James Gourley and Violet Wilson and Elizabeth Wilson of Sumner County Tennessee

by deb - January 21st, 2014.
Filed under: Genealogy. Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

It’s after the holidays, cold and snowy, and I have had a little time to work on my own family genealogy.   My mother, Lois Saddler Williams, is the daughter of Ellen Geneva Dorris, age 95.   My grandmother was born in the Shackle Island area of Hendersonville in November of 1918.  Her parents were John Anderson Dorris and Ollie Bell Honeycutt.

Ollie Bell was the daughter of James Burton Honeycutt.   The parents of James Burton Honeycutt were William Burton and Elizabeth (or Eliza) Ann Gourley, who was born about 1832 in Sumner County, Tennessee.   I have spent several afternoons this month, researching the Gourley line.

I began research in the Sumner Co TN records in the lawsuits, part of the “loose” collection of records of Sumner Co from 1786 to 1930.   This lawsuit is case 6336:  Alexander, Josiah and Susannah report, 25 Feb 1838:

Petition of Josiah Alexander and wife Susannah Alexander and Margaret Gourley and Eliza Gourley, Mary Gourley, James Gourley, ?? Gourley, and Franklin Gourley; the last five are minors, with special guardian Josiah A. Alexander, (being) the children and heirs of James Gourley and his wife, Violet, both of whom are now dead…They (the heirs) are tenants in common in a tract of land which has descended to them from their mother, the said Violet Gourley….The land adjoins the lands of John Chambers, Stephen Wilson, John Gourley and James Eskew, 44-50 ac.  The petition asks that the land be sold and proceeds divided among the seven heirs.

Sumner Co TN marriages show a marriage of James Gourley to Violet Wilson 5/18/1813.   A second marriage for James Gourley was also found in the Sumner Co TN marriages:  James Gourley to Elizabeth Simpson 12/30/1834.

Sumner Co Deeds 1806-1817 by Murray, 1989, p. 91:  Commissioners deed to divide the real estate of late James Wilson, dec’d, between heirs of said Wilson, as follows:  (Each received 45 ac):  James Wilson, James C. Hodges, Samuel Wilson, John Gourley, Jacob Houdeshalt, Petat?Wilson (I believe this is Violet Wilson because land of  Violet Wilson is given as boundary in the deed of Josiah Hodges to John Gourley, 5 Oct 1812, “being a legacy left said Hodges by his father-in-law, James Wilson, Sr., dec’d, 1811); Josiah Hodges; reg’d 12 Feb 1814.

Sumner Co TN Lawsuits, case 7420, report, James Gourley, deceased:

1838 petition of John Gorley and John Chambers, admrs of James Gorley, deceased, 19 Feb 1838…slaves Elliott, Caroline, William, Clarissa, Harrott, Felix and York…could not be equally divided among the distributees of the estate.  It would be to the advantage of the distributees to have the slaves sold.   James Gourley died 1 December 1837 intestate…he had 7 negroes (named above).  James left a wife and 7 children.

Sumner Co TN Lawsuits, case 3910, Henry and David Griggs vs Elizabeth Gourley 1839

Daniel Griggs purchased in Sept 1835, 35 acres from her (Elizabeth Gourley) husband, James Gourley, deceased…”It is not true, however, that said Daniel made the purchase of this defendant (Elizabeth) although she signed her name to the bond”.  This 35 acres belonged to the defendant…absolute right and which was…to her…of her first husband, John Simpson, dec’d.  “She is sorry to be compelled to say that she and her late husband, the said James Gourley, dec’d, lived very unhappily together…(because) of the influence over him by some of his children by a former marriage…the deft and the said James were married about 4 years ago…

The said James had 7 children at the time of their marriage; the deft had not any.  At the time of their marriage she had a (sic) property, the land before mentioned, and negroes and a good stock of cattle, hogs, sheep.   At the time the said bond was (sic), the said James (sic) her to put her name to the bond, which without much reflection, she did.  “She felt she had to sign it”.  Since the death of James Gourley, she has utterly refused and still refuses to make complainants a title to said land and that she claims said land as her (sic) absolute property.

Her husband, the said James, was the owner of a fine farm…about 220 ac. This he sold but a few weeks before he died and without doubt as she thinks…with intention to dispossess?) depose (?) her of a home and to defeat her right of a dower in the land and to enable his 7 children at once to have the whole of it, with the exception of 1/8, which is all she can get off the money for which it was sold.  He sold said land for about $20/acre.    She thinks she needs to keep her 35 acres.   Also, James had 50 acres from his first wife…the defendant got none of it, the children divided it amongst themselves.

Elizabeth Gourley further states that her last husband, the said James Gourley, …while he was lying dead in the house, John Gourley called her out of the house and there was John Chambers and Alfred Alexander who married one of the heirs.  They first spoke of the land that came by the first wife of her late husband, the said James Gourley, dec’d and Chambers said she could get no part of that.  They then talked about the 35 acres and defendant said she thought that…the heirs could get no part of hers.

As always, a few questions answered, and a whole new set of questions raised. Here’s to the hunt!



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1 Response to James Gourley and Violet Wilson and Elizabeth Wilson of Sumner County Tennessee

  1. I am interested in anyone Brown or Stockton in Eastern Tennessee.

    Primarily Livingston TN area but I do not really know. My Grandfather was Richard Layfette Brown and my Grandmother was Mindy Lou Stockton. My mother was their youngest child Ruth Louise Brown Chappell.

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