Augustus R. Elson, was born on a farm in Sandy township, Stark County, Ohio, on the 1st of August, 1829, the old homestead being located one mile north of
the present thriving little city of Waynesburg. He was the fourth in order of birth of the three children of Richard and Frederika (Beogle) Elson, and is now the
only surviving member of the immediate family.
Augustus grew to maturity under the parental roof, and is indebted to the primitive district schools of the pioneer epoch for the early educational privileges
which came to his portion. He continued to work on the farm for his father until he had attained his legal majority, and 1851 he began work in the mill owned
by his father in Magnolia, being associated in the operation of the same as a partner for one year. By this time the mill was badly run down through long and
constant use, the machinery being in poor condition, and our subject thus took the mill into his own charge, entering into a contract with his father with a view
to ultimately acquiring the property, and he forthwith instituted the work of improvement, gradually putting in new machinery and making every effort to turn
out a product of superior grade. Thus he was enabled to build up a good business and was clearing an average of five thousand dollars a year when, in 1867, he
tore out all the old machinery and installed new throughout, while he ever kept abreast of improvements in mechanical equipment and methods of operation, and
thus, in 1881, found it expedient to again practically equip his mill anew once more. At this time he put in a complete roller-process outfit, and today the plant is
one of the most modern in Stark County, turning out a flour of unexcelled quality and having a productive capacity of one hundred barrels a day. From the time
when Mr. Elson took charge of the mill it was his ambition to make it second to none in the quality of its products, and it is certain he has realized this
desideratum. The superior excellence of the flour has gained to the mill an extensive patron in the person of a wholesale baker at Trenton, New Jersey, whose
baking secured gold medals at Centennial exposition, in Philadelphia, in 1876, and later at the Paris exposition of 1900, the exhibit being made of articles in which
the flour from the Elson mills was utilized. This one customer demands a shipment of from four to five car loads of flour from this source each month, and his
patronage has covered a long term of years. In 1898 the business was incorporated under the title of the A. R. Elson Company, with the subject of this sketch
as president, and his son Richard R. as secretary, while the two younger sons, John R., and Frank, are also members of the company.
To Mr. Elson is due much of the credit for the present prosperity and the material up building of Magnolia. It was through his instrumentality that the depot of
the Chicago & Pittsburgh Railroad was built here, and he personally bought the right of way and presented the same to the railway company for the branch of
the Valley Railroad, which was thus built to this thriving little town, which is also indebted to him for many of its earlier improvements. Mr. Elson owns a farm
of one hundred and fifty acres, under excellent cultivation and highly improved, the same adjoining the town of Magnolia, while he has other important
capitalistic interests, being a stockholder in the First National Bank of Canton, a stockholder and member of the directorate of the First National Bank of Canal
Dover, of which he was one of the organizers, and a member of the directorate of the Miller Pasteurizing Company, of Canton, of which he is a large
stockholder. In politics he has ever been staunchly arrayed in support of the principles and policies of the Republican party, and he was for two years trustee of
Sandy Township, and for many years a member of the board of school directors. He was president of the school board and also of the building committee at
the time of the erection of the present attractive and substantial Union school building in Magnolia. Through not formally identified with any religious
organization, he is a liberal contributor to all church work, without regard to denomination.
On the 20th of December, 1855, Mr. Elson was united in marriage to Miss Margaret E. Ross, who was born in Waynesburg, Sandy township, Stark County,
being a daughter of the late John and Sarah Ross, and to them have been born seven children, namely: Austin; Richard R., who is individually mentioned
elsewhere; Emma, who remains at the parental home; John R., who is the subject of a sketch elsewhere; Margaret, who is the wife of Dr. Clement R. Jones,
of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Frank, who is also associated in the ownership and operation of the mills; and Harry, who resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
being a chemist by profession.
Old Landmarks of Canton and Stark County edited and compiled by John Danner 1904.