Founding Families of Syracuse: THE GAILEYS

David Gailey & Eliza Edmonds


Mike and Randy Gailey are first cousins and homegrown boys who have lived in Syracuse, Utah, off and on throughout their lives. They recall fond summer days spent playing little league baseball and hunting in the great outdoors.

As Mike puts it, “We weren’t a television society. I had a tv when I was about seven, but I never remember getting hooked on a tv show. We just went outside.”

Both cousins grew up a mile and a half from each other in Syracuse, with Randy living on 2700 S. and 2000 W., and Mike living on 900 S. and 2000 W. Many visits over the years drew the relationships closer together among the Gailey families. Mike was born on April 23rd, 1950 to David Smedley Gailey and Phyllis Ludlow. Four years later, Randy was born on April 9th, 1954 to Ferrel S. Gailey and Shirley Warner.

First cousins Mike and Randy Gailey

As a boy, Mike recollects being at Randy’s home for dinner one night. Their Grandma Laura had asked Grandpa Marlin to go back to Mike’s house to get some butter. So, they jumped in the car and drove the short mile and a half to get there. The butter was picked up, and they began to head back to Randy’s house. As they passed Syracuse Elementary school (where Grandpa Marlin was a custodian), Grandpa knew something wasn’t right. They stopped the car, unlocked the school doors, and went down to the boiler room. There, they discovered a gas can that had been tipped over (possibly due to kids who had climbed into the school). Grandpa Marlin saved the school from a fire. What a lasting impression this experience was for Mike in his youth.

John W. Gailey home

Randy remembers a highlight from his childhood too. His Dad, Ferrel, was a good welder. He made Randy a go-cart and outdoor swings as tall as any playground. The go-cart hadn’t any breaks yet, and it was built with a hay baler motor.

“Dad would take me over to the church parking lot”, Randy tells us. “I was only six years old and my arms were too short to reach around the spark plug to kill it going 20-30 miles an hour.” He remembers his father shouting, “Tighter, tighter!” as young Randy rounded the corners. Oh, what a thrill!

David Gailey as a young man

Both boys took piano lessons at the tender age of six years old. Their Great Aunt, Alice Gailey, was their first teacher who charged only $1 a lesson. Randy has had many blessings come to him through music, including becoming the assistant to the president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.

Randy and Mike Gailey share a great grandfather through their paternal line named David Gailey, who homesteaded Syracuse. He was born on February 26th, 1862. He married Eliza Edmonds, and they became the parents of nine children, although their firstborn, Irvin, sadly passed away at age eight. David was a farmer and ran his brother’s 80-acre farm in West Layton, where he and Eliza lived until 1891. Thereafter, they settled on their own 80-acre farm in Syracuse. He was also a Deputy Sheriff at the Syracuse Resort. David was remembered for spending precious time with his children.

Plaque dedicated to the Gailey family

David and Eliza Gailey’s marriage was happy. David was so fond of Eliza’s beauty that he became jealous when she was in the company of other men. Their marriage was short-lived due to the fact that both died young and only eight years apart. They left behind eight children (ranging in age from 16 years to 18 months) for whom the oldest daughter, Bessie, was now a caretaker.

As Mike Gailey tells us, “The early Gailey family of Syracuse were the ‘Oliver Twists’—they were urchins.” However, they survived and thrived as the generations rolled on.

Leave a Reply