James G. Elwood was born at Lockort, Ill., in 1839. He was educated in the public and private schools of Joliet
and attended the Collegiate and Commercial Military School of New Haven, Conn., from which he graduated in 1857.
While there he served as first sergeant and later captain. He then studied in Geneva, Switzerland, for one year,
and also attended the Frederick William University of Berlin, Germany. Upon his return to Joliet he attended Bryant
& Stratton's Commercial College, and then entered the law and real estate firm of Parks & Elwood. In 1862
he enlisted in the army. He organized Company B, 100th Illinois Infantry and was commissioned as its captain. He
participated in the battle of Perrsyville and Murfreesboro. Promotion made him acting assistant adjutant general
of the First Brigade, First Division, Twenty first Corps. He resigned in November, 1863, and returned to Joliet.
Mr. Elwood became a broker on the Chicago-Cincinnati Board of Trade in 1866 and soon afterward established a milling
business at Matteson, Ill. In 1870 he returned to Joliet and conducted a real estate business. In 1880 he built
the first telephone exchange in Joliet with ex-Mayor Paige and he was also instrumental in establishing the city
water works, serving as treasurer, general manager, and director. In 1881 he became secretary of the Joliet Gas
Company, and from 1888 until 1896 was its manager. In 1877 in partnership with Judge Parks he erected the First
National Bank Building. He was a director of the Will County National Bank and the Oakwood Cemetery Association.
Mr. Elwood was a Republican and was the first mayor of Joliet under the present city charter in 1877. He was chairman
of the board of county supervisors for two years, superintendent of the poor, and served as postmaster of Joliet
from 1898 until 1902. He was a member of Matteson Lodge, A. F. and A. M.; Joliet Chapter, R. A. M.; Joliet Council;
and Joliet Commandery. He served as grand commander of the Grand Commandery of Illinois and for 12 years was representative
of the Grand Commander of New York and Illinois. He was a member of the Loyal Legion and Bartleson Post No. 6,
Grand Army of the Republic, and senior vice commander of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion.
James G. Elwood was the son of Nelson D. and Juliet L. (Parks) Elwood. Nelson D. Elwood, pioneer railroad builder
of Northern Illinois, was born in Otsego County, N. Y., in 1818, the son of Daniel Elwood. When eight years of
age he was left an orphan and spent his early business life in a clerical capacity at Lockport, N. Y. In 1837 he
came to Illinois where he became an engineer on the Illinois and Michigan Canal. During the winter months he taught
school and in 1843 he was elected county clerk. He was later admitted to the Will County bar and was associated
with Judge Parks. He was one of the founder of the Chicago & Rock Island Railroad Company of which he served
as secretary for many years. With Governor Joel A Matteson he was the originator of the division of the Chicago
& Mississippi Railroad between Joliet and Alton. In 1856 he built the Northern Indiana Railroad. Mr. Elwood
served as mayor of Joliet for two terms and also as secretary of the Illinois State Penitentiary Commission. He
was a member of Christ Episcopal Church and was Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Illinois and Deputy Grand
Commander, 33rd degree Masons.
History of Will County, Illinois
By: August Maue
Historical Publishing Company
Will County, Il
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