Dyment, Humphrey Sr. 1a 2a 3a 4 5a 6a 7 8a 9a 10a 11 12 13 14a 15a 16 17 18 19 20 21 22a 23 24a 25a 26a

Birth Name Dyment, Humphrey Sr. 9b
Gender male


Humphrey Dyment was baptized on 25 October 1795 in Bradworthy Parish, Devon, England, the eldest son of John Daymant, a labourer, and Sarah Petherwick, his wife, according to transcriptions of parish records. He was the second child in a family of eleven, and as the first son he was named after his paternal grandfather who had died the year before.

On March 27 1817 his marriage to Mary Ashton of Hartland, Devon was recorded in Hartland parish records. William Ashton was one of the witnesses and both he and the bride spelled their last name as "Aishton" on the record. Humphrey and Mary were under the age of 21, and the record noted that they had the permission of their parents to marry. The fact that Humphrey and Mary were able to sign their marriage record, instead of making an X, indicates some level of education.

Mary Ashton, from her gravestone in the Bideford Cemetery, was born around 1801, and according to the baptismal record for their daughter Susanne, Mary was the daughter of William and Mary. There were baptismal records for at least three Mary Ashtons in Hartland, Devon, but none that fits exactly.

Humphrey and Mary had a least five children born in England. Two sons, William and Humphrey, were baptized in the parish of Bradworthy (pronounced Brad'ry); the records stated that Humphrey Sr. was a labourer. These were in the Bradworthy Parish Records, so It is assumed that the baptisms took place in the Church of England. A family did not necessarily live in the parish where their children were baptized, but on the baptismal record for Humphrey his parents were from Bradworthy.

William, baptized in 1818, was probably their first child, named for his maternal grandfather. Although their next recorded son, Humphrey Jr., later gave his date of birth as 1818, his baptism did not take place until 1821, an unusual delay if he had been born three years earlier. Humphrey and Mary's eldest daughter, Susanne Ashton Dyment, was baptized in the Bible Christian circuit of Kilkhampton, Cornwall in 1824, and this shows their departure from the established religion to this offshoot of the Methodist Church. This supports the statement in Humphrey's obituary, that he and Mary joined the Bible Christian movement about fifty years before his death.

The Bible Christians would not have a physical church in Bradworthy until 1836, and this might explain the absence of baptismal records for sons John and Moses, who gave their place of birth as England on census records. Where there was not a chapel, Bible Christian and other non-conformist ministers would travel to their members on horseback, performing baptisms in homes, or church members would gather to worship in a private home. Marriages or baptisms would be recorded in a parish at the minister's earliest convenience, which means that records for the other Dyment children, if they exist, could be anywhere in a Devon or Cornwall Bible Christian circuit. Again, the location of a baptism might not reflect the village where the family lived.

Although there were couples from Bradworthy having children baptized in the Shebbear circuit (see transcription SHEBBEAR - BIBLE CHRISTIAN BAPTISMS 1818-37 online), Humphrey and Mary did not. Nor were there any other Dyment baptisms in the Kilkhampton circuit transcripts. Records for a number of other circuits are not yet available (Bideford, for instance). A Devon volunteer checked what was available and didn't find any Dyment records - but I've lost the e-mail that says where she checked.

With their son Humphrey and daughter Susanne, Humphrey and Mary had also departed from the strict naming conventions of the day, which might indicate a child or children who died between William and Susanna. The grandmothers were Mary and Sarah, which means there could have been an earlier daughter with that name who died before 1832. However, exceptions were sometimes made to honour another close relative. Humphrey, named for his grandfather Humphrey, may have wanted to start a family tradition - in his will, he recognized the grandsons named after him with a bequest. Susanna Ashton Dyment, too, may have been named for a sister, aunt or grandmother of Mary's. With daughters Mary and Sarah, in 1832 and 1836, Humphrey and Mary resumed the traditional naming pattern.

What enticed the Dyment family to leave England? In his paper North Devon Exodus, Arthur Dark said "Anyone investigating the history of rural families in North Devon, especially those at labouring or husbandman level... can expect to find members of the main or collateral lines who have emigrated to Canada." The book Westcountrymen in Prince Edward's Isle noted the low wages for farm labourers. And, according to the Bideford Heritage Website, in the 1830s the North Devon Journal carried advertisements stating that Thomas Burnard Chanter's ships had been “conveniently fitted up for Families and will take out passengers on moderate terms to Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick”. Booklets about Prince Edward Island were in circulation by this time.

But for the Dyment family the reason may have been more than the economic opportunity. Around that time, the Bible Christian Church was sending missionaries to Prince Edward Island, including the influential Francis Metherall. As members of a non-conformist religion, Humphrey and Mary may have hoped for more religious freedom in the colonies.

It is assumed that Humphrey, Mary, and five or six of their children left England to travel to Prince Edward Island sometime around 1832. The family myth, that Humphrey and his younger brother John emigrated together with their families, turned out to be false. John and his wife Elizabeth had a son in England in 1832, and were on the passenger list for a ship that sailed directly from Plymouth to New York in 1835. They were the only Dyments on that passenger list. Another story is that members of the Ashton travelled with the Dyments, and that is discussed in Mary's biography.

The exact date or the name of the ship that carried Humphrey's family is not known, and there is conflicting information. Few ships arriving on the Island at that time had a complete passenger list, especially for immigrants like Humphrey and Mary who travelled in steerage. On later census records and directories their sons gave dates ranging from 1829-1836, with both Humphrey and Moses agreeing on 1832. Humphrey Sr.'s obituary also gave this date. However, in a history of the Phillips family written by Albert J. Phillips, he claimed to have a passenger list with Humphrey's name on it for a voyage in 1834.

My Uncle Dave became convinced they travelled on the Collina, in 1830, but he was never able to find proof - his assumption has been repeated as fact in some family trees, and even a book. The Island Register has a long list of ships that travelled between Devon and Prince Edward Island in this time-frame. Two ships built by William Ellis, the Collina and the Calypso, which carried 197 labourers from Devon in the spring of 1832, are possibilities. So is the Sarah & Eliza, with 75 passengers, or the Amethyst, that carried the Bible Christian missionary Francis Metherall to the Island in the spring of that year. Passengers like the Dyments paid three pounds per person and were expected to provide their own food for the voyage.

The arrival of the Calypso, which crossed the Atlantic in 41 days, was described in the book Westcountrymen in Prince Edward's Isle. The emigrants, expecting to arrive in Charlottetown, were disembarked instead in Princetown, which was more a place on a map than a real settlement. Some of the passengers rebelled and insisted on being transported to Charlottetown. If the Dyment family was on this ship, they decided to stay on the western end of the Island.

According to a newspaper article on the occasion of a PEI Dyment family reunion, both Humphrey and his brother John planned to go to Ontario, but after setting foot on land after more than a month at sea, Mary refused to re-board the ship. This story is told about many early settlers - and given the discomfort of being on the North Atlantic in a small boat for six weeks, it might be true. If the family had sailed in the spring or early summer of 1832, then Mary would have been in the middle of a pregnancy, which might have influenced their decision to stay. On the other hand, at that time there were strong connections between Devon and the western end of Prince Edward Island, and the mainly absentee landlords were being encouraged to find settlers to clear the land and farm. It is just as likely that Humphrey and Mary had intended to settle on the Island, especially given that many ships that landed in PEI made the return trip to Devon filled with timber and did not go on to "Canada" or the United States.

Although I have been unable to find a baptismal record for him, son Moses claimed on his 1861 census record that he was born in Bradworthy, England in 1830. In 1834, Humphrey Dyment and Mary Ashton of Lot 13 had their two year old daughter Sarah baptized in the Church of England in Richmond, Prince Edward Island. Her place of birth wasn't stated, but on the 1861 census, both she and her brother Charles gave Prince Edward Island as their place of birth. And finally, Humphrey signed a document for the sale of 100 acres of land with the landlord Seymour in 1856. This was before the land question was settled on the Island, so perhaps Humphrey had met Seymour's requirment of staying on the land for 25 years. There seems, on balance, to be more evidence pointing at 1831/1832 as their year of emigration.

The population of the Island was about 30,000 when the family arrived, with only one main city, Charlottetown. A road had been built from Charlottetown to Port Hill, and wagons were starting to appear. Still, the location of Humphrey's lot on the banks of the Trout River was adventageous, as the Trout River served as a transportation route at that time.

Humphrey and his family settled on 100 acres in Lot 13. Earlier surveys of the area had noted that there were abandoned cabins, no longer suitable for habitation, and some cleared land along the Trout River, probably the former homes of the displaced Acadian settlers. The survey also determined that the area was one of the best for farming and fishing. Crops like oats had a market in England, which could provde much needed currency for a settler.

Still, the family probably had a rough first winter. They faced an area that was largely forest: it was noted of another settler that he "...emigrated to this country in 1839, settled at Northam in an unbroken forest." A number of other contemporary reports confirm this statement. There were other set-backs for the settlers. The Guardian newspaper noted that "in the latter part of August 1836, a severe frost swept over the whole Province and destroyed all the grain crops. Twelve years later came "The Year of Distress" in 1848. Potato crops were hit hard by blight, and grain had to be imported.

Tenants were under an obligation to clear the land of trees, many of which were shipped to England, and the landlords' agents kept track of each settler's progress. New settlers often had to turn to lumbering or the shipyards for additional income, or to pay for stores from the local merchant. Humphrey, and possibly the older boys, were said to have worked in the Yeo shipyards in the early years, and in a report dated 1860, Yeo said that he allowed his tenants to work for his shipyards in exchange for rent. Two of Humphrey's grandsons gave their occupations as ship carpenter and ship caulker, trades they probably learned close to home, and some of Humphrey's sons were in John Yeo's 1872 ledger.

As noted above, Humphry Dymond finally gained title to the 100 acres of land he had leased from the landlord Seymour, in 1856. Although one map is quite faded, it looks like Humphrey paid 65 pounds, in cash, for his property. The farm was bounded by the property of Alexander McArthur, the Cascumpec Road and the Trout River. Survey maps of Lot 13 from the 1870s, accessed on the website Island Imagined, show an additional wedge-shaped 45 acres under Humphrey's name. Earle Dyment believed that this woodlot was still in the family when he was young.

Some sources indicated that later emigrants from Devon were better off than the earlier ones. Earle Dyment remembers his mother telling him that the arrivals around this time came with barrels of farthings, a phrase that she had probably heard from older settlers. On the other hand, in an 1840 report by the landlord Seymour on his trip to Lot 13, he noted that his tenants Dyment and Griggs were responsible for one of the roads, to make up for rent that was in arrears. However, he also noted that this was the only part of the road that was finished, and according to the book Planters, Paupers and Pioneers, Seymour's agent Yeo described Humphrey Dyment and William Birch as "good respectable tenants." Humphrey's obituary stated that he came to this country as a poor man.

By the 1840s, the population of the eastern part of Lot 13 was about 275 people, and in 1842, Seymour's agent listed about 42 tenants in his report to the landlord.

Humphrey and Mary had at least ten children by 1842. The Dyment book by Elmer and John Dyment, second edition, listed nine: sons William, Humphrey, John, Moses and Charles, and daughters Susanna, Sarah, Mary Ann and Eleanor. The daughter left out of this book was the youngest daughter, Elizabeth, perhaps because she died young. Only William, Humphrey Jr., Susanna and Sarah could be found in baptismal records.

Both Humphrey Jr. and William had separate listings on the list of tenants from 1846. William was the first to marry, in 1839, to Effie McArthur, and Hugh McArthur, said to be Effie's brother, married Susanna in 1841. McArthur family trees also stated that it was another McArthur sister, Barbara, who married Humphrey in 1843. John married Harriet Cotton in Port Hill in 1851, followed by Moses, Sarah and Mary Ann's marriages in 1853. Charles married Elizabeth McDougald, the sister of Sarah's first husband James McDougald, in 1854, followed by Eleanor to Humphrey Gorrill in 1856. Humphrey Jr.'s first wife had died sometime after 1848, and he married Nancy McDougald, sister of Elizabeth and James, in 1860. Humphrey signed the marrige bond for his youngest daughter, Elizabeth, who married Cornelius McArthur in March 1861.

Humphrey and Mary's first grandchild, Henry Scott Dyment, was born in 1839.

By the end of 1861 all of their children were married. In the census of that year, Humphrey and Mary were living with a boy and a girl, between 5-16 years old. These could have been hired hands, or grand-children: one of Humphrey Jr.'s teenage sons was unaccounted for in his household, and a boy and girl from their daughter Susanna's household. It is just possible that the girl was their youngest daughter, Elizabeth although it seems a stretch that she was only sixteen in 1861. Two members of the household had come from England, and two were natives of the Island. Humphrey and Mary gave their religion as Bible Christian.

The Lake Map of Lot 13 from 1863 shows Humphrey Sr.'s property on the Trout River, as well as that of sons Humphrey Jr.(on the Northam Road), John (not far from Humphrey Jr. on the Canada Road) and Charles (on part of Humphrey's original 100 acres, but with a separate entry in the 1861 census). Lot 13 was becomming crowded, and William had moved to Lot 7, where he had a farm in Springfield West, on the O'Leary Road. Grandson Thomas was on the Northam Road, and would later be found on later maps on the Western Road. The farm next to Humphrey Jr. on this map belonged to James McDougall, husband of Sarah Dyment. Moses and his family had moved to Kent County, New Brunswick by 1861.

Sarah's husband James McDougald died around 1867, and she married again, to John Colwill. Her parents were witnesses at this marriage. Elizabeth Dyment McArthur died three years later, at the age of 27, leaving four children. Her husband remarried, and the children remained in Massachusetts with their father. Moses and his family had returned to PEI before the New Brunswick 1871 census.

According to their gravestones, Mary, beloved wife of Humphrey Dymant, died on March 9 1877 at the age of 76 years. In January 1878 Sarah died, leaving at least one son from her first marriage. Charles Dyment also died before his father, perhaps as early as 1872 and definitely by 1878.

Survey maps dated around 1875-78 still showed Humphrey Sr.'s property divided into two farms. Charles' name was on the 40 acres on the Tyne Valley Road. In 1878, possibly after the death of his wife, Humphrey sold the back 60 acres of his property to Samuel McArthur. The conveyance for this transaction gave the farm occupied by Levi Dyment as a boundary, another indication Charles Dyment had died by that date. The 1928 Cummins Atlas of Prince Edward Island has this land in Reginald Birch's name. Earle Dyment remembers an old shack near the river on his Uncle Reg Birch's farm, which may have been the family's first home on the Island. In the 1891 census, the house inhabited by Samuel McArthur, on Humphrey's old property, was described as being one and a half stories, with four rooms. The half-story would be the sleeping loft.

Humphrey went to live with his daughter Eleanor Gorrill, but returned to Bideford when he became ill. Humphrey Dyment died August 8, 1878, aged 83 years. He was buried beside his wife in what is now the Bideford United Church Cemetery, close to the graves of their daughter Sarah and her first husband James, Elizabeth Dymont McArthur, and later, sons Humphrey and Moses

Humphrey's obituary from the Alberton Pioneer 27 August 1878, page 2: "Humphry Dyment, the deceased, came to this country about the year 1832, a poor man, and settled in Lot 13. Through strict economy and hard work he succeeded in gathering quite an amount of property. About a year ago, he gave up business and went to reside with his daughter, a Mrs. Gorril of Lot 8. On being taken sick, he returned to the neighbourhood of Bideford where, after lingering a short time he peacefully fell asleep in Jesus Aug. 8, aged 83. Deceased was a member of the Bible Christian Church for over 50 years and was generally loved and respected. The funeral took place Saturday August 10, when a large number of relatives and friends followed his remains to the B. C. Church, Bideford, where a short and appropriate sermon was preached by Rev. J. Ball of West Cape. The memory of the just is blessed."

A similar obituary was printed in More Obituaries from Ontario Methodist Papers 1873-1884. It added "During special service this past winter, two of his children were converted."

In his will, Humphrey Sr. referred directly or indirectly to all of his children who survived to adulthood. If a child had predeceased him, he left something to at least one grandchild from each family. There was a farm in Northam, between the farms of Humphrey Jr and William Wickett, for his daughter Sarah's son, James William MacDougall and $10 each for the four children of his daughter Elizabeth [Dyment McArthur]. He left the forty acres remaining of his original farm to his daughter-in-law Elizabeth's son Levi [Charles' wife and son], in addition to the amount owing on the 60 acres he had already sold to Sam McArthur. He gave some money to two of his name-sakes, Moses's son Humphrey ($50) and Mary Ann Wickett's son Humphrey ($40). The rest of his living children shared the estate, and they were listed in this order: William, Humphrey, John, Moses, Susan McArthur, Mary Ann Wickett, and Eleanor Gorrill. Humphrey Jr. , John and Humphrey Gorrill were the executors of the will.

Another possible Dyment, George Dayment, whose death was recorded in Alberton, was from St. Joh's Newfoundland. The Islander – Dec 19, 1856, so not part of this family. There was an Eli Dyment on early maps of Lot 14, but I haven't been able to find any other mention of him.

At this stage, there was no correct spelling of Dyment, which was pronounced as Dymen in Devon. Humphrey's gravestone had Dymant, but he signed his name Dyment. His father's spelling was Dayment, before that Dayman, Deyman, Deiman...


copyright Jane Dyment 2013


Citing this Record: England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/J3NV-ZZJ : accessed 03 May 2013), John Dayman in entry for Humphry Dayman, 25 Oct 1795.



Event Date Place Description Sources
Christening October 25, 1795 Bradworthy, Devon, England Humphrey Dymant on gravestone  
Death August 8, 1878 Lot 13, Prince County, Prince Edward Island, Canada Dates from gravestone; will in PEI Wills  


Relation to main person Name Birth date Death date Relation within this family (if not by birth)
Father Daymant, JohnSeptember 26, 1766March 17, 1857
Mother Petherwick Petherick, Sarahabout 17751850
    Sister     Daymant, Elizabeth Escott February 3, 1793 1880
         Dyment, Humphrey Sr. October 25, 1795 August 8, 1878
    Sister     Daymant, Sarah September 23, 1798 1889
    Brother     Dyment, John August 2, 1801 1878
    Sister     Daymant, Mary January 22, 1804
    Brother     Daymant, William September 30, 1806
    Sister     Daymant, Eleanor May 21, 1809
    Brother     Daymant, Peter November 3, 1811
    Sister     Daymant, Susanna August 14, 1814
    Brother     Daymant, Charles April 20, 1817
    Brother     Daymant, Philip April 5, 1818
    Sister     Daymant, Anne Eastcott October 1, 1820


Family of Dyment, Humphrey Sr. and Ashton, Mary

Married Wife Ashton, Mary ( * about 1801 + March 9, 1877 )
Event Date Place Description Sources
Marriage March 27, 1817 Hartland, Devon, England Pallot's Marriage Index for England groom's name: Humphry Dyment bride's name: Mary Ashton marriage date: 27 Mar 1817 marriage place: Hartland,Devon,England "England, Marriages, 1538–1973 ," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9  
Name Birth Date Death Date
Dyment, WilliamApril 30, 1886
Dyment, Humphrey Jr.March 4, 1820May 17, 1912
Dyment, Johnabout 1822May 26, 1886
Dyment Diamond, Susanna AshtonOctober 19, 1824May 19, 1913
Dyment, Mosesabout 1830August 20, 1893
Dyment, SarahOctober 6, 1832January 31, 1878
Dyment, Charlesabout 1834before 1878
Dyment, Mary AnnMay 8, 1836September 14, 1896
Dyment, EleanorSeptember 10, 1838June 22, 1922
Dyment, ElizabethJuly 10, 1842June 30, 1870

Source References

  1. Dyment, Elmer and John Dyment: The Dyments
      • Date: 1983
      • Page: Chapter on the PEI Dyments in the revised ed.
      • Citation:

        My copy of the 2nd edition had a page of corrections made by Annie Dyment Crozier on the chapter on PEI Dyments

  2. Foley, Arthur: Descendants of Humphrey Dyment from http://www.islandregister.com/dyment1.html
      • Confidence: Low
  3. Dyment, Humphrey hosted by rootsweb -
      • Confidence: Low
  4. Yeo Family history of Ourgroves Tree
  5. Dyment, Cam: Dyments website
      • Confidence: Low
  6. England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975
      • Confidence: High
  7. Descendants of William Ellis
  8. PEI Wills and Administration
      • Date: August 23, 1878
      • Page: vol 9 page 581
  9. 1861 Census of Canada
      • Date: 1861
      • Page: Prince County, Lot 13, page 6 Item Number: 2660078
      • Source text:

        Residence date: 1861 Residence place: Prince, Prince Edward Island, Canada

  10. Alberton Pioneer
      • Date: August 27, 1878
      • Page: 2
  11. Prince Edward Island. Public Archives and Records Office: PEI Baptismal Index
  12. Finlayson, David: Descendants of James Dyment and Laura Belle McArthur
  13. Meggison, Jean: Dyment Family
  14. Island Imagined
      • Page: Various maps of Lot 13 from 1875 to 1881
  15. 1863 Lake Map of Prince Edward Island
      • Page: Lot 13
  16. Devon Parish Records
  17. Dark, Arthur: North Devon Exodus
  18. Bible Christian Project
  19. Campey, Lucille: Planters, Paupers, and Pioneers: English Settlers in Atlantic Canada
  20. Sobey, Douglas: Prince Edward Island in 1840, The Travel Journal of Sir George Seymour
  21. Greenwood, Basil and Ann Giffard: Westcountrymen in Prince Edward’s Isle
  22. Messrs Pallot & Co: Pallot's Marriage Index 1780 - 1837
      • Date: 1817
      • Citation:

        Each record gave part of the information. The Hartland Parish record was the most complete, including witnesses; Pallot's gave the year and place, and Humphrey's parish (Bradworthy); Boyd's marriage indexes, 1538-1850 gave the year, and England Select Marriages gave the exact date.

  23. England, Marriages, 1538–1973
  24. England, Select Marriages, 1538–1973
      • Date: March 27, 1817
      • Page: FHL Film Number: 0874366 IT 1
  25. Devon Marriages, for Hartland
      • Date: 1817
  26. Port Hill History Committee: Launched vol 2 Genealogy of the Families of Port Hill, Lot 13 PEI
      • Page: 59-62
      • Confidence: Very Low
      • Citation:

        This genealogy of the Dyment family of Lot 13, who had only a remote connection to Port Hill, is riddled with errors and omissions. Use Roy Newcombe's book on Northam, From There to Here, instead.
        The Dyment family in this book seems to have been based on an outdated and unsourced family tree that was submitted to the Island Register and repeats all of the old errors.