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Below is a family biography included in the book, Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published by Chapman Publishing Company in 1895.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JAMES ELDREDGE has been a resident of Johnson County for fifteen years, making his home on section 9, township 45, range 28, where he owns sixty acres. He has improved the place by erecting a good house and substantial barns, and in many other ways has added to its appearance. He is well known and is held in the highest respect by a large circle of friends and neighbors. As a farmer he is succeeding financially, being a practical man of business and an able manager.

The Eldredge family emigrated from Scotland, settling in Connecticut at an early day. Our subject’s grandfather, Charles Eldredge, was born at Brookline, Conn., July 31, 1784, and after attending medical lectures at the University of Pennsylvania, for a year was resident physician in the Pennsylvania Hospital. October 10, 1810, he went to East Greenwich, intending to stay only a year or two while enjoying sailing, fishing, hunting and a general rest. His reputation as a practitioner followed him, and he soon had more than he could well attend to, with the result that he rarely had a day to devote to recreation. He became an active member of society, and did much for the upbuilding of the community in which he dwelt. He was one of the first members of the Rhode Island Medical Society and helped to obtain its charter. In 1834 he was chosen its President and served for three years. An honorary member of the Connecticut Medical Society, he received his degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1835 from Yale College. Three years later, September 15, 1838, he passed to his final reward.

The father of our subject, Charles Eldredge, Jr., was at one time a miller, using an old-fashioned Dutch windmill for grinding grain. His last years were spent on his large farm in Rhode Island and there his death occurred when his son James was only six years of age. Among other things, the Eldredge family is noted for the number of distinguished physicians bearing the name. Charles Eldredge took for his wife Sarah Peirce, a native of Rhode Island. She was a lineal descendant of one of the Pilgrims of the “Mayflower,” and her father was a soldier in the Colonial navy during the War of 1812. The vessel on which he was stationed was captured by the British and turned over to a crew who on one occasion became intoxicated, with the result that the ship was driven ashore in a gale, Mr. Peirce among others being drowned. Many of his relatives were sea-faring men, and his son Charles was captain on a vessel plying between New York and New Orleans for many years.

James Eldredge was born in Kent County, R. I., October 12, 1838, and was named for his paternal great-grandfather, who lived at Pomfret, Conn., on a farm, which our subject has visited, and which is still in the hands of a direct descendant of the senior Mr. Eldredge. Ellen, the eldest sister of James Eldredge, is unmarried and a resident of Greenwich, R. I., and the youngest sister, Lucy, also single, resides in the same locality. Charles is married and a resident of Cooper County, Mo., and Henry, the youngest of the family, is a wholesale grocer in Providence, R. I., though his home is in Greenwich. When fifteen years of age young Eldredge, of this sketch, started as a cabin-boy on the vessel commanded by his uncle. Captain Peirce, and during the year that followed made many a trip between New York and the Crescent City. He received $12 a month as a cabin-boy and was then promoted to be a member of the crew at $15 a month, later becoming an expert seaman. During his ocean life he took one trip across the Atlantic to Havre, returning to New Orleans. Subsequently he sailed on Lake Michigan one summer, this ending his life before the mast. Going to McLean County, Ill., he hired out as a farm hand at good wages and soon purchased an interest in a team of oxen, making money breaking prairie. He also rented a farm and tried to raise a crop, but was not successful, and in 1860 he proceeded to Cooper County, Mo., where he worked as a farm hand. In 1861 he joined Price’s army and took part in the battle of Lexington, but was not regularly enlisted, and did not remain with the army long. When at Boonville, Mo., he was captured by an Illinois regiment and was sent to the St. Louis prison, but was afterwards transferred to Alton. At the end of about six months of captivity he took the oath of allegiance and was released. From that time until the close of the war he lived in Cooper County, excepting eighteen months spent in Rhode Island and Connecticut. He worked at whatever he could find to do whereby he might earn an honest livelihood, and after saving up a little capital rented land for a few years. However, he finally bought eighty acres, of which only about one-fourth was suitable for farm purposes. He rented an adjoining tract and managed both farms for five years. Later he purchased forty acres of better land and improved the same until 1880, when he sold out and came to this section.

March 20, 1866, James Eldredge and Eliza J. Hawkins, of Cooper County, Mo., were united in marriage. The lady was born May 25, 1843, and is the daughter of Benjamin S. and Nancy M. (Johnston) Hawkins, natives of Kentucky and North Carolina, respectively. They were married in Cooper County, where the father of Mrs. Hawkins was one of the earliest settlers. The union of our subject and wife has been blessed with five children, the eldest of whom, Sarah P., is a graduate of Holden College; she also attended the State Normal, and is now successfully engaged in teaching in Howard County. Henry P. is a harness-maker in Holden. Mary Johnston, a graduate of the Holden High School, is now a student at the State Normal. Eli E. and James, Jr., are living at home with their parents. The latter are members of the Christian Church, with which they have been identified for the past thirty-five years. Mr. Eldredge is one of the Elders and has been a teacher and Superintendent in the Sunday-school. Politically he is a Democrat, but is not very radical in his views.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Johnson County, Missouri portion of the book,  Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published in 1895 by Chapman Publishing Co.  For the complete description, click here: Johnson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Johnson County, Missouri family biographies here: Johnson County, Missouri Biographies

View a map of 1904 Johnson County, Missouri here: Johnson County, Missouri Map

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