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My Kentucky Roots

Updated June 25, 2003

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Both of my parents and their families came from Kentucky except for Grandma Lockie. My mother, Gaynell and her sister, Fern were both born in Kentucky and raised in the coal mining towns of Westerly, Republic, and Kingston WV. Their mother was Golda (Williamson) Steele and she was born and raised in Martin County, KY. Goldie was a descendent of Hugh Williamson who immigrated to America from Wales. A fairly well known book (among Williamson researchers) was written about his son, Alden's descendents. Goldie's parents were Thomas and Bartola (McLaughlin) Williamson. Thomas's parents were William and Margaret (Price) Williamson. Bartola's mother was Mary Williamson a daughter of James and Polly (Clay) Williamson who was Thomas' first cousin. Mom's father, Forest Steele was a great-grandson of James and Betsy (Coffman) Casteel. Through most of the 1800's Forest's father's side of the family had gone by the name of Casteel and lived in Lawrence County, KY. 1900 was the last time our branch of the family appeared as Casteel's in the census. Forest's father was William Harrison Casteel/Steele and Harrison's parents were Claiborne Casteel and Elizabeth McKinster. Forest's mother was Mary Alice (Chandler) Steele of Johnson County, KY. Her father was Martin Chandler the son of James and Catherine (Daniel) Chandler. Mary's mother was Rachel (Ramey) Chandler the daughter of John and Rebecca (Black) Ramey.
My father, Paul Henley was born and raised in Kentucky as were his siblings and father, Claude. Claude's father, John Chamberlin Henley and his sister Mary (Henley) Johnson were born in Alabama. Their mother was Elizabeth (Rey) Henley from SC. John and Mary's father was McGrier Henley who I believe died sometime around 1850. Elizabeth married Solomon Lowry in 1851/2 and had two more boys, William and Marshall Lowry. The family immigrated to Kentucky in 1866 following the Civil War ending up in Graves County. Paul's mother was Lockie Simmons the daughter of Dr. James Simmons and Emma (Muzzall) Simmons and both of them were born and raised in Tennessee (Martha in Henry County). James' father was John Simmons. Emma's parents were Joseph and Martha Jane (Webb) Muzzall of Henry County, TN.

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