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Published by Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia 1879

Page 212

JASON N. MCELVAIN was born in Simpson county, Kentucky, on the 19th of March, 1826. William McElvain, his father, was a native of Rockbridge county, Virginia. His mother was a native of Pennsylvania. Andrew McElvain was in the war of the Revolution. The father was in the war of 1812, also had a brother in the engagement at New Orleans. William McElvain removed from Virginia to Kentucky in 1807, and remained there until 1850, when in the spring of that year he moved to Illinois, and stopped in Sangamon county where he farmed until 1854, when he sold his farm and lived with his son Jason McElvain until his death, which occurred in 1865. He married Jennie Neely, who was a native of Kentucky. Her parents were of Irish ancestry, and emigrated from New York and settled in Kentucky about the year 1790. She was born in 1792, and died February 1st, 1849, on the old homestead in her native place. Fifteen children were born to them, fourteen of whom lived to the age of maturity. One died at the age of fourteen years; seven have survived the parents. There were ten boys and five girls. One of Mr. McElvain's brothers lives in Montgomery, and represented his county in the state legislature. Jason N. received a fair education in the schools of his native state. He remained at home until he reached his twenty-first year, when he started in life for himself. He came to Illinois and went to work on a farm in Sangamon county, where he remained four years. On the 13th of February, 1851, he married Mary E., daughter of Capt. Fletcher, of Sugar Creek, Illinois. After his marriage he came to Macoupin county and purchased a hundred and twenty-five acres of land in section 29, and commenced its cultivation. Four months later he built a log cabin, near where his dwelling house now stands, and moved into it and remained there for six years, after which he built a large and commodious farm house in which he now dwells. He has since added to his original purchase until he has now five hundred and ten acres of as fine land as there is in Nilwood township. Since he first purchased land his principal business has been stock raising and breeding fine cattle, in which he has been successful. His first wife, Mary E., died August 3d, 1875. On the 19th of June, 1877, he married Miss N. J. Ballinger, daughter of Rev. John H. Ballinger. She is a native of Kentucky, but was raised in Missouri, and was a resident of Macoupin county at the time of her marriage. Mr. McElvain is a member of the Presbyterian church, and his excellent and amiable wife is a member of the Christian church. In politics he is a republican. He was formerly an old line whig, and cast his first vote for Zachary Taylor for President in 1848. He remained with the whig party until the formation of the republican party, and in 1860 voted for Abraham Lincoln, and since that time has been a member of that political organization. Mr. McElvain started in life unaided. When he came to the state he had comparatively nothing but strong hands, industry and abundance of energy. With these he has succeeded in carving out for himself a sufficient competency to support and smooth his pathway down the hill of declining life. In his neighborhood and among the people with whom he has associated and done business for years, he is universally regarded as a man of honesty and fair dealing, and living such a life as commends him to the respect of all.

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