Shelbyville Daily Union

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January 3, 2011

Gallagher/Elbert Land Newest Centennial Farm Claim

SHELBYVILLE, IL. — Shelbyville resident Julie Elbert has recently been honored with a second centennial farm in her name.

Elbert has three parcels of land in Clarksburg Township that have been passed down from her great-great grandfather Victor Elbert through her father Robert that has already been recognized as a centennial farm

She recently received centennial farm honors for land through Robert’s other side of the family - his mother Florence Gallagher Elbert.

The 40 acres of land is located on the Clarksburg blacktop south of the Mt. Zion Church on the west side of the road between 600N and 700N.

The land was first purchased by Abraham Middlesworth from the U.S. Government on September 19, 1838. The land was passed to his daughter Sarah Gallagher and her husband Jacob in 1844 who passed it on to their daughter Mary in 1879. Mary gave the land to her husband William Ragan in 1887 - breaking the line.

Jacob E. Gallagher bought the farmland from Ragan on September 8, 1906, for $1600. It turns out that Jacob E. was a nephew of Jacob Gallagher, father of Mary Ragan.

“When Mary Regan gave it to her husband, that broke the family line. It could have been a sesquicentennial farm,” Julie said.

Jacob E. and Fannie Gallagher passed the land to Florence Gallagher Elbert, mother of Robert Elbert and Julie’s grandmother.

“To my knowledge it has always been farmland. I don’t remember any structures on it,” Julie said.

But the family home was once there, as photos can attest.

The home was built in the 1890s. According to family stories, in the 1950’s it still had no modern conveniences. It had a pump in the kitchen and an outhouse.

But in spite of its lack of modern conveniences, the Gallagher home was the location of the Clarksburg telephone exchange. Jacob E. was also one of the areas early soybean farmers.

“He always like something new,” Julie said.

Jacob E. was also a well known politician in the county, sitting on the county’s board of supervisors for many years. He was instrumental in moving the clock at the old Main Street School building to the cupola of the county courthouse in 1925.

Julie’s grandmother Florence was active in her own right, helping to raise money for Shelbyville High School to purchase the Robert Root painting depicting the Lincoln-Thornton debate.


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