the GILES family's recorded historical presence in Roane County, Tennessee

The Giles family's recorded historical presence in Roane County, Tennessee

& notes toward sorting out relationships with Giles members who migrated from Tennessee to Gentry County, Missouri

    * Original file date: 2 Dec 2004
    * Updated: 29 Oct 2006

My 19th century GILES line is almost hopelessly tangled in all the William GILESes who lived in Tennessee!
The research has to begin by sorting out the two early William GILES families found in Roane County records. What follows are my current research notes toward that end:


Records for Roane County, Tennessee show a William GILES paying the poll tax for one white person in the Hiwassee District in 1823. Since the tax is for men over twenty-one, this would not have been the William who married Peggy HENSLEY. My guess is that it is, however, his father who was also named William. According to his grandson James Calvin GILES' Civil War questionnaire, that the first  William was born in Ireland.


William GILES and Peggy HENSLEY married in   Roane County in 1835, so it's likely that they may not have left the area during most of their marriage - even if they had slipped over county lines or county lines had shifted and slipped over them at times.


In  the 1840 Roane County federal census, we find one William GILES : 10001-10001 , and in the very next entry: Issac Gallyan 012001-210001 whose census data lines up closely with my research so far on Margaret "Peggy" Hensley GILES's maternal uncle. This 1840 Roane Co GILES family is likely our William and Peggy. One male under five years old  fits son William H. GILES born about 1840; one between 20 and 30 fits William himself, born about 1810. The females "fit," too: one under five could be daughter Nancy, born about 1838, and the one between 20 and 30 years old fits our Peggy  Hensley Giles, born about 1819.


The first William GILES I have found in the tax records for Roane County who appears to fit with the William who married Peggy Hensley appears in the 7th District in 1842 where he pays the poll tax for one white person (that is a male over twenty-one years old in the household). He is located near Calvin GALYON, also of the 7th District. Like William, Calvin GALYON also paid the tax for one white person only. William's mother was a GALYON, and William and Peggy named one of their sons James Calvin "Calvin" GILES who apparently went by his middle name, Calvin, much of the time.


William GILES appears again in the 1843 tax records for Roane County where, like the year before, he pays the poll tax for one white person. This year he is again in the 7th District, but Calvin GALYON is not reported. Instead, Isaac GALYON is there (paying for one white person) and so is Abraham GALYON who pays for one white person and 323 acres valued at $1000. We know that William farmed and did labor, so my guess is that he worked for his in-law Abraham.


In 1844, Abraham, Isaach, and again Calvin GALYON pay taxes in Roane County's 7th District. I haven't found William in the tax records for that year, however.

1850 (the section in which I do a little genealogy sidestepping dance):

The Roane County 1850 census has a William GILES as head of household (family #236):
20th Subdivision, Roane County dwelling 226 family 236 line 11 ff William Giles, 69 No occupa [none: "do"], b VA Polly, 66, b VA Houston, 23, b TN, No occupa [none: "do"] Susan, 18, b TN Polly Ann, 9 mos, b TN

This William GILES, however, appears too old to be the William GILES who married Peggy HENSLEY (who would have been about 40 years old at this point). It is highly unlikely that the Houston, Susan, and Polly Ann GILES in the 1850 census entry are children of the head of household William and his wife Polly. They may be grandchildren. [See Part Two, below, for an updated analysis of the relationships between the members of this household.]

Though this may not be the William and Peggy Hensley GILES family, the enumeration and household order work together to bolster my conviction that this particular William must be one of the Williams known to have been the ancestor of James Calvin GILES.

I base my conviction not in the least on the fact that Peggy HENSLEY GILES' parents are enumerated only a few families away - dwelling 241/family 251:

20th Subdivision, Roane County, TN

enumerator BF Welcker

line 25ff

dwelling241/family 251

Benjamin HENSLEY53, no occupa,["none"] b TN ;Mary, 53, b NC ;Nancy, 21, b TN; Marshall G., 18, b TN, no occupa ["none"]
dwelling 241/ family 252
[same dwelling as Benjamin and Mary but listed as separate family:]
line 29:
Robert HENSLEY98, b NC, no occupa ["none"] ; Benjamin F, 7, b TN; Samuel, 5, b TN
The next family enumerated in this census is Chapman COOLEY, 26, and then one of Peggy's brothers:

William HENSLEY , 20 ,m; Elizabeth A, 21 ; John A. , 2 mos (line 37 ff family 243/254).
Also in Subdivision 20 is William GALYON, an uncle of Peggy's:
William Galyon,57, farmer, b NC, cannot read or write; Jane, 58, b TN; Mary, 26, b TN, cannot read or write; Louisa, 23, b TN, cannot read or write; John, 21, b TN; Sarah, 17, b TN, attended school w/in yr; Eli, 15 b TN, attended school w/in yr

Last, but maybe not least, on the same page as this Wiliam GILES is another GALYON, likely a cousin of Peggy's, given that most of the Roane Co Galyons are connected:
dwelling 223/ fam 233:

Abram GALYON ,23, No occupa [none: "do"], b TN; Martha GALYON 24, b TN ; Mary J GALYON 2, b TN

A William GILES appears on the1857 Roane County tax list for the 8th Civil District:

GILES, William; 1 poll

The following GALYONs and HENSLEY were in the same record for the district:
GALYON, James; 1 poll GALYON, Isaac; 566 acres - value $1000; 1 poll GALYON, E.M.; 1 poll GALYON, George W.; 1 poll HENSLEY, William; 1 poll


With the 1860 census, we move into certainty about where the William GILES (2) who married Peggy HENSLEY is for a time.

On 27 July 1860, William GILES (2) and his wife Margaret "Peggy" [HENSLEY] were enumerated in the 1860 U.S. Census for Knox Co, TN. His family was in District 11 and listed with those of the Concord Post Office area:
District No. 11
Concord PO, Knox Co, TN
Original p No. 114
Sha [?] Callaway, Ass't Marshal [enumerator]
26 Jul 1860
family 169/168
lines 21ff

GILES, Wm. 50 -- Margaret 41 --Nancy J. 22 --Wm. H. 20 -- Mary E. 17 -- *Calvin 16, [This is James Calvin GILES] -- Elizabeth 14 -- Saml. M. 12 --Margaret J. 8 -- Martha M. 5.

At the time, William is a laborer. The census reports that he was born in Alabama. His personal estate is worth $75. He doesn't have real estate. Both he and Margaret [Peggy HENSLEY] are listed as being over 20 and being unable to read or write. Sons William H. and Calvin [James Calvin GILES] are listed as being laborers.

[Location notes for Concord, Knox Co, TN: 1895 atlas: City or Town Name - Concord Population - 271; County - Knox; Area of State - East; Has Post Office? Yes; Has Railroad? Yes; Has Express Office?Yes. GPS Info: latitude 35.9 north x longitude 84.1 west.]

Unfortunately, as of 2 Dec 2004 29 Oct 2006, I haven't tracked William or Peggy after this 1860 census. Did something happen to them during the Civil War? Did they, like so many Roane Co area families GTT - go to Texas?

My current research has shed some light on their sons James Calvin "Calvin" GILES  and  Samuel GILES (aka Samuel JILES) and on their daughter Mary Elizabeth GILES who married Gideon Morgan BOWMAN. The rest of the children are murky and need much more research.

Though William and Peggy's son Calvin says later in his response to a Civil War veteran's questionnaire that William was born in Virginia, William's own 1860 census report, as have said, indicates that he was born in Alabama. In Calvin's census records, however, both Calvin's father and mother are reported to have been born in Tennessee.

A primary research objective has to be, then, discovering where William GILES (2) was born. With that, we might be able to trace his (Irish ?) father and the rest of this GILES line's history in America.

The more I try to track this family in the 19th century, the more convinced I become that they lived much as migrant farm workers do today.

To this point in my research, I find, too, however, that much of this line didn't stray too far from Roane County's borders. William GILES (2) was illiterate; and his son Calvin later says that he himself never had much schooling. Maybe that's why for most of the 19th century, at least,   this GILES line was usually found not too far from relatives and allied families -  many of whom we're learning were also primarily unlettered.

Part of the difficulty in tracking this GILES line, too, has been that members seem to have favored areas where the county boundaries change - a condition so confusing at times that some area families are known to have been recorded in two different counties.

Notes toward sorting out family relationships among GILES family members who migrated from Tennessee to Gentry County, Missouri between 1850 & 1860 and William GILES (2) who married Margaret "Peggy" HENSLEY

I hope someone can help me discover more definitive information not only about the William GILES (1) who married Polly HOUSTON/HUSTON/HUTSON and the William GILES (2) who married Peggy HENSLEY but also about the birth families of the GILES family members - including William GILES (1) -   who migrated from Roane and Bradley Counties in Tennessee to Gentry County in the decade before the Civil War.

The GILES men who migrated were all in TN for the 1850 census and in Gentry County for the 1860 census (Township 62 for all but Benjamin GILES, who was in Township 61).

Here are the principals:
 and, perhaps,

Most of my research has indicated to this point that all of these GILES men are sons of William GILES (1), born about 1781, in Virginaia or Ireland, who married Polly HOUSTON/HUSTON/HUTSON, born about 1784,in Virginia (or Ireland?). The research almost inevitably leads me to conclude, as well, that my 2d great-grandfather, William GILES (2), born about 1810 in Virgina or Alabama, who married Peggy HENSLEY in Roane Co, TN in 1835, was also a son of this William GILES (1) who married Polly HOUSTON/HUSTON/HUTSON.

These conclusions are not without major problems; and below I outline the major ones I have encountered so far in placing these GILES men into the same family. I will begin by reiterating   the 1850 Roane County, Tennessee census entry in which Houston GILES, 23, is found in the household of William (1) and Polly GILES:

30 Aug 1850 20th Subdivision, Roane County, Tennessee Census entry
Enumerated by BF Welcker
fam 226/236
lines 21 ff:
GILES, William, 69, b VA, occupation "none," over 20 cannot read or write [w/ bd est abt 1781]
--Polly, 66, b VA, over 20 cannot read or write [w/ bd est abt 1784]
--Houston, 23, b TN, occupation "none"
--Susan, 18, b TN [Susan CARTER, Houston's wife - see the 1860 census entry for her]
--Polly Ann, 9 mos, b TN [Polly Ann GILES, daughter of Houston and Susan. In the 1860 Missouri census, she is the only of one their children reported not to have been born in Missouri.]

The ages of those in the 1850 household with Polly and William at first disinclined me to list Houston as a child of the couple (see the lined-through comment for the same 1850 census entry in Part One above). Polly would have given birth to him when she was about 43 years old, so I initially thought he might well have been a grandson or nephew that they took in to raise. However, in the 1860 census for Gentry County, Missouri, Houston again appears with William; and William, 76, is listed as father of the head of household, Houston GILES. The Susan in the 1850 household, as the 1860 census entry in Gentry County, Missouri makes apparent, is Susan [CARTER] GILES, Houston's wife. In the 1850 Tennessee household, too, is Polly Ann GILES, who in the 1860 Missouri census is enumerated as the daughter of Susan [CARTER] and Houston GILES.

Despite some uncertainty about this household and its lineage in general, I am currently linking Houston as a son of William and Polly because Houston GILES' 1910 Gentry County, Missouri death certificate also gives his father's name as William GILES, the same relationship indicated by the 1850 and 1860 federal censuses.

So in my current analysis, Houston GILES is a son of William GILES (1) and Polly HOUSTON/HUSTON/HUTSON.

But is he a brother of the William GILES (2) who married Peggy HENSLEY in Roane County, Tennessee in 1835, as I have surmised? Are William (1) and Polly GILES, Houston's parents, also the parents of William GILES (2)?

Complicating that supposition is an 1850 Bradley County, Tennessee census entry for Benjamin GILES, born about 1829 in Tennessee, died about 1861 in Gentry County, Missouri.

I have believed Benjamin to be William (1) and Polly GILES' son, too. I have based that relationship on historical data combined with plausible data from other GILES researchers. I have also taken into account that Benjamin and his family, like many of William and Polly's better documented family members, migrated from east Tennessee to Gentry County, Missouri by the time the 1860 census was enumerated.

In 1838, Benjamin GILES appears on the militia rolls of Cherokee Removal soldiers from Roane County, Tennessee. His wife, Telitha HYDEN/HYTEN, is said to have been a daughter of Richard HYDEN/HYTEN who lived for a time in Roane County.   Some time between the enumeration of the 1840 census and the 1850 census, Benjamin GILES migrated from Monroe County, Tennnessee, where he could be found on the 1840 census,   to Bradley County, Tennessee where he and Telitha are for the 1850 census. In mid-September 1850, when the census was conducted in the part of Bradley County, Tennessee to which he'd moved, Benjamin GILES, his wife Telitha, and several of their children were living near a William and Rebecca GILES. Here is the 1850 census data for both GILES households in Bradley's 24th Subdivision:

Bradley County, TN, 24th Subdivision
line 15 ff
hh 244/244
Benj GILES, 31 m,Farmer, b TN
--Telitha, 30, f,   b TN, cannot read and write
--James, 9, m,   b TN, att school w/in yr
--Mary A., 8 f,,   b TN, att school w/in yr
--William A., 6, m,   b TN
--Rebecca C [or E?], 4, f,   b TN
--John H, 2, m,   b TN
--Francis L. 8/12, m,   b TN

The next household enumerated is this family:

line 23 ff hh
William GILES [surname is carried forward with " marks from Benjamin's surname on Line 15], 48, m, Farmer, value of real estate owned is $2500, b TN [ b abt 1802]
--Rebecca, 46, f, b NC [ b abt 1804]
--William C, 13, m, b TN, att school w/in yr [ b abt 1837]
--Rebecca D, 7, f, b TN, att school w/in yr [b abt 1833]
--Sarah A.C., 3, f, b TN [b abt 1847]

So who is this William GILES? It is possible, of course, that he and Rebecca GILES are the parents of Benjamin and not William and Polly (HOUSTON/HUSTON/HUTSON) GILES. If this Bradley County couple are Benjamin's parents, they would have been about 17 and 16 years old (respectively) when he was born, which is not an implausible scenario.

Bolstering the possibility that they are Benjamin's parents is the fact that he is the sole GILES man in Gentry County, Missouri who migrated between 1850 and 1860 from Tennessee who does not live in Township #62. Benjamin and Telitha are found in Township #61 in 1860.

I can't however, at this point, discount that this Bradley County William GILES   may not be a parent but an older brother of Benjamin's which in turn would suggest that my own William GILES (2) who married Peggy HENSLEY is not a brother of Benjamin's, as I have formerly supposed - just based that on the unlikelihood of brothers having the same first name - especially brothers so close in age - the William GILES in Bradley County (born about 1802) and the William GILES (2) found earlier and later in Roane County (born about 1810).

Another possibility is  that Benjamin may not be a brother of Houston GILES and his brother Calvin GILES, born about 1825, as I have also supposed until now. If Benajmin GILES was not their brother, then it is still entirely possible that our William GILES (2) who married Peggy HENSLEY in Roane County is   a brother of Calvin and Houston GILES and that the William GILES (1) married to Polly HOUSTON/HUSTON/HUTSON is - still - our William's (2) father, as I think my research to this point has indicated.

A third possibility is that it is strictly coincidental that Benjamin and Telitha (HYDEN/HYTEN) GILES migrated to Gentry County around the same time as Houston, Calvin, and John GILES, and Houston's father William GILES (1).

A fourth possibility is that Benjamin may be more distantly related to those men I just mentioned than I had supposed.

And of course, a fifth possibility is that Benjamin GILES and this new William GILES of Bradley County, Tennessee are not closely related to one another at all. The two of them may have absolutely no family in common and just happen to live close and share the same surname.

Somehow, I doubt that possibility number five is going to be the one borne out by further research. So, as usual, what is certain in all this is that my GILES line continues to keep me hopping as my search to find and then straighten them out continues.

For further census data on many of the individuals listed in this file, see the "Census 1840 to 1930 Roane Co, TN - GILES" entry for 21 Jul 2006   on my TnType genealogy blog | here |.

If you have information, leads, photos, documents, information to exchange, or corrections, please contact me using me the message subject, GILES family in TN: