Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Did you ever have one of those dreams where you are trying to run away from something but no matter how hard you try,you seem to be standing still? If you have, you know how I felt when I worked on this branch of the HYTEN family tree. Every time I make a phone call or take a trip, I find out some new information on the William Hyten branch, yet I still could not say whether or not he is directly related to Josiah Heighton and his heirs. For twenty years this branch remained unconnected and was thus titled.

My first contact with this family group was to find David Lee Hyten's name in my own phone book back in the late 1960s. He was living a neighboring community, but for some reason I called him only a single time. By the time I was again interested in what he had told me, I couldn't read my notes. In fact, I wasn't even sure where I had gotten the information. By then he had moved on to McLeansboro, Illinois, where I rediscovered him in 1986.
My next contact with these HYTENs was to result in equally unspectacular action. Each year in the 1960s and 1970s I would take my kids to Poplar Bluff in southeast Missouri for their Junior Olympics Track Meet. The meet director, Sam Giambelluca, became a friend. He sent me a clipping from a local paper about Lloyd Hyten of Dexter, MO, being chosen for Boys State. I wrote to Dexter but I don't remember if I got an answer.
My third attempt to reach these HYTENs came in the early 1980s when I was much more interested in tying us all together. The Peoria,Illinois, phone book listed three HYTENs. I called them all and none gave me a scrap of information, even about their own families. The frustration in dealing with this branch of the HYTENs continues to this day.

The following paragraphs are what I knew for twenty years:

The oldest record that I have been able to find of the family of William Hyten (1821-1872) is that of his wedding to Virginia Cox (1826-1880) in Posey County, Indiana, on March 17, 1856. They lived in the vicinity of New Harmony that had been developed in the early 1800s as a utopian community. The Cox family records still in the hands of Carroll Cox of Poseyville, IN, show Virginia Cox marrying “_____ Heighton” (just a blank, no name). Two children were born to them in New Harmony, Sarah E. (1857-1937) and Joseph Lane(1859-1944).
Joseph was probably named after Joseph Lane who was a brigadier general in the Mexican War of 1847. Lanehad been a frontiersman and farmer on the Ohio River in southern Indiana beforethe war. Upon returning to Indiana he was so well thought of as a hero that he could have had any office he chose. Instead of staying, he went to Oregon as its governor in 1849. (This turned out to be incorrect. Lane was William’s mother’s maiden name.)

While at first I thought that William did not take up residence in Illinois until 1859 or 1860 after the birth of his children in Indiana, he appears to be listed on a 1840 census of Hamilton County, Illinois and was buying land in Illinois as early as 1845. The microfilm index to Illinois land records lists him making five land purchases in Hamilton County. The first three were each for 40 acres of land in Section 27, Township 04S, Range 07E, worth $50.00 each. The dates of these purchases were 01-07-1845, 06-11-1847, and 12-15-1851. In the latter case his name was misspelled Hyter. The other two purchases were also for 40 acre plots worth $50 each but in Section 28, Township 04S, Range 07E. These were recorded on 02-20-1851 and 03-05-1853. This land is just east of the 1857 town of Jefferson City and north of Logansport. In each case the title transfer dates were six to fifteen months later.
The 1860 census finds William and his family living in or near Logansport, Hamilton County, Illinois. Logansport is described in the book, Ghost Towns of Southern Illinois by Glenn J. Sneed. It was laid out in 1857; four blocks,39 lots. There were ten houses and two businesses; a store and a saloon. The item most often sold was whiskey by the gallon. "There was much drinking in the town." I don't know if William was involved in this whiskey trade. The census said he was a farmer with $1500 worth of real estate and $250 worth of personal property. I have Sarah's birth date in1857 but that 1860 census lists her as 11 years old.
The will of Wm. Hyten was filed on October 22, 1872, in Hamilton County, IL, with Virginia as administrator.

In trying to connect William Hyten to Josiah Hyten,I should note that the 1860 census says that William was born in Tennessee. All the other HYTENs that I have been able to trace migrated from Maryland to Kentucky and then westward. The path followed by most of the Hydens whom Gene Hyden has traced seemed to be from Virginia to Tennessee and westward. As it turned out that was true in this case as William was a Hyden not a HYTEN. In addition Joseph Lane Hyten, Jr. told his son David that when his ancestors came over the mountains, they changed their name because there had been some trouble.

The 1878 land map of Hendricks County, IN, where William Caywood Hyten’s farm was located showed that many farms near his were owned by families whom I know intermarried with the HYTENs. Two farms were owned by W. Cox and one by J. J. Cox. Even though I don’t think there are any loose ends in the William Caywood Hyten family, maybe there is.
Being a genealogist is never easy.

Then in 2010 , in response to my family tree blog Jo Medlock provided me with the following:

In reviewing a family feud-type lawsuit that went on from about1851 to 1856 between Richard Hyden,his son John (and between later Richard’s heirs and John) over land in Bradley Co.,TN, she found the name William Hyden. In depositions it was stated that Rebecca Hyden-Wilhite (ca.1819-??) and her brother William had return home to Tennessee from Illinois to care for their ailing father.
By then I had been told by a distant cousin of Jo Medlock, Estalee Smith, that she had found her ‘relative’ Rebecca in Hamilton Co.,IL, and also William Hyten. Somehow she assumed he must be a Hyden, but she couldn’t prove it. Shortly after I talked to her she passed away without either of us solving the problem. She hadn’t told me about her other contacts so the trail seemed to die. Jo Medlock had been one of her contacts and now Jo had solved the mystery.
Now with the lawsuit testimony it was apparent that Rebecca Hyden-Wilhite and William were brother and sister and among the nine children of Richard HYDEN (1772-1856).

Richard Hyden’s roots can be traced back four generations to Frances Heydon/Hyden (1628-1694) who had been transported from Watford, Hertfordshire, England in 1678. This was in the same time frame as JOSIAH HYTEN’s ancestors had possibly come over from the area that is now Northern Ireland. Transported people exchanged a period of indentured work for their passage. These working class people usually did not read or write thus name spellings varied by the way the official record keepers understood the pronunciation.


Richard’s first son Anderson Henry Hyden (1805-1878) was to become a HITEN and the head of the TN-AL HITENs. Son John from the lawsuit disappeared from the records but his boys moved on to Arkansas then Texas. Daniel Hyden moved to Georgia at the time of the gold rush there. Nathaniel moved to Arkansas and then Texas.

Among the other things Jo Medlock uncovered were an 1850 Bradley Co.,TN census record for William Hiden (age 27), his wife Lucinda(22), and a 4-month-old daughter Mary. Also found was a Hamilton Co., IL, record the 1850 divorce of William Hyden from Lucinda on the grounds of her adultery.Thus William had a previous marriage that I had know nothing about. I don’t know what happened to daughter Mary.

When the lawsuit was resolved (as much as I can tell to no one’s satisfaction) William and Rebecca returned to Illinois along with their mother Sarah Lane-Hyden (??-1860)who lived with Rebecca there.

While William and Virginia Hyten were still alive in 1870, their family does not show up in that census. They had both passed away by the time of the 1880 census. Their daughter Sarah E. had married Andrew J. Metcalf in 1874 and they had two daughters.

In the 1880 census Joseph L.Hyten and his wife Sarah E. Thomas are residing in dwelling 161 in Beaver Creek Precinct a few miles north of Logansport. She was the first of three wives of Joseph Lane. Sarah (1865-1886) died 12 days after her fourth child was born and before reaching her twenty first birthday. From the Hamilton County birth records I was able to determine that she had three boys but apparently none of them reached adulthood. Her daughter Martha Annaline (1882-1962) was to marry Charles Powell and have ten children. It is interesting to note, those same birth records say that four of Joseph's children by his first two wives were born with Margaret York of Tackery as mid-wife in attendance.
Later in 1886 Joseph married again, this time to Laura J. Biggerstaff(1864-1890). They only had two sons, John Henry and Louie Cleveland. Those two boys were to give us enough heirs named HYTEN that it seems unlikely the name will ever fade away.
His third marriage in 1893 was to result in five girls and a boy being born to him and Emma Cannon (1874-1954). Over a 24 year period Joseph Lane Hyten, Sr. was married three times and had 12 children.

Throughout this period Joseph was acquiring more Hamilton County land. By 1900 he owned over 500 acres. He also pursued many successful businesses. One of these was described in Ghost Towns of Southern Illinois. Slapshot was a town in section 9 of Beaver Creek Township that had a population of 60, a hotel, and a stave mill. "The stave mill also made headers and hoops. It was built and operated by John W. Springer until his death. Joseph Hyten bought the mill from the estate and operated it until barrels were replaced by boxes for shipping." By 1918 only the old hotel was standing, and now the area is just a plowed field.
In 1925 he sold his farm and moved to nearby Springerton just across into White County where he ran a store. One of his grandsons, (Bill) William Lester, said that a couple of fellows tried to hold up the store and Joseph shot them dead. Another grandson, David, says his father had helped at the store and that never happened. Even though it is just rumor I thought I would include it just to liven up my story.
Another interesting tale comes from his granddaughter, Ora. She said her father Louie told of the time when someone was stealing from Joseph's corn crib. He set out a steel trap to catch the thief. He caught his best friend whom he promptly forgave.
In 1934 the store burnt to the ground. Rather than rebuild, Joseph decided to go to Mississippi. He raised cattle and cotton on a 200 to 300 acre farm near West Point, MS. During the ten years he was there some of his children lived with him for various periods of times. Many of his grandchildren recall visiting there in the summers. In 1944 he was returned by ambulance, seriously ill, to Illinois where he died. He was certainly an interesting and adventure some person.

His eldest son by his second wife was Louie Cleveland (1884-1959). Louie was the first HYTEN to go to the far Southeast Missouri ”boot heel“ area. Around 1912 or so he migrated there to help prepare the land for growing cotton. At the time it was just a tree covered swamp of Mississippi River flat lands. I don't know much about Louie despite the fact that he had nine children. His three daughters have been helpful but most of his sons are, to put it kindly, frustrating. It is one thing to not answer your mail but altogether another to hang up on a person or say you have the wrong number.
His daughter, Ora Mae (1918-1997), was the last one of his family still to live in the Missouri boot heel. Her sisters Mary Opel (1923) and Lura Marie (1927) both live in California. All married and have children, Ora having had nine.
Louie Cleveland Hyten’s six boys are scattered all over the country. His son, (Bud) Louis Alford (1916-2005), has four children; two from each of his wives. Mail addressed to each was returned undeliverable. Tony Eveett (1930-2006) and James Louie (1935) live near Flint, MI. Russell Mac (1932) is near his cousins in the Peoria, IL, area. (Wayne) Walter Wayne (1939-2012) retired from Texas to Arizona. James had two grandsons to continue the family name of the Louie Cleveland branch.
Joseph Lane Hyten, Sr.'s third marriage resulted in his largest family, five girls and a boy. Although all the girls married, only one had even a single child. His son, Joseph Lane, Jr. (1904-1987) attended Southern Illinois University for three years. Although he did not graduate his picture appears in the 1925 yearbook with the junior class. He was there long enough to get his teaching certificate. In the fall of 1925 he began a 39 year teaching career that was to range from teaching in a one room school to being a principal. Throughout that time he lived on a farm in White County a few miles from McLeansboro, IL. One of his sisters, Ena Alice (1906-1995) also taught in White County.

Joseph Lane, Jr. had a daughter Joan (1931), and a son, David Lee (1940-2000). David lived near my hometown in the St. Louis Metro-East area for18 years while working at the Stockyards National Bank in E. St. Louis. IL. Despite the fact that he lived as close as 15 miles away, I never met him while he lived in the area. In 1977 he returned to Southern Illinois to McLeansboro and the Hamilton County Bank of which he was president. In one of those strange twists of fate, his daughter, Kim Joyce (1967), had one of her professors at Southern Illinois University ask her if Mark Hyten was her brother. Mark is my son who had graduated from SIUC a semester before she enrolled.

Joseph's younger son by his second marriage was John Henry (1889-1967). Shortly after his marriage in 1913, he and his wife Lillie Mae Trotter (1893-1988) followed Louie to Stoddard County, MO. They settled near Essex at first. John Henry worked clearing timber and dredging the county's drainage system. They raised ten children there, many of whom stayed in the Dexter, MO area. In contrast to Louie's family, John's remains quite close. Each Labor Day Sunday they gather in the park at Dexter, MO, for a giant family reunion. Since he has over 175 heirs, it can get to be a real crowd. I visited the 1987 reunion and thoroughly enjoyed it, particularly my visit with Lillie Mae who was at the time a very alert 94 years old. She was to pass away before the 1988 reunion.
Another source of information was (Bill) William Lester Hyten's (1916-1995) son, Jerry Lester (1941), whose name my mother found in the Las Vegas phone book. Being a Mormon, Jerry was eager to help me trace his roots. He provided me with information from the Mormon archives as well as what he knew personally of the family. Jerry and all three of his sons are electricians.

I found out details of the reunion from John Henry's son, Floyd James (1921-2002), who I located in a Tennessee phone book that I found in a library in Kentucky. After corresponding with him, I arranged to meet him in Nashville as I was returning from a visit to my son in Florida. Floyd and his wife, Emma Lucinda Morgan (1923), and his oldest son, (Steve) James Stevenson (1941-2007), and his wife, Barbara Lynn Brooks (1943), provided me with a ton of information. Barbara probably does the best job of keeping track of her relatives of any HYTEN that I have ever met.
Floyd got to the Portland, TN, area 30 miles north of Nashville, by way of California. The company that he worked for made fiberglass boats. In 1954 they transferred him from California to Nashville. He later decided he would have more time to fish if he were building boats for himself rather than for someone else so he started his own company, the Ensign Boat Co. His sons, Steve (1941) and (Carroll) Ronald Carroll (1943) now help run the company.


At the 1987 Dexter family reunion, Johnnie Walter's (1927-1992) wife Evelyn Lucille Jackson (1930) got me on a path that found not only her son Danny Ray (1949) but all of (Leroy) Curtis Leroy's (1932-1980) family of which the rest had lost track. Evelyn told me Danny was in Paragould, Arkansas, but the number she gave me was disconnected. Six months later on my way to visit my son who was temporarily stationed at Little Rock AFB, I stopped in Paragould. There were still no HYTENs in the phone book but much to my surprise I found marriage records of five HYTENs at the Greene County courthouse. One of those records showed Janet Hyten marrying Timothy Freeman. They were the only ones I could find in the phone book. It turned out that she was the first wife of Roy Lynn (1956), Leroy's second son. She got me up to date on Danny but more importantly told me how to find Leroy's widow, Betty Jane Thrasher-Hyten-McRoy(1936-). Betty in turn helped me locate her kids.
Just as I was getting ready to publish the 2001 edition of this book, Evelyn got in touch with me. Through her I was able to clear up several questions that I didn’t even have about Danny’s family. I’m relating what I found out, not to embarrass Danny,but to illustrate how difficult it can be to track people.
Danny had three children from his first marriage to Charlene Smith (1947) and I had previously been given the wrong birth year for each of them. I didn’t know his son, John Charles (1968) was married, but I did have an old address for an unknown John and Dawn Hyten. By the time I got that phone number they had moved from their trailer home. It turns out that they had been divorced.
Danny’s daughter Cynthia Lynn (1971) had a son, Timothy Travis Hyten (1989), whose father I don’t know and a son, Stephen Shane Settlemeyer (the father’s last name) before marrying Timothy Murrell in 1993 and having a daughter Triniti Arva (2001).
By the way, between the birth of John and Cynthia, Danny had a daughter, Dana (1968) with Glenda Reymer.
Sometime in the 70s Danny and Charlene separated. For a while he lived with Sue Appleton whom some relatives thought he had married, but he actually hadn’t. He then had two children with Lee Ora Hellwege (1960). It turned out that at the time he was still married to Charlene because he thought she had gotten a divorce, but she hadn’t. In 1992 they formally divorced and he remarried Lee.
Truly a modern American tale, wouldn’t you say?


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