John Elliott (1806-1874)

John Elliott was born May 16, 1806 in the hamlet of Stubbs Walden in the rural parish of Womersley located in Yorkshire, England. John’s parents were Joseph Elliott, a labourer, and Elizabeth Sellers. Not much is known about his younger years, other than he was the fifth of nine siblings.

John married Susannah Dawson in Campsall, South Yorkshire on December 11, 1826. Susannah (1806-1863) was the daughter of a local farmer and landowner, Henry Dawson, who died when she was four years old. John and Susannah married less than 3 months before her 21st birthday. On her 21st birthday she received £60 from her late father’s estate. (£60 in 1830 is equivalent to £48,164.21 in 2007 using the Average Earnings calculator).

In 1828, John and Susannah’s first known child, Sarah, was baptised at the parish church of Arksey, eight miles south of Campsall. From about 1830 to 1835, John and Susannah lived in Fenwick, within the parish of Campsall. During this time, their children George, Elizabeth and Hannah were born and baptised at Campsall parish church. From 1828-1835, John was described as a labourer on his children’s baptisms.

John and Susannah then moved to Hatfield (near Doncaster), eight miles east of Campsall. Their daughters Susannah, Emma and Ann were born to them 1837-1841. Interestingly, on these baptisms, John is described as a farmer, indicating he now owned land.

John, Susannah and their children are found on the 1841 census living in Hatfield. His occupation is farmer and he has a farm servant living in their household. A John Elliott appeared in the voter lists for Hatfield around 1838 and could be the same as the subject of this biography, as men had to own land to be eligible to vote.

A big change occurred in 1842 when John and Susannah emigrated to America with their children. They sailed from Hull, on the eastern coast of England on the Sir Edward Hamilton. They arrived in New York on June 18, 1842. The family then traveled to Illinois by boat through the Great Lakes and Erie Canal, then overland to Rockford, Winnebago County Illinois. They settled southwest of Rockford on Kent Creek in the spring of 1842. (This information from a letter dated Jan 25, 1985 obtained by another researcher). It was probably the spring of 1843 that they settled in Illinois. I would love to know where they spent the first 8 months of their lives in the US.

According to historian Faye Hilton: “He [John] wanted to buy the NW quarter of Section 14, Winnebago Township from the government, but speculators got there first and made him pay twice the official price. He eventually owned 240 acres at the SW corner of Cunningham and Weldon Roads, where the Daniel Smith family later succeeded him.” Census records show that Daniel Smith was their neighbor.

John and Susannah had three more children in Illinois: John, Esther and Ellen finally in 1849. Amazingly, that’s nearly 20 years of childbirth for Susannah. Though history has shown that occasionally an illegitimate grandchild was raised and known outside the family as a daughter, I don’t wish to speculate either way in this case!

For the 1860 census, John and Susannah are recorded with their children Susan, Ann, John, Henry (aka Esther!), and Ellen Elliott. Also recorded in the household are James Firth age 30 and George Firth age 24. George and James were nephews of John.

I got interested in what their farms and personal estate was worth, so I’ve calculated some 2007 equivalents using a Consumer Price Index calculator

John Elliott’s recorded values of real estate and personal estate, compared against the 2007 equivalent
Census year Real estate value 2007 equivalent Personal estate 2007 equivalent
1850 $2000 $54,779.92 not recorded N/A
1860 $10,200 $262,393.10 $1000 $25,724.80
1870 $15,400 $252,416.35 $400 $6,556.27

I think it’s fair to say they did pretty well!

All of John and Susannah’s children lived to adulthood apart from John, who died January 15, 1863, age 18, in Nashville, Tennessee, due to illness after fighting in the Civil War, in the 74th Illinois Volunteers, Company C.

Their children George, Elizabeth and Susan moved to Buchanan County, Iowa in their early married life and raised families. Two of their other children spent some time in Iowa but ultimately moved on.

Other relatives of John and Susannah also came to Illinois over the years… Dawson and Moate. Their stories will eventually be told as I find the time!

John Elliott died December 24, 1874 in Winnebago age 68. Wife Susannah preceded him in death by 11 years, on February 24, 1863 just a few days before her 57th birthday.

I’ve also transcribed John’s last will and testament.



Filed under Genealogy, My Family History

4 responses to “John Elliott (1806-1874)

  1. Billie Leclerc

    On May 14, 1853 the ship AMERICA arrived in NY carrying a William ELLIOTT with supposed family members; Lucy ELLIOTT, 18, Margaret, 15 and Charles, 20. All 4 Elliott’s declared their home as Ireland. William isn’t accompanied by a wife so he may have been widowed. However, nothing on the ship list confirms them to be a father-children family unit. I’m simply supposing. Not knowing their Irish county of origin has made it impossible to find any information about them, if indeed William is father to the 3 young people in his company. And not having a name for William’s supposed first wife, probable mother to these 3 adult children with him, complicates my search even further. Coincidentally, on an earlier passenger page, I discovered a Joseph ELLIOTT, age 27, who gives his home country as England….perhaps a scribe’s error. I don’t know if there is a connection between these separate ELLIOTT entries.

    I’ve discovered that this ELLIOTT family unit spent a couple years in New York before traveling west to Iowa. While living in NY William had married a Jane B. (BURGESS- married or maiden name?) a young woman of 28, an 1839 immigrant from Ireland. After their move to Iowa I have been able to locate these Elliott’s in the 1856, 1860, 1880, & 1900 Iowa Census and follow some of them and their growing families. Lucinda ELLIOTT was married to Christopher BETTS/BETZ in 1859, by a Presbyterian minister in Iowa. They were my great grandparents. Where did she live before leaving Ireland?

    Thank you for checking your records for connections to my Irish ELLIOTT family.

    Billie Betts Leclerc

    • Lisa

      Hi Billie,

      You didn’t state how old William is on the passenger manifest or where the family ended up in Iowa. Elliott is a very common surname. I don’t see any immediate connection or potential matches in my family tree to this family group from Ireland.

      However, John Elliott (the subject of this post) did have a nephew named Joseph Elliott born around 1827 who I have not been able to locate in later records (Or perhaps I have not yet tried). These Yorkshire Elliott families were all agricultural laborers and their children were usually sent out to work on farms in their own parish or nearby parishes, so it’s often difficult to track them down when they have such common names. So perhaps you have found a lead for me in this Joseph. John Elliott had two other nephews to travel to America as young men and married two of his daughters, so it wouldn’t surprise me to learn if other family connections made it over to the United States. Then again, the Elliott children did not arrive in Iowa until after 1860. Sorry I don’t have any better information for you.

  2. Don Campsall

    Family…My Great granddad….John Campsall..born 1938…died 1917… wife Mellissa Purdy….. Family known to be an United empire loyalist moved to Canada, kingston Ont. area….12 children…my granddad Edlow 1878-1950… farmer in Bancroft area…14 children….a very religious family back then…My Dad Elwell Burton Campsall…

  3. Jen Morris


    I am a descendant of Sarah Virginia Elliott, daughter of John and Susannah. Thanks so much for publishing this, it was very interesting and so nice to get John’s will! I am in contact with a man in Winnebago County who added John and Susannah to findagrave, they are buried at Winnebago Cemetery. He is going to get a photo of the graves as soon as the snow melts.

    The only problem I saw in your info was where you say Henry (aka Esther) what did you mean by that?
    Would love to share info, email me anytime.


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