San Diego County









††††††††††† For more than four and a half decades Mrs. Mary M. Gally has lived in the Ojai Valley, witnessing the progress of civilization in this part of the state, and as one of Ventura Countyís pioneer women she is widely known and highly esteemed.She was born and reared in Jefferson City, Missouri, a daughter of Dr. William and A. A. Davison, and completed her education in a seminary of her native city.Dr. Davison had first moved west to Wheeling and then to Jefferson City which was his home thereafter.

††††††††††† In 1885 was solemnized the marriage of B. W. Gally and Mary M. Davison.Mr. Gally was born in Wheeling, Virginia, July 9, 1852, a son of the Hon. Thomas M. Gally, who was a native of Virginia.His mother, Mary (List) Gally, a native of Wheeling, was a daughter of H. List, a prominent banker of that city.Mr. and Mrs. Thomas M. Gally were the parents of two children, a son and a daughter, Benjamin W. and Sidney.

††††††††††† Thomas M. Gally, P. G. W. P., distinguished Whig statesman and member of the West Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1852, was well known and highly respected not only throughout his own state but throughout the east.Born in Wheeling, Virginia, in 1822 of Irish descent, he completed his collegiate training in Alleghany College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.At the age of eighteen he became interested in the Temperance cause to which he devoted himself, heart and soul.In Pittsburgh he assumed editorial control of a paper pledged to the cause, but left later to study law in Cincinnati under Mr. Johnston, afterward Superior Court judge in that city.He was admitted to the bar and began to practice his profession under very encouraging conditions but was forced to give it up because of ill-health.After a period of two years, while in the north, he began a crusading trip for the Sons of Temperance, of which he had long been a member, preaching in Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, and New York.At this time he became a member of the Grand Division of the Sons of Temperance of Virginia, and at its October session was appointed Traveling Deputy, Grand Worthy Patriarch.In October, 1848, he was elected unanimously the Grand Worthy Patriarch of Virginia and cordially invited to continue his valuable labors as a state lecturer.To this he assented, although it was to his own physical and financial loss.

††††††††††† B. W. Gally attended the public schools of Wheeling and as a young man entered the field of finance.His health was impaired by the close confinement of the banking business and in 1883 he came to California.His faith in its climate to restore and invigorate was justified and, having determined to lead an outdoor life, he located in the Ojai Valley.Here he purchased from William McKee seventy-five acres of wild land on which he conducted a small boarding house, making provisions for an adequate supply of water by digging several fine artesian wells.An untiring worker, he cleared and improved the tract, eventually transforming it into a valuable farm.He opened a tourist resort here and before the advent of a railroad in this section ran stages to Santa Barbara and Ventura.His keen discernment enabled him to readily recognize the wonderful possibilities of this region as a resort for tourists and he was the first to advertise the Ojai Valley, issuing a booklet describing its beauty and its advantages as a place of residence.He thus set in motion a current of tourists in this direction and they have continued to come in constantly increasing number until this is now one of the most popular recreation spots of Southern California.He backed his faith by his works and the Valley owes to Mr. Gally a debt of gratitude it can never repay.He was a gentleman of the old school, with the innate courtesy, the grace of manner and dignified bearing which mark the man of birth and breeding.He occupied a high place in public esteem and his death, which occurred in 1893, when he was forty-one years of age and at the height of his usefulness, was a distinct loss to the community.

††††††††††† Mr. and Mrs. Gally were the parents of three sons.Howard D., the eldest, an artist by profession, married Miss Agnes Lord, of Ojai, and resides on a ten-acre ranch near his motherís home.Thomas Kilburne, a graduate of Cornell University, is secretary of William R. Staats Company, a bond and investment company of Los Angeles, and saw active service in France during the World War.He married Miss Lillian Normand, a graduate of Pomona College, and their children are Sidney and David, the former twelve and the latter six years of age.Benjamin W., Jr., an alumnus of the University of California, joined the United States Marine Corps, advanced to the rank of captain, was sent overseas to take part in the World War, and is now stationed on the island of Haiti.He married Miss Ruth Drown, a daughter of A. L. and Gertrude (Logan) Drown, the former a native of New York and the latter of Pennsylvania.Mr. Drown developed a large fruit ranch near Ojai and is now mayor of that town.Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin W. Gally have two children, Benjamin W. (III) and Gertrude, aged respectively twelve and six years.

††††††††††† Mrs. Mary M. Gally is a descendant of Edward Jaquelin and Martha Cary, who owned most of Jamestown, Virginia in 1600.She prizes very highly a published history of the descendants of this couple, now scattered all over the United States.The group held a grand family reunion in 1907.

††††††††††† Mrs. Gally is justly proud of her four grandchildren, in whose society she renews her youth.Since her husbandís death she has improved the home place, managing the resort for ten years.She has altered the cottages with modern conveniences, and rents these for housekeeping purposes.She is a capable businesswoman and figures prominently in the social and cultural life of Ojai as a member of the Womanís Club, the Tuesday Club and the Thursday Club.In community affairs she has ever manifested a deep and helpful interest, and her personal characteristics are such as inspire strong and enduring regard.




Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: California of the South Vol. III, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 411-414, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles,Indianapolis.1933.

© 2012 V. Gerald Iaquinta.