Why am I interested in this couple? They are my 4th great grandparents on my maternal grandfather’s side. Thomas Haley’s daughter, Amanda married Benjamin W Jones. Their daughter, Olivia Jane married Rubin M. Johnston. Their son, Thomas N. Johnston married Nell L. Hutson. These were my grandfather’s parents.
The first probate file I found on Thomas Haley was the petition for administration, filed by son, Thomas J. Haley. Thomas gave the date of his father’s death and named the surviving heirs: his mother and his brothers and sisters. There may have been more children who have died, but no others were mentioned, nor children of other siblings. If any siblings had died, they had no children. (As a note, I did find a probate record for two other Haleys: Craft Haley and Jesse Haley with a Thomas Haley as the administrator. So more research is needed on that connection).
Here is the beginning of the transcription. Note, there is irregular spelling and almost no punctuation.
Estate of Thos Haley Dec'd
Application of Thomas J. Haley for Administration to the Honorable James Finley Judge of the Probate Court of Rankin County in the State of Mississippi.
The petition of Thomas J. Haley of said County would respectfully represent unto your Court that his father Thomas Haley late of said County departed this life on the 26th day of January last having no will so far as your petitioner knows or believes. That said intestate died seized and prosessed [sic] of a considerable estate both real and personal consisting of two thousand acres of land more or less lying in the Counties of Rankin Simpson and Copiah the several Amounts lying in said Counties your petitioner is unable to state precisely and deems it at present unnecessary. Also twelve negro slaves young and old and also the stock of horses mules oxen and cattle & @ used on his plantation or residence at the time of his death there are also some debts due said Estate indunced [sic] by note on Cader Price all All of said personal Estate being in the summation [sic] of your petitioner worth about eight thousand dollars
So I have the date of death for Thomas Haley: 26 January 1851. I also learned he owned land in three counties (which neighbor each other): Rankin, Simpson, and Copiah. He lived on a plantation with 12 slaves and some stock of horses, oxen, mules and cattle. So there was some matter of wealth here with the total value at approximately eight thousand dollars. It will be interesting to see the inventory of his estate.
The next section of the petition gives us the names of the heirs:
that your petitioner Thomas J. Haley is the son of said decedent That besides your petitioner the said decedent left surviving him five heirs and distributes to wit Elizabeth Haley widow and relict of said decedent William Haley Mary Ann Thomas late widow of John B Thomas dec'd Amanda A Jones wife of Benjamin W Jones and who are all of full age and also John H Haley who is now a minor about 18 years of age.
So this confirms that the Elizabeth Haley enumerated with Thomas in the 1850 census was his wife. His sons were William Haley, Thomas J. Haley, and John H. Haley, who was a minor. His daughters were Mary Ann Thomas, who was already the widow of John B. Thomas, and Amanda A. Jones, the wife of Benjamin W. Jones.
Here is the end of the petition:
Your petitioner would further represent that he believes said Estate should be immediately administered as well for the proper management of said land and negros as for the Collection of said debts &@ and your petitioner also represents that the said Elizabeth Haley widow and relic as aforesaid who is by law entitled to administration of said Estate has declined the same in behalf of your petitioner as is herewith shown by letter renouncation [sic] of the same which is presented with this petition as part of the same. Your petitioner therefore prays that your honor will grant letters of Administration to him in the premisis [sic] upon quallifying [sic] himself according to law and the desections [sic] of this Court your petitioner begs leave to offer to the consideration of the Court Joseph M. Jayne as security on his bond and to nominate Thomas S White John A Dear & Levi P Gibson appraisers to value &@ the Goods and chattels and personal Estate of said intestate - And as in duty bound your petitioner will ever pray &@I have collected the rest of the probate records and will report on the status of taking inventory and selling the property both personal and real. This is a great find and while it doesn’t help answer where Thomas and Elizabeth Haley came from, it did help establish the relation between Haleys found in Rankin County, Mississippi tax and marriage records.
Sworn to and Subscribed in upon T. J. Haley
Court this the 21st February AD 1851
D. Fitzhugh Clk
So future plans are to transcribe the remaining probate papers and analyze them for further clues. I want to do extensive tax research, which I can do also on the FamilySearch.org site. Then next would be to tackle land records for Rankin, Simpson, and Copiah counties for the land that Thomas Haley owned. That I’ll leave for my trip to Salt Lake City in January.
 Mississippi, Rankin, 1850 U.S. census, Ancestry.com, Digital images (http://www.ancestry.com: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), p 237b, 479/479, Thomas Haley.
 Rankin Co, Mississippi, Probate Records, Petitions, vol B 1847-1855, 186-87, Thos Haley dec'd, digital image, familysearch.org : accessed 24 Aug 2013; citing FHL microfilm 876965 Item 4.