Gurley Lions Club serving the Gurley community since 1948
Gurley Lions Club serving the Gurley community since 1948

Early Gurley settlers in the West Indies

First I would like to express how much I enjoyed looking at your web site, it is one of the best I have ever looked through. I am hoping some of your visitors to your site can help me with information about where the Gurley family came from prior to the United States. I am interested in making a connection between the early settlers to the West Indies and the early settlers of the United States.

My father had tried the last few years of his life to put together a family tree. He was able to get information about some of the Gurley ancestors back as far as 1656. This part of the Gurley family were early settlers in the Caribbean countries of St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Eustastius and then in St. Vincent and more recently in Trinidad, the United States and Canada where my father brought me and my 4 siblings. He was never able to get information back confirming where the early settlers came from prior to the West Indies and where the members that did not settle in the West Indies went. He always felt that some of them went to the United States rather than the Caribbean. Possibly making a short stop in the West Indies before going on to the Virginias, Carolinas and possibly on to Gurley Alabama.

As the story goes, the Great Navigator Christopher Columbus when reaching the islands of St. Kitts & Nevis dubbed the larger of the two islands St. Christopher, in honor of the patron saint of travelers. Although it may not have been Columbus who named the island, it was almost certainly British sailors who shortened St. Christopher to thefamiliar St. Kitts. Whatever its origins, the gesture toward St. Christopher makes sense, as the islands' visibility and position--as well as their comforts--made them common first targets for early trans-Atlantic navigators. Captain John Smith, for example, landed on Nevis in 1607 on his way to establish the colony of Virginia. Smith and his companions spent five days resting and relaxing on the island, enjoying Nevis' hot sulphur baths while recuperating from the long passage. Colonization began on St. Kitts in 1623 and Nevis was settled in 1628.

The earliest records I have of my line of Gurleys go back as early as 1656 in Nevis, 1711 in Middle Island, 1743 in St. Kitts and also Gurleys in St. Eustatius and St. Vincent from the mid 1700’s to 1894 when they moved from St. Vincent to Trinidad and from there to the US and Canada.

If anyone has some information for me they would like to share I would appreciate it.

They can contact me at

Roslyn Fitzpatrick graciously shared this information on November 1 2004.