John B. Elrod, of near Rifle, Garfield county, this state, who has won success in business and the confidence and good will of the people all around him by his industry, capacity and sterling manhood, is a native of South Carolina, born on January 12, 1845, and moved from there with his parents to Kansas in 1856. His early life was therefore filled with the ominous forebodings of the coming struggle between the sections of our unhappy country soon to be rent by civil strife and baptized in the blood of its best and bravest sons. He can therefore all the more appreciate the blessings of the peace and prosperity which we have since enjoyed, and rejoice in the commanding greatness of a re-united and more harmonious land, the different portions of which now understand one another better than they did before and are more disposed to work in harmony for the common good. When the strife burst forth he bore his part in it in accordance with the traditions and teachings of his section, and has nothing to regret on that account. His parents were Allen and Amanda Elrod, descendants of old South Carolina families, and in 1856 they moved to Kansas, carrying with them the faith of their fathers which found expression in the border troubles of that state which were unmistakable heralds of the greater contest that was to come. They passed the remainder of their days in Kansas engaged in farming, the father as a loyal Democrat taking part in all public affairs and exerting a decided influence on their trend in his locality.
Eight children were born in the family, three of whom have died. The five living are George F., of Aspen; John B., of Rifle; Sarah, wife of J.W. Cunningham, of Kansas City, Missouri; Harvey H., of Oswego, Kansas, and Maria J., wife of a Mr. McArthur, of Victor, Colorado. The father died in 1856 and the mother in 1899. John was educated at subscription schools with good results. At the age of fourteen he went to work as a farm hand on plantations in the neighborhood of his home for small wages, and near the close of the Civil war, when he was about nineteen, he joined the Confederate army under Colonel Condiff in Shelby’s brigade, in which he served about a year to the close of the war. He then returned home and apprenticed himself to a blacksmith to learn the trade. He acquired a thorough knowledge of it and devoted five years to its various branches in Texas and at Kansas City, Missouri. In 1874 he came to Colorado, reaching Denver on April 1st. Three months later he moved to Central City and there wrought at his trade until 1882. He then sold out at a good profit and returned to Denver for a year. At the end of that period he moved to Leadville where he opened another shop and worked at his trade until the winter of 1883, when he went to Twin Lakes and took charge of the shop for the stage line belonging to J.C. Carson. In this position he remained two years and a half, then in October, 1887, purchased a squatter’s right to a tract of one hundred and sixty acres of land, the ranch he now owns and occupies. Of this he can cultivate one hundred and fifty acres and he finds it very fertile and productive. He raises good crops of hay, grain, vegetables and fruit, but cattle form his main reliance. The water right to the land is good, and the markets are within easy reach, the ranch being five miles southwest of Rifle. Mr. Elrod is an Odd Fellow in fraternal circles and a zealous Democrat in national politics. Locally he is devoted to the welfare of his community without regard to party considerations, and has rendered it valuable and appreciative service as a member of the school board during the last nine years. On July 1, 1875, he was married to Miss Sarah F. Richmond, a native of Greene county, Illinois, and daughter of William O. and Mary A. Richmond, the father born in Indiana and the mother in Pennsylvania. They located in Illinois in 1865 and later moved to Kansas. Eighteen months afterward they changed their residence to Independence, Missouri, and after living there eight years moved to Central City, this state, in 1876. Since 1879 they have been living at Leadville. The father is a Democrat in political allegiance. The family comprised twelve children, of whom but six are living, the others having died in infancy. The living six are: Sarah F.; Jasper, living at Tombstone, Arizona; Naomi, wife of Herbert Corwin, residing in the vicinity of Rifle; William, at Aspen; and Ottis, at Leadville. Their mother died on June 17, 1873. Mr. and Mrs. Elrod are in genuine sympathy with the underlying principles of the Christian religion, though they are not actively affiliated with any religious domination.
Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.