Biography of Eli Dudley
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Eli Dudley, farmer and stock-raiser; P. O. Ashmore; was born in Coles Co. Jan. 17, 1840, being a son of Guilford and Mary (Wiley) Dudley; to trace the genealogy of the Dudley family from its origin, it would be necessary to begin with the Earl of Dudley, of Dudley Castle, in Staffordshire, England, in the fourteenth century, and follow down through a long line of earls, barons, etc.; this is not our purpose, but we can say that the genealogy is complete and authentic from that point to the subject of the present sketch; the first of the family to come to America was Thomas Dudley, Governor of the province of Massachusetts Bay; many of his descendants held prominent positions in the early history of the country; assisted in the struggle for independence, and are now leading citizens in various parts of the country; the first to come to Coles Co. were three brothers-Moses, James and Guilford; Guilford Dudley was born in Raymond, N. H., Dec. 7, 1795; the day he was 21, he left home, and, going to Ohio, worked on a farm for a year; then went to New Orleans, from which place he came to Coles Co., as early as 1825 or 1826; he worked at first on his brother’s farm, and afterward entered eighty acres of land. He was married in 1829 to Miss Mary Wiley, who was born in Lexington, Ky., April 22, 1812, and came to Coles Co. in 1828; putting up a log cabin on his farm, Mr. Dudley lived there till the fall of 1839, when he erected the frame house now occupied by his youngest son–J. Elbridge Dudley. He held the office of Justice of the Peace a number of years, and also Township Treasurer several terms; he was a quiet man, never seeking notoriety; he followed farming till his health failed, when he opened a store on his farm, which he continued until the starting of Ashmore; he was a successful man, acquiring a handsome property and about 900 acres of land. He died in February, 1864, leaving nine children – Florence (wife of James Routledge, of Douglas Co.), Hannah (married Jarrot Phelps, and died in 1866), John (now of Charleston), Eli, Elizabeth, Nancy J. (wife of S. H. Reed, of Douglas Co.), Philena S. (wife of Thomas Walton, of Ashmore), Moses G. (who died in June, 1868), and J. Elbridge (of Ashmore Tp). Eli Dudley was married Dec. 11, 1866, to Miss Margaret N. Brown, a daughter of Wm. E. Brown; she was born in Madison, Jefferson Co., Ind., July 5, 1842; they have three children – Gleason A., Mary O. and Gerry B. Mr. Dudley owns 400 acres of land, with a beautiful residence, and is quite largely engaged in stock-raising.