The Gilley family history dates back as far as 1754 when George Gilley was born in Ireland.  At some point, George arrived in the United States and thereafter, he met and married Louise McCormick Richmond.  Louise was born to Loren  Richmond and Phoebe Hand in 1755 in New York.  George and Louise begat Henry Moses Gilley who was born in 1775 in Accomack County, Virginia and although his spouse is unknown, he was the father to Leroy Gilley.  Leroy was born in 1793 in Montgomery County, Georgia and his wife was Mary Lee Simmons.  Mary was born in 1793 in North Carolina and her parents are unknown.  To this union, 13 children were born, one of whom is our family’s patriarch, James Moses Gilley.
 
James Moses Gilley was born in Habersham County, Georgia in 1813 and around the age of 20, he married Laithey Bass in Dale County, Alabama on January 25, 1833.  During their marriage, James and Laithey became parents to 11 known children:  Jeremiah, Asa, Martha, Drusilla, Lydia, Susan, James, Augustus, John, Maranda and William.  James was a farmer and documentation from the U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907 show he started acquiring land as early as 1837 in Dale County and obtaining over 200 acres of land through 1853.  As a farmer, he planted several types of crops and had many farm animals.  These acquisitions were made during the time of   slavery and given the fact that he and his family lived in the Deep South, James, of course, owned slaves.  According to the 1860 U.S. Federal Census – Slave Schedules, he owned four (4) black females, ages:  33, 18, 18 and 1 and nine (9) black males,   ages:  18, 16, 6, 6, 3, 3, 1 and 1.  Unfortunately, the records do not include the names of these slaves; however, it is believed that the two (2) 18 year old female slaves are our very own Patsy and Ann.  Little to nothing is known about Patsy’s and Ann’s childhood, with the exception that Ann was born in the state of Virginia.  Who were their parents? When did James acquire them? Sadly, the answers to these questions may never be known but we are grateful to these two young women who bore a strong line of Gilley’s and because of them, we celebrate this beautiful occasion.
 
 
Shortly after the civil war ended, James, Patsy, Ann and their children moved to East Glasgow (present day Boston), Thomas County, Georgia.  By this time, Laithey had already passed away and according to family historians, several of James and Laithey’s children relocated to Suwannee County, Florida where he purportedly     purchased land for them.  It is unknown why these children were moved to Suwannee County and yet, his mulatto children were moved some 70 miles away to Thomas County.  Nevertheless, James acquired property in Thomas County and his family lived near the Florida-Georgia state line.  In fact, several descendants still live in the area. 
 
Both Ann and Patsy were born around 1840 and they were quite young when they became mothers to their respective brood of children.  James and Ann’s children are Dan, Elbert, Isaac, Roxie Ann, Rance, Horace, Hattie, John and Alice Gilley.  James and Patsy’s children are Joe, Sam, Jake, Nancy, Charley, Gabe, Israel, Annie, Delia, Mary (“Millie”) and Margaret (“Bessie”) Gilley.  When he relocated to Thomas County James met Mary Futch and they were married on December 23, 1874. Although they had no biological children together, family historians convey Mary took in and raised Millie and Bessie. 
 
 
On July 27, 1879, James Moses Gilley died in Thomas County, Georgia.  He acknowledged both Patsy and Ann in his will by bequeathing them several acres of land and each a mule.  In 1921, Patsy Gilley died and on January 9, 1925, Ann Gilley died.  The majority of their children had families of their own, too many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so forth to count but yet, they are most important to our very existence.  We honor these two (2) brave women and offer our thanks for their strength, endurance and faith.  And in a sense, we honor James, too, for without him, we would not be here.