John Ford and Elizabeth Dye

Story by Fred Gahimer. Cover Photo: Land of John Ford near Nevada, IA in 2000.
Children of John and Elizabeth:

 1. Mary Ellen
     Born:  April 12, 1839; Zionsville, IN
     Died:  August 15, 1839; Zionsville, IN

2. Mary Pricella
     Born:  April 11, 1841; Howard Co., IN
     Died:  April 4, 1874; Rock Creek Twp., Jasper Co., IA
     Buried:  Bevin's Grove Cemetery, Clemons, Marshall Co., IA
     Married: George See, Marshall Co., IA  December 25, 1866
     Children:  Sophia, James, Harriett, Conaway, Andrew

3. Sarah Parintha
     Born:  July 23, 1843; Howard Co., IN
     Died:  July 24, 1930; Buffalo Co., NE
     Buried:  Westlawn Cemetery, Omaha, NE
     Married: Alexander Boyce McCain; July 12, 1864
     Children: Dode, Orran Ford, Adell, Effie Maude, Elizabeth Gay & Isabella May (twins), Fannie Fern (Hewett), and Hattie (May) & Mattie (twins)

4. George Dye
     Born:  May 19, 1845; Howard Co., IN
     Died:  Jan. 25, 1912; Liberty Twp., Marshall Co., IA
     Buried: Bevin's Grove Cemetery; Clemons, Marshall Co., IA
     Married: Nettie A. Rooker, Polk Co., IA; Oct. 2, 1889
     Children: Chella E (Hale), Mary E., John W., Gertrude L.(Robinson), George S., Louis E., Lois, Gailerd B.

5. Martha Serepta "Matt"
     Born:  Nov. 27, 1847; Howard Co., IN
     Died:  Feb. 5, 1935; Lafayette, IN
     Buried: Zionsville Cemetery
     Married: James Webster Rooker; Dec. 23, 1880
     Children: None

6. John William
     Born:  July 28, 1850; Howard Co., IN
     Died:  Sept. 15, 1851; Howard Co., IN

7. William Nineva "Jim"
     Born:  Sept. 14, 1851; Howard Co., IN
     Died:  Dec. 23, 1891; Victor Twp., Osborne Co., KS
     Buried: Cole Cemetery, Covert Twp., Osborne Co., KS
     Married: No

     Born:  Feb. 14, 1854; Jasper Co., IA
     Died:  April 2, 1904; Zionsville, IN
     Buried: Zionsville Cemetery
     Married: Hattie "Katie" Huson; Buffalo, WY; Dec. 17, 1882
     Children: Mabel (McFatridge), Myrtle (Wagoner), Harry
     Married: Mary A. Johnson; Orleans, IN; Jan. 1, 1892
     Children: Oscar L.

9. Frances Emiline "Fannie"
     Born:  Dec. 27, 1857; Jasper Co., IA
     Died:  Feb. 26, 1932; Zionsville, IN
     Buried: Zionsville Cemetery
     Married: Paul J. Lang; Kattitas Co., WA; Feb 28, 1889
     Children: Nora (Shore), Myrtle (Stanley), Gene, Lloyd, Clyde

10. Effie Jane
     Born:  Nov. 24, 1859; Story Co., IA
     Died:  Feb. 16, 1937; Portland, OR
     Buried: Portland, OR
     Married: James H. Rice; October 25, 1884 in Big Horn, WY
     Children:  At least a son & daughter; names unknown

11. John Lincoln
     Born:  Aug. 15, 1863; Story Co., IA
     Died:  Oct. 11, 1863; Story Co., IA
     Buried:  Nevada Cemetery, Nevada, Iowa  with John and Elizabeth


1800 – John Ford and his wife [Mary] and one son were listed in the Federal Census in Ashe County, North Carolina, for the first time.  John became listed in the county history as one of the earliest of settlers, arriving 1790-1800.

1810 – John Ford was listed in the Federal Census with wife [Mary] and five children (4 females and 1 male), and three slaves.

1811 – John Ford, Jr., was born on September 22.

1820 – John Ford, Sr., and wife [Mary] were listed in the Federal Census in Ashe County as having five females and five males in their household plus one slave.

1830 – In the Federal Census, Mary Ford was the head of the household.  John, Sr., had apparently died since the 1820 census.  She had five males (including John, Smith, Ninava, and Ephraim) and five females in the household.  No slaves.

1838 – John Ford emigrated to Indiana 1830-1838, and he and Elizabeth Dye were married in Zionsville, Indiana by Warner Sampson, M.G., on March 11, 1838.

Elizabeth Dye Ford (wife of John Ford, mother of Ephraim)

1840 – John (28) and Elizabeth (20) are found in the Federal Census living in Zionsville next door to Elizabeth’s brother Jacob Dye and his wife.  John and Elizabeth’s first child, Mary Ellen, had been born the year before on April 12, and died four months later on August 15.

John’s brother, Smith Ford, was listed in the Federal Census as living in Ashe County with his own family, which included a female 50-60 years old; probably his mother Mary.  Two females, probably his sisters, were in the household also.

1841 – John (28) and Elizabeth (20) moved to Howard County, Indiana. Mary Pricella born April 11, 1841. Sarah Parintha born July 23, 1843. George Dye born May 19, 1845. Martha Serepta “Matt” born Nov. 27, 1847

1848 – John Ford received a letter from J. W. Mast, a lawyer in Sugar Grove, Ashe County, North Carolina, on July 12, telling him that he had “Sold land for $40 to G. M. Bingham and paid off various debts of John’s.”

Sugar Grove, N. C. 
10 cent postage
July 16
To: John Ford, Kokomo, Howard County, Indiana
From: Sugar Grove, Ashe County, N. Carolina, July the 12, 1848

Mr. John Ford

Dear Sir I have set down to inform you I have sold your land for forty five dollars in money.  I adverised it that I would sell on a certain day but there was not a man attended.  But G. M. Bingham he offered me the 45 dollars and no more and I excepted it he paid me the money and I made him a title and should have sent it to you before this time.  But Landrine Eggers talked of going to your county and I thought it would be safer to sent it to you by him than by the mail.  I thought that I would mail a part of it and forward it on to you.  I have not as yet been able to affect a settlement with Daved Lewis, he is holding some claims against you one from Jordan Councill for something over six dollars this claim  will have to be settle as it was taken out of his hands by as attachments he has another he says he got of you on Willis Megee for something over two dollars and he says he must have his pay out of the amount of the receipt and I find if I would allow him all his claims he is not willing to pay any interest on the ballance as he says that he has been ready to pay at any time when cald on how to settle with him about the note.  I do not know he has taken two judgments on the debt and could not find property to make the money out of and I do not expect that the money can ever begot of McGee as he cut his knee last January two year's ago and he was confind to his bed nearly two years and is now a criple and dose not work at all and is ensolvent.  You will please to as nite when these comes to and let me know all about how the note was traded to Lewis and how I must proceede about it whether to settle it out of the reciept or not I went to see Solomon Isaaks and his wife Sarah they informed me that soon after I got your first letter that they received a letter from Hugh Eggers with Twenty Dollars in the letter and they nor I neither know whether that is all that is coming to Sarah or not so I thought it would be best to send you a part of the money and you could inform me wether I should pay to her or not so I sill incloes twenty five dollars on the bank of the State of South Carolina all curent money.  Hear your mother is as well as could be expected for as old a woman as she is.  Your connections are all well as fare as I know.  Your brother in law Piolert Piolapt departed this life sometime last fall and your sister Polly Yelton has moved back from Tenneysie last fall.  Your mother  received a letter from Nannevi dated some time in March..  He writes that they Indians are some what troublesome in his country.  He was out two hundred miles from home after the Indians when he wrote the letter.  We had a tolorable moderate winter but the spring was wet and backward but our summer has been warm with the exeption of a few day about the midle of June when there was in several freazes an hard enough to kill the corn.  Our wheat crop are as good as the commonly get to be, oats are likely and forward corn looks very promising.  People are generally well though out this country as fare as my information extends.  With these remarks I conclude and remain yours most affectionately.

To John Ford                                    
J. W. Mast

1850 – The Federal Census lists John and Elizabeth Ford and children living in Howard County, Indiana and owning about $2,000 in real estate.  Mary, Sarah, and George are in school.

John William born July 28, 1850; died Sept. 15, 1851

William Nineva “Jim” born Sept. 14, 1851

The Federal Census shows John’s two brothers out in Oregon Territory.  Ninava (35 yrs) was farming in Clackamas Co., near Oregon City with his 20 year old Missouri wife, Martha, and their one year old son John J., who had been born in Oregon Territory.  Ephraim (29 yrs) was in Yam Hill Co., just west of Clackamas Co., in the northwest corner of Oregon Territory.

1852 – John Ford’s brother Nineveh wrote from Oregon City, Oregon Territory entreating John and Elizabeth to come west with their family.  He tells of their group finding about $5,000 worth of gold in California, including a single nugget worth $64 which he still had.  Their brother Ephraim Ford was with Nineveh, and had married the previous spring.


TO: John Ford,  Kokomo, Indiana
FROM:  Oregon Territory, Oregon City, March 16, 1852
John and Elizabeth Ford

Dear brother and sister

I can inform you that we rec'd yours of the 28 Dec. last which gave us great satisfaction to heare from you.  I have wrote since I returned from California.  Ephraim was married last spring to Miss Martha.Sarrijon.  We returned from California the fall after we went in the spring.  We had tolerable luck in the mines making near 5 thousand dollars between us.  I dug one piece of gold that was worth $64.

I have got it yet.  I wish you could come and see it.  I think you would like to dig some of the yealow stuff but if you was here you could get it and stay at home.  Those that stays at home does as well as those that goes to the mines, which you will see when I give you a feew facts.  The mines are being worked very extensively in Oregon in or near a rich fertile and in a healthy country.  You say that times is hard there.  You wish to know how land rates in Oregon is.  I will try to give you a general idea in relation to land here.  The Congress of the USA pased a law on the 21st Sept. 1850 granting to all american white settlers on the public lands over the age of 18 that was in Oregon at the pasage of the law or and those that got here before the first day of December 1850 one half section or 320 acres if he be single man, and if he be maried or shall become maried on or before the 1st day of December 1851 one section or 640 acres of land, one half to the wife and the other to her husband, the wifes half to be held in her own name.  The donation is extended to those that come since up to the first day of December 1853 in half the amount of the above.  So if you can get here before the 1st day of Dec. 1853 you can get 320 acres without paying anything.  One half to your wife which is one quarter section each after 1853.  I think land will be sold by government at $1.25 per acre.  If you have any notion of coming to this country, start next spring 1853, then you will git here in time to git your half section.  I can write as I have wrote before that this is the healthiest country that I have seen.  Winters are miled, summers plasant, not so hot as your summers.  Winters are so.....and mild that stock keeps fat all winter.  This winter past was near a total failure for snow.  I did not see one particle fall during the winter.  The best country for stock perhaps in the contenent.  They keep fat all the time without feeding.  When I say stok I mean all kinds.  Our beef is fater off of the range here than I ever saw it in the stats out of the stall.  Pork fat all the year and the range stock increases fast.

I have got letters from home generaly.  Brother Sinut died in '49.  His wife has maried again.  Syrena is maried.  I got a letter last summer from mother.  They condition was generly well.  I have wrote since and am looking for a letter now.  We are all well except colds.  Mrs. Ford is quit porly at this time with a cold.  Our little snow storm has set some of us to coughing.

If you do conclude to come to this country I would advise you by all means to sell out next fall and come to Missouri and winter there and start early in the spring with first that starts.  You will come with one and get you a good team at home.

I want you to write as soon as this comes and tell me what your calculations are and so I will know what to advise.  Never think of coming without our family.  It is too far.  Do not come without Elizabeth is willing.  Elizabeth, I wish you was here with your family.  I think you would be hapy and we would be brother and sister here.


Yamhill O. T.   June 9th  1852

Dear broth and sister,  threw the .... of diveme providence an blesses with the opertunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that we are still in the living and enjoying a tolerable .... of health at present wishing these lines may find you in posesion of the same blessing.

We have the pleasure of reading your letter baring date Decemba the 28  1851  which is a sorce of grate satesfaction to hear from you and to hear that you are still living and well but sarey to learn of your misfortune in loosing your child but we must be reconsiled to God as he is just in all things.

You requested us to write concerning our country as to climate.  I suppose yours are informed, but I will say that it is the best I have ever lived in with the acception of rain in the winter and as to agriculture purpeses fare before your country not withstanding it is a pore corn growing country but we can make that up in small grain and I find of late by manuring our land we can rase as good vegilables as you can in....., and as to stock rasing I believe we can but would, we can rase a hors or cow here with as you can a chicken there.

Land is what you would call high but if you wish to cum to this country do not let that stop you for I think you can make a living in this part of our republic easeyer than you can there at your prices

for produce.  Perhaps you wish to know how times is, times is good.  Health is good.  Money is plenty.  Goods is cheap.  Produce is high.  Good horses from 100 to 150 dollars american, mares from 150 to 200, cows from 50 to 75 dollars per head, sheep 8 dollars, hens one dollar, beef 8 dollars per hundred, pork 10, butter 50 cts per pound, egg 50 cts per dozen, wheat 1.25 cts per bushel, wages from $2 to 4 per day.

If you wish to cum to this country git you a well made light three hors wagon and three or fore yoke of cattle and start from Missouri about the first of aprile.  Start with only clothing and bedding to last you threw as it will not pay, start with plenty of provision and if you wish any further information write as soon as you can and I will answer the same and if you start to this country I want you to write to me before you leave Missouri and send your letter by the mail and when you git on the road write by the packers if you wish any asistance and I will try to administer to your wants.

If you calculate on emmigrating to this country I think it advisable to cum next spring so that you can have a chance to hold 320 acres of land under the donation act which will be out the first of December 1853 which is cum next year.  Nineveh is still living in Oregon city and was well the last acount and is making money very fast.  I am still marreyed and think I am settled for life as I am satisfide with this country that I can make faster and easer than any other in my knowing.

I have stock a plenty to answer my perpose and to spare and a moderate crpoe of grain and calculate on sowing plenty this fall for you and I in Pardenership.

I would be extremely happy to see you all but think sometimes we will never have the pleasure of meeting in this world but hope that we will meet in the next where parting and sorrow will never be nomore.

Direct your letters to Yamhill Co. Lafayette Po O. T.

We want you to give our love to your childer as we would be glad to see them.

So nothing more at present best remans your with respect.

From Ephraim and Martha Jane Ford


TO:  Mr. John Ford, Esq.,   Kokomo, Indiana
FROM:  Oregon Territory, Nov. 26, 1852

Dear brother and sister.  It is with much pleasure that we take the opertunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that we are still numbered with the living and enjoying a tolerable degree of health at present.  Wishing these lines may find you all in possession of the same blessing.  The last letter we recieved from you was dated December 28, 1851 which we answered before so that I do know that we share anything interesting to write to you unless it is in relation to your friends Joneses.  John Jones was at Nineveh's 4 or 5 weeks.  Since he stated that his father and brothers had got in about fifty miles of this place they had considerable sickness in the family while on the road, as there was much sickness in the last part of the immigration.  Jones could not giv any account what of your calculation was in relation to immigrating to this country but stated that your brother-in-law [Jacob Dye?] had sold with the calculation of immigrating to this country next season.

When Jones was here Nineveh and his wife was sick, but have got a bout health is generaly good with the acception of the immigration last to this country in consequence of experience on the way to this country.  If you calculate on immigrating to this country I think next season will be the best time in consequence of the donations being out in December will this country American mares from one hundred and fifty, hundred dollars cows from 50 to 100 dollars, 8 and 10 dollars per head beef, 10 pork per hundred, wheat 3 and 4 dollars per flour, 15 dollars per hundred, labor 2 and 3 dollars per day, lumber fifty dollars per thousand and other productions of the country in protion.  If you come to Oregon and wish to bring stock I will advise you to bring scheap or cows and be shore to start in the first part of the emmigration for the reason that their is not half the sickings in the first part of the emmigration as the last.  if you cum write before starting and while on the road as we can git your letter in a very short time by male.

I am here for the purpose of proving my clame to a donation write to 640 acres of land.  We are at the same burruls that we was when we wrote last to you.  I have a good crop in and sold the .... of six hundred hogs this season and some beef cattle.

We send our love to our cousins and be glad to see them and if you do not cum this aunt wants you to take that perty boys likness that you wrote about having blew eyes and black hare and send it to her but much rather see him..........(mostly illegible)

with respect

Ephraim and M. J. Ford

To John & Elizabeth Ford
direct your letter to Yamhil Lafayett or Oregon City

1853 – John Ford (41 yrs) and family headed west to the gold fields of California in a party of 40 would-be miners.  John became concerned about the danger to his family in continuing the trip west, and they lived for a while in Jasper County, Iowa.

Ephraim Worth born Feb. 14, 1854

Frances Emiline “Fannie” born Dec. 27, 1857

1858 – John Ford and family moved in the spring to Story County, Iowa, east of Ames, where they purchased a farm south of Colo, in New Albany Township about thirteen miles east of the county seat, Nevada.

1859 – John and Elizabeth Ford have Effie Jane, born Nov. 24.

1860 – The Federal Census shows them in Story County, Iowa with Mary (19), Sarah (16), George (15), Martha (13), William “Jim” (8), Ephraim (6), and Frances (2).   John’s assets had increased to $10,000 real estate, and $500 personal property.

1862 – John’s brother Nineveh writes to him from Oregon

State of Oregon
Wayco County

Sept. 7, 1862
John Ford

Dear brother

We recd yours last evening of the 22nd of last June directed to the post master at oregon city stating that you had not herd from Ephraim and we since 18.., heared that you and George Dye came to Iowa and stoped.  We did not learn where you was   we have wrote to our relatives in carolina but learned nothing   I had nearly given up all hope of evering hearing from you thinking that the colery [cholera] had swept you all off on the plaines   my [heart] leaped for joy when I opened your letter, this being the first that I have saw since you came to Iowa.  Ephraim is living where he first settled, in 2 miles of McMinville, yamhill co.  I am living in middle oregaon east of the cascads over 300 miles from Ephraim 627 miles west of fort Benton in the Walla Walla Valey.  look on the map and you will see where I live   I have been living here 3 years and am well pleased with the country   I have not hered from home for a long time   we have 6 chilaern [children] living and one ded   John Thomas Jefferson is nearly grone   our 2nd Mary Simpson died at 9 years old, 4 boys living and 2 girls   you perhaps are posted in relation to the development of this country concerning the gold mines, graizing and agricutureal pursuits   the miners are still making new discoverys of new digings   some 15 to 20 thousand miners and traiders in middle oregon.  This is the fastest country that I have heard of   towns going up in a few days   men taking out their weight in gold dust in a short time and thousands doing no good and spending fortions in a few days   I have not worked in the mines here yet for what would it profit a man to gain the whole world and loose his own sole   we hope to gain the selistial [celestial] city and too much gold is dead weight some times on that pilgrimage   he that will run let him lay a side every weight and that sin that so easly beset us, that sin I think is unbelief   I once was young but now am old and I never saw the children of the riceous [righteous] beging bread (Soloman)

We should not trust in uncertain riches so says christ     dear brother and sister we would be hapy to see you all in this life, but if we should not be favored with that opportunity let us strive to meet each other in heaven where our dear little ones are gon, our parents have long since gained that heaven, and we too are hastening to that unseen world when we shall bid farewell to this vain world of woe.

Wrie when this comes to hand   direct your letters to (Walla Walla Washington Territory)

no more at present only our best wishes and brother and sister until death

Nineveh & M. R. Ford

To John & Elizabeth Ford

1863 – John Lincoln born Aug. 15; died Oct. 11.

1864 – James Webster “Webb” Rooker of Mitchellville, Iowa, about 25 miles south of Colo, enlisted in the Iowa Calvary volunteers on March 1, at 20 years of age.  Wounded at the battle of Harpeth Creek, Tennessee on Dec. 18; shot in the eye; the ball entering the right and coming out under the left, destroying the sight of both.

James Webster “Webb” Rooker holding Harriett Rooker

John Ford (52) died June 19, and was buried near the home farm in Indian Creek Twp., Story Co., with young son John Lincoln.  He had been under treatment by Dr. Mark D. Shelton, who filed claim for visits and medicine.  At the time of his death, John Ford owned 520 acres in Marshall County, at least 84 acres in Jasper County, and 147 acres in Story County, for a total of 751 acres. Elizabeth stayed on the home farm near Colo, east of Nevada, and had the oldest sons George and Jim manage the various farms. The other son, Ephraim, went to Burr Oak, Kansas to farm with relatives.

Sarah P. Ford married Alexander Boyce McCain July 12, 1864.  He was a Civil War Veteran wounded at Shiloh.

Sarah Parintha Ford (Ephraim’s older sister)

1865 – James W. Rooker was discharged from the Iowa Cavalry volunteers at Keokuk, Iowa on June 1, by reason of blindness.  He received a pension of $50 per month starting on June 4, 1874.

Elizabeth Ford sold 204 acres of land in Jasper County.

1866 – Mary Pricella Ford (25) married George See (27) Dec. 25, 1866 in Marshall County, Iowa, just east of Story County.

1870 – Elizabeth Ford is shown in the Federal Census living in the Colo area on the family farm, about 13 miles east of Nevada in Story County, with her children George (25), Martha (22), William “Jim” (18), Ephraim (16), Frances (12), and Effie (9).  Only William, Ephraim, and Frances were in school.  Elizabeth’s assets were $4,200 real estate and $550 personal property.  Her son George had $1,000 in personal property.   Maria Romane, a niece, was living nearby.

In the 1870 census, W. Rooker is listed as a blind farmer in Franklin Twp., Polk Co., Iowa, just south of Story County, with his wife Martha and two year old son James.

1874 – Mary Pricella (Ford) See died April 4, and was buried in the Bevins Grove Cemetery north of Clemons in northwest Marshall County, Iowa.

187? – Sarah and A. B. McCain write to her sister, she on the front page, and he on the back page.


home matters, etc, etc  Aprile the 20

Dear Sister

After our love to you then comes the Home matters   Orra says he looks for aunt marth in the morning.  he said he went home to grandmaws to stay till aunt marth come home.  Orra hasent forgotning you nor never will   he gets newespaps and reads letters from you and Chella   wants too write to you. he can spell and read a little and count.  The prospect for fruit is good   mother thinks she will have som apels [some apples]   Seet [sweet?] folks came from Story today they were all well at home.  Anna is such a seet [sweet] girl.  She says she likes us well a nought [well enough] to live with us.

We think we might keep her.

[A. B. McCain]

Ephraim has rented my corn ground.  which will relieve me of much travelling this summer.  George was over some time ago and stayed with us three nights.  He informed us his intentions were to herd cattle this summer and probably a herd of colts.  George and Priscilla's folks are all in usual health.  They and Ephraim have gone to Story yesterday.  will be back to day.  How much do you get a month for teaching school.  Is it a subscription school of is it a district schooll.  I have no other news of importance that would interest you.  Nouthing more.

Yours forever
A. B. McCain

1878 – Elizabeth Ford was living in Colo, Iowa; but upon becoming ill, moved to Nevada, Iowa, about 13 miles west.

A. B. McCain is listed in the Directory of Marshall County as “a farmer in Section 14; P. O. Bevins Grove; owns 80 acres of land, valued at $30 per acre; born in Armstrong Co., Penn., in 1834; came to Iowa in 1856.  Married Sarah P. Ford in 1864; she was born in Howard Co., Ind., in 1844; have seven children – Owen, Jo, Ben, Adel, Effie Maude, Isabella M., Elizabeth G., and Fanny.  Are members of Methodist Church.  Enlisted in Company H, 13th Iowa V. I., in 1861, and was wounded in the battle of Shiloh, and was discharged in 1863 on that account.”

1879 – On March 28, Ephraim Ford, and the rest of Elizabeth’s children, received their share in the estate from Elizabeth’s guardian (probably George Dye Ford), and each signed a hand written receipt.

Rec'd of Elizabeth Ford Guardian
the full amount of personal property
due me and I release said Guardian
from all liability on my account -

Nevada, Iowa
Ephraim W. Ford
March 28, 1879

Elizabeth Ford (59) died intestate on December 7, and was buried at Nevada, with husband John and last-born son John Lincoln, (moved from their prior burial in Indian Creek Twp. near the farm) about 100 feet inside the Lincoln Way entrance and to the left (east) about 100 feet.  George Dye Ford arranged the funeral and burial.  He purchased three lots (Lot #24) in Block 3 of the Nevada Cemetery for $10, and a large gravestone for $225.  He paid James Green $12 to dig the graves, and to move the bodies of John and John Lincoln from the Indian Creek Cemetery  to Nevada.  Dr. George Stitzell was paid $16 for sick calls to Elizabeth from Nov 29 to her death on Dec 7.

Obituary - Died in Nevada, Iowa after a protracted illness, Mrs. Elizabeth Ford, whose obsequies took place at her residence in this city on the 9th inst.  Mrs. Ford survived her husband fifteen years and leaves a large and respectable family.  She became united with the M. E. [Methodist Episcopal] Church at an early period of life, and continued a consistent member of the same till her death.  Her house was not only always open to the ministers of the gospel, but her hospitality was of that liberal christian character toward all, which can be observed in the fine and the good at all times.


Jim Ford writes to Ephraim at Burr Oak, Jewel Co., Kansas telling of their mother’s death, and asking him to tell Aunt Sally (Dye) Harmon.


TO: Mr. E. W. Ford, Burr Oak, Jewell Co., Kansas    3c postage
Forwarded to Colo, Iowa (13 mi. E of Nevada); arrived Jan 9, 1880

Black border on envelope, used when there is sickness or death. 

FROM: Nevada, Iowa   Dec 8, 1879

Dear Brother,

With a sorrowful mind I will try and write a few lines to let you know that our dear Mother is gone forever. She departed last night, and will be buried tomorrow at 2 o'clock. I wish you could have been there. She spoke so often about you.

Let Aunt Sally [(Dye) Harmon] know of her death. So goodbye.

Write soon.
As Ever,  Your Brother

We will bury her in the Nevada Cemetery

1880 – George See filed for Letters of Administration for his two minor children by Mary (deceased) as heirs of Elizabeth Dye Ford.

Matt and Effie were living with their brother Jim Ford on the home farm in New Albany Twp., Story Co., Iowa. just south of Colo.

Ephraim Ford went to Wyoming.  Fannie and Effie joined Ephraim there later in the year..

In the 1880 census, James W. Rooker was listed as living in Beaver Twp., Polk Co., Iowa with his four children: Nettie (11), William S. (8), Martha E. (5), and an unnamed daughter of four months.  His wife must have died at the birth of the child four months earlier.  Matt Ford married the blind Civil War vet Webb Rooker, December 23.

DesMoines   Sept 5/81

Rec'd of Martha S. Rooker One Hundred Dollars to apply on Note of Margaret J. Rooker and James W. Rooker to Mary Singer dated December 20th 1876 for $400.

W. A. Young

1881 – Ephraim filed for a 160 acre homestead out on the desolate rolling prairie on Crazy Woman Creek near the Dry Creek Road about fifteen miles northeast of Buffalo, Wyoming.

1882 – Ephraim Ford married Hattie “Katie” Huson on December 17 in Buffalo, Wyoming at the home of her parents, Edward and Clarissa Huson, by Justice of the Peace, H. R. Mann, with her father, Edward Wing Huson, and a man named John Paul signing as witnesses.  Katie was 17 years old. (Marriage Book 1, page 16). They moved to the Crazy Woman homestead, and were joined there by Katie’s parents and children, who took up a quarter-section homestead adjoining theirs on the east side.

1884 – In January, Webb Rooker receives a letter from H. U. Dale.

TO: Webster Rooker, Mitchellville, Iowa,
Sent Jan. 25 from Centerville, Iowa,  1 ct postage
Arrived: Jan. 28
Centerville, Iowa  1-25-1884

Dear Bro. and Sister:  In compliance to your kind request I write.  I arrived home safely yesterday and found all well except Mrs. Dale was suffering from severe cold.  The girls were almost in ecstacies over my return.  Edna said she felt so good that she could not laugh.  Craving an interest in your prayers and assuring you that you have in mine I remain your brother.


On August 14, Jim Ford bought the S1/2 of SW1/4 of Sect. 23 (80 acres) in Victor Township, Osborne County, Kansas from Robert and Mary E. Wilson of Gage County, Nebraska for $500.  (Osborne Co., Deed Book H, p597)

Effie J. Ford was married to J. H. Rice in Big Horn, Wyoming on October 22 by Herbert Probert, a Congregational minister from England, at the house of Mr. Haund and witnessed by her sister Fannie Ford and Mrs. Belle Babcock of Big Horn.

1885 – A son was born to Effie (Ford) and Jim Rice in Buffalo during the week of September 26, 1885 so they must have moved there beforehand.


Sept. 26, 1885

The wife of J. H. Rice, the barber, gave birth to a son this week in Buffalo.

1886 – Fannie went to Washington state with Effie and Jim Rice.

1887 – On May 20, 1887, Jim Ford bought the S1/2 of NE1/4, the SE1/4 of NW1/4, and the NE1/4 of SW1/4 of Section 23 (160 acres) in Victor Township, Osborne County, Kansas from William and Hannah Bradley of Independance, Osborne County, Kansas for $1800.  This was adjacent to his previous land purchase.

(Osborne Co., Deed Book N, p220)  On December 29, Jim obtained a Land Patent for the NW1/4 of SW1/4 of Sectiom 23 (40 acres) in Victor Township adjacent to the previous purchases.  This brought his total known acreage to 280.  (Osborne Co., Book AD, p468)

1889 – Fannie Ford married Paul Jackson Lang on February 19 in Kittitas County, Washington

Frances “Fannie” Emilene Ford Lang (Ephraim’s younger sister)

George Dye Ford married Nettie Anne Rooker (Webb Rooker’s daughter by his first wife) in Polk County, Iowa. Witnessed by Webb Rooker.

George Dye Ford (eldest son of John and Elizabeth Ford, Ephraim’s eldest brother)

Matt and Webb Rooker returned to Zionsville, Indiana.

In August or early September 1889, Ephraim Ford’s wife Kate apparently had a miscarriage or stillbirth. Late in 1889, Ephraim and Kate sold their homestead and suddenly moved with their three young children and belongings to his brother Jim’s ranch in Osborne County, Kansas.  Kate died a month after arriving.  The following spring, Jim and Ephraim returned with the children to Zionsville, Indiana.  Jim returned to his Kansas ranch.  Ephraim was ill, and left the children with his sister Matt and her blind husband Webb Rooker while he went to Orleans in southern Indiana to the “Springs” to get well.

1891 – Jim Ford died on 23 December at the S. H. Noyes residence in Victor Twp., Osborne Co., Kansas, where he had been staying for the past two years because of illness.  He died intestate. Mr. Noyes petitioned the court in Osborne to name C. W. Baldwin, of Baldwin & Co. Drugs, to be the administrator of the estate, consisting of nothing but a note for $250 owed by Noyes [probably for the sale of stock to him by Jim], and a few small notes from others for a total of about $300.  The entire estate was used to pay the doctor and medicine bills, the funeral ($44), coffin ($28), burial suit ($5), and past boarding bills from Noyes.  The 160 acre farm of Noyes was at the head of Covert Creek close to the Victor-Covert Twp line.  Jim Ford’s 280-acre ranch was about a mile northwest of Noyes.

There are three identical very small FORD headstones near the gate to the Cole Cemetery just over the Covert Township line, about two miles southeast of Jim’s ranch.  It is thought that after Kate had a stillbirth in Wyoming, they sold their homestead on Crazy Woman Creek near Buffalo and brought the body of the baby with them to Jim’s ranch, where Kate died.  The two were buried together in the Cemetery, to be joined two years later by Jim.  There are no burial records for the Cole Cemetery, nor was there an obituary in the local paper to tell us where he was buried.

Alexander and Sarah (Ford) McCain were farming in Pleasanton Twp., in Buffalo Co., NE outside Kearney.


L – R: Sarah Parintha Ford McCain (Ephraim’s older sister), Fannie McCain Hewett (Sarah’s daughter), Alexander Boyce McCain (Sarah’s husband)

1892 – Ephraim married Mary A. Johnson in Orleans, IN on Jan. 1 where he had been recovering from illness he had contracted out west.

1900 – Ephraim and Alice (Mary A. Johnson) Ford were living on North Pike Street in Shelbyville, Indiana with their six year old son, Oscar L.   Ephraim was an insurance agent, and Alice was a dressmaker.  He never reclaimed his earlier children.

George Dye Ford was farming in Liberty Township, Marshall County, Iowa with wife Nettie of ten years, and children Chella E. (8), Mary E. (7), John (5), and Gertrude L. (1).

Sarah (Ford) McCain and her husband Alexander were farm owners living in Kearney, Buffalo County, Nebraska with their daughters Isabel and Elizabeth (twins, 23), Fannie (21), and Hattie (18).  Isabel is a school teacher, Elizabeth a seamstress, and Fannie a milliner.

Fannie and Paul J. Lang were living in Wenatchee Lake, Chelan Co., Washington with Nora (10), Myrtle (8), Eugene (6), Lloyd (5), and Clyde (1).

1901 – Fannie and Paul Lang return to Zionsville from Washington over the Oregon trail in a covered wagon.  Paul had made a table which was carried on the back of the wagon.  Each night when they stopped, Fannie would set out the table and fix a formal dinner.  She was a well-educated woman (rare in those times) who always dressed very properly.

1904 – Ephraim Ford, apparently divorced from Mary, died at Matt and Webb Rooker’s home in Zionsville on April 2.  He was buried in the Zionsville Cemetery next to William and Margaret Dye.

1909 – Effie and Jim Rice were in Portland, Oregon, having arrived there sometime between 1906 and 1909.  They are first found in the City Directory of Portland in 1909.  They were listed in the personal listings as:  H. J. Rice, residence at St. Johns; in the business listing as: Barber; H. J. Rice at 8 Fourth Ave. N.

1910 – George Dye Ford was farming in Liberty Township, Marshall County, Iowa, with his wife Nettie of 20 years, and children Chella (19), Mary (17), John (15), Gertrude (11), George (9), Louis (7), Lois (7), and Gailerd (2).  Chella was teaching, and Mary was in school.

Alexander and Sarah (Ford) McCain were living at 1828 Ave. G in Kearney, NE.

1911 – Jim Rice had apparently died.  In the 1911 City Directory, only Effie is listed; as:  Mrs. Effie J. Rice, 248 1/2 Montgomery.

1912 – George Dye Ford died January 25, buried in Bevin’s Grove Cemetery north of Clemons, Marshall Co., Iowa.

TIMES REPUBLICAN, Marshalltown, Iowa

Jan. 26, 1912


George Ford, Well-Known Farmer, Meets Death From Trivial Accident

Marrow from Broken Leg Forms Clot On Brain

Becomes Unconscious a Few Hours After Log Slides From Load of Wood and Breaks His Leg - Wife and Eight Children Survive - Funeral Saturday Morning.

An accident that, in itself, would be classed as trivial, resulted in the death Thursday afternoon of George Ford, a well-known farmer living one and one-half mile north of Clemons in Liberty Township.

Ford's death resulted from a thrombus, which formed on the brain following the man's injury Tuesday afternoon when his left leg was broken by a heavy log which rolled off a sled.   Mr. Ford was hauling a load of wood from his timber to his home, and was in his own dooryard when the accident resulted.  Ford was walking beside the bob sled when the heavy log slid from the top of the load, falling against Ford's leg, and breaking it above the knee.

Marrow Carried Into Circulation

Ordinarily the accident would not have caused the victim anything more than the usual pain and inconvenience resulting from similar cases, but in this instance an unusual complication resulted.  Some

of the marrow from the fractured leg was carried into the blood, and by 2:30 o'clock Wednesday morning the patient became unconscious.  He never rallied from the comatose state, and the end came at 1:15 Thursday.

Was Well-Known Farmer

Mr. Ford was well known in his neighborhood, where he had lived for several years.  He was 67 years old, and is survived by his wife and eight children - four sons and four daughters.  Four sisters also survive, in the persons of Mrs. Sarah McCain of Kearney, Neb.; Mrs. Martha Rooker and Mrs. Fannie Lang of Indianapolis; and Mrs. Effie Rice of Portland, Ore.

Brief funeral services will be held from the house Saturday morning at 11 o'clock, and the funeral proper will take place an hour later from the Bevin's Grove Church.  Rev. C. S. Stauffacher, of the Zearing United Evangelical Church, officiating.  Interrment will be in the church cemetery.

1913 – Fannie Lang visited old friends at Nevada, Iowa on the way to visit her sister, Sarah McCain, in Nebraska.

Nevada, Iowa Newspaper


An Old Timer Returns

Mrs. Paul J. Lang of Indianapolis, who old timers remember as Frances Ford, is spending a few days with the Sam White family, and greeting other old friends and neighbors in Nevada, Ames, and Colo while pausing in her journey to visit her sister Sarah (Mrs. A. B. McCain) in Nebraska.

Mrs. Lang's father, John Ford, was an early settler of Story County.  He and Mrs. Ford and their four children came from Indiana to Iowa with a party of forty miners which were bound for California.

Mrs. Lang says the fair fields of Iowa lured them from their interest to cross the desert plains and the Fords tarried for a while in Jasper County, then located permanently on a farm in New Albany

Township [Story County], and there Mrs. Ford died in the later seventies.  Frances was a member of the Nevada High School during the first years of its existence in its present location, and was included successively in the Dan McCord, William Gatsa, and Jerry Franks families till at the death of her father, when her mother moved to Nevada and here died.  Frances and her sister Effie soon after went to Wyoming to visit their brother Ephraim, who is now deceased.  Both married in the far west, and there Effie, orMrs. J. H. Rice, remains.  The Langs returned to Indianapolis twelve years ago and there rejoice in two promising daughters and two sons, all grown and in active life.  Another of the Fords, Martha, now Mrs. J. W. Rooker, also resides in Indianapolis.  Frances the maiden is pleasantly remembered, and Mrs. Lang, the matron of wide and varied experience, is gladly greeted.

1914 – In July, Alexander and Sarah McCain celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.


The golden wedding of Mr. and Mrs. McCain was celebrated enjoyably, when surrounded by members of the family, whose congratulations and gifts they received, were entertained yesterday.  Mr and Mrs. McCain have lived in Buffalo County for over thirty years.  They have been blessed with eight children, three boys and five girls, and with twenty-five grandchildren.  The gifts which were presented to them on the occasion were very elaborate and mark the appreciation which the children felt for all the sacrifices which the parents have made for them in other days.

Two gold watches, a gold bracelet, breastpin, and a set of collar, cuff, and stud buttons were among the presents.  A sumptuous dinner was served at 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon.  Captain S. James presided and made an appropriate presentation speech when giving Mr. and Mrs. McCain their children's gifts.  Mr. McCain responded and thanked those present for their loving remembrances.  After the dinner further speaking and musical numbers closed the enjoyable celebration.

The following children of the couple were present:  Mr. Orran McCain, Mr. Dode McCain, Denver, Colo.; Mr. Dell McCain, N. Platte, Nebr.; Mrs. Charles Wittlake, Omaha, Nebr.; Mrs. Charles Croston, Hazard, Nebr.; Mrs. Seymore Cruise, Mrs. Claude Hewett, and Mrs. Hattie May, Omaha, Nebr.

1915 – Effie Rice was listed in the Portland City Directory as: Effie Rice, 484 Burnside.

1917 – Alexander and Sarah (Ford) McCain were living in Omaha, Nebraska.

1919 – Alexander Boyce McCain died and was buried on the hillside behind the mausoleum in the West Lawn Cemetery in Omaha.

1920 – In the census, Effie (Ford) Rice (60), was living on Buck Street in Portland, Multnamah County, Oregon with her thirteen year old granddaughter, Donna Dixon.

Sarah McCain (75) was living in the home of her daughter, Fannie F. Hewett (40) and Fannie’s son Ross (6) on 42nd Street in Omaha, Nebraska.  Fannie was an office clerk.

Standing: Fannie McCain Hewett (Sarah’s daughter), Claude Henry Hewett (Fannie’s husband)
Sitting: Sarah Parintha Ford McCain (Ephraim’s older sister)


George Dye Ford’s widow, Nettie (50), was still farming the family farm in Liberty Twp., Marshall Co., Iowa.  Still at home were Lois and Louis, both 16, and Gailerd (12).  However, Nettie reportedly moved to Zionsville with Gertrude, Lois, and Gailerd, apparently during the last half of the year.  It is not known whether George S. came with them or came later.  Louis must have stayed, because he is buried in Bevins Grove next to his father George and sister Mary.

In the 1920 census, Paul Lang, at the age of 65, is living on Senate Avenue in Indianapolis with Forest Eaton, a boarder.

1923 – Webb Rooker died at age 79 in Lafayette, Indiana on Oct. 23; and was buried in Little Eagle Creek Cemetery southeast of Jolietville in Hamilton Co., Indiana next to Nellie G. Lutz (wife of his son, Wm. S. Rooker) and Mattie (daughter), both having died in 1900 in their 20s.

1929 – Nettie Anne (Rooker) Ford, widow of George Dye Ford, and daughter of Webb Rooker, died in Zionsville at age 60 and was buried next to her sister, Mattie, sister-in-law Nellie, and her father, Webb Rooker, in the Little Eagle Creek Cemetery.

Back row L – R: Fannie McCain Hewett (Sarah’s daughter), Alexander Boyce McCain (Sarah’s husband), rest ?
Front row L – R: Sarah Parintha Ford McCain (Ephraim’s sister), rest ?


1930 – Sarah Parintha (Ford) McCain died June 24 in Buffalo Co., Nebraska, and was buried alongside her husband in the West Lawn Cemetery in Omaha, Nebraska.


Sarah Parinthia (Ford) McCain, at the age of 86 years, 11 months, and 1 day, passed away June 24, 1930 at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Fannie Hewett of 3467 N. 42nd St., Omaha, Nebr.

Her father, John Ford, and family with two brothers, were enroute with the "Forty Niners" across the continent, but the father, being fearful for the safety of his family, left the caravan when they reached Story County, Iowa, and settled in the new country, when skins were hung for doors.

In 1864 she was united in marriage to Alexander Boyce McCain, a Civil War veteran.

In 1883 they moved with their family of three sons and six daughters to Buffalo County, Nebraska where they were pioneer residents of Pleasanton and Kearney.  Her husband preceeded her in death eleven years ago at the age of 84.

She is survived by two sons, Dode McCain, Hazard; and Dell McCain, Loretto; four daughters, Mrs. Maude Wittlake, Fanwood, NJ; Mrs. Charles Croston, Hazard; Mrs. William B. Rains, Hawk Springs, Wyo.; and Mrs. Hewett; and three sisters, Mrs. Martha Rooker and Mrs. Fannie Lang, both of Indianapolis, Ind.; and Mrs. Effie Rice of Portland, Ore., plus 25 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

She was known for her ever ready aid to those who were in sorrow, need, or distress.  As long as she  was able to be in active service for her Lord and Savior, her standard of living was, "In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me also", John 3:17.  Her ever ready advice was a repeating of the First Psalms.  Interned at the West Lawn Cemetery in Omaha, Nebr.

1932 – Fannie (Ford) Lang died Feb 26 in Zionsville at age 74 and was buried in the Zionsville Cemetery by Paul J. Lang, and near Ephraim Ford, Matt Rooker, and William Dye.

1935 – Matt (Ford) Rooker died in Lafayette, Indiana on Feb 5; buried on a Thursday afternoon in the Zionsville Cemetery near Fannie and Ephraim; reported in the Feb. 7 Zionsville Times:

Obituary - Mrs. Martha S. Rooker, 88 years old, a native of Boone County, died yesterday in a home for the aged in Lafayette.  She had lived in Indianapolis forty years and had spent part of her life in Iowa.  Her Indianapolis home was at 3609 N. LaSalle St.  Funeral services will be held in the McNeely & Sons mortuary, 1828 N. Meridian St. at 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon.  Burial will be in the Zionsville cemetery.  A sister, Mrs. Effie J. Rice of Portland, Oregon, survives.

1937 – Effie Jane (Ford) Rice, the last surviving child of John and Elizabeth (Dye) Ford, died Feb 16 in Portland, Oregon.  She died in the Multnomah Hospital of coronary thrombosis and generalized arteriosclerosis, made worse by pulmonary emphycema.  She was 78 years old.  Effie was in the hospital for nine days prior to her death.  She was listed on the death certificate as a widow and homemaker living at 313 NE San Rafael Street.  No family informant was listed on the certificate.


Frances [Fannie] Ford was born in Story County, Iowa and educated at Iowa State College in nearby Ames, Iowa.  She taught for a while in Iowa, then went west to Washington Territory with her younger sister Effie.

Paul Jackson Lang was born near Copenhagen, Denmark.  He came to America with his family and settled in Wyoming Territory, where they were in the dairy business.  Paul was studying to be a Lutheran Minister when he got the urge to go farther west.  He gave up his studies and went to Washington Territory where he met Fannie.  They were married in Kittitas County.  They had daughters Myrtle and Nora, and sons Eugene, Lloyd, and Clyde [the latter dying at age two].

By Myrtle (Lang) Stanley, written Aug-Sep 1972:

Written 1972

I was born in South Prairie, Washington on September 16, 1891. My parents had lived in Wenatchee.  I don't remember that because it was before I was born.  Then we lived in Ellensburg.  The only thing I remembered about that was when we moved from Ellensburg.  Nora and I were in the covered wagon for the night.  I remember my first sense of fear was when I heard the wolves howling.  I heard my father say "We will keep the fire burning and that will keep the wolves away because they are afraid of fire and won't come near it".

When we got to the ranch, there was a log cabin, and that housed us until my father and his friend Mr. Cahill built two or three more rooms with a large stone fireplace in the living room.  Papa cut the logs and split the firewood, and Nora and I helped to carry in the firewood when needed.

Nora and I would go on horse to get cow.  We would lead the horse up to a tree stump, then get on the stump,  and then get on the horse, as it seemed to understand, and we would go for the cow, as we could hear the cowbell she wore.

One day, near forenoon, a young buck Indian came to the ranch.  Papa had built what was then called a shed over the back door and like a roof (more like our patios).  He then put up a rope swing for us.  Our swing board split and broke, and the Indian took out his hunting knife (when Momma saw him take out his knife, she was frightened she admitted later).  He made a new swing board for us and then played with Nora and I pushing the swing.  Momma had him stay for dinner.  I don't remember what we had - probably a meat stew.

There were many wild roses, and Nora and I would pick the pink petals.  Momma told us to put them in bottles and hang them in the sun, and that melted the petals forming as oil perfume, so Nora and I had our own perfume.

Momma was teaching the country one-room school, when one of the big land owners (and also the sawmill) refused to pay his share for school upkeep on what was called Chumstick School that was part of the country where we lived.

Then my parents sold the ranch and homestead, and moved to Leavenworth so we children could go to school, as Momma felt our education was more important than the ranch.  We lived nearer the mountains since that was where the best homes were.  The railroad was between us and the main street of stores, and back of them was the Wenatchee River.

I remember Gene as a baby on the ranch, but I don't think Lloyd was born until we moved into Leavenworth.


  1. Edie Mahaney, Curator of the Patrick Henry Sullivan Museum in Zionsville, and her staff who helped me get started on the history.  And all those who contributed to the files there.
  2. Ester (Mills) Compton, a marvelous lady and a Dye cousin of mine, who mentored me in my early Dye research, and who was a fountain of knowledge about the early days in Zionsville.
  3. Ross and Emily Hewett, who showed me the McCain gravesites in Omaha, and who entrusted to me many old pictures of the Fords.
  4. John Hook of Cicero, who provided the old letters written to John Ford from the western gold fields, the letter from J. Mast of North Carolina, and Myrtle’s memories.
  5. Charlene Shropshire of Carmel, for her help with the George Dye Ford family.

Early Dyes

Story by Fred Gahimer.

Richard Dey (Derick Dytszen),  Denmark

In “This Old Monmouth of Ours” by William S. Horner, it states that “Richard Dey, or Derick Dytszen, as it is sometimes written, is said to be the founder of the family that spells its name Dey or Dye in different branches of the family.  He and his family are said to have been of the second party of six families and individuals that made up the second contingent of settlers of the present New York City.  There were 45 in all and they arrived in 1625.  Details of his family are not readily available, save that he is said to have had a son named Laurens.”   It is also possible that he is of another branch of Dyes, and not the father of Laurens.
Laurens Duyksen (or Dytszen or Duyts or Dey); son of Richard
Born: 1610 in Holstein, Denmark Arrived in New Amsterdam in 1639
Wife: Ytie Jansen
  1. Margaret 12/23/1639 in New Amsterdam
  2. Jan Laurensen 3/23/1641 in New Amsterdam
  3. Hans Laurensen 9/28/1644
Wife: Gritje (Gertrude) Jansen (sister of Ytie)   1666
  1. Catharine,  about 1667, died 1668 Bergen, NJ
The first Dye in America was, by most accounts, Laurens Duyts.  He was born in 1610 in the province of Holstein, on the south shore of Zraland, a large island, which at that time belonged to Denmark; thus he was a Dane.  He came to America in 1639 on the “De Brant van Trogan” (The Burning of Troy).  His fellow passengers included the Danes Captain Jochem Pietersen Kuyter, Pieter Andriessen, and Jonas Bronck.  Bronck had contracted Duyts and Andriessen to clear 500 acres of land he was to purchase from the Indians upon his arrival.  The agreement is supposedly still extant.  Bronck was to advance the two men 121 florins to pay their board on the ship.  They were to have liberty to plant tobacco and maize on Bronck’s land upon condition that they should break up a certain quantity of new land every two years, surrendering the other to the owner for the planting of grain.  The land became the New York Borough we know as the Bronx, named after Jonas Bronck.  Laurens was commonly known in New Amsterdam as Laurens Goatschoe (Big Shoe).
The following lease was signed when Bronk engaged Duyts and Andriesen to clear the land:
(Lease of Land in Westchester County)
Before me, Cornelis van Tienhoven, Secretary in New Netherland and the unsigned witnesses, appeared Sr. Jonas Bronk, of the one part, who amicably agreed and contracted as follows:
First: Sr. Bronk shall show said parties a certain piece of land belonging to him, situate on the mainland oppostie the flats of the Manhates; on which said land they shall have permission to plant tobacco and maize, on the condition, that they shall be obliged to break new land every two years for planting the tobacco and maize and changing the place, the land, upon which they have planted to remain at the disposal of said Sr. Bronk.  They shall be bound to surrender the land every time they change, made ready for planting corn and ploughing.  They shall make use of said land, for three consecutive years during which time said Sr. Bronk shall make no other claim upon them, than for the land, which Pieter Andriessen and Laurens Duyts by their labor shall have cleared, who on their side shall be obliged to fulfill the above mentioned conditions.  If Pieter Andriessen and Laurens Duyts demand within a year from said Sr. Bronk 2 horses and 2 cows on the conditions, on which at present the Company gives them to freemen, the said Bronk shall deliver the animals to them if he can spare them.
Pieter Andriessen and Laurens Duyts further pledge their persons and property, movable and immovable, present and future, nothing excepted for the payment of what Sr. Bronk has advanced them for board on ship ‘de Brant van Trogan’ amounting to 121 fl. 16st., of which Pieter Andriessen is to pay 81.4 fl. and Laurens Duyts 40.12 fl.  They promise to pay the aforesaid sums by the first ready means, either in tobacco or otherwise to acknowledgment and token of truth they have signed this respectively.
Done at Fort Amsterdam the 21st of July, 1639.
This is the mark X of Laurens Duyts.
Peter Andriessen and Maurits Janse,  Witnesses
Laurens married Ytie Jansen and they had three children:  a daughter, Margariet, who was baptized on December 23, 1639, the sponsors being Gerrit Janses of Oldenburg (Ytie’s brother?), Teuntje Joris and Tyntju Martens; a son Jan, who was baptized on March 23, 1641; another son Hans, who was baptized in 1644.  Jochem was sponsor at the baptism of the boys.
Laurens appears to have been farming in different places, leasing the lands he tilled.  In March, 1654, he had a land dispute with Francoys Fyn.  Fyn had a certain parcel of land lying on a long island over against Hog Island (now Blackwell’s Island).  Laurens sold this without Fyn knowing about it, claiming it was his own land.
Laurens leased for some time the bowery of the Norwegian woman from Marstrand, Anneke Jans.  He was to pay her two hogs in rent.  As he had paid only one, he was sued in May, 1658, by Anneke’s son-in-law, Johannes Pietersen Vergrugge, later mayor of New York, and was condemned to deliver the hog to the plaintiff.
Laurens Duyts got into trouble with Pieter Stuyvesant, the Dutch governor of New Amsterdam, who was a tough customer with a wooden leg.  On November 25, 1658 he gave Laurens a severe sentence for selling his wife and forcing her to live in adultery with another man and living himself in adultery.  He was to have a rope tied around his neck and then to be severely flogged, and to have his right ear cut off.  He banished Laurens for 50 years.  In 1666 he married the sister of his first wife and they had a daughter.
His son Hans lived at Harlem in 1667.  The other son, Jan, lived there also.  Laurens died at Bergen, New Jersey, about 1668.
Hans Laurensen (Laurens) Duyts (Dye)
Born: Sep. 28, 1644      New Amsterdam
Died: After 1706         Staten Island
Wife: Marritie Satyrs
  1. James Hance;
  2. Catherine;
  3. William;
  4. Isaac
2nd Wife: Sarah Vincent  (1st husband Vincent Fountain)
  1. John, born 1687 in Staten Island;
  2. probably also James
  3. Laurens (Lawrence)
  4. Catherine (Caterina)
  5. Richard
John Lawrence Dye
Born: 1687 in Staten Island
Died: March 8, 1751 in Middlesex Co., New Jersey
Wife: Anne Brown
Married: about 1710      Middlesex Co., New Jersey
  1. John, about 1711
  2. Ann, about 1715
  3. William, about 1718
  4. James, about 1720
  5. David, about 1725
  6. Vincent
  7. Joseph
  8. Catherine
John moved from Staten Island to New Jersey in 1725.  On Dec 21, 1725, he purchased from Minert Johnson of Perth Amboy Twp., 200 acres of land, bounded on the south by Millstone River, and settled on this tract.  This land is located near Prospect Plains and Cranbury, Middlesex Co., NJ, and is now owned and occupied by “Brick House” John Dey, a descendant of William Dey of 1718 (son of John’s half-brother James).  John died before March 8, 1751 at age 63, and Anne died in 1763, both at Macheponix, Middlesex Co., New Jersey.  John’s descendants are to be found in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, and other states.
James Dye
Born: about 1720 in Staten Island, New Jersey
Died: before April 6, 1764    Middlesex Co., New Jersey
Wife: Sarah Lautz
Married: before 1744
  1. James
  2. Andrew (married Sarah Minor, cousin to Martha Washington)
  3. David
  4. John
  5. Benjamin, about 1750
  6. Mercy
  7. Rachel
  8. Anne
  9. Sarah
A notice in a newspaper in Middlesex Co., about 1750:
Stolen on the Night of the 26th ult. from the Sign Post of Gilbert Barton, Tavern-keeper in Cranberry, a sorrel Mare, with a bald Face, and white Mane and Tail, four white feet, a white Spot under her near Eye, about 13 Hands high, 5 Years old last Grass, shod before, branded on the near Buttock *, paces pretty swift, trots well, and has a Mark of a Rope-gall in her near Hough, and some small white Spots on the near Side of her Nose.  Had on a Saddle and Bridle, the Saddle breasted both before and behind with red Plush Housing, and Curb Bridle.  ‘Tis supposed she was stolen by one John Martin, who has lately been in the Jersey Provincials. Whoever takes up the Thief and Mare, shall have Six Pounds Reward for both, or Three Pounds for the Mare, Saddle and Bridle, paid for by James Dye, in Cranberry
Three of James’ sons, John, Andrew, and Benjamin were early settlers on Big Whiteley Creek in Greene Co., PA.  Andrew went to Maryland before going to Pennsylvania.  We don’t know about John and Benjamin.
Benjamin Dye
Born: about 1750
Died: 1788
Wife: Sarah Elizabeth Lemley; died 1793
  1. James; April 26, 1784, Dunkard Creek, Greene Co., PA
  2. George; Jan. 30, 1786, Greene Co., PA
  3. Sarah; 1788, Greene Co., PA; married William Willey in 1803; and died before 1850; probably buried in Noble Co., Ohio.
Benjamin is listed as enlisting in Maryland on July 25, 1776 and serving under Ensign Nathan Williams in the American Revolution.  It is thought that he arrived in Greene County about 1779.  He died in Greene Co., PA in 1788 leaving three minor children.  Steven Gapen (a large land-holder in Whiteley Twp., Greene Co.) was appointed guardian of James Dye in Orphan’s Court on Sep. 12, 1799.  Daniel Jones was appointed guardian of George and Sarah on Nov. 14, 1806.


1. Benjamin
Born: Jan 15, 1808 in Green Co. PA
Died: May 18, 1879 in Zionsville, IN
2. Fannie
Born: Feb 24, 1809 in Morgan Co. OH
Married: Jacob Stonking, Zionsville
3. Isaac
Born: Dec 16, 1810 in Morgan Co. OH
Married: Elizabeth Clyne, Sep 25, 1834
Lived: Northfield, IN on farm
Children: 6 sons; 5 daughters, 10 surviving
  1. Jacob Dye, Union, Neb
  2. Burdetta Dye (a.k.a Mrs. Henry Reed, Northfield, IN)
  3. Mrs. J. R. Reed, Big Springs, IN
  4. Ingram Dye, Lebanon, IN
  5. Miss Ollie Dye, Union, Neb
  6. Mary Jane Dye (a.k.a Mrs. J. Ashley Johnson, Lamar, MO)
  7. Isaac Cline Dye, Union, Neb
  8. Ezekial Dye, Thornton, IN
  9. Mrs. D. W. Lapham, Lebanon, IN
  10. James W. Dye, Union, Neb
4. James
Born: Oct 28, 1812 in Morgan Co. OH
Married: Ruth Ann Harmon, Northfield, IN
5. Jacob
Born: Aug 14, 1814 in Morgan Co. OH
Died: March 26, 1901, Zionsville, Boone Co., Indiana
Married: Martha King, 6-13-1839; died Apr 19, 1884
Married: Malora Owens, 1891
Worked for the firm of Anderson & Co. Bankers, Zionsville
6. George W. Jr.
Born: Oct 3, 1816 in Morgan Co. OH; moved to Oregon
7. William
Born: Oct 18, 1818 in Morgan Co. OH
Married: Margaret Miller, 12-28-1837, Zionsville
8. Elizabeth
Born: Sep 13, 1820 in Morgan Co. OH
Died: Dec. 7, 1879;   Nevada, IA
Married: John Ford, Mar. 11, 1838, in Zionsville, IN
9. Sarah “Sallie”
Born: Jan 12, 1823 in Morgan Co. OH
Married: Robert John Harmon
10. Samuel H.
Born: Nov 11, 1828 in Morgan Co. OH
Married: Malissa Hage, Dakota
James Dye’s 91st birthday in 1903 was at the home of his daughter, Mrs. John Cooney, Northfield IN.  Present were: William Dye, wife, and daughter Chellie, T. J. Dye, Cal Dye, J. N. Harmon, Mrs. Jacob Dye (Malora Owens), John E. Dye and wife Ezekial Dye, Harry Dye and family, Mrs. Elmer Dye, Jennie Dye, James W. Rooker and wife  (Matt), John Stephenson, 77, Mrs. Hulda Murphy, 76, H. N. Marvin, 82


1756 – Frances Calvert born Nov. 28  (Sarah’s Calvert Dye’s mother) Frances’s husband is unknown at this time.
1785 – Sarah Calvert born in Green County, Pennsylvania on Dec. 7.
1786 – George Dye born in Green County, Pennsylvania on Jan. 30.
1807 – George and Sarah married on Jan. 7. (Not listed in Greene Co.)  George was a farmer, hunter, and Methodist preacher
1808 – Benjamin, their first child born on Jan. 15
Moved to Morgan/Guernsey County, Ohio.  Dyes were already there.
Fannie born Feb. 24, 1809
Isaac born Dec. 16, 1810
James born Oct. 28, 1812
1812 – George Dye fought in the Copus Battle in the War of 1812.  Three companies for the war were raised in Guernsey County.  The companies commanded by Simon Beymer and Absalom Martin were stationed at Beam’s blockhouse near Mansfield, Ohio, awaiting orders from Colonel Bay, of whose regiment they were a part.  Nine miles east of the blockhouse was the home of James Copus and wife and their nine children.  He was a Methodist preacher who had brought his family into the western country from Pennsylvania three years before the War of 1812 opened.  He had cleared about twenty acres of land and enclosed it with a rail fence.  The home was the usual cabin of the Ohio pioneer.
At the beginning of the war the English incited the Indians of Northern Ohio to hostilities against the Americans.  Copus was prevailed upon to bring his family to Beam’s blockhouse for protection.  After remaining there several days, he decided to return to his home.  Capt. Martin objected, telling him that the Indians were hostile, but he was determined and could not be dissuaded.
For the protection of Copus and his family, Capt. Martin ordered nine men from his own and Capt. Beymer’s companies to accompany them as guards.  Among the nine Guernsey County men were George Shipley, John Tedrick, Robert Warnock, George Launtz, and George Dye.
Arriving at the cabin, they found that neither it nor the stock had been disturbed.  When night came Mr. Copus invited the soldiers to sleep in the cabin, but they declined, saying they preferred the barn which was a few rods away.  During the night the dogs kept barking incessantly, which caused Mr. Copus to suspect that Indians might be lurking about.  Towards morning he called the nine men to the cabin and informed them of his fears.
To please him they remained inside until morning.  After daybreak several of them went to the spring a short distance away to wash.  Before going they leaned their guns against the side of the cabin.  The Indians, who had surrounded the place, seized this opportunity to make an attack.  They rushed in between the men and the cabin and began shooting.  Three of the soldiers at the spring were killed and scalped.  George Shipley, John Tedrick,  and Robert Warnock fled to the woods.  The two former were overtaken, shot, and scalped.  Warnock, although  wounded, outran the savages.  His wound proved fatal, however; his body was found in the woods a few days later.
George Dye succeeded in reaching the cabin, although his hip was broken by a bullet from the gun of one of the warriors.  Mr.  Copus was wounded, dying an hour later.  This left the two soldiers, the wounded Dye, Mrs. Copus, and the nine children to defend the cabin against forty-five Indians.  The firing continued until about ten o’clock when the Indians retreated.
George Launtz, one of the two soldiers who did not go to the spring, was wounded; also one of the daughters of Copus.  Several Indians were killed.
The unwounded soldier ran in haste to the blockhouse after the Indians left, and asked for assistance, which was sent immediately.  Six Guernsey County men were killed in this battle, and two were wounded.  Only one escaped unhurt.
On account of the danger, Mrs. Copus and her nine children could not remain at the cabin, and went to some relatives in a neighboring township.
In 1882 a monument was erected where the Copus cabin stood.  Upon it are carved the names of the six Guernsey County men who were killed by the Indians.
1814 – George and Sarah Dye were still in Morgan County, Ohio
Jacob born on Aug. 14, 1814
George W., Jr. born Oct. 3, 1816
William born Oct. 18, 1818
Elizabeth born Sept. 13, 1820
Sallie born Jan. 12, 1823
Samuel H. born Nov. 11, 1828
1819 – At an early session of the Board of Commissioners of Morgan County in July, seven petitions for roads were presented, all of which seem to have been granted.  The first ordered by Morgan County officials was Dye’s Road in Section 27, Township 11, Range 11 from Stanton Fordices (on Meigs Creek) by Ezekiel Dye’s and George Dye’s to the Guernsey County line.
1820 – At an election for township officers which was held on April 3rd in Noble Township, Morgan County (now in Noble County), Ohio, 43 votes were cast.  Among the list of voters were George Dye and brother, James Dye.
George and James Dye were early settlers in Morgan County. George had a mill on the old McCleary farm on the road from Iiramsburg to Sarahsville.  It was a small affair, and was erected by John Farley, millright.  George sold to Cramlett and he to James McCleary.  James Dye originally owned the farm on which the Children’s Home is located.  He became quite wealthy, sold out, and moved with his sons to Illinois.  Dye and his sons were all hunters.  In the winter they made enough money on the furs which they captured to enter 160 acres of land where Rochester now is.  They always kept about a dozen hounds, and hunted and trapped throughout the surrounding country.  James Noble was also a trapper.  In some way he incurred the enmity of the younger Dyes, who committed many depredations upon his property, and on one occasion fired bullets through his door.  After years of lawing, he succeeded in lodging some of them in jail.
1829 – Land in Eagle Township, Boone County, Indiana offered for sale for the first time.  Eel River Indians held a reservation in the county prior to that.
1830 – George Dye and family moved to Elizabeth Township, Miami County, Ohio near John and Andrew Dye.  His brother James moved to Illinois.  There were many Dyes in Miami County.  They were among the very early settlers up to 1807.  Many are buried in the Knoop Cemetery on Route 41 two miles east of Troy, Ohio.  Andrew Dye is buried with his second wife, Ann Evans, in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery about eight miles west of Troy.  There is a Dye Mill Road east of Troy going south off Route 41 just before crossing the Little Miami River.  It led to the Dye Mill.
1832 – George Dye and family moved to Eagle Creek, Boone County, IN, passing through the “village of Indianapolis” on April 5.  He bought 640 acres of land in what is now northeast Zionsville extending to Eagle Creek where he later built a mill.  Families did not live close to each other in those days, and they were compelled to call one another neighbors when they lived miles apart.  Neither Zionsville nor Eagle Village existed.  About the only other settlers were Elijah Cross, David Hoover (who was the first county clerk), and Austin Davenport.  Patrick Henry Sullivan and Mr. Sheets were down the creek a few miles.  School houses and churches were spoken of as things that would come.  The children received their schooling in private schools and their first religious training at home.
George Dye was reported in the Boone County history as: one of the best men that ever lived in the County, a Methodist, and a devoted member and public speaker, a great hunter, a very large, strong man, 6’1″ tall, and well made, a bold, fearless pioneer of Boone County
In a sketch of two early Eagle Village pioneers contained in the book Early Life and Times in Boone County, Indiana by Samuel Hardin:
George Dye and Frederick Lowe were to Boone County what Daniel Boone was to Kentucky; bold, fearless, and honest.  Both came early, both were religious men, raised large families, and contributed largely of their time and means to build up a “good society”.  Their houses were both open not only for the poor “new comer”, but to the itinerant preacher who follows close in the wake of civilization.  The first time I ever saw Mr. Dye, he came to our house to see father about building a church in Eagle Village.  He had his trusty big rifle with him, weighing nineteen pounds.  Yes, I said trusty, for once he got a bead on a deer or turkey it was Uncle George’s meat, sure.  That good old man did not live to see the church completed, for he died (in 1847).  He went to Lebanon on some business and was taken sick and died.  He was not what we now call a polished man, but he was more than that, he was useful.  Early he built the Dye mill, which was of untold usefulness to the early settlers.  Don’t forget George Dye.
Two of the Dye boys, James and Jacob, were solicited to clear the grounds in Lebanon for the Boone County seat public square and shooting deer and bear there.
James Dye also carried the mail from Indianapolis to Logansport on horseback for several years, it requiring several relays of men and horses for the daily trip.  He also made many trips to Indianapolis with his father to bring grain “to mill”.
Jacob Dye (uncle of Ephraim Worth Ford)
Recorder's Office, Court House, Lebanon, Indiana

NOTE: A fire in 1907 destroyed all the records prior to 1857.  People were asked to bring their documents in to have them rerecorded.  Thus, all the records described below were in volumes of "Deed Records Heretofore Recorded", or in the Tract Books.  The records which were found are listed here in chronological order.  No attempt was made to go beyond the 1854, since the objective was to determine the land holdings of George Dye, Sr.  No record was found of the original purchase of the section of land as reported in some of the histories.
Oct 28, 1830 Tract Book 1; p98-99

George Dye bot 160 ac

80 ac   W1/2 of SE Sect. 35, Twp 18, Range 2E

80 ac   E1/2 of SW     "       "         "            “
Nov 25, 1833 Heretofore Book 6; p638

George Dye paid $800 to Austin Davenport for 160 ac

80 ac   W1/2 of SW Sect 36, Twp 18, Range 2E

80 ac   E1/2 of SE Sect 35    "         "          “
Mar 6, 1834 Tract Book 1; p99

George Dye bot 40 ac   SW1/4 of NW1/4 Sect 36, Twp 18, Range 2E

1835 – The first brick house in Zionsville built on the Michigan Road by Austin Davenport.  Later bought by George Dye.
Jan 26, 1836 Tract Book 1; p98

George Dye bot 40 ac   SE1/4 of NW1/4 Sect 35, Twp 18, Range 2E
May 28, 1836
George Dye paid $1375 to Jacob Johns for 320 ac
E1/2 of NE1/4 Sect 15, Twp 18, Range 2E
W1/2 of NW1/4 & E1/2 of NW1/4 Sect 14, Twp 18, Range 2E
W1/2 of NE Sect 14, Twp 18, Range 2E
1838 – George Dye built the first mill on a section of Eagle Creek east of Zionsville.  It was fitted for making both flour and meal, and was well patronized in its day.  Jacob and James Dye bought the mill and ran it for many years.  The dam……………………………….being allowed 1/8 toll by law.  After the season’s grinding was over the mill would be stocked with corn for which there was little or no market.  One time they had a thousand bushels of corn stored that had been taken as toll, and no market for it closer than Cincinnati or Lafayette, and the price only 8 cents a bushel.  This was the proceeds of a season’s grinding.   (Zionsville Times)
In his Early Life and Times in Boone County, Indiana, Samuel Hardin recalls his first trip to mill – the Dye Mill of long ago:
The few hours I was in your vicinity last week were certainly very pleasant ones, full of interest to me in looking into the faces of those who I was acquainted with in years past.  Here and there are old landmarks of the past to be seen in and about Eagle Village and Zionsville.  Dye’s old mill-race is, I see, still visible, but the old mill and its ponderous wheel are gone.  Forty-two years ago I rode up to the old mill with grist tied on.  It was my “debut”.  Jake Dye was there in all his glory, ready for fun as he always was.  His first salutation was: “Boy, what in hell do you want?”  I stammered out that I had come to mill.  He took my sack and I went to warm at an old cracked stove.  There were several older boys there parching corn.  Jake saw there was a chance for fun.  He went and got his hand full of flour, stuck it under my nose and said: “Boy, smell this;” then he dashed all of it in my eyebrows, eyes, and hair.  I rushed out, half scared to death, and washed the flour out as best I could.  And this was how I was initiated in going to mill.  As I crossed the old mill race the other day, it was suggested to my mind.  Yet the old mill is gone but Jake is living.  I hope his last days may be pleasant and the sands of life not run out for years to come.
Sep 5, 1839 Heretofore Book 7; p274
George Dye paid $150 to Joseph Norris for 40 ac   NE1/4 of SW1/4 Sect 1, Twp 17N, Range 2E
1845 – George Dye’s wife, Sarah (Calvert) Dye died in Zionsville on July 8, and was buried in the Eagle Village Cemetery.
Jan 16, 1846 Heretofore Book 8; p405
George Dye paid $650 to Jacob Dye for 80 ac
40 ac  NW1/4 of SE1/4 Sect 1, Twp 17, Range 2E
40 ac  N end of E1/2 of SE1/4 Sect 1, Twp 17, Range 2E
1846 – George Dye married Jane Davidson on January 17, and she signed a paper relinquishing her right to administer George’s estate and recommended his son Jacob.  Patrick Henry Sullivan, the first settler of the Zionsville area, after whom the Zionsville Museum is named, witnessed the signing of the agreement.
1847 – George Dye, Sr. died at Lebanon on March 3; buried in Eagle Village Cemetery with Sarah and her mother Frances Calvert  There was no will.   Jacob Dye was named Administrator.  A complete record was filed 3/23/47.  It was finally settled in Feb 1852.  Recorded in Box 045, Book I.
1847 – Bear fight at Dye’s Mill:
The bear fight at “Dye’s Mills” in the year 1847 was one of the largest gatherings, up to that time, perhaps ever assembled in the county.  The Dye boys had a few months previous captured two bear cubs out in Howard County, kept them until about eighteen months old, when it was proposed to have a shooting match bear fight.  The time finally arrived for it to take place.  The result was a big crowd; the people came from far and near – sporting men from Indianapolis and many other places were there with their best guns and dogs.  Not less than three thousand persons were present.  The shooting match came first, and you may guess there was some good marksmanship on hand with their pieces in the best possible trim.  The result was, first, second, and third choices went in different directions.  After which came the dog and bear fight.  The dogs of war was turned loose; it became apparent soon that bruin was on top every time, and one of or two dogs were killed outright.  Notwithstanding this large, mixed crowd, there was no serious trouble.  The bears were dressed and awarded in parcels, satisfactory to all as far as I know.  The writer had a piece for dinner the next day, and it was the best bear meat he ever ate, for it was the only.
1852 – the I. C. & L. Railroad put through Zionsville
1878 – the Dye mill at Zionsville collapsed in a storm
1901 – Jacob Dye, brother of Elizabeth Dye Ford and the Uncle Jake of Aunt Matt Rooker’s letters to Ephraim Ford, died March 26.  His obituary was reported in the Zionsville newspaper:
Death of Jacob Dye

Death ended the long continued suffering of Uncle Jake Dye at about eight o'clock Tuesday morning.  His sickness had continued for many weeks and his death had been expected at any time for several days, and the coming was a shock to his many friends.

Jacob Dye was one of the pioneers of this place, having resided nearly all his life in this immediate neighborhood.  He was a man of sterling character and qualities, a representative of the early pioneers, who hewed this country out of the rough and made it habitable for the younger generation who know little or nothing of the hardships and privations of the early settlers.  A history of his life would make an interesting book in which the good would largely outnumber those in which any wrong was intended to any person.  His life was an open book in which there was no malice or harm toward anyone.  He always had a kindly greeting for friend or stranger and was most esteemed by those who knew him best.  He was a member of no church but lived an upright, honest life to the best of his knowledge and belief, leaving the unknown things of life here and hereafter to others.  He was three times married and as he expressed it to a friend a short time before his death, "In my first marriage I made no mistake; in the second, you know and I know I did make a serious mistake, but in my last marriage I made no mistake." The last wife survives him and during his last illness was a patient, loving, and careful nurse, giving all her time and care toward his comfort.  Uncle Jake will be sadly missed by those who knew him best.
The following story is about George Dye’s brother, James Dye

Perhaps the most exiting murder trial that ever took place in Fulton County [Illinois] was "The People vs. Rebecca Dye" in which the defendant was accused of killing her husband.  The year was 1855.  The case is interesting, from a historical standpoint, because at that time it was very rare for a woman to stand trial for a capital crime.  Also, the story behind the trial is a fascinating tale of family hatred and hidden passion.

Although it was tried at the Circuit Court in Lewistown, the case did not originate in Fulton County.  James Dye was killed at his home northwest of Colchester on May 27, 1854.

A McDonough County pioneer, he was born in Pennsylvania during 1787 and moved to Ohio early in the nineteenth century.  He married a woman named Barbara (last name unknown), and they eventually had twelve children.

During the 1830s the Dye family moved again, to Illinois.  Their homestead in Hire Township, McDonough County, was established in 1836 or 1837.

As the years went by, James Dye became a wealthy farmer.  By the time of his death, he owned hundreds of acres of land and much livestock, as well as four tenant houses.  Devoted to making money, he displayed little interest in his family.  He neglected the education of his children and often quarreled with his sons.  He ordered two or three of them off his property after they had come of age.

After his first wife died in the mid-1840s, he married Rebecca Brown.  That was in 1847.  She was twenty-four; he was sixty.  Dye's children, some of whom were older than their new step-mother, opposed the match.

This situation is remarkably similar to the story line of Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms (1924).  In that famous play, the father is a selfish, materialistic farmer who constantly quarrels with his grown sons and then marries a woman who is younger than they are.  Coincidentally, that play was set during the 1850s - and it ends with murder.

Little is known about the relationship between James and Rebecca Dye, but in the years that followed she commonly referred to him as "the old man" and addressed him as "Pap".  Dye never expressed any dissatisfaction with his young wife and apparently came to trust her with money matters.  Rebecca's opinion of him is unknown.  They had three daughters.

Dye continued to quarrel with his sons.  Arguments, fights, and lawsuits occurred.  During the early 1850's, for example, Peter Dye hit his father with a gun barrel during one fight, and the old man threatened to kill him if he set foot on the farm again.  All of the older children feared that they would not be included in their father's will, and that Rebecca would get everything.  At the time of his death, the old man, who apparently refused to recognize his advancing age, still had no will.

In the early 1850s Dye rented one of his tenant farms to Reverend David B. Burress, a much younger man, who raised a small amount of livestock and occasionally preached at nearby Christian churches.  During 1854 he quarreled with the old man, too, over the planting of corn on the rented acreage.

Burress developed a liking for Rebecca, and she evidently was impressed with him.  A love affair was kindled, but whether it led to adultery is one of the unresolved questions of the Dye murder case.  Burress was planning to leave McDonough County at the time of the murder.

Not long before the killing, Burress and the old man had a fight.  When Dye ran and got a pistol, Rebecca took it away from him and broke up the quarrel.  Apparently, their business disagreement had caused the fracas.

Some of the neighbors also found Dye hard to deal with and didn't like him.  One of them, Stokely P. Ray, evidently sent an anonymous letter to the old man, threatening his life, not long before the murder.  Ray felt he had been cheated by Dye in a business deal.

The murder took place on May 27, 1854.  Dye had gone to bed for the night, and while he was sleeping, someone bashed his head in with an axe.  Then he was shot in the chest.

The neighbors, who later testified at the trial, heard Rebecca yelling and came to see what was wrong.  According to Jessie Martin, when he arrived she cried out, "O, Jessie, some one has come here and killed the old man...".

A coroner's inquest was held the following day, at which the older sons of James Dye directed suspicion toward Rebecca, who was the only person known to be in the house at the time of the killing.  On May 29 she was arrested, along with David Burress and Stokeley Ray.

All three were indicted by the grand jury, but Ray was later released for lack of evidence.  The other two were held without bail until the fall term of the Circuit Court.

Rebecca engaged the most noted criminal lawyer in western Illinois, Macomb's Cyrus Walker, who immediately requested a delay until the spring court term.  He also got a change of venue to Fulton County and arranged to have Rebecca tried separately.

The case attracted several other talented criminal lawyers.  The prosecution staff included William C. Goudy of Fulton County, Alexander F. Wheat of Adams County, and Bryant Scofield of Hancock County.  Aside from Walker, the defense lawyers were William Kellogg and Lewis W. Ross of Fulton County, and Julius Manning of Peoria.

The case also aroused intense public excitement.  The McDonough Independent called it "a most diabolical murder", both "horrible and heart-sickening".  The very idea that a young mother might have committed such a deed was shocking, if not incredible.  Nearly ninety residents of the county were called as witnesses.

When the trial opened in April of 1855, the courtroom in Lewistown was jammed.  There was no standing room left, and some who wanted to see the proceedings could not get in.  Half of the spectators were women.

Jury selection was a long process because so many residents had formed an opinion about the case during the year since the murder had been committed.  Most people felt she was guilty.

The case was not only sensational, but potentially historic.  If the jury convicted Rebecca Dye of murder, she would be the first woman in Illinois to be hanged.


The trial of Rebecca Dye for the murder of her husband raised a number of important issues, including the value of circumstantial evidence, the problem of pre-trial prejudice, and the capability of females to commit premeditated murder.  In general, it revealed much about the functioning of the criminal justice system during the 1850s, but very little about Rebecca Dye.

William Goudy opened the trial by briefly stating the intent of the prosecution and stressing the value of circumstantial evidence.  That approach was taken because there was no witness to the murder.  In fact, he asserted that "circumstantial evidence, in many cases, was better than positive testimony, [because] the guilty mind always acts inconsistent with its innocence..."

The opening statement for the defense was made by Cyrus Walker.  He countered the notion that "circumstantial evidence could not lie", calling it an erroneous theory.  Rather, he asserted that "as the enormity of the crime increases, so the character of the proof should be more certain".

Walker also recognized that most people felt Rebecca Dye was guilty.  After all, her husband had been an old man, and rumor had it that there had been some kind of relationship between her and Dye's tenant farmer, David Burress.  Hence, the noted lawyer cautioned the jury against reaching a verdict on the basis of suspicions about an illicit love affair: "Suspicion [in the public mind] took the smallest circumstance and magnified it; and the natural disposition in every community to find out the cause - that restless, eager energy that seizes every point - directed attention toward the accused.  I warn you, gentlemen, against any such restless eagerness, against the suspicion that blights without investigation, and condemns without proof.  There is no contest here but as to who murdered Dye."

More importantly, Walker made it clear that there were others who had strong motives for killing the old man: "He had frequent quarrels with his sons, fights and law suits.  These engendered a bitter feeling between them, which often led to violence.  After the old man's death, the boys were active to show the prisoner's guilt - they charged her with the murder and hinted of circumstances to cast suspicion upon her."

In short, the sons of James Dye had spread the story about Rebecca and Burress.  And, of course, if she were convicted of the killing, she would not inherit the old man's estate.  His children would share it.

Walker also strove to evoke the natural sympathy that jurors have for a young mother, especially one who had already suffered separation from her children: "Her life is in your hands.  You can hang her up between the heavens and the earth, or you can send her home to her children, from whom she has been torn by the iron rule of law."

It was a superb opening address, which also included remarks "questioning the propriety of capital punishment."  Walker tried to make it as difficult as possible for the jurors to bring in a murder conviction. 

The prosecution did demonstrate that Rebecca and Burress had some kind of association involving money.  She had apparently wanted to help him pay off a debt to her husband.  And it was shown that Burress had quarreled with the old man.  But there was no evidence of a love affair, although that was asserted by the prosecutors.

Harrison Dye, one of the sons, was a major witness against Rebecca.  He claimed that she had said his father "wasn't going to live long" and "she didn't see any satisfaction with him."  He also asserted that Rebecca and Burress were "very friendly when there was no one there but them."  (He apparently didn't find it illogical that he could know that.)

Cyrus Walker did a superb job of impugning his testimony.  The young man was forced to admit that he and his brothers had quarreled with the old man, that he had opposed the marriage to Rebecca, that his father had ordered him off the farm, and that he had spent $900 to pay for vigorous prosecution of the defendant.  At one point, Walker demanded, "Do you want her hung?" and young Dye replied, "I believe it ought to be done."

The most important witness for the defense was Calvin Simmons, a neighbor, who testified that threats of violence were exchanged between Dye and his sons, that the old man was about to make a will that would leave most of his estate to Rebecca, and that Dye trusted his wife and lived harmoniously with her.

The weakest part of Rebecca's case involved her comments during the inquest.  At that time, she indicated that she had been awakened by a loud noise, and had helped her wounded husband from the floor into bed, and had heard someone leave the house and run off.  However, the coroner testified that James Dye probably couldn't have arisen from the floor with the wounds that he had.  It was more likely that he was killed in bed, and that the bullet wound came after he was dead.  (However, the assistant coroner, another physician, was not certain about either matter.)  Another damaging point: the Dyes had four watchdogs, and any intruder would have had to get past them, coming and going.

Rebecca Dye did not take the stand in her own defense.

The concluding arguments occupied two days.  While the prosecution portrayed Rebecca as "a criminal whose hands are reeking in the blood of her own husband," the defense asserted that her guilt was not proven.  Moreover, they claimed that the very enormity of the crime raised reasonable doubts about the defendant's guilt.  As Lewis W. Ross put it, "It is too unnatural to believe that the wife would do so foul a deed."  Julius Manning relied on the same conception about the nature of women: "where the wife of a man's bosom is charged with the murder of her own companion, there is something so revolting in it that we shrink with horror from such a conclusion.  Woman is not prone to crime..."

Since the evidence was not conclusive, the jury had a difficult decision.  They were split between those who wanted her hanged for murder and those who believed she was innocent.  They eventually reached a compromise, one that allowed the law to punish Rebecca, as the probable murderer, and yet avoided the prospect of hanging a young mother.  Nothing in the trial had suggested that Dye had been killed without premeditation, but the jury had been instructed at the outset of the proceedings that a verdict of manslaughter (killing without malice aforethought) was possible.  So, Rebecca Dye was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to five years in prison.

The prosecution had failed to prove its case, had failed to demonstrate that there was animosity between James and Rebecca Dye, or that there was love between her and Reverend Burress.  But the victim was old, and the accused murderers young, and everyone felt that illicit passion was at the bottom of it.  In all likelihood, the decision to convict was morally right, but it was legally wrong.  The pre-trial prejudice that Cyrus Walker had warned about, which centered around the rumors of adultery, had been a powerful factor.

Interestingly enough, David Burress was never convicted.  He broke jail while awaiting trial in Warren County, then decided to give himself up.  But he changed his mind again, broke jail a second time, and was never caught.

Rebecca Dye was taken to the state penitentiary at Alton, where she was a model prisoner.  Before her sentence was half over, the warden recommended that she be pardoned, and Governor William Bissell released her.  She returned to Macomb, where she lived quietly until her death in 1874.

Because she did not testify in her own behalf, did not try to explain herself or accuse anyone else, Rebecca Dye will always be the embodiment of a poignancy that we will never know.  But because her husband, "the old man", was such a selfish and insensitive person, and because his sons so obviously pursued "justice" for all the wrong reasons, it is not hard to sympathize with the young woman, in spite of the fact that she probably committed one of the most brutal murders in the history of McDonough County.

SOURCE:  McDonough County Heritage, [Illinois], p45-49
Recorder's Office, Court House, Lebanon, Indiana

NOTE: A fire in 1907 destroyed all the records prior to 1857.  People were asked to bring their documents in to have them rerecorded.  Thus, all the records described below were in volumes of "Deed Records Heretofore Recorded", or in the Tract Books.  The records which were found are listed here in chronological order.  No attempt was made to go beyond the 1854, since the objective was to determine the land holdings of George Dye, Sr.  No record was found of the original purchase of the section of land as reported in some of the histories.

Oct 28, 1830
George Dye bot 160 ac                                   Tract Book 1
80 ac   W1/2 of SE Sect. 35, Twp 18, Range 2E                p98
80 ac   E1/2 of SW     "       "         "                   p99

Nov 25, 1833
George Dye paid $800 to Austin Davenport for 160 ac   Heretofore Book 6
80 ac   W1/2 of SW Sect 36, Twp 18, Range 2E                 p638
80 ac   E1/2 of SE Sect 35    "         "                    p638

Mar 6, 1834
George Dye bot 40 ac                                     Tract Book 1
40 ac   SW1/4 of NW1/4 Sect 36, Twp 18, Range 2E             p99

Jan 26, 1836
George Dye bot 40 ac                                     Tract Book 1
40 ac   SE1/4 of NW1/4 Sect 35, Twp 18, Range 2E             p98

May 28, 1836
George Dye paid $1375 to Jacob Johns for 320 ac            forgot
E1/2 of NE1/4 Sect 15, Twp 18, Range 2E                      to
W1/2 of NW1/4 & E1/2 of NW1/4 Sect 14, Twp 18, Range 2E    record
W1/2 of NE Sect 14, Twp 18, Range 2E                       source

Nov 29, 1836
Isaac Dye bot 153 ac                                     Tract Book 1
33 ac   NW1/4 of NE1/4 Sect 2, Twp 18N, Range 1E             p62
40 ac   SE1/4 of SE1/4 Sect 36, Twp 19N, Range 1E            p79
80 ac   W1/2 of SE  "        "        "                      p79

Jul 15, 1837
Isaac Dye paid $160 to Zachariah Turpin for 40 ac     Heretofore Book 7
40 ac   NE1/4 of SE1/4 Sect 10, Twp 18N, Range 2E          p271-272

Sep 10, 1838
Isaac Dye paid $150 to W. S. for 120 ac               Heretofore Book 4
W1/2 of SE1/4 & SE1/4 of SE1/4 of Sect 36, Twp 19, Range 1E  p679

Sep 5, 1839
George Dye paid $150 to Joseph Norris for 40 ac       Heretofore Book 7
NE1/4 of SW1/4 Sect 1, Twp 17N, Range 2E                     p274

Mar 14, 1840
Jacob Dye paid $120 to Joseph Norris for 20 ac        Heretofore Book 8
E of SE Sect 1, Twp 17, Range 2E                             p409

Jun 18, 1841
Isaac Dye paid $110 to Samuel Lane for ? ac           Heretofore Book 7
Beginning at NE corner of W1/2 of SE1/4 of Sect 10,       p273
in Twp 18N, Range 2E; turning south 80 rods; thence
west 20 rods; thence north 80 rods; thence east 20
rods to the beginning.

Aug 16, 1842
Isaac Dye paid $440 to Henry Nicholas for 40 ac       Heretofore Book 7
SW1/4 of SW1/4 of Sect 11, Twp 18N, Range 2E                 p280

Jan 16, 1846
George Dye paid $650 to Jacob Dye for 60 ac           Heretofore Book 8
40 ac  NW1/4 of SE1/4 Sect 1, Twp 17, Range 2E               p405
20 ac  N end of E1/2 of SE1/4 Sect 1, Twp 17, Range 2E       p405

Jacob Dye paid $1000 to Jacob Jones for 12 ac         Heretofore Book 9
N1/2 of E1/2 of SE1/4 Sect 3, Twp 18N, Range 2E              p128
on east side of Michigan Road as below:
Beginning at a stake on the edge of Mich. Rd.
dividing lands belonging to Riley Hogshire where
Samuel Nisely now lives, then running east at
angles with said road to the section line dividing
Sections 2 & 3, thence north on the section line
to a Lin tree to lands owned by Daniel Heaton, thence
west on Heaton's south line to the back of Rous lot,
thence south on Rous lot to the corner of same, thence
with the line of said lot to the Mich. Rd., thence on
said road to the place of the beginning, except what is
in streets and alleys between lots off of the foregoing
premises supposed to contain seven acres be they more
or less.  Also another piece of land adjoining the foregoing
and including the following boundaries to wit:  Beginning
at the northwest corner of the W1/2 of the S1/4 of Sect 2
in Twp aforesaid at a line thence east 40 poles to a stake
near a large Burr Oak; thence south 45 degrees west 56 poles
to a stake near a White Oak, thence north 40 poles to the
place of beginning containing 5 acres by measure.

Nov 2, 1850
Purchases from George Dye heirs:
William Dye paid $934 for 81.5 ac                  Heretofore Book 2
Part of SW1/4 of Sect 35, Twp 18, Range 2E                p530

Samuel Dye paid $530 for 58 ac                     Heretofore Book 2
Part of W1/2 of SW Sect 35, Twp 18, Range 2E              p535

James Dye paid $289 for 60 ac                      Heretofore Book 8
40 ac  NW of SE Sect 1, Twp 17, Range 2E                  p40
20 ac  E of SE    "       "        "                      p40

Jun 11, 1851
Isaac Dye paid $25 to John Murphy                  Heretofore Book 7
Part of the E1/2 of SW1/4 of Sect 11, Twp 18N             p279
of Range 2E.
Beginning at the SW corner of Henry Nicolas's
tract, thence NE with the Nicholas/Murphy line to
the center of Michigan Road, thence south far enough
with the center of Mich. Rd. to make 2 acres south of
said Nicholas lot so that the SW line will run parallel
with the NE line SW to the west line of the above
described 80 acre lot, thence north with said line to
the beginning.

Feb 15, 1854
Isaac Dye paid $1500 to Hiram McQuiety for 120 ac     Heretofore Book 7
80 ac  S1/2 of NW1/4 of Sect 1, Twp 18N, Range 2E            p332
40 ac  N1/2 of W1/2 of SW1/4 Sect 1, Twp 18N, Range 2E       p332

1810      Washington Co. *         Miami Co.
Ezekiel Dye  p55         
Anderson Dye
Andrew Dye, Jr.
Steven Dye
Vincent Dye

1814      Guernsey Co. *
Thomas Dye
George Dye  S12, T7, R9
James Dye, proprietor

1816      Miami Co.
John M. Dye  (2 entries)
Stephen Dye
Andrew Dye, Jr.
Benjamin Dye,  (2)
Andrew Dye, Sr.
Vincent Dye

1825      Morgan Co. *
James Dye  (5)
George Dye  (2)
Ezekiel Dye
Ezekiel Dye, Jr.
Vincent Dye  (2)
Thomas Dye  (2)
John Dye  (2)

* Morgan County was formed in 1817 from part of Washington, Guernsey, and Muskingum counties.  Noble County was formed in 1851 from parts of Morgan, Guernsey, and two other counties. I think the Dyes lived in the part that is now Noble County.

Washington Co. (later Greene Co.)
James Dye           >15 yr
3 females
1 boy               <16 yr

Andrew Dye          >15 yr
4 males             <16 yr
4 females

Elizabeth Dye                  Benjamin Dye's widow?
1 female
1 male              >15 yr
1 male              <16 yr     (George Dye, 4 yrs)??

Enoch Dye
7 females
1 male              >15 yr
2 males             <16 yr

Also, Ezekiel Dye; and Jacob, John, and George Lemly
1800  PENNSYLVANIA; Green Co.

James Dye         26-45 yr
1 female          26-45 yr
1 male            10-16 yr
1 female          10-16 yr
2 males             <10 yr
3 females           <10 yr

Andrew Dye          >45 yr  Benjamin's brother  12101-01201
1 female            >45 yr
1 male            16-26 yr
2 females         16-26 yr
2 males           10-16 yr   (George Dye, 14 yrs)??
1 female          10-16 yr
1 male              <10 yr

John Dye          26-45 yr                      00010-40110
1 female          26-25 yr
1 female          16-26 yr
4 females           <10 yr

Greene Co.,  Greene Twp.  p79 & 107
John Dye          26-45 yr
woman             26-45 yr
woman             16-26 yr
2 girls           10-16 yr
2 girls            0-10 yr
2 boys             0-10 yr

Greene Co., Wayne Twp.   p29
James Dye         26-45 yr       George Dye's father, Benjamin, died in
woman             26-45 yr       1788 in Greene Co., a neighbor of his
man               16-26 yr       nephew James Dye.  Benjamin's wife was
woman             16-26 yr       Sarah Elizabeth Lemley, who died 1793.
boy               10-16 yr
girl              10-16 yr       There were several Lemley families
3 boys             0-10 yr       listed in Greene Co., but none have
                                 been identified as her ancestors.
Andrew Dye        16-26 yr
woman             16-26 yr
boy                0-10 yr

Greene Co., Whiteley Twp.,   p035
Daniel Jones        >45 yr       23101-201111  George Dye's guardian
female              >45 yr                     appointed 11/14/1806
female            26-45 yr
male              16-26 yr
female            16-26 yr
3 males           10-16 yr
2 males             <10 yr
2 females           <10 yr

Where are George & Sarah (Calvert) Dye, having married 1/7/1807??

Where were they married?  No record of it in Greene Co., PA.

Greene Co., Wayne Twp.  p327
Andrew Dye          >45 yr
woman             26-45 yr
boy               10-16 yr
boy                0-10 yr
6 girls            0-10 yr

1820  OHIO  Morgan Co.  p82-84
George Dye        26-45 yr  (34)    2 engaged in agriculture
1 f. (Sarah)      26-45 yr  (34)
1 m.  ???         26-45 yr
1 f.  ???         16-26 yr
1 m.              10-16 yr  (Benjamin, 12)
1 f.              10-16 yr  (Fannie, 11)
5 m.                <10 yr  (Isaac, 11, James, 9; Jacob, 5; George, 3;
                             William, 1)

James Dye         26-45 yr          4 engaged in agriculture
1 f.              26-45 yr
1 f.              16-26 yr
3 m.              10-16 yr
2 f.              10-16 yr
1 m.                <10 yr
3 f.                <10 yr

Also, John, Vincent, and Ezekiel Dye and families
OHIO   1830

Miami Co., Roll 136, p61
George Dye        40-50 yr       (44 yrs)
1 woman           40-50 yr       (Sarah (Calvert), 44)
2 males           15-20 yr       (James, 19; Jacob, 15)
2 males           10-15 yr       (George, 13; William, 11)
2 females          5-10 yr       (Elizabeth, 9; Sallie, 7)
1 male               <5 yr       (Samuel, 1)
Benjamin (22), Fannie (21), and Isaac (21) are not in household.
George and Sarah move to Boone Co., IN in 1832.

John M. Dye       50-60 yr                10111001-00110001
1 female          50-60 yr
1 male            20-30 yr
1 male            15-20 yr
1 female          15-20 yr
1 male            10-15 yr
1 female          10-15 yr
1 male               <5 yr

Andrew Dye       90-100 yr  (91 yr)      000000000001-0000000001
1 female          70-80 yr

Ezekiel Calvert     p110  Greene Co., Greene Twp.
Reason Dye          p005     "        Jackson Twp
Lyte Dye            p005     "            "
James Dye           p010     "        Wayne Twp

George Dye is not listed in the 1840 Indiana Federal Census.
He died in 1847 in Lebanon, Indiana.  Where was he in 1840?

Died March 3, 1847.   No will.   Jacob Dye, Administrator.
Complete record.   Filed 3/23/47.   Settled Feb 1852.
Box 045.   Book I.