The Stump Ranch

Family & Community History
of the Upper Skagit Valley
James Daniel Torrey

(Royal Stump Ranch 1927)

  • "Torrey Girls"
    The James Daniel Torrey Family

    The Number One Story at the Stump Ranch
    written by Mabel Boyd Royal-Steen

  • The Torrey Family Tree
    by Frederic C. Torrey, The Torrey Families and their Children in America, Volumes I, II [1924, 1929] can be found here from Don & Norma Torrey. James Daniel Torrey and his wife Olive Taylor to William Torrey in 1600's. When you go to this site, link to the Massachusetts Branch, look for James D. Torrey in the index.

  • Eva Jane Torrey
    Will Ramsey
    Georgetta Adielia Torrey
    George Savage
    Olive Clara Torrey
    Lewis Alexander Boyd
    Ira Torrey
    James Daniel Torrey & Olive Florence Taylor
    Nicholas James Torrey & Lolitia DeYoe
    Ancestry       &       Descendant Tree

    Please Note: The Ancestry and Descendant Charts are done under .pdf file and need ACROBAT READER, which most folks have. If you don't, e-mail me and I will point you in the right direction. All sources will be added later, but they come from everything I could find on the internet,, Heritage Quest, and Census Reports from NARA. If you are a descendant of anyone listed here and can share info on your family, up-date or correct information found here. Please e-mail me to share. Thank, DAN

    James Daniel & Olive Torrey
    Settle In The Mid-West
    by Dan Royal

          Getting past the family lore-oral and written- when you start tracking down your objective findings, such as census reports and other prime source material usually causes a bit of confusion at first. The wonderful story written about the "History of the Torrey Family" by Torrey granddaughter Mabel is not real clear at the beginning of the story concerning the ancestry line of James Daniel Torrey and his wife Olive Taylor. Since I'm not finished pursuing prime source material on the Torrey family, I will call this my first draft on creating a timeline for Dan and Olive Torrey.
          James Daniel Torrey was born to Nicholas James Torrey and his wife Loletia Deyoe in Saratoga Springs, Saratoga Co., New York; 13 May 1819. The fourth child of 13 children James appears to prefer being called Dan -his middle name- and from here I will refer to him as Dan. All of Dan's siblings were born in Saratoga Springs with the youngest John Wesley Torrey born in 1838.
          Between 1840-1845 Dan meet and married Olive Florence Taylor, also born in New York around 1825. The confusion in our family lore was that Olive Taylor's family had actually been a family by the name of Deyoe- French wine merchants who had emigrated to America along with other Protestant Huguenots in the late 17th century, forced out by French monarch King Louis XIV. We had believed the Deyoe family had changed their name to Taylor to avoid being found by France and being persecuted. This may or may not be true, but it is actually Dan's mother whose maiden name was Deyoe. (A family name I still need to pursue)
          Between 1840-1850 there appears to be an exodus to the Midwest states by the bulk of the Nicholas Torrey family, most of the older children staying in New York. Whether Dan and Olive met and married in New York or the Midwest around 1845, I'm not sure yet. But Mabel's story
    "History of the Torrey Family" has Dan on his way to the Midwest- and the first place they appear to have met and/or landed after they married was the state of Wisconsin.
          By 1850 the family can be found in Columbus, Columbia Co., Wisconsin according to the 1850 Federal Census. James D. Torrey age 31, occupation: carpenter & joiner; Olive F. Torrey age 25; Eva J. Torrey age 3 born Wisconsin; Georgette A. Torrey age 1 born Wisconsin. The farm they are living at appears to be owned by Michael Sadelson age 75, occupation: Farmer, value of estate is listed at $500., he was born in N.Y.
          At this time I haven't found any prime source material to help me out with birth and death dates for Eva Jane Torrey, but sister Georgetta Adelia was born 22 November 1848 and by all accounts a healthy and robust child. Georgetta has also been called Georgette, Adelia, Ette or Etta-the Native American Indians later called her "Little Missou".
          From Wisconsin Dan takes his wife and young family to the state of Illinois to be close to his parents, Nicholas and Loletia who are living in Peoria, Peoria Co., Illinois- his brother Ira and his family are in the area also. With the big gap in age between Georgetta and sister Olive, born in Illinois between 1856-1857, it's a good bet the two other siblings are born in Illinois- their names forever lost to time as they both died from Diphtheria at an early age and do not show up on the 1860 Federal Census.
          Accordingly mother Olive forever-hated pill doctors who had not been able to save the two children and almost cost the lives of Georgetta and Olive. In the future she would only trust herbal doctoring over medical science, which was coming of age. This may also be the reason she was so protective and pampered her only son Ira- born 1860 at Dover, Steele Co., Minnesota where Dan next migrates to.
          Note from the 1860 Federal Census Report: James D. Torrey age 41, occp: Carpenter & Joiner; value of property $160. born in NY; Olive Torrey age 34 born NY; Eva J. Torrey age 12 born Wisconsin; Georgette Torrey age 11 born Wisconsin; Olive Torrey age 3 born Illinois; Ira Torrey age 5months born Minnesota. Brothers of James- Luther and Justus Torrey are in nearby town of Owatonna. Same roll, page 60. [Ira's obituary in 1936 puts his birth place at St. Paul, Minnesota, 96 miles from Dover]
          Whatever it was that drove men during these pioneering times to wanderlust, Dan Torrey certainly did not start settling down until he moved to Iowa during the Civil War years where he started up his own sawmill. Hardship and heartbreak were what the women of these men had to endure and Olive was no exception with the loss of two children. So the mother of Eva Jane, Georgetta, and Olive Clara, nicknamed Doll was on the lookout for men who didn't have the same wanderlust as her husband.
    "...Olive, had never liked the crude men of the west so naturally Jane disliked the plain disheveled plainsmen also. She made up her mind that she would not throw herself into the arms of a Plainsman, then live to regret it as her mother did, despite the love she felt for her husband."
    Mother Olive may have only succeeded with one of three son in-laws settling in one place.
          Between 1865-1869 the three Torrey Girls were married with only son Ira at home. [Ira had been named after Dan's oldest brother Ira, who had by this time been caring for their parents Nicholas and Loletia in Illinois] The 1870 Federal Census shows Dan and Olive in Fairview, Wright Co., IO.
          Note from the census: James D. Torrey age 52 occupations: Carpenter, value of personal estate is $4,000.00. Olive is age 42 and keeping house. Son Ira is age 10 years, born in Minn. Also living at this house is Amos Taylor age 55, farmer born in N.Y. and his son Chas. Age 22 occupation; segar maker born in Wisconsin. [Amos as far as I can tell is Olive Taylor Torreys brother; I say this as the age difference is only 13 years. Need to pursue more research on Taylor family] One resident is Joseph Haskins age 19 born in N.Y., looks to be farm labor for Dan Torrey. Dan appears to be doing well with his sawmill with his personal estate listed at $4,000.00 in 1870. His mother Loletia Torrey passes away 15 July 1872, then his father Nicholas 1 August 1878 at the home of older brother Ira Torrey in Illinois.
          WARRANTY DEED RECORD of 17 Feb 1879 show L.A. Boyd and wife [Olive] sell for $500. to James D. Torrey of Monona Co. Iowa the following: SW quarter of Section 2, Twnshp 25 North, Range 7 West of 6th Principal meridian, in Antelope Co. NE, 160 acres. It appears Dan made this a short-term loan to his daughter and son in-law as he is paid back; 30 June1879-James D. Torrey and Olive F. Torrey (his wife) of Monona Co., Iowa, for $600. paid by Olive C. Boyd of Antelope Co., NE, sell to her and her heirs the [same piece of land]. 30 June, 1879, recorded July 7 by R. Wilson in Monoma Co., IA.
          Greatly informative from the Deerwood Enterprise Newspaper [Minnesota], March 26, 1937-…"Among the personal belongings of the late Ira Torrey was found the Sawmill record book of his father, J. D. Torrey, who established the first sawmill in what is now Deerwood in the year 1879.
          From theses records we find that the elder Torrey was engaged in custom lumber sawing at Albaton, Monona County, Iowa for several years before removing his mill to Deerwood.
          The Iowa entries begin with the year 1875 when 113, 763 feet of lumber was cut. The last entry in that state was made June 10, 1879. The next entry is made at Withington (as Deerwood was then known) on Nov 6, 7 and 8, 1879 with 2,313 feet of lumber cut for Harry Patterson. Later that month some custom sawing was done for A. Hoving (whose homestead is now the Olander farm in Irondale township) and for No. Newgard.
          The Torrey mill was situated on the shores of Serpent Lake, the site having been leased from Robert Archibald, first homesteader and settler here. The Hazen Butler residence property now embraces this old mill site Among names of patrons who hauled logs to the mill for conversion into lumber were: in 1880 C. Anderson, H. Patterson, W. S. Archibald (whose log mark was WXA).
          R. H. Morford and R. Archibald we find that Torrey paid 88 cent for 11 pounds of pork that year and that he purchased two bushels of potatoes from Hoving for 50 cents. It also recorded that he paid Hoving $3.75 for team work.
          In the month of September, 1881, the mill made ties for Walter Archibald which was computed into board measure and totaled 7,712 feet. The largest amount of custom sawing for any one customer was in the late summer of 1882 when Robert Coffin had 23,167 feet cut. That year Torrey paid 30 cents a pound for butter at Coffin's an eight pounds of tallow cost 85 cents.
          Among the customers in 1882 were Hoving. Kane, R. Archibald and John Engman. The latter traded in six hens at 30 cents apiece. W. Archibald sold 2 cords of wood for $3.00 to Torrey, and also 20 bushels of potatoes,$5.00; and "one short log" at 50 cents. The price for sawing lumber seems to have been $4.50 per thousand board feet, but this needs rechecking. The owner of the mill cut considerable lumber for himself, evidently for shipment.
          The name Deerwood, instead of Withington, appears for the first time in an entry for October 3, 1881. In the month of April, 1883, the mill was established at Sissebagama Lake (Bay Lake). In 1884 the name Bay Lake is written on the ledger headings. The last entry in the book is of date, August 4, 1886 with 2,054 feet of lumber sawed.
          Included in the names of mill patrons at Bay Lake are: H. Knieff, D. Archibald, C. Wheeler, I. Milém, Roberts, R. Orr, Archie Downey, R. Downey, N. Newgard, Al Erath, H. Baker, G. Highfie!d, and Swede.
          The Torrey home at Bay Lake was situated on the site now occupied by the Simon Inn. The mill was located on the lake shore near what today is the partition line of the Simon Inn and the Sissebagamah Lodge properties."
          One of the family legends about James Daniel Torrey was that he was a Judge, unless he was a judge in the sense of the eccentric Judge Roy Bean during this time, there is no evidence to the fact. Supposedly he wrote a book also and I will continue to prove or disprove these items. We have Dan Torrey listed as passing away in 1913 with his son Ira, which would put him at 94 years of age, with Olive passing sometime before him. Both are buried at Bay Lake Cemetery with Ira according to Ira's obituary.

    Source Material:
    "Torrey Girls, The History of the Torrey Family" by Mabel Boyd Royal-Steen
    Oral Traditions from the Boyd and Savage Families
    1850 U. S. Federal Census Series Series:M432 Roll:123 page:245 Columbus, Columbia Co., Wisconsin
    1850 U.S. Federal Census Series: M432 Roll:123 pg:221 Peoria, Peoria Co., Illinois
    1860 U. S. Federal Census Series:M653 Roll: 575 page:33 Dover, Steele Co., Minnesota
    1870 U. S. Federal Census Series M593 Roll:412 pg. 255 Fairview, Wright Co., IO.
    Obituary for Ira Torrey 25 June 1936 Deerwood Enterprise, Crow Wing Co., MN
    Deerwood Enterprise, Crow Wing Co., MN 26 March 1937 [early Deerwood Records]
    Frederic C. Torrey, The Torrey Families and their Children in America, Volumes I, II [1924, 1929]
    Ancestry Line on the Internet at The Torrey Family Tree
    Return To Top Of Page

    Deerwood Enterprise June 26, 1936
    Death Comes To Ira Torrey, Pioneer

          Ira Torrey died Sunday, June 21 at the age of 76 years.
          Ira Torrey was the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Torrey and was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in the year 1860. Shortly after his birth the family moved to Iowa, remaining there until about the year 1880, when they came to Deerwood where the father erected a sawmill on the shores of Serpent Lake. Shortly thereafter the elder Torrey bought a tract of land on Bay Lake where he removed his sawmill, and Ira took up a homestead on South Bay Lake.
          Young Torrey assisted his father with the operations of the mill, which did much custom sawing for the settlers which began to arrive. At times he was employed in the logging woods and has recalled that while cutting down trees near Rabbit Lake he was one of the first to employ the method of felling the trees by sawing, instead of chopping them down as had been the custom.
          His parents died many years ago, and Torrey continued his work as expert mill hand until old age. His whole life was spent in this vicinity.
          Reaching advanced years he retried to his lakeshore home where his wants were looked after by Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Hunt who had acquired his land. Taken ill a few days before his death. He was removed to the hospital in Brainerd where he breathed his last, Sunday morning.
          Tuesday afternoon friends of Ira Torrey gathered at the Bay lake schoolhouse to pay their final tribute to one who had come to that locality when the trails were dim and the white neighbors were few and scattered one who had witnessed the development of the region from the beginning. It was the closing of a long and upright life.
          Another pioneer is gone. His body was placed at rest in the Bay Lake cemetery where are also the graves of his father and mother. Rev. Allen E. Dripps pastor of the first methodist church in Brainerd, officiated.
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