Silas Dooley

Have you ever just stumbled upon a find for a FAN club member that may contain just the clue you need to expand your brick wall research. Well, that’s what happened to me when researching Moses Dooley. I consider Moses to be a SUPER FAN member of my Crawford FAN club.

  • Moses Dooley owned land in Garrard County, Kentucky near the land owned by both Mary Crawford and Rebekah Crawford. These three neighboring families likely all went to the ‘Old Sugar Creek Meeting House’ on William Miller’s land.
  • Moses Dooley is shown on the tax rolls of Barren County, Kentucky owning 200 acres of land on the middle fork of the Barren River.
  • Moses Dooley is on the tax rolls in Preble County, Ohio by 1816.

My ancestor, James Crawford, married Sally Duggins in Garrard County, Kentucky in 1799. While I need more documentation, I believe my James Crawford was living in Barren County, KY in 1803 with 50 acres on the Marrowbone. James Crawford, along with Moses Dooley, cast votes in the 1816 election in Preble County, Ohio. Since the migration path for Moses Dooley is similar to the migration path for my ancestor, I consider Moses Dooley to be a SUPER FAN.

Thus, when I found an obituary for Moses’ son, Silas that also discusses Moses’ life, I consider it a major find. The information about Moses’ life may provide the clues I need to learn more about James Crawford’s life and hopefully identify his parents.


Dooley — At his residence near Eaton, Ohio, on Sabbath, July 8th, 1877, after a painful illness, Silas Dooley, Sr., aged 91 years and 4 months.
The death of this venerable pioneer is an event which must attract the attention of the thoughtful. It seems appropriate to furnish the public with a few of the leading incidents of his career.
Moses Dooley, the father of Silas, with his family emigrated in 1781 from Bedford county, Virginia, to Kentucky, a wearisome journey over the mountains. His mother carried her youngest child in her arms. On account of the barbarities of the Indians, the family for some time lived within a fort. Afterwards they settled in Madison Co., Ky., where Silas was born, March 8th, 1786. When he was 19 yers of age, in 1805, himself and his father and Jacob Railsback came to Ohio in search of permanent homes. They stopped at Springdale, Hamilton Co., O., (then called Springfield). Silas worked a month for Rev. Jno Thompson, the presbyterian minister. The company then travelled northward, Jacob Railsback located 160 acres in seven Mile, and Moses Dooley the same amount on Paint creek. While his father returned to Kentucky for his family, Silas worked a while at John Pottenger’s, at seven Mile. Becoming discouraged, he was about to go back to Kentucky, when david E. Hendricks hired him to clear six acres of land where Camden now stands. The deer were very numerous in the woods, as also were wild turkeys. Near the end of 1805 his father took possession of the farm on Paint creek and had to worked hard to build a cabin and clear enough ground to raise a little corn. A wonderful and total eclipse of the sun took place about noon, June 16th, 1806. A few days after this family held at a Thanksgiving meeting at James Crawford’s.
In the spring of 1807 Silas Dooley entered 160 acres of land on Paint creek, where he spent all the rest of his life. He was married May 5th, 1808, to Johannah Westerfield, daughter of Samuel Westerfield, daughter of Samuel Westerfield — probably this was the first wedding in Preble county, which about the time had been separated form Montgomery county. The wedding guests were Cornelius, Katy and Polly Vanausdal — Katy afterwards became Mrs. Campbell, and Polly, Mrs Hawkins; Sally Curry, wife of Judge Wm. Curry, was also present. Silas’ mother died January 7th, 1819. HIs father died of fever in the winter of 1822, while attending a “big meeting” at the house of his son-in-law, Richard Leeson, on Walnut Level. William Castor, at the present time perhaps the oldest man in Preble county, assisted in bringing the coffin from Silas’ home. His wife died much lamented, April 14, 1859. They had seven children, only on of who (Silas, Jr.,) services, who lives upon the old place. There are several grand-children living; also several great-grand-children. In 1812 he was a member of Captain David E. Hendricks’ rifle company, numbering 64 men.
The writer became acquainted with this venerable man only during the last years of his life. The infirmities of age were pressing heavily upon him and he was confined mostly to the house. Notwithstanding great deafness he could sing well — he might be styled “the Singing Pilgrim.” He loved the songs of Zion and to hear the Bible read — he loved the Savior and His people — his whole life was singularly honest and pure — he was never contaminated by vice. He was a fine example of a pioneer patiently toiling to make a home and always living in it. He never was possessed by greed for gain. He never held any office, yet he to the last had an intelligent understanding of his duties as a citizen, and took pains to vote at the last Presidential election.
How many changes have occurred in the world and in the United States durin the ninety-one years he lived. We will mention some of the great events n our own country. Silas Dooley was old when the Federal Constitution was adopted in 1787; he was three years old when Washington was elected president. The population of the United States was, at his birth about three millions; now it is forty millions. Then the population was just beginning to cross the Alleghany mountains and; not it extends tot he Pacific ocean. Then there were thirteen States; now there are thirty-eight. Then the great practical intentions were unknown, now the numerous applications of steam, the telegraph, the power printing press and many machines in various departments of industry were unknown.
The funeral services of Silas Dooley were held Monday, 3 p.m., July 9th, The friends gathered at the house, and then proceeded to the Friendship Church, where a funeral sermon was preached by the writer form 1 cr 15.58. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding the work of the Lord; for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” Notwithstanding it was harvest time, a large number of persons were present, among whom were Job Jefferson and Judge William Curry. The remains of Silas Dooley were laid to rest among his kindred, and await a happy resurrection at the coming of the Lord.
The statements made in the foregoing obituary were drawn from an article in the Eaton Register, Feb. 20th, 1873, and also from conversations with William Castor and Judge Curry, and form personal knowledge.
A. J. Reynolds

“Obituary,” The Eaton Democrat (Eaton, Ohio), 19 July 1877, page 3; digital images, ( : viewed online 7 March 2023).

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