Monday, April 9, 2012

The Dryden Brothers as Presented in The Centennial History of Springdale, Dane County, Wisconsin, 1848-1948

Over the past few months, I have been posting articles from the Centennial History of the Town of Springdale, Dane County, Wisconsin, 1848-1948. Sometimes these articles are about my McPherson family, but many times not. Nevertheless, I continue to hope that these stories will bring forth more contacts, family, friends and history of my McPhersons and the town of Springdale,  and to, perhaps, provide a link for those who had family in Springdale during those early years in Springdale.

My great-great grandfather, James Peter McPherson, mentioned the Drydens twice in his diary, both in 1857.(NOTE: J.P.diary transcriptions are only completed through 1862, so it is possible there are other notations about the Drydens between 1862 and 1867.)

October 26, 1857, J.P. McPherson "Issued summons in case of J.D.Dryden v. Patrick Carroll."  

December 18, 1857, J.P. McPherson "Tried Suits of Boggs vs. Thompson & Dryden and Maas vs. O'Neil."

Sometimes J.P. gives glimpses into the individual cases when he talks about who came to visit, and issues talked about, i.e., roads, fence lines, animals.  However, he is makes no other mention of the Drydens.

If one were to look for the Drydens in the census reports under the names of Nathanial or Duff -- good luck, I say.  Nathanial is listed under "Henderson Dryden" in both the 1850 and 1860 Federal Census Reports for Springdale.  I am assuming that Duff is the J.T. Dryden who lived close to Nathaniel/Henderson Dryden.  J.T.'s family is listed by initials, except for the two youngest children, James, 3, and Cordellia,1.  For that matter three of Nathaniel's four children are listed by initials, including Theron (R.T.), who is mentioned below.  Only William A. Dryden and his family, who are found in the 1860 census for Springdale, are found under the name that I was expecting.

By 1870, the Drydens are no longer listed in the Federal Census for  Springdale and have apparently moved "westward."

The Drydens
as presented on page 136,
 Centennial History of the Town of Springdale,
 Dane County, Wisconsin, 1848-1948 

Three Dryden brothers, Duff, William and Nathaniel, lived on the road to Mt. Horeb, almost within the limits of the present village, while a cousin , Henderson Dryden, lived near the site of the present Springdale town hall. Nathaniel H. Dryden lived on the later G. E. Mickelson farm near the Northwestern viaduct east of the village. They came from Tennessee, and earlier from Alabama, probably drawn northwards like their neighbors by the lead discoveries in Wisconsin. The Drydens brought a number of ther former slaves along. One of them, “Old Rhoda,” of the Springdale Drydens, was reputed to have red teeth. Her appearances at Mt Vernon stores were stimulating events. She is said to be buried in the Mt. Horeb Cemetery. This cemetery and church sited were transferred by Nathaniel Dryden as the first burial there was that of a young Druyden youth, who died of cholera while hauling mineral from the Blue Mounds mines. He was buried near the southeast corner of the present cemetery. A sad event of the time was the killing in the fall of 1866 of Theron Dryden, son of Nathaniel, at a chavirari party near the Brackenwagen corner west of the prsent Mt. Horeb by David Holton, postmaster there. Several long drawn out trials followed the tragedy, but nothing came of them. Holton lost his farm and some years later was buried in the Forest Hill Cemetery at Madison. Eventually, the Drydens moved westward. Two or more of their young men attended the Evansville seminary for short periods.
(Interview Harvey Fargo, Oct. 5, 1939)

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 © Joan Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

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