Echoes From The Past

By JUDY MAUPIN *- Echoes From the Past
(A Column of historical and genealogical anecdotes, stories and family notes.)
Calloway County, Ky.

The Colleys - Pioneers of Caldwell Co

March 7, 1981
Today we are continuing with Ernestine Bucy's account of her research into the Colley family in the West Kentucky area.

Charles Colley, born in Virginia and a Revolutionary War veteran, died in Lawrens County, South Carolina September 5, 1818. His will named his wife Harrietta, daughters Joice and Sally Smith and sons James, John, Spencer and Jackson.

Evidence indicates that this is the John Colley who married Sarah Francis Holloway in Pittsylvania County, Virginia in April, 1791. It is this John Colley who was the patriarch of the Colley Family of Caldwell County, Kentucky.

Whether John Colley was ever a resident of Kentucky is not clear from the records, but he was present in Caldwell County at the wedding of his sons Karkin and John, and a daughter Elan. Two of his younger sons, Elijah and William, were born in Tennessee; and John Colley may have stopped his migration there and thete may be other children in Tennessee.

Larkin Colley (C. 1792), son of John, was born in Virginia. On August 3, 1812. he married Rhoda Fulks in Caldwell County, Kentucky. Upon his death in 1830 (a record of his estate sale is in the Benton, Kentucky courthouse), it appears that two of his children, Larkin and Fannie, moved into the household of William Colley, his brother, Other children have not been traced.

Elan Colley, daughter of John, born in Virginia (c. 1794), married Obadiah Fulks March 10, 1814, in Caldwell County. No children of this marriage have been traced..

Holloway Colley, born in Virginia in 1797 (a firm date from a descendant), married Gincy Holloway April 10, 1821 in Caldwell County. After the death of his first wife, Holloway Colley married Celia Donakey May 13, 1834. His children as they are listed in the 1850 census of Caldwell County were: Silas.

James J., Ginsey T., Brunetta, Celia J., Sarah G., Martha, Thoas M., and Reuben. (Reuben Colley is mentioned in Dr. Milton Henry's book Land Between The Rivers). A descendant of Holloway Colley has added David Holloway and Daniel Levi to the list of his children.

John Colley, son of John Colley, born in Virginia (c. 1798), married Polly Gregory in Caldwell County November 28, 1818. Not much is known of his descendants. His widow Polly Colley left a will dated July 30, 1846 (now at the Benton Courthouse) naming her grandson Jackson Nimrod Calhoun Bridges as her beneficiary.

Samuel Colley, born in Virginia (C. 1799), married Lydia Holloway in Caldwell County, March 16, 1822. Records do not link Samuel as firmly to John Colley as the others, but circumstantial evidence suggests that he belongs to this family.

Elijah B. Colley, son of John, born in Tennessee in 1806, married Polly Armstrong in Caldwell County June 25, 1827. The census of Caldwell County, 1850,. lists the following children; John, Sallie, William F.G., Enoch A., Jenette, Amariah L., and Mildred G.

William Colley, son of John, born in Tennessee in 1808, married Isabell McNabb March 10, 1832. His children as listed in the Caldwell County census of 1850 were; Ginsey E., James H., Mary A. Elijah J., Celia L., Sarah E., Nancy J., plus the children, presumably of. Larkin Colley, Fannie and Larkin. A.. birth record after the census of 1850 adds a daughter Phoebe, born August.26.

Although it seems reasonable to suppose that there is a relationship between the Caldwell County Colleys and the earlier Colleys in Christian and Livingston Counties, a link has not yet been established. While it is a fact that' there is a James Colley (McCauley) in, Livingston County (1810), and an Andrew (Jackson?) Colley in Christian County (1799-1800) to conclude that they are also sons of Charles Colley is not possible at this time.

The problem lies in South Carolina. When the Virginia Colleys entered the northern counties of South Carolina (Lawrens, Fairfield, Chester, and York), the Irish McColleys were already there. In 1762, James McCauley, Andrew McCauley, and Alexander McCauley arrived in South Carolina from Ireland - Irish Protestants looking for religious freedom. and land.

The destination was Boonesborough. The Revolutionary War, no doubt, caused their recall to South Carolina and subsequent military service. After the war, free "bounty lands" may have lured them to Kentucky; "McCauley" became "Colley" and the possibility exists that there are two Colley families in Western Kentucky.

Research on the Colleys of Livingston and Christian Counties will continue.

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