The Wylie Family of Amanda, OH

The Request

I’d like to know who my Great grandfather was. His last name was Wylie, but his first name is unknown. His wife’s name was Rose Porter. Apparently she came here from Liverpool as a servant and was adopted by the Porters for whom she worked. They lived in Fairfield County, Amanda, Ohio.

Rose Porter

Rose Porter was born Rose Davis in Ohio in 1880. Our requester is correct that she was adopted by the Porters, but she was not an immigrant from Liverpool. Rose Davis was the daughter of Joseph Davis and Jemima Walker. Joseph died in February of 1881 and Jemima followed about 6 months later. According to the 1880 census, Rose was born in April of that year. She had five siblings ranging from 12-4 years old. At the death of their mother the siblings were split into separate foster homes.

The 1900 census tells us that Rose was taken in by Samuel and Virginia Porter who didn’t have biological children of their own. Samuel worked at a livery stable. The census lists Rose as a servant in their household. It’s possible this is because she wasn’t officially adopted by the Porters. In fact, Virginia’s death notice in the paper from the 1940’s describes Rose as her foster daughter. It seems unlikely that Rose took the last name of Porter, but it’s not possible to tell from the 1900 census. By that year, Rose had married a man named John Wylie, and her last name reflected it. The pair had a son, Noble Porter Wylie, who was born in October 1899.

The 1920 census tells us that Rose was still living with the Porters. She was divorced, and it’s unclear if she ever lived with John Wylie. Rose worked as a telephone operator. By the 1930 census She was remarried to a man named George Shaeffer. His occupation was Field Organizer at a Creamery Company. Noble is living with them and working as an Office Clerk for the Railroad.

In 1929, 48 years after the deaths of her birth parents, Rose’s siblings had a reunion. The Circleville Herald wrote a story about the unusual event which gives us a glimpse into it. The siblings had not all been together since the time of their parents’ deaths. Unfortunately, two of the six siblings passed away before the reunion, but the other four and their families met in Lancaster, Ohio at the home of William Davis, Rose’s brother.

By 1940, Rose was widowed and was living on Maple Street in Amanda, Ohio with Virginia Porter, her adoptive mom. She took care of Viriginia until her death in 1947. Rose passed away in 1958.

As a side note, Rose’s biological parents were both listed as having parents also born in Ohio. That would put the family in Ohio in the very early 1800’s. It’s entirely plausible that the family was in America to hear the original Alexander Hamilton rapping his way through the creation of our government. Tracking those records back can be very time intensive but is possible.

Noble Porter Wylie & Gladys Hoyman

Noble Wylie was married to Gladys Hoyman on March 28, 1921. The Lancaster Eagle Gazette ran a lengthy story about the wedding event, which was held at the home of Gladys’s parents. Gladys, who was the eldest daughter of Oscar Hoyman and Catherine Vollmer, was 20 at the time. It is said that “The bride looked charming in an evening frock of blue taffeta with a combination of silver lace. She carried an arm bouquet of pink rosebuds. [The maid of honor] was equally as attractive in an evening dress of green tafetta and net touched with silver lace. Her flowers were pink sweet peas arranged into a corsage bouquet.” (Lancasert Eagle Gazette, 29 Mar 1921).

The bride is described as a popular young lady who, until the marriage, worked as an assistant in the P. D. Steinman and Co. drug store. Noble was a telegraph operator for the Pennsylvania Railroad company.

The couple welcomed a son, Dan Philip Wylie in February of 1922. The 1930 census shows that Noble was working as an accountant. Gladys was at home, and Dan was attending school. By 1940, Noble had accepted a job as a car salesman, a position he held for many years. Noble died in September of 1977. Gladys lived another 15 years before passing away in 1993.

Dan Philip Wylie

I realize as I start this section that I’ve strayed from the request that was presented to me, but I’m going to press on because there is great information to share. I hope the requester doesn’t mind that I’m substituting stories of one relative (John Wylie who has been elusive) for another. Dan Wylie served in World War 2 and there are many articles detailing correspondences and experiences, including pictures.

Dan enlisted during the week of his 18th birthday in February of 1941. He was sent to Great Lakes, Ill for naval training along with 10 other local men. By the end of 1941 Dan was stationed on the U.S.S. Destroyer Litchfield in Hawaii. That October he had arrived in San Francisco for leave, but couldn’t afford to travel home. He appealed to the Red Cross which agreed to loan him the travel money and then recover from his paycheck in small increments with no interest. Securing the $65 he needed for a round trip ticket, he set off. While he was travelling, his parents received a telegram that he was needed immediately back on his ship. When he arrived home, he was only able to stay for 22 hours before having to leave again.

If you’re wondering why there is a niggling thought in the back of your head around some important event in Hawaii in 1941 then you’re on the right track. If you didn’t have that thought, then you should have paid more attention in history class. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7th of 1941. Dan was in Hawaii for the attack. On December 12th, the Times Recorder printed that Dan’s mother, Gladys, had not received word from Dan directly but had received a report that he was safe.

On December 16th, a letter was printed in the paper which was written by Mrs. Charles F. Miller, the wife of a U.S. naval ensign. For the record, I loathe the calling of women by their husband’s names, but in this case I do not have another way to identify Mrs. Miller. After asking about the welfare of the family, Mrs. Miller writes:

This is such a peaceful day – birds singing, sun shining – that it makes you wonder whether these past days were just a dream – rather, a nightmare.

Mrs. Miller in a letter home from Pearl Harbor

She continues

I am safe…As for Charley, I’m praying. I haven’t seen nor heard from him since he went on cruise last week.

Mrs. Miller in a letter home from Pearl Harbor

She then tries to provide a report to other families on their loved ones

I believe Jack Henery is safe, if you want to call his mother…I know several of the ships sunk, and Charley’s and Jack’s are not among them. Jack will probably not be able to write at all so please talk to her. I cannot say either way about Dan Wylie, for I don’t know a thing….

I hope this gets to you, I don’t know when I’ll get to write again…Try not to worry. Right now, if it weren’t for the guards, trucks, radio, and general tension, we wouldn’t know there was a war.

Mrs. Miller in a letter home from Pearl Harbor

The article in which the letter is found notes that Jack Henery was wounded at Pearl Harbor. It’s unclear if Charles Miller was wounded, but he did survive. I didn’t find evidence that Dan was wounded.

The next we hear of Dan is in June of 1942. It was the week before his mother’s birthday and he sent a cable to a local greenhouse asking for a bouquet to be delivered to her. She received two dozen roses, blue delphineums and white flowers in a patriotic design. An attached card read “Happy Birthday Mother Dear, from Danny.”

In 1945, Dan was placed on a new ship, the USS Columbus. Several local men were recognized when they joined the ship for their hometown’s proximity to Columbus, Ohio. A hero that remembers his mother’s birthday while away at war, it’s not surprising that Dan was married by the time this photo was taken.

We’re beginning to get into years that are more difficult to research because they haven’t been made publicly available. With that, this is a good time to wrap up. I wish I’d found more direct info on John Wylie, but there were multiple men of that name living in Ohio. Because he and Rose didn’t live together, I didn’t have a way to cross reference that I had found the right one. If additional information pops up, I’ll make sure to post an update.

I’ve gone back and forth on using last names in posts. I decided to add it as a question to the request form so the requester can decide if they want last names shared. Genealogy research is a very collaborative endeavor so I like the idea that others researching this family may find this post.

As always, if you have a family history question niggling somewhere in your brain, hop over to the contacts page and let me know the details.

Sourced from articles in The Times Recorder of Zanesville and the Lancaster Eagle Gazette along with census, marriage, death and other records

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