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Heritage of George W. Headlee and Caroline Smith
of Council Bluffs, Iowa

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Click for Barbara Neel Blizzard
If we decend from John Drake and his first wife Lettice Shakespeare, then William Shakespeare is our cousin. DNA seems to prove this.
BYU Relative Finder has us descended from Lettice Shakespeare through George W. Headlee.


by Barbara Neel, with cousins Ron Potter, Glenn Headley, Joyce McCool, Jo Mercer, and Carolyn Stober.

I used to say that the best thing about Headley men was the women they married. Nothing has changed, but they have a history to be proud of. Ancestors of George and Caroline include the Pharaoh Ramses and Abraham in the Bible. You can trace it in the book "Royalty for Commoners." (See link below.)

Our Headley ancestor Richard Headley married first Hannah Drake and after Hannah died, he married her sister, my ancestor Mary Drake, daughters of Samuel Drake. Some question the fact that Mary was Samuel's daughter, however, DNA matches with descendants of his other children prove Mary was his daughter. Samuel's lineage is in a new book preview featured on the Drake Maps page below, by Terry Drake, who has us descended from the Drakes of Ash and Royalty, however, y-DNA proves there were many different Haplogroups of Drakes. The Drakes of Ashe were R-y-DNA and John Drake of Fairfield, CT, died 1659, was T-y-DNA. Most researchers now claim we descend from this T-y-DNA John Drake through his first wife Lettice Shakespeare, first cousin of Playwright William Shakespeare. At we do have three matches of descendants of the Shakespeare family.

The earliest Headley in our line was Richard Headley, (born near John Drake and Lettice Shakespeare) through his second wife, Mary Drake, ancestors of George Washington Headlee. George's parents were George J. Headlee and Mary Ann Fry, daughter of David Fry, son of Vincent Fry and Mary Snow. David's mother was Dorothy Stewart, daughter of James Stewart of Greenbrier, West Virginia who either moved to Kentucky before settling in Greene County, Indiana, or the county lines moved. James Stewart did descend from royal Stewarts through a maternal line, but y-DNA of his descendants, as well as his brother John Stewart, were originally Doherty/Daugherty according to DNA testing.

James Stewart and Sally Fleshman were married 6 Nov 1795 by Rev. John Alderson, in Alderson, Greenbrier, West Virginia. But they didn't pay the bond until 11 July 1796 which leads to confusion with their genealogy. In the year before he died, James filed for divorce from Sarah who had refused to move to Indiana and so moved back home with her mother. She later married Mr. Legg. In Iowa, James and Sarah's great-grandson, George W. Headlee, married Caroline Smith.

Who was Caroline Smith? Caroline's great-grandparents were George "Thomas" Smith and Leah Agee who were born in Colonial Virginia. Caroline was of royal descent through her great-grandmother Leah Agee. Their son William Smith married his cousin Elizabeth "Betsy" Smith November 1812, giving us a double dose of this famous Smith bloodline. Betsy was the daughter of James, brother of George "Thomas" Smith. In his declaration of his genealogy, James Agee Smith stated his ancestor's name was Thomas Smith, however, some descendants state George Thomas Smith. In any case, it is through Leah Agee that this line descends from royalty.

William and Betsy moved to Iowa where their granddaughter Caroline was born. William's brother James Agee Smith (also of royal descent) married our ancestor Margaret Love as her second husband. Her first husband was our ancestor Hezekiah Stephens. Their son Adam Stephens married Mary Polly Reynolds. Her great-grandmother was Ann Snickers. Caroline's mt-DNA is Haplo-H through Ann and her earliest maternal ancestor, Christina Ollesdotter who was born in Sweden and died in Delaware. Her granddaughter Catharina Robinson married Henry Joransson "Snickers" aka Suicher, French for sugar. Perhaps he sold sugar, because his surname should have been Joransson in America. Henry owned Snickers Ferry in Virginia. We descend from Henry through Susan Rachel Anna Jones. (Yes, she had three first names!)

Caroline and George W. Headlee....who once rode with William Cody "Buffalo Bill," in his Wild West Show....had a family large enough to have their own country music band. The family held barn dances every Saturday night at their farm in Iowa, and charged a fee of ten cents to attend. My maternal grandfather Clyde Hadley/Headley fiddled the violin, while his twin Claude Headley, (Glenn's grandfather,) played the piano. Claude also called the square dances. It was a fun family and they always enjoyed life. Our men sing like angels, including our cousin Gene Pursell, the Irish Tenor on the Lawrence Welk Show on TV whose video is below. I'm sure our family got its beautiful vocal cords from Dorothy John, our Welsh side of the family.

George and Caroline had a son named George born 1889 who fell from a tree, got lockjaw because of his injuries which was common at that time, and passed away in 1899 when he was ten years old. His brother Athen Ritter Headley was four years older than George. Uncle "Rit" took his brother's identity as George Hadley in California as early as 1938, and passed away as George Hadley in 1960. His brother Clyde also changed his name to Hadley as early as his marriage license to Sybil, but had to change it back to Headley when he collected his social security.


Most recently, through our testing at Ancestry dot com, my daughter EB and I are matches with the granddaughter of William Wallace Smith and Rosamond Bunnell, granddaughter of my g-great-grandmother Mary Ann Fry by her third husband William Palmer. W. Wallace Smith was the grandson of Joseph Smith, the Prophet.

DNA is a great tool. DNA Family Finder matches show we descend from Nicholas Snow's daughter Sarah and also John Snow of unproven ancestry, both ancestors of my mother Bernice Hadley. Our cousins Glenn Headley (grandson of Claude)and Michael Hadley (grandson of Clyde) are Haplo-group R-y-DNA in the New York DNA Project at FTDNA.

Our Stewart line is R-M222-y-DNA with four matches. Our relative is a descendant from James and Sally Fleshman Stewart of Greenbrier, WV, #204713. These matches were surnamed Stewart for a few generations back from James as proved by the fact that the matches are not closely related cousins on the family tree, however, before that, at some time the male line had been a Doherty according to the administrator of the Stewart DNA project. Indeed almost all y-DNA matches are Dougherty, Daugherty, or Doherty. It's possible a man named Doherty changed his name to Stewart due to loyalty in joining the Stewart Clan through marriage, which was common in both Ireland and Scotland for centuries, or an orphan changed his name to that of his adopted family. It is possible that we could be a Stewart through the mother's line. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were a dangerous time to be a Stewart in Ireland. In any case, our Stewart line is a "never ending story" as we may never know what happened.

Another match is a descendant of Joshua M. Headlee's brother Ephraim's descendant. But we have only proved our Headlee line to Joshua M. Headlee and wife Susanna LNU, and through SAR records, his parents John Headley and wife Jerusha Mann. John's father in multi SAR records was Richard Headley (Jr.) To view, or join the New York DNA project and have your Headley y-DNA in the research, copy and paste this link:

Gene Pursell the Irish Tenor on the Lawrence Welk Show in the 1950's was Aunt Nora Headley Bendon's grandson.
Gene passed away in Iowa 31 October 2014. Rest in peace, Gene!
Click here for his obituary.

Family Pictures and Articles

Family pictures are on the left, and also a list of interesting places of our family history at other sites are on the right.


Note: After you click on a link it will turn green, so you know which of them you have viewed.

1 Bernice Headley/HadleyBernice Hadley Neel Olson, my mother. She was the daughte of Clyde O. Headley and Sybil L. Newman Hadley aka Headley. 2 David Fry LDS Family Elder David Fry LDS records from Brenna Stokes. Please arrow back from these pages. Thank you!
3 Clyde Headley and wife Sybil Newman Maternal grandparents of BJ Neel Blizzard. 4
5 Mary Ann Fry Headlee Bowes PalmerMary Ann was the wife of George J. Headlee. Her granddaughter Rosemond Burnell married W. Wallace Smith, grandson the Joseph Smith. Wallace was president of Community of Christ 1958-1978. 6 Stewart DNAWe have four matches of our Stewart DNA.
7 Amanda Jane Fry Headlee, sister of Mary Ann Fry above, daughters of David Fry and Dorothy Stewart. 8 Welsh Castle Database
9 Hulda Smtihwife of Andrew Jackson Headlee, sister of Caroline Smith Headlee. Andrew was the brother of George W. Headlee, sons of George J. Headlee and Mary Ann Fry. 10 Cherokee Indian Removal
11 Athen Ritter Headley aka George HadleyUncle "Rit" was married a few times, and then moved to California where he changed his name to George Hadley and married his last wife, there. He was buried as George Hadley, the name of his younger brother who died at age 10 from "Lockjaw" after falling out of a tree and breaking his leg. 12 Our Indian Heritage
13 Clyde and Claude HeadleyTwin sons of George W. and Caroline Smith Headlee....but you knew that, didn't you! 14 Ron Potter's Web Page Featuring Ron's Egyptian and Armor collections.
15 George Washington Headlee Son of George J. Headlee and Mary Ann Fry. 16 BJ & Ron Potter's My Heritage site with family tree and a few pictures.
17 Gertrude Shanks and husband Claude HeadleyParents of Rit, Clyde, Claude, Nora, Margaret, and Daisy below. 18 David Fry Memorial
19 Carol Headley Jolly 20Gene Pursell news article.
21 George W. Headlee Family? 22 Hadley/Headley DNA....We have Three matches of our line: Mike Hadley and Glenn Headley are two descendants of Joshua M. Headley, y-DNA tested, and they are grandsons of Clyde and Claude Headley.
23 Andrew Jackson Headlee,Brother of George W. Headlee, son of George J. Headlee and Mary Ann Fry Palmer. 24 Lady Huntington:Smile! It's just a little humor.
But we do descend from Lady Huntington, 1072-1130, and her husband St.David, King of Scotland. In fact, we descend from about a dozen saints.
25 Nora Headley Bendon 26 Letter of Thanks by Lady Huntington, 1845. Written by a 12 yr. old. Enjoy!
27 Baby Carroll Headley (Mrs. Johnny Jolly) 28 Lady Huntington leaving!
29 Gertrude Shanks Headley wife of Claude Picture via Ron Potter, taken by Viva Prescott. 30 George and Caroline Headlee gravemarkers.Otha Bendon made these gravemarkers for his parents-in-law.
31 George and Caroline Headley Family Reunion 32 California 1938 Registry of VotersListed are Jeff Cates, Clyde Hadley, George (Rit)Hadley and wife Helen Hadley.
33 Caroline Smith Headlee 34 Minerva Headlee SharonMinerva wrote our family history in the 1880's.
35 Claude Headley Family Reunion Twin of Clyde below. 36
37 Clyde Hadley/Headley Family Reunion 1960 I wasn't at the family reunion, I was in San Diego!
But my mother Bernice and sibs are 2nd from the left in front, next to Geri far left.
38 Our American Revolution Heritage
39 Gene Pursell, the Irish TenorEugene "Gene" Pursell was the Irish Tenor on the Lawrence Welk show in the 50's. Gene''s maternal grandparents were Nora Headley and Otha Bendon. Gene sang like an angel. The Headlee family of Welsh-Irish and Scot ancestry were noted for their fine singing voices, and since other descendants of George W. Headlee and Caroline Smith have pure tone, singing voices as well, I'm sure he got his talent from his Headley side of the family, as his cousin Ron Potter, son of Nora's sister Daisy, also sings like an angel. 40 My Vincent Fry Homepage. Thanks to all my distant cousins who did so much research and shared it with me.
41 Nora Headley and Otha Bendon FamilyEldean--the pretty daughter in the back row--was the mother of Gene Pursell above. Their son Jerry in the front row was the father of Ayelene Bendon, wife of Gerald Vernon Hadley, son of Clyde and Sybil Headley. Jerry was also the father of Josie Bendon Mercer and Joseph Bendon who have trees online. 42 Uwharrie River NC info on Vincent Fry. Vincent is listed owning land near the sons of Johann Peter "Pelzer" Frey whose son Benjamin moved to Indiana with Vincent Fry.
43 Ron Potter Family 44 Marriage License of Carroll Headley and Johnny Jolly, Typed license and certificate
45 Dorothy Potter Dorothy Potter was the daughter of James Herman Laird and Golden Daisy Headley Laird Potter. Dorothy and brothers Eugene and Richard were adopted by Harold Potter when he married their mother. Dorothy was my mother's cousin and best friend. 46 Marriage License of Carroll Headley and Johnny JollyHand written license and certificate
47 Margaret "Marguerite" Headley Daugherty Margaret was the daughter of George and Caroline Headlee. 48 Free DAR search engine Look up applications of your ancestors at Daughters of the American Revolution.
49 Jerry & Mary Bendon's Children at her funeralTheir priest is in back row (wearing glasses.) 50Headley and Drake Location Maps Headley and Drake Maps show where in England these families possibly connected to us, lived.
51 BJ, with mother Bernice, and Aunt Margie in the car.This photo was taken about 1943-44 at the home of Clyde & Sybil Hadley where we lived. Our priest, Mons. Masciaskas, lived in the second story living area, so everyone was always on his or her best behavior! I don't remember his coming or going, but I do remember when Aunt Pat and I took him a bowl of grandma's soup or stew. 52 Family of Elder David Fry. David, Peter and Hannah were the children of Vincent Fry and his first wife, Mary Snow. Vincent's second wife, Mary Moss, was the mother of the rest of his children except his youngest child Keziah who was by his third wife Mathilda Padgett. Fry Family History page one. These were some of the earliest lineages we have for David's children. Fry Family History page two These pages were sent to me by Ron Potter.
53 George & Caroline Headley Family reuion of their children. 54 1900 Census of George Bunnell and Rosa Palmer Bunnell.Rosa Palmer was the daughter of Mary Ann Fry Headlee Bowes Palmer, and granddaughter of David Fry and Dorothy Stewart. She married George Bunnell and their daughter Rosamond Bunnell married the William Wallace Smith, grandson of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale. William was present of RLDS 1958-1978.
55 Clyde Hadley Family 1969 picture taken by Tillman Blizzard. 56 1870 Census of Amon Fry and his sister Mary Ann Fry Headlee PalmerMary was living with Amon, as well as her daughter Rosa who later married George Bunnell. Their daughter Rosamond Bunnell married William Wallace Smith, Pres. RLDS 1958-1978. He was the grandson of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale.
57 Nancy & Wayne Catalano BBQ 1968Nancy & Wayne Catalano are far left. Sybil & Clyde Hadley are the older couple, then Norman and Svea, Bernice & Lee Olson, and far right Margie and Jack Dair. 58
59 John Frederick Dair Uncle "Jack" was the husband of my aunt and godmother, Margie Hadley. This picture was taken by me in 1953 at our house in Reseda. He was holding his first child and only daughter, Diana. Jack passed away May 18, 2015. Jack was the only child of Owen Mulford Dair. 60Thomas Hadley marriage record Thomas Hadley, Jr.(b.1794 NY, d.16 Jan 1871 NJ) md. 1828 NJ, Eliza Ming, parents of Horace H. Hadley, y-DNA match of Glenn Headley and Mike Hadley, great-grandsons of George and Caroline Smith Headley. The death certificate of Thomas Hadley Jr. states his father was Thomas Hadley. Thomas Hadley was buried in a Moravian cemetery in NJ. George Headley's mother Mary Ann Fry's paternal family were also Moravians before joining with LDS where her father was Elder David Fry. If you know how Thomas Hadley fits into our family please let me know. I'm also getting DNA matches of descendants of this Thomas Headley.
61 Margaret Love Margaret Love first married Hesekiah Stephens. They had two sons and he died. Then she married James Agee Smith, brother of our ancestor William Smith. Margaret and James had a set of twins and at least six other children. 62 Sybil Newman & Clyde Hadley Marriage Certificate This is the earliest record of Clyde using the Hadley spelling of his surname. The marriage certificate is about 16X24 inches.
63 William Smith and wife Elizabeth tombstone William Smith, son of George Thomas Smith and Leah Agee, married his first cousin Elizabeth "Betsy" Smith, daughter of James Smith and Janet Morrison. George and James were the sons of William Smith and Elizabeth Meyer aka Maier and Moyer. William and Elizabeth the younger whose tomstone is here, were buried in the Biglers Grove Cemetery, Woodbine, Harrison Co, Iowa. William's FAGandBetsy's FAG You can see a better view on Pam,s Monument page on the right. 64 Pam Potter, Monument MakerRon's wife Pam and her mother were in the monument business.
65 Anne SmithDaughter of William and Elizabeth Smith, Anne died age 26. 66 Biography of Sarah & William Palmer by Jeanne Murphy.Sarah and William were the children of Elisha Palmer. They married into our Fry family. Also mentions family of Hiram Palmer who married into our Stevens/Smith family.
67 Lucille Powell Headley Lucille Powell was uncle Rit's wife. The first Mrs. Athen Ritter Headley aka George Hadley. 68 Boyer Twp. Harrison Co, IA 1860 Census textAmong other relatives is David and Dorothy Stewart Fry, William and Elizabeth Smith and daughters Disa Ann and Leah Ann Smith Shaddan and her husband John Shaddan, Elisha and Nancy Palmer and many more.
69 Albert and Amanda Smith FamilyAlbert Smith was the son of Charles W. Smith and Margaret Stephens. Amanda Smith was the sister of Hulda Smith who married Andrew Jackson Smith. Amanda and Hulda were the sisters of my great-grandmother Caroline Smith who married George W. Headlee, th subjects of this webpage. George and Andrew were brothers, sons of George J. Headlee and Mary Ann Fry Palmer. 70The Difference Between LDS and our RLDS Beliefs. Our Fry and Headlee families were LDS and then RLDS, staying with the Founder's family, as Brigham Young took over LDS after its founder Joseph Smith was killed. Joseph's widow and family became RLDS, as LDS members who went to Utah changed even basic beliefs, including changing the Book of Mormon multi times in every way. At this link you can see the difference between LDS and RLDS which today is known as Community of Christ. They have almost nothing in common.
71 Twins: Neva and Norine SmithNeva and Norine Smith were the daughters of Albert and Mary Amanda Pierce Smith, born after Maude and Charles, and before Clarence and sister Frances. 72 Morning Star, Bigler's Grove Member List Almost everyone in the Morning Star RLDS Church at Bigler's Grove, Iowa, was related to us. Mary A. Palmer was Mary Ann Fry Headlee. Dorothy Fry was Dorothy Stewart.
73 Caroline Headley, her brother Albert Smith & wife Mary Amanda Pierce. 74 Genealogy of James Agee SmithThe genealogy of my distant uncle James Agee Smith lists his parents and ancestry back to Capt. John Smith. Except that John Smith didn't have any children. Also he stated that Hyrum Smith stated we descend from his Smith family and that is probably true, as George Thomas Smith's parents, William Smith and Elizabeth Maier/Moyer, were both born in Pennsylvania.
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Below is a video of Clyde Headley's great-granddaughter, our cousin Jessica Colin-Greene in Africa, explaining how she was innocently sitting in car when the accident happened.


For the book which traces our family back to Abraham in the Bible through a Roman in England, Pharaohs of Egypt, and worth every penny for descendants of John of Gaunt, Prince of England, King of Jerusalem.

Find A Grave memorial for cousin Gene Pursell is #138239875

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