Dunfee, Michael

Submitted: Jim Earles

Dunfee Ancestry Trail May Lead To Ireland

Dunfee families in Belmont, Monroe, Coshocton, Lawrence, and Union Counties of Ohio and Wabash County Indiana, descend from four Dunfield/Dunfee brothers (Oliver, Benedict, John, and Thomas) who were born in the 1760ís, in an area that is currently Washington County, Pennsylvania. Their father is believed to be Michael Dunfee/Dunfield. Michael was born about 1736, in County Wexford, Ireland. The date Michael immigrated to America is unknown, but his family may have left Ireland during or shortly after the famine of 1740-41. Michael was in Pennsylvania by 1758, based on Archive records that show he enlisted 2 May 1758, in a Pennsylvania Militia Company formed by Capt. McClughan for a campaign in the Lower Counties (present day Delaware). Documentation has not yet been found on when Michael Dunfee settled in Western Pennsylvania, but history of that area (see Appendix 1) provides some clues.

Michael Dunfee may have been one of the soldiers that marched to the Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh) area (see Figure A) during the French and Indian war and then settled there. Or, following the Lower Counties campaign, he may have migrated from Pennsylvania through Maryland and been one of those that, in the early 1760ís, followed Braddockís road to the Redstone Creek (Brownsville) area. In the early 1770ís, a large number of Scotch-Irish from eastern Pennsylvania moved to that area and, because of the large number, English and other early settlers were antagonistic toward them. Since the Dunfee name was probably associated with Scotch-Irish, Michael may have changed the name to Dunfield to make it clear he was an early settler.

The book "Virginiaís Colonial Soldiers" lists Michael Dunfield as being on the pay roll at Pittsburgh during Dunmoreís 1774 war with the Shawnee Indians. That payroll is dated 30 September 1775. Pennsylvania Archive records also show a Michael Dunfield served as a private in the Pennsylvania Militia during Indian conflicts following the American Revolution. He served in the Washington County Militia Fifth Battalion Company formed by Capt. Myars 2 November 1781, and is listed on three pay roll records.

The following tax lists from Bethlehem and West Bethlehem Townships show Michael Dunfield was in Washington County from its formation in 1781 until about 1790.

1781 - Bethlehem Township - Donfield, Michael - on list of inhabitants

1783 - Bethlehem Township - Dunfield, Michael - 1 cow, value 3 shillings

1785 - Bethlehem Township - Dunfield, Michal - County tax 3 pence, State tax 3 pence

1788 - Bethlehem Township - Dunfield, Michal - 1 cow, value 3 shillings, tax 1 pence

1788 - Bethlehem Township - Dunfield, Michael - County 0, State 0

1789 - West Bethlehem Township -Dunfield, Michael - 15 shillings, 5 pence

1791 - West Bethlehem Township -Dunfield, Oliver - 6 pence

1792 - West Bethlehem Township -Dunfield, Oliver - 2 horses-3, 1 cow-2, 5 pence

1792 - West Bethlehem Township -Dunfield, Elinore - 1 horse-3, 1 cow-2, 5 pence

1793 - West Bethlehem Township -Dunfield, Oliver - 1 horse-2, 1 cow-2, 4 pence

Dunfee or Dunfield

The Dunfield name was used through the mid-1820ís, and at times, even later. For example, the Thomas Dunfee that moved to Lawrence County is listed in the 1860 census as Thomas Dunfield. However, most records from 1830 and later use Dunfee. No documents have been found on why the name was changed from Dunfield to Dunfee, or why it changed from Dunfee to Dunfield and then back to Dunfee. A possible reason for the first change is noted above.

The four brothers would have been old enough to remember that first change and, when in their 60ís, may have decided to change back, before the name was lost. There apparently was discussion on the change, because all four families changed to Dunfee about the same time.

Dunfield Families Move to Virginia Then Ohio

As noted above, Michael Dunfee was born in County Wexford, Ireland, and immigrated to America before 1758. He is believed to be the Michael Dunfield who is listed in records for the Washington County area of western Pennsylvania beginning about 1773, and, based on Bethlehem Township tax records, is believed to be the father of the four Dunfield/Dunfee brothers that moved to Ohio.

Available Washington County, Bethlehem Township records show Michael Dunfield paid taxes in 1781, 1783, 1785, and 1788. The township split in 1789, and Michael paid taxes in West Bethlehem. He is not listed in 1791, but Oliver, the oldest of the four brothers, is, and in 1792, Oliver and Elinore Dunfield are listed. This probably indicates Michael died before 1792, and Elinore is the surviving spouse. Oliver, who was born about 1764, and married Rosanna about 1788, is listed in 1793 West Bethlehem Township tax records, but not in 1794. The Dunfield family may have been involved in the Washington County Wiskey Tax Rebellion of 1794, because none signed the allegiance pledge following that uprising. They may have been among the many that fled to the adjacent Ohio County, Virginia. Around 1798, Oliver and Rosanna are believed to have moved with four children to an area that would become Belmont County (organized 7 Sep 1801), US Territory (become Ohio 1 Mar 1803).

Benedict, the 2nd brother, was born about 1766, and married Eunice Meek about 1796. He apparently served in the Militia during Indian conflicts of the late 1700ís. The Hillsí History of Coshocton County states one of its early settlers, Benedict Dunfee, was an Indian Ranger in the US Service at Wheeling, Virginia, before coming to Jackson Township in the 1820ís. This is confirmed by his 1825 and 1830 purchase of Federal lands set aside for those with military service. Benedict and Eunice also moved to Ohio about 1798.

The two youngest brothers, John born about 1768, and Thomas, born about 1770, are also believed to have moved from Washington County about 1794. Thomas was living in Ohio County, Virginia (probably near Wheeling), when he married Grace Lashly 21 March 1797, and John was living in Jefferson County, US Territory, when he married Mary Bierly 3 April 1798. At that time Jefferson County included much of current Belmont County, so he could have been in the area family members moved to about 1798.

The Hardesty History of Jefferson and Belmont Counties states that Samuel Day and family, Richard Riley and family, and Thomas Dunfee and family settled on the ridge overlooking Dillieís Bottom in the 1790ís. It also indicates Richard L. Riley, born in Virginia 25 Sep 1777, moved to Ohio County, Virginia (Wheeling), about 1800, and remained there three years before moving to Ohio, where he married Elizabeth Day in 1807. However, the Hardesty History of Monroe County indicates Richard Riley moved to Ohio in 1798.

Samuel Day, born 17 December 1767, farmed in Morris Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania, in the early 1790ís, before moving to Ohio, and may have known the Dunfield brothers at that time. Thomas and Grace Dunfee probably arrived with Oliver and Rosanna about 1798. Samuel Day and family located near them, because a son and daughter of Oliver married a daughter and son of Samuel Day in 1819 and 1822.

John and Mary may have settled south and east of his brothers, because soon after Mary died, he married Rosanah Edge, who was living with her parents, John and Nancy (Cummings) Edge, in an area that is now Wayne Township. He apparently lived in the portion of Belmont County that, in 1813, became Monroe County and he lived in Section 30 of Sunsbury Township until the early 1830ís (see Figure B for Township locations in Monroe and Belmont Counties).


By 1860, descendants of the four brothers were living in Belmont, Coshocton, Lawrence, Union, and Monroe Counties in Ohio, and in Wabash County, Indiana. Available information on birth, marriage, and death dates, of the Dunfield brothers and their descendants, is included in Appendix 2 (Oliver), Appendix 3 (Benedict), Appendix 4 (John), and Appendix 6 (Thomas).

Oliver and Rosanna Dunfee

Oliver and Rosanna married about 1787 and farmed in Washington County, Pennsylvania, for about 7 years before moving, first to Ohio County, (West) Virginia, then to the Belmont County area of Ohio.

A register made by Reverend Robert Ayres, who initially was a Methodist Circuit Rider, but was ordained a Deacon in the Protestant Episcopal Church 5 Jun 1789, lists the following: Dunfield, Nancy, daughter of Oliver and Rossanna, born 27 Feb 1789, Baptized 23 Aug 1789.

In 1806, Oliver filed for U.S. Government land in Section 18 of Pultney Township and he lived there until about 1825. He also filed for other lands and was in Court a number of times related to land transfers (see Appendix 6). Available family history write-ups state Oliver and Rosanna were parents of five children (Nancy, Margaret, John, Elizabeth, and James). Rosanna Dunfee died in 1823, and Oliver married Margaret Carmichael 12 Apr 1824, the daughter of James Carmichael, who moved from Washington County, Pennsylvania, to Ohio about the same time as Oliver, but she apparently soon died. He then married Martha Ann Gollaher (a widow) 19 Jan 1826. In Jun 1830, the court appointed Oliver guardian of four Roush children (ages 3 to 11). Oliver and Martha were living in Mead Township in 1830, along with a male child 15-20, and one under five. The older child is probably the same male that was living with Oliver in 1820, and the younger one is one of the Roush children (two were living with Grace and Thomas Dunfee). Oliver died in 1835, and in 1840, Martha, age 60 to 70, was living alone.

Nancy, the oldest child, married Jesse Keyser 4 Dec 1806. Jesse, a son of Andrew and Jane (Plamer) Keyser farmed in Pultney Township. Jesse and Nancy were parents of 5 sons and 2 daughters before he died in 1825. Nancyís brother, John, was appointed guardian of the children, but Nancy continued to farm in Pultney Township and all 7 children were living with her in 1830, as were the 4 youngest in 1840. In 1850, Nancy was living with a Silas Greer, age 20, adjacent to her son Isaac.

Margaret, the 2nd child, born about 1790, married Nicholas Myers 26 Mar 1812. He died 14 May 1828. Apparently there were no children and about 1835, Margaret married Jacob S. Keyser, a son of Andrew and Jane (Plamer) Keyser. Jacobís first wife, Hester, (married 11 Oct 1821) may have died when a son, Jacob R. was born about 1831. Jacob or Hesterís parents probably raised that son because 1840, 1850, 1860, and 1870 census records do not show children living with Margaret and Jacob.

John, the 3rd child, born 11 Oct 1792, married Mary Day 9 Sep 1819. The 1820 and 1830 Mead Township census show the family included a male born before 1819. He is believed to be Jesse, possibly Johnís son from an earlier marriage. Jesse, born about 1813, lived near John in 1840 and 1850, and adjacent to his son, James A., 1850 through 1880. John and Mary farmed in Mead Township and were parents of 6 sons and 3 daughters. However, 2 of the sons died shortly after birth. Mary died in 1856, and in 1857, John and sons Oliver and Zebulon died, and a daughter, Mary, and son, John, were married. Jesse married Mary Keyser in 1835 and they were parents of 5 sons and 7 daughters. James A. and Catherine Meek were parents of 7 sons and 4 daughters. Son Oliver and Hannah Shields were parents of 4 sons before his death at age 32.

Elizabeth Eleanor, the 4th child, born about 1797, married Josephus Day 12 Dec 1822. They farmed in Pultney Township, where 5 sons and a daughter were born. In 1840, they lived in Mead Township, adjacent to Jesse Dunfee and to Martha Dunfee and near John Dunfee, but in 1850, they were again in Pultney Township.

James, the 5th child, born about 1800, married Elizabeth Alexander 16 Jun 1823. They farmed in Pultney and Mead Townships and were parents of 3 sons and 5 daughters; six of the eight married grandchildren of Andrew and Jane (Plamer) Keyser. The oldest child, Nancy, and William Mellott farmed in Sunsbury Township, Monroe County, and were parents of 3 daughters and a son. John Riley, the oldest son, and Cynthia Ann Keyser were parents of 6 daughters and 2 sons, with one son dying at an early age.

Benedict and Eunice Dunfee

Benedict and Eunice Meek married about 1796, in Ohio County, Virginia. They probably moved to Ohio with Oliver and his family. In 1820, the Mead Township census lists 8 males, 16 years of age or under in the family. In addition, a son (Michael) moved to Coshocton County about 1820, and a daughter married before, and a 2nd daughter was born after that census. In 1821, Benedict purchased 44 acres in Section 9 of Mead Township and records of 1822, 1823, and 1824, show he paid taxes on that land. Oliverís son, John, also lived in Section 9 of Mead Township and purchased the 44 acres from Benedict in 1828. On 6 Dec 1825, Benedict purchased land in Section 22 of Jackson Township, Coshocton County, Ohio. The 1830 Jackson Township census lists 4 sons and 1 daughter, with Benedict and Eunice being between 60 and 70 years of age. Benedict died before 1840 and Eunice, age 70 to 80, was living with son William, but she died before 1850.

Michael, born about 1798, married Harriet Graves 6 Nov 1823, in Virginia Township, Coshocton County, where they farmed and were parents of 5 daughters and one son. About 1837, the family moved to Indiana where 4 more sons were born. They initially lived in Tippecanoe County, but moved to Wabash County, where Largo Township records indicate Michael died of consumption in Nov 1849, at the age of 51. Three of the daughters married before 1850 and were living in Largo Township. The 1850 census shows Harriet, as head of a family, living with 2 daughters and 3 sons. One of her sons was living with his married sister and the other was living with a neighbor. Harriet was living in Noble Township when she died 28 Dec 1866.

Margaret, born about 1802, married Lenas Gilbert 27 Jan 1820, in Mead Township, Belmont County. They also moved to Coshocton County, and in 1840, lived adjacent to her brother, William. At that time they were parents of 4 sons and 4 daughters.

John, born about 1804, married Elizabeth Stillwell 2 Mar 1825, in Mead Township, Belmont County, then moved to Jackson Township, Coshocton County. They were parents of a son and daughter before John died in 1834. Elizabeth died in Feb 1835, and the children, William Benedict and Nancy, were living with Johnís brother, Jesse, in 1840. William married Mary E. Williams 9 Jul 1848. They initially lived in Virginia Township, but moved to Darby Township, Union County, Ohio, about 1857. William and Mary operated a dry good store in Milford Center (Unionville) and their sons operated sawmills. One son was the Mayor of Unionville in 1880, and another served on the city council. William and Mary were parents of six sons and three daughters. In 1860, Williamís grandmother, Mary A. Stillwell, was living with the family.

Aaron, born about 1806, married Nancy about 1827, and farmed in Jackson Township, Coshocton County until 1839, when the family of three sons and a daughter moved to Noble Township, Wabash County, Indiana. The family later moved to Pleasant Township. Two sons and two daughters were born in Indiana.

Jesse, born about 1810, married Catherine Joy about 1830. They farmed in Virginia Township, Coshocton County, and were parents of 3 sons and 4 daughters. He died in Mar 1861. The sons raised families in Coshocton County, of 3 sons and 3 daughters, of 5 daughters, and of 1 son.

William B. A., born about 1812, married Mary Graham 19 Mar 1840. They farmed in Jackson Township, Coshocton County, and were parents of 2 sons and 2 daughters. Mary died in May 1872. William then married Martha McCoy 9 Jul 1873, and fathered a third son. The first 2 sons married and remained in Jackson Township, but the 3rd moved to Union County and married there.

Thomas, born about 1814, married Maria Parks 14 Feb 1835. They lived in Franklin Township, Coshocton County, and were parents of a daughter before moving to Indiana about 1839, with Aaron and his family. Thomas and Maria farmed in Noble Township, Wabash County, where 3 sons and 5 daughters were born. Maria died about 1885, and Thomas married Selena Vallette in August 1889.

Harrison, born about 1816, married Mary Baker 15 Sep 1836. They lived in Franklin Township, Coshocton County, and were parents of 4 sons and 2 daughters. He died about 1860. Two of those sons raised families in Coshocton County; of 3 daughters and 2 sons, and of 2 sons and 4 daughters.

Archibald C., born about 1819, married Stacie Ann Day 08 Sep 1838, in Belmont County, Ohio. They then moved to Indiana, near Aaron and Thomas. Archibald and Stacie farmed in Noble Township, Wabash County, and were parents of 2 sons and 2 daughters before she died about 1863. Archibald then married Rebecca Nergin in Aug 1865.

Eunice, born 3 Feb 1821, married Joshua Richards 30 Mar 1837, in Jackson Township, Coshocton County. They were parents of a daughter and son before moving to Noble Township, Wabash County, Indiana, in 1841. Five sons and four daughters were born in Indiana.

John and Mary (Bierly) Dunfee

John Dunfee and Mary Bierly, married 3 Apr 1798 in Jefferson County, Ohio. Based on the 1820 census and other data, they were parents of a son, John Jr., born 16 Jul 1805, before Mary died in 1807. However, there may have been other children who married or were living elsewhere by 1820.

John and Rosanah (Edge) Dunfee

John and Rosanah Edge married 21 Apr 1808, and were parents of a daughter and 6 sons. They were farmers and initially lived in the portion of Belmont County that, in 1813, became Sunsbury Township, Monroe County.

In 1826, John Dunfield paid Monroe County taxes on one horse and two cattle, with a total value of $56. John apparently did not own land in 1826. In 1836 they moved to Washington Township, Belmont County, where their son, Thomas, had purchased land. John died there in 1839.

In 1840, Rosanah was living on the Washington Township farm with her three youngest sons. Neighbors included sons Thomas, Harrison, and Benedict, and daughter, Stacie. Her name does not appear in 1850 census, but she may have been living with her mother and sister-in-law. Nancy Edge died 22 Nov 1855, at age 100, and Elizabeth Edge died 27 Jan 1857 (see Appendix 7 for Edge Ancestry). In 1860, she was living with a granddaughter in Smith Township, but she then moved to Windsor Township, Lawrence County, and lived with son, Thomas, until her death about 1875.

John Jr. Dunfee, married Sarah Coon in 1826, and started farming in Sunsbury Township, Monroe County. In 1833, he purchased land there, but sold that land in 1838, and moved to Salem Township, Monroe County. John and Sarah were parents of 5 sons and 4 daughters. They sold land in Monroe County in 1845 and 1849, but were still living in Salem Township in 1850. John Jr. purchased land in Windsor Township, Lawrence County, in 1847 and by 1854, owned 200 acres there. The family moved to Lawrence County about 1853.

Thomas, the 2nd son, married Elizabeth Coon (a sister of Sarah) in 1832, and started farming in Sunsbury Township, Monroe County, but in Aug 1836, moved to Washington Township, Belmont County, and at the end of 1854, to Windsor Township, Lawrence County. Thomas and Elizabeth were parents of 11 children (7 sons and 4 daughters), two born in Monroe County, seven in Belmont County, and two in Lawrence County (see page 6 for more on this family).

Stacie, the only daughter, married (?) Pasmen about 1827, but he died about 1839. In 1840, Stacie and 3 sons lived adjacent to her mother. She then married David Brooks, 19 Oct 1840, who apparently adopted her sons. They farmed in Washington Township and were parents of 4 daughters and a son.

Benedict, the 3rd son, married about 1835, and the Washington Township, Belmont County, 1840 census lists a wife (15-20) and a son and daughter under 5. They were parents of another son before his wife died about 1845. The two older children are believed to be Margaret A., married James W. Phillips about 1857, and Thomas, married Mary C. Phillips 17 Oct 1861. Benedict then married Lucinda Jane Holland 12 Jun 1851. This family, and first son John, moved to Lawrence County in the mid-1850ís. Benedict and Lucinda Jane were parents of 5 daughters and 5 sons.

In 1840, the 4th son, Harrison, and a wife were living near Rosanah. However, Harrison is not listed in later census.

The 5th son, George W., married Rachel F. Scott 23 Mar 1841. They farmed in Belmont County, and were parents of a son and daughter before her 1849 death at the age of 28. George purchased 40 acres in Lawrence County in Mar 1854, and may have moved there, but soon died, for he does not appear in the 1860 Ohio census. Their children, Joshua Shannon and Sarah L., were raised by her parents in Washington and Wayne Townships. Sarah married Anthony Pugh 14 Aug 1862, and Shannon married Adaline Phillips (sister of Mary C.) 20 Jan 1871.

Oliver, the 6th son, married Jemima VanDyne 27 Jan 1846. They farmed in Washington Township, and were parents of a son (Jesse) and daughter (Minerva Ellen) before he died in 1849. Jemima remarried 3 Jan 1851 to John Holland. Minerva married Charles Saffle in 14 Sep 1867, they farmed in Washington Township and were parents of six sons and a daughter.

Richard, the 7th son, married Sarah Jane Wait 13 Feb 1845. They farmed in Monroe County, and were parents of 4 sons before he died in 1856. Sarah Jane then married Joshua Scott, Jr. (a brother of Rachel) in 1857. Sarah and Joshua Jr. lived in Washington Township, until the mid-1860ís, when they moved to Smith Township. The oldest son, Oliver D. Dunfee, married Elizabeth J. Holland 28 Mar 1872. Andrew, the 2nd son, raised by a cousin William Frederick Edge, in Perry Township, Monroe County, married Nancy Johnson 16 May 1870. Nancy died about 1874, and neighbors raised their 2 children. Andrew then married Alsey Curtis 7 Feb 1875. The 3rd son, Benjamin Benedict married Sarah E. Davis 16 Aug 1877. They were parents of 3 sons and 2 daughters. Thomas, the 4th son, married Mariah about 1882. They farmed in Washington Township and were parents of 2 sons and a daughter.

Thomas and Grace (Lashly) Dunfee

Thomas probably moved in 1794 with his brothers from Washington County, Pennsylvania, to Ohio County, Virginia (now WV), and on to Ohio about 1798. However, records by Circuit Riders of Washington & Fayette Counties, PA, list a 21 Mar 1797 John Brie marriage of Thomas Dunfield and Grace Lashly. Once in Ohio he was involved in a number of disputes. Court records show he appeared in 1811, 1816, and 1825. Thomas lived in Mead Township, but owned land in the area that became Bellaire. In 1820 the family included a son (Thomas Jr.) and three daughters (Mary, Hannah, Mila). By 1830, Mary (Ferrel), Hannah (Dunlap), and Thomas Jr. had married and lived near Thomas and Grace. Mila was still at home, as were Elizabeth Roush, who asked the Court to name Thomas her guardian, and George and Boston Roush, Oliverís guardian children.

In 1840, Thomas Jr.ís wife and four children are living with Thomas and Grace, and in 1850, Thomas and Grace are living with Brice Dunlap. The 1850 census notes that Thomas is Blind.

The oldest child, Mary, born about 1804, married Shepard Ferrel 5 Jul 1821. Shepard and Mary farmed in Mead Township and were parents of 3 sons and 5 daughters. In 1830 they were living near Thomas and Grace, and in 1850 they were living near Brice Dunlap and James Doty.

Hannah, the 2nd child, born about 1808, married Brice Dunlap, a widower with three daughters and a son, 18 Mar 1827. They farmed in Mead Township and were parents of 5 sons and 5 daughters. The 1830 and 1840 census show this family as neighbors to Thomas and Grace. Brice died about 1857, and in 1860, Hannah and one son were living with daughter Caroline, and her husband, Joseph Crow. Another son was living with daughter Catherine, and her husband, Hiram Brandon. The other 3 sons had married and were living in Mead Township.

Thomas Jr., the 3rd child, born about 1811, married Margaret Elizabeth Glascow 3 Jun 1830. They were parents of 3 sons (James, Samuel, & Keller) and a daughter (Nancy Jane) before Thomas Jr. died about 1840. After his death, Margaret and the 4 children lived with Thomas and Grace, until Margaret married Conrod Cutshaw 11 Jan 1842. Conrod and Margaret lived in Mead Township through the early 1850ís, but had moved to Washington County by 1860. They were parents of 4 sons.

The children of Thomas Jr. were apparently parceled out to friends or relatives to raise. The oldest, James, married Elizabeth Hinkle. Daniel and Catherine Gutton raised Samuel in Pultney Township. Samuel and his wife, Mary, were parents of 2 daughters and a son. Keller, the 3rd son, married Susan A. Hinkle 06 Nov 1862. They were parents of 5 daughters and 4 sons.

Mila, the 4th child, born about 1814, married James Doty 22 Oct 1835. James and Mila were parents of 2 daughters and a son and lived adjacent to Brice Dunlap and near Thomas and Grace. Mila died about 1842 and James married Sarah about 1844. In 1850, the family included Milaís 3 children (Mary, Charles, and Phoebe) plus a son born about 1845.

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