Elder Family Origins
The following is taken from The Surnames of Scotland by George Black NY Public Library ,1962.
The â€œelderâ€ signifies the elder of two bearing the same forename. John Elder or Eldare de Corstorfn was burgess of Edinburgh in 1423. The surname is also recorded in Aberdeen in 1447. John Elder a renegade Scot urged Henry VIII (Bagcheeks) to invade Scotland assuring him the support of the Highland Clans. Andro Elder was Reidare at Mennure, 1574.
From the LDS ancestral file records, our ancestry is traced back to a John Elder (b. 1653) of Edinburgh, Scotland. The LDS records are from a submission by Kenneth Young. From this source, Johnâ€™s son Robert Elder emigrated with his wife Eleanor Gillespie of Angus Scotland. LDS records list their children born through 1706 as being born in Edinburg and subsequent children through 1713 as probably being born in Edinburg. Robert emigrated with his family to Harrisburg, Paxtang Township, Lancaster (Dauphin) County, Pa. Presumably sometime after 1713. Robertâ€™s second son, our ancestor by their record, Robert II was born in 1704 in Edinburg, and emigrated with the family, probably between 1713 and 1718. Robert II married in 1729 in Dauphin Co., Pa. Robert II had six children the first of whom is our ancestor Samuel Elder. The last child listed was born in 1740 in Pennsylvania. The family subsequently moved down the wagon road through the valley of Virginia to Lincoln Co. North Carolina. Robert II died in Lincoln Co. Samuel moved from Lincoln to settle and marry in what would become Jefferson Co. Tennessee. His date of marriage is listed as 1774 in Jefferson Co. This would make the Elders some of the early settlers of Tennessee. They remained in the Jefferson and Sevier Co. area for many generations.
The connection between son Samuel and father Robert is not assured. The LDS records are in disagreement with some known facts. Samuel, our ancestor was married to Hannah. We have this from Samuelâ€™s will, and this is in disagreement with the LDS wife listed. The LDS records also list him as being in Jefferson Co. He in fact did purchase an initial farm in Greene Co., which is known from court records. He died in Jefferson Co.
Most Elders do trace their ancestry to Scotland. Some Elders claim to be of German decent of the German name Von Helder that was anglicized to Elder.
Samuelâ€™s oldest sons claims his place of birth to be Virginia in the 1850 Census. There is a family of Elderâ€™s that first settled in Essex Co. Virginia. Peter Elder is the emigrant to Essex. This family is documented by a Lee Elder in Genealogy of the Elder Clan (GOEC). This Lee Elder traces Samuel Elder Sr. â€“ descendant of the emigrant Peter, and is the father of Samuel of Tennessee.
The third line of research by Anne Poe and Johnathan Butcher believes that Samuel Elder came with his father Robert from Frederick Co. Virginia (now Berkely Co. WV) to Tryon Co. N.C. around 1770. From this work, we know that Robert Elder with wife Elizabeth, sold a tract of land in Frederick county on June 1, 1767 prior to moving to Tryon Co.
Virginia Knight Nelson of Knoxville authored a book on the â€œFamilies Named Elder of East Tennesseeâ€ dated May 11, 1986. Ruth Edwards of Chattanooga had researched the family. This article is one in a series of PIONEER FAMILIES featured in the Free Press. This information was obtained from Martha Kidwell online.
The Elders were among Tennessee's earliest pioneers and were well acquainted with Davy Crockett. John Elder and his nephew, Robert S.Elder, made their way to Hamilton county at an early date.
The family traces back to Samuel Elder, who on April 21, 1796 paid $200 for 150 acres in the "County of Greene, Territory of the United States of America South of the River Ohio." This property at the head of Sinking Creek (Near Afton just east of Greenville off US11E) was sold four years later for $333 as the Elders moved from Greene County to Sevier County. Samuel is listed in Taxables of Captain Morriss' Company, Greene Co., in 1797 with 150 acres of land. Davy Crockett wrote in his autobiography that he had known the Elders "when very young. They had lived in the same neighborhood with me, and I had thought very well of them." He said the family "had very pretty little girls." The daughters of Samuel Elder and his wife, Hannah, included Esther (b. 1782) who married Michael Widner. Margaret is believed to be another daughter. Davy Crockett was preparing to marry Margaret Elder in the latter part of 1805, but she backed out on this contract. Margaret Elder in 1829 was dismissed by the Baptists for joining the Methodists. The Elders attended Dumplin Baptist Church near Dandridge in Jefferson County. After some of the family moved to Meigs County, they helped to organize Goodfield Baptist Church. Samuel Elder died in 1811. He left Hannah "the plantation that I now live on and all the household furniture and three negroes and one bay mare and colt and all the cattle and hogs and all the farming utensils." Hannah married James Moore in 1814 and she lived until 1829. The Samuel Elder sons were Robert (b. 1775), William (b. 1780) who married Rebecca Cate, Jacob, Samuel (b. 1784), John S. (b. 1777) who married Nancy Sullins, and Andrew. (LDS lists a James b.1786, All dates from LDS)
John S. Elder was commissioned a lieutenant in the 11th Regiment of the Tennessee Militia in 1808. He owned property in Sevier and Jefferson counties and he acquired " a negro girl named Sishe" for $275 while in the latter county. John Elder was often a delegate for Dumplin Baptist Church to associate meetings, but he and his wife were granted letters of dismission by the church on Sept. 12, 1835, as they moved to Hamilton County near Ooltewah.
Samuel Elder Jr. b. abt 1760 d. 1811
Samuel Elder was born about 1760. Samuelâ€™s parents are given differently by different researchers. Samuel was an early settler in eastern Tennessee, initially settling in Greene Co. He married Hannah, presumably in Virginia, as their first son Robert gives his birthplace as Virginia in the 1850 Census. Samuel and Hannahâ€™s children include:
Name When Born When Died To Whom Married Pg. GOEC
# in GOEC
Robert Feb 16, 1782
Virginia Sept 26 1840
Meigs Co. Tn Sarah Moore 6
William Abt 1783 July 9 1823
Jefferson Co. TN Rebecca Cate
Greenhill Cem. Sullivan IL 19
Lincoln Co. Ky Eliz. Winterbowers
Hannah Morhead 29
Samuel June 22, 1787
Sevier Co. TN Oct 24, 1846
Sangamon Co. IL Phebe Clinkenbeard 29
John S. Before 1850
Nancy Sullins 30
Andrew Abt 1790 1821
Limestone Co. Al Elizabeth Burlesten 31
Esther After 1840
Polk Co. TN? Michael Widner 31
Margaret Abt 1790 31
Note: the dates disagree with the LDS records given previously. Dates here are from GOEC by Lee Elder.
Samuel died about 1811 in Decatur, Meigs Co. Tennessee. Samuelâ€™s will is probated in Sevier Co. Tennesse, June 28, 1811, Deed Book A pages 41-44. The will was proven in court on May 17, 1813 in Madison Co. Al. GEOC gives this as the place where Samuelâ€™s son Andrew was then residing. Anne Poe give this as the residence of the third witness to the will, James McElhaney who was a resident of Madison Co., AL. She believes this is the reason the will was removed to Madison Co. Al in the first place. We do not know
exactly where Andrew and wife Elizabeth Elder were living, Andrew died in
Limestone Co AL, and was young.
Hannah remarried James Moore and moved to Meigs Co. Hannah died in 1829 and is buried in Upper Goodfield Cemmetary near Decatur.
Will of Samuel Elder
In the name of God amen I Samuel Elder of the County of Sevier and State of Tennessee calling unto mind the mortality of my body knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my last will and Testament, that is to say principally and first and first of all I give and recommend my soul to the hands of Almighty God that gave it and body I recommend to the earth, to be buried in a decent Christian like manner at the discretion of my executors nothing doubting but at the General Resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it pleased God to bless me in this life, I give devise dispose of the same in the following manner and form and secondly my just and lawful debts and funeral charges to be paid.
Item, give and bequeath to my dearly beloved wife Hanna Elder the plantation that I now live on and all the household furniture and three negroes and one bay mare and colt and all the cattle and hogs and all the farming utensils her live time, or during her widowhood or while she continues to live with my son Andrew Elder, but if my wife Hannah Elder leaves my son Andrew Elder she shant take the said negoes from him but leave the said negroes on the said plantation and she the said Hannah Elder shall take two cows out of the flock of her own choosing and one bed and furniture and her wearing apparel and half the dresser furniture and her mare and saddle and the said Andrew Elder shall pay my wife Hannah Elder the third part of all that is raised on the said plantation during her lifetime and widowhood and at the death of my beloved wife Hannah Elder or at her marriage the plantation and negroes and their increase and all stock and household furniture to be sold and divided in the following manner,
Item, I bequeath to my beloved daughter Esther Widner wife of Michael Widner twenty dollars to be paid out of the price of the plantation, negroes and stock within one year form the death of my well beloved wife Hannah Elder â€“
Item I give and bequeth my well beloved son Robert Elder forty dollars to be paid out of the price of the plantation negroes stock & household furniture within one year after the death of my well beloved wife Hannah Elder
Item I give and bequeath all the rest of my Estate in the following manner to be equally divided between the rest of my sons namely William Elder, Jacob Elder, Samuel Elder, John Elder & Andrew Elder at the death of my well beloved wife Hannah Elder to them their heirs and Assigns forever.
I constitute and ordain my well beloved friends Allen Bryan Senior and Peter Bryan my whole and sole Executors of this will and testament and utterly revoke disannul and disavow all forms of Wills and Testaments by me before constituted by me before constituted or ordained and constitute this and no other to be my last Will and Testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and fixed my seal this 16th day of July 1809.
Signed sealed and pronounced and delivered in the presence of us and we in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names
Peter Bryan, James X Melhaney Junr
This day come before me Samuel Henry one of the acting Justices of the county aforesaid Peter Bryan & Thomas Bryan and voluntarily mad oath they saw Samuel Elder deceased sign seal and acknowledge this annexed will bearing the following date viz the 16th of July 1809 to be his last Will and Testament, where the said Peter Bryan, Thomas Bryant and James McElhaney Junr the subscribers witness thereto
Sworn to and Subscribed before Samuel Henry on of the Acting Justices of the County aforesaid, this 28th day of June 1811