Family Stories

Home
Wiley - Wyatt

 

 

 Five  generations  saw  many  changes  in  Wetzel County. During the Civil War Sarah  (1837-1905)   and   Tom   Cunningham  (1836-1920) lived in a one-room log cabin  about six miles up Piney. She was a Wyatt  (pronounced "Waits"  in those days).  His  mother lived with them for a time, but nothing is known of her, except that she is buried near Middlebourne. Although the distance was only twenty miles, we think Sarah never saw the Ohio River. Tom saw it often — he walked!

To this union three children survived:  "Cindy", Mary Elizabeth (later known as "Aunt Betty" or ("Aunt Molly") and James McClellan (Mac) named for a Civil War general.

 Mary Elizabeth married Isaac Benton Wiley  (Bent) and moved to Ross Post Office on the right hand branch of Piney, near a school and church. Mail was delivered from Pine Grove by horseback. Here she saw the oil field bring money to Wetzel County, and the building of the Shortline railroad bring the outside world nearer.

 She passed on to her son, Thomas Bert Wiley her great respect for education. He had only an eighth-grade education, because the nearest high school was at New Martinsville. However, he never ceased to read  and learn, and encouraged his three children to get masters degrees. At eighteen he passed an exam and became a teacher in a one room school. Later he learned telegraphy and worked for Eureka Pipe Line Company. He was greatly interested in conservation, and was one of the founders of the Community Sportsmen Club in Pine Grove.

He first married Muriel Collins, whose family was from Pennsylvania. They had three daughters, Ada Elizabeth, Mary Catherine, and Muriel Mae. Mary died in infancy, a common happening in those days, and the mother died in childbirth during the terrible flu epidemic of 1920.

Ada graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and taught in Pine Grove, Hundred, and Magnolia High Schools, Salem College, Wooster, Ohio, and as a civilian employee of the Air Force in Goose Bay, Labrador.

Muriel attended the University of Pittsburgh, and graduated from West Virginia University. She taught at Otter Den, one of the last one-room schools in Wetzel County. Later she helped organize the Special Education class at Valley High before the idea became a state and national program.

   Bert's  second  wife  was  Hazel  Hawkins (1891-1971)  who  was  teaching  at  "Bear Wallow" on Loman Ridge, and carrying canned  milk and cocoa  to heat on  the pot-bellied stove long before anyone dreamed of the hot lunch program.

To this union came one son, Thomas Stanley Wiley. After graduating from Pine Grove High School (now Valley) he went to West Virginia University, where he met Fredeane Cark of Smithfield. After graduation he joined the Air Force, married, and began a flying career which took him from Wetzel County to the Philippines, Vietnam, Germany, England, and the Pentagon.

They had two children, Janet Sue and Joseph Thomas. Both entered the Air Force Academy where Jan graduated in 1981 with the second class to graduate women. She is now married and an Air Force pilot. Joe will graduate from the Academy in 1984, also starting an Air Force career.

So through six generations Wetzel County has gradually changed from a time when one walked or rode horseback twenty miles to get to the county seat, to a time when women pilots fly across the United States in a few hours.

 Submitted by Muriel Wiley 1983