Sunday, July 7, 2024

The Wileys of Alabama

While David Alan Wiley (1966-2001) was born in Union, Mississippi, his kin came from Alabama.

David's mother, Rosa Lou Mazingo, and her family, is discussed in a separate article here.  David's father, Willard Leon Wiley (1946-2001) served in the US Navy, and grew up in Morgan County, Alabama, to parents James Owen Wiley (1900-1973) and Jessie Swindell (1904-1995).

Jessie Swindell with brother, and parents (Alfred and Mollie Swindell)

James Owen Wiley served in World War I, and was also drafted into WWII ("Old Man's Draft").  On his enlistment records, it shows that he was 5'7", with blonde hair and blue eyes.

James worked as a millright in a sawmill in Selma Alabama in 1950, just 15 years prior to the famous March on Selma.  Did James witness this historical march first hand?  James & Jessie are buried at Cedar Creek Cemetery, in Hartselle Alabama.

James' parents were Simeon Lee Wiley (1868-1937) and Mary Ida Owens (1872-1966) of Morgan County, Alabama.

Mary Owens-Wiley

Mary grew up on a farm tended to by her parents, Cornelius Malone Owens (1848-1900) and Sarah Elizabeth "Betty" George (1856-??) in Morgan County, Alabama.  Cornelius' father, Solomon Owens (also a farmer), was of the right age to have fought in the Civil War, but records don't appear to support this.  Solomon's father James came from South Carolina to Alabama at some point between 1800-1817, when it was still part of the Mississppi Territory.  James served in the Creek War.

Sim & Mary Wiley

Simeon Wiley (nicknamed "Sim") was a farmer all his life, and eventually was able to own title to his own property in Morgan County, after many years of renting.  He died at age 65 of pneumonia at his home on Falkville Route Two, a suburb of Decatur Alabama.

Simeon's parents were James C Wiley (1826-1891) and Catherine Gibson (1830-1910), also of Morgan County.

James Wiley (on the right), next to his son Robert.

Like the generations that followed him, James was also a farmer in Morgan County, Alabama..

James' parents were Elijah Wiley (1795-1879) and Sally Malone (1795-1881), of Kentucky and South Carolina, respectively.  Elijah was also a farmer in Morgan County, but came originally from Kentucky.  He fought in the Kentucky Militia during the War of 1812 for six months, and was therefore awarded a land grant of 80 acres in Morgan County, which was the likely reason for his relocating there to start his family.

The Wiley Land Grant was deeded in 1835 to Matthew C. Horton, so they didn't have the land very long.

Elijah's parents were Eli Wiley (1773-1853) of Redstone, PA and Elizabeth Seals (1780-1855).  It appears that the Wileys have only been southerners since the late 1700s.  Eli ALSO fought in the War of 1812, in the same Kentucky Mounted Militia as his son.

Eli's parents were Major John Willison Wiley (1732-1831) of the Revolutionary War, and his wife Hannah Elizabeth Vernon (1735-1831).  John served in Captiain James Archer's Militia Company of Pennsylvania, and joined a migration to Mason County, Kentucky after the War.  History says he was a man of large frame, raw-boned, more than six feet tall, dark complexioned with heavy eyebrows, high cheek bones, and strong chin.  He lived to be a few days less than 100 years of age, and had ten children. (p 17-18 of The Tenmile Country and its Pioneer Families - Genealogical History of the Upper Monongahela Valley, By Howard L. Leckey, Volume VII).

It's unclear who Major John's parents were, but some family trees on Ancestry claim that he was son to Thomas Willey (1676-1760) from New London, CT, and was a Major General in the French and Indian War, who was married to Rebecca Ann Hough.  These same names appear in Pennsylvania Quaker Meeting Records.

From here, Ancestry trees point to Thomas' parents being Abraham Willey (1650-1692) and Elizabeth Mortimer (1655-1692) of New London and Haddam, CT,  and prior to that is listed an Allen Willey who arrived in 1633, with his father Isaac from Wiltshire, England.  Prior to that, several generations in England are included in these trees, but few records remain.

It's clear that the Wiley/Willey family goes way back through the entierty of American history, was involved in all the American Wars, and appear to have come from England just after the Mayflower.

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