I am still no closer into identifying the family Steely Hager or his brother Sterling A Hager come from. I am positive that his father was from the North Carolina Hager's, and from this excellent source of information on one branch there, I know that he isn't from this family. Nor is Sterling by the way, the Starling Hager he mentions did go to Missouri and is found there, so everyone who keeps spreading that information on ancestry has got it wrong. I am sure that our Hager's come from the other family, that little blurb at the end in the history given, and also from the same Steele/Steely family in the area, but nothing has led me to a clue.
I have searched early tax records I could find, probate records for neighboring Davidson County, TN, and nothing pops up. So we are no closer today to determining who Steely was than we were when I hit upon his name about 5 or 6 years ago.
I decided though in my pursuit of finding John Jones to look at Mary Polly Whitley a little closer. What I found was that in 1820 next door to Steely Hager is Pierce Whitley/Wheatley, a son of Alexander Whitley/Wheatley an American Revolution veteran and his wife. There are no Jones' in the neighborhood close by. Nor could I find a death of a Whitley that could have been her husband. The only other early marriage to a Whitley is to a Mary but her last name wasn't Jones either.
To be sure, there are young females in the home of Steely. Are they siblings of Steely or his wife, or are they her children? I doubt that they are because for Mary to have married a Whitley and had the daughters she would have had to have married at 14. Not impossible, but not as common back in 1815 as some would think.
The 1840 census in Weakley County, TN if one turns the page, lists several Whitley's, all of them related to the same Alexander Whitley/Wheatley and his wife. Tax records for the district they live show that in 1842 Steely and the Whitley's are still residing there, but they aren't in 1843. So where did they go? The Whitley's went to neighboring Graves County, Kentucky and to the county west in Tennessee, but we find nothing on the Hager's until 1860, except the marriage of the three boys in Lauderdale County, TN, Sterling A. Hager (Steely's son) in 1850 in Arkansas, and John F. Hager in 1850 in Lauderdale County, TN.
So if Steely died in Weakley, I can find no probate, and I haven't been able to find anything on him elsewhere yet. The probate records for some of the counties can be spotty, but the truth is we just need to keep searching, because somewhere there has to be a probate even if he was insolvent.
I can't prove that Alexander Whitley is Mary's father, but I doubt that it's her in-laws, unless Steely himself had a connection, there "following" them makes little sense. Once her husband died, there would have been little to keep her with the Whitley's if it was her former husbands family. If we could even find the probate of Alexander Whitley to see if Polly was in it it would help, but I have not been able to find anything yet.