Wiley Nessmith was born in Wilkinson County, Georiga on August 20, 1840. His parents were James Nessmith III and Jane Price Nessmith. In 1860, Wiley Nessmith and Martha Ann Walker, daughter of Jeremiah and Johanna Fox Walker, were married in Wilkinson County. On March 4, 1862, Wiley volunteered for the Confederate States of America. Nessmith served in the 49th Regiment of Georgia, Company A, later known as Wilkinson County Invincibles, for three years. When the 49th Regiment of Georgia surrendered with General Lee at Appomattox, Virginia on April 9, 1865, Nessmith returned to Wilkinson County. Wiley and Martha Ann Nessmith moved permanently to Bulloch County, Georgia in 1885.
The physical collection also includes typed transcripts, published and unpublished materials on the Nessmith family and correspondence between Franklyn Hatch and the Nessmith family concerning the letters. It is on permanent loan from Wiley Nessmith's great-granddaughter, Sally Ann Akins Deal.