Early Settlers of Drew County, Arkansas
Written by Esther Eley Jones
Robert L. Eley is listed on the 1850 Census in Spring Hill, Drew County, Arkansas. Robert was a saddler and his birthplace was Georgia. His wife, was named Martha, Josiah, his son, was six years old. Robert and Martha’s daughter, Frances A. Eley, was three years old at time of this census taking. A saddler is one who makes, repairs or sells saddles or other furnishings for horses.
Both Robert Lawrence Eley and his son Joseph served in the Confederate Army. One important lesson learned in genealogical research is to look for spelling variations of surnames. The Eley name is an example of variant spellings that it is found in documents. On the Confederate Service Record Eley was spelled Ealey. The surname has also been spelled Ely. The spelling for the surname that my family uses is Eley.
Joseph Eley’s Confederate Service Record shows that he was a private- served in the 10th Regiment Arkansas Militia Company B. This company mustered at Clarksville, Arkansas, from February 22 to March 19, 1862, with 99 men present. Captain John W. King was in command during this muster. * Later most of these men enlisted in regular Confederate regiments. Joseph later served in Co. H, 34th Arkansas Infantry.
Joseph Ealy’s later service record showed that he was a private enlisted 25 August 1862 at Camp Cunningham, AR. Deserted 25 Nov 1862.*See the note on explanation of the term "deserted."
Robert Lawrence had enlisted in the War Between the States in 1861 and left home to serve in the war. Robert Lawrence Eley (Ealey) was on the 1860 Lacy, Veasey Township, Drew County, Arkansas the last census that he was found on and this was his place of residence as of 1 June 1860. His value of real estate was $600. In addition, the value of his personal estate was $300. The census was enumerated 15 July 1860.
Josiah was fourteen years old on the 1860 census. April 2, 1960 Robert Lawrence acquired 80 acres of land in Drew County, Arkansas, and it was a cash sale.
Joseph’s estimated time of death is sometime after 1882 in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. He was the eldest son of Martha and Robert Eley. Joseph married Eliza Jane Green in Bastrop, Morehouse Parish, Louisiana 14 January 1879. Josiah Eley is 26 years old and shown on the 1870 census for Ward 6, Morehouse Parish, Louisiana with his wife Marry born in Mississippi age 20 and their son William born in Louisiana age 1 year. Living with Josiah, Marry and William is Robert Eley age 13 Josiah’s youngest sibling. Apparently, Marry and William died sometime after 1870 because they are not listed on another census.
Joseph and Eliza Jane had two known children, Pamelia A. and Jackson Lawrence Eley. Pamelia A. is on the 1880 census for 10 th Ward, Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. Pamela was 7 months old at the 21 June 1880 census taking and that was the place of residence for the family 1 June 1880. Jackson Lawrence was born 4 June 1882. Family lore says he was born in Ashley County, Arkansas; however, I believe from the history of his father that Jack was born in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. It states on his World War I Draft Registration Card his place of birth is Louisiana and the 1942 Draft Registration Card the “Old Man’s Draft” his place of birth is Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. Jack Eley died 30 October 1944, in Pioneer, West Carroll Parish, Louisiana.
U.S. Civil War Soldiers Records;
U. S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907;
U. S. Federal Census Records 1840, 1850, 1860
Marriage Bond, Number 106, State of Louisiana Parish of Morehouse, 14th Judicial District Court, Bastrop, Louisiana, 1879.Joseph enlisted in the Confederate Army and on the record, it states that he deserted 25 November 1862.
*Note: The meaning of deserted at this time in history had a different connotation. Many of these soldiers have the word "deserted" after their names. We would like you to know that this is from the Microfilm from the National Archives. These soldiers may have been separated from their Units in the heat of battle, joined up with other Units and continued to fight this war. They may have families back home who were starving and no one to plant their crops or gardens... They may have gone home to visit awhile with loved ones. They returned to their units, only to find that there were so many miles between them and their original Unit that rejoining them was an impossibility; therefore, they joined with another unit to continue to fight in the war.