Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and the History of Carroll County
Munsell Publishing Co. 1913
DYSON, Elijah H.
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 [sic - shown as two names] 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 Company C, Ninety-second Illinois
Volunteer Infantry, a brave man all through this long period. His widow survives
and lives at Thompson [sic], 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 [sic] 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 Kentukcy,
September 15, 1809, and the mother in Ohio, December 25, 1812. In May 1839, they
were married at Marion [Co.], Ind., and in 1843 came to Carroll county and
settled on a farm two miles east of Thompson [sic], 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. [My note: The Gar family arrived in Philadelphia 25 Sep
1732, to Virginia in 1734.]
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 seventten 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.