Vol. III, compiled by John W. Jordan in 1906, pages 533-539.
ELDER FAMILY. At the close of the revolutionary war in the year 1782 Thomas Anderson and a man by the name of Cooper, of Paxtang, Lancaster, now Dauphin, county, crossed the mountains and traveled westward through the wilderness until they came to those valuable lands in Derry township, Westmoreland county, formerly known as the Rich Lands, where they erected a cabin and remained there that summer. They examined the land and decided to locate and purchase; this was all government land. Their food that summer consisted principally of game, bear, deer and wild turkey, these being very plentiful. The Indians were there in great numbers, and on several occasions they stole articles from their cabin. Mr. Cooper, who had taken up three hundred acres of land, a portion of which is now the property of James B. Patterson, gave his claim to Mr. Anderson in return for one of his flint lock rifle guns. It was subsequently learned that the reason for his hurried departure was that he had killed an Indian.
These three hundred acres added to what Mr. Anderson already had made him the possessor of ten hundred and thirty-seven acres of this valuable land. Five hundred acres of this he gave to his sister Hannah, whose husband, David Elder, had died in 1753, and the remainder, five hundred and thirty-seven acres, to her son, Robert Elder, who had lately been mustered out of service, having fought seven years in the revolutionary war, entering when but eighteen years old. Thomas Anderson returned to Lancaster and the following spring, 1783, he, in company with his sister, Hannah Elder, her son, Robert Elder, his young wife, Mary (Whiteside) Elder, and their children, Hannah, aged two years, and Thomas, aged one year, crossed the mountains in a covered wagon and settled on the tract that Mr. Anderson had taken up, located two miles northeast of New Alexandria and halfway between Loyalhanna creek and the Conemaugh river. In earlier days it was covered with very large timber such as white and black oak, hickory and chestnut. It is underlaid with the Pittsburg and Freeport vein of coal, which was not discovered, however, until a much later date.
One of the first things Robert Elder did after settling was to build a block house, whither they and their neighbors repaired when the Indians visited that section. They also built a log dwelling house in the summer of 1783, which stood until 1820, when it was replaced by a larger log house, twenty-eight by twenty-eight, two stories high, with kitchen attached and with double porches in front, which made it in its day the most modern house in the country. It stood until 1881, a period of sixty-one years, when it was replaced by the present modern frame structure. In the first house Thomas and Mary (McConnell) Elder went to housekeeping in the year 1812; they built a log spring house that summer, which is still standing. In the second house there were fourteen deaths, which included all the original settlers and most of the children of Thomas and Mary Elder. They attended Congruity Church, Rev. Samuel Porter, pastor, which was located a distance of eight miles from their home, and they also went to old Salem on horseback, carrying a child in front and one behind. Thomas Anderson, aforementioned, was born in Ireland, 1718, emigrated to America, locating in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, fought through the revolutionary war when between fifty and sixty years old, died on the old Elder farm near New Alexandria in 1822, aged one hundred and four years, and is buried in Old Salem churchyard. After the death of Hannah Anderson Elder and her son, Robert Elder, Thomas Elder, the son of the latter, became sole owner of their property on the Rich Lands, which at his death in 1855 was divided among his surviving children, as follows: To Robert Elder one hundred and seventy-two acres; Harriet Eliza one hundred and sixty-eight acres; Thomas Elder one hundred and seventy-two acres; James Elder one hundred and seventy acres; John Elder the old homestead and on hundred and eighty acres. Mary Elder, wife of Thomas Elder, survived him thirty-five years; she died in 1881, aged ninety years, buried at New Alexandria.
John Elder, son of Thomas and Mary Elder, resides on the old homestead at the present time (1906), in the seventy-fourth years of his age. His wife, Margaret (Brown) Elder, died in 1871. He has been a lifelong member of the Reformed Presbyterian church of New Alexandria. He was drafted into the service of the army at the outbreak of the rebellion, but as his family consisted of his aged mother and young wife, he felt as though his duty was at home and accordingly paid the government three hundred dollars exemption money. He relates of having heard from his home the cannonading at the battle of Gettysburg. John Calvin Elder and family also reside on the old homestead. Thus we see from this history that his children are the sixth generation of the same name that have lived in succession on this farm. So one generation passes away and another comes.
born 1679, in Scotland, emigrated to America in 1730 and located in
Paxtang township, then Lancaster, now Dauphin county,
Pennsylvania, on a
tract of land near the first ridge of the Kittanning mountains, five miles
Harrisburg. He married in 1703, Eleanor --, born in 1684, died October 25,
1742, and their children were: Robert, born 1704; John 1706; Thomas, 1708;
James, 1712; Ann, 1713. Robert Elder died July 28, 1746, in Paxtang, and was
buried in the old churchyard.
Thomas McConnell Elder, third son of Thomas and Mary (McConnell) Elder was born March 24, 1826. He taught several successful terms of school in Westmoreland and Indiana counties, Pennsylvania. He commenced the study of divinity under the late Rev. James Milligan, D.D., and finished his course in the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary of Allegheny City. He was licensed to preach in 1858, ordained and installed over churches in Indiana and Armstrong counties was afterwards called to Boston, Massachusetts, and finally located in Armstrong county, Pennsylvania, where he has resided for forty-seven years. He was one of the most progressive men of Armstrong county, and in 1866 founded and became first superintendent of the Pennsylvania State Soldiers Orphan School, from which he resigned in 1871. He also became part owner and editor of the "Dayton Weekly News." He married (first) Tirzah Mason, of Salem township, born December 24, 1823, died 1851; had one son, McCleod Mason, born July 12, 1840. He married (second), October 10, 1854, Mary Parker Lindsey, of Philadelphia, born May 25, 1826, died September 12, 1868; two children: Tirzah Theresa, born December 10, 1855; and Argyle Worriston, born September 25, 1861. McCleod Mason Elder married, September 2, 1873, Hannah Knox, born July 11, 1851, four children: 1. Thomas Lindsey, born November 22, 1874; 2. Edward Knox, born June 24, 1885; 3. Mary Elder, born November 21, 1879, died February 8, 1896; 4. Alice Woodring, born January 3, 1886, died October 23, 1895. Tirzah Theresa Lindsay Elder married, July 9, 1879, Curtis Sylvester Marshall, born November 20, 1854, five children: Wilda Anna, born May 22, 1880; Winnifred Theresa, born August 11, 1881, died September 15, 1882; Elder Watson, born September 28, 1883; Brenda Eleanor, born July 30, 1885; Virginia Gilmour, born October 13, 1887. Argyle Worriston Elder married March 25, 1890, Edith Cora Ellinburger, born April 1, 1866, issue: Walter Thomas, born January 30, 1893; Elva Leonore, born December 5, 1897, Stanley, born October 9, 1904.
John Morrison Elder, fifth son of Thomas and Mary (McConnell) Elder, born December 22, 1832, lives on the old homestead near New Alexandria. He married, November 12, 1861, Margaret Erskine Brown, born March 3, 1837, died May 23, 1871, buried in New Alexandria. She was a daughter of the late Thomas and Nancy Beatty Brown, of Salem township. David Brown, father of Thomas Brown, was one of the early settlers of Salem township, coming with his family from Green Castle, Pennsylvania in 1800. Margaret E. (Brown) Elder was a direct descendant of the Covenanters of Scotland, who died for their faith during the killing times. A sword is still in the possession of the Brown family that was used at the battle of Bothwell Bridge. On the old Brown farm, in the corner of a field, is a stone which marks the spot where a young man by the name of Freeman lies buried. He was killed by the Indians. John and Margaret Erskine (Brown) Elder had four children: 1. John Calvin Brown, born October 24, 1862, married, September 20, 1885, Nettie Jane Love, born September 20, 1864, a daughter of Robert and Sarah (Holstein) Love, of Loyalhanna township, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania. James and Nancy (Hutchinson) Love, parents of Robert Love, were born and married in Ireland, came to America and located in Butler county, Pennsylvania. Sarah (Holstein) Love was a daughter of Sarah Holstein, who in company with her parents removed from Philadelphia to Westmoreland county in the year 1800. She was a direct descendant of Matthias Holstein, who came from Sweden, 1644, and located and owned the ground where Philadelphia now stands. John Calvin Brown Elder and his wife live on the Elder farm, and their children make the sixth generation in succession which have lived on this farm. Their children are: James, born and died July 2, 1887; Robert Brown, born December 23, 1888; Mary Helen, born April 27, 1892; Sarah Love, born November 2, 1896, died February 4, 1897; John Calvin Knox, born March 8, 1901. 2. Tirzah Mary, born April 9, 1864, married, September 18, 1888, John Renwick Steele, born February 4, 1859, son of the late Samuel Steele, of Salem township; they reside in Salem township and have two children: Marguerite Elder, born January 28, 1891, Samuel Alfred, born February 10, 1893. 3. Agnes Viola, born April 10, 1866, married, September 21, 1898, John Williams Pollins, they live in Greensburg and have four children: John William Elder, born May 27, 1900; Elder McConnell, born April 17, 1902, died August 20, 1902; Calvin Elder, born October 6, 1903; Renwick Dwight, born April 9, 1905. 4. Harriet Cannon, born March 21, 1869, died April 29, 1899, married, May 29, 1885, John Baird Patterson, born June 16, 1867, son of the late Robert Patterson, and they had one son, Robert John Elder, born April 10, 1899.