Nalley, A Southern Family Story is filled with stories that make the Nalley family come alive. This book is not a genealogical record, although genealogy is included. The opening chapter portrays the illustrious life of the enigmatic patriarch, George Burdine Nalley. An active minister in the Wesleyan church for eleven years, he fell from grace because of his involvement with another woman, and he had the audacity to bring the other woman to live in the house with his wife, Emma Burns, and their children.
The next twelve chapters depict the lives of the twelve children—nine boys and three girls. Since all of them are deceased, their stories were written by their children as they remember their parents and their own childhoods. These stories give a picture of life in a less sophisticated time in the rural south when people lived off the land and had none of the modern conveniences that we enjoy today.
Nalley, A Southern Family Story chronicles 170 years in the life of a family. In one chapter, the dates of births, marriages and deaths of this line of the family are interwoven into national and world events. Another chapter gives statistical information on the numerous family members, including a chronological list of the births, marriages and deaths of the twelve children and ninety-four grandchildren. Newspaper clippings are included of the obituaries of the twelve children and their spouses as well as accounts of the tragic deaths which have occurred.
Information on places and events pertinent to the family is recorded. The family reunion which began the year after George Burdine’s untimely death in 1914 and continues to this day. Camp meeting, where families lived for two weeks under conditions even more primitive than at home, while they worshipped their God, got caught up on family news, and renewed acquaintance with old friends. Fairview Methodist Church where many baptisms, weddings and funerals of the Nalley clan took place and where many of them are buried. Central Wesleyan College, which the Rev. G. B. Nalley was instrumental in founding.
This is a book that you can sit down and read, but it is more than that. It is a reference book that you can refer to over and over again when you are discussing family, trying to remember who was older, who married first, when someone died, and the endless number of other facts and fallacies that we Nalleys talk and argue about when we get together. In addition, this book is a social history of the way life was lived “in those days” as Daddy used to say. When I think of how much change has occurred in the last one hundred years, I am grateful that we have this written record of how our forefathers and foremothers actually lived.
Here it is, as complete as I can make it—the history of the George Burdine and Emma Burns Nalley family. I hope you enjoy reading it and referring to it as much as I have enjoyed putting it together. If you have a drop of Nalley blood flowing through your veins, you will want to own a copy of this book for your library.