ELI W. RICHIE has for many years been a resident of this county and during that time has won an honorable place for himself among its industrious and thrifty farmers, aiding in the development of the agricultural resources of South Palmyra township, where he has made for himself and family a comfortable home. His native place is Cabarrus County, N.C., and October 25, 1833, the date of his birth. His father was Jacob Richie, who is also supposed to have been born in that State. There he was reared to the life of a farmer, married and engaged in agricultural pursuits in Cabarrus County until his premature death in 1836, while yet in life's prime. His widow was thus left with seven children to care for. Her maiden name was Elizabeth Walker and she was a native of Cabarrus County. She did not long survive her husband but died September 3, 1840.
Our subject was thus left an orphan at the tender age of seven, and he lived with an elder brother some years. He grew to be a strong, self-reliant lad, and at an early age he started in life for himself by working on a farm by the month. When he was sixteen years old he went to Tennessee to live with a farmer in Washington County. The agreement was that he was to live with him until he was twenty-one, and in consideration for his services he was to receive his board and clothes, twelve months' schooling during that time, and a horse, saddle and bridle when he left him.
The man did not clothe him and after a year of hard labor under this rough taskmaster our subject left him and found employment elsewhere at $8 a month. In 1853 he engaged with a man to drive a team from Tennessee to Illinois, and starting on his journey in the fall of that year he arrived at Girard after a month's travel. He found work there for a time, and then coming to Palmyra he was employed in the village by the job or month for a year and a half. At the expiration of that time he rented land and proceeded to put in a crop, and he then bought a quarter of a section of land in South Palmyra township. After a two years' residence on that place he sold it and bought another in South Otter Township. Two years later he sold that property and the succeeding two years farmed as a renter. He next bought a tract of land in South Palmyra township, upon which he resided until 1875 when he purchased his present home, which was formerly the property of his wife's father and is a well-equipped and finely cultivated farm.
Mr. Richie has not been without the help fo a good wife who has been an important factor in his prosperity, as he was married in 1855 to Miss Sarah Ross. They have eight children - Julia, James, Robert, William, Franklin, Carrie, Milton and Morris. Mrs. Richie is a native of South Palmyra township, of which her parents, Robert and Mary Ross, were pioneer settlers. Her father was a native of North Carolina and a son of Reuben Ross. The latter, who was a farmer came to Illinois in the early years of its settlement, and was one of the original pioneers of Morgan County, where the rest of his life was passed. Mrs. Richie's father was four years old when his parents removed to Tennessee, and he came from there to Illinois in 1830. He settled first in Morgan County but subsequently came to this county and bought the farm on which our subject now lives. He immediately entered upon its improvement, building first a log house for the shelter of the family, and in that primitive dwelling Mrs. Richie was born. He carried on farming on his homestead until death closed his mortal career. Mrs. Richie was educated in the pioneer schools of the time and received a careful training in housekeeping, besides learning how to spin, weave and knit, so that she was perfectly able to care for a house of her own when she married, and could make cloth for garments and other use.
Mr. Richie is a shrewd, practical man, skillful in his calling, of a social, obliging disposition, and he stands well in his community. He is a respected member of the Scottville Lodge, A.F. & A.M. which he joined in 1864. In his political sentiments he is a sturdy Democrat.