His father died when he as 3 and his mother when he was 9. He went to live with his aunt Rachel Jolliff Rhea. Two of his brothers, Randolph & James, were raised by their uncle Green Depriest, who moved to Oregon Co, Mo with them in 1841. In 1850 he was living with his aunt Rachel Rhea in Sangamon Co, IL.
He joined the Union army and fought on the opposite side of his brother, Randolph. It isn't known whether they were ever in the same battle, but they did both fight in Mississippi.
He was a private in the Union Army during the Civil War in Co. C, 11th Ill. Inf., the first company that was organized in Centralia, IL and saw a lot of action. He was at the capture of Ft. Donaldson (where he was wounded), at Ft. Hindmon, and at the seize of Vicksburg. He was with Grant at Natchez, Mississippi.
His military record described him as 6'1", red hair, grey eyes and light complexion. During Jan & Feb 1864 after a furlough at home, he took a steamboat, the C.E. Hillman, to Vicksburg, Mississippi to join his company. This proved to be an exciting trip as a letter to his brother (probably William) explains. [According to other historical records, this event may have happened in April 1861.]
Don't Know the Word Surrender
Vicksburg, Miss., March 26, 1864
Dear Brother: It is with pleasure I write you a few lines to let you know that I have got back to my regiment all right, although we had a right smart fight on the boat. We were attacked by a band of guerrillas opposite Island No. 18. No danger being apprehended the boat landed on the Arkansas shore for the purpose of wooding. Many of the passengers had, as usual, strolled out upon the bank when a party of twenty to thirty-five guerrillas suddenly made their appearance from the woods and opened fire upon the steamer and those who were on shore; killing a soldier, a negro, and wounding eight others. The head and spring lines being out and a strong wind blowing on shore, it seemed impossible to get the boat into the stream. Part of the rebels rushed on board the boat, when the fight commenced in earnest. I was on the hurricane deck and at first supposed the boys were firing for mischief, until they called out guerrillas and said we were attacked.
They called on the Captain to surrender, which he did as far as he could. I soon saw there was no one to take the lead, as the one who had command was wounded, and the balance appeared to be backward about doing anything, and a good deal of hiding going on. I had no notion of being taken prisoner by a gang of thieves and robbers, so I told the boys we must go in on them; that we could hip them. In a short time I got three or four of the boys and rushed forward on them. I had nothing to fight with at first, but gathered some revolvers and pitched in. I saw three of them bite the dust. They shot six holes through my clothes, put a revolver so close to my face that the powder burned my whiskers.
I thought I would resort to strategy, and called out to the boys to get their arms and fall in and make a charge on them. They ordered me to surrender or they would low my brains out. I told them I belonged to the 11th Illinois, and I didn't know the word surrender; that I had [plenty?] of men on the boat to whip them, and if they didn't surrender I would kill the last man of them; that they were nothing but a gang of thieves, anyway. About this time a little citizen and number of others run up with revolvers and fired into them, when the rebels got up and dusted.
The Captain of the boat ordered me to surrender the boat; I told him I was on the boat and had been out too long to be taken by a gang of thieves, and if I heard any more from him I would shoot him on the spot. One of the deck hands run out and cut the lines and let the boat adrift. Some of the furloughed officers acted very brave, and some very cowardly. One Colonel had his shoulder straps taken off for being hid up on a state room.
The commanding General at Memphis sent for me. He had heard about the fight and wanted to know the particulars, that he understood I had taken an active part, and asked me if I saw the Colonel during the fight. I told him just how it was and that he never showed up. He complimented me highly, hoped I would always prosper, and sent a recommendation to our Colonel. Our regiment were in two fights while I was home, and they whipped the rebels every time. But I must come to a close.
I remain yours, Elijah Jolliff
Elijah was offered the rank of captain for recapturing the Union steamboat, but refused. He was discharged Oct 9, 1865 with this remark: "Discharged as a corporal having refused promotion for bravery."
Brinkerhoff’s 1909 “History of Marion County, Illinois” makes some mention of Elijah Jolliff:
- p. 69, describing the 109th Regiment: “Elijah Jolliff, veteranized, promoted to corporal, transferred.
- p 91, The (111th) regiment was now under the command of Captain Jolliff, and on the 28th of July, 1864, engaged the enemy with a loss of 10 wounded, 1 missing. Remained in camp at East Poin Setp 8-Oct 4. November pursued Gen. Hood through Tenn. and started with Serman to the sea. Finally to Washington, DC where they participated in the Grand Review.
He may have married 1st to Rose Faulkner. His son Lewis Benjamin was born Aug 13, 1866 (before he married Sarah Forbes in Nov). Lewis’ death certificate says his mother was “Rose Faulkner.”  If so, she must have died at Lewis’ birth. On Lewis' marriage register his mother is listed as Sarah Forbes. I cannot find this marriage though on the Illinois Marriage Index. Elijah later married Malinda Ann (Bryant) Faulkner.
Elijah was 41 years old when he married 15-year-old Sara Ellen Forbes, Nov 1, 1866, and raised her 3 younger brothers. Sarah died in 1874 having had 4 children in 8 years; she was only 23 years old.
1870 Census Washington County, Illinoisbr>
Elijah Jolliff Male 39 Illinois
Sarah Jolliff Female 18 Illinoisbr> Lewis Jolliff Male 3 Illinoisbr> Julia Jolliff Female 0 Illinoisbr> William Forbes Male 15 Illinoisbr> Albert Forbes Male 13 Illinoisbr> Simeon Forbes Male 9 Illinoisbr>
Elijah married 3rd?, May 3, 1876 to Malinda Ann (Bryant) Faulkner (abt 34, widow of his cousin, Charles J. Faulkner). Elijah & Ann had a son, Edward, and a stillborn son in 1879, then they were apparently separated by 1880, when Elijah was living with his children Lewis, Julia & Cora, and Ann had her children Alpharetta (Alpha), Emma & Delana & their son Edward.
1880 Washington co, IL, Irvington, p358:
Jolliff, E - 59 IL father, farmer
. . . . . Lewis - 13 IL son
Ford, J.W. - 24 TN, husband, farmer
. . . . Mattie - 21 Mo, wife, keeping house
Jolliff, Julia A. - 9 IL daug
. . . . . Thomas - 8 IL son
. . . . . C. Alice - 5 IL daug
Ford, Luella - 5/12 (Feb) - IL daug
Gelle, William - 22 Prussia, boarder, helping on farm
But in the 1900 census Elijah was living alone with a couple of servant girls, while Malinda was living with their son Edward.
Edward and his wife Maggie lived some with Elijah before he died Aug 26, 1900 near Irvington, IL.
1900 IL census: Washington Co, Irvington twp, p 224:
Jolliff, Elijah - 75, b Sept 1824 IL, widowed
Smaney?, Julia (servant) - 27 IL
Hurley, Edith (servant) - 19 IL
1900 IL census: Washington Co, Irvington twp, p 228:
Jolliff, Edward (head) - 22?, b Mar 1877 IL, m 2 yrs.
. . . . Margie (wife) - 16, b Mar 1884 IL, m 2 yrs
. . . . Anna (mother) - 57, b May 1843 TN
Stinde, William (bro-law) - 19, b Aug 1880 IL
Ann's daughter Emma married Elijah's son, Lewis (they were 2nd cousins) Ann's daughter Alpha married Elijah's nephew, Elijah S. (son of Wm N.) - they were 2nd cousins.
He passed away in 1900.
Born 9 Sep 1825
Died 26 Aug 1900
Ill. Co. C.
He was a brave and true soldier
Wife of Elijah Jolliff
Born 29 Sept 1851
Died Oct 1874 (either 13 or 14)
On the bright immortal shore
We shall meet to part no more
Find A Grave: Memorial #46374423
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Elijah is 17 degrees from James Beam, 20 degrees from Adolphus Busch, 13 degrees from Elijah Craig, 29 degrees from Nearest Green, 24 degrees from Gerard Adriaan Heineken, 16 degrees from Susannah Oland, 20 degrees from Frederick Pabst, 29 degrees from Antoine-Joseph Santerre, 20 degrees from Joseph Seagram, 27 degrees from Lars Olsson Smith, 20 degrees from Charles Tanqueray and 17 degrees from Eileen Robinson on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.