MCELFRESH, (Rev.) William McKendree, who resides at No. 629 Hardin Avenue, Jacksonville, Ill., has been actively engaged in ministerial duties, in association with the Methodist Church, for upwards of fifty years. He was born in Nicholas County, Ky., April 9, 1825, the son of John and Ann (Becraft) McElfresh, who had six children, William McKendree being the youngest.
Mr. McElfresh was reared on his father's farm and attended the local schools, but until he reached the age of twenty-two years was practically self-taught. His father and family removed to Morgan County, Ill., in 1834, and settled near Ebenezer, where John McElfresh had purchased a farm. John McElfresh and wife were both natives of Maryland. The former was an able preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church, being ordained a Deacon of the Baltimore Conference by Bishop McKendree in 1817. He traveled with the leading lights of the Methodist Episcopal Church in that day, although he was entirely a self-made man. He obtained his education by extensive reading of the best authors and in association with able men. He died in 1845.
In 1836, then in his eleventh year, William McElfresh professed religion at Ebenezer and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church the same day. On July 17, 1850, he graduated from McKendree College, which subsequently conferred upon him the degrees of A.M. and D.D. During the period of working out the problem of his education he taught school several terms. In the fall of 1851 he entered the Illinois Conference, then holding its session in the city of Jacksonville, Bishop Waugh presiding. His superannuation occurred, in the fall of 1895, under the presidency of Bishop Joyce, and at the conference held in the city of Jacksonville.
For forty-four years Mr. McElfresh was in the regular line of the itinerancy, without any cessation; during that period was appointed to eight circuits, ten stations and two districts and in 1872 was a member of the General Conference held in the city of Brooklyn, N.Y.
On October 25, 1853, Mr. McElfresh was married to Matilda J. Belford, and of this marriage four children were born; two who died in infancy; Annie, who was a student of the Bettie Stuart Institute, Springfield, Ill., and the Illinois Wesleyan College, Bloomington, and died April 1, 1903; Katherin, who was a graduate of the Woman's College, Jacksonville, in 1884, later pursued a teacher's course in the Chicago Musical College, and married February 23, 1897, George Montgomery Blair, Sr., and has two children - William McKendree and Marian.