ELIJAH JENNINGS. Among the influential citizens of Pope County, no one has been more prominently identified with her welfare or more interested in her success and prosperity for many years past, than has the gentleman of whom we write. Many years ago he was one of a company formed in this county for protection against thieves and robbers. This was before the days of organized defense against lawlessness, and the early settlers were obliged to be their own protectors. Mr. Jennings was one of a party that captured a gang of robbers who had made themselves notorious by many acts of violence and had acted in defiance of the rights of others. A number of the desperadoes were sent to the penitentiary for life, thus ridding the county of some of the most daring outlaws that ever infested southern Illinois. Mr. Jennings is engaged in farming on section 31, township 1.3, range 6, where he has resided since 1890.
The subject of this sketch was born on Christmas Day, in the year 1822, in Allen County, Ky., his parents being Joseph and Elizabeth (Shadowens) Jennings. The father was a native of North Carolina, the mother's birthplace being in Tennessee. In 1836, they came in wagons to this State, crossing the Ohio River at Golconda, and settling first in Williamson County, where they lived only a short time. They then removed to this county, where they were numbered among the first settlers, and later located in Hardin County, where they were called from this life.
Our subject remained with his parents until reaching the age of twenty-seven years. He attended the subscription schools in Williamson County for about three months in the year, paying at the rate of $1 per mouth, as in those days there were no free or public schools. In his boyhood wild game was very plenty, and many a time has he seen bears, wolves and deer as well as smaller animals in the locality. He first purchased a tract of forty acres in this county near the old Poor Farm, to the cultivation of which he devoted himself for about eight years, when he sold the place and became the owner of one about four miles from Golconda. For nearly forty years he lived on that farm, which he brought under thorough cultivation and greatly improved, so that when he sold it in 1890 it bore little resemblance indeed to the wild and unimproved farm which was his original purchase. This he traded in 1890 for the one where he now makes his home, which comprises eighty acres, besides which he owns a farm of forty acres south of Golconda. He is numbered among the most enterprising and progressive agriculturists of this vicinity.
An important event took place in the life of Mr. Jennings on August 25, 1847, at which time he was united in marriage with Miss Mary Jane Saurd. The lady was born in Hardin County, Ill., July 22, 1828, and departed this life October 27, 1888.
Our subject was again married, March 24, 1889, Mrs. Mary C. (Flannery) Flick then becoming his wife. She was born in Pope County November 4, 1845. Her father was a native of Kentucky, but her mother was born in this State. Our subject had a family of fifteen children by his first wife, seven living, who are named as follows: Emily J., Minerva Armeda, U. S. and Mary J. (twins), Robert, E. L. and Otto C.
For over fifty-two years Mr. Jennings has been an active worker in the church and Sunday-school of the Baptist denomination. For one year he served as Constable, and for a number of years has been School Director and Road Supervisor. He affiliates with the Democratic party, and is a thoroughly patriotic citizen, striving in every way within his power to promote all measures having for their object the elevation of mankind and the good of his fellow-citizens.
Extracted from Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, published in 1893, page 476
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