Native of England. Settled in Virginia (1785). Resided in Philadelphia (1787-88).
Accused of irregular conduct and of breaking the peace by several leaders of the Philadelphia Society of Quakers after he repeatedly interrupted their meetings.
Had dealings with Governor Edmund Randolph of Virginia, who sought Franklin’s intercession on Elam’s behalf.
Escaped from the Pennsylvania Hospital, where he had been committed for lunacy on two separate occasions (March 1788).