From History of Texas, Published in 1896
J.L. Elam is now living retired at his pleasant home in Cresson, after an industrious and well spent life, now enjoying the fruits of his former labors. A native of McNairy County, Tennessee, he was born February 20, 1826, a son of Andrew and Polly (Laughlin) Elam, who were farming people of middle Tennessee. On the old family homestead our subject was reared to manhood, aiding in the labors of the fields and becoming familiar with all the duties that fall to the lot of the agriculturist.
Mr. Elam spent the days of his boyhood and youth with his parents and continued at their home until his marriage, which was celebrated on the 24th of December, 1844, Miss Mary Jane Williams, also a native of Tennessee, becoming his wife. For a year after his marriage our subject worked on his father’s farm and then purchased a tract of land, which he continued to cultivate until his removal to the Lone Star State. This occurred in 1855. He made the journey with a mule team and wagon and after a month of travel took up his abode in Fannin County, where he resided for a year. He was a resident of Johnson County until 1889, and then moved to Hood County. In 1856 it was, however, a part of Johnson County. He pre-empted a tract of land on Staten Branch, which he cleared and improved, making it a highly cultivated tract. He carried on farming and stock-raising until 1889, and became the owner of three hundred and fifty-four acres. His business was well conducted, and his enterprise, energy, good management and perseverance brought to him a handsome competence, which now enables him to lay aside the heavier cares of his earlier manhood and rest in the enjoyment of the fruits of his former toil.
Mr. Elam’s labors were interrupted by his service on the frontier during the Civil War, but with the exception of that period he continued his work without cessation until 1889, when he removed to Cresson, where he has since lived retired. It is the fitting crown of a well spent life and his success is justly merited.
Mr. and Mrs. Elam have one child, Mahala Jane, now the wife of Jefferson Merrifield, of Stephens County, Texas. Mrs. Elam is a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and an estimable lady whose many excellent qualities have gained her a large circle of friends. Mr. Elam belongs to the Masonic fraternity, having been made a Mason in Acton, Texas, in 1869. These worthy people have traveled life’s journey together as man and wife for fifty-one years, their mutual love and confidence increasing as the years have passed by, bringing with them the joys and sorrows, the adversity and prosperity, which checker the lives of all. In a pleasant home in Cresson they are now spending their days among many friends who have for them the highest esteem.
|James L. Elam died February 15, 1899 and is buried next to his wife in Cresson Cemetery in Johnson County, Texas.|
History of Texas, 1896, Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co.