or click your browser's back button to return to previous page




Hi..  My name is Hope Taylor Lowry and I live in Coffee County, Alabama.  All of my "Taylor" family that I've been able to tract are from Coffee County, Geneva County, Dale County and some counties in Florida panhandle.  I ran across your website in my search for my G(3)grandmother.  I believe she is your Mystery Mary.  Please review my reasons for this believe and let me know if you believe it is founded.  Trust me when I say, MY research has proven this situation to be a mystery on multiple levels; and if this is linked, then I am a "long lost" Riley cousin!!  I will start by copying the mystery post on your site.
  • Date of Migration from North Carolina to South Carolina- Contributed by James H. Riley

I think it is logical to assume that John Riley was born, or at least, spent a lot of his life in North Carolina. From the 1850 Dale County Alabama census we know that Mary was from NC. and that many of their children were born there. I believe the move from NC. to SC. was made about 1816. Your records show that a daughter “ Mary” was born in 1803.  The  1850 census shows John’s widow “ Mary”  age 80, living in Dale County with a “ Mary Gay “ age 35, born in NC. Robert Earl Woodham said this was their daughter and if so would place them in NC in 1815. Moses was born in SC in 1817.  I have not been able to find any information on Mary’s husband but she should have been about 20 years old when they moved to Ala. They could have been married in SC. GA.or AL. It would be a good project for someone to research. 


I personally would like to believe that your Mystery Mary is MY G(3)Grandmother.  I have several points to make in this theory and will explain them in this email.  I will start by telling you who I think she is:


    Mary, b. about 1800, in North Carolina; d. after 1860.  Moved to Georgia with her family and married William "Bill" Lisenby, in Burke County, Georgia about 1814.  William was b. about 1794 in Chesterfield, South Carolina.  William Lisenby at some point in his life changed his name (or added to his name) GAINEY.  Most of all the records that I've been able to find has him listed as William Lisenby Gainey.  I have located census reports listing him as Lisenby, however, his children are named Gainey.  His first born is named BOTH names.  The children of William and Mary, as I have been able to find in my research are:

  1.    Jackson Silas Lisenby Gainey, b. 1815 - Burke, GA / d. 1884 -

         Walton, FL (Family Collections on docs

         verifying birth) m. Permelia Nelson b. Alabama / 7 children

         that I can find.

  2.    Lanson Gainey, b. 1820 - Burke, GA / d. unk

  3.    Susan Gainey, b. 1821 - Burke, GA / d. unk / m. ? Lisenby, 5

         children that I can find.

  4.    Nancy L. Gainey, b. 1831 - Burke, GA / d. ? - Walton, FL or

         Coffee, AL / m. Francis Marion Alford b. 1827 - Harris, GA / d.

         1895 - Walton, FL; 8 children found

  5.    William C Gainey, b. 1834 - Emanuel, GA / d. unk / m.

         Elizabeth unk / 3 children found

  6.    Edith (Mary?) Gainey, b. 1835 - Coffee, AL / d. abt 1895 -

         Coffee? / m. UNKNOWN, however, 8 children found, including a

         set of twins, and ALL children have HER last name (GAINEY).

         The twins also have "Danley" as part of their names.

  7.    John Gainey, b. 1838 - Walton, FL / d. unk / m. unk (listed on

         Census with William Lisenbea & Mary Lisenbea, 1850, Coffee,

         AL - only child remaining at home in 1850, however, his sister

         Mary Ann, SHOULD have been, being that she was only 10)

  8.    Mary Ann Gainey, b. 1840-1842, SC!! / d. unk - Cleveland,

         Arkansas / m. Hurst (no further information downloaded on

         these at this time)

  9.    Polly Gainey, b. Dec 1853 - Walton, FL / d. Aug 1928 - Geneva

         AL / m1. Unk TAYLOR (my G(2)grandfather) b. unk / d. 1882-

         1894 (son born 1882 & Polly married Alford 1894) / 1 child -

         Wilburn RILEY Taylor (my Greatgrandfather) - - - - m2. James

         Columbus Alford b. 1830 - Talbot, GA / d. 1897 - Walton, FL / 1

         child - Lester Jay Alford (my 1/2 Great Uncle)

10.    Effy Gainey, b. 1860 - Walton, FL / d. unk / m. unk



Now, in my ancestry research, I get many "hints" from other family tree accounts on  I am reluctant to add this information to MY tree, without resources and citations, to document true information.  However, I will view those other trees, just to get "clues" as to where to look next, in search for citations and documents.  In at least three trees, I noticed they had Mary's name listed as RILEY; however, no documentation.  The mystery of William Lisenby Gainey has a theory that Lisenby is his birth surname, and Gainey "could" have been his WIFE'S surname and that he added that name when he moved from South Carolina.  Another theory is that Gainey is his MOTHER's surname.  I have not been able to find ANY documentation to support these theories.  Census documents are wonderful help, however, 1840 & prior only list the Head's name and a notation of the household's ages.  When I saw the trees that listed his wife as Mary Riley, it started "clicking" with me.  I know in these generations, it was common to name your children after ancestors.  Now I will explain why I believe this is MARY RILEY and how I came to this conclusion.


First, my grandfather's name is Lester Williard Taylor (d. 1991).  His father, my Greatgrandfather is Wilburn Riley Taylor (d. abt 1934).  Polly Gainey is his mother, and I only have "Mary" as her mother.  My daddy has a brother named John Riley Taylor, living (Ozark, AL).  I realize that he was named after his grandfather, Wilburn Riley Taylor.  Once my research found Wilburn Riley Taylor has a half-brother named Lester Jay Alford, I concluded that my grandfather (Lester Williard Taylor) was named after his Uncle.  Now, I still havent been able to tract the name "Lester" back yet, I'm still wondering if this could have been my unknown great(2)grandfather's name (m. to Polly Gainey).


It would seem to make sense to me, that my Great(2)grandmother, Polly Gainey named her first born son (Wilburn Riley Taylor), her MOTHER'S maiden name.  This is how I've drawn the conclusion that YOUR Mystery Mary Riley, must be my Great(3)grandmother.  Now the Riley name has continued to be carried down.  If I'm correct then the Riley name would be as follows:

    Mary Riley m. William Lisenby Gainey

        - daughter Polly Gainey m. ?Unk? Taylor

            - son Wilburn RILEY Taylor m. Elizabeth Crawley

                - son Lester Williard Taylor m. Olene Clark

                    - son John RILEY Taylor (living) - my Uncle

I have a census dated 1850 listing MY Mary as being 50, which would have her born around 1800.  We all know that the cenus reports aren't 100% accurate.  This census is for Coffee, Alabama, and lists the names as William, Mary & John Lisenbea.  The 1840 census I located for William, is listed as William Lisenby, Dale, Alabama, and the notations for the household ages are consistent with the children listed above.


When researching Polly Gainey Taylor Alford, I hit dead ends, because most of the research only involves Gainey or Alford.  The Taylor part is not being mentioned.


I hope that you can review this information, and give me insight as to my theories.  If in case, you agree with me, then I would like to get the research information from Mary Riley's ancestors.


I have a few other questions:  If in all of the research references you have, I sincerely request assistance on finding out who Polly Gainey was married to first (Wilburn Riley Taylor's father).  This would be my g2grandfather.  William Lisenby Gainey is my g3grandfather, via Polly.  I really believe deep down inside, that your Mystery Mary is MY g3grandmother, Mary Riley Lisenby Gainey.  If this is provable, it would be censational for me to find that my ancestors are so local to me.  The cemetery isn't even 15 miles from where I once lived in Ozark.


Please feel free to email me with further questions or comments, or even call if you'd rather.. (334) 430-1386.


Thanks so much for your time!


~Hope Taylor Lowry