Various people have listed John William Elder as being the son of Elizabeth and Alfred. I haven’t made the trip to Charlotte County to investigate the Elder clan yet, but I have done a fair amount of research via census data. John William Elder was born about 1835
By 1910, John W Elder is widowed and living with a cook and hired hand (Puse Adams and Julius Walker) amongst other Elders (Charles & Edward) and Ramseys (Elizah). He’s a survivor of the war.
In 1900, John is living with Mattie D and his mother-in-law in Madison, Charlotte County, Virginia. He’s 63 and a carpenter. He can read and write, and owns his farm, albeit mortgaged. Nearby live Robert, Joseph, Luther Elder. His wife Mattie D has 7 living children of 9 total. His mother-in-law has one of one. John and Mattie have been married 42 years.
In 1880, John is living in Madison, Charlotte County, Virginia with his wife and 6 sons. He and Mattie are 43 and residing with them are: Cabel, 20; John S, 14; Joseph W, 12; Leslie, 9; Luther, 7; Edward, 2. John is a Farmer.
In 1870, John, 34, is living with Martha, 33, Richard, 11, William, 9, John, 4, Joseph, 1. John is a Farmer with a total value of $300. Living next door is Elizah and Elizabeth Ramsey.
In 1850, there is a John aged 12 years living with Elizabeth Elder in Campbell County, Virginia. Also in the home are Elizabeth, 45, Alfred, 19, Carpenter, Burwell, 14, John 12, Lucy A, 10, Martha J. 8, Mary E. 6, and Richard 4. It is generally believed that this is John, his mother, and sibling. Names and ages fit.
This leads me to question where is John’s father and where were they all in 1860? Well, in 1860, we have Alfred and Elizabeth Elder living in Campbell County, Virginia. Also living with them are Joseph, 26, Catherine, 24, Martha 18, Mary 15, and Richard O 12. Alfred is a 55 year old laborer on a farm with a personal estate value of $50. He’s also noted to be a convict. Heading back to 1850, where Elizabeth is living alone in Campbell County? At the same time, there is an A. Elder in Richmond in jail for manslaughter. I haven’t found who he killed, but he’s served less than 10 years (or right at it)
Tracing forward again, I find an Elizabeth Elder living with Alexander and Mary E Little in 1880. At this time, Elizabeth is 76 and divorced. Also, in 1870, I find an Alfred Elder living with a black Pugh family in Charlotte, County, Virginia and in 1880 a divorced 75 year old Alfred Elder living alone in Campbell County, Virginia.
A trip to Charlotte & Campbell counties for some Elder research is definitely near future!