Biography of Alexander Mahaffie

Alexander Mahaffie. An honored survivor of the great Civil War and a substantial retired farmer of Harwood Township is found in Alexander Mahaffie, who was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, in 1835. For many years Mr. Mahaffie has been a respected and esteemed resident of Champaign County and he has been identified with many of the things which have been beneficial to this section.

The parents of Alexander Mahaffie were William and Elizabeth Mahaffie, who moved from Ohio to Indiana when he was eighteen months old. There he grew to manhood and obtained a district school education. When the Civil War came on he demonstrated the sincerity of his patriotism by enlisting, at Loganstown, Indiana, and was mustered in at Laporte as a member of Company F, One Hundred Fifty-first Indiana Volunteer Infantry, which regiment soon marched southward and took station at Nashville, Tennessee. During the time the regiment remained at Nashville Mr. Mahaffie, with many other soldiers, contracted measles, and as it prevailed in a malignant form in his case he was sent to the hospital at Nashville for treatment, but when able to return home was found incapacitated for further military service. When he enlisted he was a robust young man weighing 145 pounds, but when returned to his people he was almost a shadow of his former self and weighed but eighty pounds.

Before entering the army Mr. Mahaffie had visited Champaign County, Illinois, and also Ford County, and in the latter had invested in land, purchasing eighty acres, at $8.50 an acre. After coming back from the army he settled with his family on this place, having married in 1861, but later moved to Middletown in Logan County, and there his first wife died in 1866, and he returned to Indiana. After his second marriage he came back to Illinois and for many years has been a resident of Harwood Township, Champaign County.

In 1861 Mr. Mahaffie was married to Catherine Ann Foster, who died in 1866. They had two sons, Hiram Ellsworth and William Edgar. The former was named for the gallant young officer who was one of the early victims of the bitter feeling engendered by the Civil War and whose tragic death aroused the whole country and made of him a hero. Hiram Ellsworth grew to sturdy manhood, brave and resourceful like the gallant young Colonel Ellsworth, but met an accidental death on the railroad on which he was employed. William Edgar died at the age of twenty-two years. Mr. Mahaffie was married in 1874 to Elizabeth A. Scott, who died in 1905. They had one daughter, Sadie, who was born in Ford County, Illinois. She was educated in the public schools of Hoopeston and was graduated from Greer College in 1896. She returned home to take upon herself the direction of the household, as her mother was in failing health, and ever since has been a devoted daughter to her father as she was to her mother until the former’s death. She married Robert M. Hodam, who was born in Ford County, Illinois, and is a son of James and Sarah (Harshbarger) Hodam, natives of Virginia, who came early to Illinois. Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Hodam: Lowell, Florence, Harold, Gladys, Claud and Helen, all of whom are being afforded the best of educational advantages. The family occupies a beautiful home, the comfortable residence being surrounded by fine old trees that were set out many years ago by Mr. Burbank.

Robert M. Hodam was educated in the public schools and educational institutions at Normal and Valparaiso. He is a man of large business interests, being manager of the Ludlow Elevator Company for seven years and an experienced man in the grain trade. He is prominent also in public matters, has served as treasurer of Harwood Township and is also a member of the school board. Mr. and Mrs. Hodam are active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and for the last three years Mr. Hodam has served as superintendent of the Sunday school. He is identified fraternally with the Masons and the Knights of Pythias. Mrs. Hodam is an enthusiastic worker in the Woman’s Temperance Union ranks, an earnest and helpful member. She rejoices that a brighter day seems approaching because of the untiring labor of this great body of unselfish women, who have succeeded in encircling the world with the white ribbon of temperance. Mr. Mahaffie and his first wife were members of the Presbyterian Church, and he and his second wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He worships with the Methodists at present.


Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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