Kansas History and Heritage Project-Anderson County Biographies

Anderson County Biographies
"Portrait and Biographical Record of Southeastern Kansas"
Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, 1894

ROBERT W. GAILEY. Among the lumber dealers of Garnett, the best known in the building trade, one who may be mentioned as of special prominence, is Robert W. Gailey, who established his lumber yards in this city in 1889. He keeps constantly on hand a large stock of dressed lumber and building materials and is prepared to furnish at short notice almost anything in that line required by a contractor, and is one of the most popular dealers in this part of the country among the large mass of contractors and builders. Handling nothing but first-class goods, he fills all orders with the greatest care and with the utmost promptness, and those entrusting bills to him are always confident that they will receive the very best material, cut to use with the utmost economy, and at prices which defy competition.

Mr. Gailey is a native of Pennsylvania, born in Perry County, fourteen miles northwest of Harrisburg October 26, 1838, and is a son of Alexander and Mary (White) Gailey. the name of Gailey originated in this manner: Many generations ago a Scotchman by the name of Buchanan won a purse in a boxing contest. The money he was to receive was spread out on the lea (meadow), and as he walked over the same the people called out "Gay Lea," and he was ever afterward known as Gailey. Three of his sons emigrated to the North of Ireland and from them have descended the Gaileys of to-day. The grandfather of our subject, Andrew Gailey, accompanied by his brother, Alexander Gailey, came from the North of Ireland and settled in Pennsylvania. Alexander Gailey never married; he was a Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War, and lived to be one hundred and two years of age. Grandfather Gailey was a farmer, and resided in Perry County, Pa., nearly all his life, passing his last days, however, with a daughter residing in Washington County, Pa. He was about eighty-five years of age at the time of his death, and was a worthy member of the Presbyterian Church. His family consisted of two sons and two daughters. Barbara married James Gailey and died in Indiana. Robert died in Wayne County, Ohio, where he was engaged in farming. Alexander was the father of our subject; and Jane married John Murray and now resides in Pana, Ill.

Alexander Gailey was born in Perry County, Pa., June 10, 1792, and was married in that county to Miss Mary White. He followed the peaceful pursuit of farming and met with good success in that calling. He also owned a sawmill, which he conducted in connection with farming for many years. When advanced in years he removed to Kansas and passed the remainder of his days in Garnett, his death occurring April 28, 1890. The mother is also deceased. Both were members of the Presbyterian Church at one time, but later they united with the United Presbyterian Church. Mr. Gailey was a Democrat in early life, later member of the American party, and when the Re- publican party was formed he rallied to its standard. Eight children were born to this most estimable couple, as follows: Margaret D., now residing in Garnett, became the wife of Alexander Garrett, and removed from Pennsylvania to Kansas in 1857. They first settled in Franklin County and later in Anderson County, where her husband was accidentally killed. Elizabeth W. married Rev. James N. Smith and resides near Garnett. Mr. Smith is one of the pioneer ministers of the United Presbyterian Church in Kansas. Barbara resides in Garnett. Andrew W. was a farmer, and resided in Perry County, Pa., for many years. His death occurred in Washington County, that state. Catherine H. resides in Garnett; Mary J. married Rev. J. H. Adair, a minister in the United Presbyterian Church, and now resides in Missouri; Robert W., our subject, and James A. complete the number. The latter was at one time a farmer, but later he became a druggist and died in Garnett.

The original of this sketch was reared on a farm and received a common-school education. Until 1867 he remained under the parental roof, after which he came to Kansas and purchased eighty acres. The year previous to this, while in Kansas on a visit, he purchased eighty acres, so that when locating here he has one hundred and sixty acres of land. This land was but little improved, there being a log cabin and an orchard on it, but he began making improvements and engaged actively in farming and stock-raising. In 1886 he removed to Garnett and was employed in a lumber yard, where he remained two years. Returning to the farm, he remained on the same one year, and in 1889 removed to Garnett, where he purchased a half-interest in his present business. He still owns his farm and also his residence property in Garnett.

Mr. Gailey has been twice married, first in February, 1868, to Miss Mary B. Calvert, daughter of John and Rebecca Calvert, and a native of western Pennsylvania. Her death occurred February 25, 1888, and four children were left motherless: Maud C, wife of Charles E. McMurray, of Kansas City, Mo.; Frank A., Roy E. and Pearl E. Mr. Gailey's second marriage occurred November 5, 1889, to Mrs. Anna K. Beard, nee Kanard. In politics he is a stanch Republican. He is now County Surveyor, having formerly held that position twelve years; he was Township Trustee five years, was clerk of the Board of Education of Garnett and a member of the City Council, acting Mayor during an unexpired term caused by the resignation of the Mayor. In his religious views he is a United Presbyterian and is an Elder in the church.

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