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This "Handley Family History" is posted in appreciation to Mary Mortimeyer, Frances Revesz, and Richard Hopkins, who produced the original booklet. Richard and Mary's husband gave us permission to put the work on-line just before her death at Cameron, Missouri on October 1 1999.

Thanks to Richard Hopkins and Carol Ann Berry for making this on-line version of the book possible for the Handley Genealogy Index Page, where other information and contacts are available. Coding by Nancy Sween.

This work is for free use, not to be copied and sold.

The Handley Family History
by
Mary Mortimeyer
and
Richard Hopkins

To Part 2 * Index


John Handley I

This paper was put together by Mary Mortimeyer and her sister, Frances Revesz, and was written for the descendants of James Handley, son of John Handley I, progenitor of many of the Handley's in America. We will call this John Handley "John Handley I" Mary has more information available about the rest of John's family.

It is said, although we have no proof, that John Handley I and his brother, William Handley, were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians from Ireland. John Handley, his wife, William Handley and his wife migrated to America about 1741. Apparently they lived in South Carolina and North Carolina at some periods, but we am not sure when. It appears that James Handley came with John and William and was their father. They first appeared in New Castle County, Delaware about 1745. Pennsylvania and Delaware had a boundary dispute for many years, therefore New Castle was also shown as being within Pennsylvania borders at times before the dispute was settled. In 1746, they settled in Virginia on the Staunton River.

Va. Mag of Hist. & Biography Vol 31, page 249

"John and William Handley, weavers by trade, on March 14, 1746, executed their bond to Charles Tennett of Mill Creek Hundred and County of New Castle, Minister of the Gospel for 26 pounds 18 schilling."

"Bond witnessed by Thomas Cochran, Margaret Cochran and William McCue, or McCord. On January 1748, Mr. Tennett assigned this note to Thos. Boggs, and who in turn assigned the note to Thomas Thompson of Augusta Co., Va. Thomas Thompson and the Handleys moved to Augusta County prior to 1755. See Thompson vs. Handly Court Papers 401."

Tax Lists December 1745 John Handley, Christiana 100 in New Castle, Delaware.

John Handley's name first appeared in the official records of Augusta County, Virginia, on November 26, 1751, this was the date of the deed in which he purchased 257 acres from Benjamin Border for 15 pounds.The land was located on the Broad Spring Run (Back Creek) adjoining land of Joseph Kennedy (Northern area of present Rockbridge County, Virginia)

John and three other men viewed (laid out, constructed and maintained) a road in the Calfpasture District after being appointed to do so by the County Court on May 20, 1752 (Near present Goshen, Virginia.) .

John Handley's brother, William Handley, died in 1756, in Augusta County, Virginia leaving a wife and four small children. William's wife toiled the farm, raised her children and at intervals sent them to a country school. We are not sure when she died, but we do know that it was after 1788. In 1788, she was living with Samuel and his family in Washington County on the banks of the Chucky River. Their children were;

1. John Handley, born about 1746 in Augusta County, Virginia, married Mary Harrison, daughter of Colonel Benjamin Harrison of Cumberland County, Virginia, about 1768. died January 18, 1811. He became a prominent citizen of Monroe Co., where his name appears on record books associated with his cousins, Archibald Handley, James Handley and Alexander Handley. Surveys of Botecourt County show he purchased land on Indian Creek, now Monroe County, West Virginia., with his cousin, Archibald Handley, in 1774. He, also, owned land in Jefferson County, Virginia. His home in Monroe County was called Handley's Fort. This was not a government fort, but a fortified house, where his family lived and neighbors gathered for a place of safety during Indian raids. It is not known exactly when the fort was built, but the date was prior to 1779, as records show that the Pauley family set out on their ill-fated trip to Kentucky from this fort in the fall of 1779. The fort stood less than a hundred yards from where the County Infirmary of Monroe is now. In 1939 some of the old logs were still there with a great clump of rose bushes. John fought in Captain John Lewis's Company in the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774. He was a Lieutenant under General George Rogers Clark in 1782/1783. He died in Greenbrier County, West Virginia and is buried in Green Hill Cemetery at Union, Monroe County, West Virginia According to family history, Mary was a relative of President William Henry Harrison and of Benjamin Harrison, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Mary was killed by a team of runaway oxen which she tried to stop and drive into the barnyard gate on December 4, 1829. She is buried in the Guyandotte Cemetery near Charleston, West Virginia, where she had gone to make her home with her son, Isaac Handley, after her husband's death. John and Mary had twelve children. They were; 2. Nancy Handley. Nancy was captured by Indians and held five years and was not normal after her release.

3. Samuel Handley, born September 17, 1751, on the Staunton River, Botetourt County, Virginia. A short time after his birth, his family moved to Greenbrier County, where he spent his boyhood. His father, William Handley died in 1756, when Samuel was five years old. In 1764, there was an outbreak of Indian hostilities and Samuel enlisted in in a unit commanded by Colonel William Fleming. They proceed to a site at the junction of the Ohio River and the Kanawha River, where the Indians entrapped them. The only alternative was to fight their way out. Samuel got his first taste of battle. The battle lasted eight hours and finally the Indians gave way in confusion, leaving about 400 of their warriors dead. The loss for the settlers was 75 killed and 240 wounded. All of the officers of the unit were killed. After the battle, Samuel returned to farming and going to school.

Samuel married first, Mary Adams, daughter of John and Agnes Adams. Mary died about 1779. As far as we know, there was no children from this marriage.

When the Revolutionary War began, Samuel enlisted in the service of the colonies. He was in Christian's campaign of 1776. In 1777 and 1778, Samuel was engaged in fighting Indians. In 1779, he was in Evan Shelby's expedition. He was private in Colonel William Campbell's command at the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780. He was a sergeant in General Daniel Morgan's command in the Battle of Cowpens on January 17, 1781. Later that year he was in Colonel John Sevier's command.

At the close of the war, Samuel went to South Carolina and married, second, Susannah (Susan) Cowan, daughter of Robert Cowan and Susan Wood, on February 4, 1782. He had met Susannah while he was in Sevier's command. A short time after their marriage, Samuel and Susannah moved to Washington County in East Tennesse on the banks of the Chucky River. They lived there until 1797.

When the War with the Cherokee Indians and the Spaniards broke out in 1788, Samuel was chosen to command a company in the territorial militia In 1792, his company of 42 men were patrolling the stations along the Cumberland Trail. The Indians, 56 strong, created a diversion and attacked. Samuel's horse was shot from under him. He took refuge behind a large oak tree. Here he was met by an Indian with raised tomahawk. He caught the warrior's arm and uttered an Indian word meaning "I surrender". The brave captured Samuel and took him to the chief. Every Indian along the way struck Samuel with the flat side of their tomahawk. This diversion was a benefit for Samuel's panic-stricken men. Only three of Samuel's men were killed in this fray. A relief party was set out to find Samuel's body, because he was believed to have been killed. When they arrived at the tree where Samuel was last seen, they found fragments of some paper. This paper contained the roll of the company and had been torn to pieces by Samuel. Samuel was taken to Willtown, located on Will's Creek in what is now Dekalb County, Alabama. where his fate was in suspense for three days. He was made to run the gauntlet three times. During the second time that he had to run the gauntlet, there was another white man that had to run it with him. The other man begged for mercy, but Samuel did not beg and accepted all the punishment that the Indians gave him without a word of protest. The Indians brutally killed the other man saying that he acted like a woman. Samuel was held prisoner for about three months. In the end his life was spared and he was adopted into the wolf clan of the Cherokees Indian Nation at the direction of John Watt, the principal chief of the town. He remained with the tribe for three more months and was treated very kindly. General Sevier send word to John Watt, that he would lay waste to the Cherokee Indian Nation if Captain Handley was not returned. The Indians wanted peace, so about the first of June, six of the braves escorted Samuel to General Sevier's fort. Samuel was about forty at the time he was captured and his hair being brown, but on his return his hair was gray and his body was scarred and beaten severely.

In 1797, Samuel and his family moved to a farm on Little River in Blount County. During the summer of 1800, he moved to further west in Blount County. He resided for some time near the Telico Blockhouse, where the Indians came to trade. In 1808, Samuel and his family finally settled in Franklin County near Winchester, Tennessee. He was a member of the first convention that formed the State of Tennessee He is buried in Woods Cemetery, near Mingo Swamp, northwest of Belvidere, Tennessee in Franklin county. As far as we know, Samuel and Susannah had eight children. They were;

4. Margaret Handley, born February 28, 1753, married first James Pauley on October 1, 1777. In the fall of 1779, the Pauley party, consisting of John Pauley, wife and child, Captain James Pauley, Margaret and child, Mr. Wallace, and Brice Miller left Handley's Fort near Union in Monroe County to go to Kentucky. They followed the trail down by Wood's Fort, to New River, crossed the river near the mouth of Rich Creek, and were overtaken by the Indians about five miles from the mouth of East River near the present site of the town of Princeton, West Virginia. John Pauley, Mr. Wallace and the two children were killed. Margaret was dragged from her horse and knocked senseless by an Indian club, and Captain James Pauley was mortally wounded. Believing that his wife and child were murdered, James Pauley, although mortally wounded, made his way back to Wood's Fort, where he died the next day of his wounds. Margaret was taken to the Indian towns on the Miami, where she was adopted by Chief Vhite Bark. A short time after she was taken prisoner, she had another child, John Pauley. She and her child were released and they returned to Union, Virginia, around 1785. A short time later she married Tridly Michael Erskine of Union, Virginia. He was a delegate to the Virginia State Assembly in the 1819-1820 term. He also served as a Captain in the Military. Margaret died June 3, 1842. Margaret and Tridly Michael are buried in the Union Cemetery at Union, West Virginia. They had the following children; The history of William's family is not traced in this article as this article is devoted to John Handley I's son, James and his family.

James Burnside was closely associated with the Handley family through the years. In 1760 James Burnside patented (was granted) land close enough to the Handleys that John Handley and John Handley Jr. witnesses the patent.

Also, about this time on May 20 1760, John Handley Jr.(II) paid 80 pounds for 300 acres that he had bought from Joseph Kennedy, the neighbor whose land adjoined the Handley's farm. The 300 acres was located in the Beverly Manor district (also called the Irish Tract) which was north of the Borden district and was just south, southeast and east areas of Staunton, Virginia.

John Handley bought 300 acres of land from James and Jane Simpson. farther west on November 14, 1762 and paid l5O pounds for it. The land was located on the southeast side of the Cowpasture River which was still in Augusta County at that time. When Botetourt County was formed, that portion of Augusta County became Botetourt County. Whether John Handley and his family moved to the farm on the Cowpasture River in 1762 is uncertain.

John Handley did not sell his Borden land until May 21, 1764. It was from this deed that we learn that Grizel (Grizzel-Grissel) was the wife of John Handley, the first. They sold 257 acres on the Broad Spring Run (Back Creek) to William Reah (Reoch) for 50 pounds. John Handley had paid 15 pounds for it in 175l, but had undoubtedly made improvements during the 14 years he lived on it.

On April 11, 1770, John Handley appeared at Fincastle, the county seat of Botetourt County, to be security for his son, James Handley. James was being sued by William Crawford for 16 pounds 10 pence. Crawford was awarded that amount plus interest from October 1, 1768. Unimproved land sold for about 6 pounds per hundred acres and perhaps young James was unable to meet the payment deadline which usually was one year.

On the same day April 11, 1770, Archibald Handley was in court to file a suit against William Doughtery. The outcome is unknown.

Alexander Handley was appointed by the Botetourt Court on April 11, 1771, as Surveyor of a road from John Handley's Mill to Gilmore's Gap.

On February 9, 1773, the Botetourt Court ordered the Church Wardens of the Botetourt Parish to bind out Moses Handley, a bastard child of Elizabeth Handley, daughter of John I and Grizel Handley, to John Handley according to law.

In 1777, John Handley sign a petition to form Greenbrier County, Virginia.

Alexander Handley was deceased on October 1, 1781, however his will was not probated until January 10, 1782. The reason for the delay was because he was a prisoner of war at the time of his death. John Handley gave Alexander's son, John Handley (IV), the 300 acre tract of land On the Cowpasture River he had bought in 1762. John (IV) would have been underage on that date. His mother, Mary, was to have all livelihood from the land as long as she remained a widow, and then when John's sister Martha Baker Handley reached legal age, John was to pay her 20 pounds. Since John Handley's wife Grizel, did not appear on the deed, it is assumed that she had died sometime before October 1781.

John Handley bought two slaves, a negro male named Dick, age 9, and a female named Pheby, age 13, on August 5, 1785, from William Allen for 100 pounds. A notation on the deed said, "Delivered to William Handley 8-9-1793. By that time, Dick would have been 17 and Pheby would have been 21. John Handley might have had them both working for him until they were transferred to William Handley, or perhaps John died sometime before August 9, 1793.

No will was recorded for John Handley I, nor any record of an estate sale was found, however John would have had little left to be distributed by the time he died.

From the records found, these children have been established as belonging to John and Grizel Handley:

1. John Handley (II) was born about 1720. A deed dated August 17, 1779, has Margaret as the wife of John (II), when they sold 150 acres of the 300 acres they had bought from Joseph Kennedy to "John Handley Jr" (III). The land was described as being where Senior lives in the Beverly Manor. On April 7, 1789, John Jr (III) and his wife Sarah sold the 150 acres. The last mention in official records of John II was on a deed of sale dated April 28, 1800. It appears that the estate settled in 1810 was the estate of John (II). We do known that John (III), who was married to Sarah Campbell, was the son of John and Margaret and the grandson of John and Grizel. As far as we know John and Margaret had two sons; 2. Elizabeth Handley, the mother of Moses Handley. Moses was born about 1772 or 1773, as the Botetourt Court ordered the Church Wardens of the Botetourt Parish to bind out Moses Handley, a bastard child of Elizabeth Handley, daughter of John I and Grizel Handley, to John Handley according to law on February 9, 1773. Elizabeth would have been about 40 when Moses was born. This was the only reference to Moses that was found.

3. Archibald Handley was born about 1730. He sold 58 acres on the Cowpasture River on August 11, 1772, and in 1774, he patented (A patent is a conveyance or grant of public land) 550 acres on Indian Creek, which is in now Monroe County, West Virginia. He died in 1796. His wife was Jean Henderson. Their children were;

4. Alexander Handley served as a captain in the Army during the Revolutionary War and was a prisoner of war at the time of his death. He wrote a will dated December 6, 1780. and it was probated January 10, 1782. He named his wife, Mary Ewing Handley, his son, John Handley IV, and a daughter Martha Baker Handley as heirs. He had a drum and a loom on the inventory list. John and his mother, Mary moved on to Kentucky in 1787, with her son, but apparently the daughter, Mary Baker Handley, did not. Mary Baker Handley married Grigsby Foster on March 3, 1791. They moved to Butler County, Ohio about 1810. Mary married, second, Colonel Benjamin Gibbs in 1790. John IV married Phoebe on March 25, 1796. In 1799. John IV was appointed Justice of the Peace in Washington County, Ky and in 1802. he was appointed a Judge. He sold his grandfather's John Handley (I) 300 acres on the Cowpasture River in 1799. He died May 13, 1816.

5. William Handley was born about 1738. In 1770, William and Peggy (Margaret) Handley were witnesses in a law suit in Botetourt County. In 1784 he bought 100 acres on the Jackson River and 68 acres and 71 acres in 1788, also on the Jackson River. Again in 1800, he bought 620 acres on the Pott's Creek of the Jackson River. In 1793, he received the two slaves that John I had purchased in 1785. William also appeared in court with Christy Handley who was possibly his son.

6. James Handley was born about 1740. More about James later.

Revolutionary Soldiers of Virginia list: Robert Handley, Christley Handley, Samuel Handley and William Handley.


James Handley

James Handley, son of John and Grizel Handley, was born about 1740. in Virginia. He married a woman named Mary about 1765. So far we haven't been able to learn Mary's maiden name. James, father, John, had been his security in the law suit of 1770. James moved to Kentucky in 1787, and settled in Washington County in the same area that John (IV) and his mother, Mary Ewing Handley, had settled on the Rolling Fork River. They probably all moved together, along with the Ewing family and others. They had the following children;

James first appeared in the court records of Botetourt County, Virginia in 1770. He made several appearances, being sued and bringing suit. One of interest was November 14, 1770, James was suing Thomas Carpenter for a debt to be repaid. The court had previously ordered Carpenter to turn over a penknife as payment for the debt. He had not done so. In November the penknife was handed over to the sheriff, sold by the sheriff, and the money received therefrom given to James Handley. The debt amounted to 7 pounds plus interest from February 14 1769.

James appeared young and brash when he and David Galloway told the court they would pay the debts of Dennis Driskell, Robert Galloway and John Galloway or go to prison if they couldn't pay. This was the court record of October 11, 1770.

James was listed in the Dyer's Index under Heads of Families in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. during the period of 1783-1786.

On October 9, 1787 James bought 129 acres from John Muldrough for 25 pounds. The land was situated on the Rolling Fork of the Salt River in Nelson County, Kentucky. (later Washington County and today Marion County).

Nearly three year later on July 22, 1790, Grisal Handley, daughter of James and Mary Handley married John McColgan. John McColgan, with his bondsman John Muldrough, paid bond in the Nelson County, Kentucky on July 13, 1790, to marry Grisal.

On February 7, 1797, James Handley registered his brand with the Washington County Court. The ear mark was "A crop of the right ear and an under bit in the left and his brand as follows -1-H on the near shoulder.

James Handley and his son, Alexander, appeared in Washington County Court to report on Thomas Doran's petition for a grist mill on July 4, 1797.

On November 6, 1798, James was paid 1.40 pounds for three wolf scalps above six months old by the County Court.

James and Alexander twice viewed (surveyed) a road from the mouth of South Fork to Thomas Doran's, first on September 3 1799, and again on November 4, 1800. Alexander Handley was appointed overseer of the road from Stewart's Creek to Muldrough Hill a by the same November Court.

James and Mary Handley sold 12&1/2 acres of their 129 acre farm to Thomas Doran for $20.00 on September 6, 1804. The 1810 census showed that James and Mary were over age 45, a male age 26-45 and a male age 16-26 and two daughter. This would have been Sarah and Margaret. James and Mary sold 31 acres on January 1, 1816 to Martin Everhart for $155.00 for. There would have been only 85 and 1/2 acres left of their farm at that time. Evidently, Martin Everhart had bought Thomas Doran's grist mill before this transaction

James Handley died in 1817. He had written a will April 11, 18l7, and it was recorded by the court June 9, 18l7.


"In the name of god, amen, this eleventh day of April, one thousand eight hundred and seventeen.
I, James Handley, of the County of Washington and State of Kentucky being weak in body, but of a perfect mind and memory thanks to god and calling to mind the uncertainty of life and that it is appointed for all men to die, to make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following (to wit, I do hereby declare all and every other will and testament heretofore by me made to be null and void.)
Item. I give and bequeath to my dear and loving wife the one third of the plantation on which I now live during her life to be kept in peaceable possession and at her death the land to be my son, John Handley's.
Also, one gray mare ten years old, the colt she has now at her feet I give to James Stone Balis Stone's youngest son.
I, also, give to my son Alexander Handley a certain quantity of land included in the following boundary (to wit, Beginning at an elm on the north bank of the Rolling Fork and running an westerly course with John Muldrough's preemption line to the mouth of a stream nearly at the lower corner of my meadow then a north course out to the ? and thence with Ewing's former Westerly to three hickorys in the bottom thence mostly south to the Beginning.
I, also, give to my daughter, Sarah Handley, one gray mare foure years old this Spring and sixty dollars in money I lent to Doctor Gather.
Also, ten dollars to Margaret Handley and ten to my son John Handley out of eighty dollars lent to Gaither
(Gaither this time).
Also, one year old black horse colt to John Handley's son, James R. Handley.
Also, the loom and apparatus to be Margaret Handley's and if any money is ever got on the suit against Marples, the money to be equally divided between Margaret, Sarah and John Handley.
Also, the farming tools to be left to John Handley for the benefit of the farm.
I do hereby appoint my son, Alexander Handley, and John McColgan Executors to this my last will and testament.
In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and date above written.

James [his mark] Handley, Seal
Test
James Handley, Junior
David Kenley
William [his mark] Thurmond"


As the County Court begun and held for Washington County on Monday the 9th day of June 1817 the last will and testament of James Handley Senior was proven by the______ of James Handley Junior. David Kennedy and William Thurmond the subscribing witnesses therein and ordered to be recorded.

And on the motion of Alexander Handley and John McColgan, the Executors therein named, they having made oath and executed and acknowledged bond with security in the penalty of fifteen hundred dollars_ _ _ .

Mary Handley's dower was marked July 25, 1817. Her third of the land laid between her sons, John and Alexander, on the north bank of the Rolling Fork River near the mouth of the Cane River.

After James Handley's death, daughter Margaret Handley married John Hardin (Harding) March 23, 1818. Her sister, Sarah Handley, married Henry Purdy in 1826 (she was his third wife).

The marriage between Balis Stone and Anne Handley, daughter of James and Mary, was in Washington County Kentucky. They were living in Lincoln County, Missouri in 1850. Known children were; James Stone, Whitford Stone, Sarah Stone and Elizabeth Stone.

Grisel Handley McColgan was not mentioned in her father's will. Perhaps she had preceded him in death and had left no children.


Alexander Handley

Alexander Handley married the year after his sister Grisel. Nelson County, Kentucky rcords show that he and John Caldwell were bound to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the sum of 50 pounds on December 5, 1791, "whereas there is a marriage shortly intended to be solemnized between the above Alexander Handley and Sally McElroy___." The Marriage took place December 8, 1791. Sarah McElroy (Sally) would not have been of legal when she married because her father wrote the clerk giving his consent for a license. to "Sir please to grant Mr Aleck Handley lisens for to Mared Salley McElroy for wich all partey are agread to this from your frand Samuel McElroy." Witness Mr. Graves Clerk of Virginia. November 27, 1791.

On February 5, 1796, the County Court ordered others to keep the road on the south side of Rolling Fork River below Alexander Handley's (North side of Rolling Fork River), however, Alexander continued to view (survey) roads. He was appointed Surveyor of a road October 5, 1803 by the County Court.

Bounty was still being paid for wolf scalps in Washington County. on October 2, 1805, Alexander was paid 12/ for one old wolf scalp. This amount must have been 12 Schillings

Samuel McElroy, Sarah Handley's father, died in 1806. Washington County, Kentucky, recorded deeds of sale by Samuel McElroy's heirs. On May 13, 1807 John and Anne McElroy, Hugh and Barbara McElroy, William and Kerurah McElroy, Samuel and Mary Anne (Marion) McElroy, Alexander and Sally Handley, James and Peggy Wilson and George and Betsy Wilson of Washington County and William and Polly McColgan of Green County sold their Father's 250 acres except the portion sold to Hugh McElroy, for five schillings (the cost of recording the deed). The buyer's were James and Abraham McElroy, twins and youngest sons of Samuel McElroy. Another daughter and heir was Nancy Robbins and husband Daniel, of Butler County, Ohio. They also sold their share of inheritance to her brothers, James and Abraham, for five shillings.

The l8l0, the Washington County Census showed Alexander and Sarah were between ages 26 and 45, son James was between ages l6 and 26, son Alexander was under age ten, and daughter Mary Ann was between ages ten and l6. Living with them was a male over age 45.

Alexander and Sarah led a quieter life than James and Mary Handley. Alexander didn't appear in the court records as often. He lived on the land that his father had bought in l787. On June l8, l828, a deed was recorded showing Alexander had loaned William McAfee an amount large enough to be secured by McAfee's house in New Market.

Alexander Handley died in early l832. His younger son Alexander Handley Jr.. was appointed administrator of his estate January 25, l832. He and his securities, John Hardin, Thomas Carter, Henry Purdy and James Handley, posted $3,000 bond.

The inventory of Alexander's estate was made February 4, l832 and listed five slaves: Milly, $300 value, girl Gena - $l50, girl Mana - $l50, boy Henry - $l25, boy Davie - $l00. Also, listed were yoke steers, five cows, four steers, three horses and three hogs.

A sale was held April 23, l832, to settle up Alexander's estate. Among the buyers were his wife, his sons, his son-in-law, and brothers-in-law John Hardin (g) and Henry Purdy.

According to McElroy records, Sarah, widow of Alexander, would have been close to age 65 when Alexander died. No record could be found of a dower for Sarah. Perhaps she continued to live on the home place with Alexander, her son. Tax records show that in l835, Alexander had l30 a. on Rolling Fork River.

Alexander Handley and Sarah McElroy had three children: