Illustrated Atlas Map of Menard County, Illinois 1874|
Published by W.R. Brink & Co., of Illinois
Eli Hartley (Deceased)
Was born July, 29, 1790, in Russell (afterwards Adair) County, Kentucky. He was married, in Kentucky, to Miss Nancy Hamilton, daughter of James Hamilton. After the birth of two children, Mrs. Melissa A. Thomas, of Brown County, and Nathan, a citizen of Menard County, he moved his family to Illinois, and settled in Brown County, where were born two additional sons, Milton, now of Litchfield, Montgomery County, and James, of Brown County. A short time after the birth of the last son the mother died, and was buried on the farm originally settled by her father, near Clayton, Illinois. July 25, 1835, he married his second wife, Miss Mary A., daughter of James and Elizabeth (Cunnagin) Buchanan. By this wife were born John, Levi, Mrs. Nancy J. Smetters, Mrs. Ellen Pelier, Lizzie, William, Newton, and Timothy. Of these, John and Newton reside in Menard County; Nancy, Ellen, and Lizzie, in Sangamon County; William, in Iowa, and Levi, in Missouri. Timothy died when a small child.
The Hartley family is of English origin, and dates back to a remote period in the history of the country. Two brothers of the family line came over to America not a great while before the Revolutionary war, from whom have descended nearly all bearing the name at present in the United States. Eli Hartley was the son of John and Nancy (Crosby) Hartley, and had one brother, William, and several sisters. Mrs. Elizabeth Wells, Mrs. Mary Ballinger, Mrs. Sarah Cane, Mrs. Abagail Whitlock, Mrs. Jane Campbell, Mrs. Rebecca Sherer are the names of the daughters, as remembered.
Mr. Hartley moved, in 1849, from Brown to Macoupin County, and spent a part of a season near Scottsville, and the next year settled in Menard County, in Garden Prairie, where he died December 13, 1870. He was Justice of the Peace in Brown County from 1835 to 1849, and such was his native genius in understanding questions of law and in analyzing evidence, that he never had a judgment reversed in the higher courts. He practiced a great deal in justices' courts, and was very successful; but no argument nor influence could be brought to bear to induce him to take out license, though frequently urged so to do by General Singleton and Senator Richardson, who both frequently plead before him in the early days of their practice. It was the unanimous opinion of all the legal gentlemen of his County that he had one of the clearest judgments on questions of law of any man in it. No doubt had he given his attention to the "practice" he would have gained distinction at the bar; but Providence governed through his natural timidity, and he remained all his life rather an unsuccessful farmer. He joined the Baptist Church while in Kentucky, and had the ministry in prospect, but owing to a trouble that grew up in the Church he was excluded from its fellowship. This was about the time that Campbellism was causing so much trouble among the early Baptist Churches. The Church to which he belonged became, in consequence, nearly equally divided, and the faction in favor of the peculiar tenets of Alexander Campbell influenced a certain man to strike Mr. Hartley, which he did twice before the subject of this sketch resented in self-defense. The Church ruled that Mr. Hartley should make an acknowledgment for defending himself, which he refused to do, and was upon this refusal excluded from the Church. He never rejoined the Church afterwards, but maintained a Christian consistency in his habits and conversation all his life. He died well reconciled in hope of eternal life and the better resurrection. He was, as already stated, an early settler of the State. He passed through its pioneer conditions, suffered the hardships of early times, and now, like most "old pioneers," sleeps beneath that sod which first they saw clothed in the rich garb of wild vegetation.
"Sweet may be their rest though low their bed."