Biography of William L. Elsberry ( 1822-)
Portrait and Biographical Record:  St. Charles, Lincoln, and Warren Counties, Missouri. (Chicago, Il.: Chapman Publishing Company, 1895) page 543.

WILLIAM L. ELSBERRY.  There is no man more widely or better known than the subject of this sketch.  The town of Elsberry was named in honor of the family, who were early settlers of Lincoln County, and he is one of the largest land-owners in this section. He is a native of Kentucky, and was born in Bourbon County, April 11, 1822, being a son of William M. and Lydia P. (OWENS) ELSBERRY.  His father was a native of Maryland, and was born in the year 1792, but his mother was born in Kentucky, the year of her birth being 1800. The father lived in Maryland until he had reached his majority, and then, in company with his mother and an uncle, went to Bourbon County, his father, the grandfather of our subject, having died when he was quite young. Shortly after their arrival in Kentucky, the mother was called to the land beyond, and William M. worked out as a farm hand. While thus employed he met and married Miss Lydia OWENS, who became the mother of our subject. For some time after his marriage, he continued to follow the occupation of a farmer in Bourbon County, but his wife had some relatives living in Missouri, who had written glowing descriptions of the beauties and advantages of that state, and they determined to seek a home here.

In 1837 they packed their household goods in a wagon, and with a good team of horses started for what was then called the far West, arriving in this county after a journey of twenty days. They first settled near New Hope, where the father purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land. It was known as the Buchanan Farm at that time, but afterward as the Elsberry place. He immediately set about preparing it for his future home, first erecting a large, substantial farm house, and then adding all other necessary improvements. He was a very successful farmer, and by his honest, upright dealings with his fellow-men, and his generous, hospitable manner, won many warm and true friends. Mr. and Mrs. Elsberry were the parents of seven children, of whom the subject of this sketch is the only one living at the present time. They were in order of birth, as follows: Robert T., George W., William L., Benjamin F., Nancy A., Mary and Sarah A. The parents made their home on the farm where they first settled until their death.

The subject of this sketch came to this county with his parents When about fifteen years of age, and remained with them on the old home farm until he was twenty-eight years old. In December, 1849, he was united in marriage with Miss Mary E., a daughter of Rolley and Emeline MAYER, natives of Virginia, who came to Lincoln County in an early day, and here Mrs. ELSBERRY was born. Mr. ELSBERRY's father had given all his children one hundred acres of land, and after his marriage our subject went to housekeeping on his own farm, where he had previously built a snug little log cabin. At the expiration of two years, he traded farms with his brother Robert, who was living about a quarter of a mile west of him, and on this place he lived ten years. He then purchased his present farm from Phillips SITTON, and now has one of the best improved and finest farms in the state of Missouri. He has been very successful in trading and buying land, and owns one thousand acres in this township, about two-thirds of which is in good cultivation. His residence is one of the finest in this part of the state, and handsomely furnished. It was built in 1869, in the good old-fashioned substantial way, and will stand for many years to come. Mr. ELSBERRY has made his home on this place for nearly thirty years, and Mrs. ELSBERRY spent her remaining years here, passing peacefully away, surrounded by her family and mourned by a host of friends.

Six children have blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. ELSBERRY, three of whom are living. Lavin Ann married Samuel Singleson, a farmer of this township; Margaret Ann is the wife of Newton LOCKETT, also a farmer in this township; Lena is now Mrs. Emmitt ELLIS, and resides on a farm near our subject; Ella died in 1854, at the age of eighteen months; Louie married Marion TATE, a farmer of this county, but is now deceased; and one other died in infancy, unnamed.

Mr. ELSBERRY has always remained at home, attending to his farm duties, never having been out of the state since he first came here as a boy. He has never held any political office, although he has repeatedly been solicited to do so. In politics he was a Whig before the war, but since has identified himself with the Democratic party, and has always voted for the candidates of that body. He is not a member of any church, but his wife was a devoted member of the Baptist Church, and his children are members of the Baptist and Methodist Episcopal Churches. Since the death of his wife, his niece Miss WHITESIDE, has kept house for him.

File submitted to HERITAGE PAGES of LINCOLN COUNTY, MISSOURI by Michael Parker, 4 Apr 1999.  Link change or update: 23 May 2000

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