten years, being chairman of the board for the past four years, an office which he still holds. At the age of twenty-four years he was made an elder in the Quaker church, in which he served for fourteen years as meeting clerk. And for six years clerk of the quarterly meetings. For the past six years Mr. Elliott has been a trustee of the White Institute of Wabash county, an institution for the care of poor and needy children.

In the fall of 1865 Mr. Elliott was married in Grant county, Indiana, to Miss Ruth Wilson, daughter of Jesse Wilson, a prominent churchman here, and she died eighteen months later without issue. Mr. Elliott's second marriage was to Miss Alice Radley, in Fairmount, Indiana, she born in England, in 1845, and brought to this country as a child by her parents, Samuel and Mary (Bull) Radley. The Radleys have always been agricultural people and Quakers, and the parents of Mrs. Elliott spent their lives in farming in Grant county, where both died. Eleven children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Elliott, all of whom are living, having homes and families of their own. They have well educated and fitted for honorable places in the world and are a credit to their parents and their community. They were born as follows: Wilson R., born May 31, 1869; Mary, born January 19, 1871; Edward E., born February 23, 1872; Elizabeth J., born October 26, 1873; Frederick Charles, born October 23, 1875; Stanley P., born November 1, 1877; Walter W., born February.6, 1879; Gertrude A., born October 19, 1880; Rebecca Ruth, born September 4, 1882; Samuel R., born September 26, 1884; and Lucy, born September 26, 1886.

Blackford and Grant Counties, Indiana A Chronicle of their People Past and Present with Family Lineage and Personal Memoirs Compiled Under the Editorial Supervision of Benjamin G. Shinn
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Submitted by Peggy Karol


GEORGE W. WEBSTER. One of the men of a past generation who helped to make the real history of Grant county was the late George W. Webster. He came to this community at an early day, when conditions were in a most primitive state, and during the long years of his residence hereabouts he played well his part in the development and growth of the city and county. To such men as he the county owes more than may ever adequately be estimated, and perhaps no man of his day is more kindly remembered that is George W. Webster.

Born in Fairfax, Vermont, near St. Albans, he made his home in the vacinity until he was about twenty years of age, then going to New Orleans, next to Piqua, Ohio, and finally coming to Marion, Indiana. Here he followed the trade of a carpenter and contractor, which he had learned as a young man, and he built many houses and bridges in this county among the residences which he constructed being the dwelling house for his father-in-law, Dr. McKinney, in 1836. Railroad building was a branch of construction to which he gave considerable attention, and although a vast amount of work was done on some of the early railroads they were never completed. Among some of the larger edifices which were erected by Mr. Webster were a college building in Chicago, the court house in Marion, which gave place to the present Grant county court house and the Smithson College building at Logansport. Throughout Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana are also to be found many bridges of his construction.

In his political faith, Mr. Webster was a Republican, and at one time he served out an unexpired term as county treasurer, but was never a man to seek public office at any time. His death occurred on the 13th of February, 1892, at the old age of eighty years.

Mr. Webster was married to Miss Maria J. McKinney, the daughter of Dr. McKinney, of Miami county, Ohio. She was born May 12, 1816, in Miami county, Ohio, and she survived her husband but a little more that a year, death claiming her in June 1893. Both had been life long members of the Christian church, and they were known for worthy Christian people, honored and esteemed by all who shared in their acquaintance. They were the parents of eight children, concerning whom brief mention is made here as follows: William C., the eldest, is now vice-president of the First National Bank of Marion, and is a man of influence and high standing in the city in the city where he has long been known. Euretta married Dr. Milton Jay, of Chicago. Dr. Elery C. Webster is a practicing physician of Marion, Indiana. George Webster, Jr., was for twenty-two years cashier of the Marion State Bank, but has recently retired. More extended mention of his life will be found on other pages of this historical work. Marietta married George W. Spencer and lives in Chicago. Three other children of the family died in infancy. All of the surviving children of Mr. and Mrs. Webster are occupying places of prominence in their various communities, and all are well worthy of the esteem and regard in which they are held wherever they are known.

Blackford and Grant Counties, Indiana A Chronicle of their People Past and Present with Family Lineage and Personal Memoirs Compiled Under the Editorial Supervision of Benjamin G. Shinn
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Submitted by Peggy Karol


GEORGE WEBSTER, JR. Before George Webster Jr., settled down to the banking business in real earnest he tried his luck at many and varied business enterprises in all of which he realized a fair degree of success, but in none of which he was entirely contented. But his ten years' experience in banking when he first launched out in independent life seemed never forgotten, and in 1890 he forsook all other interests, returned to Marion, the town in which he was born, and reared, and identified himself with Marion State Bank as cashier, a position he held for twenty-two years. At that time he sold his banking interests and retired from business.

Mr. Webster was born the 28th of October, 1849, at the family home on the corner of Fifth and Washington streets, Marion, a son George W. and Maria J. (McKinney) Webster, both now deceased. Concerning the father extended mention is made elsewhere in this work in a memorial sketch dedicated to him, so that further reference to the parents of Mr. Webster is unnecessary at this point.

George Webster attended when a boy the public schools, and when he was nineteen accepted his first position-a clerkship in a grocery store. It was thus that he earned the money to pay his way through the Bryant and Stratton Business College in Chicago, from which he was graduated after pursuing a full course of business training in that pioneer and still famous business institution. Returning to Marion, he became deputy county clerk, a position he continued to fill for three years. He engaged in the grocery trade when his services with the county were ended, but the venture did not prove an attractive one with him and he soon sold his interest and went to Manistee, Michigan, where he entered the employ of a large lumber concern as bookkeeper. When he once more returned to Marion, in 1879, he was appointed Indiana cashier of Sweetzer's Bank, a position he continued to fill for something like ten years, and he then went to Chicago, becoming interested there in the manufacture of leather goods. For two and a half years he was thus occupied, and at the end of the time disposed of his interests and locating in Wabash, Indiana, purchased the electric light plant, which he remodeled, putting the plant in excellent shape and continued to operate it for eighteen months. It was at the close of that period that he once more retraced his steps to Marion, here buying an interest in the Marion State Bank and becoming its cashier, a position he continued to fill until his retirement from business, in March, 1913. He has earned an excellent reputation for ability in finance in the banking circles of the state, and is reckoned among the most dependable men of the city, and one whose integrity may not be questioned.

On the 14th of February, 1884, Mr. Webster was married in Wabash Indiana, to Miss Marie Daughtery, a daughter of Josiah Daughtery, and they have one son, Lawrence B. Webster. Mr. Webster is a stanch and active Republican, and has done good work in the interests of the party whenever the occasion presented itself. The cause of education is one that has also had his special interest, and he was a member of the Marion school board for nine years, serving it in the positions of president and treasurer. He takes a pardonable pride in the educational system of the city which is his home, and his influence in the moral conditions of the community is a most praiseworthy one. He was a member of the library board that was instrumental in securing for Marion its present magnificent library building, and his honest endeavors for the advancement of the city has been felt along every possible line. Fraternally he is associated with the Knights of Pythias, Grant Lodge, No.103, of which he was the first chancellor commander and was for five years grand treasurer for the state of Indiana. He is at the present time a member of the Board of Trustees of the Indiana Boys' School, located at Plainfleld, Indiana.

Blackford and Grant Counties, Indiana A Chronicle of their People Past and Present with Family Lineage and Personal Memoirs Compiled Under the Editorial Supervision of Benjamin G. Shinn
Volume I Illustrated
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Submitted by Peggy Karol


JAMES CHARLES. The Charles family was founded in Grant county more than half a century ago and its name has been most prominently and worthily linked with the progress and upbuilding of the city of Marion, judicial center of the county. The late James Charles was a young man at the time when he established his home in this city and through ability, close application and sterling integrity of purpose he gained and long retained precedence as one of the leading business men and influential citizens of the county, where his memory is held in lasting honor. Virtually his entire active career was devoted to the milling business and he became on of the leading exponents of this line of enterprise in central Indiana. He was a man of broad views and sound judgment, vigorous and self-reliant. loyal and public-spirited, and his strong individuality combined with sterling attributes of character to make him well equipped for leadership in popular sentiment and action. He held various positions of public trust, including that of representative of his district in the state senate, and his high standing in the community that long represented his home and the stage of his activities renders most constant the memorial tribute accorded to him in this history of Grant county.

James Charles was born in Cornwall, England, on 22nd of December 1835, and in both the paternal and maternal lines was a scion of the stancher English stock. He was the tenth in the order of birth, of twelve children of Richard and Mary (Oates) Charles. His father was a miller by trade and vocation and followed this occupation in his native land until 1854, when he immigrated with his family to the Untied States. He first located in Buffalo, New York, but about one year later he came to Indiana, and established his residence in Grant county, where he continued to be identified with the milling business during the residue of his active career, his death having occurred at Marion in 1905, and his wife having survived him by several years.

In the schools of his native land James Charles received a good practical education, which he later rounded out and made symmetrical through self-discipline and active association with men and affairs. He learned the miller's trade under the effective direction of his honored father and he anticipated his parents and other members of the family in coming to America, as he crossed the Atlantic in 1854. Soon after his arrival he found employment at his trade in the city of Buffalo, New York, where he was thus engaged for three years. He then came to Indiana and first located in Fort Wayne, but in December of the same year he came to Grant county and assumed charge of the City mill, the leading flouring mill in the county. He operated this mill for a period of fourteen years. And then retired from active business , but at the expiration of one year he again rented the mill, of which he became the owner in 1881. He made many improvements to the property and kept the same up to a high standard in its mechanical equipment and other accessories. He continued the operation of the mill for many years with marked success, having retained the same in his possession until his death, which occurred on the 8th of December, 1905. From the time of their marriage until their death he and his wife lived continuously in on locality, though various improvements were made upon the lot and the house with the passing of years.

Mr. Charles was an aggressive business man, fertile in expedients and an indefatigable worker, but he did not hedge himself in with the affairs and exactions of his business interests, but stood foremost in giving his influence and tangible co-operation in the support of measures and enterprises tending to advance the civic and material welfare of his home city and county. He served two terms as a member of the city council, and in 1880 further evidence of popular esteem was given by his election as a member of county commissioners, to which important post he was re-elected in 1882 and in which he advocated progressive policies and labored zealously for the proper administration of the affairs of the county. He loyalty to the land of his adoption was of the most intense order, and he was well fortified in his opinions concerning matters of governmental and economic policy, his allegiance being given unequivocally to the Republican party as a representative of which he was finally elected to the state senate, in which body he made an admirable record.

On the 1sr of July, 1880 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Charles to Miss Sarah Elma Secrist, who was born in the state of Ohio, on the 26th of June, 1842, and who was the daughter of John Secrist, a miller by trade and vocation. The home life of Mr. and Mrs. Charles was marked by ideal relations and associations and she survived him by several years. She continued to reside in the old homestead until her death, which occurred on the 1st of September, 1912, and her name is held in affectionate memory by all who came within the sphere of her gentle and gracious influence. Of the eleven children of Mr. and Mrs. Charles six attained maturity, and of these John Edwin died in 1887. The five children who survive the parents are all residents of Marion. Miss Lulu Charles is a popular factor in the social life of her native city; James F., is a representative member of the Marion bar and is individually mentioned on other pages of this work; Harry S. is employed by the Marion Light and Heating Company; Mark E. is engaged in general contracting; and Bessie is the wife of A. L. Highes.

Blackford and Grant Counties, Indiana A Chronicle of their People Past and Present with Family Lineage and Personal Memoirs Compiled Under the Editorial Supervision of Benjamin G. Shinn
Volume I Illustrated
The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1914
Submitted by Peggy Karol


JAMES F. CHARLES. On other pages of this work is entered a memoir to the late James Charles, who was one of the honored pioneers and influential citizens of Grant county, and thus it is not demanded that the record of his career and of the family history be repeated in the following epitome of the life of his son, James F., who is one of the representative members of the bar of his native county and who is engaged in the successful practice of his profession in the city of Marion, judicial center and metropolis of Grant county.

James F. Charles was born in the city that is now his home and the date of his nativity was December 30, 1872. He received his early educational discipline in the public schools of Marion and was graduated in the high school when but fourteen years of age, in 1887 a fact indicating his receptiveness and also his ambition and appreciation. He was at the time the youngest person ever graduated in the Marion high school. After leaving school he gained practical and valuable business experience by entering the flour mill conducted by his father, and with the operation and business management of the same he continued to be actively identified until 1896, in the meanwhile showing himself of distinctive business acumen a trait evidently inherited from his father and grandfather, the names of both of whom have been prominent in connection with industrial activities in Grant county.

Desirous of fitting himself for a broader field of endeavor, Mr. Charles severed his association with his father's business and was matriculated in the law department of the celebrated University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. In this institution he was graduated as a member of the class of 1898 and he received therefrom his well earned degree of Bachelor of Laws. He then returned to his native city and was forthwith admitted to the Indiana bar. He has become continuously engaged in the active practice of law in Marion since the autumn of 1898 and has gained secure prestige as one of the prominent and resourceful of the bar in Grant county. He has won success through close application and the proper utilization of his admirable powers as a strong and versatile advocate and well fortified counselor. He continues a close student and is specially well fortified in the involved and exacting science of jurisprudence, the while he is a stickler in the observance of the unwritten ethical code of his profession so that he commands confidence and high regard of his confreres at the bar, as does he also those of the general public. In the practice of his profession ha has had various partnership alliances but his law business is now conducted in an independent way, with the clientage of important and representative character.

Like his honored father Mr. Charles has been unwavering and zealous in the support of the Republican party and he is one of its influential representatives in this section of the state. Through several important campaigns he served as vice-chairman of the Republican central committee of Grant county and he has otherwise been active in furthering the party cause. He has served as city attorney of Marion for the past ten years, under three different administrations and his long retention of this position indicates the value of his services and the estimate placed upon him in the community that has ever been his home. Upon the organization of the present Grant County Bar Association Mr. Charles had the distinction of being elected its first president, and he is one of its active and valued members at the present time. He is essentially progressive and liberal in his civic attitude and gives his support to those undertakings that tend to conserve the general good of the community. Ha is secretary and a director of the United States Glove Company, representing one of the important industrial enterprises of Marion, and is an influential member of the Marion Civic Assembly. He is Past Exalted Ruler of the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks and a member of the Knights of Pythias.

Connubial responsibilities were assumed by Mr. Charles on the 11th of June, 1907, when he wedded Miss Edith M. Esler, who was born in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, and the two children of this union are Robert Franklin. who was born May 12, 1908; and Edwin Esler, who was born June 26,1911.

Blackford and Grant Counties, Indiana A Chronicle of their People Past and Present with Family Lineage and Personal Memoirs Compiled Under the Editorial Supervision of Benjamin G. Shinn
Volume I Illustrated
The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1914
Submitted by Peggy Karol


Deb Murray