Extract of a Letter from Jack Elder, Ont. Canada to J. F. Caldwell, Belfast

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Document ID 9804825
Date 01-04-1928
Document Type Letters (Emigrants)
Archive Public Record Office, Northern Ireland
Citation Extract of a Letter from Jack Elder, Ont. Canada to J. F. Caldwell, Belfast; PRONI T1264/3; CMSIED 9804825
  Extract of Letter

had 8 children.  On Jan [January?] 17, 1893 he sent me a copy
of his father's family register.  For further information he
referred me to the oldest of his father's children, Jane (Mrs
Gregg) who was born in 1811, and was then, being a widow for
6 years, living at the home of her daughter, Mary Eliza (Mrs
Purdy) in Chicago.  I wrote Mrs Gregg, who was then 82 years
and received a most interesting letter in regard to her
father.  I quote from her letter on page 3 of the Elder
genealogy.  I had looked forward eagerly to meeting Mrs Gregg
when I visited the World's Fair in Chicago in May 1893, but
unfortunately she died suddenly a week before the fair opened.
When in Chicago I called to see Mrs. Purdy.  In Indianapolis a
few years later I made the acquaintance of Mrs Purdy's sister
Julia (Dr Julia Eberle).  She still lives there at the age of
78, and last fall collected much information regarding her
children and grandchildren  I was in correspondence also with
Dr. Julia's son and granddaughter, so you see no less than 4
generations (Mrs Gregg, her daughter, her grandson, and her
great-granddaughter) have supplied data for the family record.
      In 1894 my office work became so heavy that I had not
sufficient leisure for genealogical research, so I was with
reluctance compelled to abandon it for the time being.  I did
not expect that it would be 33 years before I would take it
up again, but last Spring I began to realize that if I were
suddenly called away no use would likely be made of the 6
box-files of genealogical data that I have carefully
preserved for 33 years and which have really been a
subconscious burden on my mind all that time.  Besides I
know that they might be destroyed by fire and could never
be replaced.  So I decided to share my data, in the form of
blue prints, with interested relations, after doing my best
to bring the genealogies up to date; but I drew the line at
the descendants of my four great-grandfathers-that is, I
did not try to get the names of descendants of the brothers
and sisters of my four great-grandfathers.  The limit I set
was in truth wide enough. In the 6 months from May to December
1927 I wrote 192 letters (of course not as long as this one)
and more than 90 post cards on genealogical subjects.  When I
resumed my researches I was doubtful whether any relative who
gave me information on or before 1894, in regard to
descendants of my four great-grandfathers, was still living.
I have since found that they are all dead.  My letters were
addressed to the relative "or any of his near relations" or
"any of his descendants".  Where the relative of 1894 lived
in a city, and could find a directory of the city, I searched
for his name-but in vain.  But in some cases I found the name
of his son engaged in the same business.  In this way I found
Frank Stewart Elder of Buffalo, son of Stewart Elder II (who
died in 1898).  Frank Stewart's son, Stewart Wesley Elder,
comes to Toronto occasionally to audit the books of Canadian
branches of American concerns.  In October we had a
"gathering of the clan" to meet him at my brother Stuart's
house.  At the end of December he spent four hours alone
with me.  I found he had a minute knowledge of Elder
genealogy and is very much interested in it.  Stewart is very
anxious to posses [possess?] the sundial (mentioned on page
8) that his great-grandfather made before he left Roughan for
America, and wonders whether Sam Mahon would be willing to
sell it.  Without Stewart's knowledge I wrote to Sam Mahon
(whom I knew in my boyhood) about six weeks ago, telling him
of Stewart's desire to purchase the sundial because of its
value, from a sentimental standpoint to him; but I pointed
out that he is not one of the wealthy Americans, being an
employee of a firm of auditors and working on a salary basis.
Sam Mahon answered saying that Mrs Stewart Elder gave him
the sundial, that he would not sell it but would make a gift
of it to S.E. of Buffalo if Mrs. Elder gave her consent.  I
wrote to Oliver Elder last Tuesday to obtain the desired
consent, but, in accordance with the tardiness that seems to
characterize that branch of the Elder family, he has not yet
answered my letter.   You may have noted that the
descendants of Stewart Elder I are very numerous, that one
may find them in 18 States of the Union, but only two men
of the number bear the surname of Elder-namely Stewart of
Buffalo and his father Frank Stewart.  Stewart's family
consists of two small girls aged 5 and 7, so unless a son
arrives the name will disappear at Stewart's death.
Strange as it may appear, there were several branches of the
descendants of Stewart Elder I that did not know of the
existence of other branches of the family until they received
the genealogical tables.  Some of them did not know that
their second cousins were living within a few miles of them,
but now they have become acquainted, thanks to the family
record.  You may have noticed on page 6A of the record a list
of the places in 18 States where Stewart Elder's descendants
reside.  This will be of service to motorists in planning
their Summer trips.  I may point out here a mistake in that
list, which arose from another error on page 10, where the
present abode of Montrose W. Cousens is given as Hastings
N.J. instead of Hastings, N.Y.
      I do not want to weary you with any more stuff about
the American Elders, but I may be pardoned for adding another
paragraph in regard to the Newbury branch, as you may suppose,
neither my father nor my Aunt Caldwell knew that they had any
first cousins in America.  They had never heard of the 8 sons
and daughters of that Uncle Stewart Elder I.  His second
daughter, Eliza Anna (see page 7 of the Record) married 1st
a Mr Gregg, who died early.  She then went South to visit
friends there who owned an army of slaves, the Superintendent
of which was a widower named Joseph D. Newbury, who I hope,
was a merciful man.  The widow and he became acquainted, and
afterward married (in 1838).  This was about the beginning of
the Abolition movement.  The wife quite naturally sided with
the Abolitionists.  "Her husband", as his granddaughter, Mrs.
Loulie M. Hampton wrote me recently, "was a man of very
strong opinions, which he did not mind expressing.  He owned
many slaves and it (abolition) meant stripping him of his
property.  The children of course became divided: her first
son, [Edward Stewart Elder Newbury] went north as early as
possible and married a New York lady, so when the Civil War
really broke, he went with them [Another relative says that
Edward "ran away from home when he was 16 and went north to
live with his mother's parents-Stewart Elder I and his wife-
who lived in New York].  Her other sons all went to the
Confederacy.  That was a great burden on her, causing her
health to fail; her mind gave way and she died from softening
of the brain, long after the war was ended.  My mother sided
in her mother's views and went north to school.  When the was
was [sic] at its worst she came back to help her mother, for all

the servants had been taken (drafted) then, and my grandmother
had two young children."
      Perhaps the following table will make the foregoing
page or two more easy to follow:

                  Stewart Elder I  m.  Elizabeth Gordon
            |     |      |    |    |      |
Jane (Elder Eliza Anna (Elder)   |  John ELDER   |      |
                                     |         |      |
m. Hobart GREGG m 1st Newton Gregg   |  of Binghamton|      |
      |   M 2nd J.D. NEWBURY   |  N.Y.       |      |
      |_____________         |          Sarah A |
      |      |     |         |              (unm)   |
      |      |     |         |            |
Mary E. (Gregg)|  Dr Julia (Gregg)   |    Stewart Elder
m. J.H. PURDY  |  m. J.K. EBERLE     |    of Buffalo
      |      |         |        |
Chas.S. PURDY  |         |  Frank Stewart ELDER
                                    Josiah Collins GREGG     |        |
            (b. 1840)      |  Stewart Wesley ELDER
                   |     |        |
            Edw. S.E. NEWBURY I  |    Sarah (Newbury)
                   |    m Levi BLOUNT
            Demetrius NEWBURY      |
                         |    Loulie (Blount)
                   |    m. W.H. HAMPTON
            Maud C. (Newbury)

      In the above table I have added a few names not
mentioned previously.  One of them is Josiah C. Gregg, the
first grandson of Stewart Elder I just as I am the first
grandson of
Andrew Elder, brother of Stewart.  Last fall I was surprised
to learn that Josiah Gregg was still living, at the age of
87, so I immediately wrote to his daughter (only child), Mrs.
Sachse, with whom he makes his home at Alhambra, Calif.
[California?] a few miles east of Los Angeles, and enclosed a
list of questions for her father to answer.  I asked her to
take down the answer from his lips.  But to my surprise the
old gentleman answered the questions himself in a regular
hand as steady as that of a man of 40.
      In 1893 I had correspondence with Edward Stewart
Elder Newbury I.  He gave me the name of his wife but did not
mention children, so I concluded he had not any.  He gave me
the names of his brothers and their children.  Edward at that
time lived in Paterson, NJ [New Jersey?].  When I resumed my
researches last fall I did not know whether Edward was still
living.  If he had been, it would be difficult to find one
who lived in a city 33 years before, especially if he had
left the city, for his neighbors [neighbours?] would not be
likely to know anything about his new address.  So I wrote to
his brother Demetrius who lived in 1893 in a small village in
Maryland, so small that his neighbors [neighbours?] would
know where he removed to.  But Demetrius had
gone to a better world, and some one sent my post card to his
unmarried daughter, Maud, who is County Superintendant of
Schools at Currituck, North Carolina.  She started the work
among the Newburys by sending out questions and turning the
answers over to me.  When I got what I supposed was complete
information regarding the Newburys and was ready to finish
the Elder Genealogy, I learned Edward SE Newbury did not die
childless but had a family of 11 children of whom 9 are still
living, 5 of them being married men living in the Pacific
States.  This was disheartening news, indeed.  I asked
Edward's daughter (Edna Stewart Elder Carmody) to write to
her 5 brothers in the West requesting them, in order to save
time, to send genealogical data direct to me, but one of the
brothers was very neglectful, and it was 6 weeks before the
information came in.  In the meantime I completed the Thomson
Genealogy and distributed 28 copies of it, two copies going
to Australia, one to the Yukon, etc.
      You of course noted that three pages of the Elder
genealogy were duplicated in the Mathewson Genealogy.  That
was because the descendants of Mrs Robert Blair (nee Rebecca
Mathewson) are not of Elder descent, and the American Elders
are not of Mathewson descent.  In 1890 and 1891 there were 5
families of the Blairs living in Nova Scotia.  I got full
genealogical data from them and would have visited them in
1891 had I not removed from New Brunswick to Kentucky in Nov
[November?] 1890.  When I attempted to find these Blairs in
1927 I had some trouble.  All of my Blair correspondents of
1890 and 1891 were, I found, no longer living.  But where
were their descendants?  Seemingly they were unknown in Nova
Scotia.  At last I found one of them who was still in the
province, and he gave me addresses of his kindred in the New
England States.  He himself removed to Massachusetts in
November last, so there are now none of the kin in Nova
      As regards the blue prints that you have already
received and others that are going to you by this mail, you
will notice that the Sproule Charts made last May are even
more amateurish in expectation than the Family Records of
Elders and Mathewsons made in December.  The fact is that I
knew practically nothing last May about making tracings for
blue prints and have much to learn yet despite the large
experiences I have had in making 54 pages of tracings (of
which 48 were used), each of which took from 4 to 6 hours
work to complete.  In May last I thought the only way to
remove an erroneous word, written [sic] India ink, from a
tracing was to scratch it out with a knife, thus causing the
print to be a much lighter blue at the place of correction.
I did not learn until months afterwards that there is a liquid
preparation for removing India ink, without leaving a trace,
or very little of a trace.  I also did not know last May that
fine lines and small dots in the tracing linen do not come
out white in the blue print but a light blue, because the
light gets in from both sides with too little of a barrier.
You will notice the difference between the Sproule chart I am
sending you to-day and the leaves from Thomson Family Record.
There is another difference to which I wish to call your
attention.  In the Sproule Chart surnames are irregularly
dealt with.  Sometimes they are not given, and when they are
you will find them occasionally in full capitals and at other
times in small letters.  I was groping my way blindly at that
time, for in the days prior to 1894 I did not give surnames
of children but referred readers to the surnames shown just
above the horizontal lines.  In May 1927 I had not developed
the plan adopted in the Family Records-namely to give the
surname in all cases, placing it in capitals if it was the
name of a son, and in small letters (in parentheses) if it
was the name of a daughter.  This plan took up a good deal
more space but made the tables more readily comprehended by
those not accustomed to peruse genealogies.  In regard to
blue prints I did not know until October last that there was
any way of correcting a blue print other than pasting a strip
over the error, or of adding words &c to a blue print.  Then
I learned about the fluid called "Blue Print Corrector,"
which I have found of great advantage.
      Now to return to the Caldwell kin in New Brunswick,
mentioned on pages 3 and 4 (if you will excuse my jumping
around so much).  I stated that Andrew C. Caldwell was a
County Councillor; he was a fluent talker and a veteran
politician.  His son Tom was then 19 years old, 6 ft 3 in
tall and with herculean arms and wrists.  He was the most
powerful young fellow I had ever seen.  He could lift an
anvil, weighing 1809 lbs. by the horn, and had taken 10
barrels, each weighing 300 lbs. off a wagon, and put them
on a scale.  He put his arms around the barrel and walked off.
Not many months after I first met him he left for Wisconsin,
where he had numerous relations.  I have not see him since
that time and had not heard of him for 35 years, when press
dispatches told me that he was elected M.P. in the Dominican
House for his native county of Carleton, as a Progressive.
He sat in the House from 1919 to 1926 and made his mark there.
He has 4 sons and 1 daughter.  Two of his sons served overseas
in the C.E.F. [Canadian Expeditionary Force?]  The four sons
are married.
      Reverting to what was said on page 4 about a "Sproule
Genealogy-Caldwell Branch".  I find a note in my Diary for
April 24 1890 in regard to a book of genealogical tables
which I sent to your grandfather Caldwell that day.  The
charts were enclosed in a pasteboard case, covered with
green cloth.  The book is oblong, measuring 12 in x 9 in.
Attached to front inside of case is a genealogical chart on
tracing linen, 36 x 9, folded in three.  Then follow 11
pages, 11 x 8 1/2 of drawing papers, with tables of the
family connections of the Caldwells, including Cunninghams,
Kilpatricks, McCains, MacKays, Elders Stephensons, etc.
There are also maps, showing places mentioned on charts"
      Most of the data in the books was obtained, in
conversations in Sept [September?] of the preceding year,
from two old ladies at Florenceville-your grandfather's aunt
Mary Caldwell and his Aunt Jane, widow of his Uncle Casper
and mother of A.C. Caldwell.  I was then spending a week's
vacation among the Caldwell kin, and I jotted down all the
genealogical information that the old ladies give utterance
to-in the first instance to pass the time and as a matter of
curiosity; but as they went on I found that both ladies,
especially your Aunt Mary, know as much about the Caldwell
family that I considered it wise to preserve all the
particulars they could give me, and then send a condensation
of it to your grandfather.  There is no one living from whom
the largest part of the data could now be obtained.  In
writing to Uncle at the time, I said: "By having the space
covered by descendants of your Uncles and Aunts colored in
the way I have done it, you can now easily find from whom any
person mentioned in the chart is descended, and besides you
can see which branch has got the most members."
      The book above described was sent to your
grandfather and I supposed it was in the possession of your
Aunt Annie.  She wrote me last March that "A.A. Crockett and
Hubert have spent hours over your books.  Hubert takes a
great interest in genealogy."  I have been wondering what the
"books" are.  I thought one of them was the 12 x 9 book above
described, but what was the second one?  The book produced on
duplicating machine in July 1890 was sent to your father, but
I do not think your grandfather got a copy, he having the more
complete genealogy sent in April.
      Among the letters of your father that I have
preserved is one dated Apr. [April?] 17, 1890, which reads:
"After investigation have at last found the crest, motto, and
coat of arms you wrote for (a family of Caldwells, descended
from Sproules and living at Newmarket, Ont. [Ontario?] wanted
the coat of arms for a memorial over their father in the
local cemetary).  It is a photo taken off some old plate at
one time in possession of a Caldwell in Castlederg.  I find
that Crest and Motto are same as Castle-Caldwell family, but
coat of arms differ.  In Castle C arms there is a plain shield
with three covers for wells.  In ours the same thing is
quartered on shield-the other quarter of our shield differing.
Our shield is guarded by two greyhounds, but Castle Caldwell
shield is unguarded.  I shall get a drawing taken off photo and
send it to you.  I have inspected the old title deed of
M.geeragh, which have descended in direct line to Matt.  They
commence by deed of 21 Oct. [October?] 1678 and continue direct
to my grandfather, showing all ancestors by name to present.
the original and first ancestor of 21 Oct[October?] 1678 was
William, who had a son Charles, who had a grandson Casper, who
had a nephew of same name in America."
      In a letter of April 21, 1895, your father wrote:
"It may interest you to know that amongst a pile of old deeds
and documents supplied me by "Toronto Charlie" when he was at
home some months ago.  I found the original last Will and
Testament of Charles Caldwell, the only son and heir of
William the First owner of Maghernageeragh; it is dated 10th
October 1748 and was made by him when he was 72 years of age;
it is in excellent preservation, and by it he left his
freehold lands of Maghernageeragh, Trenboy & Slieve Duff to
his two sons Henry and Samuel, share and share alike...
Charles died on the 14th October 1748, and he is buried in
my grandfather's portion of Castlederg Church burying ground.
My grandfather's portion is covered by two flat old
gravestones side by side.  One of them is so old and worn
that I was unable at the time (the day of Wm [William?] John
Caldwell's funeral) to make out what was on it, but resolved
to take a nice day and go up specially.  I assume that it
contained the inscription to the memory of William, the first
owner, and Janet his wife; because the other and apparently
newer stone is headed with the record of the death of Charles,
his son.  Next to Charles comes his son Samuel who died Feb
[February?]19, 1774 aged 55 years.  Then is recorded the death
of Robert, son of Samuel, on the 12th day of June 1783, aged
23 years.  Robert was brother to my great grandfather (Mathew)
as you will see from the Caldwell Genealogy which you have so
accurately prepared already.  I regret-and am ashamed-to say
that so careless have our branch been since that date
(Robert's death) that they never went to the trouble of
getting an inscription on after the death either of my
great-grandfather (Mathew) or my grandfather (Charles).
It seems shameful, does it not?  Fortunately I know the
dates, for I have got (amongst the other documents) the
marriage settlement which was executed on the marriage of my
grandfather with Rebecca Hemphill, prepared by an attorney
named Ramsey, who then practised in Newtownstewart."
      The above seem to be the last letter I got from your
father, and I have not heard whether the missing names were
inscribed on the tombstone.  Curiously enough the immigrant
ancestors of the Sproules and the Caldwells are buried in the
same churchyard.
      As to the John Caldwell who was attainted by the
so-called "Portrait Parliament of 1689 he was probably an
ancestor of the Caldwells of Killen, and perhaps was a
brother of William, the first owner of Maghernageeragh.
      When corresponding with the late Colonel L.M.
Buchanan of Edenfel, Omagh, in 1892 and after, I learned from
a letter he enclosed that Dr Oliver Sproule of Omagh(See
Sproule Table F) "married the great Dr Caldwell's sister of
Derry."  The writer (an old lady) probably referred to John
Caldwell, M.D.[doctor of medicine?] of Derry, who married Mary
Lecky of Bushmills (as recorded in Burke's "Landed Gentry of
Ireland").  I found his name last Summer when looking into the
history of the Leckys of Co.[County?] Antrim.  At that time I
thought of having a Lecky genealogy, with a  Mathewson branch,
but failing to get any response from Irish correspondents I
abandoned the idea and limited the record to Mathewson of
Kirlish, going half a page at the end to the Lecky genealogy
as it was in 1894.  Oliver Lecky, whose daughter Isabella
married James Mathewson, Jun[Junior?], and who himself
married Anne Sproule, sister of "the Nabob," seems to have
been of some account socially,  There was a governess in the
home of his son Oliver.  I have heard that he was descended
from the Laird of Laskie, who fled to Ireland, but I failed
to find proof of the kinship.
      Reverting to the Thomson family: Morgan Thomson lived
at Lurgan, and afterwards at Newtownstewart.  He was a boy of
13 when he "was at Lough Swilly in the time of the wars", as
he says in one of his letters.  Some say that his immigrant
ancestor came from Maybole, Ayrshire; others say he was an
Englishman.  In the hope of finding something definite about
his ancestry I wrote last September to the Registrar General
of Northern Ireland, for a marriage certificate of Morgan
Thomson's father (who, it is said, married a Miss Morgan) but
I was informed that the records of births, deaths, and
marriages extend back only as far as 1864.  I had been under
the impression that in Ireland, as in Scotland, where
compulsory registration came into force, the old church
registers of baptisms and marriages were sent to the
Registrar-General's office, but apparently this was not done
in Ireland.  At my suggestion last fall, two of my Uncle
Robert Elder's sons, who were born in Co.[County?] Tyrone but
were uncertain as to the exact date, wrote to the
Registrar-General, Belfast, for birth certificates.  They got
them, but the certificates bore the stamp of the Free State.

                  Tuesday, Apr [April?] 3, 1928.
      I was very much interested in the items of
information you gave regarding your Mother's ancestry.  Her
father was, I think, a first cousin of the late William Scott
of Indianapolis, and his brother, Robert Foster Scott-who, as
Wm[William?] Scott & Co- were my employees from 1891 until
they dissolved partnership in Nov[November?] 1893.  Their
father Rev [Reverend?] William Scott, of Netowncunningham,
married, I think, a Miss Mills, sister of your Mother's
paternal grandmother.  Mrs R.F. Scott visited Ireland, with
her sons, William and Robert, a few years before your Mother's
marriage.  I keep up a somewhat irregular correspondence with
Robert-my correspondence last year with everybody who was not
a source of genealogical data was temporarily abandoned-and I
heard from him about two months ago.  His office, as a grain
dealer, is in the Merchant's Exchange, St Louis, but his home
is at 135 Bodley Ave [Avenue?] Kirkwood, Mo. [Missouri?]
(about 14 miles from St Louis).  Mrs Scott has been a
diabetic for 14 years, but the treatment with insulin keeps
her fairly well.  Their eldest son, William, is a major in
the U.S. Army; is married and has 4 children.  He wrote me
a couple of years ago asking for suggestions as to compiling
a family history of the Scotts, but all the old people who
could have given him information have passed away.  He is
just in the position I would have been in if I had not begun
genealogical research until last year; the foundation of it
all was laid before 1894.  I understand he is meeting with
some success; he gets much pleasure from the correspondence.
His grandfather Rev [Reverend?] Wm [William?] Scott, wrote
out for his son Robert F. a family record going back some
seven generations, but the record was lost when Robert F. was
moving from one house in Indianapolis to another.  What a
pity!  If that record had only been distributed in the form
of blue prints or otherwise, all the copies would not have
been lost or burned.  Robert Scott, Jun [Junior?] (who is, I
think, a civil engineer) was married in New York on Sept
[September?] 18, 1926.  Norman, the 3rd son, is an officer in
the US Navy, and is married, as is his youngest brother Holman,
who lives in Buffalo.  The old folks are all alone.