Widow Elizabeth (?) Elder and sons John & James
Randolph Co, NC

Part 2


Robert and Eleanor Elder were the founders of the Elder family in America. Robert Elder was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, about the year 1679 and died in Pennsylvania on July 28, 1746. Eleanor, whom he married in Edinburgh in 1703, was born in Edinburgh in 1684, and died in Pennsylvania on October 25, 1742. After their marriage Robert and Eleanor migrated to Lough Neagh, County Antrim, Ulster Province, Ireland, where their five sons, Robert, John, Thomas, David, and James, and at least one daughter, Ann, were born.

In 1727, Robert and Eleanor and the three youngest of their children, David, James, and Anne, came to America and settled in Pennsylvania, five miles north of the present city of Harrisburg. At that time this section of Pennsylvania was Lancaster County's township known as Paxtang, which later became Dauphin County. Robert, John, and Thomas, oldest sons of Robert and Eleanor, remained in the "Old Country" until 1733 at which time these three (already married) decided to follow their parents, their sister, their two brothers, and their families to the New World.

John, the second son, born in Edinburgh on January 26, 1706, had graduated from the University of Edinburg where he received a classical education. Subsequently, he has studied divinity and, in 1732, was licensed to preach the gospel. He came to America as a regularly licensed minister and was received by the Presbytery of New Castle, but on October 5, 1737, was transferred to the Presbytery of Donegal. He served Paxtang Church, organized in 1729, for one year on probation. On April 12, 1738, he accepted a call to this church and, on November 22 of that year, was installed as pastor. Among those who signed his call were John Gray, Alex Johnston, and Alex Johnson. Later, John Elder assumed the pastorate of Derry Church organized in 1714. He continued to serve Paxtang and Derry from the time they were organized until 1736, considered as branches of the same congregation, until April 13, 1791, or two years before he died at the age of 86.

The census of 1790 lists only two heads of families in Randolph County by the name of Elder, John Elder and James Elder. John is accredited with four boys under sixteen years old and two females, including the female head. The household of James at that time consisted of himself and one female, supposed to be his wife.

According to a letter written some years ago by William Nease Elder, the parents of John and James Elder came to Randolph County from Pennsylvania. This letter states that their mother, Elizabeth Elder, died about 1780 and was a widow. William Nease Elder, Thomas Julian Redding's grandfather who lives on Archdale Road, was born November 3, 1910.

A careful search for a marriage record of an Elder in Pennsylvania to someone by the name of Elizabeth revealed that on March 05, 1759, in Philadelphia, one James Elder was married to Elizabeth Maipes. This couple is supposed to be the parents of John and James.

William Nease Elder's grandson, Carl Elder Spencer, was employed at the Salisbury Post, and was the author of Odd Facts in Carolina. He died on March 10, 1988, and was buried at Oakwood Cemetery in High Point, North Carolina.

-- Bertie Robbins Redding

Photo of double tombstone of Richard Elder and Martha Coltrane Elder located in Veech Cemetery, Red River County, Texas.
SOURCES: (as listed in the biography) "The Johnsons and Their Kin of Randolph" by Jessie O. Shaw; personal knowledge.

Source: North Carolina, Vol. 1 1993, Page 251 (Published by the Randolph County Heritage Book Committee)

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Some of the information above has been found to be in error:

1) 1790 John and James Elder were heads of families in Randolph Co NC

2) An old letter states their mother, Elizabeth Elder, as a widow, died about 1780

3) A search for an Elizabeth marrying an Elder in PA. They found Elizabeth Maips (Maipes) marrying James Elder 5 March 1759 in Swedes Church of Philadelphia, PA. The Swede's and the Lutheran Churches have many published records. The Presbyterian have very few. Elizabeth Maipes died before James Elder and she died in PA. James and Elizabeth (Maipes) Elder stayed in PA until their deaths and never went to NC.

Additional Information for James and Elizabeth (Maipes) Elder:

  • 1759 m 5 Mar 1759 Swede's Church, Philadelphia
  • 1761 had Martha Elder b abt 1761 married William Taylor
  • 1762 lived Fannet, Cumberland Co (later Franklin) PA
  • 1763 had Agnes Elder 17 Mar 1763
  • 1778 James Elder pd tax of 12 + pounds Fannet, Cumberland Co., PA
  • 1779 James Elder owned 200 acres, 3 horses & 3 cattleJa
  • 1780 James Elder owned 200 acres, 6 horses & 6 cattle
  • 1781 James Elder owned 230 acres
  • 1782 James Elder owned 230 acres, 3 horses & 4 cattle
  • 1784 daughter Agnes Elder married Jun 1784 Robert Kerr
  • 1785 Franklin Co, PA Deed Bk I, page 212 - James & Elizabeth (Maipes) Elder - 1785 - gave their land and other things to Robert Kerr
  • 1816 Elizabeth Maipes Elder d 17 Jul 1816 age about 106
  • 1817 Robert Kerr d 13 June 1817 - in his will recorded (Bk C page 343 Chambersburg, Franklin Co, PA) provided for "my father-in-law James Elder" and mentions his wife, Agnes and their children
  • 1818 James Elder d 13 Aug 1818 about the age 102 (James and Elizabeth are buried in the Spring Run Cemetery in Path Valley, Franklin Co., PA.)
  • 1859 Agnes Elder Kerr d 15 April 1859 - her obituary states that both her parents lived to be over 100


Source for the above research is Mary Cole

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