Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Ousley Family in Mississippi

Among many individuals who migrated to early Mississippi from Georgia and Alabama, were members of the Ousley family. According to the U. S. Census taken in Mississippi in 1850, the family's patriarch, Thomas, had been born in Georgia about 1778, and lived alone in a household enumerated in Township 12, Attala County, Mississippi. It should be noted here that other spellings of the Ousley surname over the years have included Hously and Owsley. A full account of the Owsley/Ousley family in America can be found in Ronny Bodine's "Thomas Owsley, A Virginia Gentleman."

According to most accounts, however, Thomas Ousley, who lived in the Kinchen District of Hancock County, Georgia, Cherokee Territory, Alabama, Attala, Hinds, and Leake Counties in Mississippi, is believed to be the son of Weldon Owsley/Ousley, born in Stafford County, Virginia. Although the father-son relationship between Thomas Ousley and Weldon Owsley/Ousley has not been established by the writer, this relationship does seem likely since Thomas named his first son "Weldon."

According to Terry D. and Cathleen Smith of Las Vegas, Nevada, who have completed extensive research on early members of the Ousley family, Thomas Ousley in 1838 was no longer living in Georgia. Records show he had enlisted in Captain Armbrester's Company, Norwood's Battalion, Alabama Militia, for a term of three months. Thomas was mustered out at Gunter's Landing, Alabama, on July 17, 1838 and in 1840 he was already living in Mississippi. Beginning in 1851 and continuing until his death in early 1857, Thomas Ousley lived in Leake County, Mississippi.

Leake County, Mississippi probate court records show that Nixon Ousley presented Thomas Ousley's will in August 1857 for probate. County records also show that Weldon Ousley and other heirs filed protests against the probate, and after due consideration, the will was declared null and void by the court. Subsequent to the ruling, Ousley's son, Nixon, was appointed administrator of his father's estate and proceeded to sell his property at a public auction at the residence of the deceased on January 11, 1858. As a result of numerous petitions filed by Thomas Ousley's heirs after the court's ruling, his estate was not settled until June 16, 1862.

The U. S. Census of 1850 shows that Ousley family members lived in five (5) other households in the Mississippi counties of Attala, Winston, and Carroll. An description of each household appears below.

W. Ousley, believed to be Thomas Ousley's oldest son, Weldon, was born about 1802 in Alabama. The census record showed that Weldon lived in Township 13 of Attala County, with his wife, Nancy, age 46, also born in Alabama, with their daughter, Lugenia, age 18, and two sons, Elias, age 16, and Rufus, age 12. Each of the three children were shown on the census record with a birthplace of "Mississippi."

Nixon Ousley, born about 1814, was living in Township 12 of Attala County, Mississippi, and headed a household that included his wife, Mary Ann (Mabry) Ousley, born about 1823. Alabama was shown as the birthplace of both adults. According to the census record, Nixon and Mary Ann Ousley were the parents of four young children, Elizabeth J. Ousley, age 8, Rufus N. Ousley, age 6, Thomas J. Ousley, age 4, and Percilla Ousley, 2 years old. All four children were born in Mississippi.

Thomas Ousley, b. about 1825, and his wife, Jane Ousley, born about 1831, lived in Winston County, Mississippi. No children or other family members were shown to be residents of this household, nor were places of birth shown for either member of the couple.

Jackson Ousley, born about 1823, and his wife, Margaret, born about 1830, lived in Township 12, Attala County, Mississippi. Also listed in the household was the couple's one-year old daughter, Sara A. Ousley. Although Sara had been born in Mississippi, the census record showed Alabama as the birthplace of her parents.

David Ousley, born about 1828 in Georgia, was enumerated on the U. S. Census of 1850 in the Northern Division of Carroll County, Mississippi. At the time the census was recorded, David was living in the house of G. F. Neal Hammons, his wife Caroline, and their three small children, Robert, Henry, and Amanda Hammons.

Sources: U. S. Census of 1850, Place: Township 13 R 4 E, Attala, Mississippi; Roll M432_368; Page: 99B; Image: 253; Thomas Owsley, A Virginia Gentleman, by Ronny Bodine; Limbs and Branches of the Smith Family Tree, by Terry D. and Cathleen Smith

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