There are a plethora of men named Samuel Tyler in colonial America. The line in my family derives from an elusive Samuel Tyler who was in Springfield, New Jersey prior to 1800 and moved to Otsego Co., New York before the end of his life. He allegedly married a “Miss Tyler” but I have found no evidence of such a woman unless his second wife bore that name.
We know that his widow’s name was Abigail and that she was not his first wife nor the mother of his child(ren) because he didn’t marry her until 1807. Lura Bella Roper’s memoir states that Samuel died in 1831 but widow Abigail’s petition for her dower rights suggests 1821 is the correct year.
My own research indicates that the first Samuel, a fuller by trade, was associated with the Presbyterian church, as he donated a bell for the church. To my mind, this association calls into question the supposition that he came from Holland; as far as I am aware, the Dutch of that era did not flock to the Presbyterian church. Likewise, the English given names of most of Samuel’s descendants could cast doubt on a Dutch ancestry.
The following details prove that Samuel’s first wife was Mary Dickinson, a descendent of Philemon Dickerson (the surname apparently changed slightly over several generations).
Essex County, New Jersey deeds from 1806 show a Samuel Tyler selling property, with wife Mary acknowledging the sale. Book L, page 102 shows the sale of four acres of land with a clause reserving the “dams, water courses, water for use of Tyler’s mills”. Mary’s acknowledgment was dated 9 August 1805, indicating that she was living on that date, and the deed was recorded on 29 January 1806. Two other deeds involve the sale of 37-1/2 acres of land, which Mary acknowledged on the same date. The town record shows that she signed her name which indicates that, unlike many wives of the time, Mary Tyler was literate.
Secondly, Essex Co. deeds record the sale of one acre of land by Samuel Tyler to Sarah Colie (or Collee) in 1795 “for love and affection” and five shillings. The love and affection clause was traditionally used when a parent was selling to an adult child for a minimal price or simply quit claiming a piece of land to offspring. This wording suggests that Sarah Colie was the daughter of Samuel Tyler, and was a previously unknown older sister to the next Samuel in the long line of men of that name.
This theory is supported and proven by the will of Sarah Dickinson, abstracted in “Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey” by Elmer T. Hutchinson:
1798, July 18 Dickinson, Sarah, of Springfield Twsp., Essex Co.; will of. Daughter, Hannah Darling, mare and cold, 2 cows, all sheep and residue. Daughter, Jemima Lawrence, ½ of wearing apparel. Daughter, Mary Tyler, 25 shillings. Granddaughter, Sarah Colie, 1 heifer, 2 sheets and pillow cases. Granddaughter, Mariah Brookfield, 1 calf. Son, Brainard Dickinson, 25 shillings. Executors – friends, Dr. John Williams and Hannah Darling. Witnesses – Aaron Hand and Watts Reeve.
Codicil, Note for 60 pounds held against son, Brainard, if recovered, to be divided between daughters Hannah Darling and Jemima Lawrence. Witnesses – Aaron Hand and Watts Reeve. Proved Aug. 21, 1798.
Lib. 37, p. 534; File 9102-9104G.
The will relationships clearly indicate that daughter Mary Dickinson had married a Tyler and, when combined with the deed information, that Sarah Dickinson’s granddaughter Sarah Colie was the daughter of Mary (Dickinson) Tyler.
Additional deeds show that Sarah Colie was the wife of Lespenard Colie. Lespenard seems to have gotten himself into a spot of trouble with the government around 1798 when he and some others were prosecuted under the Sedition Act. Their actual ‘crimes’ apparently involved making rude statements about President Adams while under the influence of alcohol; Colie was released after paying a forty dollar fine. Lespenard Colie died at age 57 of palsy, 7 December 1827 (Presbyterian church records). The 1840 census has an enumeration for “widow Lespenard Colie’ indicating that Sarah was alive at that date. Her age was shown in the 60-69 category and she appears to have been living alone. The 1850 mortality index records the death of widow Sarah Colie, age 80, of ‘billious fever’ on 30 August 1849. The Presbyterian church record of her death/burial shows that she was admitted as a member of the church in February 1824.
These dates indicate that Sarah (Tyler) Colie, shown to be daughter of Samuel and Mary Tyler and granddaughter of Mary Dickinson, was the right age to be sister to the junior Samuel Tyler who moved to New York state and married Clarissa Noble.
Since Mary, wife of Samuel-the-fuller, was living in 1805, it is clear that Mary was the mother of both Sarah Colie and the younger Samuel Tyler. Whether or not the mythical “Miss Tyler” ever existed is a question I leave to others to determine.