Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


WILLIAM PENN ELSON. It was nearly a half century ago that William Penn Elson came to Boone township, Greene county, Missouri, from the old Buckeye state and here he has resided eve r since, doing his part in the general, change that has come 'over the face of the land,' and his labors have benefited alike the community about Ash Grove and himself, for he had little of this world's goods when he took up his residence on a small farm here just after the close of the war between the states, but by close application and honest dealings he has become one of the substantial agriculturists of the township and owns a large and well stocked farm.

Mr. Elson was born in Stark county, Ohio, September 9, 1837, and is therefore now getting well along in years seventy-seven in number but is still comparatively hale and hearty, having led a careful life. He is a son of John Harris and Osee (Wilson) Elson. The father was born in Brooks county, West Virginia, October 14, 1806, and was a son of Capt. John Harris and Margaret (Wiggins) Elson. Captain Elson was also born in the last named county and state, the year of his birth being 1769. He was a. son of Richard Elson. The latter was a native of Scotland and emigrated to America in old colonial days, and took up a "tomahawk claim" of four hundred acres from the government, in the Old Dominion, now a part of the state of West Virginia, and there he spent the rest of his life engaged in farming, clearing his land and rearing his family of four sons and three daughters. Captain John Harris Elson was an officer in the war of 1812 and also served in the early Indian wars with distinction. His death occurred in 1820. The subject of this sketch is now in possession of his poll-book and many of his papers. His widow survived until 1847. When twelve years of age John Harris Elson, father of our subject, moved to Stark county, Ohio, and there he engaged in farming the rest of his life, dying in 1898. Politically he was first a Whig and later a Republican. He and Osee Wilson were married in 1833. She was born May 15, 1815. She was a woman of rare intellectual attainments for those days and was a great reader. Her death occurred in 1891. The parents of the subject of this sketch were excellent types of the sturdy citizens of Ohio during the century that is past.

William P. Elson grew to manhood on the home farm where he worked when a boy and he received good educational advantages, having attended the common schools and later Mt. Union College at Alliance, Ohio, after which he engaged successfully in teaching for a number of years in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Later he worked at the insurance business in Illinois, and in the town of Fidelity, that state, he clerked and acted as postmaster for three years, then returned to Ohio, where he remained until 1866 when he came to Greene county, Missouri, and purchased eighty acres in Boone township, and here he has since been engaged in general farming and stock-raising, and having prospered with advancing years, is now owner of a fine farm containing two hundred and forty acres under cultivation and forty acres in timber, constituting one of the choicest farms in this part of the county. It is productive, well improved and has on it a large, well-furnished residence and numerous substantial barns and other buildings.

Mr. Elson was married, November 2, 1875, to Elizabeth C. Frame, who, was born in Montgomery county, Indiana, February 13, 1860, and came to Greene county with her father and mother, Samuel Park and Elizabeth E (Harshburger) Frame when she was nine years of age. They settled in Center township and were substantial citizens of the early days. Mrs. Elson received her education in Greene county. She has proved to be an excellent helpmeet in every respect.

Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Elson, namely: Vinnie Ream, born December 23, 1876, is the wife of F. J. Hawkins, a farmer of Boone township; they have three children, Elson C., Carrol and Paul. John Harris, born March 18, 1879, who is in the commissary department of the United States army, is at present stationed at Vera Cruz, Mexico. He is married and has one child, Vinnie. Charles H., born July 1, 1881, is assisting with the work on the home farm; married Laona Wheelock and they have three children, John Harris, Martha E., and Robert B. William Robert, born December 9, 1893, lives on a farm in Boone township; married Frances Hawkins, and they have had two children, Louise and one deceased. Richard P., born November 13, 1887, lives in Fayetteville, Missouri; married Jessie White and they have two children, Vera and William Penn. Archie died at the age of nineteen in the West.

Politically, Mr. Elson is a Republican and religiously a Presbyterian. Fraternally he belongs to the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Masonic order. He has been more or less active in public affairs and has had charge of the Boone Township Republican Committee, and he once made the race for presiding judge of the county court. He is a man of influence in his community and no one is better or more favorably known in the western part of this county.

[1064-1065]


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