William Frederick Elder, the well known and genial proprietor of the Middlecoff Hotel of Paxton, is a native of Londonderry, Ireland, and a son of Alexander and Elizabeth (Duncan) Elder. He was only eight years of age when he left his native land and came with his father and one brother to America. His father dying shortly afterward, he was then adopted by James Pells, a farmer living near Paxton, Illinois, for whom he worked until he attained his majority.
At the age of twenty-one, Mr. Elder started out in life for himself and engaged in farming on his own account for several years, during which time he saved his money. He then came to Paxton, where he worked in a hotel for two years, and during that time became thoroughly familiar with the business in all its details. Going to Sheridan, Indiana, in June, 1897, he took charge of a hotel at that place, which he successfully conducted for three years, and on selling out at the end of that time he returned to Paxton and purchased the Paxton Hotel, which he ran until the 19th of May, 1906. Since that time he has been proprietor of the Middlecoff, which is a fine new hotel, supplied with all modern conveniences, and in the conduct of this establishment he has met with marked success, gaining a liberal patronage.
On the 12th of June, 1897, Mr. Elder was united in marriage with Rosie Sassin, who was born in Germany and has one son, Elmer, by a former marriage. She has been of great assistance to her husband in his business, doing her share in the management of the hotel, and not a little of his success is due to her aid and encouragement.
Mr. Elder is a self-made man for he started out in life for himself with no capital but by industry, economy and good management he has overcome the obstacles in the path to success and is now quite well-to-do. Besides his business he has a farm in Nebraska and several city lots in Paxton and is regarded as one of the wide-awake and progressive business men of the place. Politically he is identified with the republican party and socially is connected with Paxton Lodge, No. 418, I. O. O. F.; Paxton Lodge, No. 416, A. F. & A. M. He is also a member of Gibson Council, No. 72, R. & S. M.; Ford Chapter, No. 113, R. A. M.; Mt. Olivet Commandery, No. 38, K. T.; Mohammed Temple of Peoria; and Danville Lodge of Perfection.

Extracted 17 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 2, pages 827-828.

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