John was a busy man with several careers, many of which occurred concurrently.
Residences & events:
5/20/1813 Franklin Co, OH. He joined the Army as 3rd Lt of the 26th US Inf and advertised in the Freeman's Chronicle at Columbus for deserters.
8/15/1814 He was in the Battle of Ft Erie and "brevetted for conspicious bravery."
1818 He was made Col in the Ohio militia, serving until 1820. He was a 2nd Lt when he resigned from the Regular Army and a brevet colonel.
1818 Following his discharge from the army he was elected Ohio state librarian for the next 2 years.
From local history:
"The sheriffs were "'constitutional" officers, from the first, and were, like the governors and legislators, elected by the people for a term of two years. The incumbents have been
Elected....1819-21, John McIlvain....1827-29, John Mcllvain"
5/1822 He was made adjutant general of Ohio under Gov Tribble.
8/22/1822 He was among the promoters of a "grand squirrel hunt" to rid the county of the large number threatening the crops.
1829 Piqua, OH. John was appointed US Indian agent.
Columbus, OH where he was the first proprietor of a tavern in that town.
1830 He was named to one of the positions of clerk of the US Court and maintained that position until 1858.
1831-2 He "erected a steam saw mill at the head of the canal where Hunter's warehouse afterward stood."
Franklinton, Franklin Co, OH. Local history recorded:
"The first tavern was kept by Volney Payne in a two-story brick on the lot afterward occupied by the Johnston building, Volney Payne, John Collett, John McIlvain, Robert Russell and James Robinson, respectively, conducted this house until 1844."
1832 He helped lay out lots in a 2 acre tract near the Canal which became known as McElvain's Additions. One of the first lots sold was to Bishop Charles Petit McIlvaine, former chaplain to West Point.
1834 In the directory of professional and business men of Columbus, he was listed as Indian agent.
1840 Columbus Wd 3, Franklin Co, OH. At census time he lived just down the road from brothers Joseph and William as well as Joseph Hunter. Listed as McElvain, he was 40-50 years old and he had a large family: 1 male aged 5-10, 1 at 15-20, 3 were 20-30, 1 female at 5-10, 3 were 15-20, 1 was 20-30, and 1 at 40-50.
1840-1841 He served as one of the directors of the Ohio penitentiary.
He had command of the Infantry as one of two marshalls to lead the parade at the formal opening of the new canal. Among those in the parade were Capt Joseph McElvain's troop of dragoons, Capt O'Hara's Columbus Artillery , and Gov Warren and staff.
Columbus history recorded the following about him:
"Colonel John McElvain prominent in the early history of Columbus, performed a very gallant part in the defense of Fort Erie against an attack by the British on August 15, 1814. He was twice a presidential elector on the Jackson ticket..."
And from records of the US government:
To the Senate of the United States:
I nominate to the Senate John McElvain, of Ohio, to be Indian agent at Piqua, in said State (Ohio), in place of James McElvain, whose nomination was confirmed by the Senate on the 14th instant, and by mistake the name of James was used instead of John.
February 23d, 1831.
Washington, February--, 1831.
The messages were read.
The Senate proceeded, by unanimous consent, to consider the message nominating John McElvain, of Ohio, to be Indian agent; and
Resolved, That they do advise and consent to the appointment of John McElvain, agreeably to the nomination.
Journal of the executive proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America, 1841-1845 WEDNESDAY, February 15, 1843.
Mr. Berrien, from the Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred, on the 5th of January last, the nomination of John McElvain, reported.