B. H. Gilley

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Billy Hawkins "B. H." Gilley

(Historian at Louisiana Tech University)

B. H. Gilley of LA.jpg

Born February 26, 1927
Manchester, Coffee County
Tennessee, USA
Died March 21, 2017 (aged 90)
Shreveport, Louisiana

Resting place:
Cremation; ashes at garden of First Presbyterian Church of Shreveport
(1) Ruston, Louisiana (1967-1996)
(2) Shreveport, Louisiana (1996-2017)

Political Party Republican

Cecil and Odelene Hawkins Gilley
Alma mater:
Tennessee Technological University
University of Tennessee
University of Georgia

Spouse Jeanne Mack Gilley

No children

Religion Presbyterian

Military Service
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service World War II
Battles/wars Philippines

Billy Hawkins Gilley, known as B. H. Gilley (February 26, 1927 – March 21, 2017), was an historian of the United States and Germany who was from 1967 to 1996 a faculty member at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana.[1]


Gilley was the older of two sons born to W. Cecil Gilley (1897-1960) and the former Odelene Hawkins (1905-1994) in Manchester in Coffee County in  south central Tennessee.[2]

After graduation from Manchester High School, he served at the end of World War II in the United States Navy, with much of his tour in the Philippine Islands. He thereafter acquired his Bachelor of Arts from Tennessee Technological University, then known as Tennessee Polytechnic University, in Cookeville in Putnam County in north central Tennessee. Thereafter, he obtained the Master of Arts from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia at Athens.[3] He was a journalist serving as editor of the Manchester Times and the Tullahoma News in Tullahoma, also in Coffee County, prior to entering academic life, which was in fact his second career.[3]

Academic career

At Louisiana Tech, Gilley first taught at the Louisiana Tech Barksdale Campus in Bossier City from 1966 to 1972.[4] He then moved to the main campus in Ruston. He eventually attained the rank of full professor, held the McGinty Chair of History, and was the director of McGinty Historical Publications. The "McGinty" refers to Garnie W. McGinty, a former Louisiana Tech history department chairman originally from Bienville Parish.[5] Gilley was a past president of both the Louisiana Historical Association headquartered in Lafayette,[6] and the North Louisiana Historical Association, based at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. He was a fellow of the Louisiana Historical Association too and an editor of North Louisiana History, the journal of the association,[3] published twice a year.  

On January 8, 1954, Gilley early in his academic career read a lengthy paper entitled "Tennessee Opinion of the Mexican War as Reflected in the State Press" before the East Tennessee Historical Society in Knoxville.[7]

In 1985, he authored North Louisiana, Volume One: To 1865. Essays on the Region and Its History.[8] 

Some of his other scholarly pursuits are:

  • "Polk's War" and the Louisiana Press,"  Louisiana History: The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association,       

 Vol. 20, No. 1 (Winter, 1979), pp. 5-23.[9]

  • "Tennessee Whigs and the Mexican War," Tennessee Historical Quarterly,   Vol. 40, No. 1 (Spring 1981), pp. 46–67.[9]
  • "Kate Gordon and Louisiana Woman Suffrage," Louisiana History, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Summer, 1983), pp. 289–306.[9]
  • Fragments : Wiley W. Hilburn, Jr.'s North Louisiana: A Compilation from The Shreveport Times Column, edited with Wiley W. Hilburn, Jr., and James Ray "Jim" Montgomery (1945-2013), McGinty Publications, Ruston, Louisiana, 1987.[9]
  •  "A Woman for Women: Eliza Nicholson, Publisher of the New Orleans Daily Picayune," Louisiana History, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Summer, 1989), pp. 233–248.[9]         
  • Democracy: Henry Adams and the Role of Political Leader", Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, Vol 14, No. 4 (Fall 1991), pp. 349-365.[9]
  • "Power and intuition: A Comparison of Women's Perception as Reflected in the Heroines of Henry Adams and John W De Forest," The Midwest Quarterly, Pittsburg, Kansas, Vol. 39, No. 3 (Spring 1998).[9]
  • Contributor to Natalie Fuehrer Taylor, A Political Companion to Henry Adams (Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 2010).[10]

Upon his retirement in 1996, Gilley was named a professor emeritus at Louisiana Tech.[1]

Personal life

Gilley was an elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Shreveport, where he moved after his retirement.[3] The office of the Louisiana Secretary of State listed Gilley as a Republican; upon death, the names are stricken from the master voter list.

Professor Gilley died of a brief illness in a Shreveport hospital less than a month after his 90th birthday. He was predeceased by his wife, the former Jeanne Mack (1936-2005), who was of Lebanese descent.[11] Born in Longview, Texas, Mrs. Gilley was reared in Springhill in Webster Parish, where her parents, Willie and Mary A. Mack, then operated a department store. She held the Ph.D. from Texas Woman's University in Denton and was a member of the Louisiana Tech faculty from 1973 to 1981 and then the dean of human ecology until her retirement in 1996.[12] One of Gilley's sisters-in-law, Dorothy Mack Strain (1928-2009), was a Shreveport pediatrician.[13] His survivors included his brother, Harry Barr Gilley (born September 5, 1928), a probate and real estate attorney since 1955 in their hometown of Manchester, Tennessee,[14] and several in-laws, including Mary Frances Mack Attrep of Lafayette, Louisiana.[3] Mary Attrep is also a sister-in-law of Gilley's Louisiana Tech historian colleague Abraham Moses Attrep.

Services were held on March 24 at the First Presbyterian Church in Shreveport;[3] ashes were scattered thereafter at the church garden, as had also been the case with Mrs. Gilley.[12]

See also

Three other Louisiana Tech historians:


  1. 1.0 1.1 Emerti Faculty. Louisiana Tech University liberal arts. Retrieved on March 25, 2017.
  2. Cecil Gilley. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on March 25, 2017.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 B. H. Gilley obituary. The Shreveport Times (March 23, 2017). Retrieved on March 25, 2017.
  4. Confirmed by Sheila Trammel, Director of Human Resources at Louisiana Tech University, March 31, 2017.
  5. Garnie William McGinty in A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography. Louisiana Historical Association. Retrieved on March 25, 2017.
  6. Past Presidents. Louisiana Historical Association. Retrieved on March 24, 2017.
  7. Tennessee Opinion of the Mexican War as Reflected in the State Press 7–26. teachtnhistory.org (January 8, 1954). Retrieved on March 25, 2017.
  8. B. H. Gilley. jstor.org. Retrieved on March 25, 2017.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 Entry: B. H. Gilley. Google Scholar. Retrieved on March 25, 2017.
  10. Natalie Fuehrer Taylor (September 9, 2010). A Political Companion to Henry Adams. goodreads.com. Retrieved on March 25, 2017.
  11. Willie Mack (1900-1980). Findagrave.com. Retrieved on March 25, 2017.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Jeanne Mack Gilley. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on March 25, 2017.
  13. Dorothy Mack Strain. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on March 25, 2017.
  14. Harry Barr Gilley. lawyers.com. Retrieved on March 25, 2017.