Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Will of John Dyer of DeKalb Co., TN 1844

In my last post, I introduced my 6th great-grandfather, John Dyer who married Mary Polly Youngblood. I confirmed the relationship between him and my 5th great-grandmother, Sally Elvira Dyer by downloading a copy of his will from the FamilySearch website. What an awesome resource! We are so lucky to have the FamilySearch website!

John Dyer’s will listed his twelve children by name and also listed several of his tracts of land that he owned in both Putnam County, Tennessee (where he previously lived) and in De Kalb County, Tennessee (where he lived when he wrote his will). His list of twelve children included my 5th great-grandmother, Sally Elvira (Dyer) Burton. It also mentioned Mahala Carr who is the ancestor of my grandfather’s DNA match.

Will of John Dyer, DeKalb Co., TN, 1844, p. 50-51

Will of John Dyer, DeKalb Co., TN, 1844, p. 53

The Will of John Dyer [1]
Transcribed by Ginger R. Smith,, 29 May 2014
Written 27 Sept 1844
DeKalb Co., TN

I John Dyer do make and publish this my last will and testament, hereby revoking and making void all other wills by me at any time made. First I desire that my funeral expenses and all my debts be paid as soon after my death as possible out of my money that I may die possessed of or may come to the hands of my executors. Secondly, I give and bequeath to my son Jefferson D Dyer my tract of land in Putnam County, Tennessee lying on the Walton road it being the tract on which I lived and from which I moved when I settled in Dekalb County said tract is supposed to contain about two hundred acres. Thirdly I give and bequeath to my son John M Dyer my tract of land in Putnam County Tennessee known as the Crider place said tract of land joins the land of John Ripeto, Abram Buck and Montgomery Kenard and others said tract is supposed to contain two hundred acres. Fourthly I do leave to my beloved wife Polly Dyer all my tract of land in Dekalb County where I now live during her natural life and after her death I give and bequeath said land to my son Carol Dyer and my Daughters Nancy and Manerva Dyer in the following portions to wit, to my son Carrol Dyer two thirds of said tract and to my daughters Nancy and Manerva one third divided between them. Fifthly I desire that all my perishable property be sold as soon after my death as convenient and credit of twelve months and out of the proceeds of said sales I give and bequeath to my daughters Maltursoto and Peggy as soon as they many marry or come of adult? age as much as my other daughters had given to either of them by me when they married. Sixthly I give and bequeath to my daughters Maria Matthews, Matilda Gormin, Mahala Carr, Polly Robe__, and Sally Burton ten Dollars each. Seventhly I do give and bequeath the balance after taking out the above bequests to my beloved wife Polly Dyer and my son Carrol Dyer and my daughters Malhusodo, Peggy, Nancy, and Manerva equally between them for the purpose educating and clothing them. I desire that my executors sell my tract of land in Putnam County known as the Triffato Waller either at private or public sale to the best advantage and the proceeds disposed of as the proceeds of the perishable property. Lastly I do hereby nominate and appoint my friends Wm H Richardson and Alexander Martin my executors in witness whereof I do to this my last will set my hand and seal this 27th day of September 1844.
                                                                                John (His Mark) Dyer

Signed sealed and published in our presence and we have subscribed our names hereto in the presence of the Testator this 27th day of September 1844.

Magor (his mark) Marcun
Zachariah (his mark) Kirkland

State of Tennessee
Dekalb County                                  October Term 1844

A paper purporting to be the last will and testament of John Dyer dec’d was presented in open court for probate and was duly proven in open court by the oaths of Magor Marcun and Zachariah Kirkland, subscribing witnesses to the same who being first duly sworn depose and say that they were acquaintances with John Dyer the testator and that he made his mark to said will and acknowledged that he executed the same for the purpose therein specified and by his request they became subscribing witnesses to the same and acknowledge that said will be recorded. Given under my hand at office the 7th day of October 1844.
                                                                Wm B Lawrence Clk
                                                                Of Dekalb County Court

John Dyer’s 12 Children mentioned in his will:

1.       Jefferson D Dyer
2.       John M Dyer
3.       Carol Dyer
4.       Nancy Dyer
5.       Manerva Dyer
6.       Maltursoto Dyer
7.       Peggy Dyer
8.       Matilda Gowin
9.       Mahala Carr
10.   Polly Roberts
11.   Maria Mattheny
12.   Sally Burton

Land and Property:

According to this will, John Dyer previously lived in Putnam Co., TN before moving to Dekalb Co. He owned 200A in Putnam Co., TN located on the old Walton Road where he previously lived. This land he willed to his son Jefferson D Dyer; He also owned another 200A tract of land in Putnam Co., TN known as the Crider Place which joined the land of John Ripeto, Abram Buck, and Montgomery Kenard. This tract he willed to his son John M Dyer. The other tract of land he owned in Putnam Co., TN was known as Buffalo Waller and this was to be sold with the proceeds divided between his daughters Mathursa and Peggy.

The land John lived on in DeKalb Co., TN at the time he wrote his will was not described and it was willed to his wife Polly Dyer. I am currently in the process of looking for the will of his wife Mary Polly Dyer. I have not yet found it. Unfortunately, the will book posted to the FamilySearch website is not indexed. A look at the Putnam and DeKalb Co., TN deeds would help me determine what happened to these tracts of land.

I have not yet started researching the members of this family, so I have a lot of work ahead of me. John and Mary Polly Dyer's daughter Sally Dyer was my 5th great-grandmother. She married Charles Burton. If you are connected to this family, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or email me.


[1] DeKalb County, Tennessee, Wills, 1838-1854, Vol. A, p. 50, John Dyer, 1844; County Court Clerk’s Office; digital images, “Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 April 2014).

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