We’ve finally located a place we are fairly certain Bluford Elisha Dyer, Jr. was buried. Thanks to Harold Dyer who explored the land and remembered what his father and grandfather told him, the knoll on which we firmly believe Bluford Elisha Dyer, Jr. was buried has been identified. The land has a long record of being “passed down” through the generations. Harold received it from his father, William Edward. Before him James C. Dyer, Harold’s grandfather, owned it. It came to him from James Marion Dyer, who was one of the sons living at home away back in 1834, when the household of Elisha (Jr.) was listed in Union County.
We’re erecting a monument to mark the “spot near where” the burial took place. We will remember this ancestor and his beginnings in Union County in our annual Dyer-Souther Heritage Association Reunion on July 17, 2010.
The lineage of Choestoe Dyers is a bit hard to trace. But some facts are rather well established. John Dyer (Sr. ca. 1710 – 1773) was first in Virginia, having come from the Somersetshire vicinity of England. There is evidence that he was married twice, first to Elizabeth Bluford (or Bleufort) [ca. 1712-ca. 1750] and second to a Dinah, last name unknown. It is important to note the last name of John Dyer’s first wife, anglicized to Bluford, for this name was passed down in the family through many generations.
John Dyer moved from Caroline County, Virginia to Halifax County Virginia where he died in 1773. His known children were James Dyer, John Dyer, Jr., Joshua Dyer, Nancy Dyer and Elisha Dyer, Sr. (ca. 1745-1816) who married Amey (or Amy) Laws (ca 1748-1812).
Elisha, Sr. was our ancestor. He migrated from Caroline County, Virginia to Wilkes County, North Carolina, next moving to Pendleton District, SC, and then finally to Warren County, Kentucky, where he died in 1816.
We wonder why Elisha Dyer, Sr. moved so much. He and his wife, Amey Laws Dyer, were patriots in the American Revolution. We do not have a record of his serving as a soldier, but this couple is recognized as rendering “material aid” during the war. This may mean that they provided horses or mules for soldiers, provisions of food, clothing and “provender” for animals, or other significant aid to further the effort to win America’s independence. At any rate, they were not Tories (faithful to the British), and they probably were strongly involved in the Over Mountain Men movement that helped to win the battle at King’s Mountain and other significant victories that saw the eventual defeat of British General Cornwallis. Elisha, Sr. and Amey’s moves may have been due to his being rewarded with grants of land for his Revolutionary War service. A more thorough examination of land deeds is needed for authentication of this theory. Or maybe a new location and the spirit of adventure called the Dyers to locate in new and untrammeled areas.
Elisha Dyer, Sr. and Amey Laws Dyer had ten known children, a daughter (name unknown who married a Barber), Josiah who married Sarah Whittingdon, Rosannah who married Benjamin Hubbard, Anna who married William Johnson, Abner who married Nancy Jane Moore, Manoah who married Rebecca Tremble, Caleb who married Rebecca Howard, Elizabeth who married Bollin Clark, Bluford Elisha, Jr. who married Elizabeth Clark and John who married Sophia Young. We will concentrate on Bluford Elisha, Jr., our ancestor, who moved with his father from Wilkes County, NC to Pendleton District, SC. Elisha, Jr.’s next move was to Habersham County, Georgia and on into what became Union County, GA in 1832.
Bluford Elisha Dyer, Jr. was born about 1785 in Wilkes County, NC. After he had moved to Pendleton District, SC with his mother and father and siblings, he met a young lady there whom he married in 1802. Her name was Elizabeth Clark (ca. 1787 - June 1861). She was a daughter of Micajah Clark and wife, Lurinna Johnson Clark. The Micajah Clark name was passed down to generations of Dyer descendants.
To Elisha and Elizabeth were born these children: Mary Elizabeth (called Sallie) Dyer (1803 – ca. 1860) who married Eli Townsend; two or three girls, first names unknown; Lucinda Dyer (1811-1870) [note this name may have been Lurrina, not Lucinda, as Watson B. Dyer listed it in his Dyer Family history book] married William Crow; Joseph Dyer (1814-1874) married Narcissa Crow; Elisha Dyer (1816-1870) married Mary Jane Younce; Micajah Clark Dyer (1817-1889) married Harriet Logan Hall; Elijah Dyer (1819-1870) married Mary “Polly” Kettle; James Marion Dyer (12 Oct. 1823-27 Apr. 1904) married Eliza Ingraham (5 Mar. 1827 – 7 Mar. 1907); Lucinda Dyer (1826-1902) [note possible error—it is not likely they named two daughters Lucinda] married James Monroe Crow; Malinda Dyer (ca. 1827-?) married William B. Harkins; Matilda Dyer (ca. 1830 - ?) married Francis M. Swain; and Bluford Lumpkin Dyer (1832-1907) married Ruthie Turner.
Note that eldest daughter Sallie had a son, also named Micajah Clark Dyer (13 July, 1822 – 26 Jan. 1891) who married Morena Elizabeth Owenby (24 Dec. 1819-25 Sept. 1892). Elisha, Jr. and Elizabeth reared Sallie’s son, their grandson, as their own. He grew up in the household with his uncle, five years younger than he, having the same name. We believe the son was called Micajah (or Cajer) and the grandson Clark. The grandson became the inventor of “The Apparatus for Navigating the Air.”
After living in Habersham County for awhile, Bluford Elisha, Jr. and his family moved across the mountain and took up residence at a homestead along Cane Creek in the Choestoe District of Union County and carved out a good life there, entering into the development of the community. Since they were in Union before the major exodus of Cherokee in 1838, they probably still had Cherokee Indian neighbors and perhaps traded with them and learned secrets of growing maize and other crops along the cleared bottom lands. The first of Elisha, Jr. and Elizabeth’s children to marry in Union County was son Micajah Clark whose wedding to Harriet Logan Hall took place on June 25, 1832. Daughter Lucinda (or Lurinna?) married James Crow when the family still lived in Habersham County.
It is good, finally, to identify a spot where Bluford Elisha Dyer, Jr. was buried. It is believed his wife, Elizabeth, was interred in the Old Choestoe Cemetery, but that gravesite, too, has been lost to the ravages of time, even though it may once have been marked by a field stone. A brief tribute program and dedication of the new stones followed by a tour of the gravesite will occur at the reunion on July 17, 2010.
c2010 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published July 15, 2010 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.