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Residence, 1894


1905-1911 residence at
2622 W. Washington


1917 residence at
921 Chadwick; house where Eliza died


Headstone of Harrison and Eliza J. Elliott, Bethel Cemetery, Sulphur Springs, IN
(N40.03230
W085.44271
Elev. 1026)

Jesse’s parents were Henry Harrison Elliott and Eliza Jane Sappenfield. I’ve spent a lot of time chasing these two, especially Harrison. His name was given to me as William H., but that was incorrect so I lost a lot of time looking for him under the wrong name. To start with, Harrison, he was the son of John H. Elliott and Caroline Miliken. He was born May 12, 1840 in Randolph County, North Carolina. He was the 5th of eleven children. The family either moved to Davidson County, North Carolina or the county lines changed when he was a child. Harrison married Eliza Jane Sappenfield on December 25, 1858 when he was 18 and she was 16. They stayed in North Carolina for a few years where Harrison engaged in farming. Their first daughter, Ida was born November 1859. Their son, Pleasant, follow July 3, 1861 and our grandfather, Jesse came along October 24, 1864. By 1866 the family was on the move, which was to become common for them. James was born in Indiana in November 1866 then they moved to Iowa to Hardin County around El Dora, Iowa. William H. was born there in 1869. William died between 1870 and 1875 and was buried in Iowa.

I spent several days in Iowa tracing Harrison and Eliza and found the cemetery that I believe William is buried in. He was listed on the 1870 Iowa census and that is the last known date on him. The Indiana census in 1880 does not list him and he is not buried with the rest of the family in Indiana. The name Elliott was uncommon in Iowa and there was only one listing for a child’s death so I took this as proof of William’s whereabouts. Harrison was listed as a farmer in 1870, yet after reading the county records I cannot find that he owned land at that time. I rather believe that he rented land and was share cropping.

In August of 1873, Harrison bought 26 acres of land. Thinking I’d found something at last, I located the farm on a Platt map of the county and drove right to it. It is not part of another farm and we had to walk into it. It is a beautiful 26 acres of rolling ground, completely unsuitable for farming. He paid $550 for this land and sold it in January 1874 after owning it five months for the same $550. There is no indication that a house ever stood on the land. I have no clue as to why he bought it or what he thought to do with it.

Harrison was a farm laboror in 1880. In January of 1881, Harrison bought a house at the corner of Jefferson and Spring Street in Sulphur Springs. He sold this house six months later. The house is still standing, but only the foundation looks original. My husband Jack and I spent a week in and around Henry County, Indiana and Indianapolis reading, researching, grave rubbing, photographing, and trying to figure this man out. We believe Harrison moved to Indianapolis in 1881 or 1882. Again, he did not own property except for the two pieces mentioned that were obviously bought for investment.

We began to search the city directories for Indianapolis and the first mention of Harrison and family is in 1894 when he was listed as a laborer living at 30 Lynn Ave. He is listed as a renter. In 1895 he was listed as a mechanic handy man and living at 8 Lynn Ave. In 1896 he was listed as a janitor and living at 126 Lynn Avenue, where they stayed until 1898. The directory lists his occupation as janitor at school number 48 and living at 1308 Silver Ave. in 1899.

By 1900, Harrison was listed on the census as a janitor at P.S. 47 and living at 806 Marion Ave. with his daughter Gertrude and her husband Gilbert Warrenburg. By 1900, only six of their eleven children were living. They had lost William, Pleasant, Lettie, Ott, and Docie.

In 1904 they had moved to 1262 Oliver; in 1905 they were living at 262 W. Washington and Harrison was again listed as a laborer. They lived at this address until 1911 and to celebrate that fact, we took several pictures of the house. We were able to photograph one of the schools. The other one had been torn down.

In 1910, Harrison was listed as a watchman and after moving to 1047 W. 27th he kept his job as a watchman. In 1913 they moved again to 669 Virginia Ave. Most of the older city directories are on microfilm and we could not read some of them, even with a magnifying glass. We lost the family until 1917. January 6, 1917, Eliza became ill at 921 Chadwick of bronchial pneumonia and died January 13. Their son James was living at 1018 High St. and a salesman at the time and Harrison, who was elderly by this time was still a laborer. Harrison became ill December 27, 1921 at 1018 High St. at James’ home and died there of influenzal pneumonia complicated by acute colitis on January 31, 1922. He was retuned to Bethel Cemetery for burial.

Obviously I will never have the answers, but it seems that Eliza stayed for an extended period of time with Jesse and Etta in Sedgwick as Ruth remembers her very well and described her as being tiny. Also, the picture of her is obviously taken in the same room as the one of Jesse and Etta and their three young children; even the same vases are on the mantle in the background. No one remembers Harrison, which indicates that he did not visit the area with her. Many of the houses they lived in Indianapolis are gone now, given way to factories and a freeway. We photographed what we could locate. They moved so often that we wondered if he was dodging the bill collector, but the addresses are all within a very small radius, so he probably moved to be closer to his jobs, or find a better house, etc. The area is now an industrial area and there are factories where the streets used to be.

Henry Harrison Elliott
Born: 12 May 1840, Winston-Salem, Randolph County, NC
Died: 31 Jan 1922, Indianapolis, IN

Eliza Jane Sappenfield
Born: 1 Apr 1842, Winston-Salem, NC
Died: 13 Jan 1917, Marion County, IN

The family is all buried in the Bethel German Baptist cemetery outside of Sulphur Springs. The church is long gone, only the cornerstones remain and there is no sign on the cemetery. There is a man in charge of maintaining the grounds and as it is quite a small cemetery, the graves were easily found.  —SAE

  Henry Harrison Elliott            
  Married: Eliza Jane Sappenfield
Date: 25 Dec 1858
    Ida Elliott      
  Davidson County, NC
 
      Married: Elijah Rutledge
Date: 8 July 1877
     
                 
        Pleasant Elliott      
                 
                 
        Jesse Alexander Elliott  
          Married: Etta Lee Cummins
Date: 16 Sept 1885
 
               
        James M. Elliott      
          Married: Jenny M.
Date:
     
                 
        William H. Elliott      
                 
                 
        Ottus Grant Elliott  
          Married: Sue Giffen
Date: 1 Sept 1891
 
               
        Mahlon M. Elliott      
                 
                 
        Lettie M. Elliott      
                 
                 
        Mandy Elliott      
                 
                 
        Lela Gertrude Elliott      
          Married: Gilbert Warrenburg
Date: 20 Aug 1898
     
                 
        Docie Elliott