In the western part of Franklin township, near the Williams county line, is the excellent farm and elegant home of LA FAYETTE G. ELY, a man well known thoughout this county as a successful farmer, a thorough-going business man, a trusted public servant, and a man of strict integrity and moral worth.  All this is said of him by persons whose acquaintance with Mr. ELY is of  long standing.

The father of our subject, and the mother as well, were natives of the Keystone State, Pennsylvania, but at the time of their marriage, were residents of Knox (now Morrow) county, O., and our subject was born in Knox county, a part of which afterward became Morrow county.  In his father's family were eleven children, and of these LA FAYETTE GILBERT ELY was the oldest, he being born on the 3d day in April, 1834.  Of these children but seven grew to manhood and womanhood, the others having died during childhood.  GEORGE ELY was the youngest of those that reached man's estate.  He is well and favorably remembered in the western part of Fulton county; he was a member of Company C of the One Hundredth Ohio Infantry, and was killed at Atlanta, Ga., during Sherman's memorable campaign.

GEORGE ELY, the father of our subject, was the son of ASHER ELY, and the fifth generation from JOSHUA ELY, one of the Puritans of New Jersey, and who died at an advanced age in the year 1704.  ASHER ELY was born in New Jersey in 1788, and moved with his parents to Pennsylvania in 1795.  He was a soldier and engaged in the War of 1812-15.  In 1826 he moved to Knox county (now Morrow), where GEORGE ELY was married and where our subject was born.

In the year 1835, the father, GEORGE ELY, his wife, ELIZABETH (FOLCK) ELY, and their child, LA FAYETTE G., then about one year old, became residents of Williams county; and among the pioneers of that locality, none was more prominent in every measure than GEORGE ELY.  He assisted largely in the organization of the township, and to him belongs much of the credit of its early improvement and having laid the foundation for its subsequent growth. GEORGE ELY still lives in the enjoyment of good health for a man of his years, being now aged seventy-five, and his wife, too, aged two and a half years less than her husband.

The life of LA FAYETTE G. ELY, up to the age of about twenty-three, was spent on his father's farm, and in attending school, but on attaining his majority he rented the farm of his father, which he worked in season, and taught school during the winter.  The early education of the children of GEORGE ELY was by no means neglected, and while their father could not provide each with a home when at a man's estate, he, nevertheless, saw that the means of earning that home was furnished in teaching them industry, frugality and economy.  How well this instruction was received is shown in the life of our subject.

On the 12th of November, 1857, LA FAYETTE G. ELY was united in marriage with SARAH S. MASTERS, the daughter of Hon. EZEKIEL MASTERS, of Franklin township, and in this same year the young couple came to reside in that township.  From that time Mr.ELY became a resident of Fulton county, and his association with its civil and political growth is so well known as to require but a brief mention in these pages; and in the township of his residence there lives no man but that enjoys his acquaintance.  His beginning here was necessarily small, for his means were limited, but the visitor at his present home is at once struck not only with the attractiveness of its surroundings, the large and comfortable dwelling and out-buildings, but with the evidence of thrift and prosperity that everywhere prevail.  His farm is known as one of the best and most productive, not alone of the township, but of the county, and in area it extends over some two hundred and ten acres.  From here can be seen the residence of his parents in Williams county, to the west.

The devoted wife of Mr. ELY shared with her husband in the toil and economy that made this comfortable home; she bore him four children, all of whom are yet living.  For their son and daughter that have married an abundant provision was made upon the happening of that event.  After a pleasant married life of nearly thirty years, Mrs. SARAH ELY answered the Master's call on the 16th day of May, 1885.  She was a loving and devoted mother, a kind and affectionate wife, an excellent neighbor, a faithful worker in the Methodist Episcopal Church of which she had long been a member, and in the teachings of which she had reared her children.  For more than a year Mr. ELY lived a widower, and, on the 30th of December, 1886, was married to Mrs. MARY H. WOOD, a most worthy woman, and a prominent teacher in the Fremont schools.

LA FAYETTE G. ELY has been a successful farmer of Franklin township for upwards of thirty years, and while his time has, in the main, been devoted to the care of his farm, he has found time to participate in the events of the political world, although he has by no means been an office seeker or politician.  There are but few of the offices of the township that the people thereof have not asked and elected him to fill.  In 1859 he was elected justice of the peace and subsequently re-elected, holding in all twelve years.  For six years he was auditor of the county, first taking the position in 1871, but was twice re-elected, having been renominated in convention by acclamation, and, upon his third candidacy his majority at the polls was greater than upon either prior occasion.  This indicates that Mr. ELY's strength did not lie wholly within the Republican party, and that the administration of the affairs of the auditor's office, together with the popularity of its incumbent, were sufficient to call his support his party's full vote, added to which was a large complimentary following from the opposition party.  And it is proper to remark that Mr. ELY was re-elected at a time when, over the whole land there was a great outcry against all third term candidates.

During the six years in which Mr. ELY was the fiscal officer of the county he maintained, temporarily, a domicile at the county seat, but other than this, he has been a constant resident of Franklin township.

The farm and the political station which he has been chosen to fill, have not wholly engaged the time and attention of our subject, for, in his own, his family's, and his people's spiritual welfare, he has made an earnest, honest endeavor.  From boyhood he was instructed in the teachings of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and to that faith has ever since strongly inclined, although he is no strict sectarian, as his contributions to many worthy causes outside his own society will fully attest.  All share of his bounty, and all enjoy the benefits of his liberality and generosity.  No worthy charity has ever appealed to him in vain.  Again, Mr. ELY has always taken a great interest in the agricultural advancement of his county, and has, for the last thirty years, and from its first organization, been an active member of the County Agricultural Society; he has been on the board of directors for a number of years, and the president of the society for the past three years, which latter office he now holds.  Among those who have labored to elevate the standard of agriculture, and sought to instill into the minds of the farmers and their families, a true and commendable pride in and love for their occupation ad conscientious endeavor in this direction must be ascribed a no small share of the credit for the high standard to which agricultural education and development have attained in Fulton county. He has, likewise, always been a friend of education, and shown a deep interest in the welfare of the young people around him; his library, one of the largest and most complete in the county, has always been open to the free access of his numerous warm friends among the young.


History of Henry and Fulton Counties, Ohio.  Lewis Cass Aldrich, ed.  Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1888.




History of Henry and Fulton Counties, Ohio.  Lewis Cass Aldrich, ed.  Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1888.