BEN-EZRA STILES ELY, Jr., the son of Ben-E.S. Ely, D.D., and Elizabeth Eudora (McElroy) Ely, was born in Sacramento, Cal., Jan. 20, 1856. Mr. Ely is the seventh in an unbroken line of preachers. Ezra Stiles Ely, D.D., his grandfather, graduated at Yale College in 1803, and was ordained in 1806. After serving for a time as pastor in Colchester, Conn., and afterward as Chaplain to the New York City Hospital, in 1811, he was called to succeed the celebrated Dr. Archibald Alexander, as pastor of the "Old Pine Street" Presbyterian Church, in Philadelphia, Pa. There he continued for twenty-one years. He was editor and publisher of The Phileadelphian. He was the principal founder of the Jefferson Medical College. He was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 1825 and 1828, and Stated Clerk of that body from 1825 to 1836. In 1834 he conceived the plan of establishing a college and theological seminary in Missouri, an enterprise which was at first a success, but which was made a failure by the financial crisis of 1837. Dr. Ely lost $100,000, and returned to Philadelphia a poor man. In 1844 he became pastor of the Church of Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. He died June 18, 1861.
B.-E.S. Ely, D.D., the father of our subject, was born in Philadelphia, Feb. 4, 1830. He was educated at Lawrenceville, N.J., and at the old Delaware College. He studied law with Hon. Benjamin F. Brewster and Samuel T. Glover. In 1850 he went to California, where he became eminent in the practice of law, and active in politics. He was a member of both the House and Senate in the State Legislature. In 1861 he gave up a lucrative law practice and entered the ministry, serving as pastor in Healdsburg, and afterward at Stockton. In 1872 he was called to the pastorate of Grace (now the Sixth) Presbyterian Church of Chicago, Ill. While there he was one of the participants in the great Patton-Swing controversy. The part he took in that trial was the occasion of his receiving a call to be minister of the church at Argyle, Ill., a large parish composed entirely of Scotch people, who never would consent to have as a minister any one who had not previously been a preacher of the "auld kirk in Scotland." Since 1881 Dr. Ely has been the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at Ottumwa, in this State.
Elizabeth Eudora McElroy was born in Hopkinsville, Ky., March 12, 1831. At the age of three years her father's family moved to Marion County, Mo. She was married to Ben-E. S. Ely, about the year 1849. Though not a graduate of any institution she received a thorough classical education. She was one of the founders and first instructors of the Palmyra Seminary for young ladies, located at Palmyra, Mo., an institution still in existence, and which has enjoyed a wide reputation in that and neighboring States. In 1854 she joined her husband in California. There she became prominent in educational circles, and for a time was Superintendent of Public Schools in the City of Sacramento. In all, she taught almost continuously for nineteen years.
Mr. Ely is the second of seven children, only four of whom are now living: Laura E., a graduate of Rockford Seminary, is the wife of Rev. E. L. Curtis, Ph. D., Professor of the Hebrew Language and Literature in McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, Ill.; Rose De F. is a graduate of Normal Park Normal School, near Chicago, and now holds a prominent position in the city schools in Sioux Falls, Dak.; M. Anita is teaching in Wapello County, in this State.
Mr. Ely inherited his father's taste for the law, and for many years his studies were directed to that end. His literary education was received mainly at the Stockton High School, Cal., and at Westminster College, Fulton, Mo. Deciding to preach the Gospel, he entered McCormick Theological Seminary in September, 1880. He was graduated in April, 1883, and was ordained in October of the same year by the Presbytery of Logansport, at Crown Point, Ind. His first pastoral charge was at that place. A handsome and substantial brick church edifice represents in part the fruit of his labors there. In April, 1885, he accepted a call to the First Presbyterian Church of Washington, Iowa, of which he is now pastor. He was married, Dec. 25, 1883, to Sallie A. B. Pryor, who was born Dec. 25, 1861. she is the second daughter of Dr. Joseph W. Pryor and Fannie T. Bailey, of Palmyra, Mo., and a graduate of Palmyra Seminary, of which Mr. Ely's mother was one of the founders, and her aunt, Miss Sallie Pryor, was afterward Principal. Two sons, fruit of this marriage, both died in infancy.
In his pastoral labors at Washington, Mr. Ely has endeared himself not alone to his church, but to the community at large. He is a pleasing and effective speaker, a close student, and in the providence of God has doubtless a bright future before him.
HON. ROBERT GLASGOW, an ex-member of the House of Representatives of the State of Iowa, is a native of Ohio, born in Adams county, April 12, 1820, and the son of James and Mary (McNeil) Glasgow, who were also natives of the same county. His grandfather, Robert Glasgow, was a native of Ireland, and was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He was among the earliest settlers of Adams County, Ohio, and there died. James Glasgow remained on the old homestead in Ohio till 1856, when he moved to Wayne county, Iowa, where he died. They were members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.
The subject of this sketch was reared on his father's farm, and received but a limited education in the old log school-houses of his native county, but being naturally of a studious turn of mind he became a great reader of the best authors, and thus acquired a knowledge of men and events that many a college graduate would be pleased to possess. He was married, in 1840, to Miss Mary R. Finley, a daughter of William Finley, a prominent farmer of Adams County. He followed farming in Ohio till 1854, when he came to Washington County, Iowa, and located in Washington Township, where he followed the same business for several years. Of their children five lived to be adults. James D. was graduated from Washington College, but at the breaking out of the Rebellion enlisted in Co. C., 8th Iowa Vol. Inf., was taken prisoner at Shiloh, subsequently exchanged, rejoined his regiment, and died from disease contracted in the service, at Pocahontas, Tenn., Dec. 11, 1863; William F. is now at Ft. Madison, Iwa; Lorenzo G. is a clerk in a drug-store in Washington; Mary M. is at home; Sarah Alma is the widow of Rev. J.D. White, and now resides in Washington. Mr. White received his literary education at Washington and Jefferson Colleges, and graduated from the Western Theological Seminary. In 1879 he was called to the pastorate of the Presbyterian Church of Washington, and filled the pulpit till June, 1884. He died in January, 1887. Mrs. White in the last few years has developed artistic talent to a high degree, and exhibits some very fine specimens of oil paintings from her brush. Mrs. Glasgow died May 5, 1884, mourned alike by husband, children and friends. She was a woman of many Christian graces, and loved by all.
In 1860 Mr. Glasgow was nominated, and by his party was elected, a member of the Lower House of the General Assembly of the State, and served with credit to himself and his constituents. He was present during the special session in the spring of 1861, called for the purpose of making provisions for enlisting and providing men to help put down the Rebellion. In March, 1864, notwithstanding he had given one son to the cause of his country, he enlisted as a private in Co. H, 2d Iowa Vet. Vol. Inf., and served till the close of the war. He joined the regiment in front of Atlanta, was with it in its march to the sea, through the Carolinas to Washington, and was one in the grand review in that city at the close of the war. He was mustered out with the regiment in the summer of 1865.
Returning home in the fall of 1865 he was nominated and elected County Treasurer, and was re-elected three times, serving in all eight years. He has at all times enjoyed the respect and esteem of the community in which he resides.
JOHN HAMMIS is a farmer and stock-raiser residing on section 5, Oregon Township. He is a native of Germany, born in 1824, and is the son of Sebastian and Mary A. Hammis, who came to America in 1845, settled in Pennsylvania, where they remained five years, then went to Freeport, Ill., and then came to Washington County, Iowa, in 18856. The former died here in 1876, and the latter in 1880. They reared a family of seven children, four of whom are living: Valentine, of this township; John, the subject of this sketch; Maria is the wife of Anthony Stormer; they have seven children, six living, one of whom, Mary A., keeps house for our subject. Carrie is the wife of George Winters. Mr. and Mrs. Hammis, the parents of our subject, were members of the Catholic Church of which body all their children are likewise members. They were industrious and devout people, and were numbered among the best citizens of Oregon Township.
John Hammis, the subject of this sketch, has a farm of sixty acres, all of which is under a high state of cultivation, with a neat residence, good barn and all necessary out-buildings. The place is well cared for, and everything is done to make it a productive farm. Mr. Hammis is well-educated and believes in keeping posted in all matters of public interest. By his neighbors he is regarded as a No. 1 man. His post office address is Ainsworth.