ELIAS TONGATE, one of the prosperous farmers of the county, is located on section 3, South Palmyra Township. He has one hundred and twenty-one acres of well improved land and is prosecuting his chosen work with the zeal and intelligence that make a success of an undertaking. He belongs to one of the pioneer families of the county, his grandparents having brought their family hither in 1837. Grandfather Tongate, whose given name was Achilles, was born in Amherst County, Va., removed from his native State to Kentucky, thence to Missouri and to this State in 1836. For about a twelvemonth he resided in Morgan County, then made a permanent location near Palmyra. He and his faithful wife lived together sixty-six years, and he survived her only a few years, reaching the venerable age of ninety-three. He sat on the jury in the first murder trial in this county which brought in a verdict of guilty and was followed by a hanging. Grandfather Tongate accumulated a fortune of about $10,000, which was divided among six sons and a daughter.
Micajah C. Tongate, father of our subject, was born in Green County, Ky., June 1, 1821, and having accompanied his parents to this State, grew to maturity here. November 16, 1843, he married Melinda Fletcher, a native of Kentucky who died August 24, 1853. She had four children, two of whom survive - Elias and Nancy J., the latter now the widow of William Davis. In June, 1854, Mr. Tongate made a second marriage, wedding Mary A. Cherry, a native of Tennessee, who came to this State when quite young. This union was blest by the birth of five children, four of whom are now living and all in South Palmyra Township. The third of these is William M. and the youngest is Hattie L., who is unmarried. The others are Vesta H., wife of James W. Challacombe, and Ida M., wife of F. K. Strale. The mother died in December, 1883, and the father passed away July 19, 1890. Mr. Tongate left an estate of two hundred and forty eight acres of well-improved land. He was a Democrat and never failed to deposit his vote. He never sought office but was sometimes chosen for local positions of Trust. He was a member of the Masonic fraternity.
Elias Tongate was born in this county January 12, 1848, was educated in the common schools and reared as a farmer. He thoroughly understands his calling and secured good results for his labors. He was married, October 26, 1873, to Clara E. Childs, who was born in this county in 1850. She was removed from her family by death in 1881, leaving to the tender care of her husband two daughters - Melinda C. and Nellie M. She was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Her father was Thomas W. Childs, whose name is familiar to many of our readers. Mr. Tongate is a Democrat and a member of the Masonic fraternity. He has held township offices and has worthily discharged the duties pertaining thereto and at the same time has been a good citizen and one who is respected by his acquaintances.
William M. Tongate whose home is on section 4, South Palmyra Township, is the only surviving son of Micajah and Mary (Cherry) Tongate, and is therefore a half-brother of our subject. The history of his paternal ancestors has already been given in brief. His mother was born in December, 1825, and accompanied her parents, William and Anna (Crawford) Cherry, to this State in 1833. They settled in this county and the parents died soon after. Miss Cherry received a good common school education and for nine years was engaged in teaching in this State and Missouri. She abandoned her profession in order to become the wife of Mr. Tongate and immediately after their marriage they settled on the land the husband already owned. She was somewhat of an invalid for twenty-two years but was able to be up until within twenty-four hours of her death. She was a member of the Christian Church. William Tongate is living on the homestead and he is unmarried; his sister Hattie is his housekeeper. He is a well-respected young man, a good farmer and citizen, and a pleasant companion.