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Byerly
Elizabeth & Lillian Byerly have submitted this article and photos of the Byerly and related families. The article appeared in The Des Moines Register Sunday Magazine, circa 1920-1925. Click on any photo for a larger view.

DESCENDANTS OF ANDREW BYERLY. Margaret Filbin, Georgie Byerly and I put together this listing of the Jones county Byerlys and some of their ancestors and descendants...complete with an Index and Endnotes.

[Michael Byerly]
Michael Byerly
1818-1896

Son of Francis M. & Catherine Creamer Byerly
Husband of Elizabeth Stone Jeffries Byerly
[Elizabeth Jeffries] Elizabeth Stone Jeffries
1815-1900

Wife of Michael Byerly
Daughter of Bryant Jeffries and Mary (Nancy) Dulin Jeffries
[John Wesley Byerly] John Wesley Byerly
1845-1925

Son of Michael & Elizabeth Byerly
In 1846, from this Ohio Valley where Washington built his first fort, there came to eastern Iowa a man named Francis Byerly, and with him seven sons and daughters. A few years later, his nephews Andrew, Peter, and John came to the same place. They settled in Jones County at a place they called New Port, a few miles from where Anamosa now is. All of these original settlers are now dead, Andrew J., who was a sheriff of Jones County in the pioneer days, being the last to die, Dec. 29, 1919. The aged wife of Peter still lives in Jefferson, Iowa, with her children.

Only a few of the grandchildren of Francis still live, one being Hon. Wm. M. Byerly of Anamosa, a prominent Democratic politician and former member of the Iowa Legislature.

A. E. (Earl) Byerly and his sister (Eva) were born at Anamosa, grandchildren of Andrew J., and received their college education in Des Moines. The descendants of these pioneers now number four hundred or more in the State of Iowa, and there are no doubt many others in the state who are descended from their common ancestor, Andrew Byerly, the friend of Geo. Washington and the founder of the Byerly family in this country. Andrew Byerly was the grandfather of Francis Byerly and the great grandfather of the three nephews who settled at New Port, Iowa in l846.

In 1883, Dr. Cyrus Cort, preacher, historian and poet, in the early days a missionary in Iowa, wrote Colonel Henry Bouquet and His Campaigns. Colonel Bouquet was a brave Swiss commander and a friend of Washington. In the year 1883, 25,000 people gathered at the Bushy Run battlefield in Pennsylvania and celebrated the 120th anniversary of one of his great victories. This valuable book has now almost disappeared. Just before Dr. Cort died in 1920 at the age of 86, he presented A.E. Byerly with one of his last copies of the book. Many of these pages are given over to a history of Andrew Byerly, the ancestor of so many Iowans, and his connection with the early life of George Washington.

[Milton & Maria Byerly]
Milton Byerly
1843/44-1920
& his wife
Maria Johnson Byerly
1863-1913

Milton was the son of Michael & Elizabeth Byerly
Dr. Cort, who was a great, great grandson of Andrew Byerly, visited a son of the colonial soldier on Christmas Day, 1855. This son was Jacob Byerly, a colonial soldier, who lived to be 99 years old. He died in 1858, and was buried under a fine military monument in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, being the last man in that county to draw a pension from the Revolutionary War. Through him were related to Dr. Cort many of the interesting events in the life of Washington and his father, Andrew Byerly, the colonial soldier and frontiersman. They had been told to him by Michael Byerly, his older brother, the great grandfather of Hon. Curtis H. Gregg, former United States congressman from Pennsylvania. Michael was at Fort Cumberland when the haughty English General Braddock assembled his army, magnificent in its uniform and armor.
The school children will remember how Washington wished to advise this British general, but he would have none of it, scorning to think that his men were not a match for the Indian. Michael Byerly, 8 years old, was there taking in eagerly everything that was said. Some Indian chiefs came to offer their service as scouts, but Braddock snubbed them, saying that a few French and Indians would be small work for his army and that they would run when they saw the "red coats" coming.

Angered, the Indian made a wager of thirty shillings that there was no white man among the men in his army who could outrun one of their braves who had considerable renown as a runner. Colonel Washington was in those days quite a sportsman. He believed that his friend Andrew Byerly could outrun the Indian. Byerly, who had come to this country in 1738 at the age of 23, had long been popular in the colonial army and was induced to come from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, by Benjamin Franklin to bake for Braddock's army. To him Washington went, and Byerly raced the boastful Indian and won the wager for Washington, much to the surprise of the Indian and even General Braddock.

Daughters of William M. & Eliza Byerly
Floy (1882-1972) m. Rev. John Chester Tourtellot, Blanche (1885-1972) m. Royal A. Russell, Grace (1891-1972) m. Antone Johnson, Beulah Irene (1895-1989) m. Dr. Chester E. Miller, Lillian Arvilla (1896-1942) did not marry, Juanita Mildred ((1989-1991) m. George Mills.

Joseph Michael Byerly
1868-1944

Son of Alvin (Calvin) Ricketts Byerly & Emerilla Beam Byerly.
Not long after this incident, the English army, accompanied by Washington and some frontiersmen, including Andrew, went out on its historic and ill-fated expedition of 1755. The 8-year-old son of Andrew Byerly never tired of telling his younger brother in later years what a grand appearance Braddock's army made when it started out on that trip to drive the French and Indians out of the Ohio Valley, and how it looked when it returned defeated and nearly annihilated, its commander dead and the survivors escaping through the help of Washington and the frontiersmen who were skilled in Indian warfare.
About this time Washington built a fort where Pittsburgh now stands. Twenty-five miles from this fort at Bushy Run, Andrew Byerly, according to Parkman, the historian, in the year 1759 built a home for himself and family. There was no other home in this western country, and thus did Andrew become the first permanent white settler west of the Allegheny Mountains. It was here that Washington, Colonel Bouquet, Captain Ecuyer, and other military men made their headquarters when entering the Ohio Valley. James Kenney, an early commissioner for Pennsylvania, records in his journal how Frederick Post, the great Moravian missionary to the Indians, made Byerly Station, as it was known, his headquarters, and how Josiah Davenport and William and John Bartram, the great botanists, visited this first home in the distant west.

It was at Byerly Station that Colonel Bouquet in 1763 won the famous battle of Bushy Run, which forever destroyed the power of Indians in America. (!) It was Andrew Byerly who led that advance guard in this battle, twelve out of every eighteen being killed in the first fire, and it was he who carried water to the wounded from springs on his farm during the night at great risk to his life. This spring still flows, and near it a monument to cost many thousands of dollars will be raised this coming summer (no date) by the state of Pennsylvania,to commemorate the battlefield of Bushy Run when a few brave settlers and Scotch Highlanders defeated many times their number. Bouquet had come to save Fort Pitt, and it was fitting that Andrew Byerly should be one of those who fought bravely for two days to save the fort that his friend George Washington had built a few years before.

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