when local physician Dr. Harry E. Handley founded the Greenbrier Historical
Society, he had already amassed volumes of information on Greenbrier
County families. This year those papers have been donated to the Society
by the estate of Dr. Handley's son, Harry M. Handley. The Handley Collection
contains papers, photographs and books on 135 Greenbrier County families.
The pictures shown here are a sampling of those now residing in the
Society's Archives & Library at North House Museum.
GONE TO MISSOURI
From 1800 to the 1840s many Greenbrier County families began the great migration
westward, looking for less crowded spaces, open land and new adventures. Kentucky
and Ohio were the first benefactors of the sons and daughters of Greenbrier,
then Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and on westward with
the growth of a nation.
Greenbrier County planted families across the wide
prarie expanses and past the Rocky Mountains to the western shores of
a young country. Those who left Greenbrier County wrote letters and
sent photographs back home to the families they left behind. Their letters
home were sometimes heartsick, sometimes lonely, sometimes full of the
spirit of adventure of taming yet another frontier. They would begin
new families, new lives and new histories. This
photograph is one such family. Like Nancy Caroline Handley Hook,
proudly seated here with husband John William Hook and family, they
were gone to Missouri . . .
grandson of John Handley (d. 1834) and son of John & Margaret
Walkup Handley who moved from Greenbrier County to western Missouri about
This photograph is a daguerrotype labeled simply "Nancy
Handley". It was probably made about 1860.
documents from the Handley Collection at the Greenbrier Historical
Society include the following: 1834
Will of John Handley