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Gaileys Go West

James Dolphus "Doc" Gailey
Edna Alice Puckett Gailey
Circa 1919
Parker County, Texas 

My Gailey family line is one that is dear to my heart, because my mother's father was a sweet, caring, unassuming gentleman that I loved dearly. James Dolphus Gailey, otherwise known as Doc, helped raise me and my two younger sisters from the time I was ten years old and they were six and two. I have posted articles about my immediate Gailey family here, but have not dealt with Doc's ancestry. I have a thick file on the Gaileys from Habersham, Hall County, Georgia, and guess it is time I shared some of it with you.

A few weeks ago another Gailey descendant contacted me by email after seeing my post about the Brocks, more specifically my great-grandparents, James Newton Gailey and Eleanor Elizabeth Brock. James Newton, or "Jim" as the family called him, was a "distant cousin" to her "strain of the Gailey family that settled in Eastland and Erath County, Texas." The thing that caught her eye was how they "settled very close together, but they got there in different ways."

For many years my aunts and my mother who were all born in Parker County near Mineral Wells had told us that there was another "bunch" of Gaileys that they were kin to who lived nearby, close to the little town of Strawn. Their daddy, Doc, had told them about his cousins but they couldn't remember ever meeting them. My aunt Irene Gailey Stone died in 2006 without ever finding her distant cousins who lived just down the road, so to speak!

At the Gailey family reunion in Claremont, Georgia, in 2003 I sat down and talked to Beulah Gailey Whetchel about the Gaileys who had gone west and settled in Texas. Her uncle was my great-grandfather, James Newton, and he had come to Texas along with his oldest brother, George Thomas and their youngest brother, Marvin Fletcher. Beulah asked me if I knew what had happened to "that Gailey that just disappeared." I didn't and she couldn't recall his name.

So you can imagine how excited I was when one of the Gaileys in the adjoining county wrote!

"I would imagine that my ancestor, Asahel "Asa" Lomax Gailey was one of those [Gaileys] that disappeared from the family back then. It appears that the Ebenezer Gailey (brother of Ezekiel) family moved at some point from Habersham County, Georgia, to Arkansas near the farm of another brother, Amzi Gailey. Asahel [Asa] apparently met his soon-to-be wife, as her family were migrating to Texas in 1856 or 1857, and he followed them here. They got married along the way, settled near Belton, Texas, and eventually gave birth to J. W. and two other siblings.

Asahel hadn't been in Texas long when the Civil War effort came calling. He fought in the war and was captured and taken to Chicago as a P.O.W. Apparently he was reported dead to his wife, Permelia, and his children by a "friend" of his that he fought with. This guy married Permelia and fathered a child - all before Asahel had a chance to return home. He did eventually return, found out what had happened and returned to Chicago where he was never heard from again. After that the family packed up and moved to then uninhabited Eastland County just south of Strawn. I have learned that Asahel started another family there in Chicago and all of their descendants ended up in Texas in later years. Crazy how that ended up. Texas must have been in the blood. One of Asahel's grandsons from his Chicago family settled in Dallas (not 60 miles from a boat-load of half first cousins he likely did not know existed.) I have never been able to find any living relatives from that "Chicago" line."
Asahel's and J. W.'s descendant who wrote to me said that she had "pretty much narrowed the Gaileys down to two main focal areas. One is in Utah, a line of Gaileys that came over from England much later than ours. The other Gailey mecca is the Habersham County area in Georgia. It's almost safe to say that if you are a Gailey descendant in much of the United States, you are from one or the other families."

Asahel's grandfather, Joseph Gailey, was found in the 1800 census in Franklin County, Georgia, which is adjacent to Habersham and Hall counties where Asahel and my ancestor, Santafee Henderson Gailey were living in the mid-1800s. Habersham and Hall counties were formed from land ceded from the Cherokee Indians. They are not shown on this map, but are located just above and west of Franklin County in the north-east corner of the state. Joseph Gailey was among the 26 named early settlers of Georgia found in The Historical Collection of Georgia, by George White.



  • The David Rumsey Map Collection, s.v. “The state of Georgia, Gridley sc. Philadelphia: Robert DeSilver, 1827” (accessed February 17, 2010).

  • Broderbund Family Archive #312, Ed. 1, Census Index: US Selected Counties, 1800, Date of Import: Apr. 2, 1999, Internal Ref. #1.312.1.1134.43. Genealogy Research by Kenneth W. Gailey, North Carolina.

  • Genealogy Research by Alan F. Armstrong, descendant of Amzi Gailey, born 1810.

  • Genealogy Research by Shanon Hunt, Texas, descendant of Asahel "Asa" Lomax Gailey.

  • Gailey Family History. "History of John William (J. W.) Gailey Family of Texas" by Shanon Hunt accessed January 25, 2010.

  • White, George. Historical Collection of Georgia. Genealogy Research by Kenneth W. Gailey, North Carolina.

  • Comments

    Kay Cox said…
    Interesting. Judy, I always enjoy reading your accounts of our early family history. Glad you caught the geneology bug!
    Well, if you remember, it was you who first reeled me into that library in Waco! Haven't looked back! I'm glad you enjoy reading my posts about our shared history.
    Good morning Judy. Once again I have enjoyed reading another of your family stories. When I saw the "Chicago" connection my juices started flowing....I am thinking you probably have this information already but I found your Asa L. Gailey on the city directories (courtesy of the Newberry Library, in 1892 and just his widow Mary L. Gailey listed in 1910. I imagine the Newberry has more resources on your Gailey ancestors!
    Thanks again friend for sharing such a great story!
    Angie Pruett said…
    I too am glad you are our genealogist, historian, keeper of the facts, have so many "titles" and they all fit so well!! I was a little interested in the "fact" that your younger sisters were 6 and "2" though:) I'm really aging fast enough without adding those extra 2years!
    Thanks soooo much, Taylor!
    I always appreciate all your comments and love that you enjoy my posts.
    Wow! You've found Asa in the city directory in Chicago! That's exciting. I wonder if my Strawn connection has made that discovery? I'll have to let her know ASAP! Thanks again.
    Oh, thanks little sister! Glad you enjoyed reading about our Gaileys. Oh, and about that age thing ~ I was actually referring to when you came to live with Grandma and Doc. You were with Linda Kay and Reggie and Irene and Raymond for the 1st couple of years. (Of course, I realize you know that! LOL) Guess I should have been a little clearer on that.

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