Mercer County Home Page
Return to Surnames Page
Alyea Families - New Boston and Eliza Townships
Alternate Spellings - D'Ailly, Allee
Links - Harrell, Willits, Pryne, Mannon, Noble, Denison, Danford, Scott, Signor
Contacts - Annette Hampton is a descendant of Phoebe Alyea Scott and has helped us with that family. Shari Lynn Frank of Ogden UT has placed the D'Ailly family information in the LDS Ancestral File - here we first learned that Joseph Alyea was a descendant of Nicholas D'Ailly of Artois, France.
Alyea Mysteries - We have a few people we are having difficulty placing and who may not even belong to this family. The History of Mercer County, 1882 gives us a respectable outline for the Joseph Alyea family. Son Thomas Alyea lived until 1886 and was no doubt a source for some of the information so we feel it is credible. Information was also furnished for the History by daughter Mary Alyea Danford Willits who lived until 1883. As usual there are some facts that can be obtained today that alter the information slightly.
J. Alyea & Son Respectfully tender their thanks to their former patrons and friends for their attention to their large and well selected stock of
We design keeping a GENERAL assortment and we will dispose of them on the most favorable terms. We design Selling as cheap as the cheapest and we think we can suit all who will give US A CALL.
New Boston Nonpareil
Saturday, March 29, 1856
Joseph Alyea FamilyJoseph Alyea's tombstone in New Boston Cemetery gives the following information: Died 10/30/1867, age 79 yr 5 mo 6 dy. Next to him is Phebe Alyea, wife of Joseph, died 2/3/1868, age 56 yr 8 mo 6 dy. Thomas Alyea's biography in the Mercer County History tells us his father was from New Jersey and that he was three times married. The name of his first wife has not been preserved but she is believed to have died in New Jersey. By her Joseph had two children. Joseph next married Margaret Love and by her he had four children. He then married Phebe and with her he had eight children; three sons and five daughters. The D'Ailly Web Site linked above gives her name as Phebe Danford and the marriage as 1 March 1831 in Butler County, Ohio. We believe this is credible as the date and place match well with other information on Joseph. Joseph's daughter, Mary, married a Danford, so we know the families were connected. We have been able to trace all of the children except two.
Joseph Alyea's migration pattern can be traced from New Jersey, to Ohio, to Indiana, to Illinois. Joseph's oldest two children were probably born in New Jersey as his first wife presumably died there. Joseph's parents, David Isaac and Rebecca Ingersoll Alyea, bought land in Franklin County, Indiana, and Butler County, Ohio, after 1817, and Joseph evidently accompanied them. The two counties are separated only by the state line of Ohio and Indiana. Joseph Alyea's son Thomas was born in l82l in Hamilton County, Ohio, which adjoins Butler County so their land must have been near the corners of the three counties. We do not yet know if Joseph married Margaret Love in New Jersey or Ohio, but their four children were born in Ohio. According to Thomas Alyea the family then moved to Franklin County, Indiana, where Margaret died when Thomas was eight years old, or about 1829. His sister, Rebecca Alyea, married Dr. Edmund Harrell on 5/7/1831 in Franklin County, Indiana, verifying their presence. Since she was oldest daughter she had probably been the family caretaker. Now Joseph needed a wife and apparently married Phebe in Ohio, as no marriage for him is found in Indiana. Joseph Alyea's brothers and sisters moved to Porter County, Indiana, about 1835, while Joseph went on to Illinois.
In 1836 Joseph Alyea made a preliminary trip to Mercer County where he purchased two parcels of land on 5/28/1836: 80 acres 5/28/1836 W2NW Section 29 T15NR5W (future Eliza Township) and 160 acres SE Section 31 T15NR5W. (See 1875 Eliza plat map for location.) This land was probably purchased for speculation, as Joseph was a merchant by trade. When he returned to Mercer County with his family in 1838 he settled in the town of New Boston, which at that time consisted of only 12 to 15 buildings. The two parcels of land in Eliza Township are probably the land he advertised for rent: "New Boston, March 17, 1847 Farms to rent Two unoccupied farms within five miles of New Boston upon which we wish to place reliable tenants. Joseph Alyea." On November 11, 1850 he purchased a fractional ten acres of land in New Boston Township in Section 35 14N6W. This was along the river and was timberland. As most families did, he probably owned this parcel as a source of lumber and firewood.
Joseph Alyea and family are found in the town of New Boston in the 1840 census next door to son-in-law Edmund Harrell. Joseph Alyea: Males, 1 age 50-60 [Joseph], 2 age 20-30 [unidentified], 1 age 15-20 [Thomas], 1 under 5 [Isaiah]; Females, 1 age 20-30 [Phebe], 2 age 15-20 [Mary and Susan], 1 5-10 [Mariah], 2 under 5 [Margaret and Hester]. We have found no evidence as to the names of the two unidentified males. They are of the right age to be the two additional children of Joseph. We would simply assume that, except for the curious fact that Edmond Harrell had five unidentified males 20-30 living in his house, and we have a suspicion that New Boston was growing much more rapidly than its buildings, and that all seven of the males in their twenties might simply be boarders and not relatives! If the two males were sons of Joseph, they evidently returned to Indiana or went on to further adventures, as there is no record of any other Alyea men in Mercer County after 1840.
We have concluded that Rebecca Alyea Harrell was oldest child of Joseph Alyea as her age is given as 30-40 in the 1840 census. Unfortunately she died before the 1850 census and there is no tombstone for her so we cannot learn her true age. There is then one other child of Joseph's first wife unidentified, who may have been one of the males age 20-30 in the 1840 household. Margaret Love Alyea's children were: Thomas, born 9/21/1821 in Hamilton County, Ohio; Mary, born 5/31/1823 in Butler County, Ohio; Susan, born about 1825, Ohio, and one other unidentified child who may have been the other male, 20-30 in the 1840 household. The D'Ailly Web Site gives the other child as Nancy Alyea, but if this is true there is no record of her in Mercer County and no marriage in Indiana. She may have married and stayed behind in Ohio.
The History of Mercer County 1882, in a sketch about the Methodist Episcopal Church Society, gives as members in 1838: Joseph Alyea, Thorlea [corruption of Phebe?] Alyea, Thomas Alyea, Mary Alyea, and Dr. Harrell. Curiously, there is no mention of Rebecca Alyea Harrell. Perhaps she was already deceased and the female in Dr. Harrell's household in 1840 was a relative or housekeeper.
Daughter Mary Alyea married William Danford, son of Enoch and Mary Danford, on 9/13/1845 in Mercer County. Son Thomas Alyea married Sarah Signor, daughter of John and Araminta Laurence Signor, on 6/28/1849 in Henderson County. Daughter Susannah Alyea married Elmore J. Denison, on 5/1/1850. More on these families below.
The 1850 Census gives us a clearer picture of the Joseph Alyea family. New Boston Town: Joseph Alyea, 62, merchant, real estate $2500, born New Jersey; Phebe, 38, born Ohio; Isaiah, 18, clerk [for his father], born Indiana; Maria, 16, In; Margaret, 13, In; Hester A., 11, born Illinois;, William D., 8, Il; Martha, 3, Il; Charles W. 6/12, Il. In the 1860 census, they had added another daughter Vina, born about 1863. Somewhere in the Alyea family there is a possible daughter Phebe. Whether she was a visiting relative, a daughter of Joseph and Phebe, or a daughter of one of the Joseph Alyea children has not yet been determined.
Son Thomas Alyea is also found as a merchant in New Boston in 1850: Thomas Alyea, age, 27, merchant, born Ohio; Sarah Alyea, 17, born Ohio (later information gives her as born NY).
Son Charles Wesley, son of J. & P. Alyea, born 12/30/1849, died 2/20/1852, and is buried in New Boston Cemetery next to Dr. Edmund Harrell. One might guess that Rebecca Alyea Harrell is also buried there, but that her grave is unmarked.
Son Isaiah married during the 1850's but we have not found the record (more below). Daughter Mariah Alyea married George Signor 1/1/1857 (we will be putting up a Signor page). Daughter Margaret Alyea married Albert P. Howes, 1/13/1859. They are in New Boston Township in 1860: Albert P. Howes, 25, carpenter, Indiana; Margaret, 23, In; Mary C, 3/12, Il; Maria Hollowell, 21, domestic, Ohio. By 1880 they are living on Chandler Street in Worcester, Massachusetts and sister Vinnie Alyea is with them.
1860 Census New Boston Township: Joseph Alyea, 72, farmer, born New Jersey; Phoebe, 49, Oh; Hester A., 19, Il; William D., 17, Il; Martha, 13, Il; Vina, 7, Il. Son William D. Alyea died 2/8/1861, age 20yr 8mo, and is buried in New Boston Cemetery with Joseph and Phebe.
Also in New Boston in 1860: Thomas Alyea, 38, merchant, born Ohio; Sarah A. Alyea, 27, born NY; Thomas E., 7, Il; C. J., 2, Il (this is Charlotte or Lottie); A. C. Signor, 52, female, born NY (this is Amanda Signor, mother of Sarah Alyea.)
Daughter Hester A. Alyea married Newton L. Pears, 3/3/1865, in Mercer County. They appear to be the N. L. Pears family found in Big Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas in 1880 with wife Hettie of the right age, born Il.
Joseph and Phebe died and are buried in New Boston Cemetery: Joseph died 10/30/1867, age 79 yr 5m 6dy; Phebe died 2/3/1868, age 56 yr 8m 6 dy. Daughter Vina moved in with George and Mariah Alyea Signor and is found with them in the 1870 census, then with sister Margaret in 1880.
Son Thomas Alyea is found in New Boston in 1870: Thomas Alyea, 48, druggist, born Oh; Sarah, age 36 born NY, Thomas E, 17, Clerk, Il; Charlotte J, 11, Il; Willard H, 5, Il; Florence L, 3, Il; Lillie B, 1, Il.
We do not know where daughter Martha Alyea was in 1870 but on 10/13/1873 she married Hugh P. Kenyon in Mercer County. We have found nothing further on this family anywhere.
Isaiah Alyea familySon Isaiah Alyea clerked for his father in his store and was partner as indicated in the advertisement at the top of the page and another store advertisement in 1853. He was also Town Clerk for the City of New Boston in 1854. In the 1860 census he is living in New Boston: Isaiah, 28, clerk, Illinois; Louisa, 26, born Massachusetts. We do not find a marriage in Illinois or Iowa for them but believe she might have been Louisa Woodruff, since Annie Woodruff, age 71, born Massachusetts is living two doors away. We find no evidence that Isaiah served in the Civil War nor do we find him on the militia rolls for New Boston in 1862 and 1863. We do not find him in Mercer County in 1870.
Mary Alyea Danford Willits familyMary Alyea was born 5/31/1823 in Butler County, Ohio, and died 10/24/1883 in New Boston Township. Information on her is found the History of Mercer County, 1882 and the Noble/Rader History, by Robert Melvile Danford, a grandson of Mary's. Mary Alyea married William Danford on 9/13/1845 in Mercer County (we will be putting up a Danford page). William Danford died 7/27/1850 enroute to California during the California gold rush.
Children of Mary Alyea and William Danford were: William Beverly Danford, born 6/29/1846, married Alice Kesler, and died 7/21/1913 in San Diego, California; Melville Cox Danford, born 9/22/1847, married Dora Noble, daughter of David and Sarah Rader Noble, 2/24/1876, and died 8/24/1894 in New Boston Township; Joseph Alyea Danford, born 12/5/1848, married Fannie Strong, died 10/17/1922 Winfield, Kansas; Mozart Danford, born 3/16/1850, married Clara Mannon, daughter of Cyrus and Jane Mannon, died 4/1931 Berkeley, California. Melville Cox Danford was the father of Robert Melvile Danford who wrote the Noble/Rader History.
Mary Alyea Danford married William Willits, son of Jesse and Susanna Van Horn Willits on 3/10/1852 in Mercer County (Willits link at top of page). Mary and William had a son, Silas Dement Willits, who married Carrie Pryne Nov 26, 1880 in Mercer County.