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Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa
Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887

JAMES M. ELSON, of Shellsburg, was born in Coshocton County, Ohio, Nov. 6, 1838, and is a son of Samuel and Matilda Elson. His early life was passed in assisting in the various duties of the farm, during which time he received his education by attending the common schools. He continued to make his home in his native State until 1852, in which year he came to Benton County, Iowa, but soon changed his place of residence to Linn County, and was there engaged in agricultural pursuits. In 1861, when the Civil War commenced, he was one of the first to volunteer in defense of the stars and stripes. He enlisted in Co. C, 9th Iowa Vol. Inf., and served his country three years and eight months, when he was mustered out with the rank of Second Lieutenant. Mr. Elson participated in all the battles and skirmishes of the regiment, and at all times proved himself a brave soldier. In the siege of Vicksburg a bullet passed through his right thigh, and at a battle near Atlanta he received a wound in the right breast, the ball taking a downward course and lodging in his side, where it has since remained. After the war he resumed farming in Linn County. In 1869 he moved to Shellsburg and was there engaged in merchandising three years, since which time he has devoted his time largely to the insurance business.

In January, 1864, Mr. Elson was married to Margaret Anderson; her death occurred in 1876. Four children were born to this union, three of whom are living — Frank, John E. and Harry. In December, 1879, he took for his second wife Addie C. Lewis, a native of Vermont.

In January, 1884, Mr. Elson was appointed Postmaster at Shellsburg, vice Charles L. Summers, resigned. He held this office until Oct. 1, 1885, when, on account of the change of administration, he was succeeded by a Democrat. He has frequently been elected to local offices, and at all times discharged the duties with credit to himself and entire satisfaction to his fellow-citizens. He has been a member of the A. O. U. W. since 1876. He is a pleasant gentleman, reserved in his manners, strictly honest, and highly esteemed and respected by all with whom he comes in contact.

Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies"  [database online]  Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 354-355.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on February 18th, 2009.  Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.

Return to: 1887 Biography Index

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