The following generously shared small book was submitted by Dr. H.
Thomas Chandler for all to share. Please note that there is no
copyright known to exist on this material, otherwise we would not
print it here.
On the cover, a note: Presented to the Library of Memorial Continental
Hall by Old Belfrey Chapter, February 1924.
Title: A STORY OF THE GAY FAMILY by William H Gay, Rockpoert,
Page 2-an emblem of encircled wheat around a name Villa Grove News
The great historian, Macauley, uses his expression in writing his
History of England.."A people which takes no pride in the noble
achievements of their remote ancestors, will never achieve anything
worthy of being remembered withpride by their remote descendants".
I believe the expression will apply as well to families as it does
to nations, and to further preface, I will relate a story of Marshal
He was Napoleon's greatest general and commanded the rear guard of
the Grand army during the dissastrous retreat from Moscow, the winter
of 1812 and 1813. Napoleon called him the "Bravest of the Brave".
After the escape from the snows of Russia, they were compelled to
fight the great battle of Leipsig, which until the recent World War,
was deservedly called the battle of Nations, because so many nations
were there leagued against Napoleon. The victorious Allies exiled
Napoleon to the little island of Elba, in the Mediterranean Sea,
where he was permitted to keep a guard of honor and live like a king,
while Ney and the greater part of the French army were permitted to
take service with the Bourbon King whom the Allies placed on the
throne of France. But Napoleon, who could not be satisfied with the
conquest of half the world, would not be satisfied at Elba.
He plotted with his friends to recover the throne of France. They
used the violet for a pass-word. If one asked, "Are you fond of
violets", the answer was, "I adore them". And the reponse "He will
come in the Spring."
And in the Spring of 1815, Napoleon escaped from Elba and came with
the violets to southern France. He issued a stirring address, and
with only a few followers, started to Paris.
Ney was ready. He issued a proclamation, announcing that the Bourbon
cause was forever lost and called on the friends of Napoleon to join
him. Regiment after regiment forgetting their allegiance to the Bourbon
King, joined Ney and they marched to Paris. The King fled and Napoleon
was again at the head of France and with him was his favorite general,
Ney. But their triump, though complete, was short lived, for they were
defeated again at Waterloo, where the French squadrons broke themselves
in vain against the English Squares.
And Napoleon was again exiled, this time to St. Helena, where he died a
prisoner; but Ney was tried by court-martial and sentnced to be shot for
treason. History says he was so executed. But a few weeks after the
supposed execution, a man who called himself P. S. Ney, landed in South
Carolina and engaged in school teaching. He was a fine horseman, an
expert swordsman, and soon became popular as a teacher. My father and
one of his brothers attended his school, taught near their place in
North Carolina. They have told me that on a certain occassion, their
teached became intoxicated and boasted that he was Marshal Ney of
France. He said that a friend in high authority had by a ruse saved
him from death at the time of the supposed execution and sent him
to America. Later, the teacher was taken sick and died. While on his
death- bed, knowing the end was near, he repeated the statement he
had made when intoxicated. The people of the community believed the
teacher's story and erected a small monument over his grave.
The Great Southern Railway has been built near this place. They have
this story in their guide books and travelers sometimes stop there to
view the grave of the old teacher who claimed to be marshal Ney of
Because my father and his brother attended this old man's school and
believed his story, I have incorporated it in this, my story of the
STORY OF THE GAY FAMILY-CHAPTER-1
In olden times in Devonshire
A family lived named Gay
A home and lands they did acquire
Also a crest they say
Goldsworthy was their Manors name
And in that early day
It gave them quie a little fame
As did the crest of Gay
Now this device or coat of arms
They say it was unique
It sometimes told of war's alarms
Before the war would break
That is, it seemed to brighter grow
It was a flame of fire
And flames must rise, at least must try
For flames must do or die.
There was a motto for the crest, (Do or Die.)
It caused the Gays to try
It put a feeling in their breast
That they should do or die.
In times of peace it seemd subdued
The color seemd to pale
But war or peace, that signet crude
Did dominate the vale.
But after while, religion brought
Two factions into life
One creed was new the other not
But all engaged in strife.
They fought about their God, their King
And Christ their Savior too
Both sides besought their God to bring
The others to their view.
Now Margaret was a lovely maid
from Susquehannas vale
Her voice was low and sort tis said
Her turth did never fail.
To Corolina's sunny clime, (1770-71)
They went and all seemed right
But soon the crest begain to shine
In fact it grew quite bright.
The revolutions war was on (1776)
And James said "I will go"
In seven years the war was done (1783)
The crest then ceased to glow.
For British hatred then was rife
And English emblems were
Such recent cause of deadly strife
They made our people swear.
And family crests were laid away
But since the Civil war
The proudest emblems worn they say
Are D. and G. A. R.
When James came home, so much was done (1783)
To show him honor due;
His children all had larger grown
His wife grown dearer too.
In happiness they lived a while
Until one sad, sad day
Poor Margaret sickened, but with smile
Said Good-Bye husband Gay (1796-April 17)
(Buried in Third Creek Cemetery).
So in the church yard she was laid
Not far from Mr. Ney
They placed a stone above his head
But none oer Margaret Gay.
For P. S. Ney had taught their schools
And taught them how to fence
And other military rules
Tho he made no pretence.
That he had higher station borne
Until one day by chance
Imbiding freely, he had sworn
"I'm Marshal Ney of France".
How, on tha texecution morn
Friends rescued him from death
And how he was to freedom borne
He told with dying breath
Great Welllington had been his friend
When he was doomed to die
The bullets were withdrawn, and then
The squad had aimed too high.
But Ney had falled like one dead
His own friends were deceived
And while he was to freedom sped
A corpse the grace received.
For none could then view the remains
Nor could respect be shown
To one opposed to Bourbon aims
Ney had to freedom flown.
Poor James lived on for many years
In sorrow and despair,
For Margaret he shed bitter tears
Poor Margaret good and fair.
Now side by side their bodies lie
Their graves unmarked, unshown,
Save by that strangers grave near by
Where visitors are shown.
The resting place of P. S. Ney
Now do not look askance!
For many people there still say
"Tis Marshal Ney of France.
Still other Gays left Devonshire
One went to Edwards Isle
For their descendants I inquire
I'd greet them with a smile.
For all the Gays do seem of kin
Except the colored race
They took their names from owners when
The colored folks were slaves.
Another Gay left Devonshire, (John Gay 1688-1732)
He went to London town
He did not like to work for hire
But he wond great renown (Poet and Author)
He did it with his pen 'tis said
He mixed his ink with brains
He sleeps with England's greatest dead
In best of Englands Fanes.
Westminster is his resting place
His fame is quite secure
And with the noblest of our race
We know it will endure.
And now kind friends this chapters done
Heed what Macauley said
Our ancestors have always won
Respect with fame or bread.
The New England Branch of the Gay Family
This branch of teh gay family was founded in 1630, when John Gay of
Devonshire came to America with a colony of about one thousand
Puritans. They were called the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Our American historian, Gordy, says of this colony, "The settled
at Boston, Charlestown, Roxbury and Watertown. Unlike the Pilgrims
who came ten years earlier, they were men of wealth and culture.
Some of them were relatives of the greatest men of the day in England.
They were not Separatists in England as the Pilgrims had been, yet
they established the Independent Congregational church in America".
A geneological dictionary of New England sayf o teh Gay family. "The
greatest ornament of the Gay family of New England was REv. Ebenezer
Gay, son of Nathanial Gay, third minister of Hingham ordained June
11, 1718, died March 18, 1787. He was the honor patriarch of the
New England pulpit of that day. Eleven of the Gay family had been
graduated from Harvard in 1826, five of whome were ministeres, while
others of the family had been graduated from other New England
colleges at that time." From this date I have written:
When young John Gay the Puritan
To Massachusetts came
He went to work right there and then
To make himself a name.
There were one thousand Puritand
Some of them men of fame
They brought their flocks and herds with them
And stores of every name.
They settled at old Watertown
Boston and Charlestown too
Unlike their friends of near renown, (The pilgrims)
They came prepared to do.
They marked their impress on the state
They would a nation try
To build a nation was their fate
For they would do or die.
John Gay, a worker in that band
We know that he made good
And his descendants in the land
Are better understood.
For scholars, statesman, ministers
And business men galore
Who claim him and his anscestors
Are found from shore to shore.
One grand old soldier from that band
Did long in Quincy dwell (2018 Maine St)
No doubt there's many in the land
Our records do not tell.
But tis a fact with justice done
It often has been said
That all the Gays have always won
Respect with fame or bread.
The Gay family are well represented in all the great encyclopedias
of the world.
John Gay, the British poet was at one time offered a lucrative
position in the Queens household which he declined.
Sidney Hammond Gay was born at Boston, educated at Harvard, traveled,
lectured for abolitionist societies, wrote history, as managing editor
of New York Tribune, studied law, but was precluded from practice
because being an abolitionist, he would not take an oath to support
the Constitution of the United Staes, (because it at that time
Gay Luccasse of France was considered the greatest scientest and
chemist of the century in which he lived. For his wonderful scientific
discoveries was made first a Representative and later became a peer of
France. He was a Gay, his father (Joe Gay) having assumed the name of
Luccasse when he inherited a certain property.
Miss Delphina Gay, also of France is mentioned as a great writer of
French fiction and Edward Gay of Ireland as a wonderful painter. Many
others are mentions. From this data I have written:
We cannot prove all Gays are kin
For records fail to show
But family ways are much the same
We find, where'er we go.
John Gay, the poet's pride we hear
Was hurt by England's Queen
When she proposed her daughter's care
In part to him be given.
While Sidney Hammond studied laws
But wouldn't practice when
Our Constitution's Slavery clause
Was put square up to him.
I mention these two instances
To show a family trait
For sometimes stubborn insistence
Does make or mar our fate.
Gay Luccasse, who in science stood
So far in the advance
He was a Gay and he made good
Became a peer of France.
And many others that we know
Have wond an honored name
In fact the Gays where'er we go
Are very much the same.
In art and sciences, literature
In history and romance
In patriot band and travel lore
They've made the world advance.
Macauley's teachings were quite right
In ancestry we've fame
Let us keep our esrutcheons bright
Perpetuate our name.
That is the object of my book
Perpetuate our name
And should remote descendants look
They must respect my aim.
Lines written at father's death.
Tis of James Gay of Summer Hill
Born of a hardy rugged race
Insured to povety and toil
By industry won honored place
His lines of life I try to trace.
For father lived a life of toil
He plowed his ground, he chopped his wood
He was a true son of the soil
And grew his crops as farmers should
And took delight in doing good.
An infant he in cradle lay
While cannons roared at Waterloo
At school his teacher Marshal Ney
The bravest of the brave and true
For Ney was to Napoleon true
Instilled sound maxims in his mind
Be just and true, do not turn back
Nor every yield the right, but find
Some wayh of helping those who lack,
Be just and true and brave and kind.
These maxims learned, he lived them too
And practiced them as years rolled on
WOuld ever find some good to do
And never quit till taks was done
At ninety-three his work was done.
Tis sometimes said that blood will tell
Tho generations run
James Gays descendants prove his well
As ancesters begun.
An ancestor for Ornage fought (1690)
It was a noble cause
It, libeties to England brought
As well as freedoms laws.
His grandsire in a Patriot band, (1776)
Along with Marion's men
Upheld our cause in souther land
For seven years again.
In eighteen twelve his father served
To keep our seamen free
Till Britian from her course was swerved
And let our sailors be.
James Gay did never serve in war
But worked with might and main
And grew the crops that have thus far
Been thought the best for gain.
He bore hardships that we feel
We hardly need to know
Like building fires with flint and steel
Or with a string and bow.
His two sons served in Civil War (1861)
One rode far oer'r the plain (1865)
And taught the Red Man to beware
Of making war again.
And eight good grandsons in the war, (1917)
That was with Germans fought
They all bore rank; are all thus far
Alive and well 'tis thought.
Thank God who shielded them so well
On earth and air and sea
And brought them safely home to tell
Of war with Germany.
Our country will revere each name
For ages yet to come
Remote descendants speak their fame
And say of all__"Well done".
WE do believe that blood did tell
While generations run
God in his goodness willed us well
He has since we begun.
Comrades__we meet again tonight
To join in song and story,
Of how you battled for the right
And to uphold "Old Glory."
Now, take your Comrades by the hand
And pray to God to bles them,
And tell of pranks in Dixie land,
But nothing to distress them.
In memory go back again
And watch old camp fires glowing,
It may be fair, perhaps "twill rain,
Or possibly be snowing.
But pound your coffee in tin cups,
On ramrods toast your bacon;
And if you hear the pickets shots,
Fall in before you waken.
FOr life is not one happy dream
Of beauty or of roses;
And all things are not what they seem,
A later day discloses.
>From sixty-one till sixty-five
The gage of battle given'
You took it up--you're here alive--
Some comrades are in heaven.
Those brave young boys, so long since dead,
Bright flowers bloom above them;
Their glad young lives too soon were sped,
GOd knows how well you loved them.
In all our fairest burial graounds
Their noble bodies moulder,
"Old Glory" marks with annual rounds
The places where they slumber.
Dead comrades rest--your work is done,
Your names are joined with glory;
While Shiloh and Fort Donnelson
Help make our Nations story.
On Chicamauga's fatal field,
On Lookout's heights immortal,
Our comrades fought, but would not yhield;
They passed through Heaven's portal.
And Chattanooga proudly known,
And Missionary's story;
The grandest of the battle zone,
Helps wresth your names with glory.
But greater than all fields of fame
Or glory or dominion;
Yes, nobler than all else we claim,
They died to save the Union.
A LEGEND OF THE MISSISSIPPI
To Mississippi's noble stream
A way worn band had come
DeSoto walked like one in dream
His haughty manner gone.
He spoke thus to his men of rank
My comrades brave and true
Be seated on this flowery bank
I've much to say to you.
Behold the sun is setting
Behind those western hills
The toils of day forgetting
We rest beside the rills.
THe morn of life for laughter
The moon is brighter still
But eve that follows after
Brings night so dark and chill.
Just so myh life has been
>From childhoods early day
The love of gold and sin
Has les me far astray.
I crossed the deep blue ocean
I wandered many a day
O'er hill and lofty mountain
That marked my lonely way.
I sought the glitering treasure
In many a shallow stream
It fille dmy lifes last measure
Has been my only dream.
But now my hour has come
I lay me down to die
But Gods will must be done
I'll go to younder sky.
Where mother awent before me
Where angels make their home
She welcomes me to glory
I never more will roam
Farewell my brave adventurers
Farewell ye hardy few
Farewell my trusty followers
I bid you all adieu.
DeSoto turned and bowed his head
His comrades nearer drew
A moment more his spirit fled
It was his last adieu.
Great chieftain though you never found
The gold for which you died
The mighty Misssissippi bound
Your name with fame beside.
And see what blessings God hath brought
>From what you thought had failed,
That noble river's stream has wrought
Such wealth that gold has paled.
GOLD WORTHY FARM
A beautiful valley I love
With cattle so fat and sleek
Neath the sycamores shade above
The banks of a dear old creek.
With the old swimming hole near by
Where many long hours we played
In the sand in the sun to lie
Or rest neath the maple shade.
The house stands far back from the road
The pastures are green and fair
On the hill a very dense wood
And excellent springs are there.
The land is quite fertile and good
Well drained to the creek below
Well protected by that great wood.
From the cold north winds that blow.
The shelters fro stock are well planned
And placed where they ought to be
There's plenty of lime stone at hand
To keep up fertility.
A farm well adapted to sheep
Whose hoof turns the land into gold
Whose fleece each year pays its keep
All else is profit when sold.
And swine will do well on the farm
Though they requir emore care
But keep them quite clean, well and warm
And have some money to spare.
But horses some fols say are done
True they have had a long day
And autos and tractors have won
But the very best colts still pay.
And we will still shield them from harm
That they may a long time stay
On this, our good Gold Worthy farm
While it is held by the Gay
Wm. H. Gay
A personal note of thanks to our retired Major General H. Thomas
Chandler (US ARMY) for sharing this wonderful piece of literature
with us..the Gay descendants who are eternally searching for our
past loved ones. It is an honor to have you as a part of our list.
God Bless you and your family. Sunny Russo...And thank you Sunny
for sharing this wonderful story with the GAY mailing list.