Saturday, February 25, 2017

Our German Ancestors: The Utterback (Otterbach) Family

Saxon Steed, adopted by Westphalia
In an earlier blog I wrote that our great-great grandfather Whitman Hill Dyson married our great-great grandmother Elizabeth J. Turpin (b. 1841 - died before the 1870 census), mother of Nancy Dyson Raney. They married 15 May 1858 in Warrick County, Indiana.

Warrick County, Indiana
Elizabeth Turpin, called "Ella", was born in Jackson County, Indiana, the daughter of  Moses Turpin (1812-1898) and Frances "Frankie" Utterback (1818-1865), our 3rd great-grandparents.

Jackson County, Indiana
Frankie Utterback was born in 1818 in Woodford County, Kentucky, and never learned to read (1860 Indiana census). The southern states were slow to institute public education in rural areas; it was especially difficult because settlers were more dispersed in the south than in northern states. 

Moses Turpin's people had lived for a time in Pulaski County, Kentucky, where he was born in 1812.
Pulaski County, Kentucky

They were in Jackson County, Indiana, by 1830, and the Utterbacks were in nearby Lawrence County. Indiana was the new frontier and Kentuckians especially flocked to southern Indiana. In the 1850 censuses for the southern Indiana counties, line after line list heads of families and older children as being born in Kentucky.
Indiana 1795 - 1840: treaties that opened various parts of Indiana for settlement
Moses Turpin and Frances Utterback married in February,1834, in Lawrence County, Indiana.
Lawrence County, Indiana
I do so enjoy seeing how our family moved about from county to county in Indiana. Roads were being built, dusty in summer and quagmires in rainy weather. We'll leave Moses and Frances Turpin as they raise their family, because I want to tell you about Frankie's ancestors, the Utterbacks, originally Otterbach - the only German ancestors in our grandfather Frank Raney's tree.

Hermann Utterback (Harmon Otterbach - and yes the name refers to the otter) was born in 1663 in Trupbach, an outlying village of Siegen, North Rhine-Westphalia. The region was still recovering from the devistating Thirty-Years War - a short history HERE  He married Elizabeth Heimbach in Seigen on August 11, 1685 in a German Reformed Protestant ceremony (a branch of the Presbyterian church). They were our 8th great-grandparents.

North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany. Siegen is in the middle of the province, formerly a part of Prussia.

Hermann was an iron miner, but possibly farmed on the side and mined in dry weather. He and other miners of Siegen were approached in about 1711 to come to Virginia, ostensibly to mine for iron. He and six surviving children arrived in Virginia in 1714 with this German colony of miners, numbering about 42, after having been marooned in London for six months without transportation, supported by two London merchants who were reimbursed by Royal Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood of Virginia. There is still historical controversy whether Spotswood used a middleman to contract them to come to Virginia to mine what was or would be his own land, but all agree he acted surprised to see them. Nonetheless, Spotswood convinced the Council of Virginia to settle this German colony above the falls on the Rappahannock River at Virginia's frontier as a buffer to protect the more favored Virginia settlements against Indian incursions. He had a small fort built that he named Germanna and the Germans were given two cannon and some ammunition.

Here are their nine houses and across a beaten track their animal sheds. They lived primitively.
There remains a small controversy among descendants of the Germanna founders whether Hermann and his family arrived with the others in 1714 because his name doesn't appear on paper; but since he was a widower, he probably lived with a son-in-law. His family name disappeared from the Siegen church records at that time and three of his daughters married Germanna founders, sufficient evidence to indicate he was among the first settlers. Nowadays there is a Germanna College near where the colony first lived and a Germanna Foundation that take this history very seriously because it was the first German colony in America. Research articles are in abundance on the Internet. Here's an article on the settlement of Germanna with Utterbach and Hermann's wife's surname Heimbach included. Her relatives must have come, also.  HERE

Original site of Germanna or near enough.
People like to say that the colonies allowed freedom of religion, but that wasn't so early on. Virginia Colony's state religion was the Anglican religion. The colony forced out settlers not of the Anglican faith by tithing them to support the Anglican church, fining them for not appearing at services, and denying them their own ministers. Some French Huguenots and Quakers were forced out in this manner. When the Germans came, bringing a minister with them, Lt. Governor Spotswood convinced the Virginia government to pass a law allowing their free worship without having to pay tithes to the Anglican church. The next colony of Germans to come were Lutherans, but our ancestors were mostly German Reform Calvinists, who went to church every day. (Some claim a few settlers were Catholic; if that is true, how they got along is a wonder for there had been armed clashes between the two religions in Siegen a few years earlier).  There were some attempts to search out silver, with no success, and some incipient iron mining.  It wasn't what the Germans had expected. After their four-year indenture to pay off their passage, the Germans abandoned Germanna and moved twenty miles away to found Germantown in Prince William County, which became Fauquier County.
Fauquier County, Virginia
Hermann's son, John Utterback (Johannes Otterbach), our 7th great-grandfather (b. 1702 Siegen - d. after 1772 in what became Fauquier County) lived a long time.  In 1772 he witnessed (with 2 other Germans of his colony, probably his in-laws) the sale of 100 acres in Hamilton Parish on Licking Run from Jacob and Mary Rector to Jacob Utterback for "50 pounds in current money in Virginia." (Fauquier County Deed Book 5, p. 241). Jacob was John's son, as was Harmon Utterback (b. 1724 - d. after 1793), our 6th great-grandfather.  We can assume these men and their families quietly tilled their Virginia fields through most of the 18th century. Of Harmon's four sons, it is Jacob Utterbach (b.1743 in Germantown, Fauquier County, Virginia - d. 1843 in Woodford County, Kentucky) who interests us most. He was our 5th great-grandfather.  In 1766 he married Anna Elizabeth Martin (b. 1746 Germantown, Fauquier County - d. Jan. 21, 1827, Woodford County, Kentucky). They had six boys and four girls that survived infancy.  Jacob Utterbach claimed to have served in the American Revolution on the Virginia Line, but never applied for a pension or a land bounty in Kentucky, and his name doesn't show up on any militia list. That's not to say that he didn't serve. Records can be sketchy. 

His brothers Benjamin and Harmon served on the Virigina Line. Benjamin enlisted in 1777 and served as an orderly sergeant under Col. Thomas Marshall (who lived near the Utterbacks), father of Chief Justice John Marshall.  Having secured discharge papers, he claimed a bounty of 160 acres of land in Woodford County, Kentucky, where he went with other Utterbacks and Germans in 1797. In the 1810 census he had five in his family and possessed one slave.  He moved on to Morgan County, Indiana, in 1822, received a pension in 1832, and died in 1842 in Martinsville, Indiana, having lived  88 years. He is buried in Morgan County, Indiana. 
In honor of Benjamin and Harmon Utterback's service, and Jacob's, also.

Brother Harmon enlisted in 1775 at Culpeper Court House in the regiment of Lawrence Talieferro; and in a company of Minute Men under Cpt William McClanahan, fighting under the famous "rattlesnake" flag at the Battle of Great Bridge. HERE Near the end of the war he fought under Col. William Crawford and Cpt. Handkinson Reed of Culpeper at the siege of Yorktown. He was a Guardsman of British prisoners on the march from Yorktown to Winchester, Virginia, where he was discharged. He moved to Kentucky (probably with his brothers in 1797) and was pensioned in Nicholas County in 1832.  He died in 1854 in Bourbon, Kentucky (maybe living with a relative) at the impressive age of 99, and was buried there.
Harmon's Kentucky cabin, photographed in 1930s by author of Utterback genealogy.
In 1797 our ancestor Jacob Utterbach, his family and other Germans from Germantown, Virginia, crossed into Kentucky to resettle. Jacob had been granted 100 acres at Chester Gap in 1768 by Thomas Lord Fairfax. He likely sold that land rather than abandon it; or he deeded it to an older son or daughter.  He kept notes of their journey. "We started from Chester's Gap on the 13 Oct 1797, and come to Redstone 31st and west to Whelon [Wheeling] by land, and got there 4 November; the boat came the 13th and on the 15th we left Whelon and got to Limestone [now Maysville, KY] the 20 November."  

From the Utterback genealogy book

Chester Gap, sometimes referred to as Happy Creek Gap for the creek that runs down its western slope, is a wind gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the western border of Fauquier County. A highway now traverses it; the Appalachian Trail also passes across the gap. Wheeling, then in Virginia, became part of West Virginia when it was separated from Virginia in 1862. Although the dotted lines in the map below showing Zane's Trace make it appear the Utterbacks crossed what is now Ohio, they actually came on flat boats down the Ohio River (later forming Ohio's state line) from Wheeling to Limestone, Kentucky.

You can read about Limestone (later called Maysville) as a landing for early settlers HERE

Woodford County, Kentucky
In the 1800 Woodford County tax rolls, Jacob and four of his sons appear. Jacob's wife, Mary Ann Martin (1747-1827) our 5th great-grandmother was the granddaughter of John Joseph Martin (Mardten) (b. 1691 Siegen, Westphalia - d. 1758, Germantown)  and Maria Katarina Otterbach (b. 1699, Siegen, Westphalia - d. 1780, Germantown), our 7th great-grandparents on Mary Ann's side.. They were part of the original 1714 colony of 42 at Germanna, Maria Katarina the great-aunt of Mary Ann's husband Jacob Utterback. These German children had to marry one another; there were no other settlers near them.

In the 1820 Kentucky census there were 20 heads of families with the surname Utterback living in Kentucky counties. We can assume most were related and had come from Virginia. 

Mary Ann Utterback died in Woodford County in 1827 when she was 80, a very old age for a woman who'd borne 11 children in 17 years. And what did Jacob Utterback do two yeas later in 1829 at age 75, why he married Quency Hanks, a cousin of Abraham Lincoln's mother Nancy Hanks. To be fair, it appears she was old, too. A number of extended Utterback family members married Hanks family members in Kentucky. In 1808 son Benjamin (1784-1846) married Matilda " Matie" Hanks (b. 1788 Richmond County; Virginia, a widow in the Boone County, Indiana 1850 census; died in Mills County, Iowa in 1860; mother of 15 children.).  See photo below of Matie as an old woman. She isn't directly related to us - just thought you might like to see her.
From 1930s Utterback Genealogy book
And so, Jacob Utterback died in 1842 in Kentucky.  His son, Elijah Utterback (b. 1776, at Chester's Gap, eventually part of  Rappahannock County, Virginia) had moved with his father and the German colony in 1797 to Woodford County, Kentucky, and married in 1811 Mary Polly Garnett, born about 1795 there. Her family came from Culpeper, Virginia, to Kentucky about 1794 and was on the Franklin County, Kentucky, tax roll in 1795. Elijah and Polly are our fourth great-grandparents. They had children together, including Frances "Frankie" Utterback, born 1818 in Woodford County.  The family was in Lawrence County, Indiana, for the 1830 census, where Elijah's family numbered 6 children (more must have reached adulthood and left).  He allegedly died that year in Ripley County, Indiana, at the age of 54. Maybe they had moved there or he was looking for new land.  I'm unable to find proof of his death date other than from The history and genealogy of the Utterback family in America, 1622-1937 / William I. Utterback.The author unfortunately allowed our Utterback line to peter out at that point.
Ripley County, Indiana

Elija's and Polly's daughter Frances "Frankie" Utterback married Moses Turpin in 1836 in Lawrence County, Indiana.  I did find the 1840 census for Lawrence County, Indiana, listing Frankie's mother Mary Utterback. She was a widow and had four male children between 9 and 19 living with her. And then she disappears from the record, not even living with a son or daughter in the 1850 census. I've found no grave for her, either. 

Ten years later, what the 1850 southern Indiana county censuses do reveal are 25 male heads of families with the surname Utterback, who were born in Kentucky. These weren't all Elijah's sons, but were also sons of his six brothers, and maybe even sons of his cousins. It seems that for many Utterbacks Kentucky was a way-station on their journey to southern Indiana and beyond.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Rene Julian (1665 - 1745): A French Huguenot Comes to America

Cross of Languedoc  HERE
 Rene Julian was born in Vitré, Brittany, France, on 4 July 1669. He is our 7th great-grandfather. Some call him Rene de St. Julian, but that title was probably added in the 19th century by his descendants.
View of Vitré our ancestor would have seen
His parents were of the Huguenot religion (Calvinist), which was being severely suppressed by Louis XIV. You have two additional descents from French Huguenots, so might as well read about their history HERE  and  HERE  Unlike our other Huguenot ancestors, Rene Julian has not been added to the Huguenot Society of America's list of appropriate ancestors to be descended from for membership.

Brittany - Vitré is on the Breton - French Border
We may assume the entire family fled to England sometime after Rene's birth.  He became a soldier in King James II's army, but in 1688, when the Protestants, William and Mary of Orange, were invited by Parliament to dethrone Mary's Catholic father, our ancestor switched sides and joined the Glorious Revolution, allegedly fighting with William and 4200 other French Huguenots at the Battle of Boyne in Ireland in 1690. HERE

Rene would have seen King William before the battle, but the new monarch was sickly and asthmatic, so probably stayed in his tent.
Rene may have accompanied new governor Captain John Goddard to Bermuda in 1693. In that year Rene married Mary Scotley Bullock, daughter of wealthy tobacco planters Stephen and Marie Bullock, who were Quakers (a religion being persecuted in Bermuda Colony).  The Bullocks had been in Bermuda for some time; Stephen Bullock's father William Bullock had married Patience Paynter there in 1632. The marriage record on has Mary's birth date as 1680, making her just 13 when she married Rene. It seems an odd match, a Huguenot soldier (even if possibly an officer) and a young Quaker girl, but perhaps they actually married in 1695, the year her father Stephen Bullock died, and her mother became a bit addled by this event and allowed the marriage.

Nonetheless, the couple sailed for South Carolina and resided in Berkeley County in the early 1700s.

Berkeley County, South Carolina
It was an unhealthy climate and they lost two sons, so they emigrated up to Cecil County, Maryland, probably with a colony of French Huguenots living on South Carolina's Santee River. Rene first appears on paper in Maryland Colony in 1712. They were too late in history to be given a grant of land (or were ignored) and so they leased. They had seven sons and three daughters who grew up on land at Bohemia Manor Plantation, which was owned by Augustine Herman, a Bohemian mapmaker and large landowner. Rene Julian owned slaves.

The Julians leased plantation was on the Chesapeake Bay in Cecil County.
In 1737, when he was 68, Rene assigned his lease to Henry McCoy and he, his wife, and some of his 10 children and their families moved to Winchester, in what was to become Frederick County in 1743, in Virginia's Northern Neck. They must have gone in order for the sons to obtain land of their own. At this time Old Frederick County encompassed a much larger area, including some of what is now West Virginia. But it was still a frontier.  Thomas, 6th Lord Fairfax, claimed over five million proprietary acres in this part of Virginia, but the Virginia Council claimed some of the same acreage. Both parties had been making grants of this land. Fairfax came from England in 1736 to defend his interests and rode out to Winchester in the Blue Ridge to inform the inhabitants they were on his land. Being a reasonable man, he simply required that they pay their rents to him instead of to the Council of Virginia. Fairfax became so enamored with his holdings that, after he won his dispute - a battle of maps each side commissioned, the winner decided by the Crown - he returned to build Greenway Court outside of Winchester, where he resided, a small stone land office nearby. He had more land to patent to settlers.
Frederick County, Virginia. You can see how it fits against Maryland.
 Rene Julian died in Frederick County, Virginia, in 1749 and Mary Bullock Julian in 1750. They are supposedly buried at Opequon Cemetery near Winchester, but no gravestones have been located.

Opaquon Cemetery, Frederick County, Virginia

Rene and Mary's son, George Julian, (our 6th great-grandfather) was born 1 March 1706 at Bohemia Manor, Cecil County, Maryland. In 1750 he was granted 400 acres along Back Creek in Frederick County. During the French and Indian War George Washington made Winchester his headquarters. Our ancestors must have seen him. After Braddock's defeat in 1755, HERE , some of the five sons who'd gone with Rene to Frederick County moved their families to Orange County, North Carolina, due to fear of Indian attacks - or just for a different type of land. This migration included George and his family. They went straight south, most likely on the trail called the Upper Road, to Orange County, North Carolina. (It later became Randolph and Guilford counties). 

And they took land grants there.

The part of Orange County that became Randolph County, North Carolina
George Julian died about 1781 in either Randolph County, North Carolina, or in York County, South Carolina, which had been created out of old Tyrone County, North Carolina, when South Carolina's boundary was drawn in 1772.
York County, South Carolina

 About 1728 in Cecil County, Maryland, George had married Martha Denton (b.1708, Cecil Co., MD; she died 1781, possibly in York Co., SC) (our 6th great-grandmother).  He and Martha had three sons - George, Jacob, and John (and a couple of daughters).  George Jr. (1726 - 1781) was a Tory and died of wounds at Dorchester, South Carolina, in September of 1781.  He is not our direct ancestor.

Some think Jacob Julian (1729 -1800) is our direct ancestor, but in his last will and testament he listed every child he'd sired, and Samuel Denton Julian (1780 - 1851), our 4th great-grandfather, is not one of them. That leaves only John Julian (1736 - unknown) as our 5th great-grandfather. And we know next to nothing about him, although I discovered a John Julian was granted 200 acres in Orange County in 1762; and I also discovered this Revolutionary War pay voucher (N.C. Archives at Raleigh online) for John Julin [sic], dated 9 September 1783, Hillsborough, Orange County, North Carolina, stating that he "exhibited his claim (illegible) allowed nine pounds." It appears our ancestor was a patriotic Revolutionary War soldier. I've found no other John Julian in North Carolina for this time period.

Pay voucher from American Revolution military service, Hillsborough, NC

We don't know John's wife's name.  We do know that Samuel Denton Julian was born in Rutherford County, North Carolina, in 1780 (you can see how close it was to York County, SC).

Rutherford County (formerly part of Tyrone County), North Carolina
We know that he was influenced by his great-aunt Catherine Julian's husband, Solomon Long, a Methodist minister, so much so that Samuel also became a Methodist minister. On 17 March 1803, he married Mary Condrey (1786-1854) (4th great-grandmother), whose father Claiborne Condrey (5th great-grandfather) was born in Tyrone (later Rutherford) County in 1754. Samuel served in the War of 1812 as a private in Captain Irvine's North Carolina 2d Reg. Militia, along with cousin Isham Julian.  He and his young family were in Henderson County, Kentucky, for the 1820 census. Why would a Methodist minister go west?  To find an empty pulpit, of course.

Henderson County, Kentucky

Samuel is mentioned in the History of Union County, Kentucky, as being one of its early Methodist ministers, performing his first marriage in 1822.
Union County, Kentucky
 On  April 3, 1826, Samuel made out the marriage certificate for his daughter Alice Julian's marriage to William Hill Dyson (our 3rd great-grandparents) at Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky. He possessed a fine hand.

Marriage certificate of William Hill Dyson and Alice Julian, 1826
It must have been a love match between Alice and William Hill Dyson because the Dysons were no doubt Anglican. But can you imagine William coming home to his father Bennet Dyson to say that there was a new preacher, "and his people came from Tidewater Maryland like ours did, Pa." The remnants of Maryland gentry in the wilds of Kentucky; they certainly must get to know one another.

Samuel's tenth and last child, Elizabeth Ann, was born in 1827 in Union County, Kentucky and daughter Alice Dyson had her first child in 1828 in Union County. Samuel Julian and his family then moved to Warrick County, Indiana, where he  and William Hill Dyson appeared on its census in 1830; he was granted a land patent for 80 acres on 1 August 1839 (having proved it up for 7 years). Daughter Alice (1806-1860) and William Hill Dyson (1801-1870) lived nearby. Samuel and Mary had 10 children between 1805 and 1827, nine living into adulthood.

Mt. Zion Church in Warrick County, Indiana where Samuel Denton Julian preached
After Samuel's death in Lynnville, Warrick County, on 10 December 1851, a fellow minister wrote:

 Memoirs: Reverend Samuel Julian For the Western Christian Advocate, A veteran Standard Bearer in the hosts of our Israel has fallen. For years it was his business to instruct us by his precept and example how to live and how he has taught us how to die. The subject of this sketch, the father of Reverend John W. Julian [b. 1814, Rutherford Co., N.C.] of the Indiana Conference, was born in Rutherford County, North Carolina, July 14, 1780. He embraced religion in 1812, received license to exhort in 1815. Removed to Union County, Kentucky in 1818 and was licensed as a local preacher. In 1821 he received ordination as a local Deacon, at the hands of Bishop Roberts in Louisville in 1826. In 1827 he was employed by the presiding Elder, Reverend George McNeely to travel Henderson Circuit, Kentucky Conference. In 1828 he was received on probation into the Kentucky Conference and appointed to the Livingston Circuit. In 1829 he traveled the Yellow Banks Circuit. In 1830 he was ordained Elder and admitted into full connection, transferred to the Illinois Conference and appointed to the Booneville Circuit. He traveled this circuit two years. In 1832 he was appointed to the Petersburg Circuit, which he traveled two years, also. In 1834 he was appointed to the Washington Circuit and at the close of the years received a location and settled in Warrick County, Indiana. Here he labored most assiduously and acceptably as a local preacher until the day of his death. I have seldom found a more useful local preacher. He possessed unusual bodily strength for one of his age. An indomitable energy. I have known him when he was 65 years old to walk 25 miles to a camp meeting and preach in one hour after his arrival with as much energy, earnestness and power as though he had not walked an hour. He was most emphatic in labors more abundant. His preaching talents were respectable. His power of exhortation was unusual and seldom excelled. I shall never forget some of the exhortations I have heard father Julian deliver. As a Christian he was exemplary. He was ardently attached to the Bible and for many years he made it a practice to read it through once each year. He read it through more than fifty times. He used scraps of time that many people permit to run to waste, to consult the oracles of God. During the two years I traveled the Lynnville Mission, in the bounds of which he lived, he was often at the parsonage but I think he never spent an hour with us without devoting a portion of the time to reading the Bible. He died December 10, 1851. He suffered much in his last illness but was sustained by grace and murmured not. He had lived to God and it was manifest that in dying he was the Lords. He triumphed over death through our Lord Jesus Christ. He was, no doubt, already met many in heaven whom he was instrumental in bringing to Christ and many more are on their way home who will be stars in his crown of rejoicing. - -James H. Noble February 13, 1852

Mary Condrey Julian died 8 January, 1854 in Lynnville, Warrick County, Indiana, no doubt surrounded by her children and grandchildren. The gravestone below replaced an earlier one.

Reverse of tombstone
Their Indiana descendants honor them, and so, also, do we.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Whitman Hill Dyson (1836-1914): The Man Who Had Three Wives

Whitman Hill Dyson (1836-1914) In the possession of Pat Raney.

When I was a child, this large photograph of our great-great grandfather, Whitman Hill Dyson, intimidated me.  It hung on a dim wall across from the fireplace in the large entry of our grandparents' house. The old man glared at me as I came through the front door. It first appeared in 1953 with other large framed photographs when Great-Grandpa James Raney came to live with our grandparents..  Now I realize the photograph was taken when Whitman Dyson was much younger than I am now.  The beard isn't as thick or as long as I remembered, and he isn't really frowning, but appears solemn and dignified. Not a wrinkle appears on his face. Who was this man?

He was a farmer and the father of eleven children who survived infancy. Most lived into advanced age, but not so two of his three wives. The only story I recall Grandpa telling me was that when the Civil War was heating up in 1862 and recruiters came to his farm, he met them at the door holding his shotgun. "I'm not going," he told them and they didn't bother him again. He would have been about 26-years-old then. Pat Raney remembers his dad Paul saying that Whitman "was regarded by the neighbors and beyond as an honest and law-abiding citizen.  People would often bring their disputes to him and he would listen and then render Solomonic decisions that everyone abided by.  Looking due west from his place in Pike County, Indiana, a higher ground was called “Dyson’s Mountain” and to the northwest past the church in Spurgeon, a high rise was called “Dyson’s Knob”.

Pike County, Indiana
His father William Hill Dyson (1801-1870) had brought his young family from Union County, Kentucky, in the late 1820s, accompanying his father-in-law, Samuel Denton Julian (1780-1851), a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and his family. The Reverend Julian had married his daughter Alice Julian (1806-1860) to William Hill Dyson in April 1826.

Union County, Kentucky
They settled in Hart Township, Warrick County, and appeared in the 1830 census.

Warrick County, Indiana
Looking at these maps of Kentucky and Indiana, you realize that the families simply pushed up the Ohio River (the state line dividing Kentucky from Indiana) on a keel-boat with their household goods and livestock to find new land a few miles northeast. Indiana, still wooded, was being rapidly settled after being admitted to the Union in 1816.

Theodore Clement Steele - Indiana Landscape artist
Whitman Hill Dyson was born on October 29, 1836 in Warrick County, the fourth of seven children.  He and an older brother Samuel were the only boys. Has anyone in the family wondered where the name Whitman came from that Frank Whitman and Paul Whitman were given?  I'd assumed it was a surname of a mother or grandmother and spent many hours trying to find this Whitman family on But no, it was the name of his uncle, Alice Julian Dyson's beloved brother Whitman Julian (1809-1842), who'd also settled in Warrick County and married in January of 1836, only to die four years later.

On May 15, 1858, Whitman Dyson married his first wife, Elizabeth J. "Ella" Turpin (1 Sept. 1837 - dead by 1870) . What is curious is that Ella had a baby girl (Mary) the previous year, probably on what may have been her uncle's farm near where Whitman Dyson lived. Her parents had lived in Indiana, but were now resettled in Decatur County, Iowa. Had she been sent up to Indiana because she was pregnant? Had she been married to a Turpin cousin and was widowed? Whatever her story, Whitman married her and they had children, including our great-grandmother Nancy Dyson in 1867. But after giving birth to six daughters: Mary J. (1856-), Louann (1865-1943), Alice A. (1859-), Margaret Ellen (1861-1944), Sarah Elizabeth (1865-1940), Nancy Ann (1867-1938), the poor woman died before her 30th birthday and does not appear in the 1870 census. Daughter Mary was the oldest female listed in that census, trying to care for the family at age 14. The census taker wrote "Housekeeper" after her name, but then crossed it out. She was just the daughter.

Covered bridge in Pike County, Indiana
Whitman Dyson owned his 65-acre farm in Pike County (and 20 more acres a short distance away), had owned it since before the 1860 census. Now he looked around for a woman to mother his girls. He settled on the recently widowed Sarah J. (Combest) Roy (1837-1886), who lived nearby with her children.  Known as Sally, she and her husband Gideon and family had emigrated after 1860 but before 1863 from Russell County in southern Kentucky (next to Pulaski County, where the Raineys had come to Indiana from about ten years earlier). Other Roy family members had come, too. We don't know when her husband Gideon Roy died (he's listed in the Pike County 1863 Civil War draft list). But Sarah, called Sally, was a widow in the 1870 census. And so she and Whitman married in January 1871. They were in their 30s. She had four children from her earlier marriage, including daughter Sarah Ellen Roy, age 6.  Sarah Ellen was born deaf or became deaf as a small child. In the 1880 census, Whitman and Sally had a new son, Willard, age 1.  The number of daughters still at home was reduced to four. Our great-grandmother Nancy was still there, just 13.  Sarah Roy, the deaf step-daughter, now 15 or 16, was described as "at school." She must have been up in Indianapolis at the Deaf and Dumb School. Tuition, and perhaps boarding, was free. She learned to read and write, read lips and perhaps speak (she was enrolled during a period when speaking was being taught there). She also learned domestic skills.

And then on September 30, 1886, Sally died at age 49. Her daughter Sarah Ellen was 25 and at home.  According to family lore, her presence put Whitman Dyson in a dilemma. Would having this unmarried step-daughter in his house give scandal? He decided what was to him the right course of action. He married her on April 28, 1887. He was 51 and she was 23. The service was conducted by Whitman's brother-in-law, George T. Hutchinson, Minister of the Gospel, married to Whitman's sister Susan. Whitman and Sarah Ellen had sons Grover (1890), Joseph (1891), John (1898), and Leonard (1901).  Should you find this pairing slightly off-setting, take a look at Whitman and his wife at a Dyson family gathering in the summer of 1902.  He was a stately-looking gentleman, standing tall and broad-shouldered; they make a handsome couple.

Whitman Hill Dyson, dappled with sunlight, and probably Sarah Ellen Dyson next to him. 1902
Dyson Family Gathering 1902. Thee of their young sons must be in the front row. Nancy Dyson Raney and James with mustache middle right (refer to their blog for closeup).
Whitman Dyson died in 1914, age 78. Sarah Ellen Dyson died in 1934. On her death certificate, the doctor stated she'd had colon cancer for three years. They're buried together at Log Creek Cemetery, Stendal, Pike County, Indiana.

Who were Whitman Dyson's forebears?  We'll discover in forthcoming blogs. Here's a hint. The surname Dyson appears to have originated in Yorkshire, England. The surname Julian is French.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

James Samuel and Nancy Ann (Dyson) Raney: At Home in Indiana

 I'll remind you now that if you're my first cousin, you claim the same descent as I do; if you are a child of my cousin, you add a "great." and if you are a grandchild of my cousin, you add two "greats." It will get tricky as we go up the branches of this Raney tree, but soon you won't care how far removed these ancestors are, you'll simply be fascinated by the lives they lived. It was about this time that the surname Rainey became Raney.

A little music to get us started.  On the Banks of the Wabash

James Samuel Raney, Nancy Ann (Dyson) Raney, Laura Esther Raney, c. 1914 [not stain but shadow from my camera because I have it under glass.]

These are our great-grandparents.  James Samuel Raney (30 Dec 1868 - 28 May 1954) and Nancy Ann Dyson Raney (17 March 1867 - 23 May 1938).

Nancy Ann Dyson was born on a farm in Monroe Township, Pike County, Indiana, to Whitman Hill Dyson and Elizabeth J. (Turpin) Dyson. She was the youngest of six daughters.  By the 1870 census, her mother was dead and her 14-year old sister Mary was keeping house. Her father, who owned his farm, valuing it at $400.00, remarried.

Pike County, Indiana
James Samuel Raney was born on a farm in Pike County, Indiana,  to Everett Rainey, a Civil War veteran, and Nancy Jane (Dougan) Rainey. They lived next to Everett's mother, Millie (Roberts) Rainey, a widow, who owned her farm. They did not own a farm in the 1870 census. James and his sister Cordelia (1872 -1918) and his father survived a house fire in the 1870s, but not so his mother and sister Sarah (b.1867). This is according to family lore and I'm unable to find definitive information.  A clue as to time of the loss of James' mother may be that James didn't go past the 2nd grade. His father soon remarried and had additional children.. In the 1880 census, when James was eleven, he's listed as a "farm worker" and could not write.  

James Raney and Nancy Dyson married 7 September 1887. Their son Frank Whitman Raney was born the following August, and then a son, Claude, who died as a child. Grandpa told me this story. He and his brother were asleep in their bed and their mother claimed to see, what I recall was a buggy whip that hung from the bed, waving over them. "One of them will be dead within the year," she told James. And it came to pass. The family thought she was psychic.

In the 1900 census, although James is listed as a farmer in Patoka Township, Gibson County, whether he owns his farm or rents is left blank. His next neighbors over are his late mother's people, the Dougans, so perhaps he had an arrangement with them. Frank, listed as Whitman, had six years of schooling. He would quit school after the 8th grade and leave by the summer of 1906, appearing in Fredonia, Kansas, in August.

Gibson County, Indiana
These were relatively calm times in our nation's history and Indiana was well-settled. In 1880 four-fifths of its population lived on farms. Southern Indiana's population came mostly from the south, rather than from foreign immigration or from northern states. Corn and hogs were its mainstay. The historian James Madison wrote that "upland South patterns of word usage and pronunciation, religion, place names, food, amusement, and methods of constructing barns, houses, and corn cribs were firmly implanted in southern Indiana by 1820 and remained into the late twentieth century." Both sides of James and Nancy Raney's families had emigrated north to Indiana's southern counties from Kentucky and Tennessee. It's more probably than not that James and Nancy were subsistence farmers rather than commercial farmers, growing for their own use and selling some surplus. Grandpa said that as a child he took a bath only when he went swimming with catfish in a nearby pond in the summer. Grandma countered that she and her Smith family took baths every Saturday night in the metal washtub.

Southern Indiana

Great-aunt Esther (Laura Esther Raney) was born July 9, 1902, when Nancy was 35.  Below is a portion of a photograph from a Dyson family gathering, showing James, Nancy and baby Esther. I recognize no one in the group who resembles 14-year-old Whitman, so he must have been left at home to tend the livestock.  Nancy Raney looks blonde in this photo.

This next photo might be Esther as a child. No name on back.

And perhaps this photo below is Esther when older. At fifteen she ran off with twenty-seven-year old Jess Kolk, whom Grandpa derisively called "The Dutchman." I've found online what might be their marriage information, in which she puts her date of birth as 1898 and her age as eighteen. They had a son in Ohio in 1918, but were living with James and Nancy Raney for the 1920 census. 

The marriage didn't last, and the child Walther James Kolk, always sickly, allegedly died after being twirled around by a relative and dislocating his shoulders; the shock killed him. (Note: Cousin Pat Raney's recollection.)  Esther lived at home and worked for some years at a laundry in Princeton, Indiana, writing in a 1920 letter that she was making $7.50 a week.

Grandpa told me that his mother Nancy Raney was plagued by turned-under eyelids, their lashes scratching her eyeballs. He often pulled the eyelash bristles out for her. Apparently, scar tissue eventually caused blindness. I looked for her eyes to be squinty and teary in the photos, but see no indication.

By 1910 James had abandoned farming and was working as a machinist at the Southern Railway roundhouse at the edge of Princeton, the county seat of Gibson County. They still lived in nearby Patoka Township. He owned his own home, but it was mortgaged. Whitman and Mary and their children moved back to Princeton from Kansas about 1914 and stayed until they moved to Canada in 1920. Denny and Louise were born in Princeton. Nancy Raney must have enjoyed having her grandchildren near her.

After Whitman and Mary moved away, Nancy wrote the "Dear children" on May 20, 1920, that "Papa" is "some better" but was unable to sit up until Monday because "he took a pain in the back of his head" and had to be back in bed. His "left leg and foot is swollen till . . . almost ready to burst, it hurt him so bad [he couldn't hardly stand it].  "He is so childish that he cry like a baby becawse [sic] he cant [sic] go to work . . . he has the bluse [sic] so bad . . ."[H]e says he dont [sic] see why he cant [sic] get well and why it could[n't] be some one that doesnt [sic] like to work. [S]ome dont[sic] want to work. We are having a late spring here . . ."  Nancy called her son Whitman "Whitty."

On November 12, 1920, Esther wrote her brother Whitman and sister-in-law Mary Raney. After some preliminaries, and that her toddler James "almost had the croup last night and I have been sick this week and had to stay home from work. . . . Papa is well please[d] of the 25 cent Bill you sent him and Dad told me to tell you Brother that some Body stole that dime you sent him and he hate[s] it off [awful] bad. And you want to know how Mama got her hair afire. I will tell you. [S]he was mak[ing] a fire in the stove to put Bean[s] on to cook and she took her hair down to comb and got some of her hair comb[ed] and said I better go see about that fire. I do not Believe that it is Burning and she when [went] and see and it had gone out. And she light a match and the head of the match flew off in her hair in a rubber hair pin. [A]nd she kept a smell[ing] hair a burning and Mama look[ed] around on the floor for the fire. [A]nd then it burn[ed] her hair and when I came home that not [night] I had to Cut her hair off . . ."  If you read it aloud, you'll hear the southern inflection in her writing.
Our great-grandmother Nancy Dyson Raney made this now faded and tattered quilt.

In the 1930 census, Laura was divorced and now without a child, living with Nancy and James, who still worked as a machinist at the Southern Railway shop. They valued their home at $400.00 and had a radio. They put their ages as 60 and 57. Laura was 28.

Nancy died of hemiplegia (a stroke that paralyzed one entire side) on May 23, 1938. It's difficult to tell from the death certificate whether she lived for 8 hours or 8 days after having the stroke. In the 1940 census James was 72 and widowed and Laura was 37 and listed as widowed (a possible mistake), keeping house for her father. His house was valued at $3000.00.  Like her brother Whitman, Laura completed only the 8th grade. It was in this census that James is listed as having gone no further than 2nd grade. He is retired and she isn't working outside the house. (The 1950 census has yet to be released.)

Sometime in the 1940s James married a woman named Verna (Cousin Pat's recollection of her name). And in the summer of 1946 they came by train to Spokane for a visit.  How do I know the year? In the photo below James is holding me. 
James Raney holding Karen Charbonneau; Nancy Hunter, Jack Raney, Jimmy Hunter, Frank Raney, Chuck Charbonneau; Bottom Row: David Hunter, Mary Jean Raney, Richard Charbonneau, John Charbonneau. At the picnic table Grandma and Verna are standing, and Junice Raney is sitting.

The adults are: Geneva squatting holding me, Junice, Grandma holding Mary Jean's hand, Louise, Don holding David, Verna and James Raney, our grandfather Frank Raney, Red and Mary Charbonneau holding Richard, Al Charbonneau.Bottom row: Frank Raney, Jimmy Hunter, Nancy Hunter, Chuck Charbonneau, Jack Raney, and John Charbonneau.  Uncle Denny is taking the photo.
Here is the photo with Denny in it and Grandpa is taking the photo.

 Verna died and then Esther on September 8 1953 of a ruptured aneurysm (age 51); she had married a man named Everett Straw.  Grandpa and Grandma went back to Indiana and brought James out to Spokane to live with them. Nine months later he had surgery at Deaconess Hospital (maybe on his prostate).  After the operation he fell out of his hospital bed and died soon after on 28 May 1954, age 85. The cause of death was stated as hemorrhage, shock, and coma induced by diabetes. Always a Southern Baptist, he is buried at Fairmount Cemetery in Spokane.