My great-great-grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Stewart Alley, was born Jan. 18, 1845, in Rome, Floyd Co., Georgia to Robert Haynes and Freelove Cornutt Stewart. The family moved to Milam County, Texas around 1851, when Mary was six years old.
On July 12, 1860, Mary married John H. Alley who was living and working on the Stewart farm. Shortly afterward, her husband joined the Confederate army and left to fight in New Mexico, where he was taken as a Prisoner of War.
While her husband was being held as a POW in Camp Douglas in Chicago, Illinois, Mary was home alone, pregnant with the couple’s first child, Martha Bowlin Euzene Alley, called “Mattie.” A family legend has been passed down of how a dark hand crept through the crack in the door of the Alley house one night, trying to unlatch it. Mary Alley grabbed a butcher knife and sliced off the fingers. The man to whom the hand belonged quickly fled. Mary was described by her granddaughter as “a red-head with a temper to her.”
After the war was over, the Alleys had two more children, Robert Henry, who died as an infant, and Sarah Freelove “Susie,” who married Thomas B. Fowler. Mattie Alley married John Wesley Lantrip.
John H. Alley died in 1869, leaving Mary a widow at age 24, with two small daughters. At one point, to support her family, she ran a store in Hanover, Milam County, Texas.
Mary Alley died of the Spanish Flu on Oct. 28, 1918, two days after her son-in-law John Lantrip died of the same illness. She is buried in Liberty Community Cemetery, near Milano in Milam County, Texas.