The Family History of Samuel Wesley and Caroline Hunt Farley


Via Samuel Wesley Farley through John Henry Farley and Lewrinda Amanda Via Farley.

John Henry Farley was the first of 4 sons born to William (Rebel Bill) Farley and Virginia Jane Sawyers Farley.  He was born in Giles County, Virginia May 24,  1822.  In 1846 he migrated to the New River Region where he married Lucy Ann Cole, daughter of William and Eliza Cole .  John Henry and Lucy Ann soon moved to the Stone Coal Creek area in Slab Fork District of Raleigh County, West Virginia.  That area is now known as Killarney, West Virginia.  

John Henry is reputed to be the first settler on Stone Coal Creek and it was there that all of his ten children were born. William James H. Farley (1847), Eliza Jane Farley (April 4, 1851), Nelson Farley (1852), Ballard P. Farley (1854), John Alfred Farley (April 5, 1855), Bartley Dolphus Farley (April 24, 1856), Samuel Wesley Farley (July 15, 1857), Joseph or Josiah Farley (May 22, 1860), George W. Farley (June 30, 1863), and Virginia Ellen Farley, (Abt. 1963).

Samuel Wesley Farley and Armeldia Caroline Hunt Farley.

Samuel Wesley Farley was born July 15, 1857 and died December 24, 1943.  Armeldia Caroline Hunt, the daughter of Henry and Polly Sarah Noe Hunt,  was born July 2, 1861 and died October 11, 1946.  Samuel and Caroline are both buried in the Farley Cemetery on Farley Hill, Raleigh County, West Virginia.  Once the owner of about 1,000 acres with mineral rights at the location known as Farley Hill, Samuel is said to have sold most of the property during the depression and in one case traded a large tract for 40 bushel of potatoes.  He saved some of the property for his children to build a home place. He was also known as a prime provider of fine home made whiskey.  His grandson, Leighton Farley, was sent into the coal camps of the area to sell the fine spirits to those who had a mind to indulge.  "Revenuers" are said to have destroyed more than one of Sam's stills during the 1920's.  In his later years Samuel mellowed somewhat and became more a pillar of the community. 

Samuel and Caroline Farley, like his parents, gave life to ten children.  All were born at Farley Hill/Winding Gulf, West Virginia.  Eliza Jane L. Farley (April 28, 1881), John Henry Farley (May 24, 1882), Elizabeth Farley (1884), William Sullivan Farley (July 14, 1888), Joseph Franklin Farley (1891), Oliver Owen Farley (May 6, 1893), Birtie Farley (April 15, 1895), Alice Victoria Farley (1897), George Wesley Farley (1902), and James Albert (Squire) Farley (1904).

John Henry Farley was the second child and oldest son of Samuel Wesley and Armeldia Caroline Hunt Farley.  He married Lewrinda Amanda Via.  One child was born of this marriage, Leighton Caris Farley, Sr. (February 5, 1909).  John Henry was a somewhat learned man and worked as a school teacher.  His life was cut short on November 12, 1919 when he died from "severe consumption", a former reference to  pneumonia.  Lewrinda would marry and outlive two more husbands before her death on September 15, 1955. Her marriage to C. C. Cox brought forth three children, Aldine, Isola and Clenda Clancy Cox.  These three would endear themselves to Leighton as his family. 

Leighton Caris Farley, Sr. and Ethel May Darnell Farley (March 10, 1914, daughter of Braxton McKey and Mamie Hodge Darnell, were married on December 23, 1933. (Pictured at left is Leighton and Ethel on their 50th wedding anniversary 1983). Ethel died on June 27, 1984 and Leighton died December 15, 1988.  (Pictured at right is Leighton in 1950).  



Leighton graduated from Collins High School (at Epperly) and attended Morris Harvey College for two-weeks.  He had hoped to land a scholarship for football but was not selected.  He had a part-time job in the cafeteria but it did not pay enough to afford his continued stay at the school.  He left Morris Harvey College (now Charleston University) and returned to Farley Hill. (Pictured at left is the graduating class of Collins High School - Leighton is seated first position on the left).  

 Leighton worked in the coal mines from 1929 until 1948.  He then went to work as a Field Representative for the United Mine Workers of America District 29 in the Beckley, West Virginia office.  He later became field auditor of local union books, represented the UMWA in fatality investigations,  and represented miners in grievance matters involving safety issues or contract violations.  Providing for his wife and four children was time consuming but he still found time to be involved in activities to better the community.  He moved his family to Sophia, Raleigh County, West Virginia in the spring of 1942.  Shortly thereafter, he was involved in a committee to secure a high school and football field for Sophia.  The 4-year high school came into being in the fall of 1943.  In 1952 an addition was constructed to provide additional classrooms and a gymnasium.  

Leighton was a very civic minded person.  He was eager to see Sophia grow and was quick to join and promote activities such as a baseball field (for use of the school and the public), securing funding for a sewerage  system for the town, for street paving, etc.,.  He loved baseball (Cincinnatti Reds) and was supportive of all sports activities for youth.  He was active on the Democratic Executive Committee of Raleigh County and a personal friend of Senator Robert C. Byrd and Congressman Nick Joe Rahall.  Leighton contested Robert Byrd for a seat on the West Virginia House of Delegates in the 40's but was not able to unseat Mr. Byrd.  Leighton attributed his defeat to his inability to play the fiddle as Robert Byrd could do.  That may explain Leighton's infatuation with fiddles in his later years.

Leighton C. Farley, Sr. was a man known to all and willing to help anyone.  In the 1940's and 1950's, he would spend many hours on the week-end helping miners and others file their Federal Income Tax.  He would never accept any payment for what he did.  He felt sympathy for those who could not read nor write or just didn't understand the forms they were required to complete.  A committed Christian, he saw this work as a way of serving his fellow man and fulfilling God's requirement for us to "love our neighbors as ourselves."  In addition to being a deacon at Memorial Baptist Church in Beckley, West Virginia, Leighton was also the first president of the Independence Alumni Association and held the 32nd Degree in the AF&AM. 

On September 6, 1953 the first Samuel Wesley Farley Family Reunion was held at Oliver Owen and Ethel Farley's home in Midway, Raleigh County, West Virginia. (Pictured at right are the first officers; Billy Bradley Farley, Vice President, Lena Farley McPherson, Secretary, Leighton Farley, President, and Warren Wallace, Treasurer).  All of these are now deceased.

Leighton began this quest for the family genealogy in the 1960's.  He made several trips into Virginia in search of birth and death records. (Pictured at the left is Olivia Anderson, Leighton, and Margaret Horspool as they searched records in the Raleigh County Courthouse).  He would have been very pleased to know that his work is now bearing some fruition through this website. 

Leighton Caris Farley, Sr. and Ethel May Darnell Farley were the parents of four children; Leighton Caris Farley, Jr. (October 9, 1936), Phyllis Mae Farley (July 31, 1938), John Donal Farley (February 12, 1940), and William McKey (Billy) Farley (June 23, 1942).  All but Billy were born on Farley Hill/Winding Gulf, West Virginia.  Billy was born shortly after the family moved to Sophia.

Copyright 2004 John Donal Farley

To contact Don with additions or corrections, for information about the Farley Family Reunion, or to just say "howdy," you can email him at: