Elmer Elijah Tyre

 

Elmer Elijah Tyre went by his middle name, sometimes spelled "Eligia" or "Elige", but more often shortened to "Lyge". He appears to have spelled his last name "Tyre". Lyge was the third of four sons of Andrew Jackson and Nancy (Nash) Tyre. There are two possible locations for his birth: Laclede Co., Missouri and Randolph Co., Arkansas.

In the 1850's or early 1860's the Tyres were living in Randolph County, Arkansas. In 1870, when Lyge was 17, he lived with his father and step-mother in Roanoke Township in Randolph Co. He was with his younger brother, Nathan, and his half-sisters, Sarah and Nancy. Lyge's older brother, Bill, lived on the adjacent farm of his aunt and uncle.

In 1880, when he was 27, Lyge worked on the farm of J. M. Taylor in Union Township, Randolph County. In 1887 or 1888, when he was 34 or 35, Lyge married Allie Price. Allie was only 13 or 14 years old. She was supposed to have been a tall straight full-blooded Cherokee Indian with long black hair. Her Granddaughter, Phylis Tyree, was supposed to have looked a lot like her when she was young. Allie was born in Tennessee as were her parents. Lyge was the red-headed Irishman type. Eliza, their first child, was born in October, 1890. Sometime after the age of 9 she was killed by a train. Lyge and Allie had five other children, two boys and three girls.

In 1900 all the children were born and the family was living near Elm Store or Wirth, Arkansas in Randolph County. Living with them were Allie's younger sister, Betty Knoble, and her daughter, Maud. Betty's husband wasn't there. Lyge had rented the farm they lived on and had been out of work for six months. Lyge could not read or write but Allie could.

In 1900 or 01, when Lyge Jr. was three years old, Allie died at the age of 24 or 25. Lyge then abandoned his children, giving them to anyone that would take them. All the children were under the age of twelve. The children were passed from place to place. Some families were unkind to them and beat them. Lyge Jr. said at times all he had to eat was bark from trees.

At some point Lyge Sr. drifted down on the Black River in the Jacksonport or Newport area of Arkansas. He was a renowned hunter and bear trapper. In 1915 he was found dead on Black River close to Jacksonport. The family tradition of Anna Collins, daughter of Mary Tyree Collins, states he was murdered for the pearls he got from mussel shells. Another version maintains he died of pneumonia (congestion). He had been dead three days when his body was discovered in his cabin.

Three guard dogs were protecting his body and had to be killed before anyone could get to him. Mary Tyree Collins, Lyge's half-sister, went to acquire his body when she heard of his death. He had been buried by that time, and she couldn't find out where.

At least three accounts as to where Lyge is buried are told. One states he and Allie are both buried at Alton, Missouri. Lyge Jr., Pearl Tyree Brunson, and Pearl's daughter, Jewell, traveled from Indiana to Alton to look for the graves in the 1940's. They said they could see the plots but they couldn't get close because the burial plots were unreachable from the highway. A more recent search failed to verify they were buried there. A second version, of Pete (Lowell) Tyree, says Lyge is buried at Home's Cemetery at Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. Finally, some say that Lyge is buried at Richwood Community (or Lesterville), in Moody Cemetery between Pocahontas and Walnut Ridge in Lawrence County, Arkansas.

 


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