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B. F. Ely


Posted By: Fran Hunt, Volunteer
Date: 10/3/2001 at 14:39:39

From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties – 1890
B.F. Ely, who resides on Section 6, Harrisburg Township, is one of the leading stock raisers of Van Buren County, and to him great credit is due for the advanced grades of stock, which we now find in the community. His farm comprises one hundred and twenty acres, one hundred of which is under a good state of cultivation, while the remainder is timberland. He is also one of the early settlers of the county and has been a witness of much of its growth and development.
The life record of Mr. Ely is as follows. He was born in Hampshire County West Virginia, August 27, 1854, and is the second son of J.W. and Mary E. Edwards Ely, who were natives of the Old Dominion. Only two years of his life, however, were spent in his native state, for when he was a babe of two summers, his parents removed to Illinois where he was reared to farm life, receiving such educational advantages as the common schools of the neighborhood afforded. At the age of twenty-one years he began the battle with the world for position and prosperity and by the exercise of industry, enterprise and good business ability, he has met with fair success. In partnership with his father he first purchased a farm of one hundred acres, but after operating the same for three years they sold out and became owners of his present home.
In the spring of 1884, Mr. Ely was united in marriage with Miss Ida J. Steadman, of Knox County Illinois, the daughter of V.C. and A.J. Steadman, who were natives of the Empire State. The union of the young people was celebrated on March 26, 1884, and has been blessed with three children—May, Lester F. and Maud, and they also lost one. Mr. Ely was reared in the faith of the Methodist Church and holds membership with the organization in Utica. His wife is a member of the Baptist Church. In politics he is a stanch Democrat but has never sought or desired the honors or emoluments of public office, preferring to devote his entire attention to his business interests. As he is succeeding in his undertakings and as his social relations are most pleasant in character, he will probably make Van Buren County his permanent home and thereby the community gains a worthy citizen.
J.W. Ely, who is living on Section 7, Harrisburg Township, was born in Virginia, in 1831, his parents being Benjamin and Rose A. Powelson Ely. His father was a miller by trade and made that his business during the greater part of his life. J.W. was reared to manhood under the parental roof and learned the trade which occupied his father’s attention, following the same for five or six years after reaching man’s estate. In 1856, he left his home in Virginia and immigrated to Illinois, where he believed better opportunities were afforded for a prosperous career than in the older and more thickly populated states along the Atlantic Coast. He had but $50 in his pocket at that time but although his cash capital was small he possessed an unbounded supply of energy, vitality and considerable business ability. He at first rented land but in the course of ten years, aside from meeting all expenses had saved enough to purchase a good farm. Three years longer he remained in Illinois, when in the autumn of 1869, he sought a home in Van Buren County Iowa, locating on Section 7, Harrisburg Township, where he still resides.
In 1850, Mr. Ely formed a matrimonial alliance with Miss Mary Edwards of Virginia, daughter of Robert and Eva Hawkins Edwards, both of whom were of German descent. Unto them have been born four children—Robert, who lives on Section 8, Harrisburg Township; B.F. whose sketch is give above; Ann C., wife of A.W. Warner of Washington Township; and James A. who is engaged in agricultural pursuits in Harrisburg Township. Mr. and Mrs. Ely are members of the Methodist Church of Utica, to which they give liberal support and in which they are active workers. All laudable enterprises are sure to find in Mr. Ely a friend, for he is always willing to aid in the advancement of any interest beneficial to his town and county. He is an inflexible adherent of the Democracy and pronounced supporter of the free-trade principles. He and his son B.F. rank among the leading stock raisers of the county. They make a specialty of horses, keeping on hands only the best grades and these they are constantly improving. They are shrewd, sagacious businessmen, and the success, which has crowned their efforts, is but a just reward of their labors.
I am not related and I am posting this biography for those who may find this person in their family history.


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