A Confederate veteran, whose home is now in Rosenberg, Mr. McElvy returned from a long and arduous service in the war to take up the active life of farmer, a vocation which he followed with much success for more than thirty years, and is now enjoying the fruits of his well spent life, during which he has obtained a fair share of the world’s goods and provided well for his family.
John McElvy was born in the state of Arkansas July 27, 1847. His parents were George R. and Martha (Webb) McElvy, the former a native of Georgia and the latter of Tennessee, their marriage occurring in Arkansas. The ancestry is Scotch-Irish and on the father’s side were a number of doctors and lawyers of prominence in their profession and in politics. The father himself was a lawyer, also a skillful surveyor and an active planter and stock raiser. He belonged to one of the first families in Georgia. Grandfather John McElvy was a Baptist minister. A man of superior education and culture, George R. McElvy died in Texas in 1860. His brother, R. L. McElvy, was a member of the Florida legislature. The maternal grandfather Webb was one of the pioneers planters of Texas and owned a number of slaves before the war. Mr. John McElvy was one of four children. His sister Fannie lived in Dallas and the other two children, Lawson and Harmon, are both deceased.
As a boy John McElvy spent his years on a farm and had limited educational advantages, chiefly owing to the fact that his father died when he was about fifteen or sixteen years old. The family moved to Texas in 1845, settling on the Angelina River, near the old John Durst Bridge on the San Antonio Road, the noted thoroughfare over which all the early commerce between Mexico and the United States passed. The father entered land in that vicinity of east Texas and lived there until his death. In 1861, on the outbreak of the war, John McElvy was seventeen years old and enlisted in Rigsby’s Company, Ford’s Infantry Regiment, recruited locally to capture the Federal fort at Brownsville. After the evacuation of that post Mr. McElvy returned home and then on February 8, 1862, enlisted in Company F of the Eighth Texas Infantry, a regiment command by Colonel Overton Young. Their first destination was at Little Rock, Arkansas, but after a short time they began active participation in that long and desultory warfare which characterized the fighting west of the Mississippi River. There were almost constant expeditions and counter expeditions, skirmishes and battles all over Arkansas and Louisiana, and that condition of affairs continued until near the end of the war. Mr. McElvy was a member of what was known as the Walker Greyhounds, in Walker’s Division. Among the more prominent battles in which he took part were the bloody engagement of Mansfield, that of Pleasant Hill and Jenkins Ferry. His company was finally disbanded at Hempstead, in Walker county, and he had gone through from the beginning to the end without wound or capture, although the exposure brought on a long spell of pneumonia.
After the war Mr. McElroy was substantial farmer for nearly thirty years in Milam county. The on November 25, 1894, he moved to Fort Bend county, and since then has lived more or less retired in Rosenberg. He owns a fine farm in the county, has property in Rosenberg and investments in other enterprises.
In 1862 Mr. McElvy was married to Miss Eliza Henderson, a native of Texas, whose death occurred a few months after their marriage. Later he married Ann Schafer, whose maiden name was Ann Vernon, and who was born in Manchester, England, and came to Texas in 1845. Of the six children born to their union Fannie, Laura, William and Harry are now deceased. Thomas J. McElvy lived in Wallis, Texas, and Richard H. in Wharton, Texas. Mr. McElvy is an intelligent and well informed man and has been interested in educational progress, having served for a number of years as school trustee of Milam county. He is a loyal old Confederate and a member of Clem Bassett Camp of the Confederate veterans at Richmond. Mrs. McElvoy is a member of the Christian church.
Source: Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (Chicago and New York: The American Historical Society, 1914), Vol. IV, pp. 1595-596.