John M. Dilley, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of John M. Dilley

JOHN M. DILLEY. A native son of northern Indiana who holds prestige as one of the essentially representative farmers and stock-growers of this favored section of the Hoosier commonwealth is John Dilley, whose landed estate of forty acres is located in Boone township, Porter county, at a point about two miles south of the village of Hebron. He is a scion of one of the sterling pioneer families of the adjoining county of Lake and his entire active career has been one of close and successful identification with the great basic industry of agriculture, in connection with which he has gained prosperity, the while he has stood exemplar of unequivocal progressiveness and public spirit and has retained secure vantage ground in popular confidence and esteem.

Mr. Dilley was born on a farm in Eel Creek township, Lake county, Indiana, and the date of his nativity was July 5, 1857. He is a son of David and Adaline Thankful (Ellithorp) Dilley, the former of whom was born near Buffalo, New York, and the latter in Ohio. David Dilley was a lad of eleven years at the time when he came with his widowed mother, Mrs. Mary M. (Dinwiddie) Dilley to Indiana, and his mother was one of the noble pioneer women of this state, where she bravely faced the problems and hardships that confronted her and assumed burdens that would have proved thwarting to a less determined and courageous spirit. She was a native of Pennsylvania and was a specially fine horsewoman. In the old Keystone state it had been her custom to ride on horseback a distance of six miles to attend church, and later she crossed the Allegheny mountains by means of the same primitive means of transportation. She and her husband established their home in Ohio and after his death she came with her little son David to Indiana, where she secured a tract of land and instituted the development of a farm. She passed the remainder of her earnest and noble life in Lake county, and the record of her career is one full of inspiration and lesson. She was a representative of the historic old Dinwiddie family which has been one of marked prominence in Pennsylvania and Virginia and the lineage of which is traced back to stanch German origin. She was a birthright member of the Society of Friends and was prominently identified with the founding of the Dinwiddie yearly meeting of this noble organization in Lake county, Indiana. David Dilley was reared under the conditions and influences of the pioneer epoch in the history of this section of the state and was one of the strong and worthy citizens of Porter county at the time of his death. His cherished and devoted wife has also passed to the life eternal. Their marriage was solemnized in LaPorte county and they became the parents of thirteen children, of whom six sons and three daughters are now living. The father devoted his entire active career to agricultural pursuits and his life was marked by impregnable integrity and honor in all its relations.

He was for many years one of the prominent farmers of Porter county and here both he and his wife are remembered with affectionate regard by all who knew them, both having been devout members of the United Brethren church. They gave to their children the best possible educational advantages and it is worthy of special note that their son Samuel became a successful teacher in a school in which eight of his brothers and sisters were his pupils.

John M. Dilley, the immediate subject of this review, was reared under the invigorating influences of the home farm and was about twenty-seven years of age at the time of the family removal from Lake county to Porter county. He remained at the parental home until his marriage, in 1884, and he and his wife remained with the latter's venerable parents until the latter passed to the life eternal, after having received the most perfect filial care and devotion from Mr. and Mrs. Dilley. On the old homestead farm of his wife's parents Mr. Dilley still remains so that he and his wife are now the owners of an estate of forty acres -- one of the good farms of Boone township. Honesty and industrious application of his maximum powers have marked the career of Mr. Dilley as an agriculturist and stock-grower, and he has not been denied the most generous fruition of his labors. He is one of the representative exponents of these two lines of industry in Porter county, and both he and his wife hold secure place in the esteem at all who know them.

Ever ready to give his co-operation in support of enterprises projected for the general good of the community, Mr. Dilley is known as one of the progressive citizens of his county. His political allegiance is given unreservedly to the Republican party and he is a firm supporter of its principles and policies. The home, two miles south of the Village of Hebron, is known for its gracious hospitality, and both Mr. and Mrs. Dilley are valued factors in the social activities of the community. They and their three children hold membership in the United Presbyterian church in Hebron and Mrs. Dilley is a most zealous worker in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. She was a delegate to the state convention of this organization at Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1910, and gained much from the broadening and refining influences there brought to bear.

On the 13th of September, 1884, was solemnized the marriage or Mr. Dilley to Miss Capitola Merriss, who was born in Boone township, this county, on the 13th of December, 1868, and who is a daughter of Daniel and Eliza (Snyder) Merriss, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of the state of New York. Daniel Merriss was born in the year 1810, and in 1840, at the age of thirty years, he established his home in Porter county, Indiana. His first marriage was solemnized in Ohio, where Sarah Neafus became his bride. Two children were born of this union, Mary J. and Almira, and after the death of the mother Mr. Merriss wedded Miss Eliza Snyder, the one child of this union being Mrs. Dilley. Mr. and Mrs. Dilley became the parents of seven children, whose names are here noted: Edna Y., Kenneth J., Vera L., Vanchie F., Loren G., and Velma F., died at the age of sixteen months and an infant lived only one day. Miss Edna Dilley was graduated in the normal department of Valparaiso University and was thereafter a successful teacher in Jasper county for one year and in the Bryant school for two years. She is now teaching in the Bryant school in Boone township, Porter county, in which she herself received her early educational discipline, and her popularity in her home community is well attested by her retention of this position, in which her efficiency has gained to her unqualified approval. Miss Vera L. Dilley is now attending a commercial school at Crown Point, Indiana, where she is fitting herself for the profession of stenography. Kenneth J. Dilley is at home. Loren received his diploma in the class of 1912 and will enter the Hebron high school.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 462-467

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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