Marrs, Elijah P.(born: 1840 - died: 1910)
Elijah P. Marrs wrote an autobiography of his life as a slave in Shelby County - Life and History of the Rev. Elijah P. Marrs [available on the University of North Carolina University Library's Documenting the American South website]. He was the son of Andrew Marrs, who was free, and Frances Marrs, who was a slave, both from Virginia. Marrs, who learned to read and write, left the plantation to become a Union solider. After the war, he was founder of several churches and the first African American school teacher in Simpsonville. Marrs also taught at the school in Lagrange , New Castle, and the school held in a church in Braxton [Bracktown] in Lexington, KY. Elijah and his brother, J. C. Marrs, are credited as co-founders of Simmons University. After four years, Elijah Marrs sold his interest in the development of the school in 1874. While in Lagrange, KY, Elijah Marrs was the first African American to become president of the Republican Club of Oldham County, and he established the first colored agriculture and mechanical fair for the Simpson and Logan Counties [source: Ante-bellum free Negroes as race leaders in Virginia and Kentucky during Reconstruction (thesis) by C. B. King, p.116 & p.134]. In New Castle, KY, he established the Loyal League for the Protection of Negroes. For more see Notable Black American Men, by J. C. Smith; and Black Higher Education in Kentucky, 1879-1930, by L. H. Williams.