The Gilley War at Homer, 1866
(The Free Press, Diboll, Texas, Thursday, June 26, 1980, Section Two,
By Ted Maberry
Those of us who take part in
Angelina's Historical Forum find it difficult to agree with the age old
statement - "You can't take it with you".
As a matter of fact, there are some
things that will "enter with thy bones", unless arrangements are made. If
there is some historical event of which you have knowledge, whether you were
there in person when it happened, or if it has been related to you in some other
way, should it not be revealed for permanent record, then it might be lost
So, if you are invited to take part in
the forum, don't think for a moment that your time is nigh. Instead, you
might be recognized as a living volume in history which needs recording. Then
too, you might have a few questions of your own. We need you who have
stories to tell and especially young folks who have listening ears.
THE GILLEY WAR AT HOMER 1866
The following is actually an inquiry
by Ursin Perkins, owner of the Perkins Sales Company, of Reeves, Louisiana, who
is seeking information on the Gilley War, or skirmish, which happened at Homer,
the county seat of Angelina County, during the late summer of 1866.
Mr. Perkins is anxious to find more on
the little insurrection which his grandfather and other members of the Gilley
family took part.
The story was handed down to Perkins
by his grandmother, the wife if Isaac Gilley, who was a teenage girl at the time
it happened and was not then married to Gilley. Mr. Perkins knows that the
story could vary somewhat from his version but wants to find the truth, whatever
that might be.
After checking court record, I know
there is truth in the matter; however, the records have not revealed enough on
what actually took place. So, if anyone can shed any light on this
interesting event, they should let me know.
The letter from Ursin Perkins is a
Dear Mr. Maberry
I will try to give you a short story
of the Gilley War as it was told to me by my grandmother, the wife of Isaac
My great-grandfather, George Gilley,
was captain of the Home Guard at Homer during the Civil War, and my grandfather
Isaac Gilley was in the Confederate Army.
George Gilley had many skirmishes with
the "Jayhawkers" and on one occasion when they were trying to kill him they
swung his baby boy to the front gate posts to try and learn the whereabouts of
the child's father. Not being successful at this they molested his women
folks and destroyed all of their possessions. After the Civil War was
over, these same men seemed to have gotten control of the county government,
there at Homer.
George Gilley gave a four year steer
to a woman to make him a flag like he wanted. He, his sons, Isaac and Allen,
along with a son-in-law, mounted their horses and rode to Homer in the evening.
They placed the flag in the courthouse square, and dared the officials to take
it down. Some of the officials along with others engaged in a brief war
After the fighting had died down it
was found that a number of men had been killed, but the only casualties suffered
by the Gilleys were that my grandfather, who was shooting a double barrel
shotgun, had his little finger blown off by by a bullet down the barrel of his
gun and one of the boys had been shot in the back with some small shot.
The young man, I believe it was the son-in-law, was treated by one of the
doctors and was dismissed the next morning. Then the four of them got on
their horses and rode away.
Jim Windham was killed by George
Gilley on Oct. 25, 1866, or it could have been that he was indicted by the grand
jury, on that date (Jim was not killed). He was brought to trial on this charge
nineteen years later in 1885, and came clear. Eli Windham was killed by
Isaac Gilley on that same date. He was indicted but never brought to
trial. These two are documented by files in the courthouse.
Sheriff William Read McMullen and
Charley Stovall were also killed during the skirmish. It is said that
Sheriff McMullen had received word of the trouble going on at the courthouse
square and was killed while trying to put it down.
Any word that might correct or add to
the statement which has been made would be greatly appreciated.
Sincerely, Ursin Perkins
You may write or call Ted Maberry to
give additional information. 1008 Brady St. Lufkin, Texas 75901 or call