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 of Christian County

February 21, 1981 -
This week, I am reprinting material sent to me by Ernestine Bucy, of Murray, who has been researching the Col"Family tradition has it that the Colley family is of Scottish origin; a fact that is consistent with the findings of research. Although it was a common practice in colonial times to drop the "mc" in Scottish surnames, some of the Colleys persisted in using "McColley" into the 1800's.

"The first Colley of record in America was Robert Collie, a young man of twenty, who arrived on the merchantman, Bonaventure, out of England into Virginia, January 2, 1634. Sketchy records reveal that there were Colleys in Virginia between 1634 and 1776. Revolutionary War records show at least twenty young Colley men, from Virginia primarily, but also from the Carolinas, fought for independence. Whether all were descendants of the original Colley or sons of later immigrants by the same surname is not known at this time.

"Free 'bounty lands' given to veterans by a grateful government may have proved the impetus for the migration of Colleys from Virginia into North and South Carolina in the 1780's and 90's. By 1799, Colleys were in Kentucky.

"Jacob Colley, alone, on horseback, was listed in the Livingston County tax records in 1799 (he paid tax on his horse). In 1800 he was on the tax list of Christian County, joined by William Colley.

"By 1802 the tax records of Christian County show Jacob Colley (C. 1770), William Colley (1781), Andrew Colley (C. 1784), and Susannah Colley with one minor son (between 16-20). Tax records further show that they held over 4,000 acres of land along Little River in Christian (now Trigg) County.

"William Colley, from Chesterfield County, South Carolina, married Ruth Butler in 1808, in Christian County and had one female child. After the death of his first wife, William married Sarah Killebrew (daughter of Kinchen Killebrew) in 1812. It is believed that the children of William Colley were Asa (1813), Isiah, William C., Happy (Karenhappuck), and Catharine.

"The date of death and the place of burial for all of the early Colleys is not known, but some information is available. "William Colley died in 1858 and is buried in the Mitchell Cemetery in Christian County, near Hopkinsville. A notation in Cemetery Records of Northern Portion of Christian County indicates that there are two Colley headstones, one for Mitchell, and 'many field stones,' suggesting that other graves were present. it is not unreasonable to suppose that some of the other Colleys are buried here.

"Andrew Colley who is carried on the census records of Christian County through 1820, is listed in Graves County in 1840. He may be buried in Graves County.

"A historian of Christian County has said that there are 25 Revolutionary War veterans buried in Christian County. One of them may be the husband of Susannah Colley.

"As this group of Colleys was moving into Christian County, John Colley, James Colley, and William Colley - all born in the 1780's - were listed in the census of Livingston County. By 1810, Caldwell County records show Larkin Colley, John Colley, Holloway Colley, Samuel Colley, and James (Jimmu) Colley - all born in the 1790's. After this, the records seem to indicate the immigration was over as children of the pioneers move into the newly added counties of the Jackson Purchase in 1818.

"Jacob Colley, who married before reaching Kentucky, brought his family from Chesterfield County, South Carolina by 1803. He had three male children born between 1800 and 1810 and two female children born between 1790 and 1800.

"Andrew Colley, who came from Beaufort County, South Carolina, married Mildred Nichols December 8, 1804, in Christian County. This union produced two male children born between 1805 and 1810 and two female children during the same period. Children of these two families have not been traced through the census records, but they are no doubt included in the many young Colleys who were in Graves County, Marshall County, Caldwell County, and Calloway County in the 1820-1830 period.

"Another column will deal with Livingston and Caldwell County Colleys."

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