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James Elliott, Jr.



"Jim" Elliott was born on December 6, 1824, in Lawrenceville, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh, of parents who had fled England to find greater personal liberties. His father had been a saddler to British royalty and an "Elliott saddle" was long treasured among discriminating English horsemen. James was one of eleven children. Shortly after his birth the family moved to Mount Pleasant, where he prepared for college at a private school, going from there to Jefferson in 1844. Aside from Wilson, Elliott was the best scholar among the six Founders, being particularly gifted with the pen. The other brothers took advantage of his ability and good nature by getting him to compose literary gems for their lady friends. He was thoroughgoing and accurate in everything he did, of a genial, kind and generous nature, despising sham and hypocrisy in any form. Among other valuable contributions which he made to the early success of the fraternity, it is believed that he negotiated for the manufacture of the first badges; it is his emblem which serves as the pattern for the badge, beautiful in its simplicity, in use today.

Like Wilson, Elliott began to teach school at the conclusion of his college career, first in Indiana, where McCarty had obtained a position for him, and then in Virginia and Maryland. But soon he, too, turned to the study of law and was admitted to practice at Steubenville, Ohio, in 1852. In 1853, he journeyed to nearby Wellsville to claim as his bride Rachel Crane, who was to bear him four children-three sons and a daughter. Before long he was elected clerk of the court, which post he held for three terms. In 1864 he enlisted with the Union forces and was stationed at Fort Delaware as adjutant of the 157th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry in charge of the Confederate prisoners. Elliott thus was the only one of the Founders to wear a soldier's uniform. Indeed, three of the six died before the War began and one died during its progress.

After the War, his health failing, Elliott went for a time to Topeka, Kans., but returned shortly to Steubenville. He soon became mayor of that city, serving with distinction for two terms which were characterized by a fearless crusade against lawlessness. At the expiration of his last term, he was offered the nomination for Congress from his district, but, though assured of election, declined because of illness. Illness also caused him to abandon his law practice and he went to live with a son in Chicago, where he died on November 10, 1883. He was buried there, but his remains were later moved to Springfield Cemetery, Wellsville, where his grave overlooks the beautiful Ohio River.

James Elliott, Jr. gravesite

Elliot died at fifty-nine years of age on November 10, 1883 in Chicago, where he had moved to be with his son Frank. Later his remains were moved to Springhill Cemetery in Wellsville, Ohio. He is buried next to his wife Rachel. The metal star in front of the stone is a Grand Army of the Republic marker, indicating his army service in the Civil War.


Springhill Cemetery, Wellsville, Ohio (about twenty-eight miles from Wilson's grave in Beaver, Pennsylvania). It is on a bluff overlooking the town and the Ohio River, just off the 10th Street Extension. Driving up 10th Street Extension, turn right into the cemetery entrance. As you drive into the cemetery, turn right into Section 10; then turn right into Section 15; then turn right into Section M; as that roadway curves left at Section I, stop the car; Brother Elliot's gravesite is on your left.

Elliott at the time of,
or shortly after,
his graduation in 1848. 
(Phi Gamma Delta Archives)
Elliot in older age,
from The Phi Gamma Delta magazine, June 1901.
Elliott's Grave  
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