The Gen. William Henry Ashley and Mountain Man Rendezvous websites that accompany Rev. Thomas Darley's website were also inspired by Lon Darley's book.I am descended through John Wesley Darley, Sr., John Wesley Darley, Jr. and my grandmother, Carrie Jane Darley Cook.
In the book, Lon Darley states that J.W. Darley, Sr. married the granddaughter of Gen. William Ashley and became a trapper on the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers.After reading that statement, I began my research of Gen. Ashley, the father of the mountain men and ended up in Wyoming and Utah in 2000 on the 175th anniversary of Ashley's fateful trip and the first rendezvous of the mountain men.
Historians say that Ashley was married three times and had no children, so we end up questioning history.I have, though, found a William Ashley with almost the same dates as Gen. Ashley who lived in the area of S.C./Georgia where Thomas Darley lived.Is he the William Ashley?
The fur market collapsed around 1838-40 and John Wesley Darley, Sr. shows back up in southern Georgia in 1840, so the dates fit that he may have been involved as a fur trapper.
Since Rev. Darley was so instrumental in starting Methodist churches in S.C. and Ga. early in the 1800's, I like it that I am descended through the son he named after John Wesley.The church in Georgia that is called 'The Mother Church of Methodism in Georgia' has a historical marker out front that lists Rev. Thomas Darley as its first pastor.
While visiting Thomas Darley's grave in Waverly Hall, Ga., I came in contact with the local historian who knew the history of nearly all those buried in the local and historical cemetery.Amazingly, he could find no information on Rev. Thomas Darley. I gave him as much information as I could and he remarked, "We need a historical marker for Rev. Darley!"
Hope this provides some background... with thanks to Lon Darley.