LETTERS BY J. WARREN SCOTT DEY
1904
copied by John F. Dye in the 1930s.

Recopied by Jayne W. Dye. Oct, 1998

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"I thought and believed until within the last twenty years that the Deys and Dyes of Middlesex and Monmouth Counties, New Jersey, were the descendants of an elder brother of my second ancestor.

About fourteen or fifteen years ago, I learned that the Middlesex and Monmouth County Deys and Dyes were of Danish origin, which I could not at that time reconcile, still adhering to my theory that they were descendants of the elder brother of my second ancestor, all evidence was against that theory, but I still persisted in pursuing my investigations under my pet theory. One day, when in the Surrogates Office in New York, in turning over the leaves of the Will book, my eye caught the name of Sarah Dye. I examined to learn whose will it was, and found it to be that of Vincent Fountain. Wherein he made provision for his "much honored mother Sarah Dye". I then turned my attention to the Fountain family for a while and then prosecuted my searches on Staten Island in order to learn if possible the connection between the Deys and Dyes and the Fountain and found a deed made by Vincent Fountain as Executor of his father and his mother Sarah Hans or Sarah Laurens with the consent of her husband Hans Laurens to (I think) the widow Garretson for a tract of land which had belonged to Anthony Fountain. (My notes as to all this are in New York and I am writing from memory, therefore do not hold me to exact wording.) This information gave me to understand that the names Dey and Dye were corrupted. Hans Laurenszen, who was the ancestor of the Deys and Dyes of Middlesex and Monmouth Counties, New Jersey, was the son of Laurens Duyts, who came from Denmark by way of Holland in the ship "Fire of Troy" in 1639. The descendants with one or two exceptions of Hans Laurenszen by his first wife spell the name Dey, Deay and Deays, by his second wife, a part spell the name Dey while others spell it Dye, and In some families it is spelled both ways.

Almost all of the descendants of William of 1718 son of John and Anne spell the name Dey; the three Mason County, Ky., branches spell it Dye; those now in New Jersy spell it Dey. Nearly, if not quite all of the descendants of Joseph (son of John and Anne) spell the name Dey. The first Vincent Dye, I infer, was named for his uncle Vincent Fountain. I have spent over forty years of my life and considerable money in the collection of data, and the work is but just begun. The family is one of the most prolific races in this country.

I omitted to state that the tradition of these Dyes being of Danish origin is preserved among the descendants of Joseph (son of John and Anne), and when I first heard it, ridiculed such tradition as at that time I was a firm believer in my theory upon which I started. I have given you information which if you think proper to send for copies of the Will and Deed referred to, will confirm that much of the Dey and Dye history. Lawrence Dey who married Anne, daughter of John and Anne, was the son of James Hans Dey or Deay and his second wife Margaret ******** , was the grandson of Hans Laurenszen and Marritge Satyrs. James Dey was known and commonly called James Hance. There are several other lines of these people, but I have been tracing the descendants of James Hans Dey and his half brother John Dey or Dye. When John Dye took title to the land he purchased from Mindert Johnson his name in the deed is spelled Dey. Mr. P. E. (P. Edwin) Dye's collections from various sources in this country are immensely valuble, but his researches in England are of little value as this family is not English. Mr. Dye is a Patent Lawyer in Washington and I do not think he has had the time to devote to the subject which has been necessary to work it out correctly. I would very much like to have the loan of Mr. Dye's manuscripts in order to settle the question as to who certain Dyes are descended from. I have very little of John Dyes descendants; none of David; have much of William; none of Vincent; much of Joseph, and Anne, and none of Katherine. When I say I have none of particular persons I should also add that I have a great mass of material to be identified. Of James I have much, of his son Andrew and one line of Benjamin. I am informed Benjamin had but three children and died in Greene County, Pa. , in 1788. His wife's maiden name I am informed was Lemley. I learned of them since June last. They thought they were of German origin, because they were called "Penn. Dutch." Benjamin lived and died a neighbor to his nephew James Dye of 1769. At present I am a cripple having slipped and sprained my knee which confines me to my room.

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John Dey, or dye, son of Hans Laurenszen Duyts and Mrs. Sarah Fountain Dye was born on Staten Island - - --168-, married Anne ***. On 21st day of Dec. 1725, he purchased from Mindert Johnson of the township of Perth Amboy 200 acres of land, bounded on the South by Millstone River, and on this tract he settled. This land is located near Prospect Plains and Cranbury, Middlesex County, New Jersey, and is now owned and occupied by "Brick House" John Dey a descendant of Wm. Dey of 1718.

By his will dated Oct. 1, 1750, Proved March 8, 1750 or 51, he names wife Anne, Sons, John, David, William, James, Vinson and Joseph and daughters, Anne and Katherine. Executors, "my son John, my son William and my son-in-law, Lawrence Dye." Witnesses Peter Perrine, Sten (Stenven) Warne, and Sarah Davisson. He devises to his eldest son John "the just sum of Five pounds at 8 s. per ounce" to David "the just sum of fifty pounds at 8s. per ounce". To his sons William, James, Vinson, and Joseph, and daughters Anne and Katherine all the remainder of the money arising from the sale of my estate to be equally divided amonst them, their heirs, etc.,"

The land was encumbered, the interest on that debt was to be paid by his wife to whom, he leaves the use during her life. Also devises to her during life the personalty after payment of debts except therefrom the debt upon the plantation. After the death of his wife, and sale of his property, proceeds to be divided as above set forth. It is supposed that his wife survived him many years, as his estate had not been settled in Dec. 1763 when James Dye mentions in the codicil of his will, the money which is now owing and coming due and payable by virtue of the last will and testament of his father John Dye.

The inference and supposition as to why John was to receive but five pounds, is that he had already given John as his eldest son his full share in other lands, etc.,

The family record has not been found, therefore the will is the authority as to who were the children of John and Anne Dey or Dye. The loss of Church Records during the War of the Revolution is regretted by all students of family history. The Bible of Lawrence Dey is extant and gives his wife's age, or birth, Feb. 2, 1715. And William Dye's Bible is also in possession of his descendants, which gives his birth as July 6, 1718. All efforts on the part of the writer hereof to unearth the records of other members of this family have failed. The descendants of three sons of William are to be found in Mason County, Kentucky, in different counties in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Texas, also in Oklahoma. Johns descendants are to be found in Ohio, Illinois and other states. James descendants, which have been identified, are to be found in Penn., Ohio, Indiana, and other Western country, but as yet the descendants of but two sons of James have been identified, viz; Andrew and Benjamin, the latter being identified within the past year, i.e. during 1904. At the date of the Codicil to Will of James Dye, all his children were under twenty one years of age. The Codicil is dated Dec. 13, 1763. The two claims referring to the share of a deceased son or daughter are identical and as follows: "Item". "I will and ordain that if any of my sons should die before they arrive to the age of 21 years or marry, then the share of the deceased to be divided among the survivors. "

" in the case of the daughters the share is divided among them. " James Dye, gives his wife the use of his plantation, three cows, two horses, and some necessary household goods, etc., for the use and benefit of herself and children to use one year. All his other pesonalty is ordered sold as soon as practicable and at the end of one year after his death the plantation and personalty reserved are to be sold. This as will be seen could have no other result than a separation of the family, each to look out for himself and herself. The property or rather proceeds of the sales was to be divided into sixteenths, two sixteenth to his wife, and each of his sons, and one sixteenth to each of his daughters. Andrew was not sixteen years old when his father died. James is supposed to have been older than Andrew Dye. The tombstone of Andrew Dye has the following inscription " In Memory of Andrew Dye, who departed this life July 5, 1835, in the 91st year of his age." This would indicate that he was born in 1744. The Church Record of Christ Church Shrewsbury has his baptism as Jan. 3, 1749, aged five months. This would indicate that he was born in July or August, 1748. I am told that one of the histories of Miami County states his age at time of death 87 years. Whoever ordered the inscription upon the tombstone was in error as to the year of his birth.

Andrew Dye married first Sarah Miner, or Minor, who was the mother of all his children. After her death he married Mrs. Anne Lamb Evans, widow of Charles Evans of near Maye Lick, Mason County, Ky. His children were born in New Jersy and Penn., that is, James, Stephen, John Minor and Andrew, commonly called dries, were born in New Jersey. It is said that Mrs. Sayrs was the first of the children born in Penn., while it is also stated she was born in New Jersey.

It is stated in one of the histories of Miami County that Stephen Dye was born in Maryland. This is a mistake, unless it is a mistake that James, John Minor and Andrew were born in New Jersey. It should be remembered that travelling was difficult in those days. When families moved away from home it was permanent. The census of 1840 and 1850 of Miami and Shelby Counties, Ohio, would determine all this dispute. As Stephen and John Minor and Mrs. Sayrs were all living in Miami county in 1840, and each made his or her statement as to the place and year of birth. The accompanying notes of all the children of Andrew Dye and Sarah Minor and of their son Stephen Dye, give all the information as far a known by the writer of names, dates of birth and marriages and to whom each were married. -

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In reply to your question would say that my investigations fully support the tradition in the Joseph Dey, or Dye, branch of the family as to the origin of the family being in Denmark, reconciling the corruption of the name was one of the most difficult problems I had to solve. One reason I suppose was my prejudice that these people were descended from the elder line of my family, which of course I wanted to have that way, and it was on that theory I pursued my investigations. I have none of my notes here to refer to that I might give you book and page, but will tell you where you will find the documents recorded and by reference to indexes in the respective office the Book and page can readily by ascertained. The conveyance from Vincent Fountain and his mother Sarah Hans, with the consent of her husband Hans Laurens (Duyts corrupted to Dye) to the widow Garretson, is recorded in the Clerk's office of Richmond County, New York, (now the Borough of Richmond of the City of Greater New York). The Will of Vincent Fountain is recorded in the Office of the Surrogate of the City and County of New York was made about 1730, and I think proved prior to 1740. The conveyance from Mindert Johnson to John Dey is recorded in the Office of the Secretary of State, Trenton, New Jersey. If in New York, I could give you Book and page. The wills of John Dey and his son James Dye, will also be found in the Office of the Secretary of State at Trenton and the original wills are to be found there on file. You ask the relation of Lawrence Dey to Anne Dye his wife. Anne Dye, as you know, was the daughter of John Dey the first of the name to settle in Middlesex County, New Jersey. She was the granddaughter of Hans Laurenszen and Mrs. Sarah Fountain Dye. Lawrence Dey was the grandson of the same Hans Laurenszen and his first wife Marritje Satyrs. While in the one Lawrence Dey and his wife Anne Dye were own cousins, they were half blood being the grandchildren of the same man by different wives.

Note: (Mrs. Sarah Fountain, widow of Anthony Fountain, afterwards married Hans Laurens (Duyts) Dye. Vincent Fountain was her son by Anthony Fountain, her first husband.

Hans Laurenszen, ( Duyts corrupted to Dye) was the son of Laurens Duyts, the emigrant. I do not know who his mother was, as the baptismal records fail to give that as early as 1644, when he was baptized. Some years later the names of both parents are given in the register. The Dutch custom of dropping surnames makes it very difficult in some cases to identify persons. Hans Laurens or Laurenszen, was Hans the son of Laurens somebody (In this case, Hans Laurenszen Hans, the son of Laurens Duyts.) Surnames were not always used, but it is well established who Hans Laurenszen was. If you have a public Library in your city you may find in it Riker's History of Harlem in which you will learn much of your emigrant ancestor Laurens Duyts. He was a troublesome mortal and was banished by Gov. Stuyvesant and died at Bergen (where Jersey City if now located) in 1668. You may also find in your library the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, in which you will find the baptisms in the Dutch church. You inguire as to my ancestry. My emigrant ancestor was Drick Janssen Dey, commonly known and called Drick Siecken. He came to New York Amsterdam in the employ of the Dutch West India co., as a soldier. He lost his identity, and recourse was had to Holland to learn what his real name was. In the meantime, he was called and known as Drick Seicken, or as in English, Richard the sick man, under which name he was known as a soldier and also in this business he took title to lands in the name of Drick Seicken, and made conveyances under that name. In 1647, as a soldier he was tried and court martialed, condemned, and sentenced to be shot, but Gov. Stuyvesant pardoned him. In 1641 he married under the name of Drick Janszen, Jannetje Theunis and their first child, Jan was baptisd in 1652. If you have in your Library Winfield's Land Ttitles you will find something of him in that work under the name Drick Sycan, and some references to proceedings in the Orphan's Court, when he was about to marry his second wife, Gaertje Van Langandyke. By his first wife, he had two sons, Jan and Theunis. I am descended from Theunis. Drick Seicken died in Dec. 1683, and Theunis Dey died on the 8th of November , 1688. It is only within the past four years I learned the fate of Jan Dey. He died in captivity in Algiers prior to 1678. The petition of his father Drick Seicken to the Council for the return of the money he paid for the ransom of his son is on file in Albany, N. Y. , Jan having died in captivity prior to the ransom money reaching Algiers. Drick Seicken asks that it be refunded to him. This was in 1678. I am of the 8th generation from Drick Seicken. I was born in 1832. I was the laughing stock of the librarian of the New York Historical Society and some of his friends for many years, because I claimed Drick Seicken as my ancestor, and at the same time claimed my name was Dey. That Librarian although a wonderfully smart and well read man knew very little of the Dutch History of New York as regarded families and the many Dutch Aliases. But a short time afterwards the papers of James Alexander, Esq., a great lawyer of New York early in 1700, were given to the Society, among which were the papers of the two lawsuits, against my third ancestor, one commenced I think about 1725, another about 1730. Mr. Alexander was the Attorney for the Plaintiff and among his notes he required his client to find some witness who knew "old Dutch Siecken" and in a marginal note was this " this man's name was Drick Janse Dey, but commonly called "Drick Siecken". I showed this to the Librarian, he apoligized and gave me credit of being well informed upon my family history. I had known all about the tradition from my earliest childhood and I also had documentary evidence as to who Drick Siecken was. The marriage record of the Dutch Church gives him as born in Amsterdam. The Dey family were originally French, were Huguenots, and settled in Holland. Drick Siecken was a character in New Amsterdam, and I would say a firm believer in the value of Real Estate. In reply to your question as to the disposition of my papers would say that they will go to the New York Historical Society of which I am a life member. What disposition that Society will make of them I cannot say. I may require that they shall have them typewritten in books and the manuscripts kept only for reference to verify some questions which might arise.

The only "Dries" (Andrew) of whom I have any knowledge was Andrew born in 1774, died April 1838. His father, Andrew, born 1744 was the first of the name of Andrew as far as I am informed. All of his children except one or two had a son named Andrew. The names John, James, William, Vincent, and Joseph are very common and make it difficult to identify in many cased, unless by family records. "Dries" is the short or nickname in Dutch for Andrew or Andries. The family previous to the birth of John, the grandfather of Andrew, were reared among the Dutch on Staten Island, and I expect they used the Dutch (provincial) languages as much, if not more, than the English. As the provinces were not ceded permanently to England until 1647, although English occupation had existed from 1664 to a certain extent.

As I believe I have already informed you I am tracing the descendants of two lines only, viz; that of James Dey, who was known and called James Hans or Hance, and John Dey, the son of James and Anne Dye. There was another on Staten Island, one William Dey, who I believe was a full brother of John, but I have no track of him after I think 1702. There were also several females, who I have not attempted to trace, one Elizabeth married one Hilliard, another Lydia who married Kierstedt, another Cartharine, who married Jacobus Ebgertszen, which name on Staten Island has resolved itself into that of Egbert, and I also have notes in New York of others, but I have confined myself to the two families named.

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