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Looking at old Berryville farm houses

POSTED: May 16, 2013 7:42 p.m.
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Home of John Frederick Helmly born Feb. 2, 1840, and his wife Frances Florence (Reiser) Helmly, born April 3, 1841. They were married Oct. 5, 1870. This home sat at the corner of Berryville Road and the present Stillwell-Clyo Road opposite the home of the late Freddie and Gracie Helmly. Their youngest son Bee Reiser Helmly, born in 1885, who married Maude Wilson, is sitting on the steps in the photograph. Their older children were: Christopher Frederick Helmly born 1871 who married Caroline ...

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Solomon Exley, born 1795,  first married Sarah Backley in 1818 at the age of 23. 

His log or "pole" house was built just prior to marriage by all accounts. All of his children were born here: James Jonathan Exley and Mary Elizabeth (Exley) Nungazer by his first wife; Charles William Exley and Ann Salome Exley, who died without issue, and Frances Sheck ("Frank") Exley by Solomon’s second wife Maria Caroline Rahn. 

Solomon married his third wife, Hannah Elizabeth Reiser, in 1840 and from this union, no children were born. She lived in the home for 31 years until her death in 1871.

From this house Solomon’s youngest son, Francis Sheck Exley marched away to join the Confederate Army, returning safely after the fall of the Confederacy. Very shortly in 1866 he brought into his parents’ home, his bride Sophia N. (Rahn) Exley.  Before Solomon died in 1879, he had the joy of seeing five of his grandchildren born to Frank and Sophia in the house. Another was born after her grandfather’s death. 

The youngest son of "Frank" was Abner Lovick Exley, born in 1875. He became the third owner of the "Solomon Exley House."

By this time it had changed appearance because the logs had been covered with weatherboarding and, just before Abner’s marriage to Myra Pace in 1908, he added an extra room between the old house and the kitchen.  All eight of the couple’s children were born there. 

About 1945, the old house, having sheltered four generations of the Exley clan, having welcomed new brides and having seen the birth of 19 in its 128 years of existence,was replaced by a more modern frame dwelling in the same spot built by Abner. A brick home, built by Abner’s daughter the late Cora (Exley) Kight’s son Derrick Kight, sits on the former Exley home site today.

This was compiled by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email her at:


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