Treasure Chest Thursday: A Genealogy of Corleys

A Genealogy of Corleys by Dewitt C. Corley (1927)

A Genealogy of Corleys by Dewitt C. Corley (1927)

One item that I was incredibly lucky to procure over the past few years is “A genealogy of Corleys beginning with Caniel Corley of Bedford County, Virginia,: Tracing all lineal descendants of his son, Jonathan Cheathem [sic] Corley” by Dewitt C. Corley (1927). This book is packed with anecdotal information that Dewitt gathered from interviews with kin, in addition to thorough historical research. It has proved invaluable in my search for more information about my ancestors.

I found out about this book after posting a question about one of my ancestors on and just happened to find an original copy after searching for it on Amazon. The book contains extra copies of photos published within its pages.

Not only was this book written by a Corley, my copy was previously owned by a Corley (Elmer “Pat” Corley). One of my favorite passages details the author’s interactions with my great-grandfather and great-grandmother, Joseph E. Corley and Ida Champ Ferris Corley:

“The compiler has repeatedly had the pleasure of entertaining him and his wife in his home, and always found them most gracious and entertaining guests. He [Joseph] married Miss Ida C. Ferris, an accomplished and educated woman, who survived him.”

The book provides information on when each passed away and where they were buried. It also details the lives of their sons, including my grandfather, Karl Coates Corley, Sr. There is a photo of Ida and Joseph and another of their five grown sons (and I have an original copy of that photo!).

One mysterious find within the pages of my copy was this hand-written poem:

"Only One" by George Cooper

“Only One” by George Cooper

The poem was folded and on the front says “To Mother.” Googling the first line of the poem turns up lots of results, one of which can be found here:

I’m fascinated by who may have copied this poem down — it is possible it was written for Elmer’s wife. It’s also possible that this book belonged to a different owner since Elmer and it was written by or for that owner or one of their relatives. The poem apparently pre-dates the book.

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!


9 thoughts on “Treasure Chest Thursday: A Genealogy of Corleys

  1. Tracy says:

    Definitely a treasure!

  2. baysideresearch says:

    Thanks, Tracy — I loved your blog post about the Ketchum girls photo!

  3. T. W. Corley, Jr. says:

    I am Thomas Wayne Corley, Jr. DOB 03/22/50 son of Thomas Wayne Corley DOB 1928
    son of Wright Corley DOB 1905
    son of Rufus W Corley DOB 1855

    • baysideresearch says:

      Nice to meet you, T.W. — thanks for stopping by my blog. I didn’t find the Corleys you mention in the book that I have, but its by no means complete. Do you know if you are descended from a Richard Corley who settled in Virginia in the 1600s?

  4. I too have a copy of this book, although mine is not in such great condition as yours. I decided to “google” it to see what I could find…. and here I am. Opal Walker was my great grandmother.

  5. […] by another Corley, they were probably relatives! Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Treasure Chest Thursday: A Genealogy of CorleysHappy Mother’s Day!Headhouse:Rain:Mother’s Day Gift ShoppingMothers Day Poems and Poetry […]

  6. T W CORLEY JR says:


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