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From Our Past XXX

A STRONG ANCESTRAL GURLEY CONNECTION William A. Walker III

Ironically, there is a very strong ancestral connection between William Walker III, author of the “From Our Past” Gurley historical series, and the founders of Madison County, Huntsville, and the town of Gurley, AL. Two of the founders were his GGG-Grandfathers.

In Chapter 28, reference is made to Joseph Criner, who with his brother Isaac Criner and Stephen McBroom, came down from Tennessee in 1804, and with the help of friendly Indians, discovered Big Spring which is now the center of Huntsville, AL. All three explorers traveled back to fetch their families and came back to build a cabin and settle there. Joseph Criner was Walker’s GGG-Grandfather. Joseph and his wife Eleanor Ingram Criner had a daughter, Sara Criner.

In 1817, a farmer named John Gurley settled in what is now Gurley, Al. John Gurley and his wife Matilda Tharp Rutledge, had several children of which one was William Rutledge Gurley. William was brother of the famed Confederate cavalry captain, Frank B. Gurley. (See Chapter 3) John Gurley was also Walker’s GGG-Grandfather.

John Gurley William Rutledge Gurley Sara Criner Gurley
John Gurley William Rutledge Gurley Sara Criner Gurley

William Rutledge Gurley and Sara Criner Gurley had a daughter, Matilda Gurley, named after her grandmother. Matilda married Captain Elijah Walker who had settled there in the early 1870s and built the Walker farm house on Church Street in 1874. The Elijah Walker house passed to his wife Matilda in 1907 and later to her daughter Ruby Walker Lawler who married a local businessman, J. D. Lawler. Ruby Lawler later passed the house to her daughter Bernice who never married. In 2000 the house passed back to the Walker family and William Walker III and his brother Robert P. Walker.

Elijah Walker, this author’s G-Grandfather, and his wife Matilda Walker Gurley had four children, William I, Frank, Ruby, and Clara. William I was this author’s Grandfather. (See Chapter 12)

Elijah F. Walker and Matilda Gurley Walker Old Elijah Walker House photo in 1898
Elijah F. Walker and Matilda Gurley Walker Old Elijah Walker House photo in 1898
   
William A Walker I and Margaret Patterson Walker William Walker House on Section line St.
William A Walker I and Margaret Patterson Walker William Walker House on Section Line St.

The old William Walker house was located across the street from what is now the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and still stands today. William Walker I married Margaret Patterson Walker and had three children, William II, Gladys, and Mable. William II was this author’s father.

Both William I and William II were born and raised in Gurley and attended high school there. William I went into the hardware store business in Gurley but later moved to Humboldt, Tennessee then later to Knoxville, Tennessee. This author’s father, William II also moved to Knoxville where he married Mary Parsons Walker. They had two sons, William A III and Robert P. Walker. Knoxville was where this author and his brother, Robert, were raised. Our GGG, GG-Grandfathers, Grandfather, and Grandmothers are buried in the Gurley cemetery along with numerous aunts, uncles, and various cousins. The Walker family Gurley roots run very, very deep indeed.

William A Walker II and Mary P. Walker

William A Walker III and Diane H. Walker

William A Walker II and Mary P. Walker

William A Walker III and Diane H. Walker

Robert P. Walker and Victoria P. Walker

Robert P. Walker and Victoria P. Walker