2018 & 2016 Photos

E A L Y     F A M I L Y    R E U N I O N
July 19 - 22, 2018, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

The 2018 Ealy Family Reunion 
Gatlinburg, Tennessee in Review
Click link to see the 2018 pictures: https://www.tgrphoto.com/ealy072018

To order the group photo, go to image 522. A special thank you to TGR1.618 Photography for capturing some of the memories of the reunion.

The 2016 Ealy Family Reunion Atlanta in Review. Click link below to view pictures.

Ealy Welcome Letter

Greetings Family!

I’m excited to announce that plans have begun for the 2018 Ealy Family Reunion in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Our first reunion was held in 1974 in Detroit, Michigan and has continued every two years. Following that historic precedent, this will be our 23rd family reunion for the descendants of Robert "Big Bob" Ealy of Leake County, Mississippi. Born into slavery in North Carolina and transported to Leake County, Mississippi as a young man, Big Bob had many children. At least 17 of his children have currently been documented, and his wife, Jane Parrott Ealy, was the mother of 12 of them. The Ealy Family tree just keeps on growing!

First, let me introduce myself and the Midwest Chapter Planning Committee. My name is Nacsha Ealy Green, Chairperson.  I am the daughter of Larry & Donna Ealy of Detroit, the granddaughter of Willie Albert Ealy (1921-1995), the great-granddaughter of Elijah “Bung” Ealy (1881-1987), and the great-great-granddaughter of Paul Ealy (1859-1943), one of Big Bob’s sons. I am very proud to be an Ealy, and I am honored to serve as Chairperson.

Secondly, we – the Midwest Chapter Committee – comprise of a wonderful group, who eagerly volunteered to help plan another memorably awesome reunion. Planning a four-day family reunion for a very large family takes a lot of work and a lot of skillsets to pull it off. I am thankful for their willingness to serve in some capacity. These family members represent numerous branches of the Ealy Family tree. They are the following:

Sandra Richardson (Co-Chairperson) from Kentucky (Paul Ealy Branch)
Melvin J. Collier from Virginia (Paul Ealy Branch / Martha Ealy Kennedy Branch)
Chandra Blanks from Michigan (Bob Ealy Jr. Branch)
Avis Thomas Lester from Maryland (Paul Ealy Branch)
Myrna Woods Taylor from Michigan (Annie Ealy Beamon Branch)
Julia Reese-Woods from Georgia (Annie Ealy Beamon Branch)
Jasmine Stokes from Mississippi (Gus Ealy Branch)
Ester Denson Watkins from Mississippi (Haywood Ealy Branch)
Clois Denson Slocum from Mississippi (Haywood Ealy Branch)
Ellen Ealy from Mississippi (Paul Ealy Branch)
Tobias Robinson from Texas (Gus Ealy Branch)
Franzella Washington-Strong from Tennessee (Paul Ealy Branch)
Zilliah Ealy from Michigan (Paul Ealy Branch)

Thirdly, I also would like to acknowledge and give thanks to the previous chairperson, Sandra Richardson, and her committee members for an outstanding 2016 reunion in Atlanta, Georgia. The 2016 Ealy Reunion will truly be a tough act to follow!

Lastly, but certainly not least, the planning committee has started making preliminary plans. The reunion is slated to be held Thursday, July 19 – Sunday, July 22, 2018.  Mark your calendars! We will be planning fundraising activities over the next few months to decrease the cost of attendance. Please take the opportunity to participate in these forthcoming efforts to lower costs and to make the reunion affordable for more families to participate. All fundraising proceeds will benefit the family as a whole group, not individuals, and will be applied towards registration, incidentals, and administrative costs.  Additional information about the reunion, including fundraising efforts, registration information, hotel information, and etc., will be available on our family website, www.ealyfamily.org, and also on our Facebook group page.

Should you wish to volunteer to help, or if you have questions, comments, or concerns, please contact me, Nacsha, at 313-308-6655 or email me at BobEalyFamily2018@yahoo.com. Please feel free to duplicate and forward copies of this letter to family members who may not have received this welcome letter or may not have access to the internet. Also, please send contact information (name, address, and/or e-mail address) of other family members that we may not have to BobEalyFamily2018@yahoo.com.

Warm regards,

Nacsha Ealy Green
Chairperson, 313-308-6655

Our Reunion History

In 1974, the late Mrs. Liggie Marie Ragsdale McDougal, the daughter of Annie Ealy Ragsdale Nichols and the granddaughter of Paul Ealy, had a vision to unite the descendants of Bob & Jane Ealy.  She then organized the first Ealy Family Reunion. It was held at Belle Isle Park in Detroit, Michigan.  Subsequently, the Ealy Family Reunions have been held biannually in various states.

1976 - Detroit, Michigan
1978 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1980 - Detroit, Michigan
1982 - Tuscola, Mississippi
1984 - Tuscola, Mississippi
1986 - Pasadena, California
1988 - Detroit, Michigan
1990 - Chicago, Illinois
1992 - Jackson, Mississippi
1994 - Detroit, Michigan
1996 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1998 - Tuscola, Mississippi
2000 - Detroit, Michigan
2002 - Huntington, California
2004 - New Orleans, Louisiana
2006 - Miami, Florida
2008 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
2010 - Detroit, Michigan
2012 - Las Vegas, Nevada
2014 - Carthage/Philadelphia, MS
2016 - Atlanta, Georgia

1992 Ealy Family Reunion, Jackson, Mississippi

2010 Ealy Family Reunion, Detroit, Michigan

2014 Ealy Family Reunion, Carthage, Mississippi

Ealy Family Book

Ealy Family Heritage, Documenting Our Legacy - Volume 1


Volume 1
February 1, 2016
8.5 x 11
Perfect-bound Paperback


Ealy Family Heritage, Documenting Our Legacy is a fascinating body of work that not only documents the Ealy Family’s history back to the 1700s, but it also captures the history of the Leake County, Mississippi communities where the family’s presence dates back to circa 1835. That was the time frame when the family patriarch, Robert “Big Bob” Ealy, was transported to central Mississippi from Nash County, North Carolina as a young man. His enslaver, William “Billy” Eley, used him as a breeder. With his wife Jane Parrott, Big Bob Ealy had 12 children. An additional three children have been found. Because of his forced task of slave breeding, more will likely be unearthed in the future, since DNA technology has entered the genealogy scene. This first volume documents over 3,500 descendants. The family ancestral homes are the Lena and Tuscola communities of Leake County, Mississippi, but many descendants also resided and still live in Scott, Rankin, Hinds, and Madison County, Mississippi. During the 20th Century Great Migration, scores of Ealys migrated to Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Las Vegas, and other points North and West.

Ealy Family Heritage, Documenting Our Legacy highlights four key areas – family, community, church, and school. These topics help to provide a comprehensive history of the Ealy Family. A family history is more than just names, places, and dates. That’s boring. However, this book is like no other family publication because it’s filled with a chockfull of stories and memories from family elders and others about the family, the Lena and Tuscola communities, the churches, and the early schools for African Americans in southern Leake County. Oral history is a major part of family history research, as it gives life to the deceased ancestors. It helps the reader to form mental pictures of their lives, the good and the not-so-good. This book also contains a myriad of pictures that came from the dusty storages, old photo albums, basements, and closets of many family members, thus providing faces to many of the names from the past.

Ealy Family Heritage, Documenting Our Legacy was authored by Melvin J. Collier, a renowned genealogy researcher and author of two genealogical books, Mississippi to Africa, A Journey of Discovery and 150 Years Later, Broken Ties Mended. Collier is a great great grandson of Big Bob & Jane Ealy. He first heard his paternal grandmother, Willie Ealy Collier, utter Big Bob’s name from her lips when he was a young teenager. Consequently, he began his genealogy research of the Ealy Family in 1993, nearly three years after his grandmother’s passing, recalling much of the information she relayed to him. His research of the family continues today. He has currently traced the Ealy Family’s history back to Big Bob’s mother, Annie, who was born circa 1795. Her name was given to numerous descendants. Collier discovered an unfortunate saga that involved the “ownership” of Annie and three of her children. They were the subject of an 1832 North Carolina court case, William Hunt vs. Edwin Bass et al, 17 N.C. 292, which went all the way to the N.C. Supreme Court. Collier’s research has also taken Jane Parrott’s family history back to the 1700s to Lunenburg and Brunswick County, Virginia.  He has also uncovered autosomal DNA evidence of the family’s African roots.

In Ealy Family Heritage, Documenting Our Legacy, Collier uniquely combines the process of genealogy research with story-telling. He discloses how he researched the enslaved ancestors of Big Bob and Jane, while still telling the stories of their lives and their descendants’ lives during slavery and afterwards. This also makes this book a great publication for even non-descendants who are interested in African American genealogy research and slave ancestral research. This book can also serve as a great template on how to structure and write a family history book. Whether if one is an Ealy descendant or not, this book is a great educational resource.

For more info, contact us at BobEalyFamily@gmail.com.

Ealy Family History

This 1870 Leake County, Mississippi census record is the first official record of Bob Ealy and his family. On July 8, 1870, the census-taker for the Lena community recorded the Ealy household, headed by Bob. In the house were his wife Jane and children, Annie, Andy, Robert, Paul, Augustus, Anderson (Haywood), Martha, Penny, and a 4-month baby who was unnamed. Nicholson was born the following year. Older children, John and Adeline, were married in their own households. Will was omitted for unknown reasons.

I.  Robert "Big Bob" & Jane Ealy

The Ealy Family’s presence in the state of Mississippi began in about 1835.  That was the approximate year when an enslaved young man from North Carolina was brought to Mississippi, leaving behind family members he would never see anymore.  This man became Robert Ealy, but he was mostly called “Big Bob.”  Big Bob was among over 400,000 enslaved people from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee who were brought to Mississippi during the early 1800's.  Mississippi had become a state with fertile, cotton-producing farmlands.  Many enslaved African Americans were sold away from their families to slave-owners who were already in Mississippi.  Like Big Bob, many other enslaved African Americans came with their enslavers who moved to Mississippi to take advantage of the profitable cotton crop.  

Research has found that “Big Bob” Ealy was originally from Nash County, North Carolina.  There, he was born into slavery around 1814, according to census records.  Research findings also indicate that he grew up on the farm of Jesse Bass near Spring Hope, North Carolina.  Big Bob remained on the Bass farm throughout his childhood years with his mother Annie and siblings.   However, in 1822, Jesse Bass wrote his will and left to his youngest daughter Frances Bass two young slaves named John & Bob.  There’s a preponderance of evidence that this “Bob” was in fact our “Big Bob.” He was about 8 years old at that time.  

In the mid 1830’s, Frances Bass married William W. Eley, also known as Billy Eley, from Franklin County, North Carolina.  During that time, a woman’s inheritance became the legal property of her husband.  Therefore, Big Bob then became the "property" of Billy Eley when he married Frances. Shortly after their marriage, Billy & Frances Eley moved to Mississippi around 1835 with her brothers, Isaac, Gideon, Edwin, & Council Bass, and her older sister, Elizabeth, who settled in Hinds County.  They transported the enslaved people they inherited from their father Jesse Bass with them from North Carolina.  Some of those enslaved people, who became Basses after the Civil War, were probably related to Big Bob.  However, Billy & Frances Eley chose to settle in southern Leake County and thus Big Bob was brought to Leake County.

The white Eleys were not a wealthy family, and they operated a small farm near Lena.  On that small farm, Big Bob had a specific task, according to family lore.  Oral history disclosed that Billy Eley used Big Bob as a breeder because he was big and strong.  Big Bob was housed alone in an one-room log house for the purpose of reproducing children by other enslaved women.  Family lore disclosed that he fathered over 50 children; however, he never laid his eyes on many of those children.

Despite the inhumane task he was forced to perform, Big Bob’s heart was a young girl named Jane, who was enslaved on the nearby Parrott farm owned by William Parrott, a neighbor to Billy Eley.   In about 1845, Big Bob was allowed to marry, and he “jumped the broom” with Jane Parrott.  During slavery, marriages between slaves on different and nearby farms and plantations were common.  Big Bob was allowed to visit with Jane, likely on the weekends.  However, because the Parrott farm was adjacent to the Eley farm, he likely made secret visits at night to spend time with his beautiful wife, who bore him a number of children.

Grandma Jane had been born into slavery around 1829 on William Parrott’s farm in Lunenburg County, Virginia. During that time, William Parrott and his wife Betsy Johnson lived on a 300-acre farm near Lunenburg, Virginia.  Based on census records, William Parrott moved to Leake County shortly before 1840 with around ten slaves.  Those enslaved people included Grandma Jane, and possibly her mother, several siblings, and possibly her father as well.  They all were transported to Mississippi in wagons, but there is evidence that William Parrott may have stopped in Georgia and stayed there for awhile before making Leake County his final destination.  Family lore places our presence in the Macon, Georgia area at one time.  William Parrott had a number of family members who migrated to Georgia.

II. The First Generation: The children of Big Bob Ealy

Big Bob Ealy had a number of children.  Most of them (1 to 12) were born to his wife Jane on the Parrott farm.  The following seventeen children were found in the Leake & Scott County census records:  

1 - John Ealy
2 - Adeline Ealy Robertson-Devlin Orman
3 - Annie Ealy Beamon
4 - Andrew (Andy) Ealy
5 - Robert (Bob) Ealy

6 - Paul Ealy
7 - Augustus (Gus) Ealy
8 - Haywood Ealy
9 - Will Ealy
10 - Martha (Sissie) Ealy Kennedy
11 - Penny Ealy Ragsdale
- Nicholson (or Nicholas) "Boot" Ealy  

Additional Children of Robert “Big Bob” Ealy

13 - Nathan Stiles
14 - Mary “Angeline” (Sis) Ealy York
15 - Tempa Ealy Allen
16 - Emaline Ealy Kidd Gordon
17 - Ephraim Ealy

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which was to free enslaved African Americans in the South on January 1, 1863.  However, most enslaved African Americans did not become free until the Civil War ended in 1865.  Slavery was officially abolished on December 18, 1865.  During that year, Big Bob, Jane, and their children became free people and were able to live together as a family.  They lived in southern Leake County, near Lena, Mississippi.  Big Bob became a landowner and farmer after the Civil War.  According to the 1870 Leake County Census, Big Bob’s real estate property was valued at $550.  He died after 1900 at an old age.  In the 1900 Scott County census, he was found living with his daughter, Adeline Orman, who was taking care of him.

Ealy Family Tree

The Children and Numerous Grandchildren of Big Bob Ealy of Leake County, Mississippi
Wife: Jane Parrott Ealy (mother of 12 of his 17 found children)

With Jane, he had John, Adeline, Annie, Andrew, Bob Jr., Paul, Gus, Haywood, Will, Martha, Penny, and Nicholas (Boot) Ealy. Nathan Stiles, Mary "Angeline" (Sis) Ealy York, Tempa Ealy Allen, Ephraim Ealy, and Emaline Ealy Gordon were Big Bob's children. Big Bob was known to have a lot more children.

Robert “Big Bob” Ealy’s Children with Jane Parrott Ealy

Spouse: Charity Beamon
Born: c. 1846 in Leake County, Mississippi
Died: before 1910 in Leake County, Mississippi

Children of John
William M. Ealy (1867)
Van Ealy (1868)
John Nelson Ealy (1869)
Andy "A.W." Ealy (1871-1937)
Sylvester (Bill) Ealy (1874)
Lucretia (Duck) Ealy Ross (1876-1939)
Velay Ealy (1878)
Haywood Ealy (1880)
Dock Ealy (1881)
Fisher Ealy (1883)
Leamon (Alex) Ealy (1884)
Lawyer Ealy (1886)

Spouses: John W. Robertson-Devlin & Reuben Orman
Born: c. 1848 in Leake County, Mississippi
Died: after 1900, Midway, Scott County, Mississippi

Children of Adeline
Mary Jane Devlin Kennedy (1867)
John Devlin (1868)
Jennie Devlin (1870)
Helen "Martha" Devlin Ferrell (1871-1909)
Bettie Devlin Beamon (1872)
Sallie Devlin Johnson (1875)
Eliza Robinson Burks (1879-1950)
Addie Robinson Gray (1880)

Spouse: Moses Beamon (married 1/20/1874)
Born: 1852 in Leake County, Mississippi
Died: 1909, Midway, Scott County, Mississippi

Children of Annie
Mary Ealy Nichols (1872)
Lula Beamon Ferrell Roberts (1875)
William E. Beamon (1877)
Hassie Beamon (1880)
Jessie Beamon Butler (1883-1959)
Walter Beamon (1885)
Cora Beamon (1887)
Dora Beamon (1887)
Martha Beamon Sanders (1889-1976)
Arthur Beamon (1892-1971)
Sylvester Beamon (1893-1973)
Elizabeth Beamon (1895)
Pearlie Mae Beamon Simmons (1901)

Spouse: Ida Rowan (married 9/28/1876)
Born: c. 1853 in Leake County, Mississippi
Died: before 1900, Midway, Scott County, Mississippi

Children of Andrew
Maggie Ealy (1877)
Beulah Ealy Hopkins (1879)
Mary Ealy (1884)
Emma Ealy (1888)
Anna Ealy (1890)
(Andy's widow and children moved to Memphis, Tennessee shortly before 1900.)

Spouse: Martha "Mattie" Kennedy (married 12/21/1876)
Born: 1855 in Leake County, Mississippi
Died: 1939 in Leake County, Mississippi

Children of Bob
John Ealy (1877) (mother, Mahala Gale)
Lovie Ealy Moten Westmoreland (1877-1984)
Jane Ealy (1879)
Lucy Ealy Ammons Lindsey (1880-1971)
Bobbie Ann Ealy Morgan (1881-1969)
Billie Ealy (1886)
Willie (Will) "Tee" Ealy (1888-1950)
Jessie Albert Ealy (1890-1974)
Theodius Ealy (1891)
Rev. Floyd Ealy

Spouse: Adaline Kennedy (married 7/07/1879)
Adaline was the sister of Mattie Kennedy (Bob’s wife) and Albert Kennedy (Martha’s husband)
Born: 1859 in Leake County, Mississippi
Died: 1943 in Leake County, Mississippi

Children of Paul
Aldora Ealy (1880) (died at a young age)
Elijah "Bung" Ealy (1881-1987)
Annie J. Ealy Ragsdale Nichols (1884-1970)
Alice Ealy McClendon (1885-1962)
App Ealy (1890-1966)
Albert Ealy (1892-1918)
Mack Ealy (1893-1972)
Florence Ealy Jones (1896-1970)
Viney Ealy Sparkman (1899-1958)
Willie Ealy Collier (1904-1990)

Spouses: Emma Moorman & Mary Edmonds
Born: 1861 in Leake County, Mississippi
Died: 1913, Flora, Madison County, Mississippi

Children of Gus
Joe Howard Ealy (1882-1965)
James (Gene) Ealy (1884)
Kate Ealy (1886)
Fonzy Ealy (1892-1976)
Genora Ealy (1901)
Elijah (Dunk) Ealy (1906-1996)
Claude Ealy (1909-1981)

Spouses: Victoria Ragsdale & Elizabeth Chambers
Born: 1862 in Leake County, Mississippi
Died: After 1930, Flora, Madison County, Mississippi

Children of Haywood
George (Skin) Ealy (1892-1978)
Lula Chambers Denson Pearson (1897-2002)
Willie Mae Chambers Denson (1900-1954)
Noble Ealy (1905-1989)
Paul Lee Ealy (1907-1979)
Guy Ealy (1910-1994)

Spouse: Rose Evers (married 3/06/1885)
Born: 1863 in Leake County, Mississippi
Died: Before 1910, Tuscola, Leake County, Mississippi

Children of Will
Rufus Gale (1880)
Mary (Crick) Ealy Sparkman (1891)
John Edmond (1892-1991)
Gus Kennedy (1897-1979)

Spouse: Albert Kennedy (married 12/28/1881)
Albert was the brother of Adaline Kennedy Ealy and Mattie Kennedy Ealy.
Born: 1865 in Leake County, Mississippi
Died: 1895, Leake County, Mississippi

Children of Martha
Dora Kennedy Luckett (1882-1940)
Willie "Will" Kennedy (1884-1977)
Robert "Rob" Kennedy (1885-1977)
Hulen "Newt" Kennedy (1888-1970)
Wilson Kennedy (1891-1988)

Spouse: Branch Ragsdale (married 1/14/1884)
Born: 1868 in Leake County, Mississippi
Died: Around 1885 in Leake County, Mississippi

Child of Penny
Hattie Ragsdale Morgan (1885-1913)

Spouses: Annie Jackson and Almedia Atkinson
Born: c. 1871 in Lena, Leake County, Mississippi
Died: After 1930, Brownsville, Hinds County, Mississippi

Children of Nicholson
Ephraim Eley (1894-1956)
Ada Ealy (1896)
Willie Ealy (1898)
John Earl Ealy (1900)
Van Ealy (1904-1945)
Leroy Ealy (1905-1970)
Queen Isabel Ealy Richmond (1906)
Robert Ealy (1907)
Tommy Ealy (1909)
Roberta Ealy (1910)

Additional Children of Robert “Big Bob” Ealy

Spouses: Mary York and Alice Horn
Born: Aug. 1838 in Leake County, Mississippi
Died: after 1900, Leake County, Missisippi
Note: Oral history and DNA indicate that he was the son of Big Bob.
Nathan’s mother, Hester Stiles, was enslaved on William Eley’s small farm with him.

Children of Nathan
Wright Stiles (1863)
Jane Stiles (1864)
Nathan Stiles (1867)
Fannie Stiles (1870)
Martha Stiles (1874)
John Ealy Stiles (1876)
Henry (Stinson) Stiles (1878)
Hester Stiles (1880)

Spouse: Jordan York
Born: 1840 in Leake County, Mississippi
Died: After 1900, Leake County, Mississippi

Children of Sis
John York (1858)
Ann York Parrott (1860)
Abner "Abb" York (1862-1944)
Aaron York (1865)
Eliza Jane York White (1867)
Jordan York (1869)
Mary "Molly" York Gilbert (1870)
Hiram York (1872)
Lacey York (1874)
Lula York Perry (1876)
Ira York (1877)
Ned York (1878)
Sophronia York Ross (1880)

Spouse: Stephen Allen
Born: c. 1850
Died: after 1900 in Scott County, Mississippi

Children of Tempa
Mollie Allen Owens (1869)
Eli Allen (1874)
Mariah Allen Ealy (1877-1919)
Edward Allen (1877-1930)
Sarah Allen (1879)
Garfield Allen (1884)
Allie Allen Shephard (1885)
Frances Allen Black (1889)

Spouse: Isham Kidd (married 9/11/1873) and Caesar Gordon (married 12/11/1884)
Born: 1855 in Leake County, Mississippi
Died: Before 1910, Flora, Madison County, Mississippi
Note: Emaline's mother was Ruthie Harris.

Children of Emaline
Annie Kidd Robinson (1876)
Mollie Kidd (1879)
John Kidd (1881)
Irene Gordon (1885)
Ruthie Gordon White (1888-1970)
Mathis Gordon (1891)
Hattie Gordon (1893)
Jessie Gordon (1895)
Ben Gordon (1897)