| Elias Openshaw |
|Family|| Joseph Openshaw, brother|
John Openshaw, nephew
Former planter, soldier
|Behind the scenes|
|Appearances||"The Five Orange Pips"|
Colonel Elias Openshaw was a British gentleman. Openshaw lived for most of his early life in America, where he fought in the Civil War, but later returned to England. He died unexpectedly following a mysterious letter, and soon after inheriting his property his brother Joseph perished under identical circumstances. These deaths prompted Joseph's son John to seek the help of Sherlock Holmes in avoiding his uncle and father's fate in a case chronicled in "The Five Orange Pips".
While a young man, Openshaw emigrated to the United States, where he purchased a plantation in Florida. During the Civil War he fought on the side of the Confederacy under generals Stonewall Jackson and John Bell Hood, during which service he attained the rank of colonel. After the war he returned to his plantation, but he left the country soon after due to his opposition to the government's Reconstruction policies, particularly the granting of voting rights to freed slaves with the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870. After returning to England, he purchased a small estate near Horsham in Sussex. He lived quietly in the countryside for many years, going out little and spending much time with his brother's son, John, to whom he took a great liking and invited to live with him.
In March 1883 Elias received a letter postmarked from Pondicherry in India: the letter contained nothing but five orange pips and the letters "K.K.K." written on the inside flap. Elias reacted in horror with a horror John did not understand, saying only that the envelope meant death. In response, Elias burned the contents of a brass box with the same initials on the lid, and immediately drew up a will, leaving his estate to his brother Joseph and then to John. Afterwards Elias became more reclusive, spending most of his time locked in his room drinking, but prone to violent outbursts. Finally, seven weeks after receiving the letter, and after one such drunken rampage he was found dead in his garden, drowned in a small pool.