John R Homesley was born in Cumberland County, Virginia. (See 1850 census for John in Richland TWSHP, Madison County, AR). Several other spellings of his surname have been discovered during my research (including Holmsly, Holmsley, Holmsely and Holmesley). John was the son of Joseph Homesley and Mary White who were both born about 1750 in Virginia. John's grandmother, Jane, was widowed when her children were young and both Joseph and brother, Benjamin, were apprenticed out for training. The death dates of John's parents were sometime after May 28, 1799, the date on which Joseph signed his will.
In about 1794, John married Mary Jane James who was born in North Carolina in 1778. She was the daughter of Thomas Stephen James (1748-1782) and Mary "Polly" Pickett (1753-1840). Ten children were reportedly born to this union, the four oldest in Lincoln County, North Carolina. Sometime after the birth of Stephen, Julia, Elizabeth and Catherine, the family began their migration west through Tennessee, Kentucky (where James and Burrell were born), and Missouri. Since Nancy died between 1833 and 1835, there is no census record of her birth place. Some time before 1812, the family moved to Missouri and Jane, Mary and Levi were all born there. Their first home in Arkansas was in the western portion of present day Washington County.
Prior to the creation of Washington County, AR from Crawford and Lovely Counties, a caravan of 20 people left Wayne County, Missouri and crossed the territorial border and entered the Arkansas Territory about 1827. That caravan included John and Mary Homesley and their eight unmarried children, their two married daughters' families (Elizabeth and Michael Masters and four children and Catherine and John Austin and one child) and Jonas Austin, brother of John. They settled in Madison County when the land on which they were living was ceded to the Cherokees. (Biographical info added by Hawkhunter in April, 2011.Some info was excerpted from Goodspeed's biographies and The Musings, published by the Madison County Arkansas GHS.)
Mary Jane James Homesley (1778 - 1860)*
Elizabeth Homesley Hock (1802 - 1867)*
James Homesley (1805 - 1881)*
Burrell J Holmsley (1807 - 1891)*
Maintained by: Hawkhunter
Originally Created by: Ron Alderson
Record added: May 22, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 37396357