Friday, March 6, 2009

Cleaning up the Elders

I thought I should revisit some of the family hanging around in the parts of the tree that I haven't touched in a while. I wanted to clean up some of the references and family notes I had for them. I thought that the Maryland Elders were as good a place as any so that's where I began.

Many people descend from the Elder family and there's been much research on the family simply because they were Catholic. They were Cathoilic at a time when it was not prevalent in this country. William Elder II (born 1707) is reported not to have originally been Catholic, but married Ann Wheeler who was. William Elder II named the area of Maryland, Frederick, Co. at the base of the Cacotin Mountains "St. Mary's Mount." "Mount St. Mary's College and Seminary, the 2nd oldest Catholic College in the country was founded 24 Sep 1808 on what was William Elder's property and bears the name he gave the area." (source: "Maryland Elder Family and Kin" by Donnelly 1975 p. 1) This William Elder was a large landowner. There were 32 pieces of land in the Frederick Co., Maryland area that were sold for the building of Mount St. Mary's College and Seminary. Some of the names of William Elder's properties were "Beaver Dam Level," "Black Walnut Bottom," Ogle's Good Will," Arnold's Delight," and Elder's Choice." None of the properties listed here were under 100 acres. (source: Maryland Elder Family and Kin, Donnelly, 1975 p. v)

William Elder II and Ann Weeler had 5 children. Ann died at the age of thirty and William remarried Jacoba Clementina Livers - the daughter of his neighbor, Arnold Livers. Jacoba and William had 7 more children. "Jacoba Clementina was born in England and named by her father Arnold Livers after James II. Arnold Livers was an active partisan of this King. When the monarch collapsed Arnold fled to the country with his young daughter and came to the Province. Here he acquired a vast amount of property." (source: "Maryland Elder Family and Kin" by Donnelly 1975 p. 7)

William Elder II and Ann Wheeler's daughter Mary (born 1735 in Prince George's Co., Md.) married Richard Lilly. Richard was born in Bristol, England in 1728. Richard and Mary's son Joseph A. Lilly (born 1763 in Frederick Co., Md.) married the widow, Charity Ogle Costello. The couple moved to Cambria Co. about 1789. This couple was also Catholic and probably followed Father Gallitizin as many from this Maryland area did. They belonged to St. Michael's Church in Loretto, Cambria Co., Pa. The couple's son Richard Lilly (born 1785) was a member of the 1st Batallion 142nd Regiment of the Pa. militia during the war of 1812. (source: "Maryland Elder Family and Kin" by Donnelly 1975 p. 68) The town of Lilly, Pa. is named for this Richard Lilly. (sources: "Lilly High Flash," students of Lilly High School, 1948." and "Maryland Elder Family and Kin" by Donnelly 1975 p. 68)

Richard Lilly married Elizabeth Holder, also born in Maryland. Their daughter Rebecca Lilly (born 1823) married Peter Burnheimer. Their daughter Rebecca Babara Burnheimer (born 1857) married Michael G. Conley and this couple was my Grandmother's Grandparents. Michael G. Conley was the son of the Irish immigrant, but more about the Conley's at another time.

For more reading on the Elder and Mt. St. Mary's family check out "Maryland Elder Family and Kin" by Mary Louise Donnelly, "The Story of the Mountain" by Mary Miller Meline and Rev. Edward F.X. McSweeney, S.T.D., and "Mount Saint Mary's College and Seminary: A Glorious History of the One Hundred and Fifty Years 1808-1958."

More Later,


  1. Nice work! I also keep running back into the Elders, I am tied to them by Elizabeth Finch. Our ancestors overlap, you might find my blog of interest
    I am also now proud to be your newest follower.

  2. Hi. I too am a William Elder & Ann Wheeler & Jacoba Clementina Livers descendant. I am curious since you are a Lilly descendant....I have been searching for information on a supposed daughter of Richard Lilly and Mary Elder....Eleanor Lilly who is supposed to have married my ancestor Clement Clarke. Do you know anything about her? I can find no record of her.
    Thanks...ANY HELP would be appreciated.

    Paul J. Barr


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