John Elliott, Shelbyville
The Elliotts are of Scotch descent, the family having
emigrated from Scotland at an early day, settling in the State of Delaware, where James Elliott, the father
of the subject of this sketch, was born on the 8th day of August, 1792; in an early life, he was left an orphan,
and in boyhood learned the trade of a tanner; soon after this apprenticeship expired, he went to Philadelphia,
where, in 1816, he was married to Hannah Williamson, of that city.
In 1829, he, together with his wife and five children, removed to Waynesville, Warren Co,. Ohio, making the trip across the Alleghanies in a wagon; there he engaged in the milling business, which he followed until 1842, when he, with a portion of his family, came to Shelbyville, Ind., and bought the mill property now owned by Elliott & Co., and known as the "Shelby Mills." In June, 1843, his wife died, after having borne him seven children, six sons and one daughter. He was again married in December, 1847, to Mrs. Olive Dillon, of Indianapolis, to whom was born one daughter. Mrs. Elliott died in the spring of 1851, and during the following year he was married to , who still survives him. In 1816, James Elliott joined the Masonic Fraternity, and at his death, Aug. 20, 1873, was one of the oldest Masons of Indiana, having taken about all the degrees of that order; since coming to Shelby Co., he remained a resident of Shelbyville, with the exception of a few years' residence in Indianapolis, where he was engaged in the boot and shoe business. For one or two terms he was Mayor of Shelbyville, and, although not a member of any church, he was a consistent Christian, one whose life portrayed his religion better than any outward profession could do. By his death, Shelby Co. lost one of its most valuable citizens, one whose influence was ever cast on that side which he believed would add to her prosperity and welfare.
The subject of this sketch was born in Philadelphia, Penn., June 13, 1818, and, being the eldest in the family, was about 12 years old when his parents moved to Ohio, where he grew to manhood, receiving his education in the common schools of Waynesville. He was there married, in the spring of 1844, to Margaret A. Stanton, daughter of Lemuel Stanton, of Warren Co., Ohio. In 1844, Mr. Elliott came to Shelbyville, Ind., and purchased a one-half interest in his father's mill, which occupation he followed until 1850, when he disposed of his business. Mrs. Elliott was a native of Warren Co., Ohio, and had born to her three children, all of whom died in infancy. In 1851, Mr. Elliott went to the World's Fair, at London, England, and Dec. 1, of that year, his wife died. He was again married, March 29, 1852, to Maria Peaslee, daughter of William J. and Huldah Peaslee; Mrs. Elliott's father was born in New Hampshire Jan. 12, 1803; grew up in Vermont, moving to Clinton Co., N.Y., where he married Huldah Banker, of that State, to whom were born nine children, Mrs. Elliott being the second in the family; in 1832, the family came to Shelbyville, Ind., where Mr. Peaslee soon took a leading position as a brilliant advocate, enjoying a lucrative practice until 1843, when he was elected Circuit Judge of this district, and moved to Indianapolis, remaining in that city until 1851, when he returned to Shelbyville and resumed the practice of his profession; in 1857, he went to Chicago, Ill.; came back in 1864, and in 1866 moved to Daviess Co., Mo., where he died July 13, 1868; his widow still survives him, and resides with her daughter, who does everything in her power to make her old days happy and enjoyable. Mrs. Elliott was born in New York State, and has had three children, only one of whom is living, viz., Nora. In 1854, Mr. Elliott went to the Paris Exhibition, and in October, 1855, established the bank of Elliott, Hill & Co., it being the first bank in Shelby Co.; Jan.1, 1858, he sold out his interest in this institution to Samuel Hamilton, and, in 1859, John Elliott and Alfred Major established the bank of Elliott & Major, which they sold out in January, 1865, to Elliott & Co.; it was finally merged into the First National Bank of Shelbyville, which position he has filled continuously to the present, with the exception of one year during his clerkship of the county. In 1870, he was nominated on the Republican ticket for Clerk of the Shelby Circuit Court, and although the county is overwhelmingly Democratic, he was elected, and took his seat Nov. 5, 1871, filling that position four years satisfactorily to the people, making one of the most competent officials the county has ever had. Mr. Elliott is one of the oldest Knights Templar of the Masonic order in this county, and has ever taken a deep interest in everything connected with that fraternity.
There are few men of Shelby Co. so universally respected as John Elliott, his life having been so consistent in every relation as to leave no stain upon his character. In early life, his spirited advocacy of views that he held to be right and sacred, was characteristic; but, as "age crept on apace," he learned to school his feelings, so that the smoothness and uniformity of his present life is the result of rigid discipline and less originally constitutional than his bearing would now indicate. Among his strongest traits of character are integrity and firmness, concentration, aggression, and the ability to supervise; hi is quiet, modest, kind and unassuming, a man of purest moral character, far-seeing and gifted with keen penetration in relation to all subjects that engage his thoughts; these qualities of intellect, together with his steadfastness of purpose, caution and sterling honesty, have brought the golden crown of success, surrounding him with every comfort necessary to make life enjoyable, as well as unbounded confidence of every good citizen.
Atlas of Shelby Co., Indiana, Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co, 1880, pg 28
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming