Eleazar was my great great grandfather. I have never heard this particular story about him. Do you know any details about this incident in Kentucky that supposedly drove Eleazer to Nebraska?
This is what I can pass along about Eleazer. Eleazar's father died when he was about 2 years old his step-father, James C. Jones, died by the time Eleazer was in his early 20's. Eleazer would have been raised by Mr. Jones, and I'm not sure exactly how much contact Eleazer had with his Peden kin growing up in Kentucky. Eleazer had no brothers, he had a sister, Martha, who probably married sometime after 1870 and stayed in Kentucky. Eleazer and Martha had at least 7 half-sisters, most of who removed to Oklahoma with their mother Julia (nee Underwood) (Peden) Jones about the same time Eleazer brought his family to Dawson County, Nebraska. His mother, Julia (Underwood) (Peden) Jones, is buried in Norman, Oklahoma. I have been unable to trace all of his half-sisters, so I'm not sure if any of them came to Nebraska or not, and I'm not sure how many stayed behind in Kentucky.
My grandma said Eleazar held interest in some gem/diamond mines and that he was quite wealthy, she also stated the family back in Kentucky kept a couple of household slaves prior to the Civil War. I have never seen any paperwork to verify this, although all of it could very well be true. Grandma used to say her dad was a "spoiled rotten rich kid".
Eleazer divorced his wife Ann Mary (nee Harlan) sometime in the early 1900's, and remarried a much much younger woman by the name of Roberta B. Baker (born January 29, 1875 and died October 13, 1918). Eleazer (also died in 1918) and Roberta are buried next to each other near what I assume was originally meant to be a family plot in Cottonwood Cemetery (f/k/a Bethel Church Cemetery) in rural Dawson County, Nebraska. There is a huge stone that bears the name "Peden" and then two very small stones next to it that bear the names Eleazer and Roberta.
According to 1904 Plat Maps of Dawson County, Eleazer Peden (E.D. Peden) owned 800 contiguous acres in north central Dawson County.
My grandmother related the following story about Eleazer's death: Eleazer was out putting up hay when Roberta brought him out a pitcher of lemonade. He died shortly after drinking it. I have not personally seen a copy of the official death records, but I've been told that the cause of death listed is "poisoning". Supposedly my grandma's sister Bette obtained copies of the death records. Story goes that Roberta killed Eleazer with a poisoned pitcher of lemonade for his money (read here his interest in the gem mines since the land seems to have passed to, or been purchased by, a couple of his sons), and that Roberta's son (Eleazer's step-son) in turn killed Roberta and that he then disappeared. I know next to nothing about Eleazer's second wife, including where they were married or where she came from.
That being said, my grandmother's stories should not be taken as gospel. I have not seen any documents, investigation notes/reports, news articles, letters etc to verify any of my grandma's stories about the final years of Eleazer's life except that the divorce obviously occurred, and that Eleazer remarried and died shortly thereafter and that his second wife followed him to the grave later the same year.
Ann Mary Peden (nee Harlan) didn't pass away until 1937 and my grandmother remembered her quite well. Ann resided for a time with her son J. Harlan Peden and his wife Lola who apparently never had any children.
I have never heard any stories related about Eleazer to indicate he ever killed anyone or that he fled, or was forced to leave, Kentucky. Just that there is a very good chance that Eleazer himself may have been poisoned by his second wife Roberta.