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
|Census year||Real estate value||2007 equivalent||Personal estate||2007 equivalent|
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.