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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Lore

"Bury me under an old oak tree.."

From a copy of letter received from Sarah Gaddey Ridgley by Vera Beard Kirham in 1941. Researchers believe that the grandfather referred to in this letter is Ezekiel Fuller Gaddy and the grandmother is Elizabeth Paul Gaddy.

History Center Exhibit- Showing "Work of Farmwives"

“…The Gaddeys and Pauls came from Tennessee in a

covered wagons to Illinois. There were eight wagons of them and they entered land in Lawrence, Richland and Wayne counties. …there are Gaddeys, Pauls Fullers, and Georges. Some of them came from the Carolinas and settled in Tennessee. Grandpa and Grandma Gaddey eloped on horse back and were married in Kentucky. She was just thirteen years old. She was a wonderful woman for her time. She did so much hard work. In that time, they raised flax and sheep for wool and she spun and made all their clothes from cloth that she wove on a loom. She also made coverlets of lovely patterns. She had the first sewing machine in Lawrence County. …She was also a good horsewoman. Just three weeks before she died, she went to Lancaster, Illinois on horseback for yarn to knit mittens so she could sell them about Christmas time. I have known her to have a clothes basket full.”

(Describing Gaddey-Wright Cemetery)” …If you go to the county line just north of Charley Wright’s place, Grandmother is buried there. Grandfather is buried on the old home place. That was his request. He was planning to build a new house on this as he had built a new barn and set out a new orchard. He had part of the lumber sawed from the house so when he was sick, he said he would not get to live to build on that location so he asked to be buried there. It is west of the old place along the lane under an oak tree. “

The genealogy of the Gaddey family is interesting. Elijah Gaddy Sr was born in Bedford County VA and died in Feb 1821 in Wilson Co Tennessee. His Will noted that he cohabited with, but was not married to, Lydia Fuller Ranney, former wife of William Ranney. By her, Elijah Gaddy had eleven children who bore his name, and who inherited from him somewhat to the exclusion of his three legitimate children.

Of these 11 children, at least six of them moved to Lawrence County, Illinois.

Mary (Polly) Gaddy (1799-1860) married Pleasant Tarpley and after his death, Willis Blanchard. They had three children. She is buried at Gaddy- Wright Cemetery.

James K Polk Gaddy (1802-1879) married Elizabeth Bass. They had ten children.

Lydia Ann Gaddy (1811-1877) married John Franklin George. They had nine children. Both are buried at Bell Cemetery.

Elijah Gaddy Jr. (1814-1902) married Emma Amy Moore. They had nine children. Elijah Jr was the last survivor of the jury that convicted Elizabeth Reed. He is buried at Bell Cemetery.

Elizabeth Fuller Gaddy (1815-1858 married John Montgomery. They had eleven children. Both are buried at Gaddy-Wright Cemetery.

Ezekiel F Gaddy (1817-1891) married Elizabeth Nancy Paul. They had eleven children.

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