†††††††††††††††††† By P. Matthew Sutko and Henry Dillon
This work draws heavily upon the research and writings of Sherm Dillon and T.O. Dillon. Sherm Dillon descended from Peter Dillonís son, John. T.O. Dillon descended from two of Peter Dillonís sons, Peter, Jr and William.
Both Sherm and T.O. devoted countless hours
to researching and documenting the Peter Dillon family. Beginning in 1893,
Sherm Dillon interviewed and corresponded with many descendants of Peter
Dillonís son, John Dillon, Sr., including Johnís son, John Dillon, Jr. Sherm
published his research in 1933. It was at one point available on the Internet at:
Shermís conclusions have withstood the test of time. For example, his understanding that Peter Dillon was a weaver by trade was not definitively established until 1999, with the discovery at the National Archives of the 1798 Direct Tax List for Greene County Pennsylvania, and the discovery in Coshocton, Ohio of Peter Dillonís August 1823 Revolutionary War Pension Affidavit.
T.O. Dillonís research is, if anything, even more impressive. From the 1920s until the early 1950s, T.O. Dillon worked tirelessly to document the Peter Dillon family. It was T.O. who linked the Peter Dillons of Somerset, County, New Jersey, Greene County, Pennsylvania, and Coshocton County, Ohio -again - something not definitively proven until the 1999 discovery of Peter Dillonís Revolutionary War Pension Affidavit pt1 pt2.
T.O. Dillon prepared a draft manuscript on the Dillon family, which he never published. T.O. Dillonís hard work and remarkable scholarship have been an inspiration to us, and have made possible our further research into the lives of Peter Dillon, Mary Dillon, and their descendants.
As with all family history, this is a work in progress. There is underlying support for all the facts that are cited here. When a conclusion is based on conjecture, we say so. We hope to revise this work to footnote all the statements in it. Because that task will take some time, we provide this draft narrative to share the life of Peter Dillon, his son John, and his grandson John, Jr. We will be glad to share specific information with anyone who is interested in it.
†††††††††††††††††† Peter Dillon and Mary Vactor (Veghte)
Peter Dillon was born around 1753. Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Century Americans had little interest in spelling, and Peterís name was variously spelled Dillon, Dillen, Dillin and Dilling. It appears Peter could not write; he signed documents with a mark rather than a signature. His wife and his children could, however, and they were always very careful to use the distinctive spelling Dillin whenever they signed their names. Whatever others thought, they viewed themselves as Dillins.
Beginning around 1830, most of Peterís descendants stopped spelling their name Dillin and adopted the more common Dillon. There are, however, some descendants who still use the Dillin spelling. Contemporary writers - court clerks, church officials, military officers, tax collectors, and others - were not so precise. The Dilling spelling was used both in Somerset County, New Jersey and Greene County, Pennsylvania. Dillin and Dillen were used virtually everywhere. Ironically, Dillon was rarely used for Peter or his children.
Peterís place of birth has yet to be documented. Descendants of four of Peterís sons understood that Peter was born in Ireland, although a fifth sonís descendants claimed an English heritage. The Irish background seems probable as Dillon is a common Irish name, and the descendants who recalled an Irish birth were separated by time and location, which meant their similar understanding probably had some ancient but common source. Although many Irish Dillons subscribe to the Roman Catholic faith, Peter and his descendants were Protestants.
We know nothing of Peterís life before 1775. At that date, we find him living in Somerset County, New Jersey near the towns of Kingston, Griggstown and Rocky Hill. In the Eighteenth Century, Somerset County was part of the area known as West Jersey. Kingston, Griggstown, and Rocky Hill are situated between the cities of Princeton and New Brunswick.
A 1745 and a 1762 map of Kingston and Griggstown reveal that a James Dillon lived in this area on the Kingston Road. It is possible he was a kinsman of Peterís, but this has not been established. There also were Quaker Dillons in nearby Salem County, New Jersey, but they have no known connection to Peter.
One branch of Peterís descendants recollects that Peter was able come to America from Ireland shortly before the Revolutionary War by working as a servant for a British army officer. Supposedly, the officer was a friend of the Dillon family. Peterís parents, so the story goes, felt Peter was too young to come to America. Peter would not be deterred, however, and left without their permission.
Whatever the truth of this story, Peter was, for all we know, always a "stand alone" Dillon. Both in Somerset County, New Jersey, and then in Greene County, Pennsylvania, Peter and his immediate family were the only Dillons living at those places at those times. Peter moved to Coshocton County shortly before his death. Although there were no other Dillons in Coshocton, there were Dillons in neighboring Knox County, Ohio. No link, however, has been drawn to them.
The first documented fact we have for Peter is his enlistment in the Continental Army in late October or early November 1775. In 1823, Peter recollected that he enlisted on October 28 or 29. Records at the National Archives (under the name Peter Dilling) pt1 pt2 and the New Jersey Archives (under the name Peter Dillen) agree that Peter enlisted on November 6. According to records at the New Jersey Archives, Peterís unit was the Fourth Company, First Battalion (First Establishment), New Jersey Continental line; the National Archivesí records describe it slightly differently, calling it the 1 New Jersey Regiment and the 1st Regiment of New Jersey Troops. It also was known as the First New Jersey Regiment of the New Jersey Militia. US Army link to history of 1st New Jersey.
Peterís unit was authorized on October 9, 1775 as part of the Continental Army and was assigned to the New York (subsequently the Middle) Department. This Regiment consisted of eight companies. They were raised from Middlesex, Morris, Somerset, Monmouth, Essex and Bergen counties.
Peter described his Revolutionary War service in the August 7, 1823 Affidavit that he filed in the Court of Common Pleas for Coshocton County, Ohio. He prepared it as part of the paperwork necessary for obtaining a Revolutionary War pension from the federal government. The original still exists in the Clerkís office at the Coshocton County Courthouse. In it, Peter tells us that he enlisted in the New Jersey Militia near Kingston, New Jersey and served for slightly more than a year.
Peterís Regiment spent the first few months of active service near home. Peterís January 13, 1776 muster roll reports that his Regiment was situated at New Brunswick, New Jersey, just a few miles from Peterís residence. On April 24, 1776, the Regiment was assigned to Sterlingís Brigade, an element of the Main Continental Army. Three days later, on April 27, the Regiment was reassigned to the Canadian Department. On July 2, the Canadian Department was assigned to the Northern Department. On July 20, 1776, Peterís Regiment was assigned to Starkís Brigade, an element of the Northern Department. The Regiment remained part of that Brigade through the term of Peterís service.
In his declaration, Peter explained that his unit was sent (in 1776) to Lake Champlain in northern New York state. Although Peter does not mention this, his unit was sent there to support the Continental troops that had, the autumn before, captured Montreal and then attempted to storm Quebec City. The attack on Quebec, which took place during a blinding snowstorm on New Yearís Eve, 1775, was a complete failure. It effectively destroyed that unitís effectiveness and left it almost leaderless, as most of its commanding officers were killed, wounded, or captured.
The Colonials maintained control of Montreal through May 1776. Decimated by smallpox, and facing 10,000 newly arrived British forces under the command of Major General Johnny Burgoyne, the remnants of the Colonial army retreated to the New York border during the summer of 1776. Peterís Regiment did not serve in Canada. Instead, it protected Lake Champlain and Fort Ticonderoga along the vital route from Canada to New York.
On November 3, 1776, Peter was ordered to accompany a detachment of sick soldiers from Ticonderoga to Albany. This was no simple task. Many of the troops suffered from cholera and other deadly diseases. Traveling among such men almost certainly placed Peterís life in danger. Peter was able, however, to successfully complete his mission, apparently without suffering any major illness.
After arriving in Albany, Peter did not know what to do, as none of the officers of his company, battalion or regiment were situated there. The military officials at Albany authorized Peter to return to New Jersey, which he did. Peter was concerned, however, with simply having left service, so he subsequently sought out the commander of his unit, Captain John Polhemus - who later would be related to Peter by marriage - and asked for a written discharge. Captain Polhemus explained to Peter that this was unnecessary because Peterís term had expired.
Relieved of further military obligations, Peter returned to the Kingston, Griggstown, Rocky Hill area. It may be at this time that Peter learned the weaving trade. We know this was his primary profession, and we also know that Peter had some relationship with at least one local weaver, John Honeyman, and almost certainly with a second, Isaac Veghte.
Honeyman, is a legendary figure, known as The Spy of Washington. Around the time of the battle of Trenton, Honeyman sold cattle and provided services to the British. His neighbors branded him an infamous Tory and marched upon his house to seize him and destroy his property. There, they found his wife, who produced a letter from General Washington, informing the reader that no one was to harm Honeymanís family or property. Honeymanís descendants maintain Washington protected Honeyman because he was acting as a double agent, using his commercial relations with the British to gather information for General Washington and provide misinformation to the British. Whatever the truth of this story - and historians accept it as true - Honeyman remained in New Jersey long after the war, and died a prosperous and respected citizen.
During the war, Honeyman ran several businesses from his home in Griggstown, including a weaving business that he operated in a shop at the back of his house. In 1777, Colonial troops seized some of Honeymanís livestock. Peter must have been living near to, or working for, Honeyman at this time, because Peter provided a declaration in 1782 supporting Honeymanís request that New Jersey reimburse him for his losses. In the declaration, Peter explained that he had witnessed the seizure, and testified that the livestock had never been returned.
The other weaver that Peter probably knew at this time was Isaac Veghte. Isaac, who died in 1782, ran a prosperous weaving shop in Kingston. It is possible that Peter may have worked for Isaac, although that has yet to be established.
We do know, however, that on November 13, 1779, Peter signed a 500-pound bond, as required by the State of New Jersey, so he could marry Mary Vactor (Veghte). The bond obligated Peter and his fellow bondsman to pay New Jersey the sum of 500 pounds if it proved that Peter or Mary was not eligible to wed. Peterís fellow bondsman was Abraham Simonson. Simonsonís relationship to Peter and Mary Vactor (Veghte) is not understood. Abraham, like Peter, served in the First Regiment, so it is possible he and Peter were Army buddies. It also is possible that Abraham was related by marriage to Peterís bride, Mary Vactor. Both the Simonsons and the Veghtes were part of the Dutch community in New Jersey. Both families had, before that, lived on Staten Island. Abraham Simonson tombstone.
Maryís surname, "Vactor," was an Americanized version of the Dutch name Veghte. During the 1770s, 1780s and 1790s, a number of Veghtes in New Jersey adopted Vactor as their surname. Some used the names interchangeably. It may be that Veghte was pronounced "Veghteh," and this was later simplified to Vactor. New Jersey tax records, and the records of the Six Mile Run Dutch Reformed Church in Somerset County, reveal that "Veghte" was spelled at least 13 ways during this period. The transformation of Veghte to Vactor is easily understood when those names are pronounced as a group, being careful to pronounce the final "e" as "eh": Veghten, Veghts, Veghtt, Vecgte, Veghte, Vechgte, Veighte, Vaghte, Veghter, Vachter, Vagtar, Vacter, and Vactor.
According to Peter Dillonís Revolutionary War Pension Declaration, Mary "Veghte" was sixty-one years old in August 1823, which meant she was born in 1761 or 1762. The records of the Six Mile Run (now Franklin Park) Dutch Reformed Church reveal that Abraham and Maria Vechtge had a daughter, Marta, who was baptized at the church on June 20, 1762. Martaís only known sibling was Nellie Veghte, who was baptized at Six Mile Run on October 12, 1760. One of Peter and Maryís descendants recollected that one of Peter and Maryís daughters was named Nellie. John Dillon, Sr also named a daughter Nellie, perhaps for this aunt. Peter and Mary Dillon also named children Abraham and Mary.
The Veghte family arrived at the Dutch Colony of New Amsterdam from Norg, Province of Drenthe, on April 15, 1660 aboard a vessel named Bonticou, which translates as the Spotted Cow. Claes Arentse Vechten (spelled several ways) was the founder of the Veghte clan in America. The Veghtes settled in Brooklyn, in an area known as Gowanus.
In 1699, Claes built a farmhouse in Gowanus. The house was believed to have been General Washingtonís headquarters during the battle of Long Island. Over time, the house, known as the Vechte-Cortelyou House, came to represent to the prototypical Dutch farmhouse. Many nineteenth-century artists painted it, including Louis Grube, Nathaniel Currier, Frederick W. Halpin, Charles Parsons, W.H. Coughlin, G.E. Jones, James Ryder Van Brunt, and Lyman Atwater.† Some more views of the house: 1 2 3 4
http://bowercommunity.com/homestead/BPNewYork.html has the following data:
"Extract from Manor Houses & Historic Homes of Long Island and Staten Island, by Harold Donaldson Eberlein 1928, Lippincott). It does not purport to be a genealogical reference at all, but a history of such houses and some history of their occupants.
From the chapter, The Old Stone House Gowanus 1699, I'll summarize the first part - This house, commonly called the "Cortelyou" house...was erected in 1699; it was a typically Dutch house, built by Nicholas Vechte, who was a farmer. He built a canal from the creek to his kitchen door, from where he could paddle off to the city market in New York. "The only difficulty was that the ebb tide often left his boat stranded in his own little canal. This annoying condition he remedied in 1709 by contracting with Abram and Nicholas BROWER, who owned Denton's Pond nearby, to supply him with water when he needed it. The he dug a channel from his canal to a water gate at the edge of the pond..." Besides this contract for water, "...from Denton's Pond, Nicholas also contracted for the right to plant oysters..." (It doesn't say where, so I guess in the pond?)
No additional information is known, therefore no submitter is provided."
The house was demolished in 1897. Just before the end, it had one last moment of fame. Charlie Ebbets used the Vechte-Cortelyou House as the clubhouse for his Brooklyn Baseball Club, which played games at nearby Washington Park.
The Vechte-Cortelyou house was not forgotten. In 1934, the New York Parks Department constructed a replica of it near 5th Avenue and 3rd Street in Brooklyn.
One of Claesí sons, Gerrit Claes Vechten, born in Drenthe in 1656, moved to Staten Island, New York before 1711. Gerrit served as a Justice in 1722, as did his son, Jan, in 1735.
In 1699, Gerrit was part of a Dutch consortium that purchased 3,000 acres of land in New Jersey on the east side of the Millstone River, encompassing an area extending from Griggstown toward Six Mile Run (now Franklin Park) toward Ten-Mile Run. Gerrit never lived in New Jersey. His sons, Gerrit Jan Veghte(born on Staten Island on January 1, 1715) and Nicholas Jans Veghte (born on Staten Island, April 17, 1711), did move to Somerset County. Nicholas moved there between 1734 and 1738, and operated mills at Griggstown and/or Rocky Hill. One of Nicholasí sons was Abraham, who likely is Mary Vactorís father. New information on Veghte ancestry.† Perhaps Isaac Veghte was Maryís father?
The Revolutionary War devastated the New Jersey economy. The British and American forces crossed the Kingston area several times. At warís end, many residents moved west in search of better opportunity.
Peter and Mary left New Jersey some time after 1784, although we do not know when. One of their sons, Isaac, was baptized in Somerset County at Six Mile Run Church on September 30, 1781. Isaac died before 1790, and the Dillons also named their last son, who was born in 1801, Isaac. In 1784, another son, Thomas, was born in New Jersey."
No record exists for Peter between 1784 and 1789. By 1790, he had moved to Franklin Township in Greene County, Pennsylvania, where he was to stay until 1820 (Greene County was a part of Washington County until 1796). It is not likely that Peter moved to the area much before 1790, as he does not show up on tax or other records prior to that time, although he consistently appears on such documents thereafter.
Life in early Greene County was not easy. As late as 1791, nearby residents lost their lives in disputes with the Native Americans who were being overwhelmed by the massive influx of settlers from the east. Commerce was difficult, and many things were in short supply.
There is extant a 1793 Franklin township tax list which identifies a "Peter Diling", probably Peter Dillon since no Diling was included in either the 1790 nor 1800 lists. This was listed on an older Dillon site by Matt Sutko and Henry Dillon, yet not included in this version for some reason.
Greene County also was on the periphery of the Whisky Rebellion. In response to Congressí levying of an excise tax upon whisky - the most important product in the area - many settlers in western Pennsylvania turned to violence to prevent collection of the tax. Normalcy returned only after President Washington raised an army to introduce order.
If Peter played a role in these affairs, history has left no record. We know, however, that by 1798, Peter and Mary had created a stable life in Greene County. They had a large family, had taken possession of a 100-acre tract, built a cabin that measured ten by twenty feet, and constructed a weaverís shop - where Peter pursued his profession. Dillon's in 1800 Greene county census transcript. 1800 Franklin township, Greene county, Pennsylvania actual federal census
Based on ages of children, this is probably our Peter Dillon family in the 1810 Franklin township, Greene County Pennsylvania federal census returns
And another, presumably younger, Peter Dillon in Letterkenny township, Franklin County Pennsylvania federal census returns
As time went on, Peter expanded his farm. By 1813, Peterís land encompassed 402 acres. At that time, he took steps to obtain formal title for it. During the first rush of settlers to western Pennsylvania, speculators laid claim to huge tracts of land. To prevent such profiteering, Pennsylvania enacted legislation that required a person to occupy and cultivate land in order to obtain title. Under Pennsylvania law, a person who cultivated land could obtain a warrant for it from the state. The land was then surveyed. When the occupier finished making payments to the state, Pennsylvania issued a patent to the land, which gave the patentee good title.
The land survey for Franklin Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania, located at the Pennsylvania Archives in Harrisburg, reveals that a warrant was issued to Peter Dillon for 402 acres on August 13, 1813 pt1 pt2 pt3. The land was surveyed on December 17, 1813. It took Peter almost four and a half years to make full payment on his land, but he did so, and a patent was issued on May 8, 1819.
It was the universal custom at this time for local landowners to name their land. The Franklin Township warrant map contains many fascinating names, which reflect peopleís states of mind, or honor their places of origin. Peterís neighbors used such colorful names as Desire, Request, Troublesome, Decivility, Shadow of Death, and Adventure. Others must have been from Falmouth, Newbern, Bowlin Green, and Atrium. Peter named his land Conquest.
During this time, Peterís health deteriorated. By 1818, his physical condition was such that he could no longer continue working as a weaver. In 1819 and 1820, Peter sold his land in Greene County to several of his neighbors in four separate transactions for the sum total of $1,557.50. Peter selling of land pt1 pt2 pt3 pt4 pt5 pt6 pt7
At this time, the entire Dillon clan, except for son John, moved to Perry Township in western Coshocton County, Ohio. Peter, and many of his sons and daughters show up on the 1820 census 1 2 in Coshocton. Some purchased land there. Others ultimately moved west. Dillon land in Ohio
The last known record of Peter is his Revolutionary War Pension Affidavit, which he filed with the court in Coshocton on August 7, 1823 pt1 pt2. Under a 1818 law, the United States gave certain Revolutionary War veterans the right to receive a pension. Based upon Peterís declaration and his testimony in open court, the court in Coshocton concluded that Peter had satisfactorily proven Revolutionary service. For reasons we do not understand, Peter never filed a formal pension application with the United States. It is presumed he died before he was able to do so. It also is presumed that Mary Dillon died about this time as well.
Peter was buried along the lane leading to his house in Perry Township, Coshocton County, Ohio. His grave sat at the foot of two young trees. Over time, the trees grew together, entombing the marker and lifting it ten feet in the air. Ultimately, the trees completely enveloped it. In 1981, Shirley Dillon Gerbracht and her family, descendants of Peter Dillon, arranged for the United States to place a new marker at the grave site. It sits today beneath the now ancient trees where Peter spent the last years of an eventful life. Peter Dillon Grave 1 2 3 4 5 6
†††††††††††††††††† Children of Peter and Mary Dillon
The known children of Peter Dillon and Mary Vactor (Veghte) are:
††††††††††††††††††† John Dillon, Sr.
There is no documentary evidence establishing John Dillon Srís date of birth. Information obtained by Sherm Dillon from Johnís children establishes that John was born in 1785. John probably was born in Pennsylvania, as census records for his son, John Dillon, Jr, list John, Sr as having been born in Pennsylvania. However, John Dillon, Jrís certificate of death lists John, Srís place of birth as Virginia. It is possible that the Peter Dillon family lived in Virginia, on their way ultimately to Greene County, at the time of Johnís birth. It also is possible that the family was still living in New Jersey when John, Sr was born.
John lived most of his life in Greene County. Around 1808 he married Rachel Hamilton (also spelled Hambleton, Hambelton, and Hanebleton). It is likely, but by no means certain, that Rachelís father was Hugh Hamilton, who moved to Franklin Township with his family between 1800 and 1810. Rachel named one of her sons Hugh and another Hamilton. Rachel first appears in Greene County records in 1806. In that year, the records of the Goshen Baptist Church in Greene County indicate that Rachel had expressed an intent to join the church.
John first appears in a written record in the 1810 census. He and his father, Peter, are the only Dillons listed as living in Franklin Township. His older brother, Thomas, was the only other Dillon listed in the 1810 census as living anywhere in Greene County. The census listed Johnís age as being between 16 and 26, and Rachel as being between the same ages.
Like his father - and then his children and grandchildren, John Dillon, Sr spent time in active military service. During the War of 1812, most of Americaís forces consisted of local militias. Those militias were activated at times of crisis and released when trouble passed. In 1814, British troops attacked Baltimore and sacked Washington. Likely in response to these events, the local Greene County militia was called into active service in November of that year. Johnís unit was known as Mitchellís Detachment of Riflemen. They were commanded by Captain Sooy Smith of Greene County, and were attached to the 130th Regiment Pennsylvania Militia under the command of Major Thomas Mitchell. John's war record pt1 pt2 pt3
Johnís unit was called to active service on November 10, 1814. It traveled to Camp Springfield, Baltimore, Maryland, where John was discharged on December 4, 1814. It is unlikely the unit saw battle. The British had left the Baltimore area before the unit was even mustered. It took John twelve days to travel the 250 miles back to Greene County.
John returned to his farming. During this time, his name appears on court dockets but no known information exists regarding his daily life or experiences. By the time of the 1820 census his father, brothers, and sisters had moved to Ohio. The Greene County census finds John, alone among the Dillons, living where his fatherís 402 acres were located. Again, John is the only Dillon in the county.
Johnís neighbors, as identified in the 1820 census, are the same people who show up on the Greene County survey map for Franklin Township (available from the Pennsylvania Archives) as having formerly lived adjacent to Peter. Some of Johnís neighbors in 1820 also were the people to whom Peter sold his land or who were related to John through the marriage of their children, or their brothers and sisters, to Peter and Mary Dillonís children. These included David White (formerly a neighbor of Peterís), Abner Clark (Michael Clark formerly was a neighbor of Peterís); John Strosnider (formerly a neighbor of Peterís); Robert Bradford (same); Thomas Mooney (same); James Bradford (Peter sold two parcels of land to him); Abram Trestin (Tustin) (his daughter married Johnís brother, Peter, Jr, and he purchased land from Peter, Sr); Catherine Strosnider (formerly lived near Peter); William Maple (same); Kendale Godwin (Peter sold land to him); Andrew Eisenminger (Johnís brother, Abraham, married an Eisenminger); and John Eisenmeyer (Eisenminger) (same).
Based upon the records still existing in Greene County and in the Pennsylvania Archives, it appears that Peter sold all 402 acres of his property in 1819 and 1820. There is no record of Peter giving or selling land to John. It is possible that John rented or owned land next to his father and that is why he was living in 1820 at precisely the same place where his father had lived. It also is possible that the 1820 census was conducted prior to the time in 1820 that Peter sold the last of his land. If that is so, John may have been living on the land as a sort of guardian.
T.O. Dillon, reported (around 1950) that John Dillon was listed in the 1826 Greene County tax records as owning 40 acres of land in Greene County. Unfortunately, we have been unable to find those tax records. Existing Greene County records also contain no record of John buying or selling land. That does not mean he did not own land. Many land transfers during this period were not immediately recorded with the County. Indeed, three of Peter Dillonís four 1819-1820 land transfers were not recorded until 1900 (See above Peter Dillon land sales links). It appears that Johnís purchases and sales were never recorded or were lost.
We also do not know why John chose to remain in Greene County when the rest of his family moved west. Perhaps his wifeís closeness to her family and her church played a role. Or it may be that John simply sunk deeper roots in the County. There is support for this idea. Although a number of Peterís sons were old enough to serve in the War of 1812, only John did. John simply may have had closer friendships, which convinced him not to leave the area with the other members of his family.
There is no evidence that John had any contact with his father or his brothers and sisters after they left Greene County. As late as the turn of the century, however, John Dillon, Jr, could recollect the names of most of his uncles although none of his aunts. Descendants of other Peter Dillon children also recollected that their ancestors had a brother named John. There is no evidence, however, that the two branches of the family had any contact again until the late 1940s.
The 1830 census finds John and Rachel still in Greene County, and reveals that John was still farming his land. Perhaps it was the pressure to acquire land for his sons that led John to leave Greene County in 1835. Like many Greene County residents, John took advantage of cheap federal cheap land to start a new life. Throughout much of the west, the federal government sold good land, better land that the hilly land of Franklin Township, at very reasonable prices. On October 8, 1834, the United States granted to "John Dillin of Greene County Pennsylvania" title to 39.58 acres of land in the northwest corner of Monroe County, Ohio. John paid cash. That part of Monroe was less than 100 miles from those Dillons living in Coshocton, and less than 100 miles from Greene County. John Dillon land grant.
Another land grant to a John Dillin of Belmont co. Ohio in 1838 may indicate that John spent some time in Belmont. The land is located in Monroe county, Ohio.
Three of Johnís sons, Vincent, Hugh, and Peter, also purchased land from the federal government in Monroe County near their father. John, Jr., the youngest of Johnís children, lived with his parents and helped his father farm his land.
John sold his Monroe County farm on January 18, 1840, signing it with the distinctive Dillin signature. This ends the contemporaneous record for John Dillon. However, Sherm Dillon, writing in 1933 - based upon his 1893 interviews with Johnís descendants, chronicled the remainder of Johnís life. After the sale, John lived on the nearby farm of his son, Vincent, in Monroe County. John refused to live with Vincentís family, concerned he might be in the way. Instead, he lived in a separate house. Vincent Dillon in 1840 census without elder John shown in census† John Dillon (and John Jr) in 1840 census
In 1847, Vincent purchased land in Windsor Township in Lawrence County, Ohio. Lawrence is located at the southern tip of the state, across the river from West Virginia. John, Sr moved with Vincent to Lawrence but lived only one year. John passed away in 1848. It is assumed that he is buried at the family cemetery, which still exists, in Windsor Township. The cemetery has a number of older headstones, which the forces of time and nature have erased. It is presumed that Johnís maker is one of these.
Rachel was alive at the time of the January 1840 sale of their land in Monroe County. It is unknown when she passed away. Her descendants reported to Sherm Dillon that she died before John, Sr moved to Lawrence County.
††††††††††††††††††† Children of John and Rachel Dillon more detailed version
a. NANCY, born Abt. 1808, Franklin Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania and died December 26, 1907 in Athens County, Ohio. Nancy married John Campbell Cox, May 13, 1824, in Belmont County, Ohio. At the time of her marriage, her place of birth is listed as Greene County, Pennsylvania.
b. VINCENT (Sr), born January 1, 1809, Franklin Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania and died January 13, 1892, Windsor Township, Lawrence County, Ohio around February 4, 1892. He married Hannah Jackson, born June 2, 1810, Franklin Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania and died December 3, 1889, Windsor Township, Lawrence County, Ohio. They were married in 1830, in Greene County, Pennsylvania.† Extensive coverage of Vincent and descendants
c. HUGH, born abt 1810, in Franklin Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania and died abt 1897, in or near Lewisville, Monroe Co., OH. Hugh married Catherine (Katie) Schultz bef 1835, probably in Greene County, Pennsylvania. Catherine was born abt 1807 in Greene County, Pennsylvania, and died in Lewisville, Monroe County, Ohio, bet. 1880 - 1889. A Hugh Dillon is buried in Lewisville, Monroe County, Ohio.
d. RACHEL, born abt 1813, Greene County, Pennsylvania.
e. PETER, was born
abt 1814 in Greene County, Pennsylvania. He married Jane Moore bef 1834,
probably in Pennsylvania.
She died in May 1854 and is buried in a cemetery on the old Elmer Burkhart farm west of
Lewisville, off State Route 78, in Summit Township, Monroe Co., OH. On
September 14, 1856, Peter married Julia Ann May, born abt 1838 in Ohio. She was
considerably younger than Peter. Peter died January 24, 1897 in Wheeling, West
f. MARY, born abt 1810 in Franklin Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania, died at the age of 37, July 7, 1847 in Monroe Co., OH. She married James R. Morris, born abt 1812 in Greene Co., PA. During her shortened life, James and Mary had six children including two sets of twins. Mary is buried on the old Elmer Burkhart farm, west of Lewisville, off State Route 78, in Summit Township.
g. BETSY, born abt 1817 in Franklin Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania.
h. THOMAS, born abt 1819 in Franklin Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania. He married Sarah Ann Clegg abt 1836.
i. HAMILTON, was
born abt 1823 in Franklin Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania and died
January 5, 1849, Monroe County, Ohio. He married Elizabeth Denbow abt 1847 in
Monroe County, Ohio. She was born abt 1827 and died abt 1890
in Monroe County, Ohio. A Hamilton Dillon is buried on the old Elmer Burkhart farm west of Lewisville, off State Route 78, in Summit Township. This Hamilton would have been about the age of John Dillon Sr.ís son, Hamilton Dillon, and is
buried in a cemetery with other close family members.
j. DAVID, born abt 1824 in Franklin Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania.
k. NELLIE, born abt 1825 in Franklin Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania.
l. JOHN JR.
John Dillon, Jr
John Dillon, Jr was born in Greene County, Pennsylvania on February 7, 1826. He moved with his family to Monroe County, Ohio around 1835. John measured five feet ten inches. He had dark hair and blue eyes.
Around 1846-1847, he married Malinda Wells. Malindaís father probably was Jesse Wells. Like the Dillons, Jesse Wells came to Monroe County from Pennsylvania. John Dillon, Jr was close friends with Jesseís son, Samuel D. Wells, who John knew from early childhood.
The 1850 census finds John living in northwestern Monroe County, near several of his brothers. Like most of them, he was a farmer; Johnís land worth was $300, which indicates that his farm was quite small in size. The 1850 census lists John under the distinctive Dillin spelling, although his brothers are identified as Dillons. By 1860 John was living in Noble County, on the Monroe County border. By this time, he was John Dillon, which he would remain for the rest of his life. 1850 and 1860 actual
John Dillin on line 9 of 1850 Bethol Township Monroe County Ohio Agricultural census pt2 - NEW Jan '10!
Although thirty seven years old, and the father of a large family, John enrolled in the 116 Ohio Volunteer Regiment on September 30, 1862. The bulk of Johnís Regiment consisted of men from Monroe County. Companies A, C, D, E and F were raised there. Companies B and G were raised in Meigs County; Companies I and K in Athens County; and Company H in Noble County.
Johnís company was Company F. Joining him in that company were two of his nephews, Jacob and Henry Dillon, sons of his brother, Hugh. Johnís older brother, Peter, also served in the regiment, as a captain in Company E.
The Regiment rendezvoused at Camp Putnam at Marietta, Ohio, on August 25, 1862. Thus, at least some of the troops had received a bit of military training before John joined the unit. The Regiment spent the fall of 1862 training at Camp Marietta. It took time to create a fighting unit. At first, there were no uniforms or weapons. The men had no changes of clothing. As the Regimentís commanding officer later recalled, the men were "in a demoralized condition generally."
With effort, the Regiment was clothed, armed, and trained. The troops then moved into Virginia [in what is now West Virginia], where the Regiment had its first engagement at Moorefield. Mostly, though, late 1862 and early 1863 seems to have been a time of boredom and deprivation. The Regiment wintered near Romney, Virginia [now West Virginia], with little to do. Morale was low.
On February 16, 1863, John and his two nephews were captured - as was their entire company - while foraging for supplies near Romney. The unitís commander allowed the troops to scatter. Out of the blue, a Confederate cavalry unit swooped down and captured the entire company without a shot. All the men were released the next day, but they were not eligible to rejoin active service until a concomitant Confederate prisoner was released by the Union Army. Given this state of affairs, John went home for a few months, and then reported to Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio, where Union soldiers awaited exchange. The exchange eventually occurred, and John rejoined his unit.
Both of John's nephews and Johnís brother were wounded in battle. One of Johnís nephews was captured a second time and transported to the infamous Andersonville Prison, where he contracted scurvy, the effects of which plagued him for the rest of his life.
Only John - among the Dillons - was never wounded in battle. The bad weather, however, broke his health. John spent considerable time in 1864 in a series of hospitals for illness resulting from exposure. From April to August 1864, John was confined to the hospital at Martinsburg, West Virginia. His return to active duty was short-lived. By September, he was back in the hospital. He returned again, for a brief period of service, but was back in the hospital in Annapolis, Maryland in October 1864.
By late October 1864, John was able to return to active service, and served continuously until the end of the war. Johnís return to health enabled him to witness some of the most important events of the war. He was present at the siege of Petersburg, the fall of Richmond, and Leeís surrender at Appomattox.
John and the remainder of his company were transferred to Company D, 62nd Ohio Regiment in June 1865, something that was very unpopular because the other members of the unit were discharged. John received his discharge a few weeks later, on June 18, 1865 at Richmond, Virginia. That same day, he was promoted to corporal. John was thirty-nine. John's Civil War record pt1 pt2 pt3 pt4 pt5 pt6 pt7 pt8 pt9 pt10 pt11 pt12 pt13 pt14
After the war, John returned to Monroe County. In 1868, he moved to western Gallia County, Ohio. The reason for his move is not known. This area abuts Windsor Township in Lawrence County, where his brother, Vincent, had moved in 1847. Perhaps John moved to be closer to the Vincent Dillon family. John remained in this area until 1882. Except for a few months in 1869, when he operated a grist mill, John continued to farm - as he had done all his adult life.
A search through all of the townships of the Gallia County Ohio 1870 census revealed no trace of our Dillon ancestors in early February 2003, be they west or east. There were a handful of Dillons sprinkled throughout the county, only one from Ohio, the rest from Virginia, none "ours".
Tragedy struck in 1872. His wife, Malinda Wells, passed away on June 11, 1872. Left with several children, John married Barbara Jane Lewis in Crown City, Gallia County, Ohio, on October 16, 1872. They would be married for almost 45 years.
Barbara Lewis was a widow. Her husband, Jacob Smith, had passed away on November 27, 1869, leaving her with several children. Barbara was born on February 27, 1838 in Monroe County, Virginia (now West Virginia). Her father was Samuel Lewis and her mother was Rhoda Miller. Like many West Virginians, Rhoda descended from Jacob Mueller (Miller), a German immigrant who arrived in America in the early Eighteenth Century. Samuelís father, Joshua Lewis, died at Norfolk, Virginia in 1814 while in active service during the War of 1812.
In the 1830s and 1840s a large number of Lewises left what is now southeastern West Virginia and moved to Lawrence County, Ohio. Joshuaís widow, Catharine Hill Lewis, was one. So were her three sons, including Barbaraís father, Samuel. In the early 1850s, Catharine used a land bounty warrant, issued by the federal government in return for Joshuaís War of 1812 service, to purchase land in Windsor Township, Lawrence County, Ohio. Samuel and his two brothers lived nearby.
John Dillon, wife Barbara and family in 1880 Guyan township, Gallia county Ohio federal census
In 1882, John and Barbara left Gallia County and moved to Lincoln County, West Virginia. Barbara had previously lived in this area with her first husband prior to his death. In 1878, Johnís wife had acquired an interest in a farm in northern Lincoln County, near the Putnam County border, from Lewis Smith. John and Barbara owned and lived on that farm for many years. Around 1907, the Dillons acquired a second parcel of property, a lot in the town of Hamlin, where they built a second home.
John resided in Lincoln County for 35 years, living among children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Over time, his health deteriorated. After a lengthy illness, John passed away on December 26, 1917. He was ninety-one. Barbara Lewis Smith Dillon lived another fifteen years, passing away on July 3, 1932. She was ninety-four. John in 1910 Carrol district, Lincoln county West Va. Census next to county jail on court street.
John and Barbara Dillon are buried at Harveyís Creek cemetery in Lincoln County, West Virginia. The cemetery is located northeast of Hamlin, West Virginia on a hill overlooking State Route 34. In addition, to John and Barbara, their son, John Dillon, III, is buried there, as are two daughters, Jennette "Nettie" Dillon Vickers, and Allie May Vickers.
John's tombstone is simple. It lists neither a date of birth, nor a date of death. Instead, it is inscribed "CORP. JOHN DILLON CO.F 116 OHIO INF."
††††††††††††††††††† Children of John Dillon, Jr
Unfortunately, some of the children of John Dillon, Jr and Malinda Wells may be unknown. John does not appear in the 1870 census, so it is possible there are children who were born after 1860 and reached independence before 1880.
The known children of John Dillon, Jr and Malinda Wells are:
1. MALISSA E., born 1846-1847 in Monroe County, Ohio; she married on September 29, 1867 to George Knowlton (Noelton) in Monroe County, Ohio, and resided in Sistersville, West Virginia;
2. JANE, born March 15, 1847 in Monroe County, Ohio; married Hamilton Culberton McFadden (son of George McFadden); died June 21, 1929 in Butler, Bates County, Missouri; buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, in Butler, Missouri;
3. RACHEL, born 1848 or 1849 in Monroe County, Ohio; may have died before 1860;
4. ELIZABETH, born in 1850 in Monroe or Noble County, Ohio; it appears that she was known as Zetta; if this is so, she is the daughter who married ________ Honaker, and resided in Logan, West Virginia;
5. ELIZA, born in 1851-1852 in Monroe or Noble County, Ohio;
6. MARGARET, born in 1853-1854 in Monroe or Noble County, Ohio;
7. HANNAH, born in 1858-1859 in Monroe or Noble County, Ohio; she may have been John Dillonís daughter who, known as Addie, married _______ Hamilton and resided in Huntington, West Virginia;
8. MARY ELLEN, married Rufus Sylvester Lewis, and resided in Bowles, West Virginia;
9. SARAH, married __________ Chapman and resided in Missouri.
It is likely that at least two of the individuals listed above are the same person. The names of John and Malindaís children that are listed in the 1850, 1860, and 1880 censuses do not coincide with the names listed in Johnís January 3, 1918 obituary in the Lincoln Republican. It appears that census data is incorrect for some children and/or some ceased using their given names. It seems most likely based upon the available information that John and Malinda had nine daughters.
The children of John Dillon, Jr and Barbara Jane Lewis are:
1. JOHN H., born October 22, 1874 in Gallia County, Ohio; died March 8, 1904 in Lincoln County, West Virginia; buried, Harveyís Creek Cemetery, Lincoln County, West Virginia;
2. JENNETTE "Nettie," born March 7, 1877, in Gallia County, Ohio; married John Bunyan Vickers, December 27, 1893 in Lincoln County, West Virginia; died December 27, 1962 in Huntington, Cabell County, West Virginia; buried in Harveyís Creek Cemetery, Lincoln County, West Virginia; Nettie Vickers obituary Nettie's Bible pt1 pt2 pt3 pt4
3. ALLIE MAY, born June 1880 in Gallia County, Ohio; married Albert E. Vickers in 1898 in Lincoln County, West Virginia; died in 1960; buried in Harveyís Creek Cemetery, Lincoln County, West Virginia.
An Excellent page showing tombstones of some of the individuals above by Henry S Dillon is at external link† †http://www.geocities.com/hamiltoncemetery/index.html
The following are links to John Dillon Jr's extensive pension papers, as well as papers related to Barbara Dillon: