Gazlay Family History

FamilyJames Wilson Roby


FatherZeperiah D. Roby (ca. 1838 - ca. 1906)
MotherHarriet E. ‘Hattie’ Churchill ( - )

Personal Information

Record Created: 13 January 2010; Last Edited: 2 October 2010 
NameJames Wilson Roby
Born ca. 1867 in Alabama1, 2
Married 16 January 1887 in LaGrange, Troup County, Georgia to Anna Kathleen ‘Katie’ McNamee3, 4, 5
Died 8 September 1898 in Orange, Texas6


James is listed as J. W. in the 1870 census, Jimmie in the 1880 census, and Wilson in his son's death record.

Several versions of family stories relate that James was shot and killed in a gunfight. An article in Las Sabinas, the quarterly periodical of the Orange County Historical Society (Texas) provides a glimpse of the true story: “From miscellanious [sic] boxed records Orange County Clerk’s office: On Sept. 8, 1898, R.W.J. Smith killed J.W. Roby with a shotgun blast in front of his river boat shanty on the Sabine River. Smith was convicted and sentenced to hang on Aug. 18, 1899 but Smith was granted a new trial in which he was ruled insane on Oct. 25, 1899.”6

An article in The Galveston Daily News (see Sources) gives a more complete account of the events leading up to the murder of J. W. Roby.7


Spouse 1FamilyAnna Kathleen ‘Katie’ McNamee (daughter of James Monroe McNamee and Leah Elizabeth Anderson)
Born May 1868
Married 16 January 1887 in LaGrange, Troup County, Georgia to James Wilson Roby
Died 4 July 1959 in Birmingham, Alabama
Children of James Wilson Roby and Anna Kathleen ‘Katie’ McNamee:
+1.FamilyWilson Roby
Born 14 December 1887 in Opelika, Lee County, Alabama
Married 28 January 1925 to Ida Jane McGregor
Died 2 December 1961 in Birmingham, Alabama


  1. U.S. Federal Census, 1870, Alabama, Lee County, Salem, Page 40.
  2. U.S. Federal Census, 1880, Alabama, Macon County, Tuskegee, Enumeration District 119, Page No. 5.
  3. Georgia Marriages, 1851-1900. Name: James W. Roby. Spouse: Anna K. McNamee. Marriage Date: 13 January 1887. County: Troup. Available at
  4. Marriage Announcement, The Jacksonville Republican, Jacksonville, Calhoun County, Alabama, Saturday, January 29, 1887. Available at The entry reads, "Mr. J. Roby and Miss Kate McNamee of Opelika eloped to LaGrange, Ga. And got married last Wednesday." [The marriage was actually over two weeks previous, on 13 January 1887.]
  5. “McNamee, James Monroe.” History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, by Thomas McAdory Owen, L.L.D. Chicago, The S. J. Clark Publishing Company, 1921. Volume 4, Page 1135. Available at Google Books.
  6. Las Sabinas, the official publication of the Orange County Historical Society (Texas), April 1991, Volume 17, Issue 2. Information provided by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Reference/Documents Staff, in an email to Lee Gazlay. The Orange County Clerk’s office confirmed in separate emails that their records include the entire transcript of the trial of R.W.J. Smith in several boxes.
  7. The Galveston Daily News, Wednesday, August 16, 1899.