Elias Abel was one of the most important residents of Bloomington in the city's early years. Born in Virginia in 1800, he moved to Monroe County in 1824 and started farming. Before long, he became involved in politics: he was the county treasurer for many years, and he was the local state representative in the Indiana General Assembly in the 1856-1857 term. He was a lifelong Democrat and remained prominent into the 1880s. His house, the Elias Abel House, still stands along Fairview Street; it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a core part of the Near West Side neighborhood.