Long before ST Elmo became a community, Elisha Kirklin presided at the foot of Lookout Mountain. Elisha was born in South Carolina on May 27, 1792 and married Susan Hixon, the daughter of Ephraim and Margaret Hixon. The couple had twelve children.
While living in Bledsoe County, Tennessee, Elisha Kirklin purchased hundreds of acres along the Tennessee River at the foot of Lookout Mountain. He loved his estate so much that he decided to divide the property among his children provided that the property not be sold. Kirklin purchased the former Jeremiah Fryer farm near Chattanooga Creek and named his estate Kirklintown. Kirklin’s home was located near the old Whiteside Turnpike now called Old Mountain Rd. Kirklin covered part of what now is ST Elmo, S. Broad St. And Alton Park.
Years later Susan related to family members how during the Civil War both armies came to the estate and robbed her of food, supplies, guns, tools, animals and anything of value despite the fact that Elisha was in the Confederate Army. She later recalled how they hid in nearby caves during cannon fire.
In 1860 Elisha Kirklin’s worth was valued at forty-six thousand dollars yet, when he died on January 17, 1864 the Civil War had left the family penniless. Susan Kirklin who was born on March 25, 1834 continued to live in Kirklintown until her death from a bad fall on June 26, 1885. The couple were buried on a hill in what is now Alton Park overlooking their vast estate. Kirklin Cemetery is located at W42nd and Grand Ave. in the Oak Hills community of Alton Park and contains fifty graves though not all were marked.
One of Elisha and Susan’s sons was George W. Kirklin who married Louise Lamb. George served as postmaster of Kirklin which later became St. Elmo Post Office.