Peter Elder of Virginia

Elder Notes ─ Generation 2 ─ Peter Elder Junior


Peter Elder2 (Peter1) was described as under twenty-one in his father's will of 1674. Peter2 appeared with his guardian in the only other records that mention him (alive). He died by 1687, by which time his widow Elizabeth had remarried. He had a son William3 Elder.


Four records have been found for Peter2 Elder:

  1. Peter2 Elder was entrusted by his father's will, dated 28 April 1674 and proved 5 August 1674, to the care of Richard Peacock [record | text]
  2. Peter2 Elder, with Richard Peacock his security, purchased a flock bed and other household goods at a Court-ordered estate auction in 1685 [record | abstract]
  3. Peter2 Elder and Richard Peacock were listed together among bills in an inventory of the estate of Doctor Henry Willoughby recorded 22 Jul 1686 [record | abstract]
  4. A Court record from 1687 says that Edward Morris married Elizabeth, relict (widow) of Peter Elder of North Farnham Parish [Wilkerson, Index to Marriages of Old Rappahannock and Essex Counties, Virginia, 1655-1900, page 172]. I haven't been able to locate the original record referred to by Wilkerson.

    There are additional records for his widow Elizabeth, including:

  5. Elizabeth Morris, daughter of Edward and Elizabeth Morris, was born 5 Aug 1688 [King, Registers of North Farnham Parish (1663-1814) and Lunenburg Parish (1783-1800), Richmond County, Virginia, page 134]
  6. A complaint of Mr. John Bertrand against Edward Morris and Elizabeth his wife and John Wollard and Mary his wife was dismissed 2 Sep 1691 [Sparacio, Order Book Abstracts of (Old) Rappahannock County, Virginia, 1689-1692, 1990, page 75]
  7. Elizabeth King, late relict of Edward Morris deceased, relinquished her right of administration to her deceased husband's estate; Edward Morris, son of the deceased, was made administrator 4 Sep 1718; Edward Morris, Edgecomb Suggett and John Hamon gave bond for Edward Morris' just and faithful administration of the estate [record]
  8. The will of Elizabeth King dated 21 Dec 1739 was proved 6 Jul 1741; it named sons Edward Morris and William Elder, daughters Mary Morris and Elizabeth Haims (Hames) [record | text]

Click on a link to see an abstract or copy of the record.


Discussion of Records

What can one learn from these records?


Peter1 Elder's will states that his son was not yet 21 years old in 1674 (record 1). The fact that Richard Peacock gave security for his purchase in 1685 (record 2) doesn't prove that he was underage then: all the purchasers had people give security for them.


Peter2 Elder's father was Peter1 Elder, as determined from his father's will. His association with Richard Peacock in later records supports the case that he is indeed the son of Peter1 Elder. His mother is unknown.


Peter2 Elder's purchase of a bed and household goods in 1685 suggests that he married then (record 2).

Wife's family


Some researchers say that she was Elizabeth Presley, daughter of Peter Presley. I've found no supporting documentation. One Presley researcher says that "no extant record states that Elizabeth was daughter of Peter Presley." There was an Elizabeth who married (1) Ebenezer Saunders and (2) John Cockrell; her will proved in 1719 mentions her son Presly Cockrell; Presly was baptized in 1704 at St. Stephen's Parish [Keach, "The Presly Family of Northumberland County", Tyler's Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, volume 9, #4, 1928, page 267].

Another possibility is Elizabeth Willson, daughter of Elias Willson. His will names a daughter Elizabeth and a grandson Edward Morris. It describes her as the wife of Edward [last name illegible], which King read as Moseley [King, Marriages of Richmond County, Virginia, 1668-1853, page 139]. I can't make out the name, myself, from the microfilm. Incidentally, Richard Peacock (Peter Elder's former guardian) witnessed a deed dividing land between Mr. Elias Willson and John Hughes 11 Oct 1699 [Sparacio, Deed Abstracts of Richmond County, Virginia, 1695-1701, pages 90-91 (Deed Book 3, page 89)]. On the negative side, an Edward Morris asked that Elias Willson (junior) be appointed his guardian in 1699 [Sparacio, Order Book Abstracts of Richmond County, Virginia, 1697-1699, page 125]; but Edward Morris husband of Elizabeth seems to have been alive then (record 6).


Children of Elizabeth (named in her will) were:

       William3 Elder (son of Peter2 Elder)
       Elizabeth Morris (daughter of Edward Morris)
       Edward/Edmond Morris (son of Edward Morris)
       Mary Morris (daughter of Edward Morris)


Based on the 1687 Court record describing Elizabeth Elder as relict of Peter, he died by 1687 (record 4). The doctor bill in 1686 indicates an illness then (record 3).

Wife's second marriage

After Peter2 Elder's death, his wife Elizabeth married Edward Morris (record 4). Edward and Elizabeth Morris had at least three children: Elizabeth; Mary; and Edward (record 5 and record 8). A John Morris was involved with William Elder and Edmund Morris in purchasing land in 1711 [abstract].

Wife's third marriage

After Edward Morris's death, Elizabeth married a Mr. King by 1718 (record 7). She mentioned no King children in her will.

Wife's death

Elizabeth died between 21 Dec 1739 and 6 Jul 1741, when her will was proved (record 8).



Peter1 Elder's will placed his plantation and all movable goods in the custody of Richard Peacock until the boy (Peter2) became twenty-one. I've found no record that Peter2 sold this land or that he purchased other land.



Unfortunately, there are no records from which to directly identify associates of Peter2 Elder since he died so young.

Notable associates of his wife Elizabeth were the witnesses to her will: John Millner, Richard Meeks and Luke Millner.


Other Elders

See notes for Peter1 Elder here.

There are further (apparent) mentions of a Peter Elder in Richmond County records after his death. An action of Peter Elder against the estate of Zacharias Nichols is referenced in Court records for 5 Oct 1699 and 2 Nov 1699. However, records of the earlier Court of 7 Sep 1699 refer to the action of Peter Elmore against the estate of Zacharias Nichols.  The name Elmore seems to have been erroneously replaced by Elder in the later records. [Sparacio, Order Book Abstracts of Richmond County, Virginia, 1697-1699, pages 111, 119, 130]


Contemporary Events

Peter2 Elder, like his father, lived in difficult times.

Troubles with Indians began in July 1675 with a raid by the Doeg tribe on the plantation of Thomas Mathews, located in the Northern Neck section of Virginia near the Potomac River. In retaliation, the colonists attacked a different native nation, the Susquehannocks, which set in motion large-scale Indian raids. Hostilities lasted into 1676.

In 1676 Nathaniel Bacon led a rebellion motivated by Governor Berkeley's ineffective response to the Indian troubles, difficult economic times and resentments against the elite that controlled Virginia affairs (Berkeley hadn't allowed an election for Burgesses in 14 years). The Statehouse and settlement at Jamestown were burned by the rebels.

In 1682 tobacco prices improved after a quarter-century-long depression in the tobacco market.

King Charles II died at London in 1685. Charles's brother James succeeded him to begin a brief reign as James II.



Thomas Hoskins Warner, History of Old Rappahannock County, Virginia, 1656-1692, 1965.

Library of Virginia, (Old) Rappahannock County microfilm list