MG 070 - Elder Collection

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Scope and Content

Collection contains the papers of Rev. John Elder, and his sons Robert, Joshua, Thomas, and Capt. John including family and business correspondence, documents and agreements, surveys, and sermon notes.

The estate papers of Joshua Elder, 1820-1834; two volumes of court cases, 1777-1782 and 1782-1784; account ledger of Col. Robert Elder, 1782-1791

The documents and correspondence of Rev. John Elder, 1754-1763; an arithmetic workbook, a biographical sketch of Parson Elder and a photo of the stone mansion and barn built by Rev. John Elder about 1740

Papers of both John and Joshua Elder with correspondence, promissory notes, invoices and receipts, surveys, leases, land agreements,articles of agreement, bonds, and the last will and testament of John Elder. It also contains papers of Thomas and Capt. John Elder.

A booklet of notes for sermons and prayers of Rev. John Elder and a booklet of "Sermon-Heads, 1767-1791"; a book, "Sermons and Discourses on Several Subjects and Occasions," by Francis Atterbury which has a handwritten list of births, deaths and marriages of the Elder family on two blank pages at the beginning of the book; and a large bound volume of the papers of Joshua Elder, 1766-1818.


John Elder, b. 1706, d.1792 was born in Scotland, graduated from the University of Edinburgh, studied divinity and came to America. He accepted a call from the Paxtang Presbytery in 1738 and became a leader of his congregation who formed an association for the defense of the frontiers against the Indians. His rangers became widely known as the "Paxtang Boys." He served the congregation for a period of fifty-six years and upon his death was mourned far and wide. He married twice and had ten children.

Robert Elder, b.1742, d.1818 was the eldest son of the Rev. John Elder who at the outbreak of the French and Indian war enlisted as a ranger on the frontier and later became a colonel in the war of Revolution. At the close of the conflict he went back to farming and avoided public office. He married Mary Thompson of Derry.

Joshua Elder, b.1744-45, d. 1820 was the second son of Rev. John Elder who was also active in military service during the frontier troubles and the Revolution. He was a farmer by occupation and held a number of positions in public life as well as one of the first trustees of the Harrisburg Academy. He married twice, first to Mary McAllister and second to Sarah McAllister. He left a large estate to the children of his deceased brothers and sisters.

Date(s): 1742-1873

Extent: 1 carton, 3 boxes