Eli Lilly

Eli Lilly

Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland, USA
Death 6 Jun 1898 (aged 59)
Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, USA
Burial Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, USA
Plot Section 13, Lot 19
Memorial ID 1903 · View Source
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Soldier, Chemist and Pharmaceutical Industrialist. He was the founder of the Pharmaceutical Eli Lilly and Company, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, his family moved to Kentucky in the early 1840s, and in 1852, moved again to Greencastle, Indiana. He studied pharmacology at the Good Samaritan Pharmacy in Lafayette, Indiana, and in 1860, opened a drug store in Indianapolis. When the Civil War broke out the next year, he sided with the Union, and recruited the 18th Battery, Indiana Light Artillery, serving as its Captain from August 1862 until winter of 1863. Over that year, he learned his trade as an artilleryman, and fought in several battles, including the Battle of Chickamauga. In early 1864, he was promoted to Colonel of Cavalry. He was captured in mid-1864 in Alabama by forces under CSA General Nathan Bedford Forrest; paroled, he soon returned home. Following the Civil War, he tried operating a cotton plantation in occupied Mississippi, before returning to his interest in pharmacies back in Illinois in 1869. In 1879, Lilly proposed the idea of a public water supply company to meet the demand for water in Indianapolis; the result was the Indianapolis Water Company. When his wife died early from malaria, Lilly found that there was no adequate pharmaceutical companies in the state, and founded the Eli Lilly and Company in May 1876. He began the company with only three employees and $1400 dollars in working capital. Relating to his experience with military medicine during the Civil War and to the lack of quality drugs at the time of his wife's death, he insisted on producing only high quality prescription drugs, rather than produce the cheaper, common patent medicines of the day. The result is that his company prospered while many other pharmaceutical companies closed. In 1892, he built the Wawasee Inn on Lake Wawasee, Indiana, as a summer home and recreational inn, expanding his business interests. At the time of his death to cancer in 1898, his company had over 2000 products and a yearly sales of $300,000. Today, in 2006, his company has sales over $14 billion. In October 1999, the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum was opened in Indianapolis, named in his honor.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 1903
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Eli Lilly (8 Jul 1838–6 Jun 1898), Find a Grave Memorial no. 1903, citing Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .