When P. A. Elder came to Palacios in 1904 with anticipation of settling his family there, he was excited by the booming farming and fishing village. Poor health had made it imperative that he move his ever enlarging family to a warmer climate from Champaign, Illinois. His wife, Mary Williamson Elder, was attracted by the thought of educating her children at the Palacios Baptist Academy, and his father-in-law, William Williamson, was impressed with the fertile farm lands. The family arrived in October of 1905.
Mr. Elder and Mr. Williamson began at once to organize the first bank, the Palacios State Bank and Trust Company at the corner of Main and Fourth Streets. Early land developers added their support as did Lacy Pybus, B. F. Campbell, H. B. Farwell and others. John F. Barnett soon came as an assistant and Mr. Elder delegated Mr. Barnett to take his place when he realized he would not live to accomplish all his dreams. However, his optimism and faith in Palacios led him to help organize the first public school where he served as secretary of the board of trustees. His final act for education was to sign the papers for the construction of the old red brick high school building. Both he and Mrs. Elder were instrumental in getting the Baptists of Texas to locate their encampment there.
P. A. and Mary Elder were civic minded and worked tirelessly for any program which might better the town. Mrs. Elder became a dynamic force in the First Baptist Church where she served as a Sunday School teacher and W. M. U. officer throughout her long and fruitful life. Their home on south bay was always a gathering place for young people and distinguished guests who came to the encampment.
Mrs. Elder always considered herself a "newcomer" and treated with great respect the pioneers of the area as she immersed herself in Texas history and legend.
The Elder family consisted of: triplets, William, Marianna, Huldah; Olivia; Victoria; P. A., who was drowned in the bay at age twelve; Ted; Jane, the second child born in Palacios; and Estelle. The strong ties have drawn the family back to the bay. William, a dairyman, was deceased.
Marianna, who taught English in Palacios and acted as a football coach before her marriage to Joe Baines, was survived by a daughter, Mary, who made her home with the Elders following her mother's untimely death. Mary taught school in Palacios, and with her husband, Arthur Sheeran, raised four children and continued to reside in Palacios.
Huldah, likewise a school teacher, married C. E. Rees and had one son, Cliff. She later made her home in Orangefield. Olivia and her husband Fred Walters made Palacios their retirement home. Victoria, after years of teaching in Newgulf, lived next door to her twin in Palacios. Following years of a world wide tour of duty with the United States Department of Agriculture, Ted and his wife Cecile Grant resided in the family compound on South Bay. Jane acted as Missions Director of the Second Baptist Church, Houston. Following the death of her husband Harry Alley, a local rancher, Estelle built a house in the family compound.
Home for the Elder family will always be Palacios,
P. A. and Mary
Elder built this home in 1906 on Block B, Lot 8 overlooking South
Bay at a cost of $2,180. At that time, Jules Leffland owned Lot 6
and evidently had a summer home overlooking the bay as tax records
show that he had the property in 1905 and 1906 and sold it to H. B.
Farwell in 1907. His son Kai, who also became an architect, was a
friend of Elder’s son, Bill and played in the neighborhood with him
as a child. Leffland lists the P. A. Elder house as Plan #1021 in
his daybook. The architectural features of the house reflect Danish
influence and looked like many of the homes in the nearby town of
Danevang, a Danish settlement. The house was damaged by Hurricane
Carla in 1961 and Mary Sheeran, a granddaughter, built her home in
the same location.
the third of nine children, was born in Urbana, IL on March 29,
orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas), July 19, 2007
13 Sep 1901 - Oct 2001
Graveside services for
Olivia Walters, 100, of Palacios, were held Oct. 19, 2001 at
Palacios Cemetery with Rev. Ben Sheeran of Hochheim Baptist Church
Funeral services for Victoria Elder, 97, of Palacios, were held Jan. 2, 1999 at Palacios Funeral Home Chapel wit Rev. Dr. Ben Sheeran officiating. Interment was at the Palacios Cemetery.
Miss Elder was born on Sept. 13, 1901 in Frankfort, Indiana to Mary Hess Williamson and P .. A. Elder. She died Dec. 30, 1998 at Palacios Healthcare Center in Palacios.
When she was born, the headlines read "President McKinley is shot andtriplets born to P. A. and Mary Hess Williamson Elder." The size of the family was doubled with the advent of the triplets-Olivia, Victoria and Paul Adolf. The family moved to Palacios in 1905 where Mr. Elder started the first bank in town. Mr. Elder died in 1911 and the boy triplet, familiarly known as P. A., drowned in 1913 in front of the family home on South Bay. '
Victoria was the brains of the trio, graduating from Palacios High School in 1918 as valedictorian of her class. After a year at Baylor University she returned to Palacios to teach school. She attended various colleges and universities and received her Bachelor's Degree with honors from SuI Ross Teacher's College in 1935, and her Master's Degree from University of Houston in 1952. She taught school in Palacios for many years and in 1929 she joined the fledgling faculty of the Boling-Newgulf system teaching in a church, and continued to teach, there until her retirement in 1962. Vic's devotion to her pupils was well known, as she kept up with them through the years and enjoyed bragging about them. Miss Elder was a Charter Member of Alpha Iota Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, International Teacher's Society, Life Member of Retired Teachers and a devoted member of First Baptist Church in Palacios where she had a continuous membership since her baptism at the age of eleven. . '
Following her retirement she returned to Palacios and a cozy brick cottage on South Bay where she became active in the community. She taught a women's Sunday School Class and acted as Out Reach Director, Palacios Library volunteer, Wednesday Club President and various civic activities. Traveling was her hobby and she visited many foreign countries, and did extensive travel in the U.S. Victoria is remembered for her devotion to her family, especially the great nieces and nephews who called her Bambi, because she was their dear.
Survivors include: sisters, Huldah Elder Rees of Port Arthur, Olivia Elder Walters and Estelle Elder Alley both of Palacios; nephew: Cliff Rees of Port Arthur; niece Mary Sheeran of Palacios; great nephews Mark Rees of Dallas, Rev. Jeff Rees of Houston, Henry Sheeran of Midland and Rev. Dr. Ben Sheeran of Victoria; great nieces Marianna Young of League City and Vikijane Blomberg of Palacios; and 12 great great nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers William, P. A. and Ted Elder, sisters Mariana Elder Baines and Jane Elder
Pallbearers were Joseph, Jacob and Daniel Bear, Matthew Blomberg,
Robert Young and J. A. Sheeran.
Funeral services, conducted by Rev. R. T. Hanks, pastor of the Baptist church, will be held this afternoon at 4:30 o'clock at the home of Mrs. M. H. Elder, over the remains of her son, Paul Adolph, who met death suddenly yesterday afternoon as the result of an accident at the B. Y. P. U. bathing pavilion. The boy was one of the triplets, the two surviving being girls [see family history above]. The lad was in bathing with a number of other boys, and they were playing hide and seek. Paul either dived or fell into the water, about two feet in depth, and evidently struck some object or the hard sand bottom which stunned him, and he did not rise. The boys with him, not finding him anywhere thought he had slipped away from them and gone home. Other boys, who came to bathe later discovered the body, and called for help which was responded to by Mrs. Harper, of Bay City, who is stopping on the encampment ground, who drew the boy out of the water. The physician was called and everything possible was done to revive the boy, but to no avail.
The news of the deplorable accident cast a gloom over the whole city. The heartfelt sympathy of everyone goes out to the stricken widowed mother and her family in this great sorrow so suddenly thrust upon them.
The triplets were born Sept. 13, 1901. Hence Paul was 12 years and nine months old at the time of his death.
Palacios Beacon, June 12, 1914
Estelle Angeline Elder Alley was born Jan. 28, 1910, in
Palacios, the youngest of nine children of P.A. and Mary H.
Elder. After a brief illness, she died Saturday, Feb. 14, 2009.
Copyright 2008 -
Present by the Elder Family
Oct. 4, 2013
Sep. 13, 2014