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Obituary of Elijah Day, 1794-1887: Grocer, Public Official

Grocer, Public Official

OBITUARY -- from the Wheeling Intelligencer, Jan. 3, 1887

Obituary of Elijah Day from the Wheeling Intelligencer, 1887


The Oldest Citizen of Wheeling, Early Sabbath Morning -- His Public Career, Death of Mr. Hoverly M. Eoff at Woodland, West Virginia.

Yesterday morning at one o'clock, when the new year was not more than a day old, Mr. Elijah Day, the oldest citizen of this city, died after a brief illness. During the last two months he had been falling rapidly, and the weight of ninety-three years stat heavily indeed, and his enfeebled body broke under the strain and he passed away quietly, in fact fell to sleep.

He has been a remarkable man, not alone in regard to his longevity, but as one who has been identified with the public affairs of this city, having located here in 1818. His youth was rugged, and he experienced those privations which make true men and warm hearts. He was born in Washington county Penns., on the adjoining Greene. At the age of fourteen he performed the services of Deputy Sheriff of Greene county -- a position in those days attended by many dangers and sacrifices of personal comfort in riding through a country very sparsely settled. He married in Waynesburg the daughter of Samuel Robb and shortly afterwards came to this city and started a pottery.

Later he opened a grocery. After closing out this business venture he hold various positions in the pubic service of Wheeling, having been Street Commissioner, Coroner for a number of years and Assessor under the old and new state. His latest public office was the City Receivership. When he left this position it was the beginning of the end which came yesterday morning. Having an active brain and abhorring a do-nothing existence, it was with some difficulty that he could be convinced that he had fulfilled his term of active service in this life.

His faculties were stronger than his body, and this fact caused him to worry and fret over a passive life; and he was loathe to believe he was growing old and had attained an age when he was entitled to rest.

His importance and conspicuous position did not rest solely on the various public positions he held and whose duties he discharged with distinguished fidelity and honesty, for his identity with religions and charitable works entitle his memory to be revered as much as his faithful public service is to be remembered. He was a man of fervent religious character and typical every day christian of deeds as well as profession. He had the simple, sympathetic heart of a child, and was readily touched by the appeals of the suffering and unfortunate and frequently administered to those beyond what would be expected of a man in his circumstances. He was unostentatious in his charity, large in his benevolence and upright and scrupulously honest in his transactions with the world, and died in the consolation of a life well-lived and in the fear of One who comforted and sustained him in his last hours. His life was gentle, and he went to sleep when night came.

Some of the older citizens of this city who are now dead were wont to recall the days when they went to school to Mr. Day in North Wheeling, and who used to hear him preach when a local preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church. His history and the Methodism in this city are inseparable, and in his death one of the patriarchs of Forth Street Church passes to his reward. He lived beyond the allotted years of man, breaking bread with the children of the fourth generation, to whom he has left a legacy for better than riches. His funeral will take place this afternoon at 3 o'clock from he residence of his son, William McK. Day, No 835 Market Street.

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