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James Buchanan Elmore

Source: History of Montgomery County, Indiana. Indianapolis: AW Bowen, 1913 p 1050

 In the domain of literature Indiana has gained a place of distinction and preeminence being now by universal consent, the successor of Massachusetts as the literary center of America.  No state has produced such a brilliant galaxy of stars in the literary firmament as has Indiana.  In the long list of her native writers we may mention a few such as James Whitcomb Riley, Joaquin Miller, Edward Eggleston, Lew Wallace, Booth Tarkington, George Ade, David Graham Phillips, Maurice Thompson, Gene Stratton Porter and Meredith Nicholson to say nothing of scores of lesser lights. Montgomery County has had her full share of the glory in literary genius, here having been born Meredith Nicholson and here the great author of Ben Hur spent practically all his life; but it is as the home of statesmen that this county excels. To give a comprehensive reason for the first place in literature in the western hemisphere being held by the Hoosier state would be indeed quite out of the question, whether it has been the result of the meeting of the sterling pioneer elements of the East and West, or a superior system of education, or whether there is greater natural inspiration and more effort is being made to produce literature here than in other states must be left to conjecture. But the state should be proud of its eminence in this respect. Among those who have contributed materially of recent years locally at least to its prestige as a literary center, stands James B. Elmore of Montgomery County, well know as "The Bard of Alamo," who is a native son of the locality of which this history deals whose productions marked by depth of thought and adroit polish have given him a staunch following.  It is of course extraneous to the functions of this publication to enter into manifold details concerning the careers of the many representative citizens whose names find a place within its pages and in the case at hand it can be hoped to present only a succinct but we hope accurate and worthy tribute to this talented son of the far famed Wabash Valley Country, made familiar to the wide world through the tender but masterful strokes of Paul Dresser.

 Mr. Elmore was born on January 25, 1857 in Ripley Township Montgomery County. He is a son of Matthias and Mary Willis Elmore.  The father was born in 1809 in Ohio and his death occurred in 1892.  The mother was also a native of Ohio.  Matthias Elmore grew to manhood in his native locality and there received a meager education, going no farther than the "rule of three" in mathematics, but being a great reader and a man of quick perception he became well educated.

 He took a great deal of interest in politics and was a Whig up to the race of General William Henry Harrison for Presidency.  He was a carpenter by trade, and he helped build the first Methodist Episcopal church in Crawfordsville.  His chief life work, however was farming. His family consisted of 7 children by his first wife and six by his second.  His first wife was a cousin of William English, a well known politician and capitalist of Indianapolis of the past generation.  The second wife was the mother of the subject of our sketch.  The third wife was known in her maidenhood as Virginia Kyle.  Of the entire family of 13 children, only 5 still live.  James B. Elmore received a common school education, later attending high school but his ambition for a collegiate course was never realized.  However, he has remained a student all his life has done a vast amount of miscellaneous reading and is a well educated man.  He began life for himself as a school teacher, which he followed for a period of 20 years prior to his marriage.  He gave eminent satisfaction to both pupils and patrons and his services were in great demand.  On February 14, 1880, Mr. Elmore was united in marriage to Mary Ann Murray, who was born in Missouri, May 23, 1863 and is a daughter of James and Mary Ann Templin Murray, the father a native of Kentucky.  The union of our subject an wife has resulted in the birth of 5 children, 3 of whom are living: Maud L, and Nora are both deceased: Roscoe M, born October 1, 1882, married Myrtle Lattimore and he is one of the successful public school teachers of Ripley Township; Grace born Jan 17, 1885, married Nathan Drollinger and they live in Veedersburg; Albert Murray born Sept 20, 1889, married Lula M. Seits; they live in Ripley Township and have two children, a son, named after our subject, James Byron (sic - Buchanan), Jr. and a daughter, Margaret Angeline.  James B. Elmore is a lover of what the great Methodist Bishop, William A. Quayle would call "God's glorious outdoors" and, having the love of mother nature in "all her visible forms" in him, as do all poets, he has spent his life in the rural districts, starting out on the farm, investing at the time of his marriage the sum of $400 his total worldly wealth in 30 acres of land a part of his present farm.  There he lived for some time in a log cabin and farmed and taught school.  Finally, he purchased 80 acres more going in debt for the same; later he traded that 80 for 160 near home and this he still owns. Subsequently, he purchased 80 acres form his father from who he inherited another 80, later bought 60 south of home and then purchased 160 north of his home farm and at this writing he is owner of an aggregate of 540 acres of valuable land, nearly all tillable, well tiled well fenced and otherwise improved in an up-to-date manner.  He has a commodious home and substantial outbuildings and he makes a specialty of raising Poland-China hogs and pole cattle and he also keeps a good grade of medium size horses. Everything about his place denotes system, good management and that a gentleman of industry and taste has the management of this valuable farmstead well in hand and is deserving to rank among Montgomery's foremost agriculturists. Fraternally, Mr. Elmore is a member of the Knights of Pythias at Waynetown, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Alamo and the Woodmen at Crawfordsville.  Religiously, he holds membership with the Christian Church and politically he is a Democrat.  When Mr. Elmore was a boy in school he began writing poetry, which soon proved him to be one of nature's gifted children for even at that early age his verse possessed usual merit and won for him the soubriquet of "The Bard of Alamo," which has since clung to him. Some of his best verse was written when he was teaching school, one of the most meritorious being "The Belle of Alamo" and "The Red Bird." From time to time he continued writing as the muse dictated, and eventfully gathered his best verse into book form, under the title of "Love Among the Mistletoe: and Other Poems" which was well received.  He continued to write and two years later put out "A Lover in Cuba; and other Poems."  A few years later followed another volume of verse, "25 years in Jackville," and then appeared form his facile pen, "A Romance in the Days of the Golden Circle."  His last volume was "Autumn Roses."  They all bore the unmistakable stamp of genuine poetic merit and each succeeding volume broadened its author's fame and audience until today his name has not only covered America but is known all over the world, much of his verse being especially liked in France.  His name is frequently attached to poems of fine finish and original theme in New York, Indianapolis and other metropolitan journals.  Mr. Elmore's services as a lecturer has been in considerable demand and he has lectured in many colleges and other institutions, throughout Indiana, being especially well received in Indianapolis.  The advancing years seem to give him a deeper penetration into nature and the soul as well as rendering his verse finer in every respect and we may hope for greater things from him in the future.  "Let our annals be well written, that it stand a scanning test, Those of fame are never hidden, They shall live among the blessed!"  JBE

(Note the intials of the contributor match those of the subject.}

Source: Waveland Independent, Waveland, Montgomery County, Indiana, Aug 18, 1899

James Elmore, the poet of Ripley township was in town last week, canvassing for advance subscription for a volume of poems he is preparing to publish. Mr. Elmore says he is meeting with much encouragement in his literary venture, which will not surprise those who have had the pleasure of reading his poems printed from time to time. His metrical description of the "Monon Wreck," for instance, attracted great attention; it suggests the work of Walt Whitman the "next morning," and has as many feet to the yard as anybody's poetry. A number of hitherto unpublished gems will be incorporated in the book, which by the way will be no cheap skate affair, but will be gotten up so as to be an ornament to any bookshelf.


See also his obituary:
Boone County |  Clinton County |  Fountain County |
 Hendricks County |  Parke County |
 Putnam County |  Tippecanoe County

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Data contained within this website may only be used with permission of the submitter, for non-commercial research and educational activities, and for personal genealogical information.

Data contained within this website may only be used with permission of the copyright holder(s), for non-commercial research and educational activities, and for personal genealogical information. © 2014 by Karen Zach, and licensed to the Indiana GenWeb (INGenWeb) Project and the USGenWeb Project. May be used in personal research with a citation.

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24 September 2011