Thomas Jackson McElheny
Thomas Jackson McElheny is of Scotch descent, and although his birth occurred in Chester District, S. C., April 15, 1815, he has been a resident of what is now Cleveland County, Ark., since 1853, the same year of his arrival purchasing a portion of the farm of 300 acres, on which he is now residing.
Upon his arrival here this county was known as Bradley County, and until after the war it also embraced a portion of the present Drew, Jefferson and Dallas. Bradley was made a new county and called Dorsey, afterward being changed to Cleveland County.
Thomas' school days were spent in his native State, and upon attaining his twenty-second year he began life for himself as a farmer, and became one of the earliest settlers of Arkansas. Since coming here he has filled the office of justice of the peace, and during the late war was in the Home Guards for a short time, but was not in active service as he was a Union man to some extent and preferred to remain neutral. Although he usually votes the Democrat ticket he is not a partisan, and sometimes supports other candidates.
March 22, 1838, he wedded Amaretta Bratton, a daughter of Joseph Bratton. She was born in York District, S. C., October 3, 1818, and by Mr. McElheny has become the mother of eleven children, four of whom are now living: Eliza Ann (wife of Matthew Durham, of this county), Josephine (wife of Wesley Johnson), Henrietta (wife of John D. Harper), and John C. (a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, a well-known educator, and the present principal of the Whiteville Academy). Two children died after reaching maturity: Sarah Martha Davis, and Robert (who died while serving in the Confederate army). The rest died in infancy.
Mr. and Mrs. McElheny are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and he is a son of John and Sallie (White) McElheny, who were born in Chester District, S. C., the father's birth occurring in 1780. He died in what is now Cleveland County, Ark., when in his ninetieth year.
He was a farmer by occupation, a soldier in the War of 1812, and usually voted the Democratic ticket. His wife died in South Carolina when about forty years of age, having borne a family of six children: Thomas J., Teresa (widow of Absalom Davis), and Eliza being the only ones living. Robert died when about sixteen years of age; Edward died in Mississippi in 1887, aged seventy-seven years, and James died in Cleveland County, Ark., when about sixty years of age.
Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Southern Arkansas
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