Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    The name of Dilbone figures conspicuously on the pages of Miami county's history from the time of the earliest settlement of this section of the state. The grandfather of William Dilbone came to the county when it was a wild western district, situated on the very border of civilization. At that time the Indians in motley garb stalked through the forests, which were unmarked by road or habitation of the white man. The hostile spirit which has ever existed between the white race and the native inhabitants of America was manifested in a most deplorable act of violence, which resulted in the death of the grandparents of our subject--Henry and Barbara (Millhouse) Dilbone. In 1807 this worthy couple came to Miami county, bringing with them their little family. Their eldest child was John Dilbone, who was born November 25, 1806. Their other children were Margaret, Priscilla and William, and the last named was only seven months old when, on the 18th of August, 1813, his parents were massacred by the Indians. After the noon meal on the day mentioned, Mr. Dilbone went to the spring some distance northeast of the house to get water to take to the flax patch southeast of the cabin, where his wife and children were to meet him. The eldest child, John, took care of the other children while the parents were engaged in pulling flax in the southeast corner of the cornfield. Toward evening their attention was attracted by the sharp bark of a dog, and just as they looked up a shot was fired from the corn by an Indian, who dropped his gun and rushed forward to the father and mother to complete with knife and tomahawk the villanous deed which he had begun. The father, although he had been struck by the bullet, managed to make his escape to the woods on the south. The mother ran into the corn on the west, but started back toward her children and here was struck with the tomahawk which ended her life. The Indian then came near the children, who were sitting in the shade of a walnut tree, but just at this juncture the report of a gun was heard at a short distance to the southeast and the red man fled, leaving his gun behind him. The second child, Margaret, had been sent home on an errand and was just returning when she met her brothers .and sister on the way to the house. On reaching home they met a neighbor woman and soon the settlers of the community were aroused and, accompanied by John Dilbone, they started out to learn the fate of the father and mother. They found the dead body of the latter lying in the corn, and the next day Mr. Dilbone was found. He was still living, but died on the 20th of August. He was discovered lying between two small oaks, on which his name was afterward carved and which stood for many decades afterward. After the death of the parents the children were taken to a block house near where their maternal grandfather lived, and in that neighborhood John Dilbone remained until 1826. In that year he married Pamelia Denman and removed to the farm entered by his father. He carried on agricultural pursuits throughout the remainder of his life and continued to reside in Spring Creek township, where he died January 18, 1891.

    On the old family homestead there, William Dilbone, of this review, was born, on the 1st day of February, 1837, and was there reared, experiencing many of the trials and hardships which fall to the lot of the pioneer settlers. His educational advantages were somewhat meagre, but his training at farm labor was not limited. He still owns one hundred and thirty-six acres of the land which was entered by his grandfather from the government and is also the owner of another tract of seventy acres. Farming has claimed his attention throughout his business career and his efforts have been crowned with a high degree of success.

    On the 24th of January, 1858, Mr. Dilbone was united in marriage to Alvira Balzell, who was born in Mercer county, in 1840, and was left an orphan when quite young. She was then brought to Miami county and for some years prior to her marriage supported herself by weeks' work. She was an exemplary and happy wife until April, 1875, when she was taken ill, that sickness terminating her life. She suffered greatly, but bore her pain with Christian fortitude and patience, and on the 21st of December, 1875, she passed to the land where there is neither pain nor sorrow. She was a consistent member of the Christian church, respected by all who knew her. The children of this marriage are seven in number, the three passed away prior to the mother's death. Those who survived her were: Mrs. Mary E. Leckey, who was born August 30, 1858, and died September 12, 1891; Emma J., who was born September 8, 1863, and died June 30, 1880, and Elmer W., born May 17, 1870. One son, Joseph F., was born April 14, 1861, and met death by the accidental discharge of a gun while hunting on his sister's wedding day, January 16, 1878. Mr. Dilbone was again married, February 17, 1885, his second union being with Miss Mary E. Brelsford, who was born in Brown township, Miami county, a daughter of Daniel and Nancy Brelsford. Three children graced this union, but Edward and Edith are both now deceased. The living daughter is Effie M., who is now eleven years of age. Mr. Dilbone has been a witness of much of the growth and development of Miami county, and great have been the changes which have occurred since he became a resident of this section of the state. Wild land has been transformed into beautiful homes and farms and the country has been dotted with churches and school houses, indicating the onward march of civilization; towns and villages have sprung up, railroads have been built and the telegraph and telephone introduced. Miami county has taken her place in the lead among the counties of his commonwealth, and Mr. Dilbone feels just pride in its progress. He has ever been a progressive and public-spirited citizen, loyal to its best interests, and in the history of the county he well deserves representation.

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