ELIJAH S. SHIRLEY, M. D. physician and surgeon, Xenia, was born in Caldwell County, Ky., February 10, 1828, and is the son of Samuel and Phoebe (Cook) Shirley. The father was a native of Virginia. He served an apprenticeship at Harper's Fern in the United States Armory, and then was Inspector and Trier of Arms in the United States Army. He continued in this business for a number of years, and made quite an amount of money. He then emigrated to Tennessee with Dr. Hugh Barton, his brother-in-law. He was married at Blountsville, Tenn., to the mother of our subject. She was a native of New York, but had removed to Tennessee with her parents. After marriage, they removed to Kentucky, going down the Tennessee River in a keel-boat to Caldwell County, Ky., where they settled and died. Our subject's grandfathers were both born in the old country, his grandfather Shirley in Edinburgh, Scotland, and grandfather Cook in the city of Dublin. At about the age of fourteen years, our subject was left an orphan. He then went to Northern Alabama, and was placed in school at Cherokee, Ala., by his cousin, Armstead Barton. He remained at school at Cherokee for about five years, and then began the study of his profession under Dr. J. C. P. Bond, a graduate of Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Penn. He remained with Dr. Bond for about fifteen months, and then went to Caseyville, Ky., into the office of Dr. Enoch R. Ashbey. After remaining there for some months, he went to Louisville, Ky., and attended medical lectures, after which he practiced with Dr. Ashbey for two years, and had made a good start, but in 1851 tried speculating, and lost all that he had made, so began over. In 1853, he came to Wayne County, Ill., and for two years did a large practice at Johnsonville. Health then failed, and he lay sick at Xenia for six months; and since that time has been in the practice of his profession here and has been very successful. The Doctor is also engaged in farming, having a farm of 120 acres near town, which is in a high state of cultivation. In 1857, he was married in Jefferson County, Ill., to Miss Martha Casey, youngest daughter of Abram Casey, an early settler of that county. She died in 1858, and in 1859 the Doctor was married to Miss Mary Graves. She was born in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, a town which her father had helped to lay out, also laying out Graves' Addition to Xenia. Dr. Shirley is a member of the Centennial Medical Society of Southern Illinois. Also a member of the Alumni Association of St. Louis Medical College, from which college he is a graduate. He is a Royal Arch Mason, belonging to the Richland Chapter, No. 38, and is a member of the Council Lodge, No. 55, at Olney. In politics, he has always been a faithful worker in the Democratic party. In 1880, he was the Democratic nominee for the State Senate from the Forty-fourth Senatorial District, but on account of the perfidy of some fellow-Democrats, he was defeated, although carrying four townships, where he is best known, by the largest majority ever received by any candidate.
Extracted 28 Dec 2017 by Norma Hass from 1884 History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois, Part IV, pages 167-168.