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Carroll County Biographies

ELIJAH H. DYSON

A retired farmer living at Thomson, Ill., and one of the best known men of Carroll county, was born in this county on section 8, York township, March 20, 1841, a son of William and Lavina (Smith) Dyson. William Dyson was born in Taylor county, Va., September 17, 1812. In 1819 he went to Bartholomew county, Ind., and there, on September 17, 1835, was married to Lavina Smith, who was born February 2, 1814, and they came to Carroll county, Ill., October 19, 1838. Lavina Smith was born in Ohio and died at Thomson, Ill., on February 4, 1911, two days after celebrating her ninety-seventh birthday.

William Dyson, the grandfather of Elijah H. Dyson, came to Carroll county in 1837, with his wife, Betsy (Hubbard) Dyson, accompanied by four sons: Eli, Charles, Hezekiah and William. Eli and Hezekiah both died in York township and were buried near their parents, in the old Baptist burying ground. Charles Dyson died in Wisconsin. The Dysons were well known people and in a measure maintained the reputation for hospitality that belongs to Virginia people. They were pioneers in every sense of the word.

William Dyson, father of Elijah H. Dyson, engaged in farming as an occupation, and to a large degree was one of the men who assisted in the development of this part of Carroll county. When he came to section 18, York township, Savanna was but a hamlet of a few houses and one store. During the later years of his life, he was a devout member of the Christian church. In politics he was a Republican. In earlier days, he enjoyed hunting the wild game that was yet plentiful all through this part of the country.

To William and Lavina Dyson the following children were born: Serena, James, Elijah H., Mary, Nancy, William Amos and Matilda. Mary died at the age of four years. James died in 1906, having served in the Civil war for four years as a member of Compnay C, Ninety-second Illinois Volunteer Infantry, a brave man all through this long period. His widow survives and lives at Thompson , Ill. William Amos is a retired farmer living at Davenport, Ia., married Alice Smith and they have two children, Louis and Tina. Serena J. is the widow of Henry Bristol, who left six children and she resides at Elk Point, S. Dak. Nancy is the widow of David Ashby and lives at Red Oak, Ia.

Elijah H. Dyson had such school opportunities as were afforded in York township in his boyhood but while still young, began to take part in the farm industries, probably his first real work being plowing with an ox-team, when about ten years old. He remained at home until his marriage, which occurred when he was about twenty-two years old, and then settled on the old homestead of his grandfather, on section 18, York township. This land the grandfather had bought from the government for $1.25 per acre, the patent bearing the signature of President James K. Polk. On this farm Mr. and Mrs. Dyson remained until March, 1902, and then moved to Thompson where they enjoy every comfort of modern life, still retaining the ownership of 153 acres of fine land.

On July 26, 1863, Mr. Dyson was married to Miss Malissa L. Gaar, by Rev. C. W. Sherwood. She was born in York township, October 27, 1845, a daughter of John P. and Elizabeth (Shoemaker) Gaar. The father of Mrs. Dyson was born in Kentuky, September 15, 1809, and the mother in Ohio, December 25, 1812. In May 1839, they were married at Marion, Ind., and in 1843 came to Carroll county and settled on a farm two miles east of Thompson, on which they spent the rest of their lives. John P. Gaar was a relative of Abraham Gaar, of the Gaar-Scott Threshing Machine Co., of Richmond, Ind. Mrs. Dyson can trace her genalogy back to John Gar, as the name was then spelled, who came to America from Bavaria, Germany, in 1651, after which the family was well known in Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky.

To Mr. and Mrs. Dyson the following children were born: Cora A., born June 15, 1864, married John Meddles, a farmer in Clay county, S. Dak., and they have five children - Frank, Etta, Lizzie, Pearl and Dyson. Lizzie, born March 13, 1866, died at the age of seventeen years and six months; Robert B., who was born March 18, 1868, lives at home; Harry L., who was born June 17, 1875, married Loretta Griswold, and they have three children - Wilbur, Wilmot and Sylvia. Mr. Dyson operates the old home farm in section 18 for his father; Walter, who was born October 14, 1878, married Rosa B. Martindale and they live at Lyons, Ia., now lives in Thompson. They have six children - Clifford B., Cora M., Mary L., Thelma M., Myrna M., and Bernard Gaar.

Mr. and Mrs. Dyson have met with few personal bereavements and their long period of married life has been one of real companionship. For over fifty years they have been members of the Christian church, for forty-six of these Mrs. Dyson being a teacher in the Sunday-shcool, and for twenty-six years Mr. Dyson has been a deacon in the church.

Posted by Lynnea Dickenson
Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Carroll County" Munsell Publishing Co. - 1913

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