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.
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