Ethelred Delk
16 Feb 1784 to 14 Feb 1838

Ethelred Delk & Nancy Byers


Ethelred Delk arrived in Preble County, Ohio sometime between 1807 and 1810. He was a farmer and schoolteacher. According to his son, George W. Delk, Ethelred was born in North Carolina on February 16, 1784. Kenneth Finton, a descendent of George W. Delk, stated in a letter to the Iowa Delks that Ethelred arrived by way of Tennessee. This is not confirmed. In fact nothing about Ethelred is confirmed until 1812 when he is listed in the minutes of the Preble County Commissioners 3 March 1812 annual sitting as having received $1.00 for services as an election clerk.

Ethelred has always been thought to have descended from Roger Delk who arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in 1622 aboard the ship South Hampton. The only confirmation of Ethelred’s descending from Roger Delk has been through DNA testing of known descendents of Roger and known descendents of Ethelred.

If Ethelred Delk was born in North Carolina in the year 1784 as written by George W. Delk, then the following is the most likely line between Roger and Ethelred:

Roger Delk I

Roger Delk II

Joseph Delk I

Jacob Delk I

Jacob Delk II

Ethelred Delk

After serving as an election clerk, the next record of Ethelred Delk came in 1813. Military service records at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. indicate that Ethelred served in the military from July 22, 1813 until January 25, 1814. He was paid $11.00 per month. Ethelred served first as a private and later as First Sergeant in Captain Simon Phillips’ Company of Riflemen, Lanier’s Odd Battalion, Ohio Militia.

Ethelred married Nancy Byers on August 4, 1814 in Preble County, Ohio. Ethelred was 30 years old and Nancy was 14. Nancy was pregnant with their first child, John. Nancy was probably a student of Ethelred although this is not confirmed. The marriage license was not signed by Nancy’s parents giving permission to marry but rather by Jesse Swisher, Justice of the Peace. Swisher also performed the wedding. This probably all occurred in or near New Lexington in Twin Township.

Ethelred and Nancy settled in Harrison Township, Preble County, Ohio. It was in Harrison Township that four of their nine children were born. John on April 23, 1815; Mary (Polly) on September 30, 1816; Isaac Ethelred on May 15, 1819; and Elizabeth on May 4, 1821. Ethelred was probably a farmer and a school teacher but there are no land records available to confirm the farming.

In a deed dated April 27, 1822, Enoch Banfill and Catharine (mark) wife of Darke County, Ohio to Ethelrede Delk of Preble County, Ohio; $100.; 40a off S side of E & W cross line being part SW¼ S35, T8 R3. This deed was recorded in Deed Book B-1, Darke County, Ohio on December 16, 1822. This land was in Twin Township, Darke County, Ohio. At some point, Ethelred purchased another 80 acres which may not have been recorded or, if recorded, has not been found in county records.

(Note: Most of the records cited were found in the basement of the Darke County courthouse where the records were wet and in very poor condition.)

Because of the land purchases it is assumed that Ethelred was a farmer. He was also a school teacher. According to the book, History of Darke County, Ohio From its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, vol. II, Milford, Ohio: Hobart Publishing Co., 1914, pp 428-429:

Ethelred Delk……………..was a man of good education and in early life taught school in Darke county. Mr. Thomas, formerly a merchant of Ithaca, and now succeeded in business by his son Will, at the age of eighty years related that he attended school near Ithaca when Ethelred Delk was the teacher.

In Twin Township Ethelred and Nancy became parents to five more children. William on May 13, 1823; George Washington on August 9, 1826; Sarah (Sally) on January 6, 1829; Isabella (Ibby) on August 20, 1831; and Joseph Oen on January 25, 1834.

In 1827 and 1828 Ethelred witnessed three different deed transactions. One was from a David Byers and his wife Mary of Preble County. This Byers was undoubtedly a relative of Nancy.

After the birth of Joseph Oen, Ethelred and Nancy exchanged land with Alanson Ashley and his wife Jane. There were two transactions. The first transaction was a deed dated August 7, 1834. In this deed, Ashley deeded 80 acres in Richland Township to Ethelred and Nancy in exchange for 40 Acres owned by Ethelred and Nancy in Twin Township. Both in Darke County, Ohio. This deed was recorded November 3, 1834.

The second transaction was a deed dated August 17, 1834 where Ashley deeded another 80 acres in Richland Township to Ethelred and Nancy in exchange for 80 acres in Twin Township. This deed was recorded in August 1834.

There is no evidence as to why Ethelred and Nancy moved to Richland Township.

On August 19, 1835 Nancy Delk died. She is probably buried in Pioneer cemetery at Fort Jefferson in Neaves Township, Darke County, Ohio. If this is so, there is no headstone to mark the grave.

According to Ethelred’s son George in his journal, Ethelred bound both George and William to farmers in the area. The journal also states that Ethelred was teaching school.

On October 13, 1835, Ethelred mortgaged 80 acres of land to the Ohio Life Insurance & Trust Company. The mortgage read:

Ethelred Delk of Darke County, Ohio and Ohio Life Insurance & Trust Co. , $200.00 - 80a. E½ of SW¼ S32 T11 R3E of Cincinnati Land Office.
Witness: Allen Lamott, H. D. Williams

A note written over the mortgage read as follows:

State of Ohio Life Insurance & Trust Co., Cincinnati 15 May 1837. The debt within mentioned and secured has been paid, this mortgage is therefore satisfied and hereby cancelled and requested to enter satisfaction on the record.
$200.00 debt Samuel R. Miller
.58 interest Secy

On November 6, 1836 Mary (Polly) married David Beanblossom. It would be the second marriage for Beanblossom.

With a deed dated May 13, 1837 Ethelred sold to Peter Souder of Montgomery County, Ohio, 80 acres for $375. It was the same 80 acres that was mortgaged to Ohio Life Insurance & Trust Company. This deed was not recorded until May 7, 1840.

On November 7, 1837 Ethelred’s oldest son, John, married Sarah Ann Kerns of Miami County, Ohio. Sarah was the daughter of John Henry Kerns and Mary (Summa) Kerns. For some unknown reason John and Sarah go to Preble County to get married.

On February 14, 1838 Ethelred Delk died. It is thought that he was at his daughter’s home in or near Beamville in Richland Township. Ethelred’s death left several minor children. Ethelred is probably buried in an unmarked grave along side of Nancy in Pioneer cemetery.

When Ethelred Delk died on February 14, 1838, his son John and daughter Mary (Polly) were already married. George and William were bound out to a local farmer, Jesse Tillman.

On April 17, 1838 in Common Pleas Court of Darke County, Ohio, David Beanblossom, Mary Delk’s husband, was appointed guardian of Sarah Delk, age 9 yrs., Ibba Delk, age 7 yrs., and Joseph Delk, age 4 yes., minor heirs of Ethelred Delk, dec’d. Bond was $200.00. There was no mention of George and William or Elizabeth and Isaac.

The following day, April 18, 1838, Thomas Hathaway was appointed administrator of the estate of Ethelred Delk, dec’d. John Delk, son, having relinquished the right of administration. Bond was set at $700.00. This is recorded on page 23 of the records of the Common Pleas Court of Darke County, Ohio.

Other entries in the records of the Common Pleas Court show that on September 4, 1840, George W. Delk, age 14 yrs., 9 August last, heir of Ethelred Delk, chose Jesse Tillman as his guardian. On April 5, 1848, Joesph Delk age 14 yrs. On 7 February 1848, chose John Delk as his guardian.

Between the time that Ethelred died and early 1855 all of the children of Ethelred Delk and Nancy (Byers) Delk will have married.