Eleanor Harris Gailey

Gailey, Elener (Eleanor) Baptized May 13th at Froomes Hill by John Cheese. Mother of Charlotte Gailey (Clark), John Gaileyand Jane Gailey (Evans)[1]. 

Eleanor was born 3 January, 1771 in the parish of Woolhope, about eight miles south of Marden, Herefordshire England. On 07 Feb 1793, at the age of 22, Eleanor married John Balis (Baley). On 13 Jul 1794, she gave birth to a daughter, Mary, who lived 22 months and died. Sadness followed Eleanor.   On 18 Dec 1796 her husband was buried. After some healing in her heart, Eleanor and William Lewis Gailey were married on 22 May 1797. Their yearnings to understand religion and the purpose of life must have caused a burning in their hearts. They, along with their son, John and daughters Charlotte and Jane, baptized Presbyterians, investigated and joined the Primitive Methodist Church. They soon became disenchanted, for its teachings did not satisfy their search for the eternal truths they sought. They later joined the United Brethren Church, hoping that there, they could find the path to eternal life. William Lewis died on 08 Aug 1837 leaving Eleanor widowed once more, when she was 66 years of age. His death occurred three years prior to the time the Mormon missionary Wilford Woodruff appeared on the scene at the Benbow Farm in Castle Frome, Herfordshire.

Eleanor and her son, John and daughters Charlotte (Clark) and Jane, heard of and inquired about the preaching and teaching of one Wilford Woodruff, a missionary representing a new church in America. Eleanor heard the Apostle’s preaching and was baptized. With her son, John, she sailed to America, landing in New Orleans. From there they steamed up the Mississippi River to Nauvoo. She lived for a short time near the city of Nauvoo, no doubt witnessing the testimony, leadership style and the magnetic personality of the Prophet Joseph Smith. She likely attended conferences in the shady groves along the banks of the Mississippi River where he taught the people the principles of the restored gospel. She may have watched with eagerness, the construction of the Nauvoo Temple and thrilled as the Nauvoo Legion passed in parade for review before the Prophet General.

After landing in Nauvoo there is no further record of Eleanor except that of her patriarchal blessing. She died sometime before the mass exodus to the West. Presumably she died prior to September 1845, perhaps in Camp Creek and may have been buried there. Her name, however, is not found in the Camp Creek Branch membership records of this period. Camp Creek was an LDS community east of Nauvoo. Membership records of Eleanor’s son John and his wife, Ann Graves, are found in that community following their arrival in Nauvoo.

She received the following patriarchal blessing from Patriarch John Smith, uncle to the Prophet Joseph Smith: 

Sister Eleanor and mother in Israel, I lay my hands upon your head in the name of Jesus Christ and seal upon thee a father’s blessing, for thou are a daughter of Abraham and thou hast a right to a blessing under my hands as a patriarch, because thou hast obeyed the gospel in thine days and left thy native land at the commandment of the Lord to gain an inheritance among the Saints. The Lord is well pleased and will grant the desire of thy heart. Thou shalt be sustained with the fruits of the earth in abundance for thy comfort. Thou shalt find friends whose thy lot is cast, thy children shall delight to make thee comfortable and happy and thou shalt have power to redeem thy dead friends and thy family and companion and thou shalt be made to rejoice because of thy living friends. Obey the truth. Thy posterity shall become very prosperous and very honorable and thy name shall be held in honorable remembrance because of this through all the generations of Jacob. Thy greatest blessing is held in reserve for the hereafter, thou shalt live to a good old age and enter the grave as a shock of corn fully ripe to come up in the morning of the first resurrection with all thy father’s house. Thy fears be not faithless but believing in the Lord which I have spoken shall not fail even so. Amen. 

They were the parents of seven children.

William Lewis and Eleanor Harris Gailey’s children were: 


18 Mar 1798


27 Jan 1803


18 Aug 1805(died at age 18)


22 May 1808


14 Apr 1811


19 Nov 1813


17 Dec 1817[2]

[1] Wilford Woodruff’s Baptismal Record-1840

[2] David S. Gailey/Marlin Gailey Family History