Sunday, June 6, 2010

My Father James William Gurley - 1877 - 1929

James William Gurley was born on August 16, 1877 in Union County, NC and died August 27, 1929. He married my Mother, Viola Estelle McKnight, on September 14, 1905 in Charlotte, NC. She was born on January 5, 1887 in Mecklenburg County, NC. She died on December 5, 1974 and was buried in Statesville, NC in the Oakwood Cemetery. See picture of his father below.

My Father served in the
Spanish American War and was 27 in this picture. He served and fought on the Philippine Islands. He was sent to Japan to catch a ship to the United States and landed at Hampton Road, Virginia, an army camp at that time. He was discharged March 31, 1901. He was promoted to Corporal.

After serving in the Spanish American War , my Father attended the Balwin College in Charlotte which took place before he was married. He was well educated and a highly intelligent gentleman. He was offered a professorship in a school at that time but refused. He was thirty when he married my Mother who was eighteen. He was the superintendent at the Calvan Mill in Charlotte. Edna was born in Charlotte, George was born two years later. They moved to Concord where Fred was born
and my Father worked for Joseph Cannon founder of Cannon Mills. He did not like Concord so they moved back to Charlotte on Belmont Avenue and worked at Chatdwick Hosken Mill where he was a superintendent of mills. A union strike stopped work until workers received a raise. He was head of the union and ran the Union Commissary to feed strikers’ families. After a year, we they moved to Mooresville where he was a superintendent. He worked there until he became too ill to keep the job.

From Mooresville we moved to Sherrills Ford where we the family farmed the Roland Craven farm. One year later there was another move to Long Island on the Brown farm owned by Long Island Yarn Mill. Mother and Edna worked in the mill. My Father and the older boys worked the farm and also worked at the saw mill owned by Captain Brown. Two years later the family moved to the Raymer farm on the Catawba River; my parents liked to fish.

My Father died on August 27, 1929 at Uncle Calvin and Aunt Edith’s home on the Gurley farm. He was buried in the Olivet Baptist Cemetery in Long Island, NC. After his death, the family moved to the Thomas Farm for two years then moved to the Hollon Farm in Oak Dale and Cool Spring
Community and stayed there for two year. We moved once again to the Propst Farm where the family stayed and finished high school with outstanding honors. Ola, J.D., Mark, and Glenn graduated from Cool Spring High School. As they were growing up, Edna, George, Fred, Howard, Ola, and J.D. went to eight different schools.
In the upcoming weeks, I will share stories about each of my brothers and sisters. You may want to watch the movie, The Grapes of Wrath. It will let you know what everyone went through growing up back in the 1900 - 1930s. Times were real rough and many folks did not know where their next meal would be. Later, World War II came along and many men joined up to fight for our country. My brothers and I were fortunate but many of the men never returned home, they fought for the freedom that we have today. I encourage everyone to comment and add other information and stories to what I write.

My Grandfather, George Wilkes Gurley