James Dyer, son of James Dyer Sr. and his wife Mary, lived on the edge of civilization. His New York years are difficult to map but as an early settler of the Rockford area of Winnebago Co., IL, he was a little easier to find.
James Dyer son of James Dyer and his wife Mary Marcy, was born 15 April 1781 in Dudley, Worcester, MA
James married 1. An unknown woman
He married secondly 2. Susan (surname unknown) who died April 1850 in Rockland, Winnebago, IL.
James died after 1860 in Rockford, Winnebago, IL
James and his unknown first wife had:
1. Sarah Dyer born 25 November 1808 in New York. She married Joel Chubb. She died 30 June 1893 in Baxter Springs, Cherokee, Kansas
2. John Dyer born 22 August 1813 in Stockton, Chautauqua Co., NY. John married Mary Jane Courtright. John died 14 November 1875 in Winnebago County, Illinois
3. William Dyer was living in Roscoe twp., Winnebago Co., IL with his wife Lovisa. Nothing more is known of this William Dyer. He may or may not have been a son of James Dyer.
4. Horace Dyer born 19 September 1816 in Stockton, Chautauqua Co., NY. He married Clarissa Tripp daughter of Steven and Jemima Tripp. Horace died 28 January 1893 in Winnebago, Illinois. Horace was a California Gold Rush 49er. He was also a Civil War Veteran.
5. Lucinda Dyer born 23 October 1817 in Stockton, Chautauqua Co., NY. She married Charles Oliver Reckhow Dufoe born 23 August 1817 in Trois-Rivieves, Quebec, Canada. Lucinda died 14 April 1859 in Union Township, Delaware County, Iowa
6. James Dyer was born about 1822 in Ohio. He married Harriet Ann Easton, sister of his half-sisters, Mary and Amanda’s husbands. James died August 1906 in Winnebago Co., Illinois
James and his second wife, Susan had:
7. Mary Dyer born 23 May 1831 in Ohio. She married David Easton who was the brother of her sister’s husband, Walter Easton. Mary died 07 June 1908 in Rockford, Winnebago, Illinois
8. Lorenzo P. Dyer was born about 1832 probably in Ohio. He married Caroline Feakins. He died before 1874 when his widow remarried.
9. Amanda was born January 1833 in Britain, Lorain, Ohio. She married Walter Easton born 22 January 1833 in New York. Amanda died 21 June 1903 in Harlem, Winnebago, Illinois.
James’ birth record is recorded in James Dyer, s. James and Molley, apr. 15, 1781.
James Dyer probably married an unknown wife before he married Susan ? as Susan would have been a very, very young mother to the oldest known child of James. Susan would have only been 14 at Sarah's birth. She was 19 by the time the second known child, John, was born and he named a daughter, Susan, which is a good pointer toward him being her son. James and Susan were married by 1828 when he and Susan signed a deed. “Book 7-104. Indenture of 18 Mar 1828 between James Dyer of Chautauqua Co. NY and wf Susan of first part and Samuel Hicks of 2nd pt. $700 for a tract or township made for persons commonly known as the Holland Land Co., by Joseph Ellicott. Twp 4, Range 13, of 100 acres. Signed James Dyer Jr., Susannah Dyer. Witnesses; T.A. Osborne, Ortemis (?) Hearick.”
The United Census records leave a broken trail for James. In 1810 he can be found in Jefferson, Scholhaire Co., New York, which is near enough to his father’s homestead in Albany to make it a reasonable guess that this is the right James, that and the age of James and the age of the others in the household fit best of all the James Dyers in New York at the time. James Dyer of Jefferson was in a household that included one male age 26-44 [James]; two females less then ten years old [Sarah and one other child] and one female 16-25 [James’ wife].
We know from other records that the James Dyer in Chautauqua County, New York in the 1820 census was ours. He as listed with three males less then ten years old [John age 7, Horace age three and William]; one male age 26-44 [James age 37]; two females less then 10 years old [Sarah and one other girl]; one woman age 16-25 [possibly Susan or possibly another female relative] and one female age 26-44 [again possibly Susan age about 26]
James left several records in Chautauqua County, New York. In “the Holland Land Company” for Chautauqua County, James Dyer was listed as an innkeeper. He probably kept built a large log house with several rooms and a tavern for feeding the guest and as a gathering place. The inn sat on Peacocks Road. He had purchased land in Stockton in 1811. In the records he is listed with other new landowners: “Stockton, Chautauqua, NY in 1811. Purchases of Township 4, Range 13. 1811 (year) June, Roswell Ladd, 2. August, Thomas Smith, 4. James Dyer, 1. David Waterbury, I. Peleg Scofield, 7.”
"Book 7-104. Indenture of 18 Mar 1828 between James Dyer of Chautauqua Co. NY and wife Susan of first part and Samuel Hicks of 2nd pt. $700 for a tract or township made for persons commonly known as the Holland Land Co., by Joseph Ellicot. Twp 4, Range 13 of 100 acs. Signed James Dyer Jr, Susannah dyer. Witnesses; T.A. Osborn, Ortemis Hearick." "Book F121, Agreement between Richard W. Hart of Saybrook, Conn. and James Dyer of Sheffield, Ohio, to sell tract in twp 7 R 17 of Conn. Western Reserve, known as Lot #109 in Sheffield twp. containing 129 acs for $903, and has given a promissory note, payable in 1, 2, and 3 yrs. 29 Apr 1833." [HLLR] "Bk F-122. This is to certify that I have this day deposited to the Lorain Iron Co., a bond for the above tract. Wits; L. Burnell. S S: James Dyer."
I have not been able to locate a James Dyer in New York that fits this family in the 1830 census. In 1836, James brother lists his father’s heirs in James Dyer Sr.’s estate papers. James is listed, numbered (3), as “James Dyer of State of Michigan.” Michigan became of territory of the United States in 1828. The Michigan Territory included what is now the State of Michigan and buts up next to the state of Ohio on its Southeast border where James’ daughter Sarah was married in 1832. Also, in the 1860 US Census, James’ daughter Mary is listed as having been born in Ohio.
In 1840 James is in Hawlowe, Winnebago Co., Illinois, listed with three males 20-30 (John, Horace, and James Jr.) one male 10-15 (Lorenzo) two females 40-50 (Susan and another female relative) one female 20-30 (daughter Lucinda who was about to marry Charles Oliver Reckhow Dufoe in June), one female 10-25 (Mary) and 1 female 5-10 (Amanda).
In the 1850 US Census for Harlowe, Winnebago Co., IL; he is listed as James Dyer, age 67, male, farmer, born in Mass. On the same page are Sarah CHUBB and her family. Because of the of many other clues including a son named “James” and that in all of “Sarah Chubb’s” census records she is listed as having been born in New York, I made an “educated” guess that James Dyer is her father. Also found on the page is a Clarissa DYER, who in the 1860 census is listed with her husband Horace. Sarah also has a son named Horace and Horace the brother has a son named James H. Also listed with James are Susan, age 56 born in NY; Mary DYER, age 21 born in PA; and Amanda DYER, age 19, born in Wisconsin.) The 1860, Rockford, Winnebago, IL lists: James DYER, 77, M, worth 800 real estate, 200 personal, born MASS; David EASTON, 26, M, Laborer, born OH; Mary EASTON, 28, F, born OH; William EASTON, 10, M, born IL; Sonla EASTON, 3, F, born IL; Rose EASTON, 5/12, F, born IL; Lorenzo P. DYER, 28, M, born NY
By 1839 this family was almost certainly in Harlem twp., Winnebago Co., IL. In Katherine E. Rowland’s book about Winnebago county she writes: "James and Susan DYER] came to Winn. Co. before 28 Oct 1839 when he bought 80 acres of land in Harlem Twp. from the government." The Domain Land Tract Records for Illinois lists: “Dyer James, ID #173548 E2 S3, S25 Twp 45 N, R02E, Winnebago 10-28-1839 Winnebago, 80 acres at 1.25 an acre, total $100.00; and #173549, E2SW, S30 twp 45 N, R03E, Boone 1839, 6 miles E. of tract listed above, 80 areas at 1.25 an acre total $100.00.” In the 1859/60 Rockford, IL city directories James was listed as: Dyer, James, farmer, nwc East and Rock es.
I haven’t found church records for James Dyer or a family Bible. Whether the James followed the Lord is unknown but the potential is clearly there in his ancestors and in his descendants. James must have been a man looking for the Promised Land, moving further into the frontier and producing adventuresome but faithful children and grandchildren.
1. 1810 US Census
2. 1820 US Census
3. 1840 US Census
4. 1850 US Census
5. 1860 US Census
6. "The Pioneers of Winnebago and Boone Counties, Illinois who came before 1841" by Katherine E. Rowland, C.G., Gateway Press, 1990
7. Grace Dyer Mellander, 30 May 1989, Land record for James Dyer
8. "History of Chautauqua Co" by Andrew W. Young, Printing House of Matthews and Warren, 1875. G974.71 CHA 1650-2. Chapter on "STOCKTON", page 554-557.
9. July 1994 from Lorain Co., Ohio land record book F-121
10. 1859-60 Rockford Directory, City Guide and Business Mirror (Vol. 1) Published 1859 FHC #6044417
11. State of Ill., Archives Division Public Domain Land Tract Records
12. History of Chautauqua Co., and its People, Vol. 1, Downs and Hedley, pg 239
13. Dudley, MA Vital Records
14. "Sketches of the History of Chautauqua County" by Emory F. Warren, Jamestown, NY, published by J. Warren Fletcher, 1846
15. "Indenture" of 18 March 1828, land records of the Holland Land Co.