The Whatleys of Western Clarke County, AL came to be as so many families in the American South did. Their ancestors came from England in search of a better life, first to Virginia, then to the Carolinas, and then following others to the newly opened lands of Alabama.
Origin of the Name Whatley
The name Whatley may be translated as "wheat lea", where "lea" is a field or meadow. The name was spelled "Wheatley", as well as many other variations before standardized spelling became established. The surname derives from the place where a man once lived or held land. Therefore, he was said to be "of Whatley" or "of Wheatley". Another translation of Whatley is "wot leigh", meaning "wet field".
Whatley Coat of Arms
Sir John Whatley of Frome, Somerset, England,was given a Coat of Arms (shown above left) by the King of England, showing 3 garbes or sheaves of wheat on the shield, depicting the wheat "fields" from which the name Wheatley, Whately, and Whatley names came. On its crest is a helmet and a stag's head. Contary to popular belief, coats of arms were given to individuals, not familes, so that the individual could be easily identified on a field of battle. Coats of arms were typically passed down from father to eldest son.