Samuel E. Dilley, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Samuel E. Dilley

SAMUEL E. DILLEY. The family represented by the prosperous farmer and stockman, Samuel E. Dilley, has been prominently identified with the development and progress of northwestern Indiana from the time when the Pottawatomie Indians still lingered in the woods and prairies, when agriculture was the crude battle of the pioneer against the ages-old inertia of the soil, and when habitations were log cabins scattered here and there. This sketch will therefore mention names that have been familiar and esteemed in this vicinity for fully three quarters of a century.

Samuel E. Dilley, who was born in Lake county, November 9, 1851, was a son of David and Adeline (Ellithorp) Dilley. David Dilley was born in Trumbull county, Ohio, and when eleven years old was brought to Indiana by his widowed mother, Mary (Dinwiddie) Dilley, one of the very remarkable pioneer women of the last century. She had crossed the Allegheny mountains on horseback, and then from eastern Ohio had come on into the wilderness of Indiana and entered a hundred and sixty acres of land in Lake county, which with the assistance of her son David she developed into a good homestead. David Dilley played with the Indian boys in this vicinity, and grew up to be one of the substantial and influential citizens. The Dinwiddie family has been numerously represented here from the early settlement, and its annual reunions at Hebron are among the notable social events of Porter county. The Dinwiddies are of old Scotch stock and the ancestry is traced back many generations. David Dilley, who was numbered among the leading farmers of Lake county, married Adeline Ellithorp, whose family originally came from New York state. The children of David Dilley and wife were William, James, Dora, John, David, Thomas, Susan, Mary, Jennie, Adeline, Emma, George and Samuel. They attended the South Eagle Creek school, while James attended high school in Valparaiso and Samuel was a student in Crown Point. The mother passed away in 1878, followed some years later by the father.

While in school at Crown Point Samuel Dilley prepared himself for teaching, an occupation which he followed for five terms in Lake and Porter counties, and during that time eight of his brothers and sisters were among his pupils. For a number of years he assisted in the work of the home farm and his first independent venture was on a rented farm, with his sister Susan as housekeeper. On March 5, 1879, he was united in marriage with Miss Mary V. Stoner. Mrs. Dilley also represents a pioneer family in this vicinity. Her parents were Daniel and Elizabeth (Ludy) Stoner, natives of Pennsylvania and of the solid German stock that gave that state its best element of citizenship. The Stoner family were Hannah, Samuel, Henry, Sarah, Rebecca, Isaac, Daniel, Clara E. and Mary, and four of the children died in infancy, the others receiving their early schooling in the Bundy district school. Daniel Stoner, the father, emigrated from Montgomery county, Ohio, and settled in Porter county in 1837, obtaining one hundred and sixty acres of government land, for which he paid a dollar and a quarter an acre. His land was heavily timbered, and with both Indians and whites as his neighbors he began the great task of clearing and making a home. His first shelter for the family was a log cabin, at the rear of which was a fine spring of water. Several years later he moved nearer to the public highway and constructed another log house. He increased his land to two hundred and fifty-five acres, and became one of the most prosperous settlers of this vicinity. His third home was a frame house, and later this was replaced by a substantial, comfortable brick residence where the children of the family enjoyed many happy associations. Around it were shade and fruit trees, planted by this pioneer farmer and citizen, and a part of the old orchard still remains. One tree of winter Rambos in the fall of 1911 yielded twenty-eight bushels of apples, and reminded those now enjoying this fruit of the gratitude due to those who plant trees and otherwise make the country a richer and better place in which to live. Both Daniel Stoner and wife were gathered to rest many years ago, but they beheld the benefits of their labors and enjoyed the comforts of honored and useful children.

After marriage Mr. Dilley located on forty acres of land in this county, two miles north of Hebron, having bought this land, and there he and his wife lived for two years. Owing to the failing health of Mrs. Dilley's mother, he then moved to the Stoner homestead, later rented farms for a few years, after which he returned to the Stoner farm, which has been their permanent home ever since. Mr. and Mrs. Dilley are honored members of the Presbyterian church in Valparaiso, and in politics he has always given support to the Republican party. He has served as a member of the advisory board of his township, and his interests and efforts have been expended for the best advancement of the community. Among the interesting records of the pioneer years kept in the family, one is the original deed for the Stoner homestead granted, in 1837 to Daniel Stoner. This document, now seventy-five years old, is of parchment, and the signature is that of Martin Van Buren, then president of the United States.

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: 671-672

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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