Elderkin Family History & Genealogy

Civil War - Civil Union: 
The Story of David & Mary Elderkin

Chapter 5: Amos Arthur Elderkin (1883 - 1951)


Civil War-Civil Union
Prologue:  1600s-1842
Chapter 1: 1842-1862
Chapter 2: 1862-1863
Chapter 3: 1863-1882 Chapter 4: 1883-1912
Chapter 5: 1912-on


Descendancy Chart  (to come)

For Questions or Corrections, contact:
Susan Elderkin
[email protected]

Civil War-Civil Union is copyrighted 2003

Amos was the youngest son of David and Mary Elderkin.  Since he was born five years after his sister Belle and because his father was already showing signs of decline, Amos could very well have come as a surprise to his family.  He lived only a few years on the farm outside of Finchford, but “from the time Amos could walk, he had his own pony.”[i]  To his final years, Amos loved horses.

Amos grew up in the house in Cedar Falls.  He graduated from Cedar Falls High School in 1902 and attended the Iowa State Normal School in Cedar Falls for two years.[ii]  After studying engineering, Amos was hired in Cedar Rapids at T.R. Warriner as a civil engineer for three years, and then as a traveling salesman with the Baker Paper Company, where he worked for 12 years.[iii]

In 1908, Amos married Elisebeth “Bessie” MacDuff,[iv] a Cedar Rapids girl from a large and embracing Scottish family.  The couple moved in with Bessie’s parents and Amos became at once a full-fledged member of the family.  Amos traded his Methodist background for Bessie’s Presbyterian roots, and they joined the Grande Avenue Presbyterian Church, where more than 90 percent of the parishioners were related and where Amos sang in the choir.[v]  Though he had no Scottish heredity, Amos became such an integral part of the MacDuff clan that he wore kilts on special occasions.[vi]

Amos and Elisebeth had one child, a boy they named David MacDuff Elderkin, who was born in 1913, almost exactly a year after David Troop Elderkin died.[vii]  Young David grew up in the MacDuff family compound, surrounded by the many female cousins who boarded at the home while attending nearby Coe College.[viii]

Amos became a successful businessman.  In about 1918, he joined the Cedar Rapids Bottling Works as its secretary and treasurer.[ix]  He was affiliated with the Masons, the Scottish Rite, the Elks, and the Shriners.[x]  His business frequently took him out West, so he was able to stay connected with his sisters in California.  He also never forgot about his mother in Cedar Falls.  He helped her through the aftermath of his father’s death in 1912, and he visited her frequently.  Mary trusted him completely.  In 1931, she gave Amos $6,000 to invest – the money that would later be the children’s inheritance.[xi]  Unfortunately, his depression-era investment in a stock called City Service failed, and Amos’ family skimped and saved for three years to pay back every penny.[xii]  When his mother died in 1934, Amos was appointed the executor of the estate.[xiii]

Amos is remembered by his son as a “generous and affectionate” man and a “marvelous father.”[xiv]  His daughter in-law, Fran (Teeters) Elderkin, recalls him as the “best of the [Elderkin] bunch.”[xv]  Amos died on January 8, 1951 at the age of 67.[xvi]

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Photos of Amos Elderkin

[i] David MacDuff Elderkin interview, 2 March 2002, Naples, Florida, by Susan Elderkin
[ii] Petersen, William John.  The Story of Iowa, Volume IV: The Progress of an American State., (New York:  Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1952), p. 909.
[iii] Ibid.
[iv] Elderkin-MacDuff Marriage Certificate No. 13007, District Court of Linn County, Iowa, 28 October 1908.
[v] David MacDuff Elderkin interview, 8 March 2002, Naples, Florida, by Susan Elderkin.
[vi] Ibid.
[vii] David MacDuff Elderkin interview, 2 March 2002, Naples,  Florida, by Susan Elderkin.
[viii] David MacDuff Elderkin interview, 8 March 2002, Naples, Florida, by Susan Elderkin.
[ix] The Story of Iowa, Volume IV, p. 909.
[x] Ibid.
[xi] Mary Jane Elderkin probate file no.10482.
[xii] David MacDuff Elderkin interview, 24 May 2003, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, by Susan Elderkin.
[xiii] Mary Jane Elderkin probate file no.10482.
[xiv] David MacDuff Elderkin interview, 8 March 2002, Naples, Florida, by Susan Elderkin.
[xv] Interview with Frances Teeters Elderkin  (2115 1st Ave. SE, Apt. 1206, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402), by Susan Elderkin, 8 March 2002.  No transcript.
[xvi] Amos Arthur Elderkin certificate of death, certificate No. Book 11, Page 441B (1951), Linn County, Iowa Registrar of Vital Records.