GAY-L Archives

Archiver > GAY > 2000-06 > 0962417655

From: Candace Gravelle <>
Subject: [GAY-L] Re: John Gay and Amelia; and Mary Ann Harris Gay
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 19:14:15 -0700
References: <00b901bfe2f5$7a74c0c0$90634ed8@default>

>From all that I have seen since the Gay family discussions started, appears to me that there is circumstantial evidence that suggests that Amelia was a Barfield or related to the Barfields in some way. I have not found any evidence yet that she was a Castleberry, not even any circumstantial evidence. But think also that further research needs to be done, or to keep looking until all the possible nooks and crannies have been researched, which I know you have already done to an exhaustive effort. But maybe there is something out there to be found, and maybe not, won't know until it is found or not found...same problem in most family lines with at least one ancestor, so it seems.

To answer your question about Mary Ann Harris Gay's book "Life in Dixie
During the War", I have the book, which I obtained a few years ago from
the DeKalb County (GA) Historical Society for $15. The book is a
reprint that the Historical Society did in 1979 with some interesting
added history and information about the life of Mary Ann Harris Gay,
including some photos.
It is a hard back book, very nicely done and well worth the $. It has
448 pages in it and includes a photo of Mary Ann Harris Gay, a photo of
Missouri Stokes, (her sister) and has a brief sketch of the life of Mary
A.H. Gay (by members of the historical society)
Here is what the sketch says:

Mary Ann Harris Gay was born March 1829 in Jones County, Georgia. Her
father was William Gay and her mother was the former Mary Stevens,
daughter of Thomas Stevens. William Gay descended from Virginians who
migrated through the Carolinas to Georgia. He died within a year or so
of his daughter's birth.
In 1833, Mrs. William Gay married Decatur lawyer Joseph Stokes.
Following the marriage, the family moved to Cassville on the
northwestern frontier of Georgia, where two children were born; Thomas
in 1837 and a daughter Missouri Horton in 1838.

In April 1840, Mary Gay's grandfather Thomas Stevens died leaving part
of his estate to Mary Gay's mother with the stipulation that money be
held in trust from the sale of certain Twiggs County land for the
education of his grandchild Mary Gay.
(Ref: Thomas J. Stevens Will, filed July 1837, Bartow County, GA)

According to the biographical sketch of Missouri Stokes in Mrs. J.J.
Ansley's "History of the Georgia Christian Temperance Union", the family
moved to Marietta in 1845. Mary's first poem "My Valley Home" was
published there anonymously the next year.

Following the death of her stepfather, Mary and her family moved to
Decatur in 1851. The move to Decatur (DeKalb County) was probably
determined by her deceased grandfather's family and connections in
DeKalb County. Thomas Stevens, as a pioneer in the county, purchased
lands along the Chattahoochee River and between the forks of Nancy and
Peachtree Creeks in 1825. In 1831, he bought land lot 143 in Decatur
for $400. He was also named a trustee of the newly incorporated Decatur

It is not known whether the property to which Mary and her family came
was the property purchased by her grandfather in 1831, as the early maps
of the city have been destroyed. Also unknown is whether Mary Gay was
ever formally educated in accordance with the terms of her grandfather's

We do know that she continued to publish poetry and that her first book
anonymously under the title "Prose and Poetry" in 1858 with the second
edition the following year in which she was the identified author.
Several of her early poems were republished in this first book and an
idea of Mary Gay's early travels can be gleaned from the date and place
name notations with the poems........
(More info about her books, will not transcribe it all, several pages of
On November 6, 1918 shortly before her ninetieth birthday, Mary Gay died
and was laid to rest in the old section of the Decatur Cemetery next to
her mother and her sister Missouri who had died in the fall of 1910.
A newspaper article in the DeKalb New Era, Dec 5, 1918, written in
tribute to Mary Gay and recalling facets of her life and that of her
sister Missouri Stokes, closes with the sentence "A suitable eiptaph for
each would be "She hath done what she could". (this article written by
Gordon Midgette, Executive Director and Carole Stevens, Research
Assistant. (presumably from the DeKalb Historical Society.

References: Family papers of Annis Gay Mann Richardson of Blakely,
Georgia (photo copy on file at the Georgia Dept. of Archives, Atlanta,
"Early History of Decatur" by Levi Willard, "DeKalb New Era 1920-21";
DeKalb County Land Records, Deed Book "H" p. 368, on file at county
courthouse, Decatur, Georgia;
"DeKalb New Era" Illustrated Trade Edition, Nov 14, 1912 "1912
dress" by C.M. Candler;
Mary A.H. Gay, "Prose and Poetry (Nashville, 1858)
Mary A.H. Gay, "The Pastor's Story and Other Pieces, or prose and
Poetry, 11th Ed. (1881)
Mary A.H. Gay, "Life in Dixie During the War" 1892;
Mary A.H. Gay, "The Transplanted, A story of Dixie Before the War (New
York and Washington 1907)
W.C.T.U. tribute, "DeKalb New Era", Dec 5, 1918;
"Historical Sketch of the First Baptist Church of Decatur, Georgia" p.
13 (on file at the Decatur County Historical Society)
Ansley, p. 256-258


"Sue H. Gill" wrote:

> Hi,
> Getting back to what originally started this entire big conversation, and
> sharing of data.
> (But be sure to read my note at the end about my email problem!)
> Has anyone located a single piece of evidence to support a marriage of John
> Gay to Amelia Castleberry? So far, I have not. While a lot of you have
> been working on your own lines, I have been emailing people on the Barfield
> Rootsweb, and Castleberry Rootsweb, plus numerous other web sites I've
> tried to follow up on all suggestions that came in at the beginning. But I
> am batting zero.
> Did any of you read, and follow, my original email closely enough to have an
> opinion at this point? I would just love to know what all of you think
> about it. And I would also like to hear any other suggestions that you
> might have. I just hate, after all of this work, not to come to some sort
> of conclusion, as a united group. One other thought I had was, does anyone
> have a copy of the book by Mary Ann Harris Gay, author of "Life in Dixie
> During the War?" This was a descendant of John and Amelia, and I was
> wondering if perhaps something might be in that book about Amelia. Could
> someone check on that if you have it available? Other than that, I'm at a
> loss.
> Regarding my email problems. For over a week now I've been receiving emails
> late, or not at all. My emails are bouncing from at least three of the
> Rootsweb lists I'm on, and I was unsubscribed today from one of them. The
> next time it happens I'll be booted off another one. BellSouth claims to be
> working on the problem. This has been very frustrating to me, especially at
> a time when this list is so active. I'm receiving replies before the
> queries arrive.
> Elaine, you sent something to the list, "Gay Family History" by Julia Webb
> Gay? I have received part 3, so I assume there are two other parts "out
> there somewhere."
> If any of you have sent me email and it bounced back, please re-send it.
> I'm still here, the address is the same. Also, if you asked me a question,
> etc., I may not have it, so please forgive me for not answering. I'm trying
> to "hang in there" as it would be a huge undertaking to change email
> addresses at this point. Thanks, and I really hope to hear some feedback
> about John and Amelia. Have a nice 4th of July!
> Sue

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