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ELEY PERRY WHIDDEN
1829 - 1908
Eley Perry Whidden was born July 10, 1829 in Alachua County, Florida (present day Columbia County) son of Maxfield and Sophia P. (Crews) Whidden. His parents settled in Hillsborough County, Florida in 1843.
Eley married Louvenia (Lavinia) Platt on February 4, 1847 in Hillsborough County. Rigdon Brown, justice of the peace performed the ceremony. She was born October 13, 1827 daughter of Peter Platt. Their children:
1. Piety Whidden, born 1847; died before 1860.
2. Laura Whidden, born 1849; married in Manatee County on August 10, 1870, William N. "Billy" Hair, son of William Calvin and Sarah Jane (Parker) Hair.
3. Cuthbert Whidden, born 1852; married in Manatee on February 27, 1867, Mathew Sellers.
4. Minerva Whidden, born March 15, 1854; died February 20, 1940; married in Manatee County on March 15, 1872, Charles Crews.
5. F. Marion Whidden, born February 1, 1856; died January 16, 1927; married in Manatee County on July 24, 1882, Sarah Jane Williams, daughter of William A. and Sarah A. (Bennett) Williams.
6. America Whidden, born 1858; married in Manatee County on July 10, 1877, William Williams.
7. Jane E. Whidden, born June 6, 1863; died October 20, 1930; married on May 12, 1881 in Manatee County, Wiley Bryant Collier, son of John Collier.
8. Sophie Saphire Whidden, born January 5, 1865 (stone shows 1862); died July 29, 1932; married on December 29, 1877 in Manatee County, Dougall Carmichael Bethea, son of Rev. Hugh and Celiann (Still) Bethea.
9. Edward Whidden, born October 1, 1869; died April 30, 1930; married Mary Ellen F. Coker on February 20, 1890.
10. Van Dillon Whidden, born December 21, 1871; died April 18, 1951; married August 28, 1895, Mary Ann Collier, daughter of William Green and Mary Ann (Wiggins) Collier.
In the 1850 Hillsborough County census, Ely and Vina Whitton were listed in the Itehpsessa Settlement with their two children Peity, age 3 and Laura, age 1 year. Some of their neighbors in cluded Jacob Summerlin, Ribon Rolinson, D. J. Boney and Peter Platt.
Eley served in Captain Francis M. Durrance's Company of Mounted Volunteers during the Seminole Indian Wars. He was mustered in August 22, 1856 at Fort Frazier, Florida and was described as 6' tall, with blue eyes, brown hair and light complexion. He was mustered out as a private December 21, 1856 at Fort Frazier. He was musterred in to the same company on December 22, 1856 at Fort Brooke. Others in the company included Bennett Whidden, Jr., James L. Whidden, John Whidden and Lott Whidden. The company was stationed at Fort Capron on January 13, 1857 and at Fort Drum on April 1857. Eley was mustered out as a bugler on June 22, 1857 at Fort Brooke.
The Whidden clan settled in the Fort Hartsuff area in Manatee (present day Hardee County) County in the mid-1850's. Eley's neighbors in the 1860 census included Lewis Jenkins, David Brannon, Maxfield Whidden, D. D. Crews and Ephraim Thompson.
Eli Whidden, age 41, was listed in Township 36 in the 1870 Manatee County census along with Mathew & Cuthbert Sellers, Edward Whidden, William Dias, Nancy Driggers, Isaac Williams, William Williams and Thomas Williams.
He was living in Precinct #12 in the 1880 Manatee County census. Marion, Edward and Dillon were living at home. Neighbors included William T. Bethea, William H. Daniels, William A. Williams, Morgan Carson, William Williams and David S. Lanier.
On October 12, 1885, Eley P. Whidden purchased 40 acres of land for $100 from the Florida Land and Mortgage Company. It was located in the SW 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of Section 36 in Township 34, Range 27. It is located between Zolfo Springs and Sebring.
On July 22, 1902 Eley Whidden, age 74 years, resident of Crewsville applied for a pension based on his Indian War service. He received $8 per month. On June 30, 1903 Maxfield McClelland, age 64 of Zolfo, testified that he was a private in Captain Durrance's Company with Eley.
Eley P. Whidden died July 27, 1908 and was buried in the Whidden Cemetery near Sebring, Florida. Louvenia Whidden, age 84 & resident of Crewsville applied for a widow's pension on August 8, 1908. She received $12 per month. On September 14, 1908, Maxfield and Mary McClelland of Zolfo Springs stated that they were present at Eley's wedding and they had known Louvenia before her marriage. They had lived near the Whiddens most of her life.
Louvenia (Platt) Whidden died December 19, 1916 and was buried in the Whidden Cemetery.
SOURCES: G. L. Whidden; Eley P. Whidden pension application & Lovenia Whidden widow's pension application, National Archives, Washington, D. C.; Whidden Cemetery; Oak Creek Cemetery; Crewsville Cemetery; Manatee County marriage records; DeSoto County marriage records; Census: 1850 Hillsborough County, Florida, 1860, 1870, 1880 Manatee County, Florida; Manatee County Deed Book H, page 329; "Maxfield Whidden" in South Florida Pioneers, #15/16.
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