Early last winter Mr. Dickey suffered a slight stroke of paralysis and his friends feared he could last only a short time, but his strong will power and his hardy constitution came to his rescue and he rallied slowly and was able to be up and about the house, and only about two months ago made a trip [by] Pullman to visit his daughter. He never regained his former strength and during the past month he failed rapidly.
Volney Dickey, son of James and Hannah Dickey, was born in Fountain county, Indiana, Oct. 19th, 1833. Living close to the Dickey home in Indiana, was a man by the name of Britton, who was an extensive stock raiser in those days. He concluded to move to Illinois, making the trip overland, and driving his herd of cattle. He made the trip and located in Yellowhead township where he took up a claim. He returned to Indiana and induced the elder Mr. Dickey to come to Illinois and take care of his stock, so on the first day of December, 1834, Volney Dickey, then a little over a year old, landed in Illinois with his parents, who took up their residence in a log house not far from where the Dyer residence, occupied by Carl Hamman, now stands. From that time till his death Volney Dickey had not been outside of Yellowhead township for three weeks at a time with the exception of one winter spent in California and one winter spent in New Orleans.
A little later the elder Dickey took up a previous claim and settled on what is now the Squires place near Sherburnville. Here Volney grew to manhood. At that time there were no free schools in this country and the opportunities for obtaining an education were limited. Those who attended any school at all went to what was then known as a subscription school, and at one of these schools Volney Dickey was a student for 83 days, which was all the time he ever spent in school Yet, after he was married, we find him teaching in the first free school that was in his district, which position he held for four years. His education was obtained by hard study at home, and often midnight found him sitting beside the lighted candle, book in hand, wrestling with some difficult problem. Without the aid of a tutor he gained a fair education and in later years he was able to hold his own with many of the most learned men in a debate on any of the leading questions of his time. Political, economy and the bible he had made a particular study of and on those subjects he had few if any superiors.
Of his own religious belief, there is little can be said. While showing no public forms of worship, he believed in the existence of a supreme being, and had explicit confidence in the bible.
He was married in 1857 to Miss Julia Hayden, who died in 1878. A few years later he was married again, this time to Mrs. Sophronia Hayden who survives him.
He was the father of fifteen children, nine of whom are living. He had fifty grandchildren and a dozen great-grandchildren.
In politics he was a staunch republican and held many township offices during his time. He was a unique character, of a jovial disposition and thoroughly enjoyed a good joke. For a number of years he had been afflicted with asthma, but in spite of this ailment he was a well preserved man.
The funeral was held from the Christian church at Sherburnville Tuesday noon, the service being conducted by Dr. J.J. Evans of Kankakee; and Rev. Harry Tucker of Chicago Heights; and the remains were laid to rest in the Sherburnville cemetery.
In his closing remarks Rev. Tucker said: "In the death of the deceased closed a life of practical usefulness. In the trials of his illness and affliction he bore it all with christian fortitude and passed calmly from the midst of profound cares into the silent realms of shade, his spirit to be with Him who said 'I am the resurrection and the life, blessed are they who die in the Lord.'"
Mr. Dickey is a native of Indiana, born in Fountain County, October 19, 1833. He was the eldest child in a family of three children, two sons and one daughter, whose parents were James and Hannah (Sales) Dickey. The father was born in 1790, in Cornwallis, Kings County, Nova Scotia. Until sixteen years of age he remained with his parents on their farm, after which he engaged as a sailor on a vessel owned by his brother. He sailed upon the high seas for five years, and for eighteen years was on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. He landed in what was then Will but is now Kankakee County, on the 1st of December, 1834, and located on the Yellowhead Indian Reservation. From that time until his death he devoted his whole attention to agricultural pursuits. His death occurred on the 1st of April, 1863, when he was seventy-three years of age. He was one of the very first white men to settle in the county. His wife was a native of Connecticut, and was the widow of M. Chapman when she married Mr. Dickey. Her death occurred in this county in 1848.
Volney Dickey was only about a year old when his parents settled in Illinois, and at the time of his mother's death was a lad of eleven years. His father was never again married and for five years they kept house as best they could. They then broke up housekeeping, and our subject started out in life for himself. His first step was to hire out at farm work for $6 per month, at which labor he was employed four years.
When only nineteen years of age Mr. Dickey was married on the 15th of February, 1852, to Miss Julia Hayden, who was a daughter of Nehemiah and Sarah (Kitchel) Hayden*, of Lake County, Ind. Ten children were born to them, nine of whom are still living. Harriet is the wife of George Love, a prosperous farmer of Yellowhead Township; Mary Ellen became the wife of Andrew J. Love, also a well-known farmer of the same township; Erwin, who follows agricultural pursuits here, married Miss Mary Smith; Lora is the wife of William Finerty, owner of a horse ranch in Lane County, Ore.; Clara, who wedded Frank Love, now a retired farmer, resides in Grant Park; Don Pedro, an auctioneer living in this county, married Edna Hamilton; Lucinda wedded Julius Dodge, now a resident of Dalerville, Mich.; Otis, late of Montana,* married Miss Mary Markel,* of this county; Julia is the wife of Louis Childers*, a prosperous farmer of Sherburnville; and Alcesta is now deceased. Mrs. Dickey was called to her final rest on the 17th of November, 1867, and lies buried in the Sherburnville Cemetery. In September, 1868, Mr. Dickey wedded Mrs. Arminta Patte Hayden, widow of Andrew Hayden, and by their union were born five children, three of whom died in infancy. Those surviving are Arthur and Mansfield.
Mr. Dickey has resided in Yellowhead Township almost his entire life, carrying on agricultural pursuits on his farm until 1888. At that time he removed to Grant Park, which has been his home up to the present time. In his political views he is a Republican and has held all the township offices. For six terms he was Assessor of Yellow- [the biography ends here.]
--Ernie Jones, great-great grandson of Volney Dickey, adds this information concering Otis (son of Volney) Dickey's area of residence in his later years: "Since my grandmother knew her father Otis Dickey very well, I know that there are a couple of mistakes in this. In 1919 I know Otis was living in Edmonton, Alb. In latter years he lived in Cottage Grove, Oregon. It was there that he was diagnosed with cancer and passed away on Sept. 16, 1942. His youngest daughter, my grandmother, took the train from White Rock, B.C., Canada, to Cottage Grove. From there she took her dad back to B.C where he was laid to rest. I am not sure if Otis ever lived in Montana, but he was not at home much and wandered all over the US and Canada."
--Ernie Jones also notes a name error in the above article, saying of Otis Dickey: "His wife was Mary Jane Markey, not 'Markel,' from Momonce, Ill."
--Mary Ellen Dickey Love's obituary mentions a visit to Mrs. Lewis Childress. Volney Dickey's obituary (above) lists his daughter Julia as Mrs. Louis Childers. Julia's actual married name was "Childress."
Mr. Dickey was born in Fountain county, Ind., Oct. 19, 1833, and at the time of his death was almost 72 years old. On the 1st day of December, 1834, Mr. Dickey’s father came to Yellowhead township and took up their residence in a log house a few rods north of Sherburnville where they lived for some time. That vicinity was the home of the subject until his removal to Grant Park a few years ago.
It was his boast that he was a true citizen of Yellowhead township, not having been outside of that township for three weeks at a time during his life except once winter spent in California and another in New Orleans.
In his early life there were no free schools in this country and the opportunities for obtaining an education were very limited; those who attended any school went to those known as "subscription schools." At one of those schools Volney Dickey was a student for a period of 83 days, that being all the time he ever spent in school. He made the most of his opportunities, however, securing an education from hard study from the few books that could be borrowed. Soon after his marriage he secured a certificate and taught the first public school in the Sherburnville district, holding the position four years.
The knowledge that he gained through hard study found a place in a retentive memory and he seldom forgot a sentence read or spoken. Political economy and religion were made a particular study by him, and there were few men whom he came in contact with who could claim a victory over his well taken points and argument. He knew the Bible well and in quoting a passage would correctly tell where it could be found.
Mr. Dickey was known throughout Eastern Illinois and Western Indiana as a conscientious and upright man in all his dealings. He was a member of the Christian church, holding membership for many years. He had a strong personality and was a friend to all, and possessed a jovial spirit that was made manifest when in company by joking with his friends.
In 1851 Mr. Dickey was married to Julia Hayden who died in 1878. He was later married to Mrs. Saphronia Pattee Hayden who survives him, although in feeble health. He was the father of fifteen children, nine of whom survive him. He also leaves forty-six grandchildren and seven great grand children.
He was always a stanch supporter of the Republican principles and held many offices of public trust in this township. For many years he followed the calling of auctioneer, being successful in this business as he was a good judge of stock and holding the attention of a crowd by his spirit of fun and jokes. His death has cast a gloom over the entire community in which he has resided for three score and ten years.
The funeral services were held from the Christian church in Sherburnville at 11 o’clock Tuesday forenoon, conducted by Rev. J.G. Evans of Kankakee. The large attendance showed the esteem in which Mr. Dickey was held in the community.
Go to Volney Dickey, "Pioneer History Index," for further information.
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