#oceanhops This vlog takes us to the cemeteries where Elvis Presley’s great-grandparents are buried, and the story of how Elvis could have been a ‘Wallace’. The vlog also includes a visit to the site of where a home once stood where Vernon Presley, Elvis’ father, was born.
Vlog from Tupelo 2 years ago where I first stated the Wallace link:
Sources of information have been gathered since I was 12 years old!! Some (but not all) sources include books by Peter Guralnick, Ernst Jorgensen, Pal Granlund, David English, Erik Lorentzen, Alan Hanson, Paul Richardson and Keith Flynn. Websites include elvisinfonet.com, elvis.com/au, historic-memphis.com, elvisconcerts.com, cinematreasures.org and the fascinating stories and information contributed by so many to the sites, and magazines ‘Elvis The Man and His Music’ and ‘Essential Elvis’. Also the Memphis locations books ‘Elvis – Memphis Style’ by Mike Freeman and ‘Follow Me To Memphis’ by Andrew Hearn.
So many more over the years on TV documentaries (although many need better researchers), and VHS (!!), and DVD releases.
Take a look at our other travel content at:
So we are here in Ridge Cemetery just across the Mississippi border in Itawamba County just come through Red Bay, Alabama from the road up there. Just a bit further there is the small town of Golden, Mississippi – Itawamba County
And this…..it took us a little while to find it but this here is Rosie Elizebeth Presley born February 16 1861- died July 30 1924. Now the date of birth is wrong on there
it’s actually 1862 she was born
and she is Rosella Presley who was Elvis’s
There were two sisters Rosella
Rosella and Rosalinda Presley. Both sisters never married but had I think fifteen children between them.
Elvis’s great-great grandfather Dunnan Presley Jr
left home soon after the girls were born
and it seems their mother Martha Jane Wesson she left soon after. On later censuses the girls are living with a step-grandfather William Steele who had married their grandmother Millie Wesson and in 1878 is the year that, possibly, Rosella’s first child –
there’s a bit of debate whether it was Valley Joseph Steele or whether it was actually Walter Presley.
The confusion probably over Valley
Joseph Steele having the surname Steele whereas all the other children that Rosella Presley gave birth to – all 9 or 10 children I can’t remember now,
but they all had the Presley surname. None of them had any of their fathers surnames.
The Presley girls had been living south of Fulton quite a few miles south of here actually in the Tilden community.
Rosella was possibly in a relationship with Tom Hussey until 1888
but he married in January
of 89 ending their relationship. By now Rosella was mother
to five or six children depending on whether Valley was her first or not
and Noah Presley, Elvis’s great-uncle was her youngest of those five or six. Around this time she started an affair with John Wallace down in the Tilden community. Rosella moved from Tilden in 1896 moving north, just north of Fulton and because she was pregnant with a married man’s child
which obviously wasn’t looked on favourably at the time –
well, it never is! But she moved north
and she gave birth to Jessie Dunnan, or ‘Dee’, McClowell Presley
on 9th of April 1897.
However it’s said that John Wallace had such a bond with Rosella Presley that
he actually upped and moved his family
not far from where Rosella had settled, north of Fulton
so that they were still close together.
So Rosella gave birth to Jessie
who of course like all the other children kept the ‘Presley’ surname
passing it on to his son Vernon and of course then on to Elvis so…
I was in Tupelo two years ago and I put on the video there
where I said that following the custom of a child having the father’s name
by rights Elvis should have been Elvis Wallace but that never would have
never would have had the same ‘hook’ as Elvis Presley that’s for sure.
Rosella had more children – possibly with John Wallace. Nobody fully knows.
It is said that they knew who their fathers were and
that the fathers, especially John Wallace, would support the children as best he could. There would have been these men showing up at the house and it’s hard to,
as local historian Julien Riley said, it would be difficult for them
not to have known who their father was growing up.
So although John Wallace remained married to Elvira, a woman called Elvira,
who he had quite a number of children with her as well but
John and Rosella – it seems their bond was quite strong and for the rest of their lives they never lived far from each other
until Rosella then died of cancer in 1924.
We’ve come from Ridge Cemetery
and ten miles away is Salem Cemetery