Origin of the Word
been interested in determining the origin of the word “Gauley” for
decades and have seen several explanations, but none of these had the
proverbial “ring of truth” when carefully considered. There
was a recent break, however.
Scheuer and I have been exchanging books as periodic gifts for about
ten years. I provide reading material on the American Civil War,
with an emphasis on West Virginia, and Mike provides some excellent material
on general history, such as a Aurel Stein’s great book, On
Alexander’s Track to the Indus.
prior to my departure for Central Asia, Mike asked if I had ever read
John Buchan’s Greenmantle and he passed me a three volume
compilation of Buchan’s best novels, including his Mr. Standfast. During
the six months I was away from my home, Buchan’s books were quite
welcome additions to my evening reading. [And I’m sure you
are now wondering what John Buchan, a spy novelist who wrote about espionage
in World War I, had to do with the origin of the word Gauley.]
following information regarding “Mr. Standfast” is from Wikipedia:
in the later years of World
War I, Brigadier-General Hannay
is recalled from active service on the Western
Front to undertake a secret mission hunting for a dangerous German agent
at large in Britain.
He is forced to work undercover disguised as a pacifist,
roaming the country incognito to investigate the deadly spy and his
agents, and then heads to the Swiss
Alps to save Europe from
being overwhelmed by the German army….
title is taken from John
Progress, to which there are many other references in
the book; Hannay uses a copy of Pilgrim's Progress to decipher
coded messages from his contacts, and letters from his friend Peter
Hannay, under forty and already a successful Brigadier-General with
good prospects of advancement, is called out of uniform by his old
comrade, spymaster Sir
Walter Bullivant, and sent to Fosse Manor in the Cotswolds to
receive further instructions. He must pose as a South
African, an objector to the war, and once more takes on
the name Cornelius Brandt (which he had used on his adventures in Germany in Greenmantle).
He is upset by the idea of such a pose, but comforted by thoughts of
his friend Peter
Pienaar, briefly a successful airman and now a prisoner
in Germany, and by the beauty of the Cotswold countryside.
Fosse, he meets two middle-aged spinsters, their cousin Launcelot Wake,
objector, and their niece Mary Lamington, a girl whose prettiness
had struck Hannay earlier, while visiting a shell-shocked friend
in the hospital where she works. It emerges that she is his contact,
but she can tell him little more than that he must immerse himself
in the world of pacifists and objectors, picking up "atmosphere".
She gives him a label to paste inside his watch, an address where he
will be staying, and advises him to pick up a copy of Pilgrim's Progress.
goes to Glasgow,
and contacts a trade
union man named Amos, through whom he moves into Gresson's
circles. He speaks at a meeting which descends into violence, and finds
himself in at Gresson's side in a street fight.
Now, the interesting
material from Buchan’s book connects Amos
to the origin of the word, Gauley. Hannay is operating in the alias “Brand,” A
Andrew Amos [A chapter heading]
I took the train
three days later from King's Cross to Edinburgh. I
went to the Pentland Hotel in Princes Street and left there a suit-case
containing some clean linen and a change of clothes. I had
been thinking the thing out, and had come to the conclusion that
I must have a base somewhere and a fresh outfit. Then in
well-worn tweeds and with no more luggage than a small trench kit-bag,
I descended upon the city of Glasgow.
I walked from
the station to the address which Blenkiron had given me. It
was a hot summer evening, and the streets were filled with bareheaded
women and weary-looking artisans. As
I made my way down the Dumbarton Road I was amazed at the number
of able-bodied fellows about, considering that you couldn't stir
a mile on any British front without bumping up against a Glasgow
battalion. Then I realized that there were such things as
munitions and ships, and I wondered no more.
A stout and
dishevelled lady at a close-mouth directed me to Mr Amos's dwelling. 'Twa
stairs up. Andra will be in
noo, havin' his tea. He's no yin for overtime. He's
generally hame on the chap of six.' I ascended the stairs
with a sinking heart, for like all South Africans I have a horror
of dirt. The place was pretty filthy,
but at each landing there were two doors with well-polished handles
and brass plates. On one I read the name of Andrew Amos.
A man in his
shirt-sleeves opened to me, a little man, without a collar, and
with an unbuttoned waistcoat. That
was all I saw of him in the dim light, but he held out a paw like
a gorilla's and drew me in.
which looked over many chimneys to a pale yellow sky against which
two factory stalks stood out sharply, gave me light enough to observe
him fully. He was
about five feet four, broad-shouldered, and with a great
towsy head of grizzled hair. He wore spectacles, and his
face was like some old-fashioned Scots minister's, for he had heavy
eyebrows and whiskers which joined each other under his jaw, while
his chin and enormous upper lip were clean-shaven. His eyes
were steely grey and very solemn, but full of smouldering energy. His
voice was enormous and would have shaken the walls if he had not
had the habit of speaking with half-closed lips. He had not
a sound tooth in his head.
A saucer full
of tea and a plate which had once contained ham and eggs were on
the table. He
nodded towards them and asked me if I had fed.
'Ye'll no eat
onything? Well, some would offer ye a dram, but this house is staunch
door ye'll have to try the nearest public if ye're thirsty.'
any bodily wants, and produced my pipe, at which he started to
fill an old clay. 'Mr Brand's your name?'
he asked in his gusty voice. 'I was expectin' ye, but Dod!
man ye're late!'
from his trousers pocket an ancient silver watch, and regarded
it with disfavour. 'The
dashed thing has stoppit. What do ye make the time, Mr Brand?'
to prise open the lid of his watch with the knife he had used to
cut his tobacco, and, as he examined the works, he turned the back
of the case towards me. On the
inside I saw pasted Mary Lamington's purple-and-white wafer.
I held my watch
so that he could see the same token. His
keen eyes, raised for a second, noted it, and he shut his own with
a snap and returned it to his pocket. His manner lost its
wariness and became almost genial.
up to see Glasgow, Mr Brand? Well, it's a steerin' bit, and there's
honest folk bides in it, and some not so honest. They
tell me ye're from South Africa. That's a long gait
away, but I ken something aboot South Africa, for I had a cousin's
son oot there for his lungs. He was in a shop in Main Street,
Bloomfountain. They called him Peter Dobson. Ye would
maybe mind of him.'
Then he discoursed
of the Clyde. He
was an incomer, he told me, from the Borders, his
native place being the town of Galashiels, or, as he
called it, 'Gawly'.
is located 30 miles south of Edinburg on the border between England
and Scotland and a river, the Gala Water, flows through the middle
of the town. This area, the Borders, provided an enormous number
of Scotch-Irish immigrants who settled in the Appalachians in the mid-1700’s
and one of them may have named the river that joined New River in today’s
Fayette County after his home region, Gala, while pronouncing it Gawly.
possibility was confirmed by Helen Darling on at
the Scottish Borders Archive and Local History Centre who advised: “I
have checked various books on the history of Galashiels but I am afraid
I have been unable to find written history of the pronunciation of "Gala" or "Galashiels". I
have certainly heard older natives of Galashiels use the pronunciation "Gaw-ly".
It is certainly possible that a native of Galashiels may have gone
to West Virginia and named an area after his home. "Gala" the
shortened form of the name is very commonly used and is also the name
of a river that flows through Galashiels. This is the Gala Water.”
is again very helpful:
Scots: Gala Watter; Scottish
Gaelic An Geal Ath) is a river in the Scottish Borders and
tributary of the River
It is sometimes known as the "Gala", which nickname is also
shared with Galashiels,
which it flows through. The "Braw Lads O Gala Watter" is
a song about people from Galashiels.
And so two
authors separated by nearly a century may have helped solve a minor
mystery they didn’t