by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
In my primary years, Dillingham was merely a country road on my school bus route. From Buckner Tarsney Road the bus went west on Duncan to a crossroad. Rust Road went south and Dillingham Road went north.
In 1952, I only recall one large farmhouse located on the east side of Dillingham before we reached Pink Hill Road. The bus stopped there to pick up the Turner children before proceeding across Pink Hill to pick up a classmate, Leona Lunceford.
Long-time residents referred to their farm as “the old Dillingham place.” Later the John Hontz family lived there. I only remember one other house along the road before we reached Argo Road and turned west again. The road continued another half mile or so and ended at Truman Road.
Vachel (1777-1840) and Elizabeth (1780-1856) Dillingham came to Layfette County, Missouri from Kentucky in early 1800s. Two of their nine children were Vachel Morgan and John Keith Dillingham.
On February 15, 1851 40 acres of land was registered by Vachel on the North East quarter of the North West quarter of section 22 and John on the South West quarter of the South West quarter of Section 9 in Township 49N, Range 30 W.
Vachel (1828-1863) married Nancy Gibson (1828-1881) in Jackson County on March 11, 1847. They had seven children; two sons and five daughters. Vachel was killed in the Civil War in 1863 and buried in Texas. From various United States Census entries, I believe Nancy lived on the farm until her death in 1881. She is buried in the Slaughter Cemetery.
John Keith (1824-1858) married Martha Ann Koger in Jackson County on April 12, 1849. They had one son, William Keith. As stated, John purchased land in 1851 but a few years later he moved his family to Healdsburg in Sonoma County, California, where he died in 1858. His wife remarried and she and their son remained in California. His land was purchased by his nephew, Silas Dillingham.
The 1904 Jackson County Missouri Heritage Map shows the name, S V Dillingham on four pieces of land totaling 302 acres along Dillingham Road. Silas (1854-1927) was the fourth child born to Vachel and Nancy Dillingham. When the map was printed, he owned his father’s original 40 acres (today the southeast corner of Dillingham and Pink Hill Road).
He also owned his Uncle John’s original 40 acres plus 40 more north of Argo Road. And he had purchased two more farms long Dillingham; 40 acres on the west side near Argo Road, and 142 acres which began on the northeast corner of Dillingham and Pink Hill and continue north. Further genealogical research indicates his brother, John W. Dillingham (1853-1916) purchased 70 acres on nearby Slaughter Road.
Silas and his wife, Julia Daniel Dillingham are buried in the Oakland Cemetery. They had three children, but two died as infants. The one surviving daughter Mary Elizabeth (1902 -1992) remained single. She worked at the Smithsonian in Washington, D. C. most of her life. Mary is also buried at Oakland Cemetery.
There were many Dillingham relations in the Blue Springs and Independence area. I have been unable to determine if any of them ever lived on any of the farms, when the farms were sold or to whom they were sold. I have reached out to three individuals on Ancestry that have Vachel Dillingham on their family tree. I’ll let you know if I learn anything about their family.
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