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Brooklyn Man Learns of French Ancestress Born Here in 1796
Tillaye Family Prominent in Town’s Early History
One Daughter Married Uncle of Walt Whitman

By P.T. Wall

[Once again we have one of P.T. Wall’s wonderful articles. He wanders from person to person and includes lots of history. Gallia Times, January 19 1928, transcribed by Henny Evans with punctuation and spelling left intact.]

     Gillispie E. Whitman of 205 Park Avenue, Brooklyn, employed in the civil service building submarines at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, walked into my office, January 10, to get some information about his great grandmother, Sophia Tillaye. She lies buried in Yazoo City, Miss., and her family bible says she was born in Gallipolis in 1796.
     My great grandfather, Henry N. Whitman, uncle of Walt Whitman, the poet married her in Toledo, O., having met her there after the war of 1812. He had come from Huntington, Long Island, and became a soldier of the war of 1812. After marriage the young couple mounted horses and rode to the Mississippi town, for a new home. Henry had two sons in the Mexican war of 1845-6, his father having fought in the Revolutionary war. My visitor joined the U.S. Marines in the Spanish American War of 1898, and his brother, Capt. Frank L. Whitman is in the Walter Reid Hospital, at Washington recovering from a gas attack in the world war.
     “Sophia Tillaye was the daughter of John Baptiste Tillaye, one of the original French settlers of 1790,” I told him. He must have been of good family, as his four daughters married the pick of the French village. Catherine was the second wife of Solomon Hayward, a Connecticut Yankee, a splendid citizen. He came here a boy of 15 and made his home with Gen. Edward W. Tupper, who raised a regiment of soldiers for the war of 1812. Tupper lived in the brick house, torn down, and upon the site of which was erected the fine residence of Alfred Henking, next the Park Central. When I first knew the old brick, James Mullineaux lived there, and had a planing mill where Kiger’s garage stands. Solomon Hayward built it.
     Catherine was born in 1797, married Solomon, October 14, 1824 and raising a large family of fine children, died March 24, 1868. Wm. Phillips, father of Elizabeth, the first wife, built the American House in 1816 for Claudius R. Menager.
     Marion Tillaye married Wm. Clendenin, whose ancestors coming down out of the Shenandoah Valley, fought in the Battle of Pt. Pleasant, October 10, 1774, recognized by Congress as the first battle of the Revolutionary war. William was a man of wealth, owing two farms, city property, and steamboats. He was born October 4, 1808 and one cold day, February 25, 1846, while his boat was backing out from Pt. Pleasant, disappeared in the icy waters.
     All that is known is that a man on the bank heard his cry for help. He was an expert swimmer. Marion, his widow, was born November 30, 1807 and died June 25, 1876. Seventy years ago, I gathered grass for her guinea pigs, in exchange for walnuts gathered by her two sons, Charles and John Baptiste Clendenin. The third child, Mary, married Dr. John Morgan and moved to California. They occupied the brick dwelling, just above the Libby Hotel, owned by John B., a son of John. Wm. Clendenin and Edward Naret paid Robert Safford $215 for the four full lots on the upper end of that square (from the Libby up) in 1833 and next year William bought Naret’s half interest for $65. Owned now and occupied by C.M. Powers. I presume William built that house about the year 1835.
     William clerked for Major Bureau, was a partner of C.A.M. Damarin, a wonderful business man, who was a big factor in building up Portsmouth, O., having become very wealthy in the Wholesale grocery trade. He was a Frenchman who settled in Gallipolis in 1817. He was a clerk then a partner of Major Bureau. William also furnished the late Wm. H. Langley with $3,000 to start in business. Was a silent partner. So this Scotch Irishman was connected in a business way with the two men who became the big guns in Gallipolis and Portsmouth.
     Madelaine, other daughter of John Baptiste Tillaye, married Mr. Ruby, who kept a grocery and boat store on the site of the Riverview Hotel, and it was long known as the Ruby corner. Ruby moved to Charleston, W.Va., with his family, where he has descendants.
     I got Mr. Whitman in my car, showing him the old Our House, the Holzer Hospital, the O.H.E., the McIntyre home and lastly the small brick residence of Miss Mabel Thomas on Vine street. “There,” said I, “is the first brick house built in Gallipolis, so long ago that Mrs. Clendenin said the Indians used to walk in the door, help themselves from the dining room table, grunt, and walk out.” It was built by Mr. Tillaye and there our four girls were born. The family must have located at Toledo, after leaving here.
My visitor’s father, Ulysis L. Whitman was a drummer boy in the battle of Vicksburg, a member of a Confederate regiment and while his drum rolled out the martial music, Charley Clendenin, was running the blockade, being hailed by Gen. Grant who wished to get aboard. Col. Jno. L. Vance was wounded in that battle.
     My visitor married Teresa Madgaline Lockingin and has a family of 9 children living. His mother was an Evans. E.E. Smith, president of the old Gallipolis bank, a wildcat, married Miss Madelaine Ruby. The bank blew up in 1842. I judge by the name she was a daughter of Madeline Tillaye Ruby.

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