Menard County, Illinois
Gravestone Photo taken by Jeanie Lowe & Betty Albert
William Staley is the earliest known member of the Staley branch of our family. Unfortunately we know little about him and his origins. Tracking down more information about William Staley could connect our Staley family to one of many other Staley families with origins in Europe. It seems possible and even likely that our Staley family is related to Staleys arriving from Germany and moving westward from North Carolina. But how to find out for sure?
We know William Staley was born May 30, 1829 and died June 23, 1863 from a family bible containing birth, wedding, and death dates. From the same bible we know that William Staley married Sarah Foland (b. February 6, 1832) on March 9, 1852 and together they had five children: John William (b. February 11, 1854), Samuel B. (b.December 18, 1856), Flora (b. November 25, 1858), Thomas F. (b. August 13, 1862), and Abraham L. (b. May 3, 1862). We also know that Sarah Staley married Wm. Pucket (b. August 10, 1842) on November 6, 1868. Together they had one child Seth Puckett (b. March 22, 1870)
Census Records from Petersburg, Illinois, Menard County dated September 15, 1860 show Wm Staley, age 30, living with Sarah, age 20, John Wm, age 6, S. Bruce, age 4, and Florence, age 3. William Staley's occupation is listed as Wagon Maker. He owns $700 worth of real estate and his personal estate is worth $100. His place of birth is listed as Kentucky. S. Bruce's place of birth is clearly labeled as Illinois. The other places of birth appear to be marked with an abbreviation meaning "same as above," indicating Sarah's and John Wm.'s places of birth are in Kentucky and Florence's place of birth is in Illinois.
We can surmise that William Staley was born and married in Kentucky, had his first child and then moved to Petersburg, Illinois between February, 1854 and December, 1856 before having four more children. It's unclear whether William Staley ever lived in Tallula; however, the location of his gravestone in White Cemetery near Tallula indicates that he probably did.
After William Staley's death it appears that his wife Sarah remarried and lived in Tallula, Illinois. We can tell this from the June 5, 1870 Tallula, Illinois, Menard County Census. This census shows William Puckett, age 27, living with Sarah Puckett, age 36, Seth Puckett, age 2 months, Bruce Staley, age 14, Florence Staley, age 13, Thomas Staley, age 9, and Abraham Staley, age 7. William Puckett's occupation is shoemaker and his place of birth is South Carolina. The value of his real estate is $1500 and his personal estate is $150. This census confirms that Sarah was born in Kentucky and the four Staley children still at home were all born in Illinois. Interestingly, John William is not included with this census of the Puckett household.