This work is dedicated to Beatrice Rodgers who as the matriarch of the Elder family provided the interest and encouragement, along with family documents that have proven invaluable. I also wish to thank my father Byron Elder for adding additional information and interest, and my family for being tolerant of library visits disguised as vacations and my incessant discussion of information of new discoveries.
FOR PETE'S SAKE
The History of the ELDER Family
Kenneth D. Elder
Like most boys growing up in South Texas, I thought little about my heritage. Life was too filled with adventures and nonsense and little time to history, even if it had direct concern.
My grandfather, Vadin Dorris Elder had much to tell us, but he did not volunteer, and we did not ask. Like most children of the time, I heard many stories that held interest for a night, but I failed to ask further questions.
A recurring story told by my Aunt Bea was interesting, but caused no strong curiosity until the Spring of 1989. I had visited her in Morales, Texas and brought up the subject of her father's (V.D. Elder) background. Once again she repeated that her grandfather, whom she called Fate, had journeyed to Texas to find his brother Pete, and that he had probably come from Kentucky, as her Grandmother Susan had "talked of old Kaintuck". She also repeated the understanding that the search for Pete was unsuccessful, and that it was thought that Pete had been killed by indians. We also discussed the names and backgrounds of her aunts (V.D. Elder's Sisters), and the fact that their whereabouts and family descendants were unknown.
After thinking of the mysteries for a week or so, I read in the Austin American Statesman (the local newspaper) of the existence of the Genealogy Library located in the Texas State Archives. Pursuing the interest, I visited the library, and life for me, and my family has not been the same since. The library was a treasure of information, including the censuses of all states dating back to the beginning of the United States. After a light introduction and a few hours of research, I had determined that V.D. Elder was one of seven children, that his father was named Gilbert Lafayette, and that Gilbert indeed had a brother named Peter G. Elder, and that his father was named Peterson. Further, I found that Gilbert had come from Tennessee, not Kentucky, and that Peterson had come from Virginia.
At this point in time, I (as most family researchers) became obsessed with the "hunt", and declared two goals. First, I wanted to find out whether or not Peter G. Elder had died at the hands of indians, and whether or not I could find living descendants of the Elder family that I was unaware of.
With these goals in mind I embarked upon an adventure that has been extremely rewarding from a personal standpoint, and has yielded a great amount of information about our past. Additionally, for every question answered, many more have been added. That's the addiction of "roots". The mystery is never solved, but becomes more and more difficult, with each discovery.
I hope that the reader finds this document worthwhile, and strongly encourage any assistance in finding out more about our families, or their own. Please contact me if I can be of any assistance in the search.
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