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Capt. David L. Elliott

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Capt. David L. Elliott

Huntington County Volunteer (View posts)
Posted: 953812800000
Classification: Biography
Edited: 993311417000
From Biographical Memories of Huntington County, 1901

Among the popular and reputable citizens of Warren is the present efficient postmaster of the town, Captain David L. Elliott, who was born in Randolph county, North Carolina, January 21, 1835, being the son of John and Cynthia Swaim Elliott. The father died, when David was but three years of age, and six years later he was left an orphan by the death of his mother, who had married a second time, and at her death left four children, of whom David was one, his two full brothers being Henry B. and Edward M., and the sister, Mary M. His mother was aunt to the former pioneer of this vicinity, Samuel H. Swaim, of whom mention will be found elsewhere in this work. Another sister was Elizabeth Stanton, the mother of nine children. Deciding to join her brother in Indiana she volunteered to bring the Elliott children with her to the new country, and made the journey in the fall of the year 1844. She had but one horse, and accepted the companionship of two young men, each of whom owned a horse, and using these on the one wagon the trip was made with considerable success, though several of the children had to walk all the way. This lady was a remarkable woman for those days, having great capacity for management and hard work, as exemplified by her taking a lease on a tract of land and with the assistance of her children, her eldest son being then but fourteen, cleared it up and made a comfortable home. Some years later she accompanied her youngest son to near Liberty Center, where she resided until her death at the advanced age of eighty. Henry B. Elliott is well remembered as a carpenter by trade, who late in life removed to Clinton, Henry county, Missouri, where he passed away in 1885. Edward M. became a carpenter by trade, the greater part of his life being passed in the western part of the state; Mary M. became the wife of James Becker, and removed to Shawneetown, Illinois, where she died while yet a young woman. Young David was bound until twenty-one years old to George Gephart, with whom he acquired a most excellent training in the features of industry and frugality that have since served him so well. In the years of his youth an advanced school was conducted in Warren by two very able and conscientious Presbyterian ministers by the name of Morrow, the reputation of the shcool being not limited to a narrow circle. This school David attended for a time, and upon the attainment of his majority received a horse, saddle and bridle, as per agreement at the time he had gone to make his home with Mr. Gephart. He had also received the benefits of attendance at the Methodist Female Academy at Ft. Wayne, acquiring sufficient ability to conduct a district school, and subsequently had charge of the country school where he had himself been a pupil. After clerking one year at Alexandria he joined his brother Edward, who was engaged in carpentering and bridge building, with whom he remained for some years, when he secured a position as brakeman on the Big Four Railroad, running out of LaFayette. He thus continued until the outbreak of the war, when the demands of the country in those uncertain days of the spring of 1861 found him ready to offer his services which he did, and was enlisted in Company E, Tenth Indiana, April 17, 1861. The renowned Colonel Manson, of Crawfordsville, was in command of the regiment, which was sent to the mountains of western Virginia, under McClellan, and was a part of the troops engaged in the first important battle of the war, that of Rich Mountain, the first having been a minor engagemnt at Phillipi. After service at Laurel Hill, Beverly, Webster and Belmont, the term of enlistment expired and he was mustered out. He returned to his old home at Mr. Gephart's, assisting in the conduct of the farm until August 1, of the next year, when he volunteered in Company E, Seventy-fifth Indiana. Being with Captain David H. Wall, and the only man of the company who had seen service, he was made orderly sergeant, George H. Good was first lieutenant, and Joseph L. Goshorn, second lieutenant. John Morgan kept the regiment rather busy all the remainder of the season until the battle of Stone River, when a forced march was made from Castalian Springs to Nashville and Murfreesboro, reaching the scene of the battle on the following day. In June this command made up part of the force of Rosecrans on the famous Tullahoma campaign, participating in the battles of Chattanooga and Chickamauga. In November of 1862 he had been made a second lieutenant and had command of the company from Christmas, though his commission was not received till the following February, which was soon followed, March 16, by the captaincy, retaining that rank until the close of the war. His company was one of the heavy losers in the battle at Chickamauga, out of forty-five men going into the battle on Saturday, but three reported unhurt at the close, he himself being slightly wounded in the leg, though no bones were broken. The winter of 1863-4 was passed at Ringgold, Georgia. In May, when the command joined Sherman it took part in its first action of the Atlanta campaign,--that at Resaca,--from whence the regiment was in all the principal actions of that memorable summer, terminating with the evacuation of Atlanta. It was sent in pursuit of Hood as far as Gaylesville, Georgia, but was recalled to join Sherman on the important "march to the sea," thus severing the confederacy in two. The division was on the extreme left of the army, and in touch with the cavalry under Kilpatrick, and marching in this relation to the army from Columbia northward to the Catawba, which was found out of banks. Here a serious difficulty was encountered, the rebels having cut the timber above the point where the federals had stretched their pontoons, it was carried down with the flood and swept away the pontoons, necessitating a considerable delay, ten days being consumed by the troops of General Jeff C. Davis in completing a bridge before a crossing was effected. The main army was not overtaken until Fayetteville was reached, though this division was the first to enter that city. After the actions at Bentonville and Smithfield, the regiment was sent on to Goldsboro and Raleigh, being stationed at various places until after the surrender of Lee's army, the troops of which passed through the lines of the federals, who rendered considerable assistance to them in their deplorable condition, seven of them being fed at one time by Captain Elliott. The army marched to Washington and took part in the grand review after which the company, then consisting of forty-two men, was discharged, though the muster out was deferred until the capital of their own state was reached, June 8, 1865. Captain Elliott was never absent from his command a day, but led his boys into every engagement; and though in many extremely warm situations, was wounded but the once. He became very much endeared to the men, whose every hardship was shared by him, and the friendships there formed have ever since continued to strengthen--the links of comradeship being more closely drawn at the present time than at any previous period. The relations of officer and soldier having been continued on the basis of general comradeship by means of the Grand Army and the various reunions of old companions, Captain Elliott has found much pleasure therein, and has revisited the scenes of former trial and bravery, especially the battle grounds of Chickamauga Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge.

Upon his return from these years of hardship and trial, Captain Elliott engaged in farming some three miles southeast of Warren, remaining on the same estate until he accepted the present position of postmaster in September, 1897. He has ever evinced a live interest in the affairs of the public, as he considered it the duty of every citizen, though he had never aspired to honors conferred by the holding of official positions. He has ever retained the esteem and confidence of the principal public men of the state, who have felt that his services should have more explicit recognition than he had sought, and when he decided to allow his name to be mentioned for the present office the place came to him without effort and to the satisfaction of the many hundreds of warm friends. While he was operating the farm he made many extensive and important improvements, including the laying of two thousand five hundred rods of tile, which brings the entire tract of one hundred and eighty-five acres into a most desirable condition for cultivation. Six oil wells add materially to the general income.

Captain Elliott was united in marriage August 6, 1865, to Miss Martha A. Morrison, daughter of Leander Morrison, who was one of the prominent pioneers of this section of the county, she herself being born in Salamonie township in 1842. The family consists of four children, the eldest being George C., who operates the farm; Clarence R. is identified with the oil development in Pulaski county; Alice B. is the wife of M. J. Anderson, a farmer of Salamonie; and Mary M. is a maiden lady still living with her parents.

The Captain has generally been found in the conventions of the party, and has served in the capacity of committeeman for the township, and, much against his desires, acted as justice of the peace for four years.

Ever assisting in the advancement of the moral tone of the community in which he has lived, the Captain has been an influential member of Mt. Zion United Brethren church, entering actively into the organization of a new society in Warren when he came to the town, a remarkable thing about this organization being the fact that a church building was completed and dedicated before the society was brought into existence.

The two half-brothers of the Captain, John and Alfred Loudermilk, remained in the old Carolina home, and both served the lost cause most faithfully. The eldest of them still resides near the old home, where he was visited recently by the Captain, who found much pleasure in reviewing some of the scenes of his youth. His brother has kept up the ancient reputation of the family, being the father of fourteen children.

Alfred came to Indiana soon after the war, knowing that the others had been brought to this state, and exerted himself to find them. Learning of people of the name here, he came to Warren, where his inquiries soon placed him in touch with the Captain. He later secured a farm in Salamonie, where he resided until some ten years since, when he removed to Liberty Center, Wells county, where he now resides.

Captain Elliott is so widely and favorably known that were it not for the purpose of preservation of character, it would be presumption to attempt further expression touching him, his reliability and popularity being sufficient evidence of the excellence and moral worth of the man, than whom no citizen of Warren stands higher in the estimation of those whose desire is the uplifting of the general civilization of the community. No move having the betterment of the place in view but finds in the Captain a most ardent champion and contributor. His genial and gentlemanly bearing upon all occasions, that which made him so dear to his comrades in arms, have become emphasized by the passing of years until no one more fully exemplifies the elements of the old time country gentleman, whose courteous demeanor and genial presence adds materially to the pleasure and comfort derived by the visitor wherever he is a guest. It is to such staid and substantial men, whose good common sense shapes the course of events, that the great prosperity of this section is largely due, and our only regret is that more of the minute matters of our subject's life have not been more fully portrayed.

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