Saturday, September 5, 2009

Update # 1 A Hill Country Family: GURLEY and REBA GILLILAND

by Terry Thornton

Regular Hill Country reader Jim Boozer of Amory, Mississippi, sent information that Reba Gilliland, wife of Gurley Webster Gilliland, was the daughter of Newsom Faulkner and granddaughter of Neverson Faulkner of Splunge.

Armed with Jim's information, I located the Descendants of Nervison Tobias (Tobe) Falkner sent to me earlier by Mary Joyce Leverett Price of Pensacola, Florida. Within those pages is information that Reba Faulkner was the daughter of NEWSOM FAULKNER (1855 - 1900) and MARY LOU CANDICE RICHARDSON FAULKNER (dates unknown) of Splunge.

Reba's grandparents were listed there as NERVISON TOBIAS "Tobe" FALKNER (abt 1825 - 1900) and MARTHA EDWARDS (abt 1826 - 1869). Both of Reba's grandparents were born in North Carolina and moved to Monroe County, Mississippi, sometimes prior to 1855.

From family researcher and author (First Alabama Cavalry USA: Homage to Patriotism) Glenda McWhirter, came a long email with additional information about more connections to the Gurley Gilliland family. Glenda was kind enough to send information which confirmed that Gurly's grandfather was indeed Amos Gilliland. But Glenda also sent information showing the relationship of the Gilliland family to the BIRD/BYRD and RICHARDSON and PARHAM and BOOTH families.

According to Glenda, Gurley Gilliland's great-grandparents were THOMAS MONROE GILLILAND (b 1794) and MARY ANN PONDER GILLILAND (b 1798). Their son was AMOS (mentioned in the original article I posted) and one of their daughters was MALINDA ANN GILLILAND (b 1837 Fayette County). Malinda married GEORGE THOMAS BYRD in Marion County Alabama --- and the Byrd family is well-known in the Hill Country of both north-west Alabama and north-east Mississippi.

Glenda also sent pictures of the old Byrd House at Splunge --- a home I knew as the STANFORD house. The house, in ruins, survives having been gutted by the removal of the original log cabin around which it was built.

Also of interest to the Gurley and Reba Gilliland article was this information from Glenda. Reba F. Faulkner was born 1891 and died 1968. Reba's mother was MARY LOU CANDICE RICHARDSON, daughter of JOHN RICHARDSON and MELISSA ANN PARHAM. Reba's great-grandparents were ISHAM PARHAM and MARY "Polly" BOOTH PARHAM.

It is amazing how the families in and around Splunge Mississippi and Detroit Alabama are so interconnected --- and to find a connection through Mr. Gurley and Miss Reba to all of these other "first" families of Hill Country is most pleasing and fitting.

Thanks to Jim Boozer and to Glenda Todd for emailing information used in this update. Thanks also to Mary Joyce Price for earlier sending the Faulkner Family information. Also used in this update was information from Marjorie Parham Hailey's In a Pear Tree.

I am still looking for a list of Gurley and Reba Gilliland's children. If you have information, documents, or photographs which will help to continue this writing of the history of this Hill Country family, please send me an email at


Boozer, Jim. Reba Faulkner Gilliland, Family Information, Gilliland, September 4, 2009, email to Terry Thornton.

Hailey, Marjorie Parham. Isham Parham Jr. and Mary "Polly" Booth Parham, In A Pear Tree: The Story of Some of the Parhams in that Tree. New Santander Press. Edinburg, Texas. 1987.

Price, Mary Joyce Leverett. Descendants of Nervison Tobias (Tobe) Falkner. Privately printed, not dated, pages 1 - 3.

Todd, Glenda McWhirter. Gilliland, Bird/Byrd, Parham, Booth, Richardson, Family Information, Gilliland, September 5, 2009, email to Terry Thornton.

No comments: