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P. A. & Mary Williamson Elder Family


P. A. Elder Family
By Mary Sheeran

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, Texas!

P. A. Elder House - 1906
[204 South Bay Boulevard]

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.

Death of P. A. Elder
A Most Valued and Esteemed Pioneer Citizen Passes Away

Mr. P. A. Elder and founder of the Palacios State Bank, died at his home on the bay front, Monday, the 16th inst. at 4:15 o'clock p.m., the immediate cause of his death being locomotor ataxia, an affliction from which he had suffered many years. Funeral services were held at the family home Wednesday, the 18th at 4 o'clock p. m, conducted by Rev. M. M. Wolf. The funeral service was [brief?] but very beautiful and impressive beginning with one of the favorite hymns of the deceased, "Abide With Me" sung as a solo with much feeling and expression by Mrs. Wolf. Rev. Wolf read an appropriate and comforting selection from the scriptures, followed by prayer, and then made a brief address in praise of the many virtues of the deceased, and spoke many words of comfort and solace to the bereaved family and friends. Mayor Ruthven, on behalf of the business men of the city, gave a brief but eloquent eulogy recounting a few of the principal public and business enterprises in which Mr. Elder had been a leader, and to whose ability and energy their success was in largest measure due. Rev. Wolf read the obituary published here with and Mrs. Wolf sang "He Knows, My Heavenly Father Knows," and another of the favorite songs of Mr. Elder, and then the casket was borne to the last resting place in the silent city of the dead, followed by the largest funeral cortege ever seen in Palacios. At the cemetery a brief prayer by Rev. Wolf and scattering carnations over the casket concluded the last service that could be rendered to our departed fellow citizen.

The body lay in state at the home from one until four o'clock Wednesday afternoon, and many were the friends who came to take a last look at the face of him whom they esteemed so highly. The business houses of the city closed from one o'clock until after the funeral as a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased. There was a large attendance at the obsequies, only a small portion of whom could gain admittance to the parlor, the remainder standing near on the outside while the funeral services were in progress.

The active pallbearers were Messrs: C. H. Anderson, C. J. Wildman, Jno. T. Price, J. F. Barnett, T. D. Trick and Duncan Ruthven. The honorary pallbearers were Messrs. H. B. Farwell, P. R. Dawdy, T. H. Bonner, M. Lipscomb, Nolan Keller, C. Bruno, R. J. Hill and C. Doss.

The floral offerings were many and beautiful, the special designs consisting of a large wreath of calla lilies, hyacinths and galax aphilla leaves from the Blessing State Bank; wreath of Chinese lilies, roses and ferns from the Palacios State Bank; sheath of roses and palms from the family.

The out of town friends who attended the funeral were Mr. D. A. Elder of Logansport, Ind., brother of the deceased; Messrs. Abel Pierce, J. Pierce and Chas. Duller, of the State Bank at Blessing; Martin Thompson, cashier of the First National Bank, and Mr. J. M. Corbett, attorney of Bay City; and Mr. Chris Bruns of El Campo; S. J. Johnson and D. C. Ritchie of Jennings, La.

In the death of P. A. Elder, Palacios has lost one of her best, most progressive, useful and esteemed citizens. Coming here in the early days of the city, he was actively identified with nearly every enterprise and undertaking which had for its purpose the advancement of the welfare of the community. He was an untiring and unselfish worker and whatever he did, he did it with his might, giving his best unreservedly to everything that he undertook. In his business and social relations, he stood without a peer in all that was for the good and encouragement of those with whom he came into contact. Though...continuous sufferer, he was a born optimist, and saw only the bright and promising side to every problem. He was absolutely honest and dealt with other men upon...high plane. If he was ever...became patient, it was indeed at intervals most rare, and for everyone at all times, he had a cheerful word, and a happy smile, which brightened the lives and put sunshine in the hearts of all with whom he came in contact. Were it for us to write the epitaph for the monument at the grave of P. A. Elder, it would be these brief works, which to us express the highest ideal for any life, "He lived to bless mankind."

Palacios Beacon, January 20, 1911


Paull Adolph Elder was born at Lima, Ohio, July 2d, 1863, and was the oldest son of James Aiken and Sallie Jane Elder. He attended the Lima schools until he had attained his fifteenth year, and from that early age until his death he actively and incessantly engaged in mercantile life. The first two years were spent in the drug business; after that he traveled in the wholesale grocery business. About 1884 he came to Texas in the wholesale tobacco business, and the hardships of that early pioneer traveling probably laid the foundation for his ill health in later years. After several years spent in the south, he again traveled in Ohio.

On April 24th, 1894, he was married to Miss Mary H. Williamson, at Champaign, Ills., and who survives him. To this union were born nine children, all of whom are living: William and Anna were born in Ohio; Hulda in Illinois; Victoria, P. A., Jr., Olivia and Theodore in Indiana; and Jane and Estelle in Texas.

On account of ill health, Mr. Elder quit travelling in 1900, and moved to Frankfort, Ind. where he engaged in the wholesale fruit and produce business. His ill health continuing, he came to Palacios in 1905, and for several years after coming here his health was improved very much. His life since he has been here is well known. Interested in the Texas Rice Development Company and Palacios Townsite Company, he naturally lent his energy to the upbuilding of the town and his rare business acumen led him to give attention to the things that made for the most permanent and real value of the city. The most necessary institution to insure and secure business growth is a substantial, conservative bank. This he immediately went about organizing. How well he succeeded is known to all.

Mr. Elder was instrumental in the organizing of the Business Men's League, and of which he was president for two years, and which did effective work in advancing the city's interests.

Plenty of good water being the best advertisement for a city Mr. Elder set on foot plans for a water supply company which he fostered and developed, giving out "City-by-the-Sea" a never failing supply of pure water, which gives it great prestige.

But the most enduring monument to his far-seeing public spirit is our splendid public school. Few, indeed, realize how much single handed effort he put into the organization of the Palacios Independent School District. How gladly he laid aside personal interest and business and forgot frail health and pain when something of profit to the school was concerned. The broad liberal foundation laid for a public school in its inception insures its lasting success. Mr. Elder served continuously and most faithfully and ably as secretary of the school board from the time the district was organized until his death. For the College as a trustee, he labored as a sacred privilege and duty and from the first year of his residence here. When the church wanted business advice, or financial help, it knew where to go, and he gave of his best willingly. Though never having united with any church, he was a devout God-fearing Christian.

Palacios Beacon, January 20, 1911

Funeral Services For Mrs. Mary Elder, Pioneer Palacios Leader, Held Wed.

The "Crown of Righteousness" was claimed by Mrs. Mary H. Elder on Monday evening at 7:30 as she left this earth for her Heavenly Inheritance. Surely she could say, as the apostle of old, "I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course, I have kept the faith," For eighty-four years and eleven months she has been adding to her heavenly reward by the life she lived on earth.

Unusual, courageous, strong, faithful, true and great were words used many times by friends in speaking of her. These words, somehow, seem inadequate to describe fully the life of this remarkable woman who seemed destined to be a leader in her own family, in her church and in her city.

In the Providence of Almighty God, from time to time, one individual stands apart, as a guiding star to those about. Such a one was Mary H. Elder, whose unusually bright mind, charming personality, and ability to lead and inspire people made her shine out from her fellow men.

Although she had been an invalid for the past three years, from a wheelchair she continued to inspire, encourage and lead.

Mary Hess Williamson was born November 16, 1866 in Douglas County, Illinois, to William and Anna Williamson. In her day it was rare for a woman to aspire to higher education, yet her father, recognizing her ability, bent every effort to give her a college education. She was graduated from the University of Illinois in 1887 in a class containing only three women. Following her graduation, she again pioneered in Y. W. C. A. work and in the organization of B. Y. P. U. of America, which she served as the first secretary.

She was married to P. A. Elder on April 24, 1894. To this union were born nine children, of which three were triplets, Paul A., one of the three, met death by accident at the age of twelve. After the untimely death of her older daughter, Marianna, Mary Baines, her grandchild of six weeks, became her child to rear. Her surviving seven children, William A. Elder of Palacios, Mrs. C. E. Rees of Orangefield, Mrs. Fred M. Walters of Topeka, Kansas; Miss Victoria Elder of Newgulf; Ted A. Elder of Houston; Miss Jane Elder of Wichita, Kansas; and Mrs. C. H. Alley of Palacios; and her grandchildren: Miss Mary Baines of Palacios, and Cliff Elder Rees of Orangefield, "rise up to call her blessed."

Following the example of her father, who came west to Illinois as a pioneer, she came with her husband and older children to Palacios in 1905 as a pioneer in the undeveloped Texas coastland. Again, she became a leader in the stabilizing of a little Baptist church, in helping to get the Baptist Encampment to locate in Palacios, and in providing educational advantages through the Baptist Academy.

For many years she served as a director of the Palacios State Bank, and as vice-president, following her husband's death in 1911. She worked untiringly for good roads, drainage, a seawall and a sound public school system.

In the church she also took a place of leadership, teaching a Sunday School class for women, serving for many years as president of the Woman's Missionary Union, and on various church committees. Many young preachers leaned upon her understanding and counsel in shepherding the church.

Even though Mary H. Elder has departed from her community, the brightness of her life "will shine as the stars forever and ever."

Funeral services for Mrs. Elder were held at the First Baptist Church Wednesday, at 10 a. m. with the Rev. Carroll B. Ray and Rev. Rayford B. Harris officiating. Burial was in Palacios Cemetery.

Palacios Beacon, October 18, 1951

William Addison Elder
Born March 12, 1895

William A. Elder Entered Dairy Business Here in 1919
Recently Remodeled And Pasteurizing Equipment Installed

Since 1919 the Elder Dairy has been an important factor in the industrial life of Palacios and its trade territory. The success of this firm is a fact well known by all who reside within its realm of service. A success which is not a thing of phenomena, a trick of fate or a happen chance, but one occasioned by diligent effort and a steady application of time and thought to ever improving the quality of product and service.

For twenty years through the hazards of gulf storms and northers of sleet and rain this organization has never failed to service its customers.

The Elder dairy may well be proud of its products as they have never failed to occupy a most prominent place on the counters of high quality merchandise. They have for years served the Baptist Young Peoples Union Encampment and the Army Camp as well as the more popular dining rooms of Palacios. Many notables have used the Elder Dairy products to such a point of satisfaction that they never fail to call for them on their various return trips. It is with a great deal of pride thoroughly justified that Mr. Elder recalls an occasion of a railroad vice-president who after leaving Kansas City in his private car never restocked the supply of milk and cream until he reached Palacios where he chose the Elder Dairy to supply his personal needs. The Dairy, owned and managed by William A. (Bill) Elder, is modern throughout. The old barn has been completely overhauled, remodeled and painted with new equipment to meet the most rigid of rules of the State Health Department. In May of 1939 a Cherry Burrell pasteurizing plant was installed which has a vat with a capacity of 100 gallons where milk is cooked for fifteen minutes at a temperature of one hundred forty-four degrees, then is reduced to one hundred thirty degrees, thence run over the aerator where the temperature is reduced to 40 degrees before bottling.

As a token of appreciation to the many friends and customers enjoyed by this firm, they are desirous of taking this medium of extending them their genuine, sincere thanks.

Palacios Beacon, October 19, 1939


Pasteurizing Equipment of Elder's Dairy


Marianna Elder Baines
A Beautiful Flower Transplanted Into the Father's Garden

Saturday night, our whole community was shocked and numbed when there flashed over the wire, "Mrs. Joseph Baines is dead." From lip to lip words went, "It cannot be; Mariana can not be dead," she who always seemed so thoroughly alive, physically, mentally, morally. Early on Sunday morning friends began to gather to express their grief and show their sympathy. Every act that thoughtful, painstaking sympathy or grief could suggest was done by her friends here to show their appreciation of her life. As a shy little child, punctual school girl, fascinating collegian, thorough teacher, beautiful happy bride, her life has been an open book in Palacios, with "Loyalty" for its title; and as wife and mother, is even more beautifully exemplified.

"Getting by" was not in her vocabulary. Well could the Master in His summons say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Hers was a rarely sweet nature unspoiled either by praise or blame.

To try to express in words what is in the hearts of her friends would sound extravagant, words are weak vehicles of feeling when they are used to express the sentiments of Palacios toward Marianna Elder, for none knew her but to love her none named her but to praise. This radiant life will be an inspiration and help both to old and young, shining along the pathways of devotion to duty and thoughtful service.

She was a social asset to the community that has been sorely missed since her marriage. She was devoted in service to the First Baptist Church of Palacios, incessant was her attendance upon its services. With tireless zeal she led the young people. She taught and lead a class of boys in the Sunday School for many years.

She chose the good part, which hall not be taken away from her.

Funeral service was held at the home in Dallas at four o'clock Sunday afternoon, conducted by Dr. Geo. W. Truett. Accompanying the body to Palacios was the husband, Mr. Joseph Baines, his mother, Mrs. Geo. W. Baines, of San Antonio and Rev. M. M. Wolf of Houston. The remains were taken immediately to the cemetery from the train where the service was conducted by Pastor Echols, who offered prayer and read the Scripture which has comforted Christians through all the ages at such times as this, and read the sketch of Mrs. Baines' life. The Ladies Quartet which sang at her wedding one short year ago, sang "Asleep in Jesus" and "Day is Dying in the West."

Mr. Echols and Mrs. Sisson sang, "He Knows, My Heavenly Father Knows." Mr. M. M. Wolf, who had accompanied the bereaved husband from Houston and came especially to express his sympathy and friendship for the family, paid a loving tribute to the character of her whom he had loved from childhood. Rev. Gillespie pronounced the benediction. The beloved form was laid to rest amidst the most beautiful arrangement of moss and foliage and a profusion of the choicest floral offerings from friends, both in Dallas and Palacios.

The pall bearers were the young men who had ushered at her wedding, John Wolf, Henry Barnett, Ramsey Campbell, R. A. Tatum, Walter Williams and Noble Hayes.

Mrs. Marianna Baines, nee Marianna Elder, was born in Lima, Ohio, in 1897. Her childhood was spent in Indiana, Ohio and Texas, to which latter state she came in 1905.

She received her elementary education in Palacios, graduating from the High School in 1912; the following year she graduated from the Palacios Baptist Academy. In eager pursuit of education she entered Baylor University, from which she was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1917.

Immediately she took up a noble and worthy task in life, that of teaching. With zeal she devoted herself to her work. She taught in the public schools of Palacios in the session of 1917-1918, 1918-1919 and 1919 up to the Xmas holidays. On January 1st, 1920, she was married to Joseph Baines. The happy couple made their home a few months in Cleburne, Texas, and later in Dallas, Texas. In the latter city she met her death, Saturday, January 8, 1921, at the early age of 23.

While in Baylor University she was president of the Y. W. C. A. and of R. C. B. Literary Society.

In the Palacios High School she assisted in organizing the Philomethean Literary Society and the H. S. Alumni Society.

She leaves to mourn her death her husband and little daughter Mary, Mother Mary H. Elder, five sisters and two brothers.

The exact details of the accident are unknown, as she was alone at the time. While cooking, her dress caught fire from some butter she was melting. She ran outdoors where she immediately attracted the attention of neighbors and passers-by, who with all possible haste smothered out the flames. She was immediately taken across the street to the Baptist Sanitarium where she received the best treatment that was possible. Nothing known to medical science was left undone, but the shock was too great and she died within a few hours after the accident.

Palacios Beacon, January 14 1921

Huldah Elder Rees

Huldah, the third of nine children, was born in Urbana, IL on March 29, l899.

She was pleased to have lived in three centuries. The Elder family moved to Palacios, Texas when Huldah was nine. She graduated from Palacios Baptist Academy, from Baylor University in l921 and earned a Master's degree from The University of Houston. She taught at Franklin School in Port Arthur until she married Clifford Ernest Rees in l925. Later, she taught in the Orangefield ISD until she retired in l962. After retirement, she traveled extensively and read voraciously even in her last days. At age 90,Huldah moved to the Community Retirement Home in Port Arthur where she lived for l8 years until moving to Cypress Glen Nursing Home. She was always active in her church. She loved teaching Sunday School and participating in mission activities. She was a 50-year member of First Baptist Church of Orangefield. The last l8 years she was a member of First Baptist Church of Port Arthur.

Her son Cliff and daughter-in-law Mary Lee Rees of Groves, grandsons Mark Rees of Chicago, Jeffrey Rees and his wife, Martha of Houston and great grandchildren, Brandon, Nathan and Raquel Rees, survive Hulda. Also surviving her is a sister, Estelle Alley and a niece, Mary Sheeran of Palacios.

Visitation will be Saturday, July 2l, 2007 beginning at 11:00 a.m. until service time at 1:00 p.m. at Levingston Funeral Home in Groves.

Reverend Don Falke, pastor of First Baptist Church of Port Arthur will officiate. (Orange, Texas), July 19, 2007

Victoria Elder

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 and triplets 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.

Death of Paul Elder

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

Olivia Alfreda Walters

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 officiating.

Mrs. Walters was one in a set of triplets born Sept. 13, 1901 in Frankfort, Ind. to Mr. and Mrs. P. A. Elder. The other two children were Victoria Alberta who died in 1998 and Paul Adolf who drowned in front of the family home in Palacios at the age of 12.

The family moved to Palacios in 1905 when Mr. Elder established the first bank in town. The family consisted of nine children—William, Marianna, Huldah, Ted, Jane, Victoria, Olivia, Paul and Estelle. After Olivia married Fred Walters, administrator of Santa Fe Railroad’s hospital in Topeka, Kansas, she made a name for herself as a leading hostess and volunteer worker. The couple retired to Palacios in 1978 to be in the company of Olivia’s family. The Walters were active in local church and civic activities. Fred died in 1984.

Mrs. Walters is survived by two sisters, Huldah Rees and Estelle Alley; and a niece and nephew.

Funeral arrangements are with Palacios Funeral Home.

Palacios Beacon, October, 2001


Theodore Allen "Ted" Elder

Funeral services for Theodore Allen "Ted" Elder, 88, were scheduled for 3 p. m. today at the First Presbyterian Church in Palacios with the Rev. Doug Blanton and the Rev. Ben Sheeran of Victoria, Mr. Elder's nephew, officiating. Burial will follow at the Palacios Cemetery.

Mr. Elder was born Nov. 20, 1902 to P. A. and Mary H. Elder in Frankfort, Ind., and died Aug. 23, 1991.

The Elders moved with their large family to Palacios in October 1905. He died one day before what would have been the 62nd anniversary of his marriage to Cecile Genevieve Grant whom he married in 1929. She preceded him in death on June 11. 1987. He continued to keep a fresh red rose beside her picture.

Palacios was always Mr. Elder's home. After graduating from Palacios High School, where he had been part of the first football team, coached by his sister, Marianna, he attended Texas A&M University. Until his death, he was a loyal Aggie supporter.

Before World War II, he worked in a construction business in Palacios, where he took an active part in local affairs such as fire chief, rotary president and school board member. After the war, he became interested in building rice dryers and grain storage facilities. This work sent him all over the world.

Following his retirement from AID (U. S. Government), Palacios again became his home. He built his house on South Bay Boulevard, surrounded by his three sisters and niece. Both he and his wife were active members of the First Presbyterian Church, where he served as an elder and participated on various committees.

Survivors include five sisters, Hulda Rees of Port Arthur, Jane Elder of Houston and Victoria Elder, Olivia Walters and Estelle Alley, all of Palacios; three nieces, Mary Sheeran of Palacios, Peggy Lancaster of Houston and Kyle Buske of Jefferson, Wis.; and a nephew, Cliff Ress of Port Arthur.

Pallbearers will be his great-nephews, Tom, Ted and Tim Lancaster, Henry Sheeran, Dennis Young and David Blomberg.

Arrangements are with Taylor Brothers Funeral Home, Palacios.

Daily Tribune, August, 1991

Cecile G. Grant Elder

Funeral services for Cecile G. Grant Elder, 82, of Palacios were held 11 a. m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church of Palacios where the Rev. Doug Blanton officiated. Burial was in Palacios Cemetery.

Mrs. Elder was born Oct. 24, 1904 in Kansas to Earl and Elizabeth Graham Grant and died June 11, 1987 at Citizens Memorial Hospital, Victoria.

A resident of Palaces since 1910, she graduated from Palacios High School and attended Sam Houston State University. She married Ted Elder on Aug. 24, 1929. Her husband's business as a construction manager took them to South America, India and Nigeria, Africa, where she made a comfortable home and discovered a Protestant church where they could worship.

Following her husband's retirement from government service, they returned to Palacios where they built a home on the Palacios Bay in teh Elder family compound. She enjoyed growing roses and was an active member of First Presbyterian Church where she acted as elder, the president of her circle and sang in the choir.

Survivors include her husband, Ted Elder of Palacios; two sisters, Mrs. Johnny Jackman and Fern Erwin, both of Houston; five sisters-in-law, Olivia Walters, Victoria Elder and Estelle Alley, all of Palacios, Jane Elder of Houston and Huldah Rees of Orange, Texas; three nieces, Peggy Lancaster of Houston, Kyle Bushe of Jefferson, Wis., and Mary Sheeran of Palacios; a nephew, Cliff Rees of Port Arthur and several great-nieces and great-nephews.

Pallbearers include her great-nephews Ted, Tom and Tim Lancaster, Henry and Ben Sheeran and Dennis Young.

Arrangements were with Taylor Brothers Funeral Home, Palacios.

Daily Tribune, June 14 1987

Elder – Grant

The home of Mrs. Mary H. Elder on South Bay was in bridal adornment Saturday for the wedding of her son, Mr. Theodore A. Elder to Miss Cecile G. Grant, daughter of J. E. Grant. Bright colored Zinnias, palms and coral vines were used for decorating the living and dining rooms where the guests assembled.

Preceding the ceremony Mrs. R. J. Sisson sang “Until,” and this was followed by she and Mrs. O. C. Arnold singing “At Dawning,” with Mrs. Carlton Crawford accompanist. Mrs. Crawford also played Liszt’s “Liebstraum,” to the strains of which the wedding party entered and they were continued softly during the ceremony. An arch of palm leaves and coral vines was formed in the opening between the living room and dining room, beneath which the nuptial vows were taken. The groom entered first followed by the bride’s sister, Mrs. Ted Green, as matron of honor. The bride, on the arm of her father, who gave her in marriage, came next and they were met by Rev. G. F. Gillespie, pastor of the Presbyterian church, who used the beautiful double ring service, and in a most impressive manner performed the ceremony that united the lives and destinies of these popular young people.

The bride was becomingly attired in a modish blue chiffon velvet dress with hat to match and carried a beautiful shower boquet of pink rosebuds, lilies of the valley and ferns. Mrs. Green wore dark blue crepe with hat to match and carried a bouquet of pink carnations and ferns tied with pink tulle. A bit of sentiment carried out in the bride’s trousseau, was that she wore “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue,” the borrowed being a handkerchief carried by the groom’s mother when she was a bride.

Following the ceremony congratulations were in order, followed by the cutting of the bride’s cake and throwing the bridal bouquet, which was caught by Miss Myrle Bell.

Ice cream, angel food and fruit cake were served during the social hour, while the newlyweds made ready for their trip to Houston. The bride’s book was in charge of Miss Vera Tanner, a very near and dear friend and schoolmate.

Mrs. Elder is one of our best known and most beloved girls. She has made Palacios her home since early childhood and received her public school education here, graduating with the class of 1922, later taking a year’s work at San Marcos, then a summer term at State University, and one year at Teacher’s State Normal, at Huntsville. She has taught two or more terms in our grammar grades and was well liked by both parent and pupil.

The groom is the youngest son of one of our pioneer families, finished our High School in 1920 and attended A. & M. two years. He now holds a splendid position with the Gulf Refining Co., at Port Arthur, where he and his bride will make their future home.

These are two of our most estimable young people. Their marriage unites two of Palacios’ best families and with them goes the sincere wishes of every one for their future happiness and prosperity.


Out of town guests for the Grant-Elder wedding Saturday were: J. E. Grant, of Freer, Texas; Mrs. Ted Green, of Brownsville; Mrs. C. S. Yeamans, daughter, Maxine, and son, Kenneth, of Houston; Mrs. C. E. Rees, Port Arthur; Miss Olivia Elder, of Houston; Mr. and Mrs. V. Powell and Mrs. Minick of Blessing.

Palacios Beacon, August 29, 1929

Jane A. Elder
March 1, 1908 - October 26, 1997
Buried Palacios Cemetery, Palacios, Matagorda County, Texas



PALACIOS - 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.

She was an active member of First Baptist Church. She had taught a women's Sunday school class at First Baptist following a tradition teaching the class which her mother started many years before.

During the Depression, Estelle visited her cousin in Chicago and met Charles Henry Alley an artist whom she married. When she brought him to Texas for a visit he was charmed by Texas and quickly began pulling strings to find a job in Texas. Fort Worth was their home for several years and he got started in the farming and ranching business. When World War II happened they both came to Palacios to work at Camp Hulen. Estelle helped care for her invalid mother and participated in the Home Demonstration Club.

She prided herself on her cooking and entertaining. She delighted in calling herself Grand Ma to her great nieces and nephews. Her last years before going to the nursing home were spent in the family compound at South Bay along with her brother, Ted; her sisters, Olivia and Vic; and her niece, Mary Sheeran.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Henry Alley; and her parents, P. A. and Mary H. Elder; her sisters, Marianna, Huldah, Olivia, Victoria, and Jane; and her brothers, William, P. A., and Ted.

Her niece, Mary Sheeran, and her nephew, Cliff Rees, and many great-nieces and nephews and great-great-nieces and nephews survive her.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Baptist Church of Palacios.

Published in the Victoria Advocate on 2/16/2009

Alley Final Rites Held

Funeral services for Charles Henry Alley will be held at 10 a. m. Wednesday, June 7, in the Palacios Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Leon Maxwell officiating. Interment will be in the Palacios Cemetery.

A native of Illinois, he was born March 5, 1903, son of Charles Seldon Alley and Ida Jackson Alley. A resident of Palacios for 36 years, he died Monday, June 5, in Matagorda General Hospital in Bay City.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Estelle Alley.

Palacios Beacon, February 28, 1980

James Addison Elder


Marker photos courtesy of Renee Huff

James A. Elder
1827 - 1908


Death of Mrs. James A. Elder

Mrs. J. A. Elder, mother of Mr. J. A. Elder of this city, died at her home in Lima, O., at noon last Saturday at the age of 74 years. The body was embalmed and shipped to Palacios to be buried in the family lot in the city cemetery beside her husband and son, P. A. Elder. The remains were expected on yesterday evening's train, after the Beacon had gone to press, but may not arrive until today. Arrangements were made for funeral services at the cemetery after the train arrives. Mrs. Elder's obituary will appear in next week's Beacon. The many friends of the families in this city deeply sympathize with them in this hour of sorrow.

Palacios Beacon, April 18, 1913

Mrs. Sallie J. Elder

Sallie J. De Hart was born in New York State, May 18, 1838, and at an early age removed with her parents to Ohio where she grew up. Her parents died when she was young and she lived in Lima with a sister until she married Mr.  J. A. Elder, January 8, 1861. Three children were born to them, two of whom survive her, a daughter, Mary at Lima and J. A. Elder at Palacios, and nine grandchildren the children of her son P. A. Elder, who died in Palacios January 10, 1911. Her husband, Mr. J. A. Elder, died an was buried at Palacios, Nov. 15, 1908.

She was a woman of wonderful executive ability, rare business judgement, a mother devoted to her children with a love almost idolatry. A member of the Methodist church to which she united in her youth and in which she was very active as long as her health permitted. She had been a sufferer for a great many years and death was a kindly relief.

As stated by the Beacon last week, the remains were shipped to Palacios for interment beside the husband and son of the deceased. The casket arrived on last Thursday's train, and was immediately taken to the cemetery where funeral services were held, attended by members of the family and many of their friends.

Palacios Beacon, April 24, 1913

 James A. Elder [Jr.]
By Mary Baines Sheeran

James Addison Elder was my Great Uncle and the first veterinarian in this part of the country. Following his brother to Palacios who had arrived in 1905 to start the first bank in Palacios, “Ad” , as he was called, first managed the pavilion which consisted of renting bathing suits, selling soda waters and supervising dances. On the side he took a correspondence course to become a veterinarian and was called upon far and wide. There was no vaccinations in those days so his practice consisted of breach births or scours. He bought a Ford car which my aunt Jane, a teenager, taught him to drive. My fondest memories were breezing around in his car with him. When his sister died he returned to Ohio to manage her estate until his death and my grandmother had to pay to have him shipped back to her to be buried. I did not hold to my grandmother’s prejudice against Uncle Ad. When his car jugged into the yard I knew there were animal crackers and candy for me. -- Palacios Cemetery Tour

James A. Elder

James Addison Elder was born in Lima, Ohio, October 2, 1868 and died December 11, 1938. He moved to Palacios in 1906 where he practiced as a Veterinary Doctor until his return to Lima on account of the illness of his sister. His wife preceded him in death before his return to Lima.

Dr. Elder assisted with many of the pioneer enterprises of the early history of Palacios, and his removal to Lima was regretted sorely by the many stockmen and people to whom he was a genial friend and neighbor.

The body was shipped here for interment and burial services were held Saturday afternoon in the Palacios Cemetery under the direction of the Palacios Funeral Home.

Palacios Beacon, December 22, 1938

Nellie Mae Baxter Elder

The community was shocked Tuesday to learn of the death of Mrs. J. A. Elder. Mrs. Elder had been in failing health for a number of years and especially so for the past year or two. She bore her sufferings patiently to the end and death came as a happy release. She was a devoted wife and generous neighbor and will be missed by her circle of friends and neighbors, and especially by her loving husband who has done all in his power to ease and make more comfortable her years of pain and suffering.

Nellie Mae Baxter was born July 4, 1867, at Gallipolis, Ohio, was married to James A. Elder, September 4, 1898, departed this life May 15, 1917, leaving to mourn her demise her husband, one sister and three brothers. Early in life she became a member of the Presbyterian church.

The funeral services were held at the house conducted by Rev. Shepherd Wednesday afternoon, interment being made in the Palacios cemetery.

Palacios Beacon, May 18, 1917



Elder Building


Elder Building - 320 Commerce - Built c 1920
1926 - 1st floor used as warehouse and 2nd floor as a lodge hall
1940s - 1st floor north Telephone warehouse & shop; south Auto Electric; 2nd floor meeting hall

Haynes Bros. Open Garage

W. O. and J. N. Haynes, of Canton, Van Zandt county, will open a first class garage in the Elder building on Commerce street Saturday, as announced in their ad on another page. The mechanical and repair department will be under the superintendency of Mr. Joe Shaw, a thoroughly competent and expert mechanician.

The new firm announced as its policy absolutely reliable workmanship in all branches of the garage work, and solicits business on this ground.

Palacios Beacon, February 7, 1919


Quick Service Garage

Don't let your auto troubles worry you; just take your car to the Quick Service Garage and Dr. Jones will quickly locate the cause of the trouble and will soon have it running as good as new. In the Elder building.


If your car gets sick, has its bones broken or is disabled in any way, call up Doctor K. W. Jones the auto trouble specialist at the Quick Service Garage in the Elder building. He'll soon have your car acting just like a new one.


Doctor K. W. Jones the trouble specialist of the Quick Service Garage in the Elder building, has ordered a steam tube vulcanizer and will be prepared to vulcanize your tubes as well as cure all other car troubles in the best, quickest and most scientific manner.

Palacios Beacon, June 27, 1919


Green Garage

The Green Garage has moved into the cement building, known as the Elder building. Maynard Green and John Fox are on the ___ as managers. The Curtis Auto Sales Company have their headquarters in this same building.

Palacios Beacon, February 25, 1921


Palacios Beacon, January 2, 1930

S. D. Vick, of Houston, was in Palacios today, visiting with Carl Ehlers and other friends. Mr. Vick made Palacios his home about eight years ago, and at one time ran a garage in the Elder building.

Palacios Beacon, September 15, 1932

Douglas Machine Service Moves to Larger Quarters

The Douglas Machine Service which has held forth on Pavilion Street just at the north line of the city limits ever since it was started several years ago by its proprietor, Calvin P. Douglas, was moved last week to the Elder building on Commerce Street, just east of the Palacios Filling Station.

Mr. Douglas feels that in making this move he is much better located and can give the public better service as the building in which he now occupies can be more complete equipped, the shop room is larger and lighter and altogether a more complete place for service.

The Douglas Machine Service specializes in welding, electrical service, radio repair and all kinds of machine work and they invite the public to call and see them in their new home, whether you are in need of their assistance or not.

Palacios Beacon, October 9, 1930


Omar D. Williamson

Omar Doty Williamson, born in Douglas County, Illinois, January 1st, 1870, died at Palacios, Texas, at 6:30 p. m., May 27th, 1945. Survivors include two sisters, Mrs. Mary H. Elder of Palacios and Mrs. E. E. Piper of Los Angeles, California, six nieces and four nephews.

He united with the church at the age of fifteen in Champaign, Illinois and was a member of the First Baptist Church, Palacios at the time of his death. He lived an exemplary Christian life of thoughtful kindness and willing service. He loved his church and his pastor always; and witnessed for Christ by inviting many people to the services of the church. He loved his friends, and always sought an opportunity to do a kindness for them. Kindness, the keynote of his life, was expressed in caring for anything that needed attention, be it a flower, an animal or a person. From the early training he received, he developed an orderly, systematic life.

He has made his home with Mrs. Elder in Palacios for the past twenty-one years and his large circle of friends will miss him.

Surely, the Lord will say unto him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

Funeral services were held at five o’clock Monday afternoon at the Palacios Funeral Home with Rev. L. W. Crouch in charge, assisted by Rev. J. A. Derrick. Burial was made in the Palacios cemetery.

Palacios Beacon, May 31, 1945


Copyright 2008 - Present by the Elder Family
All rights reserved

Oct. 4, 2013
Sep. 13, 2014