Thomas was born on 5 August 1861, in either Warren or Barren Counties. His death record lists his county of birth as Barren County, but with the Wheatley/Whitley family living in the borders of both counties, it is difficult to be certain. Thomas was the first son (and possibly the only child) of Robert and Melissa, born less than a year after they were married in Warren County on 14 September 1860.
I assume that Melissa died prior to February 1864, because Robert Wheatley appears as "unmarried" in the US Civil War Draft Registrations Record in Warren County.
|US Civil War Registrations, Ancestry.com|
On 21 March 1872, Robert married his second wife, Martha T. Hays. Robert and Martha had two daughters, Laverna V. Wheatley and Donna M. Wheatley, and were in Smiths Grove, Warren County, Kentucky in the 1880 US Census. Thomas was still living at home with his father, step-mother and step-sisters. Robert, Martha and family later moved to Mills County, Texas.
I do not have a marriage record for Thomas and Elizabeth Hayden Matthews at this time, but I assume they were married in 1885 or early 1886, given the birth date of their first daughter, Martha Bell 'Mattie' Wheatley (born 3 December 1886). Thomas, Elizabeth and family are found in the 1900 US Census in the Elk Springs District of Warren County.
Melissa Catherine Grinstead Wheatley
Thomas' mother, Melissa, was the daughter of Thomas Grinstead and Mary Petrie. She was born on 8 February 1843. I suspect she died before her 21st birthday in Warren County. In the 1850 US Census, the Grinstead family was in District 2 of Warren County.
At this time, I do not have much else for Melissa Grinstead Wheatley or Thomas Whitley. There is more to Robert Jackson Wheatley's story, as he left Kentucky for Mills County, Texas, and later died there in 1922. I am hoping some Wheatley and Whitley cousins can help fill in these gaps.