The earliest record found to date is Gurley's marriage bond to Delila Wyatt on 31 Jan 1826 in Nash Co. N.C. Subsequent Nash Co court dockets also mention Gurley. One is 9 May 1828 regarding a debt to Sherwood Brantley’s estate. Another is in Mar 1830 in which Gurley and Jordan Sellers are arrested for an assault on Henry Lewis (Gurley was later acquitted). A professional genealogist uncovered this information while researching records specifically in Nash Co. It has been assumed that Gurley was born in Nash Co. and now records from his brother Emanuel who states he was born in Nash Co. seem to affirm this. However, it’s possible that he was born in another county and moved to Nash at some point.
Simon Sellers, born 21 May 1835, appears to be the last child born to Gurley and Delila while living in N.C. Their next child of record is Mary (Polly) Sellers born in AL. Census records indicate she was born between 5 Sep and 21 Oct, 1836. This would indicate they left N.C. after May, 1835 and were in AL before Sep/Oct, 1836.
Nash Co. court records in Feb 1833 and Feb 1834 mention three of Gurley’s brothers appointed to survey teams. These are Jordan, Bennett and Emanuel Sellers. There is no further mention of them in Nash Co. after those dates. Jordan next appears in the 1840 Guilford, N.C. census and Bennett and Emanuel are in the Spartanburg, S.C. 1840 census. It seems likely that Gurley and at least these family members left Nash Co about the same time. It also seems likely that Gurley initially went to S.C. either with Bennett and Emanuel or possibly with some of Delila’s family in AndersonCo., S.C. where he became linked with James Lawson.
James & Matilda (Glover) Lawson and John & Blanche Richardson are found in the Anderson Co., S.C. 1830 census. This is adjacent to Greenville which is adjacent to Spartanburg, S.C. Lawson family records indicate James Lawson and Gurley Sellers moved to AL together. John Richardson appears to have made the move to AL first. He received a 40-acre land grant block in Tuscaloosa Co in 1834. James Lawson received a land grant on a neighboring 40 acre block in 1839. Gurley got his first 40 acre grant in 1850, two sections south of Lawson/Richardson. (A section is 1 mile on a side so he is approximately 2 miles separated from them.) Gurley later received a grant in 1858 noted below.
In 1858 Gurley received an extensive grant for 330 acres covering land in 3 sections adjacent to Lawson & Richardson grants. Also, in 1858 his son Hartney received a 120 ac grant two sections (2 miles) east of him. If you look at the map above, you will note that the very top portion of Gurley’s land spills into Jefferson Co in 1858. Even though the majority of the land is in Tuscaloosa, Gurley must have built his home on the Jefferson side of the border since he appears in Jefferson Co in the 1860 & 1870 censuses living on this farm. The land grant is Township 20 Range 6 which is in Tuscaloosa Co. His residence in the census is Township 20 Range 5 which is in Jefferson Co. Here's a modern day map locating this residence and farm.
In 1876, another of Gurley’s sons, John Martin Sellers, received a grant for 80 acres in Township 19 Range 5. This is just northeast of Blue Creek cemetery. Gurley apparently moves in with John or on his property sometime between 1876 and the 1880 census where he appears in the next household (or same) to John. Then in 1884, Gurley receives an 80 acre grant just below John’s property. At the same time, Gurley’s daughter, Mary received a 160 acre grant sandwiched between John and Gurley. John later adds to his grants in 1885 but ends up moving to Texas a couple of years later in or around 1887. I don't know what happened to his earlier grants - whether he sold them or just turned them back in for taxes. Here's the layout and grantees for Section 32 (Blue Creek Cem. location) and Section 28. (See 'Gurley's CHILDREN' and SIMON Sellers for further info on Section 32) Using landmarks, I was able to plot their locations on a modern satellite image and translate that to a current roadmap as well.
Next in 1889, Mary received a 40 acre grant in Township 20 Range 5 Sec. 6. This is back toward Gurley’s 1858 grant. It’s likely that Gurley & Delila moved with her to that location as well. Also living in this section are Gurley’s long time friends, James and Matilda Lawson. Their son, James H., who married Gurley’s daughter Lavinia, also has a land grant in that section. Currently, there is a Lawsontown located in this area on Blue Creek Rd. Gurley’s son, Robert Jemison and family also are living in that section on a grant. Another son, William (Bill) lives in Section 8 nearby. This is probably where Gurley and Delila lived out their lives. See the relationship between Sec 28, Sec 32 (Blue Creek Cem.) & Section 6 below.
Below is a modern day map showing the general locations of the various grants. I have also identified the approximate location of Gurley's brother Emanuel from around 1856 to late 1870's. He later moves in with his son Allison near MaCalla.
LAND GRANTS: Click here to go to the Land Grant page for Gurley and his children.