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Homsley Stories by Greg Holmes and Len Holmes

One of the surprises of writing for a blog such as Judy Shubert’s Genealogy Traces is that one never knows what the results will be.

Greg Holmes, co author of this entry, wrote an article on some research we had done on Elias Eph Homesley.


A new name arose on genealogy research radar, Glenn GABBARD, who is a descendant of Joseph  HOMESLEY and Mary SMITH.  He well informed us that Mrs. Carrie Homesley CUNNINGHAM came to his ARKANSAS family farm when he was younger and discussed ancestry in preparation for a book about the Homesley kin. The beauty of genealogy is that one generation may offer building blocks for the next to study and learn, and Mrs. Cunningham did just that.

Glenn Gabbard’s father and mother are Leonard Raymond GABBARD (July 11, 1915-August 31, 2009), Belle Homesley (1919-November 23, 2003). Glenn states that his dad bought a few copies and Mrs. Cunningham delivered them by car.

Glenn’s siblings are Norman Gabbard, Carolyn Gabbard Norman, and an Aunt Mabel Shumate. (There is much research that shows intermarriages of the Homesley and Shumate families.) Mr. Gabbard, a retired carpenter for the University of Arkansas, was laid to rest in McCord Cemetery, Elkins, (Find A Grave Memorial #8127536)  WASHINGTON, Arkansas, where so many of his wife’s family had settled at or before the founding of the county.

Glenn’s mother  BELLE HOMESLEY  was the daughter of  LEROY PATRICK HOMESLEY (29 Jun 1894 - 14 May 1990) and CASANDRA FOSTER who were married about 1918 in Washington, Arkansas. Find A Grave Memorial #8127536.

Belle Homesley’s sister was Mabel Homesley SHUMATE
(October 10, 1921-October 10, 2013)

Mabel Homesley Shumate
October 10, 1921 - October 10, 2013

From the Moores Chapel Funeral Home Website:
Mabel Homesley Shumate, age 92, passed away October 10, 2013. She was born October 10, 1921 in Durham, Arkansas to Lee Roy “Pat” and Cassie Homesley. She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Belle Gabbard and her husband Howard.
She graduated from Elkins High School where she was a member of the championship girl’s basketball team. Basketball remained one of her favorite things throughout her life. She graduated from the Fayetteville Business School and was a lifelong resident of the Elkins/Durham area except for 1942-1944 when she lived in Houston, Texas and worked in the shipyards during World War II. She married William Howard Shumate on June 9, 1946 and they became the proud parents of three sons. She worked on the family farm while he was a postal carrier in Fayetteville. She was a member of the Elkins Church of Christ for 60 plus years. She was a living testament to her faith. She was a leader of the White River 4-H Club and a charter member of the White River EPA group and worked tirelessly to help defeat the landfill on Hobbs Mountain. She participated in trash pick-ups along Highway 16 East and helped man the recycling trailer at Elkins well up into her later years. She was an avid sports fan and loved her Arkansas Razorbacks. She was a faithful supporter of the Elkins Elks teams and attended many games. She showed the referee’s no mercy when she did not agree with their calls. She loved driving out into the pasture to check the cattle and continued to do so until just a few years ago. She had strong political views and enjoyed debating with anyone who was brave enough to take her on. She was a domino shark and each kid and most of her grandkids have been thoroughly trounced by her.
She is survived by three sons, Allen (Donna) of Elkins, Arkansas, Darrell (Sandy) of Mineola, Texas and Ed (Jan) of Elkins, Arkansas; seven grandchildren, Jennifer Walker (Jamie) of Butler, Pennsylvania, Brian Shumate (Stephanie) of Elkins, Arkansas, Melissa Douglas (Robert) of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Allison Shumate (Micah) of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Sara Shumate of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Brooke DeLucci of Elkins, Arkansas and Courtney Shumate of Elkins, Arkansas; seven great-grandchildren, Gavin Shadrick of Russellville, Arkansas, Grant Shadrick of Bella Vista, Arkansas, Caleb Shumate, Trevor Shumate and Braden Shumate all of Elkins, Arkansas and Zayne Walker of Butler, Pennsylvania; three step-great-grandchildren, Angel (Tyler) Morris of California, Jay Walker of Arkadelphia, Arkansas and Ben Napier of Elkins and one step-great-great-grandchild arriving in 2014; two nephews, Glen and Norman Gabbard and one niece, Carolyn Norman; numerous great-nieces and nephews. She is also survived by very special friends, Jim and Betsy Martin who gave generously of their time and love to her and Geneva Long who spent many hours with her on the phone and loved her dearly, as well as many other friends and neighbors. All of us want to thank our Jan for her devotion to caring for her and putting her own life on hold, we could not have done it without you. Always know that she loved you dearly even when she was giving you a hard time. The family also wishes to thank the wonderful people from Washington Regional Hospice who made it possible for her to remain in her home until she left us on her birthday.


Glenn’s great grandparents were John Buck Homesley (May 15, 1855-April 28, 1953)
and Ellen Springton (1858-1935) married December 17, 1865 in Washington, Arkansas. The couple had thirteen children born in Washington, Arkansas from 1876-1906.

There is not a complete record of the John Buck Homesley family, and anyone reading this is welcome to add much needed information.

Child 1: Douglas Homesley born June 18, 1876 and died June 17, 1943 San Francisco, California

Child 2: May Homesley born April 11, 1878 and married Lister Bailey

Child 3: Clyde J Homesley born February 1, 1886

Child 4: Hattie Homesley born 1887

Child 5: Ina Homesley born 1888-1989 and married John Ballard (1884-1970). Their children: Lucille, Pauline, Ralph, Thelma Teague, Lee Roy, Melba, Ruby Rude, Agnes, Gladys Buchanan

Child 6: Guy Homesley born 1902-11/18/1963 United States Navy WWII San Bruno, California

Child 7: Herbert Monroe Homesley born May 4, 1906- unknown and married Lennie Mae Wiseman

Child 8: C. J. Homesley born 1882-1950 Rogers Cemetery, Rogers Arkansas

Child 9: Maud Homesley born 1885

Child 10: Elise Homesley born unknown

Child 11: Natalie Homesley born unknown

Child 12: Dennis Homesley 1890-1976 Rogers Cemetery, Rogers, Arkansas

Child 13: Leroy Patrick Homesley who is Glenn Gabbard’s grandfather

James Holmesley
Jane Jennie Womack 

Glenn’s great, great grandparents were James Holmesley (January 3, 1805, Kentucky-September 15, 1881, Wesley, Madison, Arkansas) and Jane Jennie Womack (1803, Kentucky-1899, Elkins, Clark, Arkansas) with burial at Mt. Olive Cemetery.
The Holmesley/Womack marriage produced seventeen children. The documentation
is incomplete on some and any reader is welcome to submit verified data.
These births are not in date order.

Child 1: Nancy Narcissa Holmesley (1834-1858) of Richland, Madison, Arkansas

Child 2: Willilam D. or J. Holmesley (1836-?) of Richland, Madison, Arkansas married Lucinda Homesley (b. 1838 of Madison, Arkansas. Their children are Mary J. Homesley Fowler (1857), John R. Homesley (1859)

Child 3: Sarah Homesley (1837-1927) born in Richland and died in Washington, Arkansas. Sarah married James Henry Lollar (b. abt. 1837 in AR) on an unknown date had five children: Eliza, Fannie, Dudley, Lizzie and Tennie

Child 4: Jane Homesley (1841-1867)

Child 5: Holford Randolph Homesley (1837-?)
Holford Homesley Co. I Pvt/ Sixteenth Arkansas Confederate Infantry

Child 6: Lucinda Homesley (1844-?)

Child 7: Louisa Jane Homesley (1848-1922) married James Calhoun Thomas (1842-1899). Their children:  James, Sarah, Mattie, Butler, and Boone.

Child 8: Elizabeth Loucressy Homesley (1848-1867)


Child 9: Katie Katherine Homesley (1881-?) married George Washington Lollar January 24, 1867. Their children: W.F., Mary, John, Viola Tranquil, Ollie, and Roda

Child 10: John Buck who is recorded earlier

Child 11: James Walker Dave Homesley (1885-1940) married Rebecca Jane Springton March 14, 1878 in Washington, Arkansas. Their children: Randolph and Cora

Child 12: Burrell James (1859-1925) married Josephine Shipman June 05, 1879 in Washington, Arkansas.  They had three children: Lula, Mary, Alice

Child 13: Viola Tranquil Homesley (1853-1949) married William Albert Jeffers in 1874. Their children: Denver Hays, John, Levi, Lillie, Rosy, Lester, Harlan

Child 14: Francis Marion Homesley (?-1902) married Alabama Hannah. Their children: William Moses, Jefferson E., Sarah E., Bennett S.
These children’s names were mistranslated often on official records as being Homsby. This illustrates a point to scrutinize all spellings.

Child 15: Randolph L. Holmesley has no data

Child 16: Sydney E. Homesley (?-1878) married Nancy Sanders abt 1863. They had the following children:  Simon, Stephen, Lula, Frances and John

Child 17: Elizabeth Homesley (1849-1867)



Glenn’s great, great, great grandparents are John R. Holmesley (1773-1857)
and Mary Jane James (1778-1860). These ancestors of ours had 
eleven children that we have recorded. 

These ancestors must have been very stout and hardy people. John R. was born in CumberlandVirginia, married in Lincoln, North Carolina and died in Wesley, Madison, Arkansas. My, those pioneers got about! As an interesting note: Hawkhunter has extensive notes on the journey to Arkansas on John R.’s Find A Grave page. His wife, Mary Jane James, was born in Virginia, and the families must have migrated to Lincoln, North Carolina. She is interred in Wesley, Madison, Arkansas.

Mrs. Carrie Homesley Cunningham had interviewed many of the early Homelsey family and made extensive notes in her book: Historical Record of the Holmesley Family. She discussed the name spelling with some descendants and they concluded that John R, Burell J., Levi and Stephen spelled the name HOLMESLEY
Mary Jane James’ ancestry is a lengthy one that goes for generations and will be the subject of another writing.

Child 1: Stephen Holmesley (1797-1864) born in Lincoln, North Carolina and married Defesy Vaughn in 1825 in Wayne, Missouri. Stephen and Defesy’s children are: Mary Martha Holmesley Lewis, Marion Franklin Holmesley (1841-1887), Didema Holmesley (1826-?), Leonidus (1837-?), Syndey E. Holmesley (1849-?), Beda (1847-?), Lethea Holmesley (1849?-?) all being born in Prairie Arkansas.
Stephen Holmesley built one of the first mills on Yokum Creek in Washington Arkansas.

Child 2: Elizabeth Holmesley (1802-1867) married first Michael Master and then Jesse W. Hock (Hawk).  The children with Jesse Hock are Permela, Jacob, Sarah, Lucinda Evaline, Daniel Henry, and George Washingon.
It is said that Michael Masters’ death in 1831 was the first recorded death of a non-native in Washington, Arkansas. There were six children from the first marriage: John, Nancy, Margaret, Ruhama Elizabeth, David Jackson, Elizabeth.

Child 3: James Holmesley married  Jennie Jane Womack is entered above as the 2nd great grandparents of Glenn Gabbard. There is an interesting note about James Holmesley in that he built the first one of the first buildings in the pioneer town Fayetteville. 

Child 4: Jane Holmesley (1811-1870) married Benjamin Drake 1831 in Madison, Arkansas. I have recorded seven children: Burrell, Rachel, Minerva, Betsy, Delphia, John, Nancy, William and Elizabeth.  Jane died in Hopkins, Texas.

Child 5: Levi Holmesley (1813-1880) married Zimarou Wagnon. They had eight children: Frances Monroe, Randolph Lafayette, Burrell Wagnon, Wesley Stanford, Mary Lucinda, John N, Joel Oliver, Levi Thomas.

Child 6: Mary Holmesley (1815-1872) married William Martin Mullen on 1831 in Wesley, Madison, Arkansas.

Child 7: Narcissa Nancy Holmesley (1816-1833) married an unknown Ernest.

Child 8: Julia Holmesley (1817-1836) married Randolph Coffey.

Child 9: Burrell James Holmesley (1807-1891) married Lucinda Wagnon (1814-1866) on January 1832 in Cane Hill, Washington ArkansasBurrell James and his family migrated to Comanche, Texas and are interred there. This family are true pioneers of Comanche, Texas being one of the FIRST FIVE FAMILIES.
"Early settler of Comanche County, Texas. He and first wife, Lucinda, had the following children who survived to adulthood: Julia 1832-1836; Thomas Jefferson 1834-1903; Amanda 1836-1918; James Monroe, 1838-1881; Martha Jane 1841-1891; William L. 1843-1860; Francis Marion 1845-1943; Burrell Sutton 1849-1915; Arabella 1852-1940." 
Child 10: Catherine Cynthia Katie Holmesley (1803-1885) married John Ben Austin (1802-1847) on 1825 Wayne, Madison, Arkansas.  
Living in Richland Township, Madison County, Arkansas in October 1850
(Federal Census data)
Oct., 1850 Census, Madison Co. AR.
Cynthia Austin 46 Farmer NC
William "" 22 School Teacher AR
Mary "" 20 AR
Benjamin "" 18 AR
James "" 16 AR
Nancy " " 14 AR
Thomas " " 10 AR
John "" 7 AR

Child 11: Betsy Holmesley born 1819.


Glenn Gabbard’s 4th Great Grand Parents are Joseph Burrell Homesley, Sr.
(1750-1799) perhaps born in England; Joseph is interred in Lincoln North Carolina
He married Mary Smith or White 1772 at Cumberland, Virginia.

Some research states that Glenn’s 4th Great Grandmother’s last name was Smith. John R. Holmesley mentions that it was White. Further research is needed to solve this mystery.

One can only wonder what the trip from Cumberland, Virginia to Lincoln, North Carolina was like and what the journey was like for the travelers. The Lincoln County they arrived at was unsettled and occupied with Native Americans eight miles south of Cherryville, North Carolina near where the important Battle of King’s Mountain would take place.

The early days of Joseph’s life is shrouded in time’s dark veil. It is recorded that Joseph’s mother Jane died when he was six years old. Oddly enough she left a verbal will home where she died with the rectory of the Church of England’s priest, Rev. McClaurine of Southam Parish. He reported this to the vestry and they made some fateful decisions for Joseph and his brother, Benjamin, and little sister, Anne. These children were bound-out as was the custom of the day. Wealthy colonists left money for education for their children.  This was not the case for Joseph and his siblings. They were given to community families who wanted them. With the whisk of a quill pen on paper the Vestry of Southam Parish Church of England decided the fates of the Homesley children in Cumberland County, Virginia.

In Joseph’s case he was bound out to a Joseph Akin. (Page 151 Cumberland Court Order Book.) At least over the next sixteen years he lived and worked for the Akin family until in 1772 Joseph married.

Benjamin Homesley, the eldest son, being born about 1748 means that he was about thirteen and bound out to Robert Beck. (Cumberland County Court Order Book 1758-1762, page 120.) Prominent Homesley author, Ray Homesley, suggests that Benjamin may have been the father of Benjamin’s given name.

Anne, the youngest, is bound out to Stephen Mosby (1732-1763) and Abenoday Minor Mosby (b. 1731 Lunenburg, Virginia). Page 151 same book dated February 25, 1760. It is my genealogy guess that Ann being about one year old was absorbed into the Mosby family with whom we have a verified genetic link. Tragedy befalls the Mosby household on October 22, 1763 when Stephen Mosby dies leaving his wife Abenoday or Alice Oneda and two Mosby children, Priscilla (1759), and Jacob (b 1761) along with the bound out Anne Homesley.

According to some recently located records  Priscilla Mosby married Robert Gilliam about December 24, 1786 in Cumberland County, Virginia.This is to certify that I have given my consent to a marriage between my son Robt Gilliam and Priscilla Mosbey.
Witness my hand James GILLIAM, 22nd Decemr, 1786.
Wit: Stephen May and Wm. Thweatt
This is to Certify that I do, Volentaley [sic] give my Consent to a Marriage between Robt Gilliam and my Daughter Presellia Mosbey, without Reserve, witness my hand Allsey Mosbey, 24th Decembor 1/86 [1786]. Wit: William Thomas (Thweatt?), John Sullivant Senr.
 Robert GILLIAM, the son of James GILLIAM and Martha Isbell, his wife and Robert was born 1 May 1766 in Lunenburg County, VA. Robert married Priscilla Mosby.

Records indicate finance problems with Stephen Mosby after his death and his son Jacob was not it appears mentally sound.  It seems that the lands were sold or given back to their grandfather Poindexter Mosby.

Glenn Gabbard’s further ancestry is shrouded in time.  We know that this unknown Homersley had died about 1759. Jane died about October 1761.

One can almost see the crisp fall Virginia wind whistling through the ancient tombstones as they lay Jane Homersley in her grave. With the Anglican Book of Common Prayer’s words of ashes to ashes and dust to dust they covered her till the day of judgement.

Three children stood almost alone: Benjamin, Joseph and little Ann.  The family life they knew ended and a new life journey for them beginning.

These descendants would cover the map of America creating their own destiny and set the stage for an emerging American nation in war and peace.

This leaves me in wonder and awe of this American story.

Thanks to Hawkhunter.

Annette Shaw photo




Shumate, Mabel Homesley, obit, Moores Chapel Funeral Home, website accessed 4-9-14
Find A Grave Memorials,
Jim Hawkins, Find A Grave Memorials, Hawkhunter
Ray Homesley, Homesley family researcher and author
Glenn Gabbard, personal notes and correspondence
Cunningham, Carrie Homesley, Historical Record of the Holmesley Family, author


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