Biography - Elizur Southworth

Hon. Elizur SOUTHWORTH, lawyer, Litchfield, was born in West Fairlee, Vt., September 22, 1826; his parents were also natives of the same State; on the paternal side, of English extraction, and on the maternal side, his ancestry was of Irish birth. His education was acquired at the academy in Bradford, Vt., in the high school at Post Mills, and in the Thelford High School, at one time a famous educational establishment. He was the youngest of a family of five, and, at a very early age, was compelled to rely upon his own exertions to secure a livelihood. At the age of eighteen, he commenced teaching school, a calling which he pursued in Vermont, Massachusetts and in New Hampshire, thus securing, while instructing his pupils, a fair and varied education. In 1847, he removed to Illinois, where he continued to teach in several counties during the ensuing three years. In 1850, he went to California, crossing the plains on foot, and driving an ox team from St. Joe to Sacramento. Upon arriving at his destination, having experienced many hardships on the road thither, he engaged in mining for about fifteen months; he then returned to the East, to Bradford, Vt., where he became the proprietor by purchase of a newspaper establishment, which he conducted one year, until his business was destroyed by fire. In the spring of 1854, he again removed to Illinois, and settled in Montgomery County, where he engaged in farming and agricultural pursuits, continuing thus employed during the succeeding four years. Having applied himself to the study of law while teaching school, he was admitted to the bar in 1859, and, in January of that year, entered upon the practice of his profession in Litchfield, where he has since permanently resided, engrossed in professional labors, his practice being very extensive and lucrative. Politically, he was originally a Democrat, but in 1856, he cast his vote for John C. FREMONT, and was eventually one of the original Republicans of the State; after that time, he voted with the Republican party until 1872, when he cast his vote in favor of Horace GREELEY, and has since acted with the Democrats; in 1869, he was nominated by his party for County Judge, but failed to secure an election, the county having been always governed by Democratic views, although on this occasion he reduced a 600 majority to thirty-six. Starting out in life young, poor and friendless, he has been truly the architect of his own fortune, and has won his present enviable position as a legal practitioner and as an esteemed citizen solely through his own abilities and tireless energy. In 1876 and 1878, he was elected to the State Legislature from Montgomery and Christian Counties, and served four years; he was elected Mayor of Litchfield in 1881, and served one term; he served in the State Senate from 1878 to 1880.

Extracted 19 Nov 2016 by Norma Hass from 1882 History of Bond and Montgomery Counties, Illinois, Part 2 Biographical Department, pages 169-170.

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