Mercer County Home Page
Alternate Spellings - Essley, Essly, Esley, Esly, Ilsley, Easley, Easly, Eslie
Links - Welch, Pratt, Prouty, Daniel Noble, Hillman, Knapp, Vance, Gibson, Mattson, Long, Information on the Essley-Noble Museum named for this family is posted on the Mercer Resources Page under the Mercer County Historical Society
Contacts - We have an enormous amount of information on these Essley families and have had some wonderful help, particularly from Barbara Essley Baker, Nellora Welch, Bill Isleyís work, and others. We have recently heard from a descendant of Francis Asbury Essley - see note at bottom of page. We have also heard from descendant Opal Lodwig and she is an excellent sounding board for us as we struggle through the information. 5/2011 we heard from Ellen Schneider who is researching the Essleys including visiting the Essley Noble Museum. See notes added under Elisha Essley and Avarilla Pratt below.
John Smeltzer (not a relative) recently found a framed family record for Norton Chipman Essley in an antique shop in Riverside, Iowa and tracked us down and we have posted a photo of it under Philip Essley below. John did not purchase the memorial so it may still be there if someone wants to try to track it down and purchase it (09/2008)
The ancestor of the Mercer County families was John Essley who married Martha Hurd, daughter of John and Margaret Hadden Heard. John was born between about 1770 and 1775 in Middlesex County, New Jersey. Martha was born about the same time frame in the same place. They were probably married in New Jersey. John Essley died 11 April 1834 at Essley Creek, Delaware County, Indiana. The information on John and Martha comes from an application to the National Society Sons of the American Revolution by Leon Everett Essley, a descendent of Elisha and Avarilla Pratt Essley. Some census records indicate that both John and Martha may have been older than what he gave. We will discuss this information more below.
Elizabeth Essley born about 1792; married Joseph Hessenflow
William J. Essley born 18 October 1794, married Anna Lemon
Philip Essley, born about 1804, married Elizabeth Johns
Francis Asbury Essley, born about 1806; married Elizabeth Long
Martha Essley, born about 1807; married Thomas Hillman
John Essley, born about 1808; married (1)Elmina E. Custer and (2)Rebecca Jane Mickey
Cassie Essley, born about 1814; married James McMillen
Elisha Essley, born 20 August 1815; married Avarilla Pratt
Other Essley researchers carry more children. We are listing only those that we can find at least one primary documented piece of information about. If you have primary documentation such as a marriage record, will, census record, etc. we will be happy to hear from you Nadine Holder WebMaster email on About Us Page
Pay particular attention to the word "about" with the dates given above - it means in that approximate time frame! For example the dates given for Francis, Martha, and John are not credible without that caveat as nursing a child meant a spacing of two years between births at a very minimum. Same comment for Cassie and Elisha.
Early movements of the John Essley FamilyThe early origins and movements of the Essley family are nearly impossible to trace in public records. New Jersey is an almost impossible state for obtaining early records and Bible records are the only probable source before long into the 1800ís. Even Bible records can be suspect. Rule of thumb for this - if the information posted in a Bible is dated after the publication date of the Bible they are probably valid and entered when the event happened. If they are dated long before the publication date of the Bible then we know they were entered from someoneís memory and that is always somewhat suspect.
Some descendants claim Kentucky as a birthplace for their Essleys. This is tough to verify as there were several Essley families early on in North and South Carolina that most likely migrated through Kentucky. There are several Essleys in Kentucky by 1810. One very intriguing record that we found was in 1810 in Harrison County, Kentucky: John Easeley 1 male under 10, 2 males 10-15, 1 male 26-44; 1 female under 10, 3 females 10-15, 1 female 26-44, and 1 female over 45. The match with the John Essley family is not too bad and what is really of interest is that there is a Joseph Esenflow next to them: 1 male 16-25, 1 female 10-15, 1 female 26-44. We wonder if this isnít Joseph Hesenflow who married daughter Elizabeth Essley with an older female in the household? There are pretty clear records that son William Essleyís eldest son was born in Kentucky so it seems they definitely passed through Kentucky. Harrison County would be on a fairly good migration path northward to Indiana/Ohio as well.
The first census where we can definitely identify some of the family is 1820 where Joseph Hessenflow (married daughter Elizabeth), son William Easley and father John Easley are found in Jennings Township, Fayette County, Indiana. John Easley 1 male over 45; 3 males under 10; 1 female over 45, 2 females under 10 and 1 female 10-16. (The Hessenflow record and William Easley are below).
In 1830 Sons William and Philip Essley are found in Liberty Township, Delaware County, Indiana, and we include the records below. John Essley is in Union County, Indiana in 1830. (Union County was set off from Wayne, Fayette, and Franklin County in 1821). Daughter Martha married in Union County in 1832 so they were there at least past that date.Their record reads: John Essley 1 male 10-15; 2 males 15-20; 1 male 60-70; 1 female 20-30, 1 female 60-70. Two doors from them is the Widow Hillman, 1 male 5-10, 1 male 15-20, 1 female under 5, 2 females 5-10, 2 females 10-15, 1 female 15-20, 1 female 30-40. The female 20-30 with the Essley family and the male 15-20 with the Hilman family are the right age to be Martha Essley and Thomas Hilman who married in 1832 (more below.) The Fayette/Union County location is quite credible as whether the family migrated directly west to Indiana or whether they did indeed swing through Kentucky they would have wound up in that area - people migrating west followed the trail that would later become the National Road, and people coming up from Kentucky would have come through Cumberland Gap directly south of the group of Indiana Counties that included Union.
More on the children of John and Martha Hurd Essley
Elizabeth Essley HessenflowChildren of Joseph and Elizabeth Essley Hessenflow family are listed, for instance, at http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=:1499909&id=I562196395 Be aware there are other World Family Tree sites with some conflicting information! This site seems to include some research and lists children as:
Francis Earl HESSENFLOW
Polly HESSENFLOW b: 1811 in Harrison Co, KY
Rebecca HESSENFLOW b: 1812 in KY
John S HESSENFLOW b: 10 May 1821 in Jasper Co, IN
Philip HESSENFLOW b: 1824 or bef in likely IN
William MacKenzie HESSENFLOW b: 3 Apr 1828 in Delaware Co, IN
Frances HESSENFLOW b: 1829 in IA [possibly same as Francis above?]
Elizabeth HESSENFLOW b: 1830 or bef
Joseph and Elizabeth are found on the same census page in 1820 in Jennings Township, Fayette County, Indiana as John Easley and son William Easley and families: Joseph Hessenflow, 1 male 26-45, 1 female 26-45 and 1 female under 10.
William and Anna Lemon Essley FamilyWe have information from Barbara Essley Baker on this family and have added some of our own research.
William Essley was born 18 October 1794 and died 3 March 1857 in Washington County, Iowa and is buried in the Custer Cemetery, according to Iowa cemetery records (only death date given). William purportedly married Anna Lemon but we have not located a marriage record for them. We suspect her surname is correct as two of the children carried Lemon as a middle name, a custom of honoring the maiden name of a mother in that time period. Anna Essley died 17 October 1856 in Washington County and is also buried in Custer Cemetery (her record is as Ann Esley).
We have sonís names from Barbara Baker and have added daughters from the 1850 census and so far have children: William Lemon Essley; Josiah W. Essley; Leada(?) Essley; Philip Essley; Cassandra Essley; Elisha Lemon Essley; and Samuel Essley.
We find the family in 1850 in Western Division, Washington County, Iowa: #78 William Easley, 57, farmer, born Pennsylvania; Anna, 50, born Pennsylvania; Leada (?), 25, (f), born In; Cassander, 19 (f), born In; Elisha, 15, born In; Samuel, 10, born In. William Easley, Joseph Hessenflow who married his sister Elizabeth above, and parent John Easley and family are all found on the same page in 1820 in Jennings Township, Fayette County, Indiana. Fayette County, Indiana was not far south of Delaware County, Indiana where John Essley died.
In 1820 Jennings Township, Fayette Co, In: William Easley 1 male 16-26, 3 under 10; 1 female 16-26, 2 under 10. By 1830 William and family had moved to Delaware County with his brother Philip: 1830, Liberty Township, Delaware County, Indiana William Easley 1 male under 5, 2 5-10, 1 10-15, 1` 15-20, 1 30-40; 3 females under 5, 1 10-15, 1 20-30. In 1840 in Delaware County, Indiana: William Esley 1 male 5-10, 1 10-15, 1 25-20, 1 20-30, 2 30-40, 1 40-50; 1 female under 5, 1 20-25, 2 15-20, 1 40-50. It is difficult to speculate on family composition in these census records as often hired hands and servants were included: cf the two males 30-40 in 1840 as we suspect they were hired hands and not relatives.
William Lemon Essley: Son William Lemon Essley married Estavilla Custer, 30 August 1838 in Delaware County, Indiana. They apparently soon left for Iowa as William Easley, age 20-30 with a wife 20-30 and son under 5 (Abraham) are in Washington, Iowa Territory in the 1840 census. Washington County was split off from Henry, Louisa, and Muscatine Counties, Iowa in 1838. They are next to Williamís uncle John Easly, 1 male 20-30, 1 male 10-15, 2 males under 5, and 1 female 20-30. Also in Washington Iowa Territory was an Abraham Custer age 50-60 with a young wife and family and we wonder if he is not the father of Williamís wife Estavilla and Johnís wife Elimina Custer but with a second wife and family? We were unable to trace Abraham Custer further so do not know for sure.
We were unable to locate William and Estavilla in the 1850 census. Estavilla Custer Essley died 22 July 1858 and is buried in Custer Cemetery. William married again almost immediately to Sidney Tempa Unknown (could not locate record) , probably because he had children still at home. He is found in Marion Township, Washington County, Iowa in 1860: #351 W. L. Esley, 43, farmer, born Ky; Sidney, 26, born Indiana; John, 19, Iowa; Everilla, 17, Iowa; Lydia A., 11, Iowa. William and Sidney Tempa Essley were running a small hotel in the 1880 census and 1900 census in Washington City. They had no children together. William L. Essley (1817-1911) is buried in Shrock Eureka Cemetery, near Coppock, in Washington County, Iowa, per Iowa Cemetery Records.
Williamís son Abram had become a stock dealer and on 4 January 1863 he married Mary Ann Pratt, daughter of Rezin and Mary Ann Long Pratt in Mercer County, Illinois. In 1880 they are in Washington City, Washington County, Iowa: Abram Essley, 41, stock dealer, born In, parents born In; Mary, 39, Il, Pa, Pa; Charles H., 14, Iowa; Claude H., 8, Iowa; Nellie M., 5, Ia; and Ward, 1, Ia. (Web Master Nadine and site owner Jill are relatives of Mary Ann Long Pratt and thus related to these children. In addition Nadine has joined the Daughtrs of the American Revolution via Mary Ann's father, Andrew Long, so descendants of William and Mary Ann Essley are eligible for membership. Questions: email Nadine on the About Us Page)
Josiah W. Essley: Josiah Essley was born 24 October 1821 in Indiana. He married Mary Noble, daughter of Daniel and Barbara Fruit Noble on 26 October 1848 in Mercer County, Illinois.She was born 27 September 1824. We do not find them in the 1850 census. They had children Samantha Essley; Daniel Willard Essley; Sarah Elizabeth Essley; Martha Ida Essley; and David Essley. We find them in 1860 in Township 14N Range 4W in Mercer County: #1532 Josiah Eslie, 38, farmer, 1600, 600, born In; Mary, 35, In; Daniel, 10, Ia; Cemantha, 9, Ia; Sarah 6, Il; Martha, 5, Il. In 1880 we find Josiah and Mary in the 1880 census in Oregon Township, Washington County, Iowa:#77 J. W. Essley, farming, 58, born Indiana (parents not given); Mary Essley, 55, In (parents not given); Sarah C. Essley, teaching school, 26, born Il, parents In; Martha I. Essley, 25, keeping house, 25, born Il; David Essley, 17, farming, Il.
Josiah Essley died 17 January 1899 and is buried in Ainsworth cemetery in Washington County, Iowa. Wife Mary died 7 November 1881 and is buried in Ainsworth Cemetery. Daughter Martha Ida Essley born 16 December 1854 died 21 Oct 1892 and is buried in the Ainsworth Cemetery. We have nothing further on daughter Sarah or son David.
Barbara Baker tells us that Daniel Willard Essley was born September 1849 near Washington, Iowa and died 11 December 1907 near Viola, Illinois from a coal mine accident. He supposedly married Elvira Jane Kiddoo 9 January 1873 in Mercer County, Illinois. We find Evila Jane Kiddoo, age 6, as daughter of William and Catharine Vance Kiddoo in 1860 in Miller Township in Mercer County. No census records are found for Daniel and wife and their marriage is not found in Illinois or Iowa marriage records. It seems that Samantha Seber named her son Willard in honor of her brother below, so the middle name is probably correct. Daniel W. (1849-1907) and his wife Evila J. (1853-1936) are buried in Kiddoo-Peniel Cemetery in Millersburg Township, Mercer County.
Daughter Samantha Essley married Henry Seber. His parents E. Seber, 61, born France and Lena Seber, 59, born France are #78 next to Josiah and Mary in 1880. Henry and Samantha are found in 1880 in District 89, Eureka, Greenwood, Kansas: #123 Henry Seber, 29, grocer, born Ia, parents born France; Ann, 28, born Iowa, parents born Indiana; Willard, 8, born Iowa; Claud 2/12 (March) born Kansas.
Philip Essley: Philip was born about 1827 in Indiana and died after 1900. He married Drusilla Ann Custer, 19 February 1850 in Washington County, Indiana. Drusilla was born 5 October 1832 in Indiana and died 1870 in Iowa and is buried Custer Cemetery. We do not find them in the 1850 census. Philip is living with son Norton Chipman Essley in 1900.
Suggested children are Norton Chipman Essley; John Walter Essley; Ambrosia Essley; Elisha Lemon Essley; Laura Bell Essley; Thomas Jefferson Essley; Mary Jane Essley; Susannah Essley; Jeanette Essley; Martha Emeline Essley; and Drusilla Ann Essley. In 1880 father Philip is living with son Chipman and son Thomas is with them as are daughters Nettie and Martha, so those at least are proven.
We have posted a photo of a memorial created about the Norton Chipman Essley family sent to us by John Smeltzer (not a relative.) The photo includes some birth dates and death dates for the family. We found the following in the 1900 census: Marion Dist 110 Washington Co Iowa 16 Norton C Essley July 1850 Ia In In farmer, married 27 years; Hannah Oct 1855 9 born 7 living, Ia Oh In; Fred N son Feb 1878, 22, Ia Ia Ia, farm lab; Mary J daughter June 1881 18, Ia; Rollo Dec 1883 16, farm lab; Anna Aug 1886 13; Glen Jul 1891 8; Elmira Zilman Feb 1879, 21 married 0 1 born 1 living Ia Ia Ia (this is daughter Mida); Lucas son in law June 1874 farm laborer Ia Switz Switz; Alma granddau Jan 1900 4/12 Ia; Phillip Essley father June 1828 71 widower In Ky Ky
Wilmer is next door with family: #17 Wilmer Essley Feb 1873 27 married 4 years born Ia, parents Ia; Eva E Dec 1875 24 2 born 2 liv; Wayne, son May 1897, 3; Cecil dau Sept 1899 8/12;
Note that the photo of family information indicates Wilmer died in 1895 which is definitely not correct so careful of the photo information.
Son Elisha Lemon Essley was born about 1857 in Iowa. He married Hilda Amelia Gibson, daughter of Swen and Carolina Mattson Gibson, on 4 June 1884 in Mercer County, Illinois. They had children: Elisha Lemon Essley, born about 1901; Thomas, born about 1903, and Hilda born about 1907.
Elisha Lemon Essley: Elisha was born 4 May 1834 in Delaware County, Indiana, and died 28 October 1866 in Mercer County, Illinois. He married Avarilla Margaret Noble, daughter of David and Sarah Pratt Noble on 25 October 1857. She was born 9 November 1836 in Illinois and died 23 December 1910 in Mercer County. Dates are from Illinois Marriage Index and from tombstone records in Eliza Creek Cemetery in Mercer County. They had children Thomas M. Essley born 13 Sept 1858, died 13 Feb 1859 and buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery; David Essley born 7 Feb 1861, died 26 Apr 1876 and buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery;; William B. Essley, born 9 Mar 1864; and Elisha L. Essley, born 1866. That they had only the four children is verified in the 1882 History of Mercer County which states Avarilla Essley had four children born.
Son William B. Essley married Amelia E. Tolle, daughter of David and Louisa Spillar Tolle on 8 Dec 1886 in Mercer County. They had children Earl Craig Essley; Carrie Mae Essley (married Richard Clair Kiddoo). William and Amelia are buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery.
Samuel Essley: was born about 1838 in Indiana. He is found with wife Lucinda in 1880 in Marion, Washington County, Iowa with children Samantha, born abt 1865, Ia; Martha, abt 1866; Edgar, abt 1870; Estella, abt 1872; and Hattie, abt 1878.
Francis Asbury EssleyIn 9/2010 we heard from a descendant who tells us that Francis A. Essley married Eliza Long and had children including Isabella; Martha Jane; and James Madison. They were evidently in Iowa in 1850 but we can find no census record. If you would like to contact this descendant let us know and we will forward your email to her. We would also appreciate any information you might have on this family to add here.
Elisha and Avarilla Pratt EssleyThere is information on Avarilla who married Elisha on the Pratt page. We are including information from Avarilla's obituary on this page as it includes information about Elisha. "Obituary: Funeral Services of Grandma Essley Held Yesterday Morning. Avarilla Pratt was born in Pennsylvania, October 1, 1813 and died near Hesston, Kansas, November 18, 1900. The deceased when a child, moved with her parents to Indiana. Soon after that event, she was converted and united with the M. E. church, remaining a consistent member to the time of her death. August 23, 1833 she was married to Elisher Essley, who also embraced religion when a child and became a member of the same church. This couple walked together in their earthly pilgrimage more than fifty-seven years, when the husband was called to the heavenly home, leaving the wife to complete her earthly work. In the year 1838 they moved to Illinois and in 1878 moved to this County. They reared a family of ten children, three boys and seven girls, and of this number eight are now living to mourn the loss of the faithful and christian mother. The funeral services were held Tuesday morning at 11 o'clock in the Evangelical church of Hesston, conducted by the Rev. Votaw of the Methodist church. Interment in the Newton [Kans] cemetery."
From the 1860 census in Mercer County: With Elisha and Avarilla are shown: Melissa, 17, Averilla, 14, Martha, 12, Elmore, 8, Alexander, 7, Sarah, 5, May, 3. At the bottom are listed Henry, 22, John, 17, Oliver, 14. Ellen Schneider tells us these may be children of Elisha's brother John.(Note this list differs somewhat from other census records.) In August 2011 we heard from Sonia Amador who tells us that John Franklin Essley, son of Elisha and Avarilla Pratt Essley, married Sophia Harriet Newman (1848-1906) daughter of Sophia Hentz Newman. Sonia has a photo of John and Sophia. This appears to be consistent with the age of John in the census above which would have made him born about 1843. Sonia is planning a trip to Germany to find more information on the ancestry of John's wife. If you would like to contact Sonia email us on the About Us page and we will forward your email to her.
We find a tombstone for Martha A. Knapp, dau. of E & A Essley in Eliza Creek Cemetery in Mercer County "died Jan 1, 1868, age 19 yrs 8 mo 16 ds." Martha's husband, Daniel Knapp, had died in the Civil War in 1865.
The 1850 Mercer Census in Township 15 North Range 5 West lists, Elisha, 34, farmer, born Ky; Arabella [Avarilla], 36 Pa; Benjamin, 15, In; John F, 14, In; Nancy, 17, In; Melissa, 6, Ill; Avarilla, 4, Ill; Martha, 2, Ill. Note that this information on son John F. is inconsistent with the notes on the 1860 census above.
Elisha's obituary is no help: Elisha Essley, of Hesston [Ks], aged 76, died last Friday morning. The funeral services were held at Hesston, last Sunday, and the remains were brought to this city, Monday, when they were taken in charge by Newton Lodge, No. 142. A. F. & A. M., and deposited in the city cemetery at 3 o'clock p. m. One who knows him well says: Mr. Elisha Essley, who died of Bright's disease, Friday morning, was one of the pioneers, both of Illinois and Kansas, and passed 76 years in a useful and happy life, surrounded as he was for many years with a large family, children and grandchildren, by whom he will be greatly missed, as well as by a host of friends and neighbors. Mr Essley was kind and courteous, yet he was firm in his temper. Only last November he went to the polls and voted the straight true republican ticket and seemed greatly pleased that his health and strength permitted him so to do.
So confusion over the composition of the family seems to reign!
8/2011 Corrected information about the four children of Avarilla Essley mentioned in the 1882 History of Mercer County to correctly refer to Avarilla Margaret Noble who married Elisha Lemon Essley rather than to Avarilla Pratt who married Elisha Essley, uncle of Elisha Lemon Essley. Added a note about information received from Sonia Amador to the 1860 census above on Elisha and Avarilla Pratt Essley.
5/2011 Added more information on Elisha and Avarilla Pratt Essley.
4/2011 Added more information on Elisha and Avarilla Pratt Essley.
9/2010 Added brief information on children of Francis Asbury and Eliza Long Essley.
10/10/2008 Added information and a photo for the Norman Chipman Essley family (see Philip above). Also added a note that descendants of Abram and Mary Ann Pratt Essley are eligible for membership in Daughters of the American Revolution.
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