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Issac Willets
(Abt 1728-1784)
Elizabeth [Poss. Wilson]
(Abt 1730-)
Robert Field
Phebe Comly
Levi Willets
Rachel Field
Vashti Willets


Family Links

1. John Ellison Dunham

Vashti Willets

  • Born: 24 Sep 1808, Ohio 949
  • Marriage (1): John Ellison Dunham 7 Sep 1826 in Wayne County, Indiana
  • Died: 6 Aug 1873, Mendon Township, Chariton Co., Missouri at age 64
  • Buried: Aug 1873, Mendon Township, Chariton Co., Missouri

bullet   FamilySearch ID: KH69-7LY. Find a Grave ID: 120364224.


bullet  General Notes:

Vashti was born in Ohio. Although we don't know where in Ohio she was born, it is probable that she was born in Fairfield County, Ohio; where her uncle was living in 1805-1806 and where her father was living in 1809-1811. Sometime in her youth (probably in 1811), the family moved to Wayne County, Indiana. Vashti was raised on the family's farm in Washington Township, Wayne County, Indiana. It was probably there that she was married to John E. Dunham on September 26, 1826, two days after her 18th birthday. John and Vashti settled near the village of Centerville in Center Township, Wayne County, Indiana. Vashti had 7 children: Mary, Margaret, William, Peyton, Lydia, John, and Robert.

After nearly 25 years of married life in Indiana, John and Vashti decided to move. Sometime between about 1852-1855 (probably closer to 1855), and following the death of her mother, Vashti moved with her family out west and they settled near Salem in Henry County, Iowa. In about 1859 they moved to Potosi, Linn County, Kansas, but only remained there about a year or two before returning to Henry County, Iowa, by 1862. Sometime between 1862 and 1865, they moved back to Kansas, this time settling in Delaware Township, Leavenworth County. Vashti remained here until 1867, when she moved with her son Peyton to Chariton County, Missouri, where they settled in Salt Creek Township. At the same time or shortly before then, Vashti's husband left by himself to move to New Mexico to engage in silver mining. He was never able to return to his family and died there. Vashti died at the age of 64 while living in her son Peyton's home.

In 1870 she wrote three letters that survive to her son-in-law after her daughter died. The originals have been transcribed and are attached to this file or are in the media folder. (Letters of Vashti.pdf)

She is buried in Williamson Cemetery in Mendon Township, Chariton County, Missouri. The cemetery is in the middle of a cow pasture surrounded with wire fence. When I visited it in 2007 it was much overgrown with vegetation but has since been cleaned up by volunteers of the Chariton County Genealogical Society. 950,951

bullet  Research Notes:

From Easton's Bible Dictionary:
Vashti - beautiful, the queen of Ahasuerus, who was deposed from her royal dignity because she refused to obey the king when he desired her to appear in the banqueting hall of Shushan the palace (Esther 1:10-12).

Letter of Feb. 26, 1871 addressed to her granddaughters following the death of her daughter Lydia and signed "Vashti W. Dunham".

Burial and death place thanks to Ryan. Tombstone says that she was 64 yrs, 6 months and 13 days, which translates to the birthdate. Tombstone says she was the wife of "John F."

> Email of 2/20/2006:
Yes, there is no transcription online for the Williamson Cemetery. I actually got that information from a listed lookup volunteer named Rose Mary Lawson from Chariton County. She got information from what she listed as "Chariton County Cemetery Books." She sent me the information via e-mail back in 2000. The transcription she sent me reads: "Dunham, Vashti W. Died Aug 6, 1873 age 64y, 10m, 13d. wife of John F." Apparently, this is a very small cemetery and the other individuals buried there are: Julia and James Williamson and Martha and John Wilhoit. Also, there was "other stones which are partly missing. native markers and basestones only."

Rose Mary Lawson email of 2/28/06:
Located in Chariton county, MO SE 1/4, sect 24, township 55, range 20. Start at Mendon, MO. on Highway 11. Go South on 11 about 2 miles and turn east on a gravel road. Go east about 2 miles to a "T" intersection. Go North at the "T" about .1 mile to where road turns East. Cemetery is west of this corner in a field about 50 yards from the road.


bullet  Events

Census: 1850 Federal, 24 Aug 1850, Centerville, Wayne Co., Indiana. With husband John E. age 50 born in New Jersey, Mary age 23, Margaret 21, William P. age 19, Payton R. age 17, Lydia E. age 13, John H. age 10, Robert F. age 3. All children born in Indiana.

residence, 1856, Round Praire, Jefferson Co., Iowa. 945 Relationships presumed. Catharine is the wife of William P. Dunham
Payton is a printer but not yet married.

Census: 1860 Federal, 18 Jul 1860, Kansas, Linn County, Potosi Township. Age 52 with husband J.E., son John age 20, Robert age 15 and family of daughter Margaret Dunham Hannah.

residence, 1860, Potosi Township, Linn Co., Kansas. 947

residence, 30 May 1865, Delaware Township, Leavenworth Co., Kansas. 948 Next to Payton

Census: 1870 Federal, 9 Aug 1870, Chariton Co., Mendon Twnship. With her son Peyton Randolph Dunham and family. Township 55, Range 19 page 173. Ancestry Image 7. Census record erroneously lists the family as "Duncan".

Cemetery: Williamson Cemetery in a cow pasture, 1873, Mendon Township, Chariton Co., Missouri. Google maps coordinates: 39.55875, -93.08764


Vashti married John Ellison Dunham, son of Henry Dunham and Sarah Ellison, 7 Sep 1826 in Wayne County, Indiana. (John Ellison Dunham was born 26 Jan 1800 in Woodbridge, Middlesex Co., New Jersey,936 died 21 Nov 1876 in Bayard, Grant Co., NM 937 and was buried in Fort Bayard, Grant Co., NM 937.)

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