Peter Elder of Virginia

Elder Notes ─ Generation 4 ─ Joseph and Mary Elder


Joseph4 Elder (William3, Peter2, Peter1) was born 6 Sep 1731 in Richmond County, Virginia, and died in 1800 in Campbell County, Virginia. He mentioned his wife Mary and 7 children in his will. He inherited part of the land patented by his father William3 Elder in Prince George (later Dinwiddie) County, Virginia, moved by 1764 from Dinwiddie to Brunswick County, Virginia, and moved around 1787 to Campbell County, Virginia.


These are the principal records for Joseph4 Elder:

  1. Joseph Elder was born 6 Sep 1731 in Richmond County, Virginia, to parents William3 and Ann Elder [King, Registers of North Farnham Parish (1663-1814) and Lunenburg Parish (1783-1800), Richmond County, Virginia, page 58]
  2. Joseph Elder was named in his father's will, written 24 Apr 1754, and given 100 acres of land in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, part of the 400 acres patented by his father in 1746 [text]
  3. Joseph Elder's debt to James Brannan's estate was recorded about 1755 in Richmond County, Virginia [Sparacio, Account Book Abstracts of Richmond County, Virginia, Part II, 1751-1783, pages 18-19]
  4. Joseph Elder and wife Mary of Dinwiddie County sold 150 acres of land (part of a larger tract) in Brunswick County, Virginia, to Richard Littlepage of Dinwiddie County on 23 Aug 1762 [record | abstract]
  5. Joseph Elder and wife Mary of Brunswick County and Richard Littlepage and wife Elizabeth of Dinwiddie County sold 153 acres of land in Brunswick County adjoining Hickory Branch, said Elder and others, to John Lamberth and Jesse Jones on 25 Jun 1764 [record | abstract]
  6. John and Mary Hicks of Cumberland County sold 185 acres to John Edmundson of Dinwiddie County, in Brunswick County adjoining Benjamin Jones, Joseph Elder, Jesse Jones, John Lambert, and Joel Biggs, 20 Dec 1771 [Bradley, Brunswick County, Virginia, Deed Books, Volume 5, 1770-1775, page 27]
  7. Jesse Jones, wife Sarah and mother Sarah of Brunswick County sold 188 acres of land on the South side of Red Oak Creek, adjoining Joseph Elder and others, to David Roper 28 Feb 1774 [Bradley, Brunswick County, Virginia, Deed Books, Volume 5, 1770-1775, page 71]
  8. Joseph Vaughan and wife Lucy of St. Andrew's Parish in Brunswick County sold 75 acres of land on the North side of Grate (Great) Branch to Joseph Elder on 13 May 1779 [record | abstract]
  9. Joseph Elder appeared as father in the marriage records of two children in Brunswick County [Vogt and Kethley, Brunswick County Marriages, 1750-1853, pages 44 and 185]:

    7 Apr 1783 (bond) – Joel Biggs and Nancy Elder, consent by father Joseph Elder; surety Joel Biggs and John Latimer [record]

    22 Aug 1785 – David Elder and Polly Read; consent by fathers Joseph Elder and William Read; surety David Elder and Joel Biggs; witness Nancy Biggs; minister Thomas Lundie, Rector, St. Andrew's Parish (Biggs erroneously printed as Briggs in Vogt & Kethley) [record]

  10. Joseph Elder was paid 5 Pounds by St. Andrew's Parish for maintenance of David Vaughan, "bastard child of Mary Vaughan" 23 Mar 1787 [St. Andrew's Parish Vestry Book, 1732-1798, Brunswick County, Virginia, pages 173-174, Microfilm Reel 54, Library of Virginia]
  11. Joseph Elder and wife Mary of Brunswick County sold 122 acres of land on the Great Branch in Brunswick County to Joshua Lucy 3 Aug 1787 [record | abstract]
  12. Joseph Elder and wife Mary of St. Andrew's Parish and Brunswick County sold 50 acres of land in Brunswick County to Joseph Lyell 22 Oct 1787 [record | abstract]
  13. Joseph Elder appeared in Land Tax lists of Brunswick County: 1782 - 75 acres; 1787 - 75 acres; 1788 - 122 acres transferred to Samuel Briggs [Land Tax Records, 1782-1799, Brunswick County, Virginia, Microfilm Reel 45, Library of Virginia]

    (I didn't find mention of the transfer of 50 acres that's reported in record 12.)

  14. Joseph Elder appeared in Personal Property Tax lists of Brunswick County up to 1787, and not after:

    1782: 3-3-6-0 Sall, Nell [slaves]
    1783: 3-2-3-6 Sall, Nell
    1784: not found
    1785: 4-3-1-4-6-0 Daniel Elder under 21; Nell, 2 Negroes under 21 ["Daniel" probably is son David]
    1786: 4-2-0-2-9-0 Sal, Nel, Brigit
    1787: 1-1-2-2-8-0

    For meanings of numbers, see here [add link]. [Personal Property Tax Books, 1782-1807, Brunswick County, Virginia, Microfilm Reel 56, Library of Virginia]

  15. Joseph Elder appeared in Land Tax lists of Campbell County: 1798 – 145 acres (conv'd by F Petty); 1799 – 145 acres; 1800 – 145 acres (estate) [Land Tax Records, 1782-1806, Campbell County, Virginia, Microfilm Reel 56, Library of Virginia]
  16. Joseph Elder appeared in Personal Property Tax lists of Campbell County from 1788 to 1798:

    1787: not found 1794: 1-2-0-3
    1788: 0-1-1-2 1795: 2-0-2-2
    1789: 1-1-1-2 1796: 2-1-2-2
    1790: 0-2-0-1 1797: 1-2-2-2
    1791: 0-2-0-2 1798: 1-2-1-1
    1792: 1-2-0-2 1799: not found
    1793: 1-2-0-2 1800: not found

    For meanings of numbers, see here [add link]. [Personal Property Tax Books, 1785-1814, Campbell County, Virginia, Microfilm Reel 66, Library of Virginia]

  17. Joseph Elder of Campbell County, Virginia, purchased 145 acres of land in Campbell County, South of Hat Creek Road on Austins Branch, from Francis M. Petty on 9 Jun 1789 [record | abstract]
  18. In Nov 1790 Court of Dinwiddie County, John Edmundson assignee of Joel Hardaway, who was assignee of Sarah Elder administratrix of Edmund Elder deceased, petitioned against David Elder, Claiborne Elder and Joseph Elder. Suit dismissed against David Elder and Joseph Elder [Dinwiddie County, Virginia, Order Book, 1789-1791, Microfilm Reel 15, page 279, Library of Virginia]
  19. Joseph Elder appeared in a marriage record of Campbell County [Campbell County, Virginia, Marriage Register I, 1782-1853, page 36; Microfilm Reel 36, Library of Virginia]:

    Jun 1792 (bond) – Joseph Crews and Polly M. Elder, daughter of Joseph; married Jul 1792 by Rev. Charles Cobbs [record]

  20. Francis M. Pettey sold 81 acres in Campbell County to John Elder, bounded by Joseph Elder, James Elder, and Jesse Mason, 1 Feb 1797 [Campbell County, Virginia, Deed Book 4, 1796-1799, page 199, Microfilm Reel 2, Library of Virginia]
  21. Joseph Elder sold 145 acres of land in Campbell County to James Hanks Jr. on 15 Jan 1800 [record | abstract]
  22. Joseph Elder made his will on 16 Jan 1800; it was proved 8 Sep 1800 [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?


Joseph Elder was born 6 Sep 1731 in North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia (record 1).


Joseph Elder's parents were William3 and Anne Elder of Richmond County, Virginia (record 1).


Joseph Elder's wife was named Mary. They were married before Aug 1762 (record 4). Where they were married is unknown.

Wife's Family

Some researchers (e.g. Shannon Elder) say that Mary Elder was born Mary Mathews and was sister to General George Mathews, but there is evidence that seems to contradict this. John Mathews of Augusta County, Virginia, father of the General, had children John, Joshua, Richard, Sampson, George, Archer, William, Jane, Anna, Rachel and Elizabeth [Waddell, Annals of Augusta County, Virginia, 1726-1871, pages 309-311]. John Mathews' will dated 20 Apr 1757 doesn't mention a daughter Mary [record].

It appears probable that Mary Elder was indeed a Matthews, but daughter of Samuel and Ann Matthews of Dinwiddie County, Virginia. Samuel Matthews’ 1754 will named wife Ann and children John, Mary, William and Elizabeth. In looking at the evidence, let's begin with daughter Elizabeth. There was an Elizabeth Matthews who married first a Littlepage and then a Scott:

Elizabeth Matthews

[A History of the Pioneer Families of Missouri, by William Smith Bryan and Robert Rose, 1876, page 371; reprint available on Google Books]. Matthias Scott and Betsy Wayne married 18 Dec 1804 in Campbell County, Virginia [Virginia Marriages, 1785-1940,]. Matthews Scott, age 64 and born in Virginia, resided in Callaway County, Missouri, at the time of the 1850 Census [M432, Roll 393, Page 296B,].

The report on John and Elizabeth Matthews Littlepage Scott is important in light of these records:

Thus Elizabeth Littlepage lived initially in Dinwiddie County and was connected with Joseph and Mary Elder and with a John Matthews. There are connections with a William Matthews, as well:

More records showing connections among John, William, Mary and Elizabeth could be added. I'll end by noting that Richard and Elizabeth Littlepage moved to then Bedford (later Campbell) County by 1779, as did William Matthews. Joseph and Mary Elder moved to the same area by 1788 (record 16).

I thank Harry Porter and Joyce Faison, Matthews family researchers, for sharing their data and ideas with me. More information on the will of Samuel Matthews is given here.


Joseph Elder mentioned these children in his will (record 22):

Joshua Elder
David Elder
James Elder
John Elder
Polly (Mary) Elder
Betsy (Elizabeth) Elder
Jeremiah Elder

He also mentioned granddaughter Winnifret Biggs. Winnifred was the daughter of Joseph's deceased daughter Nancy (Ann) Elder Biggs (record 9).

Ephraim Elder, who lived in Brunswick County and married in Campbell County, may be another son of Joseph and Mary Elder. Data for children is given here.


Joseph Elder lived in Richmond, Dinwiddie, Brunswick and Campbell counties in Virginia.


Joseph Elder died between the date of his will, 16 Jan 1800, and the date it was proved, 8 Sep 1800 (record 22). Thus he died in 1800. Assuming some delay between his death and the proving of his will, Joseph Elder died at age 68 (record 1).

Wife's death

Mary Elder died after Joseph's will was written in 1800. I've found no later record for her.



Joseph Elder owned land in three counties.

Dinwiddie County
In 1755 Joseph Elder inherited 100 acres of land in Dinwiddie County from his father William (record 2). The exact disposition of this land can't be determined because of the destruction of Dinwiddie County records, but Joseph Elder doesn't appear in the Dinwiddie County Land Tax lists for 1782. The approximate location of the land was documented in notes for William3 Elder and is indicated on the map given below.

Brunswick County
Joseph and Mary Elder sold 150 acres of land, part of a larger tract, to Richard Littlepage in 1762 (record 4). With Richard and Elizabeth Littlepage, they sold 153 acres in 1764 (record 5). Joseph Elder purchased 75 acres in 1779 (record 8). Joseph and Mary Elder sold parcels of 122 acres (record 11) and 50 acres (record 12) in 1787. This leaves a large documentation deficit for land acquired (75 acres) versus land sold (at least 322 acres).

I've found no document granting to Joseph or Mary Elder the land they sold in 1762. It's possible that the transfer was recorded in Dinwiddie County (e.g. by will), where records no longer exist for this period. It's also possible that a deed was copied incorrectly. The following could be it:

Thomas Jones and wife Mary of Dinwiddie County sold 200 acres to Joseph Edloe of Brunswick County, May 1758, on the branches of Red Oak Swamp, joining Richard Berry, William Christie, Phil Swanson and Edward Lewis [Bradley, Brunswick County, VA, Deed Books, Volume 3, 1755-1764, page 25]

The land sold in 1762 (record 4) joined Richard Berry, Benjamin Jones, Henry Parish, John Lambart and Nicholas Lewis. This list can be reconciled pretty well with the list for the Jones-Edloe sale using Bradley's abstracts. Richard Berry is on both lists. William Christie sold land on Red Oak Run to Edward Lewis in 1760. Philip Swanson sold land on Red Oak Creek to John Lambert in Jan 1762. Henry Parrish patented 188 acres joining Lambart, Lewis and Brown in 1759. Peter Jones and wife Dionisia sold land on the North side of Hickory Run to Benjamin Jones in 1761 (Peter Jones bought this land from Thomas Brown in 1759 – it joined Richard Berry). The only unexplained difference is the substitution of Nicholas Lewis for Edward Lewis.

It's plausible that the land acquired in 1758 contains the land sold by Joseph and Mary Elder in 1762. The 50 acres sold in 1787 (record 12) could be the remainder of this land. I've found no other mention of a Joseph Edloe in Brunswick County records. A William Edloe of Charles City County sold 698 acres of inherited land in Brunswick County in 1762.

The sale in 1787 of 122 acres on Great Branch is 47 acres more than was purchased in 1779. I haven't been able to account for the difference.

Here's a map showing the watercourses along which Joseph and contemporary Elders lived:

Dinwiddie-Brunswick map

William, William Junior and John Elder patented land in the Butterwood Swamp/Creek – Reedy Branch/Creek area. Thomas, Edmund and Joseph Elder inherited the land patented by their father in this area (by then in Dinwiddie County). Joseph and Mary Elder moved to the Red Oak Creek – Hickory Run – Great Branch area in Brunswick County. Note that the Nottoway River separates Brunswick and Dinwiddie Counties.

Campbell County
Joseph Elder purchased 145 acres of land in Campbell County in 1789 (record 17) and sold it in 1800 (record 21).

The following map shows the Hat Creek – Turnip Creek area where Elders lived in Campbell and Charlotte Counties.

Campbell-Charlotte map



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

The following people are mentioned in Joseph Elder records: William Averis, Thomas Ball, Richard Berry, Joel Biggs, Samuel Briggs, Samuel Senter (Centell), Samuel Chamberlayn, Charles Clayton, Samuel Dameron, John Edmundson, Joseph Fisher, Thomas Gholson, James Hanks Jr., James Hanks Sr., Thomas Hanks, Joel Hardaway, Isaac Hicks, Joshua Hightower, Rolley Hightower, Jeffery and Ann Jefferys, Benjamin Jones, Jesse and Sarah Jones, Lwelling Jones, John Judd, John Lambart, John Latimer, Mitchell, Nicholas Lewis, Richard and Elizabeth Littlepage, Joshua Lucy, Joseph Lyell, Jesse Mason, Henry Parrish, Francis M. Pettey, John Short, Wood Tucker, Joseph and Lucy Vaughan, Mary Vaughan and son David, Mary Walker, Hukey Williams, Willson.

Several families from Richmond County acquired land in the Nottoway River area (Amelia, Brunswick and Dinwiddie Counties) near the time that the Elder family patented land in Dinwiddie County. Here are the ones in Brunswick identifiable from Bradley’s abstracts:

Nov 1742 – Robert Christie of Richmond County, 200 acres on the South side of Red Oak Creek, from William Hampton and Richard Smith [Bradley, D.B. vol. 1, p.70]

Dec 1743 – LeRoy Griffin of Richmond County, 521 acres on the North side of Sturgeon Creek, from Thomas and Rachel Williams [Bradley, D.B. vol.1, p.81]

Jun 1744 – John Williams of North Farnham Parish in Richmond County and Hugh Williams of St. Andrews Parish in Brunswick County, 623 acres on the South side of Nottaway River, from John and Mary Davis and John Davis Jr. [Bradley, D.B. vol.1, p.83] NOTE: John and Hugh Williams divided this land in 1747.

Jun 1744 – Luke Milner of North Farnham Parish in Richmond County, 264 acres on the South side of Nottaway River, from William and Joyce Reynolds [Bradley, D.B. vol.1, p.83] NOTE: Luke Milner witnessed the will of Elizabeth King, grandmother of Joseph Elder [text]

Jun 1744 – Luke Milner of North Farnham Parish in Richmond County, 500 acres on the North side of Waqua Creek, from Clement and Mary Read [Bradley, D.B. vol.1, p.85]

Dec 1744 – William Samford of North Farnham Parish in Richmond County, 312 acres on the South side of Great Creek, from John and Lucy Spell [Bradley, D.B. vol.1, p.91] NOTE: Peter1 Elder first appeared in records as a witness for Mary Samford [abstract].

Oct 1748 – Hugh Lambert of North Farnham Parish in Richmond County, 200 acres joining Rocky Run and Wildcat Creek, from Matthew and Judith Matthews [Bradley, D.B. vol.2, p.31]

Oct 1748 – Hugh Lamberth of North Farnham Parish in Richmond County, 604 acres on the South side of Crooked Run, from Thomas and Mary Jones [Bradley, D.B. vol.2, p.31]

Apr 1755 – John Hammond of North Farnham Parish in Richmond County, 120 acres joining Nottoway River, from Richard Smith [Bradley, D.B. vol.2, p.104] NOTE: Joseph Elder's brother Peter married Amadine Hammond.

Other familiar and distinctive Richmond County names that appear in contemporary Nottoway area records include Caron Brannon, Battin Dobyns, William Glasscock, Charnel Hightower, and Rawleigh Hightower. Caron Brannon was a neighbor of Joseph Elder's family in Richmond County. Charnel Hightower married Sarah Glasscock, sister of the Gregory Glasscock who married Joseph Elder's sister Elizabeth. William Glasscock was Elizabeth's stepson.


Other Elders

The following Elders appear in Brunswick County records about the time Joseph Elder resided there:

There were several Elders married in Brunswick County whom I haven't been able to connect to Joseph: they may be marriages of Dinwiddie County Elders with Brunswick County residents.

_ Sep 1785 – Newman Elder and Martha Tucker of Bath Parish, married by Rev. Thomas Lundie of St. Andrew's Parish

16 Jan _ – William Crowder and Phebe Elder, surety Thomas Grubbs, married 1786 by Rev. John King, Baptist

11 Feb 1797 – William Latimer and Rebecca Elder, married by Rev. Peter Wynne

24 Nov 1798 – William King and Susannah J. Elder, married by Rev. Peter Wynne

27 Dec 1800 – Jonathan Elder and Patsy Seward, surety Joseph Seward, returned 4 Jan 1801 by Rev. Balaam Ezell, Baptist

12 Mar 1806 – Peter Elder and Tabitha Kirkland, surety Richard Kirkland, married 13 Mar by Rev. Hubbard Saunders

3 Apr 1806 – John Abernathy and Blanche Elder, married by Rev. Peter Wynne

[Knorr, Marriage Bonds and Ministers' Returns of Brunswick County, Virginia, 1750-1810]


Contemporary Events

Joseph Elder lived in interesting times.

There were two notable wars in his lifetime, the French and Indian War and the War for American Independence.

The French Revolution (1789–1799) brought radical change in the history of France.

There were two Kings (George II, reigned 1727-1760; George III, reigned 1760-1820) and two Presidents (Washington and Adams).

The United States was formed with the ratification of the Constitution by nine states in 1788. Two states were added to the original thirteen: Kentucky in 1792 and Tennessee in 1796.



Historical Committee of the Bicentennial Commission of Campbell County, Virginia, Lest it Be Forgotten: A Scrapbook of Campbell County Virginia, 1976.

Richard L. Jones, Dinwiddie County, 1776.

Gay Neale, Brunswick County, Virginia, 1720-1975, 1975.

Library of Virginia, Brunswick County microfilm list

Library of Virginia, Campbell County microfilm list

Library of Virginia, Charlotte County microfilm list

Library of Virginia, Dinwiddie County microfilm list

Library of Virginia, Richmond County microfilm list