Search for content in message boards

The Headley Family History

Replies: 10

The Headley Family History

Posted: 1091774045000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1140196652000
Surnames: Headley
Re-copied here with permission from the author, Patricia (Gilleland) Young.
"I am glad you have found the information useful. I have placed a copy of my Headley book, "Joseph Headley, Patriot and Pioneer" at the library in Salt Lake City. I only did a few bound copies of the information. I don't remember exactly what I sent you, but I do not mind your sharing the information. Perhaps we can find more connections by doing so. Please feel free to share. I think that is what genealogy is all about. I try to verify my information and anything that I can't find record of I will classify as family tradition. I think it is important to be as accurate as possible. It is so easy to pick up wrong information, so I always try to verify what I learn from other sources." Patricia (Gilleland) Young

The Headley Family History

The Headley family is undoubtedly of English origin, as most Headley researchers claim. It is said that in the 12th century, the name was "De Haddeleigh", with the Latin form being, "de Hadleins", the significance being, "in the woods". The name has under gone several changes through the years, and it is now variously written as, Headley, Headlee, Headly, Hedly, and Hadley.

Early records of the Headley family in the United States are scarce, but they were apparently early settlers in the New England area. One Headley genealogy that I have used extensively in this record is, "A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Leonard Headley of Elizabethtown, N.J., by Reverend AJ Fretz of Milton, New Jersey, printed in Milton, New Jersey, in 1905 by Joseph W. Headley. Some later researchers disagree with his conclusions concerning the first Headley's in this country, so we will attempt to make a distinction between available facts and speculation.

In the following accounts, we will consider some early Headley's in the New Jersey area that possibly relate to our Joseph, who will be the primary ancestor from whom we can document without question.

Leonard Headley of Elizabethtown, New Jersey

According to tradition and the best available records, two brothers, tanners and curriers by occupation, came from Manchester, England, and landed in Boston in 1664. One brother, John, located at Newport, Rhode Island, when that place was first settled in 1665. The other Brother may have been Leonard Headley, who first settled in Connecticut and later in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, where on February19, 1665 he took the oath of allegiance and fidelity to King Charles ?, and to be true and faithful to the Lord Proprietors. This oath is recorded at Trenton, New Jersey, book 1, page 50, Office of the Secretary of State, and reads as follows:
"You do swear upon the Holy Evangelist contained in this book to bear true faith and allegiance to our sovereign Lord King Charles ? and his lawful successors and the government of this province of New Jersey as long as you shall continue an inhabitant under the same without any equivocation or mental reservation whatsoever and so help you God."

Leonard Headley and sixty-four other persons, in which number was Luke Watson's company of sixty emigrants, signed this document. Leonard Headley was evidently one of five persons who joined the company at Elizabethtown and was one of the original founders of that place. In that company, no person was admitted but church members.

On the 6th of October, 1665, a warrant for 120 acres of land was granted to Leonard Headley within the bounds of Elizabethtown of upland and meadow in proportion in the right of himself and his wife. (Liber 2., Cartaret Book, page 3.)

In pursuant of this warrant, on October 14, 1678, the lands were laid out to Leonard Headley and filed in right of himself and wife as follows: First, a house lot of four acres bounded by John Ogden, Jr. and the highway; second, upland of eight acres at Brocketts Spring, along the brook adjoining Hur Thompson's and a swamp; third, an upland of six acres lying on the way to the point bounded in part by John Ogden, Jr., and John Woodruff; fourth, a tract of twenty acres on Elizabethtown Creek adjoining Daniel DeHart, John Ogden, Jr., Joseph Seconds, Robert Vauquellin, and J. Morris; fifth, a tract of upland of sixty-five acres on north east end of plains adjoining Benjamin Park, Johnathan Ogden, and Margaret Baker in the great meadow west of a small Island and adjoining Samuel Morris.

Leonard Headley's wife was named Sarah. Leonard Headley died in Feb 1683, and his estate was settled in February, 1684. At that time, Sarah, who had been named administratrix of his estate, was the wife of Robert Smith of Elizabethtown, New Jersey, according to records of Essex County, New Jersey. Sarah was probably Sarah Dyment, daughter of Thomas Dyment, who left a legacy to Sarah Headley of New Jersey, dated July 28, 1682. Thomas Dyment's estate was settled in March of 1683. This information concerning Sarah Dyment (or Diament) was found in Boston transcripts of 1928.

The Fretz genealogy suggests that Leonard Headley had two sons, Thomas and Abner. However, no mention of children is made in his will, so this connection is not verifiable. There is a mention of a Thomas Headley in the city of Elizabeth, New Jersey, around 1700-1702. One John Parker died, in December, 1702, leaving his property to Robert Smith, Sarah Browne, Thomas Headley and the church at Elizabethtown. In 1739, Capt. Ebenezer Lyon willed to Dorcas, land that had belonged to Thomas Headley in Elizabeth.

Samuel Headley of Headleytown, New Jersey

Samuel Headley, the founder of Headleytown, which later became Unionville, New Jersey, was born about 1690 and died around 1755, having accumulated large tracts of land in the vicinity. His family belonged to the Presbyterian Church at what was known as Connecticut Farms, and he was buried there, though there is no longer anything there to mark his grave.

Connecticut Farms was in the northern part of the township, four miles northwest of Elizabethtown and six miles southwest of Newark. Previous to 1749, a number of families Connecticut purchased a large tract of land and gave it the name, "Connecticut Farms". The name of the village was later changed to "Union". At this place, the Connecticut Farms Presbyterian Church was established-a wooden structure the date of which is not known the as the church records were burned by the Hessians during the Revolutionary War. It is one of the oldest Presbyterian Churches in the state of New Jersey, and here worshipped many Headley ancestors, and in its adjoining cemetery were many Headley ancestors laid to rest. After the war, the church was rebuilt on the same site as the original structure. (This information is from the Fritz genealogy.)

Samuel Headley made his will May 30, 1745, naming his wife, Mary, the recipient of benefits and income of all his lands, tenements, and one third part of his moveable estate. He names Joseph, Robert, Samuel and Isaac, his sons; and he names four daughters, Mary (wife of John Muchmore), Sarah, Rachel, and Phebe.

Joseph Headley, son of Samuel and Mary Headley was born about 1718 and died October 1785. He lived on land inherited from his father, later moving to property in Headleytown known as Vaux Hall, of which he was the first Headley owner of record. His was a large Colonial residence, pierced by many bullet holes, said to have been made by the British during the Revolutionary War. It was once used as a tavern, and later owned and occupied by Cary Headley, Timothy Headley, and Wickliff Headley. During the American Revolution, Battles were fought on this property, and many Headley men fought in that war. Most of the descendants of this Joseph Headley remained in the New Jersey area.

Robert Headley of Connecticut Farms, New Jersey

Records indicate that this Robert was the son of Samuel Headley of Headleytown. According to the Fretz genealogy, Robert was born at Connecticut Farms, Union County, New Jersey, in 1720 and died at Milton, New Jersey, April 28, 1806. His first wife was named Susannah, and children by her were: Moses, Robert, Lois, and Mary. Nothing is known of the children by this marriage. Robert later married Phebe (Baldwin) Gardner, and their children were: Joseph, Samuel, William, and Phebe.

On October 18, 1757, Robert made a will in Essex County, New Jersey naming brother Samuel, sons Moses and Robert and daughters Loes (sic) and Mary, and his wife, Susannah. We are unaware of a later will, but after this time, he married Phebe Gardner.

Some time later Robert and his family moved to the Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania, and was one of the few that escaped the terrible massacre that followed. According to the Fretz Account:

"Robert was very friendly with the Indians. One Indian was a particular friend to Robert and just before the massacre warned him to leave as the town would be burned that night. Robert said to the Indian, "you wouldn't hurt me, would you?" Indian says, "In time of war Indian knows no friend." So Robert got an old high top Pennsylvania wagon and put in it all the goods he could and at 4 o'clock that afternoon of July 2, 1778, he started with his wife and sons Joseph, Samuel, William, and daughter Phebe, for New Jersey. After going through the wilds of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, he finally reached the Hopewell Mountains in Sussex County, in the Beginning of the winter of 1778, where he built a cabin on what is now the Hayward property and passed the winter. Early in the spring of 1779, he located at Milton, Morris County, where he built a log house which is still standing on the Headley Homestead and has continued in the Headley name ever since…[Written in 1905]"

This is as much as we have been able to find out about Robert, but he is in all probability the father of our Joseph Headley, who was born in New Jersey and later began the westward migration of our Headley ancestors.

The Westward Migration

We begin the westward migration with Joseph Headley (1757-1842), tracking his descendants as they moved westward. Joseph and some of his children began by moving to Ohio, while later generations moved to Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma, with some eventually settling as far west as Oregon. Their lives are entwined with the history of this country, and their story is typical of the pioneer spirit that has made her great.

Apparently Joseph Headley's brothers and sisters remained in the New Jersey area, where record is found of their descendants also. Joseph and most of his children moved to Ohio, although we have yet to determine their reason for leaving New Jersey, acquisition of land being the obvious assumption.

In 1803, Ohio was the first state formed out of the Northwest Territory, which had been acquired from Great Briton in the "Treaty of Paris". Other states carved out of the Territory were: Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and part of Minnesota.

The French had occupied this Territory in the early 1700s. France ceded the area to England at the end of the French and Indian War (1763).

During the Revolutionary War, there was violent fighting in the area between settlers and British, among with their Indian Allies. The region was ceded to the United States after the War, and it became a Territory of the United States.

Eager for revenue from the sale of land, the United States adopted the Ordinance of 1785, providing for the regulation of settlement of the area. Settlement moved slowly in the area, largely because of continuing Indian attacks. In 1796, General Anthony Wayne forced the "Treaty of Greenville" on the defeated Indians, and the Indians ceded most of the lands of southern Ohio to the United States. As more Settlers moved in, the Territory was divided, creating the Territory of Indiana, the Territory of Michigan, and the Illinois Territory.

Ohio became a state in 1803 and later served as an important link to the west as canals, railways, and roads crossed the state.
Several States had claims in the Northwest Territory via colonial charters from England. They were Massachusetts, Virginia, Connecticut, and New York. After a great deal of negotiating, the states relinquished their claims to the United States. Virginia, however, was permitted to keep part of her land claim to satisfy the claims of state troops in the army during the American Revolution. This was designated, "Virginia Military land". A portion of land, termed, "fire lands", was donated in1796 to certain "sufferers of fire" caused by England during the Revolution.

Lands designated, "Congress lands", was sold by the federal government from 1786 to 1820. This land was divided into sections, then sub-divided, reserving one portion for a school for each community.

It is likely that the Headley's moved west with these settlements. Joseph Headley had served in the New Jersey State Militia during the American Revolution, but no record has been found of land grants for this service.

The Headley's apparently followed major migration routes West, taking the "old trading path" which went from Philadelphia to Pittsburg, then joining the "National Road", which ran from Baltimore, Maryland to St. Louis Missouri. Licking County, Ohio where many of the Headley's remained is right on this trail. Muskingum and Franklin Counties border Licking County and Headley's were in this area also. By the 1830s much of this land was settled. Obviously some Headley's continued on through Indiana and Illinois.

Beyond the Mississippi River, the Lewis and Clark expedition followed the Missouri River to it's source, crossed the Continental Divide and reached the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Columbia River. The route to the far west was opened in the mid 1800s. Gold was discovered in California in 1848, and the rush Westward was on again. Some of the Headley's apparently took the Oregon Trail westward.

The United States first asserted it right to the Oregon Country after the War of 1812. It's claims were based on the discovery of the Columbia River by Robert Gray in1792, the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-1806, and the establishment of a trading post at Astoria in 1811 by American fur trader, John Jacob Astor.

At this time, four nations claimed the territory. They were Spain, Russia, Great Britain, and the United States. The claims of the United States and Britain were superior, so ultimately Spain and Russia dropped their claims, leaving the dispute between the United States and Great Britain.

Great Britain's claims were based on the 16th century voyage of Sir Francis Drake, several 18th century voyages and their established trading posts. Negotiations with Great Britain resulted in a treaty granting joint possession of the area, and interest waned for a time. In 1846, a treaty with Britain finally gave the area to the United States, and Oregon became a territory in 1848. On February14, 1859, Oregon became the 33rd State in the United States. The territory originally included the present states of Washington, Oregon, part of Idaho, and part of Montana.

In 1834, Methodist missionaries established the first permanent American settlement in the Willamette Valley. The largest overland migration occurred in 1843. In that year, over 1,000 people traveled the Oregon Trail and settled the Willamette Valley.

The Oregon Trail was the longest overland route westward, stretching 2,000 miles through prairies, deserts, and mountains. It took travelers 6 months to make the journey, which was extremely difficult and brought unimagined hardships. It is a testament to the strength and courage of the pioneers who made their way Westward.

With this brief background of history, we follow their migration, beginning with Joseph Headley who set out for Ohio in 1809, along with several of his children and their families. Son Peter went with him to Licking Creek, Near Jersey, Ohio, in 1815 where they settled. Most of Peter's descendants remained in Ohio, however, Peter's son, Davis Headley, migrated to Iowa, then to Kansas with his son Lewis Cass Headley. Davis Headley died in Kansas, as did his wife, Sallie. Two of Davis' children eventually went to Oregon--William Edmond and Meritta. Lewis Cass Headley spent his last twenty years in Oklahoma, where he died in 1920.

Joseph's daughter, Elizabeth, married Benjamin Parkhurst, they also migrated to Ohio in 1809. Their son, Peter, was born on their way West, and most of Elizabeth's children remained in Ohio.

Joseph's daughter, Dorothea, married Joshua Hammond, and they also migrated to Ohio and settled near Alexandria, Some of their descendants went to Iowa.

Joseph's son, William D. Headley, moved to Ohio, and some of his descendants went on to Missouri.

Joseph's son, Samuel, also went to Licking County, Ohio, and his descendants migrated to Kansas and Nebraska.

Joseph's son, Uzal, went to Ohio and remained there, while some of his descendants went on to Iowa, some to Oklahoma, and some to California.

Joseph's son, Lewis, and his descendants remained in Ohio for the most part while son Charles migrated to Illinois. Daughter Eunice moved west, but the exact location is uncertain at this time.

In the next section we will begin a more detailed genealogical record of Joseph Headley and his descendants, recognizing that the record will likely never be complete. We offer the best information available to us at this time and urge readers to take up the challenge to enlarge the recorded history of the Headley family by researching their own lines and making the information available to future generations of researchers.

Meritta B. Headley
By Mary Eva Culver

Meritta B. Headley was the first born child of Davis and Sallie Headley. She was born in Liking County, Ohio, in the month of July in the year 1835. There she was joined by two younger sisters, Mandane and Ellen, and four younger brothers: William Edmond, Albert B., Lewis Cass and Lewellyn. The family moved to Iowa before the birth of the last child, Henry, born there in 1856. The Davis Headley family appears in 1840 and 1850 Ohio censuses, along with other Headley families known to be ours. They are found in Cedar Falls, Black Hawk County, Iowa, census in 1860 with the addition with George, age 1.

Davis Headley was a farmer. His wife, Sallie, born in New Jersey in 1815, was an educated woman who taught most of her brood at home; Meritta's brother Lewis' obituary speaks of this. Lewis died a well-respected pillar of his community and was a recognized newspaper editor, attesting to the success of his mother's teaching.

The trip to Iowa before Henry's birth in 1856 would not be easy by present-day standards. Iowa had become a state in 1846, and the Indians were no longer troublesome. Land was available, which would make the move attractive to a farmer like Davis with the pioneer blood of Peter and Joseph (first on the frontier of Ohio).

It must have been in Iowa that Meritta met and married her first husband, who died fighting with the Northern Army. He was killed in one of the major engagements in the Civil War, according to the obituary of Meritta. Her son, George Stout, was born in Iowa in 1859. He is named George Headley in the 1860 census mentioned above.

George Stout is something of a mystery throughout the records. How is it that Meritta is listed as "Miss" Meritta Headley when her name appears with John Steed in Marriage Record B, Black Hawk County, on February 2, 1864? In the 1870 US Census, the John Steed household lists him as "George A., attending school". There is a reference to a William A., right age, in another record. George does not appear in the Clakamas County census of 1880, but was probably out on his own by that time, being twenty-one. He does appear as a Sheepherder in later censuses. He receives full recognition as a brother in Oregon family obituaries and there his name is "Stout". Meritta's obituary lists him as one of her survivors.

Meritta was a nurse in the Civil War, according to her obituary. How and where Meritta served, I do not know. There is a picture of a sad-looking young woman in a long sleeved, striped dress, holding a baby in her lap. Perhaps that was her uniform.

Certainly the Civil War hit the Davis Headley hard in Iowa. Meritta lost a young husband, and she nursed the wounded and dying. Davis Headley's sons, William Edmond and Albert B., enlisted within three days of each other in September of 1861. W. Edmond served throughout the War unscathed, later receiving his pension; but Albert died "of disease at Steamer D.A. (?) January (does not refer to month) on September 30, 1862." Albert was not more than 20 years of age when he died.

It was in 1875 that the John Steed family left Iowa, headed for another frontier, Oregon. It wasn't until recently (1992) that why they came to Oregon was answered. They came by ox-team to Clackamas County, probably because John Steed's sister Sophia Weismantle and her husband John had a land claim at Canby, Clackamas County. Meritta's brother, W. Edmond, joined his sister in Oregon around 1906.

Their journey to Oregon must have been along the Oregon Trail. It was three years after the advent of the railroad. Custer had yet to make his famous stand, and although soldiers had government forts along the route, the travelers still need to be wary of the Indians. But the call for land of their own was very strong, and there was still land east of the mountains that had not been claimed.

By the time they set out for Oregon, John and Meritta had six children, all born in Iowa. George was 16, Henry, 11, Mary Elizabeth, 9, Jane Emma, 7, and Lizzie B., 3. Also Meritta was carrying a child, Annie, her first to be born in Oregon. Annie was born in September, 1875.

Young Benjamin Steed was born April 1, 1878 in Clackamas County, Oregon; and the last child, Ora, called "Ory", came along in Wamic, Oregon, in February of 1881. By this time the Steeds had 160 acres in Tygh Valley. The land is rolling foothills that rise gently to the slopes of mighty Mount Hood.

John Steed probably died young, but we haven't found a record. The last written evidence we have of him is that his name appears in the wedding affidavit of our grandmother Lizzie in November 1885. Daughter Emma was married in 1887 at the home of neighbors, the Thomas Drivers, and when Mary married in 1889, the wedding took place at the home of "Mrs. Meritta Steed." John's name does not appear on either of those documents.
After John's death, Meritta carried on by herself with the boys and Annie on the homestead. In the 1900 census, she said she was widowed, head of household, had 9 children born and 8 living. Emma had just died.

In the 27 years that followed, she was the matriarch of an energetic family. The four girls married, two of them dying young and leaving young children to be raised by Ben and Charlie. Two sons never married. They were Henry and Ory. Lizzy gave her the most grandchildren, eleven, nine of whom survived to adulthood. Daughter Mary and sons Ben and Ory all outlived Meritta.

I envision Meritta as a confidant and capable woman who gained independence early, having been a nurse in the Civil war and widowed young. She had made two wagon trips westward; first, from Ohio to Iowa, and second, from Iowa to Oregon. She had her last child at age forty-six. She ran a large farm with the help of her sons.

One of Meritta's habits was to smoke a little pipe, Ory smoked right along with her. That little pipe was her undoing. In later years, she was confined to a wheel chair, and one day she "burned herself up in her wheel chair." That was on October 10, 1924, just four months after son Charlie died. She was 92 years old. She was buried in Lone Pine Cemetery, Wamic, Oregon.
Each of the Steed children helped to build the Oregon we know and cherish today. They appear to be ordinary people in simple surroundings, and records are few. I will follow with brief sketches of the children of Meritta and John Steed.

George Stout: Born in 1859 in Iowa, George was the son of "a Union Soldier who died in a major engagement early in the Civil War," according to Meritta's obituary. George's name appears on some of the land transactions in the area, and on several census records. He was alive as late as 1930.
Henry E.: He was the first child of John and Meritta, born in Iowa, October of 1867. He never married, and he appears to have been a sheepherder for most of his life. He is listed in census records as working for the huge Hinton-Ward ranch, headquartered east of the valley. Steed's crossing in Bonney Creek area may have been named for him. It is called Bonney crossing now, but I think the original name should be restored. Henry died at The Dalles after a short illness when he was fifty-eight years old. He is buried at Wamic.
Mary Elizabeth: (for whom my mother was named). Mary was the second child and oldest daughter, born in July 1866 in Iowa. She married Fred Walton, a man from California, on February 20, 1889. Only Meritta signed the license. The Waltons had one child, Claud, born in 1896. In the 1900 census, Mary is found living at home with her mother, and the child, Claud, is described as "grandson, age 4." Mary is buried at Friend, in Oregon, a town no longer in existence today.

Jane Emma: Jane was born in November of 1868 in Iowa. In 1887, she married William T. Hunt of Tennessee. She is said to have had six children, of whom three were living when she died just before 1900. Their names were Anna Bell, Nellie May, and Henry W., all of whom we have no more information.

Lizzie Barzilla: Lizzie was born August 28, 1872 in Waterloo, Black Hawk County, Iowa. She married at age 13 on November 30, 1885.

Charles W.: Charles was born in October of 1874 in Iowa. He was one year old when they traveled the Oregon Trail. Charlie was away from the ranch a lot, following the sheep industry. Census records show him working for various ranchers. He died of spotted fever from a tick bite at the age of 54, just a few months before his mother died. Charlie got married at age 35 to Mary Stackhouse from Montana. They were married on February 23, 1909 at City Hall at the Dalles. Charlie's bride was 17 years his junior but does not appear to be his widow in his obituary. Charlie helped provide a home for the Hunt girls, Claude Wing and Claud Walton, all of whom grew up together in the Sherar's Bridge area. Charlie is buried in the Wamic Lone Pine Cemetery.

Annie L.: Annie was the first child born in Oregon in September of 1875, just after they arrived at the home of John's sister, Sofia. Annie's husband was Milton Wing, 16 years older than Annie. They married in 1899. Milton's first wife had divorced him, leaving him with a daughter just ten years younger than her new mother. Milton "Mitt" had a son, Frank, who got married that same summer. Annie and Mitt had one child of their own, Claud, born in April of 1900. Annie died of consumption in 1912, and Claud Wing was raised by Uncles Ben and Charlie.

Benjamin: Ben was born in 1878 in Canby, Oregon, before the family found their land in Wasco County. He was a farmer. Ben seems to have taken over Meritta's affairs in her declining years. Ben married Isobelle, who outlived him by three years. They had no children, but all the cousins spent time with them. Ben died in Oregon City September 13, 1942. Ben is buried at Mountian View in Oregon City.

ORA (Ory): Ora was the last of Meritta's nine children. He was born in Wamic in 1881. Ory took care of his mother until she died. He died in Troutdale in 1950 and is buried there.

SubjectAuthorDate Posted
pkh563810 1091774045000 
HeatherHeadle... 1273773528000 
robertheadley... 1299410236000 
iamdatura 1340894755000 
melonah 1355383113000 
rob punter 1417980669000 
melonah 1355382997000 
rob punter 1417980531000 
britt_headley 1354941510000 
cjheadley 1387113631000 
per page

Find a board about a specific topic