We can’t fully account for Daniel’s whereabouts between 1805 and 1839. This is frustrating because during this period, he may have been married and he clearly came into some wealth. Whether the wealth was inherited or from the fruits of his own labor we don’t really know.
Our first confirmed post-childhood sighting of Daniel Dill in the records is a ship manifest in 1839 where is traveling with his slave Sam from Mobile to Pensacola. More about that in the next post, but it seems important to the story to at least put forward some theories about this significant gap in Daniel’s timeline.
Where was Daniel between about 1820 (assuming he was with his parents until then) and 1839? How did he end up owning slaves? Clearly he left Ohio and ended up south of the Mason-Dixon line.
One possibility is what I alluded to in the previous post – that Daniel is not happy with his father’s new marriage and returns to Georgia where his father’s extended family may still be living. (I doubt he would have gone to live with his mother’s relatives, being that the Quaker Brown family was rather vehemently anti-slavery and no longer living in the South.) Our search is hampered by the fact that we know so little about Daniel’s father, Peter Dill, and who exactly Peter’s “extended family” would be. Peter appears out of nowhere, it seems, to marry Phebe Brown at the Quaker community in Wrightsboro. I have three working theories right now about the extended Dill family, expanding a bit on my previous post on this subject.
The family lore is that Peter Dill is of German descent. There were three German brothers with surname “Diehl” who arrived in Georgia in 1737 (refer to previous post). There are many family trees on Ancestry.com can associate our Dill family with a Johan Peter Diehl. This explanation isn’t entirely satisfactory – there are many researchers with proven descent from the Diehl family and none of them are known to use the Dill spelling of the name.
To my knowledge, there is no definitive association between Johan Peter Diehl and our Dill family – such as a will or other form of probate record. The connection between the Diehl family and our Dill family seems to be based on inference. And that’s okay – sometimes it’s all you’ve got – but with other competing theories, I feel like stronger documentation is needed here.
Another possibility is that Peter is descended from the Dill family of Delaware. Dr. Ellis Dill, a retired engineering professor at Rutgers University, has published some excellent research about his own Dill ancestry. We don’t see any of our Dills in his research, but it shows a lot of migration from Delaware into the Carolinas1. This is significant because we find many Dills in Augusta, Georgia in the early 1800’s who appear to be descended from Dills from South Carolina.
There are a lot of property tax records for Richmond County, Georgia (i.e., in and around Augusta) starting in 1799. There are many Dills appearing in these records2, including Daniel, Daniel H., Andrew, Jacob, Job, Ann and Phillip. They all seem to be slave-owners, owning anywhere from one to a dozen or more slaves. (It’s not clear whether the two Daniel’s are the same person and in any event, would be too old to be our Daniel in the early years of the records.) Several ancestry.com family trees associate Andrew and Job with the South Carolina Dills that originally came form Delaware.
Another interesting record is a Daniel Dill in Augusta marrying a Mary Ann Dill in 18323 (I mentioned this last time).
There is a published book, “The Moving Appeal: Mr. McClanahan, Mrs. Dill, and the Civil War’s Great Newspaper Run” by B.G. Ellis that involves various of these Dill family members from Augusta. From what I can see from excerpts of the book on Google Books, there might be some opportunity for follow-up here.
Many of the Salzburger immigrants to Georgia ended up in Screven County, Georgia4 (which was once part of Effingham County). Screven County is an unfortunate instance of a courthouse that burned down, destroying all its records. The Phillip Dill mentioned above may be associated with the Screven County Dills. In a future post, we will see evidence of a possible Dill family connection to Screven County. This is the most satisfactory explanation for me – it explains both the German connection AND the lack of records – but it’s really no more than a hunch.
General Review of Slave-Owning Dills
I filtered the entire 1830 census for slave-owners with surname Dill. There are concentrations in Augusta, Georgia; Greenville, South Carolina (these are definitively part of the Delaware Dill family mentioned above); and St. Clair, Alabama (who appear also to have their roots in Greenville).
There are a few other scattered slave-owning Dills Maryland, Tennessee and Virginia. This may be another avenue for follow-up.
But here’s what’s intriguing
Looking through the entire 1830 census, there is a Daniel Dill in Augusta, Georgia who owns 4 slaves5.
Looking through the entire 1840 census, there is only one Daniel Dill who owns slaves; he lives in Mobile, Alabama and owns 4 slaves6. I know for sure that this is OUR Daniel. There is no Daniel Dill in Augusta anymore. It seems possible that the Daniel Dill from Augusta who owned 4 slaves moved to Mobile between 1830 and 1840.
None of these are entirely satisfactory
Whether he is descended from German Diehls, Delaware Dills, or Screven County Dills, Daniel eventually settled in Mobile, Alabama with cash, property and slaves. Whether he obtained the assets through marriage or his own efforts is not at all clear, and I don’t even know for sure whether he spent his missing years in Georgia. We’ll set this aside for future research and pick up the story in 1839-1840 where we know for sure that it’s OUR Daniel.
1“My Dill Ancestors” by Ellis Harold Dill, June 15, 2017. Accessed July 11, 2017. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~dill/dillfamily.pdf. This is an excellent resource for separating out the different Dill families in the mid-Atlantic States.
2“All Georgia, Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892 results for Dill”, Accessed July 14, 2017. http://search.ancestry.com/.
3“Georgia, Compiled Marriages, 1754-1850 – Ancestry.Com.” Accessed July 11, 2017. http://search.ancestry.com/.
4“Georgia Emigration and Immigration Genealogy – FamilySearch Wiki.” Accessed July 16, 2017. https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Georgia_Emigration_and_Immigration.
5“Ancestry.com – 1830 United States Federal Census.” Year: 1830; Census Place: Augusta, Richmond, Georgia; Series: M19; Roll: 20; Page: 275; Family History Library Film: 0007040. Accessed July 11, 2017. https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8058/4409442_00540?pid=935358
6“Ancestry.com – 1840 United States Federal Census.” Year: 1840; Census Place: Mobile City, Mobile, Alabama; Roll: 10; Page: 101; Family History Library Film: 0002334. Accessed July 16, 2017. https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8057/4411215_00209?pid=1243808