Excerpt from My Memories by my cousin, Cornelia Railey Wood:
“According to the family history of the Raileys and Kindred Families written by William E. Railey for the Kentucky Historical Magazine in 1911, John Raleigh landed in America in 1740. He changed the spelling of his name, according to the record to “Railey”, because early colonists soon abandoned many Engish customs and there was also a distinct departure in which it was pronounced. Another reason for the change of the spelling of the family name may stem from the fact of family humiliation, a humilation that was prompted by the untimely death of a direct ancestor in England by the name of Sir Walter Raleigh. What lends color and further speculation to this last view, is the fact that many of Sir Walter’s relatives in England had for two centuries spelled their name “Rayley” and “Rayleigh”.
Jon Raleigh, great nephew of Sir Walter Raleigh as recorded by William Railey states these facts: John Railey was the progenitor of the Virginia and Kentucky families of that name, was and Englishman who delighted in fine horses and rural life. His estate called “Stonehenge” was in Chesterfield, Virginia thirteen miles from Richmond. It was part of the land grant to Sir Walter Raleigh by the British Crown. John Railey was born and reared on a part of this possession owned by Sir Walter. John Raley’s grandfather was a brother of Sir Walter Raleigh.