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J. E. Jellison is the man chiefly responsible for giving Auburn one of its thriving industries, the Auburn Broom Company, of which he is one of the proprietors. Mr. Jellison is a broom maker of wide experience, and is a man of affairs generally. He is well known as a public speaker, having gained his early reputation as a schoolboy orator, and is frequently heard in democratic party campaigns, his services in that line being much in demand.

Mr. Jellison was born in Randolph County, Indiana, May 17, 1879, a son of Joseph and Mary (Cullen) Jellison. His father was also a native of Randolph County, and when eight years old ran away from home to join the army in the Civil war. While he was much too young for active service the company managed to keep him as a sort of mascot until the close of the war. His wife, Mary Cullen, was born on Kelly's Island near Sandusky, Ohio, and came to Indiana when nineteen years of age, her father being a man of wealth at Union City, Indiana. After the war Joseph Jellison entered the railroad service, helped grade the Panhandle Railroad, was a brakeman for some years and later a conductor of the Big Four. He was a Catholic and a democrat. There were five children in the family: Florence, deceased; J. E.; Alice, wife of O. C. McLaughlin, of Dayton, Ohio; Leo, who is married and lives at Dayton; and Marie, unmarried and living at Portland, Indiana. The father of these children died March 7, 1907.

J. E. Jellison spent three years of his early life at Indianapolis, but secured his education chiefly at Portland and Union City, graduating from the Portland High School in 1898. While in high school he represented the Town of Portland in an oratorical contest held at Richmond and was awarded third honors. For a time he was a drug clerk, was with the Adair Brothers in the drug business from 1899 to 1901, and in the latter year became a broommaker at Ridgeville, Indiana. After three years he returned to Portland and bought a drug store, which he conducted for two years. He resumed the broom making business at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where he remained three years, was similarly engaged at Richmond, Virginia, for two years, and then returned to Ridgeville and was secretary of a broom company there and later its sales manager. Mr. Jellison came to Auburn in 1916 and has built up the plant and industry of the Auburn Broom Company and made it one of the flourishing concerns of DeKalb County. In April, 1901, he married Miss Blanche Burke, of Clay County, Indiana. She is also a graduate of the Portland High School. They have three children: Guinevere, born in November, 1903; Gareth, born in May, 1905; and Francis, born in January, 1908. Mrs. Jellison is a member of the Presbyterian Church, while he was reared a Catholic.

("History of Northeast Indiana: LaGrange, Steuben, Noble and DeKalb Counties," Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago, 1920)

This website created October 17, 2011 by Sheryl McClure.
Indiana American History and Genealogy Project