William Franklin Gay

Male, #32488, (17 Sep 1850 - 21 Oct 1916)
Birth*17 Sep 1850 William was born at Sasserville, now Gay, Meriwether Co., Georgia, on 17 Sep 1850. 
Employment* William's occupation: postmaster. 
Photographed*1869 He was photographed in 1869 at Gay, Meriwether Co., Georgia.1
William Franklin Gay
Marriage*19 Aug 1869 He married Annira J. Culpepper at Meriwether Co., Georgia, on 19 Aug 1869 at age 18.2 
Photographedcirca 1880 He was photographed circa 1880 at Gay, Meriwether Co., Georgia.1
William Franklin Gay
Census*1910 A census listed William as head of household at Meriwether Co., Georgia, in 1910. 
Death*21 Oct 1916 He died at Gay, Meriwether Co., Georgia, on 21 Oct 1916 at age 66. 
Burial*after 21 Oct 1916 His body was interred after 21 Oct 1916 at Gay City Cemetery, Gay, Meriwether Co., Georgia
Biography* William Franklin was known as "Willie." The following is from p. 1 of a booklet, "Gay, Georgia," about the town which was named for William Franklin Gay: In 1882 Mr. William F. Gay, who was the grandson of Mr. Sasser and who was then living in the home with the widow of Mr. Sasser, opened a small store here and in a few years it seemed that a post office was needed. Mr. Gay applied for one but since there was a Post Office in the Southern part of the state named Sasser, the department refused to name the new Post Office Sasserville. Mr. Henry R. Harris, who was in Congress at that time and who was assisting Mr. Gay in securing the post office, named the town Gay in honor of Mr. William E. Gay, hence the reason for the place being named Gay. Gay moved along for years with just the one store until Mr. J. W. Estes built another and this was the town until 1908. At that time the A. B. and A. Railroad was built which came right through the little town and along with it came rapid growth, there being erected several brick buildings, stores, warehouses, a bank, and a little later, a sweet potato curing plant. During these years Gay was the largest cotton shipping point in Meriwether County as well as the largest shipping point on the new railroad between Altanta, and Fitzgerald.

The following is from:

Memoirs of Georgia, Vol. II, Atlanta, Ga.,
Published by The Southern Historical Association in 1895
Pages 508-509

W. F. Gay

W. F. Gay, is one of those citizens of Meriwether county who may point with pride to patriotic ancestry, two of his great-grandfathers having served with valor in the revolutionary struggle. Some time after the war the son of one of these men, Benjamin Gay, brought his wife, Mrs. Ann (Gay) Gay, from their native state, North Carolina, to settle in Georgia. Their son, Columbus Gay, married Miss Martha Sasser, a daughter of William and Elizabeth (Beverly) Sasser. The father of the former served throughout the revolution under Gen. Washington and to the day of his death bore on his head the scars of several wounds received in that war. This family was also of North Carolina nativity, but William Sasser came to Georgia early in the century and settled in Monroe county. The move being made in mid-winter, with the ground frozen, and the settlement in the woods, much suffering and privation was entailed upon the settlers while, with the aid of kind neighbors, they constructed a home. Mr. Sasser served in the war of 1812, and in 1829 transferred his family to Meriwether county and again created a home in the wilderness. In these days of comfort, with the countless conveniences of modern life, it is hard to realize what our predecessors of one or two generations had to endure. Around this lonely home towered the primeval forest, in whose shadows lurked the timid deer and the ravenous wolf. Many a night were the slumbers of the pioneer family broken, and their hearts filled with far, by the hideous and terrifying howls of the wolves. Many a morning saw their stock of sheep, pigs or calves diminished as the result of these marauding visits. Neighbors were distant and privileges few. For years they rode fifteen miles for the purpose of attending church. Mr. Sasser, desiring to increase the educational facilities for his own and his neighbor’s children, gave two acres of land for the purpose of erecting an academy. The son of Columbus and Martha (Sasser) Gay, W.F. Gay,
was born here in 1850. He passed his early years on the farm, but received a good education, and has developed a very fine business talent, as well as cultivating his farm with great success. For twelve years he has resided at Gay, carrying on a thriving mercantile trade. The respect in which he is held by his fellow-citizens is evinced by the responsibilities they have laid upon
him. He has been county bailiff, justice of the peace, and for the last six years county commissioner. His wife was Miss Anna Culpepper, daughter of Charles and Jane (English) Culpepper, old settlers of Coweta county, and natives of South Carolina. Mr. Culpepper was a soldier in the late war. Mrs. Gay was born in Coweta county in 1849, and is a member of the Primitive Baptist church. Mr. and Mrs. Gay were married in 1869, and their union has been blessed with eleven children: John, Emma, Lula, Mattie, Henry, Leila, Joe, Dallie, Ben, Bessie and Iva.

According to Mrs. Eleanor Culpepper Willingham in a 13 Jul 1984 letter, the Cotton Pickin Fair which is held in Gay features "'Grandpa's House' which is the old [William Franklin] Gay Home. The rooms are rented to groups for crafts for the fair but the long hall holds family protraits. Explanatory notes are in some black frames. The portraits are in the original old antique frames." According to Eleanor, one plaque gives the date of birth for W. F. Gay as 20 Aug 1869 but this is impossible because his first child was born in 1870. The cemetery record gives his date of birth as 17 Sep 1850. 


Annira J. Culpepper (3 Dec 1849 - 10 Sep 1935)
Marriage*19 Aug 1869 He married Annira J. Culpepper at Meriwether Co., Georgia, on 19 Aug 1869 at age 18.2 
Last Edited20 May 2008


  1. E-mail written 2003-20011 to Lew Griffin from Gayle Louise Poole, Atlanta, GA, e-mail address.
  2. Jordan Dodd, compiler, Georgia Marriages, 1851-1900, Online database at Ancestry.com, 2000.
    Anora Culpepper and W. F. Gay on 19 Aug 1869 in Meriwether Co., GA.