The subject of the following brief biographical sketch is to the "manor born." He first saw the light of day December 4th, 1850. The place of his nativity was Clinton county, IL, near where he now resides. The SHARPE family on the paternal side are of German ancestry, and on the maternal Irish, from the north of Ireland. Henry Sharpe, the grandfather of Elisha, came to Illinois in 1809, and settled on Turkey Hill in St. Clair county. In 1819 the family removed to Pleasant Ridge in Clinton county, Illinois, and here the old pioneer remained until his death. His son Jonathan, father of Elisha, was born in Pennsylvania in 1797. He came West with his father - here grew to manhood, lived and died in Clinton County, IL, December 30th, 1851.
All of the Sharpe family possess more or less mechanical skill, ingenuity and inventive genius. They were mechanics and farmers. Jonathan Sharpe married Mary ST. CLAIR, a native of North Carolina, born in 1800. Her parents removed to Kentucky when she was six years of age, and six years later to Illinois, and settled on Turkey Hill in St. Clair county in 1812.
By the marriage of Jonathan and Mary Sharpe there were nine children, who arrived at maturity and had families. Seven of these are still living. The mother died August 15th, 1875. Elisha was born on Pleasant Ridge, or in Santa Fe township. He was raised on the farm, and attended the subscription schools in the winter, wherein he acquired the rudiments of an education.
The schools of those days were crude, and the methods employed to instill learning into the youthful mind imperfect, as compared with the present. It may therefore be said that Mr. Sharpe's education is more the result of extensive reading, habits of close observation, aided by a retentive mind, than the result of his attendance upon the schools.
He has also engaged in teaching six months in the year for the past twenty odd years, which has aided him vastly in the improvement and storing of the mind with much useful information. He has had much experience in teaching, and is among the able educators of this section of the State.
In 1877 he was appointed county school superintendent, to fill the vacancy caused by the forced resignation of Philip BOTTLER, who had defaulted. During his administration, he visited all the schools in the county, and was very industrious in establishing reforms that abounded in advantages to the public schools.
On the seventh of November, 1850, he was united in marriage to Miss Ellen J. HUGHSON, daughter of James Hughson, of Texas. She died April 25th, 1880. Six children by that union. Their names in the order of their birth are: - Tempie, wife of Thomas SETTLE; Flora, wife of Lawrence HUBERT; Florence E.; Mary; G. Wyman and Katie Sharpe.
On the 30th of June, 1881, he married Mrs. Eliza WOOD, nee JENNINGS, of Salem, Marion county, IL. In religious matters Mr. Sharpe is a believer in Spiritualism and the doctrines as taught by A. J. Davis, the author and great leader of the advanced thought upon that subject.
Politically, the family were all whigs. He voted for Scott in 1852, and for Fillmore in 1856, after which he became a republican. He was a delegate to the republican state convention, held at Decatur in 1860, and before that convention urged the claims of Abraham Lincoln for the presidency. During the war he was an intense Union man, and did much by speeches and otherwise to sustain and foster Union sentiment in this locality. In 1864 he enlisted in company B of the one hundred and forty-fifth regiment Illinois volunteers, and remained a soldier until the expiration of his term of service.
In 1875 he joined the Greenback party, and voted for Peter Cooper for the presidency in 1876. In 1880 he voted for Hancock. In 1856 he was elected justice of the peace, and held the office for one term. In 1867 he was appointed postmaster of Buxton, and has held the office to the present.
Source: History of Marion and Clinton Counties, Illinois, 1881, Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia
Submitted by: Dorothy Scott Falk
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