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Benjamin and Mary Ann Leer Lewis Pyatt

Benjamin Pyatt was born May 20, 1820, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Benjamin Pyatt and Margaret McKeown and died February 4, 1885, Jacksonville, Illinois. According to Benjamin's obituary in the Jacksonville Daily Journal of February 5, 1885, the family moved from Washington County, Pennsylvania, to Missouri in 1836 to help build Monroe City which the Mississippi River destroyed. They were in Marion County, Missouri on the 1840 census.

Benjamin married in Marion County, Missouri, on March 28, 1842, Mary Ann Leer who was born in Paris, Kentucky to John and Catharine Leer. The marriage license was for 'Benjamin Pyatt' and 'Mrs. Mary Lewis'. Further research shows that Mary Ann Leer married a Mr. Angess H. Lewis on May 2, 1838 in Marion County, Missouri. Mary had onw child from her previous marriage. Not long after the marriage, Benjamin moved his family to Jacksonville, Morgan County, Illinois, were he was very succesful in the tobacco business.

According to research done by Elizabeth Laird (, Mary Leer Lewis' husband (Andrew or Agness) died March 22, 1841. Mary was already expecting a child, Charles R Lewis, who was born c1842 in Indiana (indicating that the family removed to Indiana sometime in 1842). Then, she and Benjamin had Henry C Pyatt born c1847 in Indiana and Jackson M Pyatt born c1850 in Indiana. However, Benjamin and wife Mary were in Illinois in 1850 and do not have a three-year-old named Henry. Jackson could have been born after the census date. Still, it appears more likely that the Mary still in Missouri in 1860 is not Mary Leer Lewis.

The known/speculated children of Benjamin and Mary Ann Pyatt are as follows:

I find Benjamin and family on the 1850 census of Morgan County, Illinois:

This family was enumerated #95/94 pg 176D. On page 174 was his brother, John, with his wife Caroline at #56/57 and next door were their parents, Benjamin and Margaret Pyatt. Benjamin's brother, Oliver Pyatt, was with the Peter and Crisy Cassell family at #11/11 on pg 170C.

By the 1860 census, Benjamin had moved and was found in Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois:

This family was enumerated #1391/1398 19 Jul 1860 pg 194. Their neighbors were #1386 Samuel Nelson, #1387 Walter Egelston, #1388 La Fayette Smith, #1389 John M Aumon, #1390 Badger ?Grube, #1392 Wilson Diggins, and #1393 Franklin Hickory. At the same time, in the city of Jacksonville, Morgon County, Illinois, we still find Benjamin's parents with his brother, Oliver and in a separate household his brother, John Pyatt.

To confuse matters, on the 1860 census of Deepwater Township, Henry County, Missouri, can be found a 'matching' Mary Pyatt and children living with Nathan and Zulima Dunne, as follows:

This family was enumerated on page 879. I think that it is the combination of a Mary Pyatt with a Charles Lewis that makes this entry seem to be for Mary Leer Lewis Pyatt. Some similarities are the age and birthplace of Mary and the name of the son. However, notwithstanding that she was enumerated in Sangamon County, Illinois, there is the matter of Charles age and place of birth and the appearance of two Pyeatt children who do not show up with this family at any other time. I think it is safe to conclude that while there are similarities, this is NOT the same Mary Ann Leer Lewis Pyatt. Nathan J and Sulina Dunn and their 7 children were in Cooper County, Missouri, on the 1850 census. Which Pyatt family are they connected to? I have done various searches of the 1850 census index using full names, partial names, birthyears, etc. and have not been able to locate any of the family enumerated with Nathan Dunn in 1860.

Then on the 1870 cenus of Jacksonville Ward 3, Morgan County, Illinois:

This family was enumerated #18/18 pg 480 (#3 printed left top) 8 Jun 1870 (ancestry image 147/330). Neighbors were #13 Charles Ross, #14 George Seymour, #15 Robert Ligach, #16 Cyrus Eplin, #17 Annie ?cel, #19 John Pyatt, #20 Sarah Arbogast & John Pyatt. The John at #19 is their son and the enumeration appeared as follows:

This family was enumerated #19/19 pg 480 (#3 printed left top) 8 Jun 1870 (ancestry image 147/330). Just after that was: This family was enumerated #20/20 (and #20/21 starting with John Pyatt) pg 482 (#4 printed left top) 8 Jun 1870 (ancestry image 150/330); neighbors #13 Charles Ross, #14 George Seymour, #15 Robert Ligach, #16 Cyrus Eplin, #17 Annie ?cel, #18 Benjamin Pyatt, #19 John Pyatt, #21 Peter ?Titler, #22 John Cassell. This John at #20 is Benjamin's brother.

By the 1880 census, the family appears to be again in Jacksonville, Morgan County, Illinois, as follows:

Living nearby in Ward 1 is son, John C Pyatt, and family as follows: Since Benjamin's brother, John, was living with a Sarah Arbogast in 1870 and then Benjamin's son, John C, is living with his 'aunt' Sarah in 1880. We can conclude that this is the daughter of Benjamin and Margaret McKeon Pyatt.

Leslie J Pyatt visited the East Jacksonville Cemetery, in Jacksonville, Sangamon County, Illinois, in April of 1992 and found the graves of Benjamin Pyatt Sr (b: 1784), Benjamin Pyatt Jr (b: 1820), Mary Ann Pyatt, and her son, Charles R Lewis.

Leslie J Pyatt's grandfather was Leslie Kain Pyatt born in 1853 in Jacksonville, IL, married to Lottie Bavington in 1881, moved to Lyons Kansas in 1890 where his father was born in 1892. Leslie K Pyatt was buried in Sterling, Kansas. Leslie J Pyatt's father died in May 1967 and is buried in Sterling Kansas cemetery not far from his mother and father.

Benjamin Pyatt was a member of the Christian Church and appears in the Jacksonville, IL, city directory in 1871 and 1872.

According to Leslie J Pyatt, Benjamin was sheriff of Morgan county, Illinois, in the 1870s.

The best history of Benjamin Pyatt (Jr and Sr) is in the "Plat Book of Morgan County, Illinois 1894" as follows:
BENJAMIN PYATT, ESQ., sheriff of Morgan county, is a native of Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, and was born in the city of Pittsburg, May 20, 1820. He is the fifth child of Benjamin and Margaret Pyatt. Benjamin followed the occupation of carpenter and builder. The ancestors of Mr. Pyatt were French; his wife was of Irish extraction. In 1836 he emigrated from Pittsburg to Missouri, locating in Marion county, where he resided till 1848. He then moved to Jacksonville, Illinois, where he spent the residue of his life. His death occurred March 17, 1866, at the advanced age of eighty-four years. Mrs. Pyatt survived his death till August 5, 1871, dying at the age of eighty-two years. Benjamin Pyatt, Jr., received his early education in the schools of Pittsburg, attaining a solid education for those times. When about the age of eighteen, he became an apprentice to the cigar and tobacco business. He moved to Missouri with his parents, at the above-stated time, and from 1841 till the spring of 1843, he carried on cigar making, at Palmyra, Missouri, and there became acquainted with Miss Mary A. Leer, to whom he was married March 28, 1842. She is the daughter of John and Catharine Leer, formerly of Paris, Kentucky. Mr. Pyatt and wife had a family of eight children, five of whom are still living; one son and one daughter are married. Mr. Pyatt has given his children the advantages of a good business education. In February, 1843, he removed with his family to Jacksonville, where he has since carried on the tobacco business quite largely, and has been successful in making it a lucrative enterprise. The firm is now known as B. Pyatt & Son. It is said to be the largest tobacco house in this portion of the state, and now, after a period of about thirty years, it is in its most flourishing condition. At one time, this firm employed twenty-two hands in the manufacturing department. Mr. Pyatt made his start in life with ninety-five cents in money, and an abundance of energy, coming, as he did, to Missouri when it was almost in its primitive state; and of course, he had many hardships to endure. In November, 1870, Mr. Pyatt was elected sheriff of Morgan county, by a large majority, and is the present incumbent. In early life, Mr. Pyatt became a member of the democratic party and has always advocated its principles. His first vote was given in the interests of that party, though he now expects to take a new departure for Horace Greeley; and on the expiration of his official term he intends to resume his former business. As a politician, he has always been active and efficient. Mr. Pyatt and family are members of the Christian church. He is a prominent and influential member of the order of the "mystic tie". His life has been one of earnest, hard work.


Last updated Jul 2004

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