Idahoan Legacy Roots Series:

Orphaned! The Story of the Derry Family

Contributed by May 3, 2012

GOLD!!! The draw was irresistible to Philip Derry and his young family from Adams County, Illinois. Oregon Territory was their destination as they departed in 1851. Saying their goodbyes to parents, brothers and sisters was hard, but the dream was too real not to pursue. So, off they ventured with two small young children in tow, crossing the plains, and being one of the first families to travel the Barlow Route, crossing over Mount Hood in Oregon.

Philip and Cynthia (Pribble) Derry

Philip was born April 4, 1817 in Pennsylvania to Jacob Derry (1795-1877) and Rachel Bright (1797-1860). He and his younger brothers, Basil and Carlisle had traveled with their parents from Fayette County, Pennsylvania to Fayette County, Indiana, sometime between 1820-1830, and then, they had eventually settled near Quincy in Adams County, Illinois. Philip's parents had more children making the Derry family in all, a total of nine offspring before Rachel died in 1860 in Lima, Illinois. The children were: Philip (1817), Basil (1820), Carlisle (1822), Margaret (1824), Mary Jane (1827), Jeremiah (1829), Barbara (1832), Rhoda (1834), and James McCann Derry (1835).

The eldest child, Philip, married Miss Cynthia Pribble, daughter of Thomas Pribble (1784-1872) and Deborah Dickerson, on September 9, 1841 in Vermillion County, Illinois. They eventually welcomed their first two children while still living in Adams County. Their names were Jacob, born October 1, 1846, and Edna D. "America" Derry, born October 17, 1849.

When Philip and Cynthia Derry decided to head West, it was during the summer of 1851. Cynthia was pregnant during their trek across the plains and into the Rocky mountains, yet, they did arrived safely to Oregon City in Oregon Territory before the first snow fall that winter. In the following spring of 1852, their last child, Basil Bois Derry, was born on March 22, 1852. Basil was less than two months old when the family headed south for Jacksonville where the mining camps were located, in hope to search for their first gold nugget.

The only way the trip could be accomplished in those days was by horseback. The trail led through a canyon and the party was compelled to follow a creek bed for the greater part of the way. That was when it took three days to go 15 miles. The unfortunate part of the journey was that the horse carrying Mrs. Derry (Dairy), slipped and fell, breaking her arm. Resulting from this exposure, Mrs. Derry (Dairy) became ill and died 3 months later.

"Edna Dairy Dickinson's 90th Birthday Celebration,"
South San Francisco Journal(San Francisco, California)
Wednesday, Novemeber 1, 1939

During the time of Cynthia's illness, a woman, Jane Wright, wife of William Wright, stepped in to care for the mother and small infant. And upon her death, the Wrights continued to care for the baby.

The following death notice was printed in the photos.htmlOregon Spectator newspaper on October 25, 1853 as follows:

OREGON CITY, OREGON TERRITORY. October 10th 1853 at Jacksonville
Mrs. Cyntha, consort of Philip Dairy, formerly of Quincy, Illinois, died.

In the spring of 1854, tragedy struck the Derry family once more. Philip, the father, unexpectedly became ill. He wrote his last will and testament on March 20, 1854. It read as follows:

I, Philip Dairy, of the County of Marion, in the Territory of Oregon, being weak in body, but of sound mind and memory, do make, ordain and establish this to be my Last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all others; and I hereby appoint Towner Savage, to be the executor of this my Last Will and Testament. It is my will that the said Towner Savage take care of all my children. See that they are provided with comfortable homes and well-educated; and it is also my will that he settle all my business transactions.

Almost ten days later, Philip Derry (Dairy) died on May 29, 1854 at the home of Towner Savage, leaving his three children now orphaned without parents. He was buried in the Salem Pioneer Cemetery (I.O.O.F.) in Salem, Oregon.

His estate had to be auctioned off in a public sale to "settle all [his] business transactions." On July 24, 1854, the following items were sold from his possession:

One span of work mules
One sorrel mule, saddle & bridle
One wagon
Four old pack saddles
One set of old harness
One old riding rigg
One overcoat
One watch
14 notes of owed money to him

Although, Philip's last will and testament had decreed that his three children were to remain with Towner Savage, fact is, only one did. The eldest son, Jacob. Edna, the Derrys only daughter, had been adopted by the family of the Rev. Obed Dickinson of which she took their family name as her own. Little baby Basil, however, remained with the Wrights. Each of the Derry children continued to live in Oregon until they became of age.

Jacob and Mary Jane (Mahoney) Deary

The first to leave Oregon Territory was the eldest orphaned son, Jacob Derry (Deary). "He went to Owyhee County, Idaho in 1865 at the age of 19. He played an active and important part in Owyhee's battles with the Indians in his role as a scout for the volunteer army hastily organized when large bands of Bannocks invaded the area in 1878." (photos.htmlexcerpt from the family history as told by descendant Arthur C. Lee).

From this time on Jacob's last name was always spelled Deary. He became a partner with James C. McLafferty by 1880 and together they owned property in an area called Camp Three Forks. An article in the photos.htmlOwyhee Avalanche newspaper from March 26, 1881 states:

About 22 miles in a northwesterly direction from South Mountain, the three main branches of the Owyhee River unite and form the Owyhee river proper. The point of juncture is well known as the Three Forks of the Owyhee, and here many years ago, Colonel Carpinger attempted to locate a fort, but was driven out by the Piutes; lost two pieces of artillery in crossing the river a few miles below this point; was corralled in the canyon by the Reds and came near getting captured, with all his command. A volunteer force from Silver rescued the gallant Colonel from his precarious situation, after which he went up to where the present old deserted post now stands, and there built a post that he improperly called Camp Three Forks, though it is 16 miles from Three Forks proper.

After this, Minear built a stage road through to Fort McDermit and had one of his stations as Three Forks. Some enterprising genius attempted to build a hotel at this point, and succeeded in getting up the frame work of a 'right smart' house, but his funds gave out and the stage road petered and so the Three Forks Hotel was left unfinished, and has furnished lodgings for hunters, trappers, stockmen, Indians, etc., until the present time, being now the residence of McLafferty's, sheep herder. I could spin you a long yarn, about old times on the Three Forks, but will let it rest for the present.

Now it is the property of McLafferty & Deary, they having here the best winter range for sheep in the country, as but little snow lays in the canyon at this point, the warm winds melting it off in a day or two, and sheep get a good living on the steep side hills. It lays about 250 feet higher than Maher's on Lone Tree, and on the table land at the river at this point is colder than in this valley. . . .

The partnership dissolved shortly thereafter as described on October 24, 1881, Silver City:


Notice is hereby given that the partnership heretofore existing between J. C. McLafferty and J. Deary, under the firm name of McLafferty & Deary, in the business of ranching, is this day dissolved by mutual consent. All parties having claims against the late firm will call on J. C. McLafferty for settlement, and those having stock on the claim and knowing themselves indebted for ranching the same will make payment of J. Deary.

On February 1, 1882, a land patent was granted to Jacob Deary by the authority of the May 20, 1861 Homestead Act. He received an 160-acres parcel in the State of Idaho, recorded as Document Nr. 265, Accession/Serial: IDIDAA 012661.

photos.htmlJacob Deary & Friends

Spring of 1883, finds Jacob Deary married to Mary Jane Mahoney on April 4th in Trout Creek, as recorded in the newspaper photos.htmlThe Idaho Avalanche on April 14, 1883:

We had the pleasure on Wednesday last of congratulating Jake Deary upon his new departure in life. Although he has been married but a short time (a few days), The change in him is noticeable, and he says that he does not regret his change of life. We welcome him to the ranks of the benedicts.

Life on the ranch continued as noted in an account published in photos.htmlThe Owyhee Avalanche on August 4, 1883:

We next visited Jake Deary's ranch at Camp Three Forks; Jake was at home and made us feel so. Several days were passed pleasantly here chicken shooting and fishing in the Junipers. Jake has a lot of three-year-old horses, breaking them; they are as pretty as pictures, as plump as partridges and as shy as deer. Under the skillful handling of Dave Robinett and Tom Smith, however, they are fast settling down to the sober realities of horse life. This section seems admirably adapted to horse raising and does not carry near the number of horses that might find pasturage.

Five children were born to Jacob and Mary Jane
(Mahoney) Deary as follows: Philip Basil (1884),
Isabelle (1885), Gertrude Catherine (1886),
John C. "Jack" (1888) and Cynthia M. (1894).

On August 11, 1891, Jacob was appointed as postmaster of Dairy, Idaho, when Bachelor (the previous postmaster) moved his dairy operations to the then thriving mining camp at DeLamar.

Sketches of Owyhee County by Helen Nettleton

DAIRY---This small post office was located south of Jordan Valley on Soldier Creek in Pleasant Valley. Established in January 1887, about the general area as new postmasters used their ranch houses as the office. At one time it was called Poverty Flat because of the poor economic status of the ranchers in the area. Another time it was called Cliffs. The post office was discontinued in 1906.

The Dearys continued to live at the Old Three Forks military station until 1897 when Jacob acquired and moved to the John Clegg ranch on Lone Tree Creek near the Dennis Driscoll place. (excerpts from photos.htmlSketches of Owyhee County by Helen Nettleton)

The photos.htmlOwyhee Avalanche newspaper on July 15, 1898 stated:

Jake Deary, postmaster at Dairy and owner of the Old Camp, Three Forks Ranch, is in very poor health and is confined to his bed much of the time. He has large stock interests and is one of the substantial men of that county.

Jacob's illness continued to progress until his death in February 1899 in Silver City.

The following obituaries found in photos.htmlThe Owyhee Avalanche newspaper on March 3, 1899. It read as follows:


Jacob Deary, who died in this city last Monday, was born at Quincy, Illinois, October 1, 1846. He came to this county in 1865 at the age of 19, and has since made his residence here, a good man and highly respected. In the early 70's he located a ranch in the west end of the county, in partnership with J. C. McLafferty, and since that time has devoted his whole attention to stock raising.

He was married at Trout Creek, April 4, 1883 to Miss Mary Mahoney, five children blessing this union. Basil, the eldest, now at All Hallows College at Salt Lake City. Mr. Deary had been ill for three years past, much of the time an invalid. Something over a year ago he went to Salt Lake and submitted to a severe operation for cancer of the bowels, which gave him temporary relief, but he was given no hope for a permanent cure. In the face of slow but certain death, he maintained a cheerful disposition through all the long months of suffering, an to his wonderful nerve alone is due the fact that he was able to ward off the grim destroyer for so long a period.

In December last he had a very bad attack at his home in Pleasant valley, but through his will power he rallied and at his urgent request was brought to Silver City about six weeks ago and placed under Dr. Weston's care, in whom Mr. Deary had unbounded confidence. The doctor held out no hope to the sufferer, who insisted upon an operation. Last Thursday an operation was performed disclosing a cancerous growth in the bowels which defied surgical skill. The patient suffered no ill effects, but when informed of the result he lost his nerve and seemed to give up the unequal contest, although he maintained his cheerful mien to the last. His death was peaceful from a quiet slumber to an endless sleep.

The funeral which took place Wednesday afternoon, under the auspices of the Odd Fellows, of which fraternity he was an old and valued member. Past Grand Mark Leonard officiated with the burial service of the Order, and despite the inclement weather a large gathering of friends were present to pay their last respects of the dead. Interment was made in the Odd Fellows Cemetery with the usual rites.

The sympathy of a large circle of friends goes out to the bereaved and orphans.

The DeLamar Nugget newspaper:

On account of the snow blockade last week, the news of the demise of Jacob Deary did not reach "The Nugget" until too late for making mention. He ended his long and patiently born suffering at Silver City on the 27th inst. of the county and one of those substantial citizens whose integrity won for him the respect and esteem of all with whom he had dealings. until two years ago, he lived at the Old Three Forks military station on the south side of South Mountain but to better care for his family, he purchased and removed to the John Clegg ranch on Lone Tree Creek, near the home of his partner and long time friend, Mr. Dennis Driscoll. A few weeks ago he was removed to Silver City for more convenient medical care and attendance. The deceased left a wife and five young children. He had so arranged his affairs some time ago, that the administration of his estate will be attended only with trifling trouble and expense, by transferring all of his real and personal estate to his wife.

Jacob Deary was buried in the Mason's (I.O.O.F) Cemetery in Silver City, Idaho.

Perry Hume and Edna D. "America" (Dairy) Raymond

As Jacob Derry (Deary)'s life took one turn towards success in Owyhee County, Idaho, his sister's life moved into a different direction, Edna D. (Derry/Dairy) Dickinson married Perry Hume Raymond, son of Felix L. Raymond and Margaret Hume on June 16, 1874 in Marion County, Oregon.

They had two daughters born to them: Ethel M. (1879) and Myra R. (1880).

Last known document of Perry H. Raymond was found in the 1920 census living at 1070 Center Street in Salem, Marion County, Oregon. He was 72 years old and still working. His occupation was a baliff for the Supreme Court, which he had held for the past ten or so years. Edna was also listed with him. She was age 70.

And then, Perry and Edna later had moved to San Mateo County, California, where Perry died in 1924 and Edna then lived with her daughter, Myra (Raymond) Spangler and her family, where she died on April 12, 1943 at the age of 93. Both Perry and Edna were buried in the Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, California.

Basil Bois Dairy

Youngest brother, Basil Bois Derry (Dairy) continued to stay with William and Jane Wright in Jackson County, Oregon. He appeared as a 3 year old in the 1855 State Census; as an 8 year old in the 1860 Census, and as an 18 year old in the 1870 Census. William and Jane Wright are listed as two of the ten charter members of the 1st Presbyterian Church of Jackson County, Oregon in their 90th anniversary book.

The newspaper, photos.htmlThe Democratic Times of Jacksonville, Oregon for August 23, 1873 stated that William Wright suffered a fatal accident, read as follows:

William Wright, who was seriously injured by being thrown from a horse last week, died of his injuries Thursday afternoon. Mr. Wright was an old and respected citizen of this county and father of Mr. Robinson Wright of this place. He was over 73 years of age at the time of his death. The funeral will take place today at 3 o'clock pm.

It appeared that Basil left Oregon after William Wright died, and traveled over to Idaho to be with his older brother, Jacob. There were several brief news statements that refer to "Jake and Bas Deary visiting in Silver City".

Basil was found living with Jacob's widow and five young children in the 1900 census, evidently he must have been supporting her after the death of his brother since March 1899.

The 1910 census showed Basil living back in Oregon, but just over the Idaho-Oregon borderline in the Jordan Valley Precinct of Malheur County, Oregon. He was listed as being a 52 years old, single, head of the household with eight single men and one married Chinaman.

On November 14, 1910, Basil B. Dairy was recorded as having a land patent issued out of the Land Office of Vale by the authority of the Desert Land Act. He received 160 acres recorded in Document Nr: 01184 and accession/Serial Nr: 554301. Basil only had the next eight years to enjoy his property because he died on August 26, 1918 of chronic Bright's Disease. Basil never married.

His obituary read as follows:

DAIRY---Basil Bois of Jordan Valley, Ore., died at a Boise hospital early Tuesday morning after a lingering illness. He was 66 years of age. Mr. Dairy was a pioneer rancher and stockman of the Jordan Valley country, having lived there for the past 33 years. He is survived by a sister, Mrs. P. H. Raymond of San Francisco and four nieces and two nephews. The body will be taken to Jordan Valley for burial and the funeral will be held Thursday afternoon at 2 o'clock. Interment will be in the Jordan Valley cemetery. Boise friends who wish to view the body may do so between 11 and 12 o'clock Wednesday at the Schreiber & Sidenaden Chapel.

His Jordan Valley Hamlet Cemetery tombstone reads: BASIL BOIS DEARY

The cemetery is located on a hillside overlooking the countryside on Highway 95. Also buried in this same cemetery is Jacob Deary's wife, Mary J. Deary, who died on August 13, 1925.

So, as the journey ends it does have a happy conclusion. All three children, orphaned in such a tragic way when so young, were all taken care of in loving homes and raised to live successful lives. Another pioneering story that touches the heart!

All photographs were submitted by Joan Brown Derry and other Derry Researchers

PDF Copy of the Story

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