Gilley-Puryear Papers

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Title: Gilley-Puryear Papers

Dates: 1867-1926

Creator: Gilley and Puryear Families

Summary/Abstract: These papers pertain to the life of a Rutherford County family made up of farmers, workers, teachers, and businesspeople living near Rucker, Halls Hill, and Kittrell. The papers mention 19th century farming practices, specifically discussing livestock and crops such as chickens, pigs, turkeys, ducks, oat and wheat. In addition, they address the dual loneliness and communal aspects of rural life, including connection to family and community happenings. These papers are clearly valuable for study of family history and rural life, but other potential research topics of interest include the automobile industry, Rutherford County census data collection, and Nashville’s Housing and Loan Administration.

Quantity/Physical Description: Approximately .2 linear foot

Language(s): English

Repository: Albert Gore Research Center, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37132, (615) 898-2632

Restrictions on Access: None

Copyright: It is presumed that corporate and individual copyrights in manuscripts, photographs, and other materials have been retained by the copyright owners. Copyright restrictions apply. Users of materials should seek necessary permissions from the copyright holders to comply with U.S. copyright laws.

Preferred Citation: (Box Number, Folder Number), Gilley-Puryear Papers, Albert Gore Research Center, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Acquisition: Accession undetermined.

Processed By: Original processor undetermined.

Arrangement: These papers are arranged into folders by type. These types are correspondence, receipts, and newspaper clippings. Because this collection is so small, there are no defined series or subseries.

Biographical Note: Very little is known about the Gilley and Puryear families, except what is revealed in these documents. The family lived in several parts of Rutherford County, including Rucker, near Christiana; Halls Hill; Kittrell; and Murfreesboro. They were farmers, mill operators and teachers, among other professions. E.E. Puryear was the principal of Rucker Seminary in Rucker, TN. P.M. Puryear was a Census Enumerator for Rutherford County during the 1880 census, and James M. Gilley worked for the Housing & Loan Administration in Nashville, retiring February 27, 1953. The connection between the two families is unknown.

Scope and Content: Most correspondence is from the Puryear family. This collection of papers, besides containing correspondence, receipts and clippings, includes 57 family photographs, most of which are unidentified.

Associated Materials: The 57 family photographs have been removed to be stored in the Regional Photograph Collection under Gilley-Puryear. These include various family pictures and postcards from various dates. Few have handwritten notes on the back. The majority are unidentified. Most are card photographs (cartes de visite or cabinet cards). Photos of note include 038 – “February 27, 1953 – Retirement ceremony for James M. Gilley, he worked for the Housing and Loan Admin. In Nashville;” 043 – “Readyville School: Jennie – Bud and Bertha all on it;” and 055 – “Mary Nell Gilley – Age 8 – August 28, 1938.

Related Collections: This collection was formerly labeled “Oaklands,” but has now been determined to be unrelated to the Oaklands Mansion. The reasons for this determination are now unknown, except that there appears to be no connection to the historic home in the documents.

Subject Terms

James M. Gilley
Mary Nell Gilley
Uncle Dave Macon
E.E. Puryear
P.M. Puryear
J.P. Gilley

Rucker, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Halls Hill, Tennessee
Kittrell, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee

Subjects (General)
Rural life
Family history
Automobile industry
Rutherford County education

Material Types
Newspaper Clippings

Collection Inventory:



Description of Contents



Correspondence; Includes some letters from 19th and early 20th century and envelopes; also includes typewritten lyrics to a popular Dave Macon song, top and bottom portions of an 1880 U.S. Census document making P.M. Puryear an official census Enumerator for Rutherford County; also included is a letter on A.G. White Company stationery, with illustrations of the plant and Ford cars, which the plant produced and sold



Receipts; mostly given to J.P. Gilley; Murfreesboro; 1900 - 1920



Clippings; various and seemingly unrelated clippings from various newspapers; one clipping about a large family, all in perfect health, has a handwritten note – “if you and Mr. Gilley had a family like this you wouldn’t have to work;” also includes a program from the Mooney School, class of 1903. The Mooney School was a Murfreesboro school for boys from various parts of Tennessee and some other states.