Tombstone Tuesday – December 12, 2017 – David Overley


David Overly was the son of Thomas and Emeline Overly born on September 6, 1854. Thomas and Emeline had eleven children: Daniel (1836), Martin(1837), Isaac(1838), Matilda(1839), Mary Ann(1842), Samuel(1844), Thomas(1846), Didimus, David(1854), William(1858), George(1860). David and all of his older siblings were born in Ohio according to an early 1860 and 1870 census. Yet the death certificate states that he was born in Indiana. The two younger brothers were born in Nine Mile, Indiana.

David married Elizabeth Rowe on November 30, 1873 in Elkhart, Indiana.  David and Elizabeth had ten children between 1873 and 1896 when she died. They were; Fannie(1877), Harriet (1878), William (1879) , Martin(1881), Emma (1883), Clara (1886) Roy(1890), Ada(1893), Grace(1894), Zella (1896).

David and Elizabeth are found in Sand Lake, in Kent County, Michigan in the 1880 Federal Census with the first three children. He is 26 years old and lists his occupation as laborer and that he was employed for 10 months. The census record states that he was born in Indiana. In the 1894 and 1901 Kent County marriage records for Harriet and William Overly,  two of the older children, the records indicate that their mothers’ names was Elizabeth Rowe. Elizabeth Rowe Overly died on October 21, 1896, three days after the birth of her tenth child, Zella.

David married Elizabeth (Ball) Hency in Spencer, Kent County, Michigan on November 7, 1897 and she had two daughters from her previous marriage; Elsie and Ada Hency. In the 1900 Federal Census, David and his second wife, Elizabeth, have six daughters living with them, Emma, Clara, and Ada are Elizabeth Rowe’s daughters and Clara and Elsie Hency are Elizabeth Ball Hancy’s daughters and Fern is the one-year-old daughter of David and his second wife.  David lists his occupation as a farmer. The 1910 Federal Census states that this marriage is the second marriage for both David and Elizabeth. The children listed are Elsie Hency, Ada Hency, Fern Overly, Zelma Overly. In the 1920 Federal Census, David and Elizabeth are found in Berrien Springs, Berrien County, Michigan.


David A Overley died on December 12, 1927 according to his death Certificate. His death was listed as a Cerebral Hemorrhage. He is buried in East Nelson Cemetery near Sand Lake, Michigan on December 14, 1927.


This is the original Overley Tombstone where his first wife, Elizabeth, and three children are buried. The East Nelson Cemetery is also known as Cedar Springs is located in Kent County, Michigan.

East NelsonCemetery

David Overly/ Overley is my first cousin 4X removed. This was a challenging research project in light of the fact that David married two women named Elizabeth and on the marriage licenses for his children three surnames, two maiden names and one married name were used making it look like he had married three Elizabeths’.  And somewhere along the way, the Overly spelling was changed from Overly to Overley.

Rest in peace. David.

Love Jan

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