Wednesday, February 8, 2023

The Eley's of Union Springs, AL connection with Augusta Jane Evans and Chunnunnugee Garden

Some time ago I posted a story about the Girard Mobile Railroad on the Facebook group Early Columbus Georgia and the Chattahoochee Valley. (There will be a link at the end of this post.) In my research for the story I found some interesting connections to my Eley family and Columbus after my visit to Union Springs, AL. My first stop was Chunnunuggee Garden located on Peachburg Road just outside the city limits of Union Springs. Columbus's own Augusta Jane Evans, author of St. Elmo, visited here and used this area as a setting in her book At the Mercy of Tiberius. After we found the garden which frankly has seen better days, we drove downtown. 

I saw another historic marker and to my amazement I saw the name Micajah Norfleet Eley. Micajah Norfleet's father, Michael Eley and my fourth great grandfather Jesse Eley's father were brothers, the sons of Eli Edward Eley. Michael Eley was born in North Carolina and served in the Revolutionary War. After the war he settled in Greene County in the White Plains community. (Jesse Eley also settled in Greene County on the Little River.) Michael Eley ran a public inn for many years. His son, Reverend Micajah Norfleet Eley and family, settled in Union Springs around 1837 around the Chunnunuggee Garden area. He bought several lots of land in the downtown area of Union Springs and later donated the land for the First Baptist Church and the old Eley Family Cemetery located beside the church. It later served as a resting place for many Confederate soldiers. Reverend Eley also served as clerk and pastor of First Baptist Church. He taught school, was a surveyor and served as a county commissioner. Micajah and Martha Hilsman Eley had six sons and two daughters. 
Their son Bennet Tillman Eley served in the Civil War. After the war he was in the mercantile business and later became president of Bullock County Bank in Union Springs. He served as mayor of Union Springs from 1902 until1904.
The interesting connection between the branches of Jesse Eley's(my fourth great grandfather) family and Micajah Norfleet Eley's family are the names of their children and grandchildren. Both families had a daughter named Anne Hasseltine and one named Sarah. They both had sons named Bennett and Adoniram. Micajah Eley had a brother named Bennet Hillsman and Jesse Eley had a grandson named Bennet Hillsman. 

The First Baptist Church
Union Springs, AL
The First Baptist Church was originally a wooden structure, later covered with brick. 

Bennet Eley Home 
Union Springs, AL


The Heritage of Bullock County, AL, Heritage Publishers, Clanton, AL, 2004

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Connections in the Old Whitley Cemetery

I drove by the Whitley Cemetery on my way to and from work for several years. The cemetery is located on Warm Springs Road near County Line Road in Columbus, GA. When I started trying to find the grave sites for the soldiers in the unit with my great great grandfather Marcus Ely, I never thought to look in this cemetery for soldiers or Ely family members. There are over 100 graves in the cemetery,  many of them unmarked. One of the most useful websites for genealogists is Find a Grave. As I was looking for Ely gravesites, Whitley Cemetery (also called The Old Russell Cemetery) popped up. I found entries for Jane Ely, Bartow Ely, Carrie Greer and Mary Newsome Ely Odom. As I've started research on other family lines I found connections from both my paternal and maternal lines!
The first family members I found were those related to my Ely/Eley family. 

Jane Russell Ely
Jane Russell, the daughter of William Robison Russell  and Mary Martin Russell, was born in Greene County, GA in 1822. It's very possible the Russell and Eley family moved from Greene County into Muscogee County around the same time. Osborn became the guardian of their son Charles Russell in 1851, at the death of James Russell. Both families lived near the Flat Rock area in Columbus and attended Bethel Baptist Church.  Osborn married Adjaline Birdsong in Oglethorpe County, Georgia February 8, 1828.  Osborn, Seaborn and Wellborn Eley moved into Muscogee County in the 1830's. Adjaline died in Randolph County, GA where Osborn had a plantation, on November 12, 1843. Osborn married Jane Russell in Muscogee County, GA on August 18, 1844. They had eight children.  The Russell family continued their alliance with the Ely family during the Civil War. Marcus, James, George and Judson (Osborn's sons with Adjaline) enlisted in the Russell Guards, (Company H, 54th GA Regiment) a company formed by Charles Russell, Jane's brother. Osborn died in 1869 and Jane continued to run the family plantation until her death in 1889 at age 67. The Columbus Enquirer Sun reported that Jane died of dropsy of the heart (modern term would be congestive heart failure) and paralysis. At the time of her death Jane had lost three daughters and two sons. {Columbus, GA Enquirer-Sun 30 April 1889, p. 3.}


Osborn and Jane Russell Ely's children:

1) George Wilborn Ely (1846-1917)
    m. Catherine Stephenson

2) Charles Carroll Ely (1848-1849)

3) Lucy Ely (1850- before 1881)

4) Robert Ely (1852-      )

5) Ida Ely (1854-1879)
    m. James A. Cherry

6) Frances "Fannie Ely (1856-1880)
    m. Wilson A. Wiliams

7) Jesse Osborn Ely (1858-1925)
    m. 1) Mary L. Timmons 2) Ella Palmer
8) Bartow Ely (1862-1881)

Bartow Ely

 Bartow Ely, youngest child of Osborn and Jane Ely, was born in 1852 and died at the age of 19 on November 17, 1881. All three daughters of the Ely's had preceded Bartow in death.  Bartow died of typhoid fever after being very ill for three weeks.

[Columbus Enquirer-Sun 18 NOV 1881, p.4] 

Caroline "Carrie" Greer

Caroline Greer, the daughter of William and Mary Russell and sister of Jane Russell Ely is also buried in the Whitley Cemetery. Carrie Greer was married several times: 1)Rolin W. Smith (1842) 2)George W. Howard (1846)  
3) William H. Greer (1868)"News was received in the city Sunday afternoon of the death of Mrs. Carrie GREER, at Ellerslie Sunday morning, after a long illness caused by a stroke of paralysis sustained about three years ago, which it is supposed was brought on from a fall a few months before. The deceased was 56 years of age and was for many years a member of Bethel Baptist church, and was greatly beloved for her many Christian traits of character, always ready to assist and minister to her friends in sickness or other troubles." {Columbus (GA) Enquirer-Sun, 30 NOV 1909, p.5}
Mary Newsome Ely Odom

Mary Newsome married 1) Wellborn Ely (my third great grandfather Osborn Ely's brother). Three Ely brother's (Seaborn, Wellborn and Osborn) along with their families moved into the Columbus are in the early 1830's. Mary and Wellborn were married in Greene County, GA on June 3,1829. Wellborn died in Columbus on July 30,1842. The couple had four children. Osborn Ely became the guardian of their son Robert Newsome Ely. Robert later became the attorney general of Georgia. Mary married 2) John Odom on December 22, 1844. Mary died August 7, 1868. 
Charles Iverson Storey Family

Charles Iverson Storey was my maternal grandmother's uncle. He was born in Harris County, GA on November 17, 1897. He married 1) Annie Lena Whitley before 1927. Anna died November 4, 1832. Charles married 2) Annie Grace Railey (before 1936).  Annie Lena Whitley was born on January 15, 1900, the daughter of James and Addie Gilson Whitley. Charles' second wife, Annie Grace Railey was the daughter of Lon and Carrie Jordan Railey

Charles and Annie Lena Whitley's children: 

1) James Storey    1920-1987

2) Charles Storey  1922-2006

3) Henry Storey     1924-2000

4) Daniel Storey    1927-1927

5) David Storey     1927-1927

Charles and Annie Grace Railey's child:
1) Gloria Ann Storey 1936-1937

David and Daniel Storey are buried In Whitley Cemetery.

Gloria Ann Storey is buried in Whitley Cemetery

Oscar William Bowden

Oscar William Bowden was the son of William Oscar Bowden and Mary Ann "Annie" Waller Bowden.  Oscar William Bowden was the brother of my maternal great grandmother Eddie Bowden Reese. Oscar was born on August 14, 1888 and died July 14, 1889. 

Somehow my mother's relatives (Storey and Bowden) and my father's relatives (Ely) ended up in this small cemetery though none of the families are related. Just another intertwined connection in my family!
Muscogee County, GA, Administration bonds and letters 1838-1849 Vol A, p.73
Columbus (GA) Enquirer-Sun, 30 Nov 1909, p. 5
Columbus, GA Enquirer-Sun 30 April 1889, p. 3.


Thursday, May 28, 2020

A Conundrum of Connections, Part 3

I am married to William McCardle. William's mother's third husband was Luther Vernon Land. William has two half brothers from this marriage. If you're thinking this familys' connections couldn't get any more complicated, think again! 
Luther Vernon Land's grandfather was Aaron Land. Aaron Land's father was Jacob Land. Jacob Land was born in Pendleton County, SC on September 5, 1809. He married Anna "Annie" Herron and by 1830 they were in Harris County, GA. They had eleven children:
1) Mary Charlotte 1829-1900 m. George Washington Harrison
2) Nancy 1830-1894 m. Henry George Washington Smith
3) Christian Cullen 1831-1904 m. Martha Bass
4) Aaron 1834-1901 m. Angeline Polk Lokey
5) Joseph Benjamin 1836-1911 m. Frances Ann Lokey
6) William Perry 1838-1881 m. Hattie Hembree
7) Elizabeth 1839-1870 m. Charles Pike
8) Jacob A 1844-1901 m. Charlotte Elizabeth Sharp
9) John Henry 1845-1923 m. Missouri Ann Winifred Lokey
10) Jasper M 1848-1911 m. Georgia Ann Wright
11) Thomas Jefferson 1849-1881 m. Frances Emily Adams 
Aaron Land

(Aaron and his brother John Henry served in the unit (Company H, 54th Regiment) with my great great grandfather Marcus Ely. If you read my first post A Conundrum Of Connections, Samuel Craig Rodgers and his brothers Adam, William and James were in this unit as well. You can imagine my surprise when I started my book and realized that my husband's brothers and his step father had ancestors in Marcus Ely's unit!)

Aaron Land's sister Nancy married Henry George Washington Smith. They had six children:

1) Nancy Ann Smith 1854-1881 m. Frank Olin Lumpkin
2) M M Smith 1859-1860
3) Cicero Larkin Smith 1859-1929 m. Lucy Jane Cannon
4) Zulie O. Smith 1867-
5) Minerva Smith 1869-
6) Thomas Smith 1873-

Cicero Larkin Smith and Lucy Jane Cannon Smith:  
1) Annie Mae Smith 1884-1969 m. Frank Olin Lumpkin
2) George Lemuel Smith 1887-1974 m. Virginia Lavinia Hubbard
3) Jesse Eugene Smith 1889-1974 m. Annie Mabel Reese
4) Opie Woodfin Smith 1891-1971 m. Lucy Eleanor Stevens
5) Henry Norman Smith 1893-1968 m. Carrie Lee Anderson
6) Nancy Bedell Smith 1897-1925 m. Tulian Clements Reese
7) Getzen Luther Smith 1898-1971 m Edith Sommers Reese

It took a while to get to my connection through my husband's stepfather Luther Vernon Land,  Aaron Land was Luther Land's grandfather. My grandfather Tulian Clement's Reese's first wife Nancy Bedell Smith was Nancy Land Smith's granddaughter. Nancy Smith and Clements Reese had four children Larkin Tulian "Blackie", Janie, Mildred and Arthur. I loved them so very much! 
Nancy Bedell Smith and Tulian Clements Reese

I also discovered that Nancy Bedell's brother George Lemuel Smith married Virginia Lavinia Hubbard. Her father Richard Jackson Hubbard was in the same unit as my great great grandfather as well! Another interesting connection to the Hubbard family concerns Tulian Clement Reese's second wife Dorothy Ethel McDaniel. Her sister Eugenia married Clay Hubbard, Richard Jackson Hubbard's grandson. 

Robert Edward Lee Land

The Land Home 
River Road
Columbus, GA

Exa Craig Rodgers

Seranus Morgan Rodgers
Estella Land Rodgers

I've also found connections in the Rodgers family to the Land family. Jacob Land's son, Joseph Benjamin Land had a son Robert Edward Lee Land. Robert married Exa Craig Rodgers the daughter of Samuel Craig Rodgers. Joseph Benjamin Land's daughter, Estella, married Seranus Morgan Rodgers. Seranus and Estella Rodgers were the parents of Roy Mitchell Rodgers and Susie Fannie Rodgers! If you read my first post A Conundrum of Connections  and A Conundrum of Connections Part 2, you will see the connections of the Land, McCardle, Rodgers, Reese, Smith, Hubbard, Self and Mehaffey families. It also amazes me that so many connections were found when I researched the men in Company H, 54th Regiment. 

Information form this post came from:
U.S. Federal Census
Marriage certificates
Family photos

Friday, May 22, 2020

A Conundrum of Connections Part 2

As I stated in my previous post I married William McCardle. His mother's second husband was William Andrew McCardel, Jr. William's grandfather was William Andrew McCardel who married Mollie Gallops. William Andrew's father was Charles Elmer McCardel, a veteran of the Mexican War and Civil War.  Charles McCardel was wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga.  The McCardel family lived in the Pine Knot area of Chattahoochee County, GA. Charles Elmer McCardel married Eliza Jane Parker and they had six children:
1) Charles Lamerle (1854-1932)   m. Laura Ford Mehaffey*
2) Alice Ann (1856-1923)  m. Jesse Pate
3) Martha   (1860-  ?)
4) Jefferson Davis (1862-1947) m.  (1) Frances Gallops (2) Ella Parkman
5) William Andrew (1866-1933) m. Mollie Gallops
6) James Benjamin (1876-1943) m. Nina Robinson

Eliza Jane Parker McCardel
Oct 20, 1836-Sept 26, 1911

Charles Elmer McCardel
Mar 7, 1821-Jan 31, 1881

*My first cousin, Donna Gayle Reese, (the daughter of my mother's brother John Blanchard Reese) married Lem Mehaffey. Lem was the great grandson of John Morgan Mehaffey, Laura Ford Mehaffey's first husband. Charles Lamerle McCardel owned Eelbeck Mill, Lem's grandfather C.R. Mehaffey (Laura's son by her first marriage) took over the Eelbeck Mill at the age of 21.   

The Eelbeck mill (no longer exists), was located in Chattahoochee County on pine Knot Creek. The land where the mill existed and the communities of Eelbeck, Pine Knot and other small communities are now part of the Ft. Benning, GA reservation. The mill was begun in the 1840's by Henry Cook. The McCardel-Mehaffey connection to the Eelbeck Mill began with Charles Lamerle McCardel courting and marrying Laura Ford Mehaffey ( a widow with four chhildren) in Phenix City, AL where he was running a general store. They eventually moved back to the Pine Knot area. They had one child, Elmer. Charles Lamerle purchased the old mill and a small store. In 1917, Charles sold most of his property and sold the mill to his stepson C.R. Mehaffey, who turned Eelbeck meal into a household name in the south. Elmer McCardel (Charles and Laura's only child) was listed in the 1920 census as a truck driver (He probably drove for the Eelbeck Mill company). Elmer died in Hillsborough, FL on October 25, 1925 of Acute parenchymatous nephritis ( in laymen's terms complications of strep infection, causing his kidneys to shut down). 

The back of Eelbeck Mill

Clifford Rhoy Mehaffey

Eelbeck Mill Store

William McCardle's grandfather William Andrew McCardel (Mollie Gallops) had eleven children: 
1) Ruby (1896-1975) m. Thomas J. Anderson
2) Rufus Charles (1897-1964) m. Rosa Watson
3) William Andrew, Jr. (1900-1956) m. 1) Arie Harris 2)Beulah Jones
4) Wiley Julie ( 1902-1954) m. Frances Madeline Mehaffey*
5) Nancy Jane "Nina" (1905-1983) m. Grady Brown
6) Alma (1909-1988) m. Robert Brown
7) Alice (1911-2000) m. William Stringfellow
8) Lily Mae (1913-1971) m. Willard Stringfellow
9) Alva Edward "Bud" (1914-1984) m. Mildred Wright
10) Grace (1917-1993) m. Arthur Freehling
11) Eva (1921-1985) m. Cecil Roy Davis

*Lem Mehaffey's aunt Madeline Mehaffey (daughter of Clifford Rhoy Mehaffey) married Wiley McCardle, my husband's uncle. So, while my cousin's husband and my husband aren't related they share 1st cousins, the children of Madeline and Wiley!

Finding family connections are the very best part of my research! 

Background information on this post came from:
Fort Benning: A Land and It's People
History of Chattahoochee Co., GA,  Norma Kate Rogers, Southern Historical Press, 1976
History of Stewart County, GA, Columbus Office Supply, 1958
U.S. Federal Census Collection
Florida Death Certificate (Charlie E. McCardel)
Pictures courtesy of James McCardel and Donna Mehaffey

Friday, May 15, 2020

A Conundrum of Connections


When you research your family you are bound to find interesting connections. But, I think my family connections might be unique! I married William McCardle, his mother’s first husband was Roy Mitchell Rodgers.  When I started looking into my family, I found out that my father’s sister, Esther Self had married Cuthbert Rodgers, Roy Mitchell Rodger’s son! Further research led me to find out that another one of my father’s  sisters , Edith Self had married Julian T. Anthony whose mother was Susie Rodgers Anthony, the sister of Roy Mitchell Rodgers.  

     A few years ago, I was gifted more than 150 letters written by my 2nd great paternal grandparents Marcus and Martha Dumas Ely during the Civil War. The correspondence of Marcus and Martha turned into a book, A Just and Holy Cause?. I researched all the men in the unit with Marcus and found some very interesting connections. Samuel Craig Rodgers was in the unit (54th Ga., Infantry, Company H) along with his brothers Adam, William and James.  Samuel Craig Rodgers was the grandfather of Roy Mitchell Rodgers and the great grandfather of my brothers-in-law, James, Will and Curtis Rodgers and sister-in-law, Dorothy. 

     Roy Mitchell Rodger's first wife was Inez Reese, the daughter of Frank Reese. Frank Reese was the son of Edmond Head Reese, my maternal grandfather Tulian Clements Reese's great uncle. 

     I thought that was the end of my connection with the Rodger's until I started researching Tulian Clements Reese's children from his first wife, Nancy Bedell Smith. Mildred Lavinia Reese married Edwin Talbot, the son of Gabe and Mamie Rodgers Talbot. I have found that Mamie Rodgers was the daughter of Oscar Pickney Rodgers. Oscar Rodger's father was Samuel Craig Rodgers*. 

   I found Marcus Ely's obituary among the letters of my great great Ely grandparents. It stated that Oscar Rodgers was a pall bearer! I think this connection has come full circle. It is connected through the Civil War, relatives and marriages! I hope you'll find connections in your family research.  

*You can read more about Samuel Craig Rodgers in my blog A Just and Holy Cause?. Just follow this link

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Sacred Harp Connection

If you're a serious family researcher, you have an account and check it frequently. You are also pleased to receive messages through your ancestry account and sometimes you receive that little gem of information that you will treasure forever. That happened to me about a year ago. I received a message from a Dumas cousin (my paternal great great grandmother was Martha Frances Dumas). He told me about a book he was reading: Legacy of the Sacred Harp by Chloe Webb. The book follows the writer's journey as she learned about the history of sacred harp music, but also her discovery about her Dumas ancestors. I immediately ordered the book from and devoured it as soon as it arrived. While reading the book, I found references to H.S. Rees and J.P. Rees, composers of sacred harp hymns. I also noticed that they had composed hymns honoring her ancestor, Rev. Edmund Dumas (my great great grandmother's cousin). My mother is a Reese,  the original spelling being Rees. H.S. or Rev. Henry Smith Rees and his twin brother J.P. or John Palmer Rees were my great great uncles! So, about 150 years ago, give or take a few, my maternal and paternal ancestors were connected! I found a new friend and we have much in common. While, we've never met, we have emailed and talked to each other. This connection is a special one because I not only found a new cousin, but a wonderful friend. 
Legacy of the Sacred Harp

Click on the book to go to

A Journey

Next week I will be attending a luncheon and meeting some new cousins and reuniting with other cousins! I can't wait to spend the afternoon listening and sharing stories with our family. In my thirty plus years of family research, I have made wonderful discoveries about my family, I have been fortunate enough to obtain family photos, letters and other treasures and visit many places where my ancestors once lived. But the most exciting discoveries for me have been the many connections I have found to ancestors and my generation of friends and acquaintances. I wanted a place to record my discoveries and share stories with fellow researchers. I hope you'll enjoy this blog and I look forward to hearing from you as I share posts. I would also love to hear your stories about family ties and connections.