Hi Fellow Raley Cousins!
In the way of introduction I am Jan Rolison Farren, gggranddaughter of Joseph Henry Raley (we spell it Railey) and Ellinor "Ella" McCoy (believed to be the daughter of J.H. McCoy). Joseph Henry Railey and Ellender "Ella" McCoy two begat Abigail "Abba" Railey, Abigail begat Charlie Stevens Railey. Charlie Stevens Railey begat my mother Mary Elizabeth Railey. My sisters and I have been working on family genealogy since 1970 and just in the past 5 years started working on the Railey line. Joseph Henry Railey married Ellinor "Ella" McCoy 1839 in Abbeville, Henry County, Alabama. Together they had the following children: Ellie, Abigail, Sarah, and Henry Joseph Railey. Young Henry Joseph was born around the time Joseph Henry Railey went off to fight in the Civil War, never to return. The oldest child of this group, my gggrandmother Abigail, was only 7 years old. After the war Ellinor Railey remained in Henry County, Alabama and raised the kids alone. Times were very hard and she and the young girls took in laundry to make a living. Of Joseph Henry and Ellinor McCoy's children only Henry Joseph Railey married. The girls remained in Henry County, Alabama and lived with Elleder until her death. My grandmother Abigail Railey was 35 years old when she had her first child. The natural father of my granddad, Charlie Stevens Railey, was a Edward Wiggins. The nature of the relationship between Abigail Railey and Edward Wiggins is most ambiguous and has long been a lively discussion in our family but we do know that as a young man Charlie Steven worked in the saddle and bridle shop old man Wiggins owned. So there seemed to be some acknowledgement of his parentage.
The Railey family was never discussed much and so little family history came down to us. What little we do know came from granddad Charlie Steven Railey. Charlie Steven married Mallie Mae Mills of Abbeville, Henry County, Alabama. She was a daughter of a circuit rider preacher and the union caused quite a rift in the Mills/Railey family. Mallie Mae Mills and Charlie Steven Railey had five beautiful and talented girls and three handsome but restless boys. My mother Mary Elizabeth Railey was born in Eufaula, Alabama and despite their "dirt poor" situation in life manage to complete high school and was an avid writer all her life. She married my dad George Emmett Rolison who had moved to Eufaula, Alabama from Clarke County, Mississippi only a few years before they met. Together they had seven girls and a little son. From what I have been able to gleam from the oral history passed down is that the Railey Family were of Irish descent and migrated from Ireland to American before the Rev. War. After the war a few settled in South Carolina but moved on into Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. In my honest opinion I believe this is probably true if one considers the anglicized names of the children. It is common for some Irish surnames to be anglicized, meaning that they were changed to sound more English. This usually occurred with Irish immigrants arriving in the United States during 1700 and 1800s. My mother's sisters and brothers were very Irish, and as with most Irish, many of Railey male children led unconventional and restless lives. The Railey girls on the other hand tend to be more family oriented and were pretty much the backbone of the family. All were great storytellers and loved books and higher learning. Strangely, my mother and four of her sisters died very young from a variety of illness. But each of Charlie Steven's and Mallie Mae Mill's children were blessed with a keen mind and poetic soul. I am also eager to learn more about the Raley/Railey folks on your end.
I am sincerely,
Jan Rolison Farren
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