Randolph  County,  Indiana

Benjamin  F. Lewellen

            One of the progressive agriculturists and stock raisers of Randolph county and a citizen who tries to do his just part in the general upbuilding of his community is Elias F. Lewellen, a man of broad mind and clear comprehension, a straightforward, right-thinking gentleman, who tries to set a worthy example and lead a helpful, industrious and well-regulated life, quietly and effectively overcoming such obstacles as may attempt to thwart his purposes, and he has not only won material success but the esteem of his neighbors and friends also.
            Mr. Lewellen was born November 16, 1865, on a farm in Monroe township, Randolph county. He is a son of Benjamin F. and Harriet (McLain) Lewellen, natives of Indiana and Ohio, respectively. Harriet McLain was brought by her parents to Grant county, Indiana, when she was a young girl and there she grew to womanhood and received her education in the public schools, and there she and Mr. Lewellen were married. Grandfather William McLain was a wood worker by trade and when the family located in Grant county they found a very sparsely settled wilderness, which was still the home of Indians and the haunt of wild beasts. Grandfather brought with him a grindstone with which to grind his tools, and the Indians often came to his shop to have their tomahawks ground, and the mother of our subject would turn the crank to the grindstone for the red men, and in time she came to be a favorite with them. Her father was a manufacturer of wooden bowls and these he peddled over the country from his wagon. He became quite a prominent citizen of Grant county.
            Benjamin F. Lewellen grew up in his native locality and received a meager education in the old-time country schools. He was a farmer and laborer, and about the year 1860 he came to Randolph county, and here he engaged in general farming and spent the rest of his life, dying early in the year 1867, when the subject of this sketch was only fifteen months old, leaving a widow and five children, his youngest child having preceded him to the grave in infancy. The family was left in destitute circumstances, except for the widow's pension, Mr. Lewellen having been a soldier in the Union army during the Civil war, a member of Company A, Eighty-fourth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, in which he served gallantly for nearly three years, when he was discharged for disability which was the result of exposure while in the service. The widow and children had a hard struggle, but she heroically set to work to feed and clothe her little ones and reared them in comparative comfort and respectability. She made brooms and did any thing that would bring in an honest dollar, and she deserves a great deal of credit for what she accomplished. She is still living, making her home in Farmland, beloved by all for her piety and hospitality.
            Elias F. Lewellen attended the public schools when he became of proper age and worked during the summer months. He was an enthusiastic pupil and made rapid progress, and was eventually given a teacher's certificate, He at first worked at whatever he could get to do, later earned nine dollars per month regularly, saved his money and lived a frugal life. When he was twenty-one years of age he purchased forty acres of land, a part of his present finely improved and productive farm of one hundred and seventy- five acres. He went in debt for the major part of his first forty, the first payment due being five hundred dollars, the rest standing as an obligation. He managed well, worked hard and was economical and prospered with advancing years, becoming one of the substantial and enterprising farmers and stock men of his community. His place is under a high state of cultivation and, having laid by a competency for his declining years he has given up the harder work of the farm and is taking life easier than formerly. He has a pleasant home and good outbuildings, and owns a modern, standard make automobile. He has remained constantly on the place where he now lives since his marriage, which farm is located four and one-half miles west of Winchester. He has devoted considerable attention to raising and feeding live stock. On May 13, 1895, he opened a general merchandise store near his home and has carried a large and well-selected stock of nearly every thing needed by the farmer, and has operated the store successfully to the present time, enjoying a large trade with the surrounding country, many of his customers coming from nearby towns to avail themselves of his bargains and reasonable prices, and an automobile bearing customers is to be seen almost any time in front of his large and substantial store building.
            Mr. Lewellen was married September 29, 1888, to Mary A. Harper, a daughter of  Enos and Eunicy Harper, a highly-esteemed family of Randolph county, formerly of Ohio. Mrs. Lewellen was educated in the common schools and is a lady of many commendable characteristics. To our subject and wife four children have been born, namely: Lawrence F. is at home: Clarence F. is married and is living on his father's farm; Ralph M. is a high school student; and Maude O. is at home.
            Politically, Mr. Lewellen is a Republican and has long been active in public matters, but never an office seeker, although often urged to accept public office. He and his family are Christian Scientists.
Past and Present of Randolph County, Indiana, 1914.
Contributed by Gina Richardson

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