Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 293] a respected citizen of Wayne township, and a resident of Hazel Dell, where he is engaged in general teaming, was born near the bank of Conoquenessing Creek, where the "Circle" of Ellwood City is located now. In his early manhood he felled trees in the virgin forest, where now the well-populated city stands. His parents were Thomas and Pernina (Pettit) Nye, and his grandparents were Andrew Rose and Rachel (McDonald) Nye, who came to this section of the State from Philadelphia, and settled for some time at Peter's Creek, but afterwards removed to Lawrence County, where they received a patent for four hundred acres of new land. They built thereon a log-house in 1793, near the site of the Presbyterian Church, and lived many years to prosper and to delight in their splendid family of children. Andrew Nye was born Jan. 6, 1750, and died March 1, 1821, and his wife entered this life Nov. 10, 1760, and departed it Dec. 16, 1847. Their children were: Richard, born Nov. 1, 1776; Eleanor, Dec. 25, 1777; Catherine, March 5, 1780; Nancy, Nov. 9, 1781; John, Oct. 2, 1783; Michael, Oct. 2, 1785; Hannah, July 21, 1787; Jordan M., March 10, 1789; Mary, Feb. 12, 1791; Margaret, July 13, 1792; Susan, Feb. 27, 1795; Andrew R., Dec. 22, 1797; Dan, March 19, 1800; and Thomas, Aug. 30, 1802.

Thomas Nye, the youngest of a family of fourteen, farmed with his father, and labored at agricultural pursuits all his life. On April 10, 1828, Mr. Nye was united in the bonds of matrimony with Pernina Pettit, who was born Nov. 15, 1804. The Nyes lived in the true pioneer days, when there was plenty of game for the snaring of it, and settlers' cabins were few and far between. They worked hard at clearing the land, and suceeded in wresting sustenance and a comfortable livelihood from the soil. Their children were: Dan, our subject, born Feb. 10, 1829; Alvah and Avery, twins, Jan. 25, 1830; Aaron, Jan. 26, 1835. Mrs. Nye laid down her duties and closed her eyes on life on July 10, 1836. After the lapse of several years, Mr. Nye contracted a second matrimonial alliance with Mrs. Eliza McElwain, whose maiden name was Miller. By this union five more children were added to the family: Jordan M., born Nov. 7, 1847; Pernina, Nov. 27, 1849, Hannah, Nov. 23, 1852; Nancy, Aug. 11, 1854; and Celia, Aug. 16, 1857. Mr. Nye held various minor offices at the hands of his townspeople. He owned 130 acres of land, but little dreamed that his meadows should one day furnish building sites for many happy and comfortable homes. The grandfather, Andrew, lived in a log-house where the residence of brick and frame now stands, and there were only two families in the vicinity for miles and miles, and these were the Renyons and Hazens. Mrs. Nye was often left in the log-house with the children when her husband was at work, and she would be often forced to fire a rifle from the door and to resort to other similar expedients to frighten the wolves, and keep them from molesting the place.

Dan Nye, our subject, helped his father clear the farm, and worked on the paternal estate until his marriage, Sept. 3, 1850, to Mrs. Mary Ann Gow, widow of John Gow, who was born March 15, 1817, and died at thirty-eight years of age, leaving to the care of his relict two children—Isabel and John A., both of whom are now deceased. Mrs. Nye was born April 2, 1826, and was a daughter of George and Jane (Steen) Owrey, both of whom were natives of Crawford County, Pa. George Owrey was a blacksmith, and his last work was done in New Castle, this county. Of the immediate family of Dan Nye, Thomas, born Feb. 7, 1852, and Pernina, both died in infancy. George A., born March 5, 1853, is a stone-cutter of Hazel Dell; he married Rebeca Duncan, and they have four children: Dan, Mary E., Charles, and Grace. Nathaniel P., born Dec. 6, 1854, is an engineer at Ludlow, Ky.; his wife was Maria Fowler. Margaret J., born Feb. 17, 1857, wedded Madison Maine of Leetonia, Ohio, and has a son, Martin. Alvah L., born March 4, 1859, is a stonecutter of Ellwood City; he took for his wife Florence Marshall, and their children are Nellie and John. James M., born July 21, 1861, is a stone-cutter of North Sewickley; he married Martha Smiley, and the children in their household are Margaret, Ann, and Martin, having lost two sons, James and William. Dan, Jr., born May 1, 1864, died Sept. 12 in the same year. Thomas, born May 18, 1866, is also a stone-cutter of Ellwood City; he joined his fortunes with those of Carrie Gatwick, and they have four children—Freddie, Mary, Betsey, and Florence.

Mr. Nye had the homestead and a goodly portion of the paternal estate, where he lived and carried on general farming and teaming until 1890, when be disposed of the farm to the projectors of Ellwood City, and since 1892 has resided at Hazel Dell, where he has been engaged in teaming. Alvah Nye, a brother of the subject of this article, has always resided with Mr. Nye, and he it was who constructed the house they occupy in 1892. In their religious preferences the Nyes are Baptists. The family is noted for its longevity and fine constitutions. Mr. and Mrs. Nye are very good company, merry and fond of jokes, and very entertaining conversationalists. They have a wide acquaintance through the county, and in fact no family is more generally known than theirs. Mr. Nye is a member of the Ellwood Lodge, I. O. O. F., where he is esteemed an influential and worthy brother.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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