Richard Elder was born about 1843 in Wood County, OH. His parents were Henry J. Elder born on Feb. 6, 1795 in Frederick Co., MD and Harriet (Harpster) Elder born in PA on April 24, 1813. Henry J. served as a bugle boy at age 17 in the War of 1812 with his father, Arnold Elder who also served in the war. The father, Henry J. remained in Maryland until he was about nineteen years of age at which time he came by foot to Ohio. He walked from Frederick Co. MD to Bucyrus, OH a distance of five hundred miles in eleven days. He then joined a surveying corp working in Sanduskyu, Ottawa and Seneca counties. He left the surveying business and in 1835 began blacksmithing in Sandusky, OH where he met and married his wife, Harriet. From Sandusky OH Henry and wife Harriet moved to Toledo, Oh in 1836 but the same year left Toledo and moved to Wood County. Here in Wood County Henry bouth a timbered tract of 139 acres wher he erected a tavern and worked at clearing and improving his property. Henry Elder died on September 18, 1883. During his life he took a prominent part in promoting the interests of Troy township, aided largely in its development, and assisted in advancing its educational facilities, being school director for some time.
Mrs. Henry Elder survived her husband, and, of their fourteen children, in 1897 only six were still living. Their children were as follows: Ephraim, who died in childhood; Mrs. Henrietta White, who died in 1865; Mrs. Mary Buxton, who made her home in Iowa; Mrs. Sarah Gould, who died in Toledo, Ohio, in April, 1895; William, who lived and farmed in Troy Township, Wood County, OH; Richard, (of this biography) who enlisted in Troy township, in the fall of 1861, becoming a member of Company E, 72nd O. V. I., and was killed at Pittsburg Landing the following year; John, a resident of Perrysburg township, Wood county; Jesse, who died in Troy township, in 1866; Isabel and Arabel, who also died in the same year; George, who made his home in Perrysburg township; Lucy, who died around 1894; Martha, wife of Fred Gould, of Toledo; and Harriet, who also lived in Toledo. Following the death of Henry, her husband, Harriet moved in with her son, William Elder also of Troy Township.
Richard was born into a family of service men as his grandfather, Arnold Elder and father both served their county in the War of 1812. He was only 18 years of age when he enlisted on Dec. 1, 1861. His rank at enlistment and muster was that of private. He joined Company E, Ohio 72nd Infantry Regiment on 17 Feb 1862. He was killed at the battle of Shiloh, Moscow, TN on July 9, 1862.