Communities of Wetzel County

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Wileyville

 

Wileyville was first settled by William Melott, Steve Boner and Shannon Wiley about 1870.  This small settlement was named inn honor of Shannon Wiley who had come here from Ohio.  He owned a tobacco shop which was the first store here.  He also owned a lumber business along Little Creek, but it was washed away in the flood of 1875.

Mike Barr had the first flour mill.  It was later owned by Alex Dulaney.

David Barr came to Wileyville in 1871 and opened a general store.  Other early stores were owned by Frank Dulaney, George Morris, Tim Pittman, P.D. Morris and Shriver Kirkland.  Merchandise for the stores had to be hauled from New Martinsville over mud roads by horse and wagon.  Lee Dakan hauled merchandise for Shriver Kirkland, taking tow days to make the trip.

Jack Dakan was the first postmaster in a building which was located in the meadow below his house.  He had come here from Cameron, Ohio.

Charlie Hartwig was the first blacksmith. 

In 1885 oil was struck.  An oil boom followed.  Many oil wells were located among the hills around Wileyville.  The oil boom created great excitement.  People began to come here, buy lots and build houses.  Many people lived in tents.  Soon a hotel containing one hundred rooms was built.  A windmill was used to pump water for the hotel.  Several rooming houses were available to the oil workers.  Saloons began springing up.  At one time, there were five saloons.  Wileyville was beginning to be a lively place with much drinking and fighting.  A jail was built and S.E. Shuman became the first policeman.  This tended to make the place more peaceful.

The roads were mud with boardwalks along each side for quite a distance.

Several medical doctors came to serve the people.  Among them were Dr. Sealey, Dr. Talkington, Dr. Hartwig and Dr. Curtis.  There being no dentist, the medical doctors reportedly pulled the people's teeth.

Wileyville was soon incorporated, with Dr. Sealey serving as the first Mayor.  He also organized the I.O.O.F. Lodge.

There was a man in town by the name of Weaver who took tin-type pictures.

There was no church building during the oil boom.  In 1905 the first church was built, this being the Church of Christ.  This church is still in use today.  Before this church was built, meetings were held in private dwellings.  Dora Moore was the first Minister.

Wileyville being centrally located in Wetzel County, was considered for the location of the County Seat.  Due to poor means of transportation, plans were changed with New Martinsville becoming the County Seat.

The first schoolhouse was a two story, two room building.  It was located on what was known as the Dakan bottom.  The first teachers were Sam Resseger and Mr. Du Berry.  Some of the first students to attend this school were Vina West, Guy Gump, Roy Harrison and Nancy Dakan.  Later this building was torn down and another two-room building was built on the bank above the town.  This school was built by Ebenezer and Peter Dakan, who had moved here from Cameron, Ohio.  This building burned down and that made it necessary to have school in the Herber building, which had been a hotel.  The Herber building was used until a new three-room building was built.  At first, this  was used just as a grade school, but from 1925 until 1933, it was also used for a two-year standardized Junior High School of 9th and 10th grades as well as for elementary grades.

On the hillside above the town were many large rocks which formed a cave.  This was known as the "Devil's Den".

Within a few years, the oil boom began to diminish and Wileyville began to decline.  The jail was torn down, laws were passed to prohibit the sale of liquor, the doctors and many businessmen began to leave.  Only a few stores and rooming houses remained;  Nancy Postlethwait having the last rooming house.

Some who owned General stores during the 1900's were Kinsey Calvert, Tommy Coffield, Carry Adams, August Hartwig, Tom Briggs and Romey Rose.

Today Wileyville has a fire department and a Post Office, with Shirley Myers serving as Postmistress.  There are no stores.

Wileyville is now a quiet, unincorporated community, but with much community spirit.
Submitted by Ruth Rose