As a representative of the agricultural class, and one who has met with good success in his independent calling, we take pleasure in giving a brief sketch of the gentleman whose name appears at the beginning of this notice. He is pleasantly located on a farm in Section 4, Troy Township, where his birth occurred February 6, 1839, and has, therefore, witnessed almost the entire development of the county.
His father, Henry J. Elder, was born in Frederick County, Md., on February 6, 1795, and was a son of Arnold Elder, a native of Baltimore, who spent his entire life in Maryland. He served with distinction in the war of 1812. The father remained in his native State until about nineteen years of age, when he came to this State on foot, making the journey from Frederick county to Bucyrus, Ohio, a distance of over five hundred miles, in eleven days. He joined a surveying party, which was employed in Ottawa, Seneca and Sandusky, counties, and became well posted on much of the land in this State. He made his headquarters in Tiffin, and remained with that surveying corps for some years. However, in 1835, he left them and began blacksmithing at Sandusky. In the same year, June 13, Mr. Elder was united in marriage with Miss Harriet Harpster, who was born in
Pennsylvania, on April 24, 1813, and their wedding was celebrated in Sandusky, now Fremont, Ohio. Her parents, Christian and Delilah (Markle) Harpster, were also natives of the Keystone State, and became early residents in Franklin County, Ohio. Later they removed to Sandusky County, and at Fremont their deaths occurred.
From Sandusky, Mr. Elder removed to Toledo, Ohio, in 1836; but the same year arrived in this county, where he bought a timbered tract of 139 acres, of John Bates, and there erected a tavern, which he conducted many years. He at once began to clear and improve his place, making his home thereon until his death, which occurred September 18, 1883. 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. His first vote was cast for the Whig party, but he later became a stalwart Democrat. Mrs. Elder still survives her husband, and, of their fourteen children, six are now living. They, were as follows: Ephraim, who died in childhood; Mrs. Henrietta White, who died in 1865; Mrs. Mary Buxton, who makes her home in Iowa; Mrs. Sarah Gould, who died in Toledo, Ohio, in April, 1895; William, of this review; Richard, 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 makes his home in Perrysburg township; Lucy, who died several years ago; Martha, wife of Fred Gould, of Toledo; and Harriet, who lives in the same city. The mother now finds a pleasant home with our subject.
William Elder has ever devoted himself to agricultural pursuits since large enough to reach the plow-handles and aid in the cultivation of the old homestead. His education was obtained in the district schools of Troy township, and, on laying aside his text books, gave his whole time to clearing and improving the home farm of 129 acres; he owns also a tract of land in Perrysburg township. Politically, he is independent in his views, voting for those measures which he considers will be the most beneficial to the community, without regard to the party favoring them, and he has served his fellow citizens as trustee of Troy Township.
“Wood county Ohio, Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1897”