John Elder was born April 13, 1760, possibly in Ireland (though in the 1850 census he gives his birthplace as Virginia), died April 27, 1857, at Booths Creek, Taylor Co., WV. Family tradition says he was the son of William Elder, who had 12 sons. No mention is made of any daughters. Family tradition also states that two of the brothers, John and Joseph, crossed the Atlantic. (It is estimated the crossing was made before 1795.) During the voyage John met Margaret McHenry and they were married shortly after landing in New York. There is no further information on Joseph.
believed that John and Margaret first lived in New York; however,
prior to 1801 they moved to Harrison County (West) Virginia. February
16, 1801, John Elder bought 132 acres on Booths Creek, in what is
now Taylor County. Subsequent purchases increased his holdings in
the area to 463 acres. At that time Harrison County consisted of
all of current Doddridge, Harrison, Lewis, and Ritchie Counties;
also parts of Barbour, Braxton, Calhoun, Gilmer, Pleasants, Taylor,
Upshur, Webster, Wirt, and Wood Counties.
Margaret died before or during 1817. The marriage records of Harrison County (Book 3, Page 180) show a duplicate entry of marriage on either December 31, 1817, or January 1, 1818, between John Elder and Agnes(s) Riley (also appears in various records as Agnes Ryley, Agnes Baley). Agnes was born November 18, 1780, in Virginia.
The following children are known to have been born to John and Margaret, or his second wife, Agnes:
Elder, born abt 1794
The 7 Aug 1850 Census of Taylor County shows:
Martin is probably the "couloror boy" mentioned in John Elder's will. Joseph was likely the oldest son of William K. Elder.
The last will and testament of John Elder is recorded in Will Book 1, page 47 in the Taylor County Court House and dated February the 27th, 1850. He was 90 years old at the time, and lived seven more years. The following was copied from the original document:
I John Elder citizen resident of Booths Creek Taylor County Virginia being aged and infirm in Ninetyeth yeare but of sound mind having a desire to settle my wordly affairs while capascitated to do so do desire that after me deceas all my just debts and funeral Expenses be paid and the residue of all my personal property be divided amongst Joseph Elder, William Elder, John Elder Jr, Margaret Riley, Elizabeth Fowler, Sarah Willis, Katharine Riffee. Elizabeth Elder, Loid Elder, Nathaniel Elder, Mary A. Elder, Martha V. Elder, heirs of Samuel Elder deceased; Lavina Mcelfresh, Sarah Vincent in the Follwing manner: Joseph Elder, William Elder John Elder Jr, Margaret Riley, Elizabeth Fowler, Sarah Willis, Katharine Riffee share and share alike; and Elizabeth Elder, Loid Elder, Nathaniele Elder, Mary A. Elder, Martha V. Elder, heirs of Samuel Elder decesased to have the said Samuel Elders share, and Lavina Mcelfresh and Sarah Vincent each a half share with the others.
2nd that at the death of myself and wife the couloror boy bound to me by the name of Martin be the property of John Elder Jr until he arrives at the age of 21 years at which time he is free by birth.
4thly and that Agnes Elder my wife to have one third of all my personal property.
and lastly I do here by constitute and appoint my friend Solomon
Ryan executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking
all others or former wills by me heretofore made signed sealed in
the presense of
At a County Court held for the County of Taylor on the 25th day of
John Elder died April 27, 1857, at Booths Creek, Taylor County, age 97 years, 14 days. He is buried in the Middleville Cemetery, near Bridgeport, WV. The headstone appears to be marble; it is white and the inscription is very legible. It reads, "John Elder Died April 27, 1857. Aged 97 Yrs. & 14 Days." Margaret died about 1817 while they were living in Harrison County. She is probably buried in the Middleville Cemetery, but there is no record.
There is no record available for the time or place of death of Agnes Riley Elder. She was living at Booths Creek, Taylor County, at the time of John's will Feb. 27, 1850, and would have been about 77 years old. She is cited in the land records of the same year. Agnes was living with her son John at the 1870 Taylor Co. Census. She was 90 years old. She was not listed in the 1880 census; although she is probably buried in the Middleville Cemetery, there is no marker to be found.