Transcribed from "History of North Washington, an illustrated history
of Stevens, Ferry, Okanogan and Chelan counties", published by Western
Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
ELIAS MESSERLY is one of the
leading and influential citizens of Wenatchee, Chelan county, and one of
the first men to cross the Cascades and locate in the beautiful Kittitas
His native state is Ohio, and he was born
December 24, 1842, in Fairfield county. His parents were Nicholas
and Elizabeth (Switzer) Messerly. The father was a native of Ohio
and of Swiss ancestry. He died in 1874. The mother was a native
of Switzerland, married in Ohio, and at present lives in Greenville, that
state, at the age of eighty-seven years. The Buckeye state was the
scene of our subject's early exploits, and here he was reared and educated.
His father was proprietor of a marble yard. At the breaking out of
the Civil war our subject and his brother enlisted in Company H, Seventeenth
Ohio Infantry, the brother as flag-bearer. Later he carried a gun,
and was killed at the battle of Chickamauga. Our subject was engaged
in a number of warm skirmishes, but participated in no regular battles.
At the expiration of three months' service he returned to Cincinnati, Ohio,
and engaged in the confectionery business. In the spring of 1865
he came to Helena, Montana, and for a number of years engaged in mining,
prospecting and carrying the mails. He made considerable money, and
spent it freely. Going "broke" the first winter, he gathered a lot
of back number newspapers and mounting his pony, sold them the first day
for sixty dollars. He managed to lay by sufficient money to engage
in the dairy business in Helena, at which point he sold milk for one dollar
a gallon. Two years later he filed on a claim in Kittitas valley,
and waited seventeen years for a railroad to make its appearance.
During this time he continued to raise stock nine miles north-east of Ellensburg.
In 1873 he located at Wenatchee, engaging in mining, near Rock Island,
with Philip Miller, mentioned elsewhere in this work. They took a
claim and our subject mined and trapped while his partner "held down" the
ranch. Mr. Messerly finally sold out to Miller and went to Seattle
but returned soon afterwards.
On November 24, 1876, at Ellensburg, Washington,
our subject was married to Sarah E. Houser, a native of Pennsylvania.
Her parents, Tillman and Louise (Wirkhizer) Houser, are Pennsylvanians,
being descended from old Dutch families. The wife has three brothers,
Harrison, Clarence and Alvy, and two sisters, Amelia, wife of Chester Churchill,
and Pernina, married to William German. The latter was the first
white girl born in the Kittitas Valley.
To Mr. and Mrs. Messerly have been born two
children, Alpheus, a partner in the Wenatchee Home Nursery, (Incorporated),
and Italia R., a school girl. This nursery is the property of Mr.
Messerly, Alpheus and Edward Dennis.
Our subject is one of the most extensive fruit
raisers in the valley, and the most successful. He has captured many
prizes at Buffalo, Spokane and elsewhere for beautiful displays of fruits.
Fraternally he is a member of the W. 0. T. W. Mrs. Messerly is a
very accomplished lady, and her daughter, Italia, is a beautiful girl of
eighteen years of age.