Going in Circles

Have you ever researched one ‘bush’ or ‘floating tree’ in your file to discover a connection to a different ‘bush’ or ‘floating tree’? That’s what I encountered when going thru Ancestry hints for Sarah Sellers, daughter of James Sellers and Mary Crawford.

For background, Mary is thought to be the sister of the James Crawford who married Martha Knight. Mary’s father, James is a neighbor to my ancestor, James Crawford who married Sarah Duggins. Also living in Garrard County, Kentucky at the time is James Crawford who married Rebecca Anderson. Thus, I’ve been researching both James and Rebecca Anderson, James and Martha Crawford as well as Mary Crawford and her husband James Sellers.

James and Mary Sellers’s daughter Sarah married William Elder. In the research of the Elder family in Decatur County, Indiana, I stumbled across a biography of their son, Oliver Clay Elder, that names the children of Sarah and William Elder. Included in that list of children was Mrs. Mary Vawter.

Vawter is a surname that I’ve seen before connected to the James and Rebecca (Anderson) Crawford family. James and Rebecca’s daughter Elizabeth Crawford was married to Beverly Vawter. Their son, James Crawford Vawter, was married to Mary Crawford Elder — bringing me full circle. I believe Mary Elder, granddaughter of James Sellers and Mary Crawford is married to James Crawford Vawter, grandson of James Crawford and Rebecca Anderson.

While FamilySearch currently does not have the wife of James Crawford Vawter connected to the SELLERS family, I plan to do further research to prove or disprove the relationship.

Since the current theory regarding the CRAWFORD families of Garrard County, Kentucky is that Rebeka Crawford is the sister-in-law of James Crawford (wife Rebecca Anderson). This theory is supported by yDNA results. Thus, Mary Elder may be the second cousin once removed to James Crawford Vawter.

While the biography of Oliver Elder in the History of Decatur County, Indiana is the only source I currently have linking the Sellers / Crawford families, it is a hint I plan to pursue.

page 698

Oliver C. Elder

Oliver C. Elder, a retired farmer of Greensburg, Indiana, is a veteran of the Civil War and one who has an exceptionally splendid military record, even though he is very modest in accepting this record, a man still sturdy and strong for his age. On the first day of the battle of the Wilderness, while serving as orderly sergeant, he look the place of the lieutenant in command. All of the commissioned officers of his company, having been killed, he retained command of the company until just before the battle of Petersburg. One of four brothers who served in the cause of the Union during the Civil War, he is the grandson on his paternal side of a soldier in the Revolutionary War. His brother, James, was captured and held as a Confederate prisoner in Andersonville, Florence, Salisbury and Charleston for a period of nine months.
Oliver C. Elder, who is one of the highly respected older citizens of this county and a native of Washington township, was born on November 27, 1843, one mile south and two miles east of Greensburg, the son of William M. and Sarah S. (Sellers) Elder, natives of Kentucky, who moved to Decatur county in 1S2O, shortly after it was open for settlement. Born in January, 1802, William M. Elder entered one hundred and sixty acres of land in Decatur county, after coming here in 1826 and later purchased an eighty acre tract from his brother. He had four brothers, Matthew, James, Andrew and Robert. Leaving the farm in 1863. he moved to Greensburg because four of his sons were engaged in the service of their country in the Civil War and he had no assistance with which to operate the farm. Of his ten children, three died in infancy and seven lived to maturity. Five of these seven children, Mrs. Mary C. Vawter, Mrs. America Gray, Mrs. Sarah Taylor, George and Henry are now deceased, and the living children are Oliver and James Marshall. The last four served in the Civil War. James Marshall resides at Highland Center, Iowa. The mother of these children having died in May, 1855, the father was married again to Eliza Ford and by this second marriage had two children, Mrs. Serena Hamilton, of Iowa, and Mrs. Zerura Griffey, of Indianapolis. The father died on April 8, 1875-
After living at home with his parents until the breaking out of the Civil War, when he was eighteen years old, Oliver C. Elder enlisted on August 25, 1861, in Company E, Seventh Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, under Col. E. B. Dumont and Capt. Ira Grover, serving until Sep-

page 699
ember 20, 1864. He was in the principal Battles of 1861-62 in western Virginia and Shenandoah Valley and the Army of the Potomac during 1863-64.
After the war, Mr. Elder returned home and engaged in farming until 1903, when he moved to Greensburg. Beginning with two tracts of land, comprising two hundred and forty acres and one hundred and fifty-four acres, Mr. Elder now owns two hundred and thirty acres in one tract and sixty acres in another.
On January 28, 1868, four years after his return home from the army, Mr. Elder was married to Sophronia Cobb, the daughter of Dyer Cobb and a granddaughter of Joshua Cobb, one of the very first pioneers in Washington township, Decatur county, Joshua Cobb having settled in Decatur county in the fall of 1820 on the old Michigan trail, married Almira Tremain, of New York state.
Of the five children born to Mr. and Mrs. Elder, two are deceased. The three living children are Orris Clifford, who lives on the home farm; Mrs. Edna Meek, the wife of Edmund L. Meek, of Clinton township, and Jessie A., who lives at home.
Mr. Elder is a Republican. He and his wife and family are members of the Christian church. He is a member of Pap Thomas Post, Grand Army of the Republic, and of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Lester Harding, compiler, History of Decatur County, Indiana: It’s People, Industries and Institutions (Indianapolis, Indiana: B. F. Bowen & Company, Inc., 1915), pages 698-699; digital images, Archive.org, http://www.archive.org viewed online 24 October 2022.