Sunday, August 2, 2015

Re-Growing A Once Lost Branch - Judie Gibson's Family

My mother has the green thumb in our family. She has a knack for growing vegetables and plants. From her, I must have acquired a skill for re-growing lost family branches.

Recently, I told the story of my great-great grandmother Judie Gibson and the multiple maiden names I found for her on several of her children's death certificates. I initially thought she was the daughter of a Walker as stated on my great-grandfather Moses Gibson Sr.'s death record. After reviewing death certificates of Moses' sisters and analyzing my DNA matches, I have confirmed that Judie's maiden name was SALLEY.

I have one 3rd to 6th African-American cousin with a common Salley surname on that has yet to respond. I also found 3 matches to Salley ancestors from Orangeburg in my DNA cousins list on I have a match to a 4th to 6th African-American cousin named Moaddar who is a direct descendant of Garvin Salley. This is where Captain Obvious swoops in and opens my eyes. In the 1880 Union Township, Orangeburg, SC census Garvin Salley b. 1846, his wife Rachel Salley, children and his mother (circled in green) were next door neighbors of Daniel Gibson, his wife Judie and their children (circled in red). RIGHT NEXT DOOR! How blind could I be?

Moaddar and I share the same 3X great-grandmother Lydia (Liddie) Salley. I also found the 1918 death certificate of Logan Salley b. 1860 who was the son of Dennis and Lydia Salley from Orangeburg. Logan was Garvin and Judie's brother.

I found a Judie Gibson (misspelled Julie) in Macon, Alabama during the 1910 census. This Judie was a mulatto born in SC with two children, Ernest and Jemima Walker! Judie had six living children.

That meant that my Judie left her husband and children for another man. She never divorced Daniel Gibson. There was a huge age difference (20 years) between them. Could he have been abusive? Did she feel trapped in a loveless marriage? Or was she seduced away? Those answers will remain lost in time unless I find some Gibson relatives that might know what really happened.

Judie had at least 2 children (Ernest and Jemima Walker) out of wedlock with someone who died before 1910. That man might have been Daniel Walker that lived near her in 1880 (circled in blue). As confirmed on their death certificates, the other 4 children of Judie were Martha Gibson-Cleckley, Moses Gibson Sr. (my great-grandfather), LouAnna Gibson-Huggins and Florence Gibson-Minnegan.

Daniel Gibson must have been married before. Daniel Gibson Jr., Henry Gibson, William Gibson, Ellen Gibson-Shields and JoAnna Gibson-Salley were the children of Maria Gibson. When Judie left, I guess the elder children raised their younger siblings. Finding out what Maria's maiden name was is a task for another day.

Now here is where the Salley DNA reveals what I feared. I also match to two DNA cousins whose mutual ancestor was Henry Salley Sr. (1690-1765) of Orangeburg. Henry was originally from Basel, Switzerland. The town of Salley in Aiken, SC was named after this family. The home of the world famous Chitlin Strut!! I don't even WANT to see that! LOL

That means Judie was a mulatto. Was Dennis Salley white or mulatto? I haven't found a trace of him yet. There is the strong possibility that Lydia was raped by a member of the slave-owner's household. Famed historian Alexander S. Salley Jr. wrote about "Plantation Mistresses" jn his book, The History of Orangeburg County, but never mentioned any by name that his family secretly were involved with.

I found the name Garvin Salley to be unique so I started digging some more.

On November 5, 1792 Patrick Shea registered 1,000 acres of land in Orangeburg adjoining land on Holmes Camp Branch owned by Robert Garvin Sr. (1766-1836) and John Salley (1740-1794).

Therefore the early Garvin and Salley families were neighbors. The Garvins came from Belfast, Ireland to Charles Town, SC around 1780. I have one DNA cousin that is a 5th to 8th generation match with the Garvin family. Her ancestor was James Garvin (1791-1878) from Orangeburg. She didn't provide any Salley connections in her tree. Unfortunately, I cannot determine if the families married into each other prior to 1845.

On March 25, 1853 John A. Salley registered 30 acres of land in Orangeburg along the South Edisto River that was surveyed by Robert Garvin, Jr.

Then I checked the 1860 Orangeburg census Slave Schedules for the Garvin and Salley surnames. Here is what I found:

  • John A. Salley (1797-1870) owned 38 slaves in 1860. He was the largest slave-owner of the Salley family. A few acres away lived his nephew Howell.
  • Howell A. Salley (1835-1912) owned 5 slaves in the 1860 Orangeburg census. Howell's plantation was located near John Garvin's plantation. 
  • John Garvin owned 14 slaves.  James Garvin owned 7 slaves and Daniel Garvin owned one slave. 
  • Howell's brother, Jacob Salley (1829-1895), owned 10 slaves. S.M. Salley owned 8 slaves. None of them had mulatto slaves.
  • Henry F. Salley owned 13 slaves in 1860 including a 7 year old mulatto boy. 
  • Howell A., Jacob and Henry F. Salley were sons of Howell Jones Salley (1799-1875) and Frances Ann Walker (1803-1890). She was the daughter of John Walker and Catherine Felder.
  • John A. Salley and Howell J. Salley were sons of Jacob Salley (1769-1825) and Elizabeth Corbitt (1774-1830). Jacob was the son of John Salley (1740-1794) and Mary K. Wright (1745-1800). John was the son of Henry Salley Sr. from Switzerland mentioned before.
  • Donald D. Salley (1816-1903) owned 5 slaves in 1850 Orangeburg and none in 1860. Donald later lived in Union, Orangeburg after 1870. Donald was the son of George Salley (1788-1828), grandson of John Salley and great-grandson of Henry Salley Sr.

My DNA matches on AncestryDNA come through Henry Salley Jr. (1723-1804), John's brother. None of the Garvins and Salleys listed above had a female mulatto that fit Judie's description. I do know that the white Salley and Walker families were related through marriage. Could some of the slaves been transferred to each other through a marriage bond? I have not figured that out yet.

Another day, another search. At least, I was able to get Judie's maiden name and grow that branch one more generation. For that, I am grateful.


  1. Hello. My husband, (African American), has the surname Garvin. He's from Elko, S.C.. His 2x great grandparents were Sarah & Aldridge Salley of Barnwell, S.C. I'm helping him research his family. Do these names sound familiar? I can be reached @: My name is I.V. Roane

  2. Hello. My husband, (African American), has the surname Garvin. He's from Elko, S.C.. His 2x great grandparents were Sarah & Aldridge Salley of Barnwell, S.C. I'm helping him research his family. Do these names sound familiar? I can be reached @: My name is I.V. Roane

    1. sorry Iraida I have not come across them in my research

  3. Interesting read. My last name is grandmother has told me most of our family is from the Carolinas. I wonder if I'm linked to your findings.

    1. all it takes is a DNA test to find out for sure!