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Willard, Elijah

Born: 1803-XX-XX

Died: 1848-04-30

In 1820, Willard's widowed mother Nancy brought Elijah and his three siblings—Willis, Anna, and William—from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where her husband had died, to Jonesboro, Illinois. As soon as he was old enough, Willard started working in a store, which he eventually purchased from his employer. He was a successful merchant, trading goods in southern Illinois and making frequent trips to New Orleans to sell Illinois produce and purchase southern goods for his store in Jonesboro. Willard also became one of the largest land owners in Union County, Illinois. As well, he purchased and promoted the newest farm machinery of the 1840s, writing that Smith's Corn-Sheller shelled 100 bushels of corn per hour, completing the work "in a handsome and complete manner."

Gravestone, Jonesboro Cemetery, Jonesboro, IL; Lulu Leonard, The History of Union County, Illinois (Anna, IL: n.p., [1941]), 10, 18, 20, 21, 40, 41; The Cultivator 5 (1848), 98, 164.