Biography of Soloman Elser
Mahoning County, OH Biographies





SOLOMON ELSER, up to the time of his death on June 3, 1907, one of Beaver township's most prominent and respected citizens, was a resident of North Lima from 1899, and had been identified with the township's official life for a great many years. Mr. Elser was born in Springfield township, two and onehalf miles south of Poland, June 24, 1832, and is a son of Jacob and Margaret (Greenamyer) Elser.

Mr. Elser's ancestors on the paternal side were German Huguenots, who were driven from their native land in the troublesome times of religious persecution. On the maternal side his forefathers were Scotch. In 1896 George Elser, the grandfather, founded the family in Springfield township, which was then in Columbiana County. The great grandfather, Peter Elser, who was of German parentage, came from Alsace-Lorraine with other Huguenots, and settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The family records tell that the grandmother of George Elser came to America in 1749, with three sons and two daughters. George Elser, born at Hanover, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, married Catherine Summers, and when they came to Springfield township they had three children, the youngest of whom was the father of Solomon Elser of North Lima. Great grandfather John Summers was married twice and had twenty three children, sixteen of whom were married, and each were given ioo acres of land, with the exception of the youngest, who, in lieu of land, received $300 m cash. He came to Springfield township in 1802, from Maryland, and took up half a section where the town of Leetonia now stands. His son ran the first grist and saw mill at Leetonia, the only one in this part of the country at the time, which was built for him by George Elser, his brother-in-law.

The children of George Elser and wife were: John, George, Jacob, Peter and Samuel. The last named died young, but the others all reached the age of 80 years, with the exception of Peter, who almost reached it.

Jacob Elser, father of Solomon, was born. at Hanover, Pennsylvania, and had not reached manhood when his father came to Springfield township. Not long after his marriage he removed to Beaver township, locating in the southern part, where he engaged in farming. He sold that farm at a later period and purchased a smaller one near Columbiana, where he and his wife lived some years. They then went to the home of their eldest daughter, in the village, where both died. Jacob Elser married Margaret Greenamyer, who was born in Unity township, Golumbiana County, Ohio, and was a daughter of Jacob Greenamyer, whose father was an early settler and ran a mill, coming to Ohio from the neighborhood of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The children of Jacob and Margaret Elser were: Samuel, whose death at the age of four years was the result of an accident; Sarah, who married Henry Werner, residing south of Columbiana; Solomon, whose name begins this sketch; Tobias, residing at North Lawrence; George, who died aged 21 years; Catherine, who married Jacob Keller, residing south of North Lima; Jacob, a resident of North Lima; and Elizabeth, who died unmarried at the age of 21 years. Jacob Elser was a stanch Jacksonian Democrat. He served as superviser and as trustee, of Beaver township.

Solomon Elser passed his boyhood on the home farm in Springfield township and ac companied his father to Beaver township in 1849. He considered it his ' duty to remain with his parents until he was 21 years old, and then worked for neighboring farmers ahd for several years hired out by the year. In 1859 he began to farm for himself, but the season was even more backward that year than' that of' 1907, the time of the present writing. He recorded the fact that wheat; grass and corn were frozen solid on June 5, 1859, and the promise of an abundant crop, was thus dissipated.

In 1862 Mr. Elser bought a farm in the southern part of' Beaver township, through which the railroad now runs, known as the David Whipple farm, and he resided on that place for three years and then lived on his father-in-law's place for three years, in the meantime selling his own farm and buying a place located one and one half miles northwest. Mr. Elser continued to operate that farm until the spring of 1899, when he moved to North Lima, selling the farm and purchasing a comfortable home in the village.

On October 14, 1858, Mr. Elser was married to Margaret Witter, who was born in Springfield township, and who is a daughter of David Witter. This marriage was blessed with four children, namely: Louisa, Enos Walker, Laura. and Alice. The eldest daughter, Louisa, married C. A. Snyder, and resides in Pittsburg. She has four children, namely: Volney, who took a course with the International Correspondence School and is now employed in the Westinghouse plant at Pittsburg; Goldie, of whom there is no special mention; Claude, who is also employed at Pittsburg; and Mernie. The second daughter, Laura, is the wife of Isaac Yoder, residitig south of East Lewistown. The third daughter, Alice, married John Pfau, residing at North Lima, and they have one son, Kenneth Solomon. Enos W. left home for the west in 1880, and was last heard from at LeMars, Kansas; it is not known if he is living.

From early manhood Mr. Elser was greatly interested in politics and was credited by his neighbors with most excellent judgment. Thus, on many occasions, he was called on to accept positions of honor and responsibility, and after coming to North Lima was continuously in office. In 1863 he was elected a trustee of Beaver township, on the Democratic ticket, and served as treasurer, clerk, assessor, land appraiser and during one year of the Civil War was register of deeds; he served also for one year as district, commissioner. In 1867 he was elected justice of the peace and has held that responsible office up to the time of his death, with the exception of four years, when he declined to serve. After his resignation another justice was appointed, but he was so unfamiliar with the details of the office that not many cases were placed in his charge. It was then that Mr. Elser took out notarial papers and tränsacted much business in that line. Through careful study he prepared himself for official duties and rarely had a decision rendered against him in this long period. He acted in the capacity of assignee, execütbr and administrator, and satisfactorily settled up numerous estates. His official life covered more than forty. years; he was familiar with law and its proper conception and administration as fully and completely, as many, a graduated attorney. In the performance of his many duties, he handled many affairs in so just, yet so diplomatic a manner, that each party to the contention has been satisfied, on many occasions, without any prolonged litigation, and this quality gained for him the respect, confidence and esteem of people all over the township. He was one of the leading members of the Reformed Church at North Lima.


From:
20th Century History of Youngstown
and Mahoning County, Ohio and
Representative Citizens,
Edited and compiled by Gen. Thos. W. Sanderson
Youngstown, Ohio
Biographical Publishing Company
Chicago, Illinois 1897


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