The Elder Family Papers


Papers of the Maryland Elder family, descendents of William Elder who migrated to Frederick County from St. Mary's County in l734. William Elder settled on St. Mary's Mount, near Emmittsburg, where his home "Pleasant Level" became the center of local Catholic activity during much of the eighteenth century. The papers primarily consist of correspondence to Francis William Elder (l807-l889) and his wife, Matilda Winchester Elder. Francis Elder, a Baltimore merchant, was the great-grand son of William Elder and son of Basil Elder. Matilda Winchester Elder was the daughter of Benjamin F. Winchester, Sr. and the sister of Benjamin F. Winchester, Jr., both circuit court judges in Louisiana.

The papers, organized alphabetically by correspondent, document various aspects of nineteenth century American Catholicism. The earliest material concerns the education of Francis Elder and Matilda Winchester, respectively, at Mt. St. Mary's and St. Joseph's Academy in Emmittsburg, Maryland. Included are student accounts for Francis Elder at Mt. St. Mary's (l820-21); letter from his brother William Henry Elder [later Archbishop of Cincinnati] while a student at the college (l832); and correspondence from Matilda and Benjamin Winchester, concerning "exhibitions" held at both schools in l845. Also included is correspondence, written to Francis and Matilda Elder from William Henry Elder, Thomas S. Byrne, Martin John Spalding, and John M. Odin, members of the expanding Catholic episcopal hierarchy in the west.

Several items are of particular interest in reference to Southern history. Letters from Generals Pierre Beauregard and Richard Taylor concern requests made by Matilda Elder in connection with Maryland's contribution to the Southern Relief Fair, organized throughout the Southern states in l866 to alleviate the burden of debts incurred during the war. The papers also include a letter from Matilda's brother, Judge Benjamin F. Winchester, describing in some detail his career as a circuit judge in Louisiana in l881. Finally, two pieces of printed ephemera are included in the papers - a notice of the Liberty Fire Company of Baltimore (l831) and an oath of allegiance, signed by Matilda Elder in New Orleans in l864.

Size: .25 linear feet; 1 box; 22 items
Dates: l794-l906 (terminal); l863-l898 (bulk)
Provenance: Sister Barbara Cooper, l980

Papers of the Elder family, consisting primarily of correspondence to Francis W. Elder (l807-l889) and Matilda Winchester Elder of Baltimore, Maryland.

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Beuaregard, Pierre (General)

1. ALS, General Beauregard, New Orleans, to Mary Matilda Elder, Baltimore, 7 March l866. Sends one hundred of his autographs and a portrait: "Allow me, in the name of my brothers-in-arms, to thank you & those acting with you, for your praiseworthy efforts to alleviate the sufferings of those of our people, who have been impoverished by our late struggle for Independence & a separate National existence."

Byrne, Thomas S. (Bishop-Elect of Nashville)

2. ALS, Bishop Thomas Byrne, Mt. St. Mary's Seminary in Cincinatti, to Matilda Elder, 26 June l894. Concerning her expression of well wishes on his appointment to the See of Nashville.

Carondelet, Baron de

3. ALS, Baron de Carondelet, Nouvelle Orleans, to Monsieur de Marigni, 28 March l794 (in french). Given to Francis W. Elder by Suzette de Marigni, 12 November l893.


Elder, Francis W.

4-5. ADS (2), Student accounts for Francis W. Elder at Mount St. Mary's Seminary, Emmittsburg, Maryland, August l820 and February l821. Submitted by Rev. John DuBois to Basil Elder, Baltimore.

6. Printed document, "Notice of Special Meeting of the LIBERTY FIRE COMPANY, F.W. ELDER, Sec'ry," 22 June l831.

Elder, John

7. ALS, John Elder, Happy Retreat, Graceham, to Francis W. Elder, Baltimore, 7 February l871. Concerns Elder family genealogy.


Elder, Matilda Winchester

8. ALS, Matilda Winchester (Elder), St. Joseph's Emmitts burg, to her mother, Madame B. Winchester, Donaldsville, Louisiana, 23 June l845 (in french). Concerns the arrival of her father in Emmittsburg (see letter from Benjamin Winchester, 28 June l845).

9. ALS, Matilda Winchester, Baltimore, to her mother, 5 June [July ?] l845. Includes an attached note from Benjamin Winchester. Both letters concern their arrival and reception in Baltimore.

10. Printed document, Oath of allegiance to the United States, signed by M. M. Elder in New Orleans on 30 October l864.


Elder, William Henry (Archbishop of Cincinnati)

11. ALS, William Henry Elder to Francis W. Elder, Baltimore, 4 April l832. Written by William to his brother while a student at Mount St. Mary's Seminary. Contains news of the seminary: "But even writing to you, I don't know what to say. Indeed I wish you were up here to tell me what to say. I've got half a dozen fellows around met who have finished their letters half-an hour ago and are playing some of the jugglers tricks with cards."

12. ALS, William Henry Elder, Cincinnati, to Francis W. Elder (nephew), 21 April l904.

13. ALS, William Henry, Francis W., Basil T., John C., Joseph Enoch, Thomas S. and Charles David Elder, Cincinnati, to their sister Eleanor Elder (Sister Helena Eleanor Elder of the Sisters of Charity), 14 December l883.

14. ALS, William Henry Elder, Philadelphia, to Matilda Elder, 20 October. Unable to come and visit her in New York. Includes an attached note from Matilda's daughter, Frances Elder.

15. ALS, William Henry Elder, Cincinnati, to Matilda Elder, 2 February l898. To his sister: "But very honestly I can say I have been thinking often of you & yours: & wishing to write you: though the wish did not materialize."


Odin, John M. (Archbishop of New Orleans)

16. ALS, Archbishop Odin, New Orleans, to Matilda Elder, 22 April l868 (in french).

Spalding, Martin John (Archbishop of Louisville)

17. ALS, Archbishop Spalding, Louisville, to Francis Elder, Baltimore, 26 October l863. Requests assistance for nephew, John L. Spalding, who "thinks of going to Brasil on an 'exploring expedition.'"

Taylor, Richard (General)

18. ALS, General Richard Taylor (son on Zachary Taylor), New Orleans, to Matilda Elder, Baltimore, 14 March l865. Sends his photograph, with the note that "I hope your scheme will prove successful..."


Winchester, Benjamin F. (Judge) [father of Matilda Elder]

19. ALS, Ben: Winchester, Emmittsburg, to Carmelite Winchester [his wife ?], Donaldsville, Louisiana, 28 June l845. Concerns, in some detail, attending "exhibitions" at Mt. St. Mary's and St. Joseph's in Emmittsburg [coinciding with Matilda's departure from St. Joseph's.] Letter contains several references to various members of the Elder family. Also see note from BFW to his wife, attached to letter from Matilda Wincester, 5 July l845 (item 9).

20. ALS, Ben: Winchester to Constant Winchester, New Orleans, Buena Vista Plantation, Donaldsonville, 27 May l851. Family news. The letter ends with a light note: "I have got the Ice & whiskey, tell Jack to put his Ice box in order to receive it."


Winchester, Benjamin F. (Judge) [brother of Matilda Elder]

21. ALS, B.F. Winchester, Morgan City, to his sister, Matilda Elder, 14 July l881. General news about his legal career, financial successes, and family: "I have been very busy, these last three months, and when I would come home from Court in Terrebonne & in Franklin, on Saturday nights, like a free negroe, to get clean clothes & see my family, & to be off again Sunday night, to be prompt and ready at my post, early on Monday morning. I would often think, how glad you would be to know, I was following close on to the heels of the 'Grand Old Paternal' whose circuit was ever the same stomping ground."



22. ALS, "Woodie", Head Quarters, Brigade Rhode Island Militia, to his mother, 9 July l906.


Notes on Elder family genealogy, by Kathryn Cooper.

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