John Saylor & Mary Bower

John Saylor & Mary Bower

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Tim Parrott of Iowa City found the records below of John Saylor (1785-1842) who was born in NJ but lived his adult life in Hector Township, Tompkins (now Schuyler) County, New York. There is a close connection with his sister Mary (Saylor) Shutts and Tim suggested and that both are children of Samuel Sayler and Margaret Jones of Springfield Township, Burlington Co., NJ. Tim and I agree that John and Mary are most likely siblings and have cautiously added them to the family.

Use these links to jump up and down this page.
  1. Background
  2. An account of the lives of John Saylor and Mary Bower
  3. Children of John Saylor and Mary Bower
  4. Things that make us believe that John Saylor is the brother of Mary (Saylor) Shutts
  5. Law suit: John Sailer vs Samuel Sailer
  6. Henry Sayler of Hector township - not related.
  7. Y-DNA Project

1. Background
Samuel Saylor and Margaret Jones were married in 1773 and lived in Springfield Tp, Burlington Co., NJ . We believe that the oldest child, Mary Saylor, born 1774, married Gabriel Shutts and they migrated around 1798 to Cayuga County, NY and later bought land nearby in Tompkins County, NY. We also conclude that younger brother John Saylor, b. 1785, followed his older sister and settled in Tompkins County, NY.

Further it is very possible that Charles Saylor and Lavinia (Saylor) Bowerman, both proven children of Samuel and Margaret Saylor, spent some time with their mother Margaret in Cayuga Co., NY before migrating to Prince Edward County, Upper Canada in 1810. They are said to have come by Dutchess Co., NY but this could be an error. There is no evidence to support this thought.

2. An account of the lives of John Saylor and Mary Bower
John Saylor was born 20 March 1785 in New Jersey and married about 1810 to Mary Bower, born 30 Aug. 1787 near Easton, PA; [Plainfield (German) Reformed Church of Plainfield Township, Northampton Co., PA.] He died 2 April 1842 in Hector Township, Tompkins (now Schuyler) County, New York. Buried in McIntyre Settlement Cemetery (Hector Twp., Schuyler Co., NY). Mary died 9 May 1858 in Winnebago Cp., IL.

The account below of Samuel Saylor and his father John, was published  in Landmarks of Tompkins county, New York; including a history of Cornell university, Prof. W.T. Hewitt, 1894, Cornell Univ., p. 165, on line at

Samuel Saylor, was born in the town of Lansing, August 27, 1811, was educated in the town of Hector, Schuyler county, where he was taken by his parents when six months old, and he has always followed farming, until his retirement about 13 years ago. November 8, 1832, he married Lydia Payne, of Hector, born May 18, 1813, and they had five children: Hannah, Clarinda, Charles, Frances and Schuyler.  Francis died October 10, 1865; Clarinda died September 11, 1892.

John [Saylor], father of our subject, was born in New Jersey in 1786, and came to this country when a young man, marrying Mary Bowers, born near Easton, PA, in 1788, her parents moved to Lansing about 1800, and are buried at New Millford, IL; by whom he had nine children: Samuel, Daniel, Sarah M., John, Mary, Harriet, Alma, Cynthia and William.  He died April 2, 1842 and his wife May 9, 1857.

Ira Payne, father of Mrs. Saylor was born in Scipio, Cayuga county, and  married Hannah Harvey, by whom he had three daughters and one son: Cynthia, Electa, Lydia and Silas, who died in infancy.  Mr. Payne was a soldier in the war of 1812, and died from the effects of exposure in that war.  Mr. Saylor came to reside in Trumansburgh in 1879.  Clarrinda (Saylor) Hillcock died the 11th day of September last, aged 58 years, less 11 days, and is buried in the North-side Cemetery above Rockford, IL.

This book tells us that John Saylor came to Tompkins County as a young man and married a woman he met there. Mary (Saylor) Shutts came to Cayuga County, just a few miles north of Tompkins around 1798. At that time John was 12 or 13 and could be called a young man and perhaps he came with them at that time. However the 1800 census record for Gabriel and Mary Shutts does not show a young male living with them. He married by 1810 before his first child was born in 1811. So it is likely that he came as a teenager shortly after 1800 to live with his sister Mary and her husband Gabriel Shutts to give them some help. Why else would he come to upstate NY from NJ?

The above book also informs us that John Sayler served as an Assemblyman for Tompkins County in 1827 and again in 1831, [p. 24]. Also that Cynthia Saylor, [daughter of John and Mary] was born in Tompkins county, December 1, 1829, was married in 1852, to Sampson George, who was born in Yorkshire, England. Their home was on a farm until Mr. George's death, June 18, 1890. Since that time Mrs. George has resided in Independence, IA, [120].

John Saylor was buried in the McIntyre cemetery - see the cemetery here on Find a Grave and search Saylor, Shutts, etc. This cemetery was founded by the McIntyre family, into which Gabriel and Mary (Saylor) Shutts’ oldest daughter married. Many members of the McIntyre family are buried there, along with members of the Saylor and Shutts family as well.

John Saylor appears in the 1820, 1830 and 1840 U.S. Census records for Hector Township, Tompkins County, New York, as follows:
Living next door to the McIntyre family

1 aged 26-44 (John)

3 aged 0-10 (Samuel, Daniel, John)

1 aged 26-44 (Mary)

1 aged 0-10 (Sarah M.)
2 persons engaged in agric. work.

1 aged 40-50 (John)

2 aged 15-20 (Samuel, Daniel)

1 aged 10-15 (John)

1 aged 40-50 (Mary)

1 aged 10-15 (Sarah M.)

2 aged 5-10 (Mary, Harriet)

2 aged 0-5 (Alma, Cynthia)

1 aged 50-60 (John)

1 aged 20-30 (John)

1 aged 5-10 (William)

1 aged 50-60 (Mary)

1 aged 20-30 (Sarah M.)

1 aged 15-20 (Harriet)

2 aged 10-15 (Alma, Cynthia)

After the death of John Saylor in 1842, his widow and children moved to Winnebago County, Illinois. In the 1850 U.S. Census (Butler Township, Winnebago County, Illinois), the family is recorded as follows:
John N. Saylor, aged 33, Farmer, born in NY
Mary Saylor, 61, born in PA
Alma Saylor, 24, born in NY
Cynthia Saylor, 21, born in NY
William Saylor, 19, Farmer, born in NY

John’s widow, Mary (Bower) Saylor, died in Winnebego County, Illinois, and was buried in the New Milford Cemetery, where here stone clearly states she died on 9 May 1858, aged 69 years. (An inscription was also added to her husband’s stone back in Hector, New York, which has the year of death incorrectly as 1857.)

John Saylor’s wife, Mary Bower, was of German heritage. Her father, John Bauer/Bower (son of Tillman and Maria Eva Bauer), was married on 20 Feb. 1787 to Rosina Jung/Young. The birth/baptismal records of their children have all been preserved. The oldest child was Maria Catharina Bauer (Mary Bower), born 30 Aug. 1787. The mother, Rosina Bower of Lansing, Tompkins County, NY, died intestate on 10 Feb. 1861. Tompkins County probate records list her children, including the then deceased daughter Mary Saylor, who left children: Samuel Saylor of Enfield (Tompkins County, NY), John and William Saylor of Illinois, and 4 unnamed daughters.

3. Children of John Saylor and Mary Bower
  1. SAMUEL SAYLOR was born on 27 Aug 1811 in Lansing, Tompkins Co., NY. He died 15 Apr 1900 in Mecklenburg, Schuyler Co., NY. He married LYDIA PAYNE. Lydia was born 18 May 1813 at Scipio, Cayuga Co., NY and died 1 Jan 1899 in Mecklenburg, Schuyler Co., NY.
  2. DANIEL SAYLOR was born on 29 Jul 1813 in Hector, Tompkins Co., NY. He died on 24  Mar 1838 in Hector, Tompkins Co., NY.
  3. SARAH M. SAYLOR was born about 1816 in Hector, Tompkins Co., NY.
  4. JOHN N. SAYLOR was born on 20 Apr 1818 in Hector, Tompkins Co., NY. He died on 17  Feb 1911 in New Milford, Winnebago Co., Il. He married Harriet Miller on 20 Nov 1851 in Winnebago Co., IL 
  5. MARY SAYLOR was born on 12 Aug 1820 in Hector, Tompkins Co., NY. She died on 2    Jan 1840 in Hector, Tompkins Co., NY.
  6. HARRIET SAYLOR was born about 1823 in Hector, Tompkins Co., NY.
  7. ALMA SAYLOR was born about 1826 in Hector, Tompkins Co., NY. She married Andes R. Courtright on 27 Nov 1855 in Winnebago Co., IL. Lived in Armador Co., CA in 1860.
    1. Alma's husband Andes R. Courtright (according to his descendants) was murdered by Indians circa 1860. Also, as an interesting the 1860 U.S. Census of Amador County, California, Alma (Saylor) Courtright, apparently widowed, is living with her two children (Mary A. and Homer R.), as well as a 12-year-old Albert T. Courtright, who must be some relation to her husband. He ended up becoming a rather well-known silent film star known as "William Courtright." Alma also had a second husband. She was married in 1862 in Amador County, California, to Joseph James Harris.
  8. CYNTHIA SAYLOR was born on 01 Dec 1829 in Hector, Tompkins Co., NY. She died on 20 May 1920   in Waterloo, IA. She married Sampson George on 04 Jan 1852 in Rockford, IL.
  9. WILLIAM H. SAYLOR was born about 1831 in Hector, Tompkins Co., NY. He died between 1870-1878 in prob. Winnebago, IL. He married Jeanette Gunsolus on 01 Jan 1857 in Winnebago Co., IL.

4. Things that make us believe that John Saylor is the brother of Mary (Saylor) Shutts.
Tim writes that, "As I began researching John Saylor of Tompkins County, NY, I almost could not believe my eyes. Everything was falling into place like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle. The dates work, the names works, the geography works."
  1. John Saylor was born in NJ in 1785 and settled as a single young man in Hector, Tompkins Co., [now Schuyler] NY between 1800 and 1810, probably before at least 1808. He settled near Mary Saylor and Gabriel Shutts who were both born in NJ. He met his wife Mary Bower in NY.
  2. John Saylor is buried in the McIntyre Settlement Cemetery in Hector Township, Schuyler (formerly Tompkins) County, New York. This cemetery was founded by the McIntyre family, into which Gabriel and Mary (Saylor) Shutts’ oldest daughter married. Many members of the McIntyre family are buried there, along with members of the John Saylor and Mary (Saylor) Shutts family. 
  3. In 1820 John Saylor is living next door to the McIntyre family.
  4. John Saylor named his firstborn son Samuel Saylor, just as Mary (Saylor) Shutts named her first born son Samuel Saylor Shutts presumably after their father Samuel Saylor.
  5. What are the chances that two Saylors from NJ would settle in the same township, have family members buried in the same small, rural cemetery, name their oldest sons Samuel and NOT be related?
  6. One last observation: The newspaper account about Gabriel T. Shutts’ 86th birthday celebration (see the account from the Sandusky County Commercial Register in section 2) includes the following bit of information: “There was also present a brother of Mr. SHUTTS, whom he had not seen for more than 60 years until this Spring, and who is the only connexion on the paternal side, any of the descendants have ever seen.” This seems to suggest that Gabriel’s descendants had seen relatives from the maternal (Saylor) side of the family. This would make complete sense if the John Saylor buried in the McIntyre Settlement Cemetery was indeed a brother of Mary (Saylor) Shutts.

5. John Sailer of the State of NY
A law suit has John Sailer of the State of New York suing Samuel Sailer of Burlington County, NJ. See the Samuel Sailer web page for the details of the law suit. Below are records of other John Saylors in the 1810 census. Could it be that the John Saylor of Tompkins County, NY is the correct person in the law suit? In 1810 he did not own land and was probably not a head of a household so is not named in the census data.

The 1810 census of NY shows these John Saylors:
  1. John Saylor, Moriah, Essex, NY
  2. John Saylor, New Utrecht, Kings, NY
  3. John Sailor, Milford, New York, NY
  4. John Saylor, New York Ward 10, New York, NY - below
  5. John Saylor, Westfield, Richmond, NY
  6. John Nath Sayler, Newburgh, Orange, NY

6. Henry Sayler of Hector township - not related.
The Henry Sayler family of Tompkins County, New York, is buried in the Sayler Burying Ground, about 1 miles west of Mecklenburg in Hector Township.

According to the History of Tioga, Chemung, Tompkins, and Schuyler Counties, New York, published by Everts & Ensign, 1879, p. 619: Henry Sayler's father was a Swedish sailor who landed in New Castle, Delaware, before the Revolutionary War.  Henry's mother was French, her maiden name La Roche  The couple settled in Frederick, Maryland, where they raised several children, including a son who served under General Morgan during the war. Henry learned the gunsmith trade in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and there he met and married a German girl, Catherine Schlegel.  The couple had 5 children and, in 1800, settled on 50 acres in Hector, New York.

These are probably Henry Sayler's children: Samuel and John Saylor. Source: NY Land Records 11847-48, Vol XX-YY, Tompkins Co., NY, online at, image 86
  1. [p. 150] 8 Nov 1842, Minor Colegrove and his wife Betsey Ann of the town Hector, Tompkins Co., sell to Samuel Sayler of the same place,  sells for $1425 a lot in Hector. Recorded 29 Oct 1847. An oath from Betsey Ann was heard by John Sayler.
  2. [p. 151] 17 May 1847, John Sayler and his wife Deborah of the town of Hector, sell to Catherine Garrison, wife of Marvel Garrison of the same place for $500, part of lot 67 in the town of Hector. Recorded 29 Oct 1847.
Henry Sayles [sic] is mentioned in the Landmarks book on pages 78 and 202.

Our John Saylor is buried in the McIntyre cemetery and not the Sayler cemetery. John Saylor and Henry Sayler, both of Hector Township, are not related.

7. Y-DNA Project
There is a robust Saylor DNA project - see my Main Saylor page - and we know the YDNA profile of Samuel Saylor of Springfield Tp., Burlington Co., NJ. It would be wonderful if a male Saylor descendant of John Saylor would get tested to confirm the connection that we think exists.

Land Records
Saylor index
Source: NY Land Records, 1630-1975, Tompkins County, Grantee Index 1817-1860, L-Z, on line at, image 244

Surrogate Court Records
Saylor index - looking for 1848 will or probate
Source: NY Probate Records, 1629-1971, Tompkins County, General Index 1818-1910, film 853116, on line at, image 136

Source: NY Probate Records, 1629-1971, Tompkins County, Letters of Admin 1846-74, V 39-40, film 853084, on line at, image 16