April 6, 2012. LITTLE JAMES HENLEY by Anne Osborn Cox. From The Heritage of Currituck County 1670-1985.
Little James Henley was the son of James J. Henley and Sarah
Elizabeth Davis, grandson of James B. Henley and Elizabeth "Bethany"
Trowers, great-grandson of Rev. Charles Henley, Sr., and Jacamond
Bonney, and descendant of Charles and Usley Henley, 1600 English
Charles and Usley Henley had four children: John, Thomas, Margaret
Marry. Their two grandchildren were: Charles and Sarah Henley. Usley
Henley was one of 11 women summoned in the famous trial for witchcraft
of Grace Sherwood (1706). In his will, 5-19-1703, Charles divided his
land equally between his two sons, John and Thomas. The descendants of
these early Henleys have participated in both the political and
religious life of their community. The Henleys of Princess Anne Co.,
Va. Were owners of lands bordering on and extending into Currituck Co.,
Rev. Charles Henley, Sr. was a Methodist minister, as was his son, Rev. Charles Henley, Jr. Jacamond Bonney married Rev. Charles Henley, Sr., 11-25-1797. His older children, by a previous marriage were: Charles, James and three daughters. In his will, 4-12-1807, he mentions his three small children: Moses, Martha, and Jacamond. He also provides for his unborn child, James B. Henley.
James B. Henley was born in 1807. His mother married Batson B. Land,
10-25-1808. James B. spent the first 20 years of his life under the
guardianship of Batson B. Land (1808-1813), his half-brother, Charles
(1813-1823), and his brother, Moses (1823-1827). He married Elizabeth
“Bethany” Trowers, 9-27-1827. His brother, Moses, signed the marriage
bond as his guardian. The children of James B. and “Bethany” were:
James J. (3-19-1833), Elizabeth A. (1835), Penny F. (1837), William
Henry (1840). Charles T. (1847) was born after the marriage of James B.
Henley and Sarah Capps, 12-22-1845.
All children of James J. Henley (3-19-1833 to 5-10-1906) were born
in Princess Anne County, Va., in that part of Back Bay which is now a
National Wild Life Refuge. He was married twice and had 3 sons and 1
daughter by each marriage.
James J. married, 5-16-1856, Currituck Co., N.C., Emily Jane Murden
(1841 to 3-19-
1874). Their children were: Walter (3-28-1857 to 1937); Elizabeth
(10-25-1858 to 1931); Andrew J. (10-5-1865 to 1942); and Grandy
(7-5-1869 to 1951).
After Emily Jane’s death, James J. Married, 6-21-1874, Currituck
Co., Sarah Elizabeth Davis (6-12-1854 to 5-24-1902) of Knotts Island,
N.C. Their children were: Little James Henley (3-20-1875 to 9-2-1932);
Emeline (2-19-1878 to 1953); Robert Wesley (7-9-1880 to 1960); and
Peter Tenny (1-31-1882 to 11-25-1967). Robert Wesley was a builder of
ships and Peter Tenny served in the U.S. Life Saving Service and Coast
Guard (11-1-1908 to 12-1-1938).
Little James Henley married 7-25-1895, Wash Woods, L. Betty Waterfield (9-8-1878 to 4-29-1947), daughter of John Calvin Waterfield (4-12-1847 to 9-23-1907) and Sarah White (1-3-1847 to 5-3-1927).
Little James was 5 ft. and 7 1/2 inches tall, had blue eyes, brown
hair, fair skin, and
weighed 165 lbs. He was a hard working man who supported his young
family as a fisherman and hunter of wild fowl, He was a guide and
managed a Gunning Club for northern hunters. His love for hunting
lasted a lifetime. lt was his heritage. His surviving daughter, Sallye
D. Henley Osborn remembers that her father received ten dollars per
pair of canvas back ducks he shot and shipped north. Diamond back
turtles were also shipped and were a source of income for the family.
On Sept. 29, 1911, Little James obtained his license as operator and
machine propelled vessels and for carrying passengers for hire. This
proficiency was of great value to him as a hunter and later in the U.S.
Life Saving Service and Coast Guard. He served at Wash Woods Station,
No. 5, from 8-22-1912 until he was transferred to Seatack Station, No.
2, Va. Bch., Va. In 1914, he moved with his family, by boat, to the
beach. He was met by Seaman John “Jack” Sparrow, and the daughter of
Hon. Charles A. Korbly, House of Representatives. Congressman Korbly
had helped arrange the transfer and lived with his family on the
oceanfront at Virginia Beach, Va., commuting to Washington, D.C. The
family was transported by horse drawn cart to their destination, where
Little James built his home, “Louise Cottage", near the station. It was
built of "heart” Iumber from North Carolina and is one of the few
remaining homes of those early brave and heroic seamen. His youngest
daughter, Madge, was born there and his daughter, Nancy Bernie, was
married in the living room.
His daughter, Sallye, remembers walking with her father on his
patrol of the beach. The men of the USLSS walked and watched for men
and ships in distress, in the most severe weather. It was not unusual
for Little James to come home with icicles clinging to his uniform.
The USLSS became a part ofthe USCG, 1-28-1915. Little James
continued to serve in the Va. Beach, Coast Guard Station, No. 162,
until his request for retirement, 12-26-1929, because of failing
health. He died 2 years and 9 months later. He was 57 years old. L.
Betty lived in their home, surrounded by children and family until her
In the service, Little James qualified as a good swimmer (8-13-1917)
and was proficient in signaling (2-22-1917), He made small signal flags
for his granddaughter, Celia Frances and taught her how to use them.
They spent many happy times together, signaling back and forth from her
house on the hill, next
door to her grandparents.
“Lit” (as Little James was affectionately known by his family) was
also qualified as
proficient in operating marine engines (Charleston, S.C., 9-30-1918);
awarded Victory Medal and Button (1-19-1921); War Service Certificate
No. 2194 (3-4-1921). Thomas J. Barnes, Keeper, remarked on his official
record that Little James had “ability as a leader of men” and
recommended him for the Good Conduct Medal (4-29-1924). The 3 sons, 5
daughters and descendants of Little James and L. Betty Henley are:
Alma Ester Henley (8-1 6-1897 Wash Woods to 12-5-1977 Lake Wales,
Fl.) married 10-27-1923, St. Clair 0’Neal (10-16-1900 to 5-19-1955).
St. Clair served in the USCG and was descended from St. Clair O’Neal
who had served with Alma’s grandfather, John Calvin Waterfield in Wash
Woods USLSS, No. 5. Their only son, James Moore 0'Neal (6-12-1925)
lives in Babson Park, Florida. He married, 12-31-1945, Louvenia Mae
Bartlett (10-8-1927). Their 3 sons are: John Clair (2-15-1947; Steven
D. (1-30-1950); and David Wayne (11-19-1952) married 7-7-1979, Betty
Lou Baker (2-1-1951).
Nancy Bernie Henley (11-4-1898 Wash Woods to 10-25-1960 Va. Beach,
Va.) married 1-5-1921, Clements Fornious Saunders (12-12-1896 to
3-13-1967). Their only daughter, Celia Frances (1-14-1922) married
3-2-1968, Robert Eaton Boothe (5-15-1914 to 5-21-1976). She resides in
Sallye Darah Henley (11-28-1902 Knotts Island, N.C.) married
Napoleon Osborn (11-27-1 898 to 4-29-1978). Joe and his father-in-law
became hunting buddies and returned to Knotts Island every season to
hunt the wild fowl so plentiful there. In the 1940’s, Joe bought
waterfront acreage with offshore duck blinds, on the east side of
Knotts Island and used it for hunting and a vacation home for his
family and friends. The 1 son and 2 daughters of Sallye and Joe Osborn
are: Josephine Little (5-6-1920 to 2-6-1921); Ivan Eugene (5-30-1924 to
8-3-1977) married 2-17-1947, Eleanor Louise Farley (3-16-1923); and
Anne Morrow (3-27-1929) married 5-12-1956, Frank Woodard Cox, Jr.
(10-3-1929). Their 5 grandchildren are: Joseph Erskine Osborn
(6-3-1950) married 5-18-1975, Lesley Jan Rosen (4-26-1951); Sallye Anne
Osborn (8-11-1951) married 8-3-1973, Dennis Glenn Bates (4-28-1950);
Leah Osborn (5-7-1960) married 8-17-1980, Mark Allen
Weaver (7-8-1959); Peggy Jo Cox (5-16-1957); and Sheri Lynn Cox
(7-27-1961) married 8-11-1979, Anthony John Wright (3-18-1960). Their 3
great-grandsons are: Brian Osborn Bates (11-24-1976); Joseph Henley
Osborn (11 -24-1977); and Harris Ivan Osborn (10-9-1979). Sallye Darah
Henley Osborn is the only living child of Little James Henley and L.
Betty Waterfield. She and all her family live in the Ft. Lauderdale,
Alton Hope Henley (12-23-1904 Knotts Island, N.C. to 6-26-1975 Va.
Beach, Va.) married 1926, Ruth Arline Hobeck (9-8-1906 to 8-13-1981).
Their only daughter, Betty Hope (1-23-1934) lives in Miami, Florida.
She married 4-1-1950, Richard Lee McAdams, Sr. (1-31-1929). Their 2
children are: Richard Lee McAdams, Jr. (2-19-1951) married 12-28-1974,
Clare Portlock (6-29-1951); and Shelley Arline (1-16-1953) married
3-20-1976, David Henderson (6-26-1947). Their 5 grandchildren are: Anne
Walker McAdams (11-16-1977); Richard Walker McAdams (8-26-1979); Samuel
W. McAdams (11-29-1984); Casey Todd Henderson (9-20-1978); and Brooke
Haley Henderson (6-24-1981).
Caddye Medora Henley (12-23-1906 Knotts Island, N.C. to 3-15-1982 Va. Beach, Va.) was married 4-4-1932, to Edgar Barbour Cornick (2-20-1904 to 6-23-1965) by Edgar’s father, Rev. John Cason Cornick of Eastern Shore Chapel (1916-1930). Their only daughter, Betty Lucetta (5-25-1936) lives in Virginia Beach, Va. She married 11-5-1960, John Martin Connell (3-16-1937). Their 2 sons are: Sean Martin (3-20-1962) and Stuart Cornick (7-7-1964).
John Wray Henley (2-23-1909 Knotts Island, N.C. to 6-26-1982 Va.
Bch., Va.) never
Orville James Henley (6-23-1911 Knotts island, N.C. to 2-16-1985 Va.
Beach, Va.) married 2-24-1932, Elma Dean Edwards (11-12-1908 to 4-
-1978). Their 1 daughter and 1 son are: Barbara Dean (9-26-1933)
married 10-15-1955, Walter John Pankiewicz (9-15-1931); and Little
James (8-5-1943) married 11-17-1964, Lynn-Lee Carol Freeman (8-8-1944).
Their 4 grandchildren are: Tracey Lynn Pankiewicz (5-11-1957) married
3-19-1983, David George Holmes; James Henley Pankiewicz (9-17-1959);
Kristin Michele Henley (3-6-1969); and Kyle Stewart Henley (10-6-1972).
Little James Henley, son of Orville James Henley, has the same given
name of his grandfather and is his last male descendant with the
Madge Virginia Henley (2-16-1915 Virginia Beach, Va. to 6-12-1953 near Richmond, Va.) married Rev. William Wiatt Wright. They had 1 son, William Wiatt Wright, Jr. (4-27-1943).