Who were Abel Colley's parent?
(Of Scioto County, OH)

In my recent round of researching (I've been working on this family since the late 70s) I've discovered quite a few people have been listing ABEL COLLEY's Parents as Father: John Colley Mother: Sarah France. On Ancestry.com there are no less than 27 family trees stating this. I have asked every researcher I've run across that lited John and Sarah as parents for their documentation, or at least their circumstancial arguement. None have supplied me with any evidence or reasoning.

Chattel Tax
Deeds / Patents
Civil War Documents
Death Certificate

My personal research points towards ALLEN CORLEY/CAULLEY/COLLEY and his wife, MARY SINER as ABEL COLLEY's parents. In the remainder of this site I will argue my case for Abel being the son of Allen and Mary, NOT the son of John and Sarah.

Allen Finley was born in Virginia and took the surname CORLEY to honor the man we believe to have been his maternal grandfather. Allen CAWLEY married Mary Siner in Bedford Co., VA on 12 Dec., 1807 This now shows that the spelling of the name is NOT a constant. In fact I have seen the names spelled 25 differnt way.
Crawley, Corley, Carley, Colley, Colly, Coley, Calley, Cally, Cawley, Cowley, Caulley, Caully, Cauly,
Cauley, Cooley, Cauelley, Caughlley, Crowley, Culley, Colby (misread from Colley), Conley (again,
misread from Cauley), Cassley (another misreading case) Canley, Corlley, and just recently I found
a long lost marriage with the name recorded as Cawlea.

This marriage entry proves that the names CORLEY and CAULLY are the same.

Allen and Mary left Virginia sometime around 1816-1818 moving on to eastern Kentucky, residing in Greenup Co. They were found on page 655 of the 1820 census , Greenup Co., KY as Allen CALLEY. By December of 1827 they had moved across the Ohio River to Symmes Township of Lawrence Co. This is chronicled in an letter written by John T. Irwin 1n 1899. Note that whomever transcribe the letter misread Colley for Colby (Easy to do with 19th century cursive).

In research notes made by Chester I Miller it is obvious that an Allen, Joh, Andrew, George and Abel CAWLEY, CAULLEY, CAULEY all lived in Symmes Township od Lawrence County as is evidenced by this Chattel Tax List:

1828 Allen Cawley Symmes Township

1829 Allen Cawley Symmes Tshp

1830 Allen Caully Symmes Tshp

1832 Allen Cawley Symmes Tshp
Abraham Cawley Symmes Tshp

1833 Allen Cawley Symmes Tshp
Able Cawley Symmes Tshp

1834 Allen Caulley Symmes Tshp
Able Caulley Symmes Tshp

1835 Allen Caulley Symmes Tshp
Abel Caulley Symmes Tshp

1836 Allen Cawley Symmes Tshp
Abel Cawley Symmes Tshp

1837 Allen Cawley Symmes Tshp
Abel Cawley Symmes Tshp

1838 Allen Cauley Symmes Tshp
Abel Cauley Symmes Tshp

1839 Allen Cawley Symmes Tshp
Abel Cawley Symmes Tshp
John Cawley Symmes Tshp

1840 Allen Cawley Symmes Tshp
Able Cawley Symmes Tshp
John Cawley Symmes Tshp

1841 Allen Caulley Symmes Tshp
Able Caulley Symmes Tshp
John Caulley Symmes Tshp
Geo. W. Caulley Symmes Tshp

In 1980 my wife and I made a trip to Lawrence County and I transcribed the following DEEDS and LAND PATENTS for the Family

Land Patents in Lawrence Co

Allen Cally - 1837 Section 10 Symmes Tshp
Allen Cauley - 1837 10 Symmes Tshp
Allen Cawbey - 1837 Sect 9 Symmes Tshp

Abel Calley - 1837 Sect 10 Symmes Tshp
Abel Canley - 1836 sect 15 Symmes Tshp

John Caulley - 1841 sect 4 Symmes Tshp
John Calley - 1837 sect 3 Symmes Tshp

George W. Cally 1837 sect 10 Symmes Tshp

Andrew J. Corlley 1846
Andrew Canley - 1849 sect 3 Symmes Tshp

and the following deeds

John Caulley to Andrew Bandy 21 Jan 1837 100 acres bk 7 p 437
Abel Corley to Andrew Corley 31 Jan 1848 40 Acres bk 11 pg 207
Abel Caulley to John Powers 6 March 1849 ? bk 12 pg 100
among others

Notice from this MAP I made that Abel's land patents adjoined Allen's, George's and Andrew's patents.

Now let's look at the different censuses,

Starting with the 1830 Census,Symmes Township, Lawrence County, Ohio we find
Allen COLLAY had the following family members: 2 males age 5-9, 2 males age 10-14, 1 male age 15-19 (Abel) 1 male age 40-49; 2 females under age 5, 1 female age 10-14 and 1 female age 20-29

On the 1840 Census, the year after Abel married Catherine Spencer we find
Allen CORLEY and ABRAHAM (Census taker probably asked his name and was told ABE. The censustaker probably assumed ABRAHAM when it was really ABEL)
Allen and Abraham were neighbors in Symmes Township, Lawrence Co., Ohio.

(Remember that Abel sold his land in 1848 & 1849)
The 1850 Census of Scioto Co, a county bordering Lawrence Co., show the following family group:

Name: Abel COOLEY
Age: 40
Estimated birth year: abt 1810
Birth Place: Ohio
Gender: Male
Home in 1850 (City,County,State): Union, Scioto, Ohio
Family Number: 59
Abel Cooley 40
C Cooley 35
A Cooley 12
S Cooley 10
J A Cooley 8
S Cooley 6
H Cooley 4
T Cooley 2

The 1860 Census shows Abel & Catherine's son Allen in Union Township, Scioto Co, OH

Name: Alln Cauley
Age in 1860: 24
Birth Year: abt 1836
Birthplace: Ohio
Home in 1860: Union, Scioto, Ohio
Gender: Male
Post Office: Portsmouth
Household Members:
Name Age
Allie Cauley 24
Cath Cauley 24
Mary J Cauley 6/12

The 1870 Census has the household of Abel CAULEY in Rush Township of Scioto Co, OH.
(Ancestry.com had this mis-transcribed as Abel CASSLEY, when it's clearly CAULEY)

Name: Abel Cassley
[Abel Cauley]
Birth Year: abt 1811 Age in 1870: 59
Birthplace: Virginia
Home in 1870: Rush, Scioto, Ohio
Race: White
Gender: Male
Value of real estate: View image
Post Office: Lucasville
Household Members:
Name Age
Abel Cassley 59
Catharine Cassley 54

Sarah A Cassley 23
James Cassley 18
Washington Cassley 15
William Cassley 13
Polly Cassley 12
Samuel Cooper 9

The 1880 Census has 2 families of interest. The family of Abel COLLEY, and the family of thier son Allen COLLEY

Name: Able Colley
Home in 1880: Rush, Scioto, Ohio
Age: 70
Estimated birth year: abt 1810
Birthplace: Virginia
Relation to Head of Household: Self (Head)
Spouse's name: Catherine
Father's birthplace: Virginia

Mother's birthplace: Virginia
Occupation: Farmer
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Gender: Male
View image
Household Members:
Name Age
Able Colley 70
Catherine Colley 63
William Colley 23
Albert Colley 12
Able Colley 2

Name: Allen Colley
Home in 1880: Morgan, Scioto, Ohio
Age: 44
Estimated birth year: abt 1836
Birthplace: Ohio
Relation to Head of Household: Self (Head)
Spouse's name: Mary
Father's birthplace: Virginia
Mother's birthplace: Virginia
Neighbors: View others on page
Occupation: Laborer
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Gender: Male
Household Members:
Name Age
Allen Colley 44
Mary Colley 32
Tempa J. Colley 12
Allen Colley 10
Abel Colley 8
Bazzel Colley 6
Isaiah Colley 4
John Colley 1M
(Notice the children's names; Tempa J., Allen, Abel & John--ALL FAMILY NAMES of ALLEN CORLEY/CAULLEY/COLLEY's family)

Next, let's examine the Civil War papers of ALLEN COLLEY, son of ABEL & Catherine:

Allen's ENLISTMENT FORM give hisAGE AS 28 and his place of birth as LAWRENCE COUNTY, OHIO
In his PENSION APPLICATION, allen lists his date & place of birth as June 22, 1835 in Lawrence Co., Ohio
On this form, Allen names his children,
and on this one his widow lists all 4 of Allen's wives.

The final document is ALLEN COLLEY's DEATH CERTIFICATE which confirms that Allen's parents were Abraham (Abel?) Colley and Catherine Spencer. It also confirms his date of birth at 22 June 1835. It gives his place of birth as Galia Co., Ohio. Actually, his parent's land was 1.5 mils from the Lawrence/Gallia County line, inside Lawrence Co. The information was given by his son, Basil which makes 2nd had at best and given at a time of stress. This can account for some minor factual errors (Father's name given as Abraham--he probably remembered "Abe" and gave the more common name from which Abe is derived, and Gallia Co as his father's birth place in stead of Lawrence Co.)

Next, children named TEMPY or TEMPA. It has long been a tradition for some form of the name TEMPERANCE to be used for a daughter since the marriage of James CORLEY and Temperance (Tempy) BROWN in Cumberland Co. VA in 1779.

AND, let's examine the will of John Colley, the man who some falsely say is Abel's father. He died in Wilkes County, GA on June 10, 1815. He names wife, Sarah, sons France, Spain and Garbial, and daughters Polly, Louisa, Nancy and Betsy,and grand daughter Lucinda C. Tindal BUT NO ABEL!

Finally, I found the following DEATH RECORD for ABEL COLLEY, Scioto Co., OH on FamilySearch.org. listing his father as Allen Colley.

I feel if you will look at ALL the data: the variety of spellings that have been used, the chattel tax list, the land patents, the land sales, the censuses, the use of family names, the Civil War documents showing one son was born in Lawrence Co, and that same son's death certificarte, you can come to no other conclusion than ABEL COLLEY OF SCIOTO COUNTY, OHIO WAS THE SON OF ALLEN CORLEY/CAULLEY/COLLEY & MARY SINER.