Helie, Eally, Eley, Ealey, Elly, Ally[i]

Information on this page from Windows Into Our Past, A Genealogy of the Parsons, Smith and Associated Families, Vol. 1 ©1996, Judy Parsons Smith

The name of Ely is derived from the ancient name of Helie.  The Helie’s were the last of a line of Kings (Chiefs) who ruled the southern portion of the Anglion Isle centuries before the Christian Era.

In England there is an Isle of Ely and a Cathedral Town bearing the same name, both predate the Norman Conquest (1066).  Ely Cathedral lies on the bank of the Ouze River, Cambridgeshire, England.  It is here that one of the first recorded Ely's lived in a monastery, during the 5th Century.  During the 12th Century that monastery later became Ely Cathedral.

ARMS:  Argent, a fesse engrailled between six fleurs de lis gules.

CREST: (older) A pheon gules, point up.

 (later) An arm erect couped below the elbow, habited argent, grasping in the and  proper a fleur de lis, sable.


In heraldry silver denotes purity, eloquence, virginity and innocence; red is the color of war, danger, love of combat and adventure, while blanc signifies sorrow, sin, mourning and dignity.

The fesse or broad horizontal band across the middle of the shield is called an honorable ordinary, which simply means one of the honorable charges most ordinarily used.  It is a mark of noble blood and knighthood and takes its shape from the sword belt of the knight.

The fleur de lis, badge of France , has reference to the French wars in which the family participated.

 The pheon which is a broad arrow head.  It means belonging personally to the King.  All English Government property is stamped with the pheon.

 The arm holding the fleur de lis in the newer crest has no significance.  It is merely a base for the fleur de lis.

 The fleur de lis was a conventional heraldic portrayal of the lily.  The name, coming from the Old French signified "flower of the lily".  It symbolizes beauty and grace[ii].

Thomas ElyO

Thomas Ely , ancestor of the Lee County, Virginia Ely's, b. ca. 1728, England; d. 1782, Bedford Co., VA; m. Jane Elizabeth Smith , b. ca. 1740, Dublin, Ireland; d. after 1796, Lee Co., VA

 "According to family tradition, Thomas was a young man about 24 years of age when he left England for America, and on shipboard met an Irish girl by the name of Jane Smith  who was born in Dublin, Ireland, whom he fell in love with and they were either married aboard ship or shortly after they arrived at the port of entry[iii].

 Thomas Ely  was active in the establishment of this country.  He served in the war between Great Britain and France .  At the outbreak of the Revolutionary war he was residing in Bedford County, Virginia.  He is listed in the DAR Patriots Index, Vol. I, p. 220,  as serving in the Revolutionary War. 

Revolutionary War Service

He served as a private in the 5th Virginia Regiment, Continental Line under the command of Colonel Josiah Parker  and Colonel Abraham Buford.   He was also under the command of Colonel Byrd.

In 1780, Thomas Ely  was run through with a bayonet [wounded] at the Battle of Buford's Defeat, North Carolina. "According to tradition, he is reputed to have said the following 'Wounded at Buford's defeat, feigned death... British soldier said, "This old man is not dead" and ran a bayonet through him...asked, "Why are you fighting against the King?"  Thomas replied, "I married here, my family is here, my home is here and I think I have a right to fight for my country[iv].

The Ely family settled in the Stafford County, Virginia sometime shortly after the birth of their second child.    Thomas Ely  received a Land Office Warrant for 50 acres of land within the Commonwealth of Virginia for his service during the Revolutionary War.  In the 1790’s Jane Elizabeth (Smith) Ely , widow of Thomas Ely, Revolutionary War Veteran, moved with some of her children from Spruce Run in Montgomery County, VA to Sugar Run in Lee County, Virginia.

During the Revolutionary War there were several disbursements made to Jane Ely  (Ealy) while her husband was serving in the military:

27 Mar 1780 Bedford Co., VA  -  200 weight of pork
25 Jul 1780 Bedford Co., VA - 4 barrels of corn to be purchased for her use (8 are listed in family at the time).

 Thomas & Jane (Smith) Ely  had (12) twelve children:

1.  Thomas Ely, Jr., b. Pennsylvania; d. killed in the war of the Revolution, possibly the oldest.
2.  William
Ely, b.  25 Mar 1753, PA; d. 1855, age 102; m. Mary Rawlings , b. 1747, VA; d. 1850, age 103. William Ely  is listed among the Revolutionary War Pensioners in the 1840 Lee County Special Census.  He is listed as 91 years of age.
3.  John
Ely, b.  abt. 1755; served in the Revolutionary War, Continental Line.
4.  Isaac
5.  Rachel
Ely, m. Edward Napier .
6.  Jane
Ely, m. Renne Napier.
7.  David
, Ely m. in Lee County, VA to Sarah Claypool.
8.  Robert
Ely , b. 9 Mar 1775, Bedford County, VA; d. 1813, Lee Co., VA; m. 1793, Montgomery Co., VA to Anne McPherson .
9.  Joseph
Ely , b. 12 Nov 1775, Bedford County, VA; d. 2 Nov 1827, Lee Co., VA; m. Frances Hix .
10.  George
Ely , b. 177-80, Bedford County, VA.
11.  Sarah
Ely, m. 1 Aug 1793, Montgomery County, VA; to John Webb .
12.  Margaret
Ely,  m. 27 Sept 1798, Montgomery County, VA to Alexander Suter .

William Ely

2.  William Ely , son of Thomas & Jane (Smith) Ely , b. 25 Mar 1753, PA; d. 1855, Lee Co., VA (102 years old). bur. Russell Cemetery, Lee Co., VA; m. Mary Rawlings , b. 1747, VA; d. 1853, Lee Co., VA (103 y/o), bur. Russell Cemetery, Lee Co., VA.  William Ely  is listed among the Revolutionary War Pensioners in the 1840 Lee County Special Census.  His age is listed as 91 years.  William & Mary (Rawlings) Ely  had at least one (1) child:

2.1.  Catherine Ely m. William Harris

Joseph Ely

9.  Joseph Ely , b. 12 Nov 1775, Bedford County, VA; d. 2 Nov 1827, Lee County, VA[v], m. 1799 to Frances "Fanny" Hix  (or Hicks), daughter of Nathaniel  & Jane (Scott)  (Chrisman) Hix ; b. 26 Nov 1778, Washington County (place of birth listed as Lee Co., VA in Lee County Death Records); d. 16 Apr 1861, of sudden death, age 80 years, Lee County, VA.  Both are buried in the Ely family graveyard on the Ely homestead, now known as the Riverview Cemetery, Pennington Gap, Virginia

Following the death of his father Thomas Ely , Joseph journeyed with his mother to the Sugar Run area of Lee Co., VA.  Joseph Ely  is found in Lee County, Virginia in 1815, with several holdings, to-wit:  one farm on the North Fork of the Powell River, 8 miles east of the Lee Courthouse, 124 ¾ acres having thereon one dwelling house of wood, 1 ½ "story", 24 feet by 20, one kitchen, one barn of wood, two corn houses, and one stable, valued at $1,000.[vi]

In his Will, dated 17 February 1827, shown in Lee County, Virginia - Court Records - Vol. II - Will Book I, page 15, Joseph Ely  leaves to his "wife Fanny Ely , all lands & goods until youngest child becomes of age, then to be equally divided between four sons, Hiram , Joseph , Nimrod , and Andrew J. Ely , reserving 1/3 to wife during her life.";  His estate was appraised, the property value was $2,127.50 also there was 1 negro boy - $250 and 2 negro girls - $700.

Frances (Hix) Ely , widow of Joseph Ely  m2nd 5 Jun 1831, Lee Co., VA by Andrew Hunter  to John Russell , d. 3 Aug 1838, Lee Co., VA.

 Joseph & Frances (Hicks) Ely  had (11) eleven children:

9.1.  Jane Ely, b.  10 May 1800; d. 4 Jan 1870; m. John Smyth .
9.2.  Elizabeth
Ely , b.  1802; d. aft. 1863, Harlan Co., KY.
9.3.  Hiram
Ely, b. 25 Oct 1804; d. 25 Feb 1881.
9.4.  Rachel
Ely, b. 2 Jul 1806; d. 8 Apr 1884.
9.5.  Barbara
Ely, b. 1808-1809.
9.6.  Frances "Fanny"
Ely , b. 16 Jun 1811; d. 18 Aug 1876.
9.7.  Joseph N.
Ely, b. 10 May 1813; d. 11 Dec 1882.
9.8.  Nimrod Chrisman
Ely , b. 17 Dec 1816; d. 10 Jul 1869.
9.9.  Rebecca
Ely, b. 22 Apr 1819.
9.10.  Mary "Polly"
Ely , b. abt. 1822; d. 5 Sept 1888.
9.11.  Andrew Jackson
Ely , b. 6 Jun 1825; d. 23 Feb 1889.

Catherine Ely

2.1.  Catherine Ely, daughter of William & Mary (Rawlings) Ely, m. William Harris

[Information on this family provided by Lynn Klotz (11/5/05)]

William & Catherine (Ely) Harris had thirteen (13)  children:

2.1.1.  Sophia Elizabeth Harris, m. Jospeph Thomas
2.1.2.  Nancy Harris m. John Thomas
2.1.3.  Hiram Harris m. Martha Russell
2.1.4.  Irain Harris, m. Polly Ann Hall
2.1.5.  Alexander Harris m. Sarah Ledford
2.1.6.  Jane Harris m. Frank Harris
2.1.7.  Andrew Harris m. Ellen Church
2.1.8.  Hudson Harris m. Mary Hoaker
2.1.9.  Sally Harris
2.1.10.  Allen Harris m. Nancy Miller
2.1.11.  Dovis Harris m. Nancy Woods
2.1.12.  Eliza Harris m. Clinton Hooker
2.1.13.  Rachel Harris m. Abrahan Barber

Jane Ely

9.1.  Jane Ely, daughter of Joseph & Frances (Hicks) Ely , b. 10 May 1800; d. 4 Jan 1870, Lee County, Virginia; m. 15 Jan 1818 to John Smyth , son of Edward  & Hannah Smyth,  b. 23 Apr 1795, Washington County, VA; d. 6 Aug 1890, age 95.  SEE SMYTH

[i] ." Early Settlers of Lee County, Virginia and Adjacent Counties, Vol. II”, compiled by Hattie Byrd Muncy Bales, p. 435-437; 453-455 & 460
." Early Settlers of Lee County, Virginia and Adjacent Counties, Vol. II”, compiled by Hattie Byrd Muncy Bales, p. 435
." Early Settlers of Lee County, Virginia and Adjacent Counties, Vol. II”, compiled by Hattie Byrd Muncy Bales, p. 435
“Early Settlers of Lee County, Virginia and Adjacent Counties, Vol. II”, compiled by Hattie Byrd Muncy Bales, p. 437.
Lee County, VA, Court Records, Vol. II, Will Book I, page 15
"Southwest Virginia Tax Assessments, 1815; Grayson, Lee, Scott, Russell, Washington, and Wythe Counties:, compiled by Mary B. Kegley, © 1991, Mary B. Kegley, Roanoke, VA, p. 41