Peter Elder of Virginia

Elder Notes ─ Generation 3 ─ William and Anne Elder


William3 Elder (Peter2, Peter1) was born about 1686 and died in 1754 or 1755. He was survived by his wife Anne and 12 children: 8 sons and 4 daughters. He seems to have inherited the land of his grandfather Peter1 Elder in Rappahannock (later Richmond) County, Virginia, purchased two other tracts of about 55 acres each in Richmond County, and patented 400 acres in Prince George (later Dinwiddie) County, Virginia. His sons William4 and John4 also patented land in Prince George County. William bequeathed his 400 acre patent to sons Thomas4, Edmund4 and Joseph4. Anne died after 1755.


There are several records for William and Anne Elder, including:

  1. 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] NOTE: I haven't been able to find the original record.
  2. William Elder witnessed a sale of land from John Howell (grandson of George Howell) to Thomas Wood on 30 March 1708 [record | abstract]
  3. William Elder witnessed the delivery of land from Joseph and Barbara (Billington) Tayloe to John Seaman on 22 May 1710 [abstract]
  4. William Elder with Edmund and John Morris bought 56 acres of land from James and Frances (Baylis) Suggett on 17 Feb 1710/1711 [record | abstract]
  5. William and Anne Elder had children's births recorded in the North Farnham Parish Register [King, Registers of North Farnham Parish (1663-1814) and Lunenburg Parish (1783-1800), Richmond County, Virginia, pages 57-58]:

    Elizabeth Elder, born 4 Sep 1712
    Peter Elder, born 21 May 1715
    William Elder, born 8 Oct 1717
    Sarah Elder, born 18 Jul 1718
    Thomas Elder, born 11 Nov 1721
    John Elder, born 23 Nov 1723
    Edmund Elder, born 21 Aug 1727
    Charles Elder, born 30 May 1729
    Joseph Elder, born 6 Sep 1731
    Mary Ann and Winnefred Elder, born 7 Sep 1733

    The North Farnham Parish Register also lists the birth of Ruth Elder, daughter of John and Anne Elder, 19 May 1730: this may be another child of William and Anne (their son John was only 6 years old in May 1730), or the date or last name may be wrong (the original Register is not extant: only a copy exists).

  6. William Elder witnessed the division of land between John Geffrys and John's sister Margaret Bryant (and her husband Thomas Bryant) on 8 Apr 1717 [abstract]
  7. William Elder bought 55 acres of land from Thomas Geffry on 24 Feb 1720/21 [record | abstract]; he was mentioned as a neighbor in a 1721 sale of land by Thomas Geffery to Carron Brannan [abstract, page 2]
  8. Thomas Smith's action for trespass against William Elder was dismissed by court on 3 Jul 1733, plaintiff not prosecuting [Sparacio, Richmond County, Virginia, Orders, 1732-1734, 1999, pages 18, 55-56 (Order Book 10, pages 50, 103)]
  9. Will of Elizabeth King dated 21 Dec 1739 was proved 6 Jul 1741; named sons Edward Morris and William Elder, daughters Mary Morris and Elizabeth Haims (Hames) [record | text]
  10. William Elder was listed in a poll in Richmond County in 1741 [Sparacio, Account Book Abstracts of Richmond County, Virginia, Part I, 1724-1751, page 73]
  11. William Elder patented 400 acres in Prince George (later Dinwiddie) County 25 Sep 1746 [record | abstract]
  12. William Elder did not appear in poll lists 1 Jun 1748 (nor did other Elders) [Richmond County, Virginia, Order Book 12, 1746-1752, pages 123-125; Microfilm reel 35, Library of Virginia]
  13. William and Anne Elder sold 50 acres of land to William Jones on 1 Mar 1753 [record | abstract]
  14. William Elder made his will on 24 Apr 1754; it was proved 3 Feb 1755 [record | text];

    Executors Charles and Ann Elder were approved, with John Milner their security [record]

    The Sherriff was instructed to summon Peter Elder, the heir at law (eldest son), to the next Court to contest the Probate if he deemed it expedient to do so [record] NOTE: I've found no record that he did.

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


Discussion of Records

What can one learn from these records?


William Elder probably was born in 1686. His mother remarried by 1687 (record 1), and his half-sister Elizabeth Morris was born in August 1688 (notes).


William Elder's father was Peter2 Elder, as determined by a court record saying that Elizabeth Elder (widow of Peter) married Edward Morris (record 1), and his mother's will that names son William Elder (record 9).


William and Anne Elder had daughter Elizabeth in September 1712 (record 5), so they were married by 1712. I've found no record of their marriage.

Wife's Family

The family of Anne Elder is unknown. Some researchers say that she was Anne Travers, others that she was Anne Wheeler, and others that she was Anne Cole. I've found no supporting evidence for any of the three.


See record 5 for birthdays of eleven children. All eleven were mentioned in William Elder's will (record 14), as was Ephraim Elder, birthday unknown.


William Elder seems to have resided in Rappahannock (later Richmond) County his entire life. He may have gone for a time to Prince George County where he patented land in 1746: his name does not appear in a poll conducted in Richmond County in 1748 (record 12). There's no positive evidence, however.


William Elder died between the date of his will, 24 Apr 1754, and the date it was proved, 3 Feb 1755 (record 14). Thus he died in 1754 or 1755.

Wife's death

Anne Elder died after William's inventory was recorded in 1755. I've found no later record for her.



William Elder owned three tracts of land in Richmond County and one in Prince George (later Dinwiddie) County.

Richmond County:

Prince George (later Dinwiddie) County:



Identifying William Elder's associates could be helpful in identifying family connections.

The following people are mentioned in William3 Elder records: William Baker, Robert Baylis, Carron Brannon, William Britte, Thomas and Margaret Bryant, John Dalton, Charles Dodson, John Durham, Thomas Durham, James Forrester, William Forrester, Robert Fristoe, Elizabeth Geffrys, John Geffrys, Thomas Geffery, Thomas Griffin, Job Hammond, Joshua Hightower, Richard Hines, John Howell, Robert Innes, Edward Jones, William Jones, Charles Lovelace, Richard Meeks, John Millner, Luke Millner, Edmund Morris, John Morris, Richard Powell, Robert Rattcliffe, Thomas Seaman, Thomas Smith, Joshua Stone, James and Frances (Baylis) Suggett, Joseph and Barbara (Billington) Tayloe, Thomas Wood, and John Woodbridge.

Daughter Elizabeth married Gregory Glasscock, yielding another set of associates.


Other Elders

I've only come across two Elders in Richmond County that I haven't been able to connect definitively to William and Anne Elder or their children.


Contemporary Events

William Elder, unlike his father and grandfather, lived a long and prosperous life. He and his wife were able to acquire land and to see that at least six of their eight sons owned land.

Rappahannock County, where William was born, was split into Essex and Richmond counties in 1692. He lived in Richmond County on the east side of the Rappahannock River; Essex was on the west side of the River. Other counties of importance to the Elder family were formed during William's lifetime: Prince George County in 1703 from Charles City County; Brunswick County in 1732 from Prince George County and augmented in 1732 from parts of Surry and Isle of Wight counties; Dinwiddie County in 1752 from Prince George County.

William lived under monarchs James II (1685-1688), William III (1688-1702) and Mary II (1688-1694), Anne (1702-1714), George I (1714-1727), and George II (1720-1760). Queen Anne was the last Stuart sovereign; during her reign the 1707 Act of Union between Scotland and England formed Great Britain. George I was the first of the Hanoverians; during his reign Sir Robert Walpole became (functionally) the first Prime Minister of Great Britain.

During William Elder's lifetime, three "French and Indian" wars were fought and the fourth began:

Note: it appears that William Elder's son Ephraim enlisted in the Virginia Regiment in September 1755 and died while in service in May 1756.



Robert R. Harper, Richmond County Virginia: 1692-1992, A Tricentennial Portrait, O’Donnell Publications, 1992.

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

Library of Virginia, (Old) Rappahannock County microfilm list

Library of Virginia, Richmond County microfilm list