Amos Elliott has had his home in Champaign County fifty-four years, grew to manhood here, and his active life has been one of unremitting industry and capable management as a farmer. His home is in Ogden Township on Rural Route 15 out of St. Joseph.
His birth occurred at Rushsylvania in Logan County, Ohio, January 9, 1851. His parents were Moses and Mary (Bonner) Elliott, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Ohio. The Elliott family came to Illinois in 1860, lived in Coles County a time, but in April, 1863, while the Civil War was at its height, settled in Somer Township of Champaign County, not far from Urbana. Moses Elliott was a blacksmith by trade and he set up a shop and did work in Somer Township while conducting his farm. Amos Elliott was the oldest of seven children. He secured his education largely in the district school of Locust Grove.
Until he was twenty-seven he remained at home assisting his father in the work and then married Miss Sarah Kirby. Mrs. Elliott was born at Hannibal, Missouri, daughter of William and Charlotte Kirby. Soon after her birth her father died and when she was two years of age she was left an orphan “by the death of her mother. There were four children in the Kirby family and after being left orphans they grew up among relatives. A great-aunt of the children was Lucy Clements, who lived in Illinois. Mrs. Clements took one of the Kirby children at the age of two years and some years later, when she again visited her people in Missouri, she brought back to her home the little orphan niece, Sarah Kirby, then nine years of age. Mrs. Clements and her good husband deserve more than a passing tribute. In the goodness of their hearts they reared not only six children of their own but seventeen orphan children, educating them and providing them homes until they were ready to take their places in the world. Some of these children they took when only six weeks old. An example of such generosity and large-heartedness is seldom found, and the world would be vastly better were there more such people. Mrs. Elliott and her children, and perhaps her children’s children, will never be allowed to forget and pay gratitude to the names of James and Lucy Clements. Their home was in the southern part of Somer Township of this county. Here Sarah Kirby attended the Locust Grove district school.
Mr. and Mrs. Elliott were married March 17, 1878, when she was twenty-four years of age. At the time of their marriage they had little of this world’s goods and they lived on a rented farm in Stanton Township for a few years. They next removed to Ogden Township, again rented land, and out of what they made and saved they were finally able to buy eighty-eight acres in that township at a price of $30 an acre. The only improvement was some old fencing and the land abounded in sloughs and wet places. While to many the outlook might have been discouraging, Mr. and Mrs. Elliott began at once with hope and energy, and the years have abundantly rewarded their efforts until today they own 240 acres of farm land and their present home is on an eighty-acre tract adjoining their first purchase. Their home surroundings are now of the best.
The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Elliott were named Clara, Fred, Mary, Emmett, Bertha and Nellie. Mary and Nellie died in childhood. The other children as they grew up were educated in the Union district school. Clara Elliott is now the wife of W. H. Davis, living at Muskogee, Oklahoma, and they have one child, Lavon. Fred Elliott is a farmer a mile and a half south of Ogden and married Maggie Freeman. Emmett Elliott remains on his father’s farm as manager and married Zella Bradley. Bertha Elliott is the wife of Rolla Freeman, an Ogden Township farmer, and they have a son, Rolland.
Mr. and Mrs. Elliott are active members and supporters of the Prospect Christian Church, Mr. Elliott being chairman of its board of trustees. For twenty-one consecutive years he served as school director and for the benefit of his own children and those of the entire community he gave much time and study to every problem involved in procuring the best advantages of instruction. For eighteen successive years Mr. Elliott served as commissioner of highways. He was reared in the Republican party and has always been faithful to its principles. Six of his uncles did service for the country in the dark days of the Civil War, and Mr. Elliott himself would have followed their example had he been old enough. He is a member of the Masonic order, and he and his wife are members of the Court of Honor and two of their daughters belong to the Eastern Star.
When the Elliott family settled in Champaign County not a rod of tile drainage existed anywhere. Mr. Elliott’s father was one of the first to put in any tiling, and whether on their own land or in drainage districts, the Elliotts have always taken a firm stand in advocating this improvement, whose benefit and value can never be properly estimated. It is through drainage largely that Champaign County has become one of the garden spots of the world. Mr. Elliott as a boy recalls a time when the wet lands of eastern Champaign County were a haven for immense flocks of wild geese, crane, ducks, pigeons, and even deer and wolves roamed over the prairies when Mr. Elliott was a boy.