Nancy Hesseltine Gillespie Farley


Nickname:Miss Hessie
Born:July 22, 1866, Maryville, Tennessee
Died:January 1, 1939, Madison County, Alabama
Buried:Farley Cemetery, Madison County, Alabama
Residence:313 Church Street, Madison Station
Daughter of:Campbell Milton Gillespie
Sister of:Samuel Cowan Gillespie


•  Daughter of Campbell Milton Gillespie and Narcissa Lorinda Clark, both born in Tennessee. The Gillespies were prominent landowners in Maryville, Tennessee until they moved to Morgan County, Alabama in 1870. In 1879 they moved to a farm outside of Madison, Alabama. - Heritage

•  Miss Hessie's siblings:
     Samuel later became a Madison farmer
     Philander later became a Madison farmer
     James became a doctor in Decatur, Alabama
     George died at the age of 26
     John became a Birmingham doctor
     William sold Florida real estate
     Narcissa Elizabeth "Sister" never married and lived with her parents as long as they lived. When they died Miss Hessie moved back to care for her sister. When Miss Hessie died, Lorinda, her daughter moved, with her children, to care for "Sister" - Heritage

•  "Miss Hessie graduated with honors from the Huntsville Female Seminary on May 30, 1888 and became a teacher." - Heritage

•  Miss Hessie married Joseph Bruce Farley on December 7, 1892. He was known as Bruce Farley. Bruce was born in March 1866 and tragically died of malaria fever August 23, 1894 at the age of 29. Frances Lorinda, their only child, was only eight months old when Bruce died. Miss Hessie never remarried. Bruce was the grandson of Michael Farley and the brother of Dr. John Benton Farley. Both of these men have links and notes on this website. - Spragins

•  Miss Hessie and her brother William owned the Farley and Gillespie Drug Store. It stocked fancy groceries, stationery, hardware as well as medicine. After the store was sold, Miss Hessie was offered a job teaching in Tuscumbia, Alabama. - Heritage

•  In 1910 Miss Hessie's father died and her mother had already died in 1907. Since her sister, Miss Nora (Narcissa Elizabeth or "Sister") could not live alone, Miss Hessie and her daughter, Lorinda, moved back to Madison, Alabama in 1911. A house was built at 313 Church Street. "The farm was rented to a nephew, Clark Patton Gillespie, who served as a financial adviser to the family. Miss Hessie started teaching first grade in Madison, and Lorinda studied music at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia until 1914. Miss Nora also known as "Sister" kept house for the family. - Heritage

•  "Although a life-long Presbyterian, Miss Hessie taught Sunday School in the Baptist Church and attended church wherever services were held. She was active in school, church and civic affairs. Since C.M. Gillespie had served in the Civil War, she was eligible to join the United Daughters of the Confederacy. She was also eligible for the Daughters of the American Revolution as a descendant of Lieutenant William Cowan Gilliespie, her grandfather, who served in the Revolutionary War. She belonged to the A.E.A., the N.E.A., the P.T.A., the Eastern Star, the Home Demonstration Club, and the Entre Nous Federated Woman's Club which she helped to found.
     She instilled moral and spiritual values in her family. She enriched the lives of all the children she taught in her forty-two consecutive years of service. She loved to teach and dreaded the day she would have to retire. That never happened as she had a stroke during the Christmas holidays and died on January 1, 1939. She was buried beside her husband Bruce in the Farley Family Cemetery." - Heritage

•  "I would stay with my grandmother 'Miss Hessie' during the winter to go to school. One of her grandchildren would always stay with her and 'Sister' to help them and to lighten the load of raising five children on my mother. Miss Hessie had a great influence on me. She taught me moral and spiritual values that have lasted all of my life. She was the main reason I became a teacher." - Granddaughter

Related Links:

• - Page owned my SMitchell7368 and can be viewed only with a paid membership. (Originally found at

•  Find A Grave - Find A Grave Page created by Vivian Glasscock

•  Granddaughter - Article titled "The Elizabeth Thormton Walkins Family" written and submitted by Elizabeth Thornton Watkins (Granddaughter), published in The Heritage of Madison County, Alabama, by The Madison County Heritage Book Committee, John P. Rankin, Chairman, Printed in 1998, page 473 & 474.

•  Heritage - Article titled "The Hessie Gillespie Farley Family" written and submitted by Elizabeth Thornton Watkins (Granddaughter) and Nancy Kathryn Bryant (Great-granddaughter) published in The Heritage of Madison County, Alabama, by The Madison County Heritage Book Committee, John P. Rankin, Chairman, Printed in 1998, page 184.

•  Rankin File - John P. Rankin has, over the years, collected information about families living in Madison County, AL. He has made these files available here at Huntsville History Collection. The files include Rankin's notes, digital copies of documents, and clippings from newspapers and periodicals. He has a Farley family file and some of it might apply to Nancy Hesseltine Gillespie Farley.

•  Spragins - A Brief History and Brief Genealogy of The Andrew Beirne, William Patton, William Echols, V, and Robert E. Spragins Lines, by William Echols Spragins, Et Al. 1956, pages 249 - 250.

The Following Pages Link to this Page:
•  313 Church Street, Madison Station
•  Campbell Milton Gillespie
•  Samuel Cowan Gillespie