Biography - Joshua Elkins

JOSHUA ELKINS, one of the most successful citizens of Johnson County, Ill., was born on a farm two and a-half miles from his present abode June 1, 1818. His father, William Elkins, was born in Georgia, and his father, John Elkins, was born in Wales. Upon emigrating to the United States he at first located in Georgia, but in 1809 he removed to what was then the Territory of Illinois, and thus became one of the first settlers in Johnson County. He secured quite a large tract of Government land upon which he resided a few years, and then removed to Arkansas, settled near Little Rock, and lived there the remainder of his days. William Elkins was a boy in his teens when his parents removed to Illinois. A number of families came to this Territory at the same time. Two years later earthquake shocks were felt here, and a number of these families becoming alarmed, left for other parts of the country. At that time Illinois was for the most part uninhabited except by Indians, and all the land was owned by the Government.
William Elkins' father had, as has been stated already, secured a large tract of Government land, and of this tract when William was married his father gave him a liberal portion. Upon the farm thus obtained he erected a log cabin, and in this cabin Joshua Elkins was born. William Elkins cleared up his farm, and lived upon it until his death, which occurred when he was seventy-one years old. The maiden name of his wife was Sarah Graves. She was born in Kentucky, and died on the home farm, in Elvira Township. She reared six children. Joshua Elkins was reared in his native township, and lived with his parents until within one year of his marriage, when he started out in life for himself, "even with the world." He married when he was twenty-one years old and settled on a tract of land, and began housekeeping in a log cabin with a dirt floor. His mother and an aunt gave him a few articles of household furniture, and he bought a bill of goods at the store, costing $7, for which he got trusted. Thus with no capital, and in debt, he began his married life. He worked out by the day and by the week to earn money enough to buy provisions, and put in all his spare time improving his own land. He held this land as a claim until 1844, before he had money enough saved up to pay for it at $1.25 per acre. From that time on he purchased other lands, until at the present time he owns upward of eighteen hundred acres, all in Johnson County. He was married December 17, 1839, to Aquilla Gurley, a native of Tennessee, and a daughter of Anson and Mary (Wiggs) Gurley. Mr. and Mrs. Elkins have three children: Willis, Jackson C. and Newton. They are both members of the Missionary Baptist Church, and Mr. Elkins is a Republican in politics.

Extracted 16 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 556-557.

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