52 Ancestors,
in 52 Weeks
Week 9:
Family Finds Charter Oak

A Family Disaster

While researching family history I often find tragic stories of ancestors that make me realize how lucky I am to exist. One such story involves a maternal 3rd great grandfather named Anderson T. Dyer. The story goes that he died as the result of a fall from his horse. He lingered for a few days and was able to give his last will orally. The piece of luck, for me, is that his wife was several weeks pregnant with my 2nd great-grandfather at the time of his death.[1]

Anderson T. Dyer, 1814 – 1844

Anderson T. Dyer was born 11 July 1814 in Grainger County, TN to parents James Monroe Dyer (1774-1857) and Elizabeth Garroth (1780-1835) Dyer. Anderson married Rachel Hubbs, the daughter of his neighbor William Hubbs, in 1842. [2] From the information in the 1840 census, I have surmised that Rachel was living with her father [3] and Anderson, with his children, was living with his father James Dyer Sr.[4] This means Anderson had a marriage before Rachel. I have not found the documentation, but I believe his first wife, the mother of his 3 eldest sons, was named Sarah Criffen.[5]

Anderson T. Dyer's Will

There’s a Will

Anderson’s will was orally made and witnessed 2 Sep 1844 during his “last sickness in his own dwelling house.” In this will he gives his heirs as his wife and all of his children “now born or may be born, his wife Rachel now being in a pregnant condition.” The will was signed by the witnesses on 9 Sep 1844, presumably Anderson had died.[6]  In addition to Rachel, he named his living children as Leroy, Alfred and Marion. His youngest son, my ancestor, James A. Dyer, was born 25 Apr 1845. That’s about 33 weeks after Anderson’s death.

Anderson may have been a spinner, in addition to being a farmer. His will includes a bequest to his wife Rachel of “Two wheels, one reel, all his spun thread and all the cloth he has on hand.” No mention of a loom, but his estate inventory includes flax, cotton and sheep.

Anderson’s sons Marion and James both served the Union during the American Civil War. James, my 2nd great-grandfather, married after the war to Mary Shaver. Their eldest son John A. Dyer was my great grandfather, he was born 13 Sep 1867. According to the 1890 Veterans Schedule, James Dyer suffered from neuralgia. [7] Although, when he died in 1915 his cause of death was a chronic kidney condition.
John Dyer family tree


I DNA match with descendants of Anderson Dyer’s siblings, and descendants of his son Marion, leaving no doubt that Anderson was father of the son born after his death. Also, Rachel Hubbs Dyer remarried in 1846 to a man named Damewood and had 6 children. I DNA match with several of the descendants of these Damewood children, too.


  1. Profile for Anderson T. Dyer,
  2. Entry for A T Dyer, Ancestry.com. Tennessee, Marriage Records, 1780-2002 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002. Nashville, TN, USA: Tennessee State Library and Archives. Microfilm.
  3. Entry for William Hubbs, Year: 1840; Census Place: Grainger, Tennessee; Roll: 525; Page: 133; Family History Library Film: 0024546; Ancestry.com. 1840 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
  4. Entry for James Dyer Sr., ibid
  5. Death certificate for Leroy Dyer. Indiana Archives and Records Administration; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Death Certificates; Year: 1922; Roll: 07; Ancestry.com. Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Indiana State Board of Health. Death Certificates, 1900–2011. Microfilm. Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.
  6. Entry for Anderson T Dyer, Probate Records, 1831-1972; Author: Tennessee County Court (Grainger County); Probate Place: Grainger, Tennessee; Ancestry.com. Tennessee, Wills and Probate Records, 1779-2008 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
  7. Entry for James A Dyer. The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Special Schedules of the Eleventh Census (1890) Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War; Series Number: M123; Record Group Title: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs; Record Group Number: 15; Census Year: 1890; Ancestry.com. 1890 Veterans Schedules [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: Special Schedules of the Eleventh Census (1890) Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M123, 118 rolls); Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.


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Remember Me and I Will Live

Frank Takeo Flucawa

Born Takeo Furukawa on 15 March 1883 in Tottori-Ken, Tokyo, Japan, little is documented of his early childhood. Family oral history stories say that the young Takeo experienced hunger, poverty and the loss of his family. Additionally, the stories tell of friendship, spiritual learning and scholarship.

David L. Osborne: His Indianapolis Homes

My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne, lived at over 20 addresses around Indianapolis between 1876 and 1942. I thought it would be interesting to see all the old buildings and homes where he lived in my hometown of Indianapolis.

The Marriage of David and Jennie Osborne

My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne (1848-1942), was a widower with two young sons in 1886 when he married Jennie Warbington (1857-1918) in Minneapolis on the 27th of May. I decided it was time to put sources to the story.

Do You See A Resemblance?

While working on a family photo project I decided it would be fun to compare side-by-side my father and his parents, at similar ages, to try and discover a family resemblance.

Probate of Jesse King 1868

Jesse King was born in Ohio (probably in the vicinity of Chillicothe) in 1805, he was a son of Philip King and Mary Leah Wright, both of Pennsylvania. Philip King was a farmer, he married Leah Wright in 1801 in Somerset, PA, they had six children, of whom Jesse was the third.

Letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary

A handwritten letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary to the then president of the United States, Grover Cleveland. It was her last appeal for a War of 1812 pension, sadly the pension was denied. The letter gives a glimpse of a woman who had no formal education, a poor farmers wife, then widow, mother of nine, she probably just wanted some independence through an income of her own.

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Luella Pressell: Surprise!

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Just when you think you know everything about an ancestor, surprise! I thought I knew most everything about my paternal great grandfather David L. Osborne, 1848-1942.

Rumple Family Photo 1895

For all of us who are procrastinating about labeling photos I have one thing to say, “Be considerate of the genealogist of the future!” My maternal grandmother was very good about labeling old family photos, and there is one, in particular, I found very informative.

Conrad Rumple: Bachelor Uncle

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 10: Bachelor Uncle
My uncles are the marrying kind, sometimes more than once!
I had to go back four generations for a bachelor uncle, my great-great-great uncle Conrad Rumple, 1833-1911.
Conrad was an older brother to my great-great grandfather on my matrilineal line, William Rumple, 1839-1912.

George Lafary and Catherine Landon: Large Family

My great-great grandparents, George Lafary and Catherine Landon, had a relatively small family, three of their six children survived to adulthood. However, they both came from large families of nine siblings and nearly all survived to marry and have children.

In The Paper

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 13: In The Paper
It’s fun to find articles in the paper mentioning one of my relatives. Mostly they are birth, marriage, divorce and death events. But, it’s the oddball articles in the papers I like the most.

Genealogy Brick Walls

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 14: Brick Wall
We all have a brick wall, that one ancestor who defies all research. I decided I would work at my brick walls by generation, I broke through the last of my 3rd great grandparent brick walls, now I am working on 4th great grandparents.

Catherine Landon: Out of Place

I realized I did not have a date of death for my great, great grandmother, Catherine Landon Lafary. A fresh search uncovered the date and much more. Out of place, but once discovered, everything fell into place.

Immigrant Ancestors, Fresh Start

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week1: Fresh Start.
The varied reasons my European ancestors immigrated to North America for a fresh start.

William and Uva Lafara: Favorite Photo

I have many favorite photos among my collection of family artifacts. Currently, my favorite photo is of two little children from 1916 who were a complete mystery to me until last spring.

Close to Home

My grandparents. Earl and Pearl, met at church, close to home, in 1914,

So Far Away

My great-uncle Frank immigrated to the United States from Japan in 1905 to further his education, so far away

Same Name

I get excited when I discover an ancestor with the same name as a friend, or co-worker, or neighbor. Maybe we are related!