Elisha Helms


By Christopher A. Meek

211. Elisha Helms was born about 1817 in Kentucky according to census records. He died on 17 Oct 1892 in Fountain Co., IN (source unknown). The Range Book of Fountain County details the purchase of forty acres on 3 May 1837, described as the NE 1/4 of SE 1/4 of Sec 21, Twp 19N, Range 7W. He is listed in the 1840 census of Fountain Co., IN with his wife and two sons. He appeared in the 1850 census of Van Buren TWP, Fountain Co., IN living with Stephen Voorhees. His children resided with various other families. See explantion of connection to children. He is listed in the 1860 census of Richland TWP, Fountain Co., IN with Martha and some of the children he had previously been separated from as well children by Martha. He is listed in the 1870 census of Greene Co., IN living next to his son George. He is listed in the 1880 census of Lawrence Co., MO with three children.

He married Anna Turner on 21 Jan 1835 in Fountain Co., IN according to marriage records. She was born about 1817 and died on 13 Jun 1849 in Fountain Co., IN. She was the daughter of Sarah Turner, the second wife of Elisha's father.

He married (2) Martha _______ about 1855. She does not appear in the 1880 census.

In 1840 Elisha Helms had two sons born between 1835 and 1840. His wife was born between 1810 and 1820.

Elisha’s wife, Anna, died in 1949. Undocumented sources indicated that he then married Martha and had the children listed in this genealogy. To support that contention the following is offered.

In 1850 Elisha resides with Stephen Vorhees family number 1097. His children are scattered around with other families in Fountain County.

Francis Marion born in 1838 lives with John Colbert family 1169. Francis is connected to Elisha through his death certificate.

Sarah age 8 lives with Silas Crane family 1121. However, also living there was Harvey Helms age 18 who is likely a son of William Helms, brother of Elisha. There is no indication that William had a daughter named Sarah. Harvey’s brother Dayton age 20 lives with George Hoobler family 1075.

John M. age 10 lives with John Walker family 1177.
James M age 8 lives with John Walker family 1177.

George was not located in the 1850 census of Fountain County.

Elisha Helms age 54 is listed in the 1860 census of Richland TWP with wife Martha and children named John M. age 20, James M. age 17, George W. age 13, William B. age 3 and Edward L. age 1.

Assuming Elisha in the 1850 census is the same person as the one in the 1860 census no other person named Elisha Helms has been located in Fountain County. In the 1860 and subsequent censuses his wife, Martha, was born about 1829. She could not have been the mother of John and likely was not the mother of James or George.

Thus it appears that John M. age 10 and James M. age 8 who were living with the John Walker family in the 1850 census were the sons of Elisha. They returned to their father and were listed in the 1860 census as John M. age 20 and James M. age 17 along with George.

One negative factor from the census records is that Elisha in the 1860 census is listed as a physician. No other records indicated he had this profession. It is unclear what the title meant at that time and place. The totality of evidence indicates that after Anna died Elisha farmed out the children to other families. He then remarried and some of these children returned to live with him. Sarah likely married and Francis migrated to Iowa. Even though they were separated, Elisha lived in the immediate vicinity where his children lived in 1850.