Deborah Dicks: Conviction and Courage (52 Ancestors #44)

It is 1811.  You are a Quaker woman living in North Carolina, a slave state.  You are anti-slavery.  In fact, your husband is an abolitionist.  One night, the two of you discuss what can be done about your situation.  Although North Carolina is your home, living in a place where a man, or woman, is considered less than another solely because of the color of their skin is unconscionable.  Something has to be done.  It is decided that you and your extended family will move to a free territory.  Your husband makes the necessary arrangements and discusses the plan with family and friends.  When the day arrives, you are one of 218 people traveling to Indiana territory.  This land is mostly wooded, and the Indians living there are often hostile.  It will take weeks to reach this new home, and a dwelling will have to be built upon arrival.

How terrifying must this have been?  I don’t know that I would have had that much courage, but Deborah (Dicks) Lindley did.  That was just part of her story.

Deborah Dicks was born on the tenth day of the tenth month in 1757.1,2,3  Her parents, Zacharias Dicks and Ruth Hiatt, were both Quaker ministers.1,2,3,4,5  She married Jonathan Lindley, a Quaker abolitionist, in 1775.2,3,4,5,6  They had twelve children.2,3,7,8

In 1811, seeking a life in a land free from slavery, Deborah, along with her husband, 29 other family members, 75 other Quakers, and many free black families, moved from her home in Orange County (now Alamance County), North Carolina to the wilderness of the Indiana territory.  Their original destination was Terre Haute.  Due to Indian discontent in that area, they settled further southeast of their original destination.  They named this area Orange County after their home county.2,3,4,5,8

Sadly, Deborah died on August 9, 1811, just a few weeks after her arrival.  Her grave is the first marked grave of a white woman in Orange County, Indiana.2,3,5,8

Jonathan and Deborah Lindley memorial stone with original tombstones on either side. Photo taken by Melissa Wiseheart, 28 Feb 2014.

Jonathan and Deborah Lindley memorial stone with original tombstones on either side. Photo taken by Melissa Wiseheart, 28 Feb 2014.


Sources

  1. Ancestry.com. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.  Guilford College; Greensboro, North Carolina; Minutes, 1700-1900; Collection: North Carolina Yearly.
  2. “Deborah Dicks Lindley.” Find A Grave. Jacquie Cooksey, 07 Sept. 2006. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.
  3. Dunaway, Stewart E. The Battle at Lindley’s Mill. Second ed. S.l.: Lulu, 2009. Print.
  4. Powell, William Samuel. Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. Vol. 4, L-O. Chapel Hill U.a.: U of North Carolina Pr., 1996. Print.
  5. McCormick, Mike. Terre Haute: Queen City of the Wabash. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2005. Print.
  6. Yates Publishing. U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.
  7. Ancestry.com. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.  Guilford College; Greensboro, North Carolina; Records 1814, Volume 11; Collection: North Carolina.
  8. Oslund, Nancy Lindley. “Jonathan Lindley: The Paoli Pioneer.” The INGenWeb Project. INGenWeb, Nov. 2003. Web. 26 Aug. 2015.

Jonathan Lindley: From Orange County to Orange County (52 Ancestors #08)

I haven’t done any real research on my Lindley line yet.  I suppose I always thought they’re fairly well documented and it will all still be there when I’m ready.  Jonathan Lindley was my sixth great grandfather and my eighth great uncle.  I am descended from his daughter, Hannah, and his nephew, Owen.  My grandpa told me a story about Jonathan Lindley on more than one occasion.

In the spring of 1811, Jonathan Lindley and his wife, she was Deborah Dicks (or Dix), moved their whole family and a large number of freed slaves from North Carolina up here to Indiana, up in Orange County.  They were Quakers, see, and they didn’t believe that people should be slaves.  They wanted to make sure that these freed slaves got up here safely.  They also wanted to live in a state where slavery was illegal.  I don’t know exactly how many went or what all their names were, but one of them freed slaves was called Alexander Polecat.  He was a character.  Always crackin’ jokes.

When they got to the Ohio River, they had to camp a while on the Kentucky side.  The water was too high to cross, see.  So, they camped there the first night and everything was fine, but the next mornin’, Jonathan Lindley’s dog was missin’.  Well they looked around and they called for him but he never did come, so they figured he must’ve been scared off by an animal or somethin’.  Some time later, they got a letter from an old neighbor down in North Carolina sayin’ the dog come home.  Now, isn’t that somethin’, a dog findin’ his way back home all those miles?

In February of 2014, I went to Orange County, Indiana with my dad.  We stopped at Lick Creek Friends Cemetery to see Jonathan and Deborah Lindley’s memorial stone.

Jonathan and Deborah Lindley memorial stone with original tombstones on either side.  Photo taken by Melissa Wiseheart, 28 Feb 2014.

Jonathan and Deborah Lindley memorial stone with original tombstones on either side. Photo taken by Melissa Wiseheart, 28 Feb 2014.

I will get around to researching the Lindleys.  My focus, for the moment, is telling the stories of those ancestors whose lives are relatively unknown.