William McElhenie, who probably has been longer engaged in the livery business than any one in LaSalle county, is an esteemed citizen of the town of LaSalle. He is a native of Wayne county, Ohio, his birth having occurred September 2, 1846. He is of Scotch-Irish extraction, his ancestors having settled in the United States prior to the war of the Revolution. He is a son of William and grandson of Thomas McElhenie, of Pennsylvania. The former went to Ohio at an early day and there married Harriet Porter, a native of the Buckeye state, and daughter of John Porter, who was born in Ireland, and was a pioneer settler in Ohio. In 1852 our subject's parents came to Illinois, and for four years resided in LaSalle, where he kept the Tremont Hotel, and subsequently the St. Charles Hotel; and then, going to Mendota, engaged in the grocery, grain and commission business. He was very successful and popular as a business man and had a host of friends among his fellow citizens. He died in 1863, at his home in Mendota, aged fifty years, and his widow, who survived him, departed this life in LaSalle, in 1881, when she was in her sixty-sixth year.
William McElhenie is the only one left of his father's family, his brothers, Thomas J. and Albert H., having passed away. He was but six years old when he was brought to this county, and his educational advantages were such as the public schools afforded. When in his fifteenth year he embarked in business as a news agent on trains, and continued in this calling until 1866. That year witnessed his permanent settlement in LaSalle, where he at first was interested in the transportation and expressing business. Then, quite naturally, he turned his attention to his present vocation, for which he seems specially adapted. He keeps a fine line of carriages and vehicles of various descriptions and a number of horses suitable for driving or as saddle animals.
Politically Mr. McElhenie is a Republican, and fraternally he belongs to the Knights of Pythias, the Royal Arcanum, and the Modern Woodmen of America. At the close of the civil war, on the 2d of May, 1865, Mr. McElhenie was married, in Chicago, to Miss Anna Maria Graham, who, like himself, was a native of Wayne county, Ohio. Five children, who are still living, bless the union of this worthy couple, and have been given excellent educational advantages and judicious training for the more serious duties of life. These five children are Arthur J., of Pittsburg, Kansas, holding a responsible position with a coal company; Jessie M., wife of Frank Russel Fields, of Denver, Colorado; Pearlie L., George L. and Elsie.
Extracted 26 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 2, pages 447-448.