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Daughter-in-law preserves family heritage
Dooley reunion set for Saturday
The old Dooley house, built in 1884, is pictured in winter 2010. Descendants of James and Ruth Dooley will visit the house during a family reunion Saturday. - photo by For the FCN

At a glance

*All descendants of James and Ruth Dooley are invited to attend the Dooley family reunion beginning at 9 a.m. Oct. 6 at Concord Baptist Church, 6905 Concord Road. At noon, the family will have a hot dog lunch. Guests are asked to bring side items. The family will later go to the Dooley home place, 7550 Nicholson Road.

*For more information, contact Carol Dooley at (770) 887-3049 or

A Forsyth County woman plans to honor the memory and heritage of her mother-in-law during a large family reunion next weekend.

On Saturday, Carol Dooley and several of her family members will hold a Dooley (sometimes spelled Dooly) family reunion beginning at 9 a.m. in Concord Baptist Church. 

A hot dog lunch will follow at noon, and a ceremony honoring John Henry Dooley, who served in the Civil War, is set for 1 p.m.

Carol Dooley said after the ceremony, family members will go the old Dooley home, which was built in 1884, to spend the rest of the day “sharing stories, memories and loving the old house.”

Dooley said she was inspired to organize the reunion after she and her sister-in-law threw a smaller one last year in memory of her late mother-in-law, Lora “Ma” Dooley, who was 98 at the time of her passing in 2009.

“Last year after we had [the old house] painted and finished cleaning it out, myself and my sister-in-law just kind of on the spur of the moment say, ‘Hey there’s a lot of Dooleys around.’ And we had what we called ‘Honoring Ma Dooley Day.’”

Dooley said about 35 family members showed up for that event, and this year’s she expecting many more.

The last large-scale Dooley family reunion was held in 1992, drawing dozens of descendants from across the country.

“[This reunion] won’t be as big as the one in ’92 because they came from all over the United States, but we’ve got three coming from Oregon and at least two from Alabama and possibly some from North and South Carolina,” she said.

The family’s patriarchs, James and Ruth Dooley, moved to Forsyth from Habersham County in 1846, and eventually had 14 children.

They also built the old home at 7550 Nicholson Road.

Lora “Ma” Dooley, Carol Dooley’s mother-in-law, lived in the home from her 19thbirthday, when she married Benjamin Dooley, until her death.

Carol Dooley said before her passing, Ma Dooley was the historian of the family, often helping many with genealogical research.

“She had hundreds of old pictures and old documents … and she kept journals into the ’50s,” she said. “It’s my honor and privilege to carry on her love of her family and her heritage.

“It just breaks my heart that she won’t be here with us.”