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Nancy Catherine 
(Kennedy) Mayle

(1891-1965)

 

Nancy and Charles

Nancy Catherine (Kennedy) Mayle was born on June 29, 1891 in the Webster community of Taylor County, WV, the son of Josiah and Ruth Ann (Minerd) Kennedy Sr.

Nancy married farmer Charles Elihu Mayle (1890-1964) in about 1910, when he was age 21, and she 19. He was the son of Reese M. and Anna J. (Keenan) Mayle.

They produced 10 children -- Gilson G. Mayle, Frena Mayle, Stelsa ("Stelsie") Fash, Hartsel Lee Mayle, Elihu "Brooks" Mayle, Clara Rine, Josephine Mayle, Calvin Mayle, Charles Drexel "Drex" Mayle and Mathias Mayle.

When the federal census was taken in 1920 and 1930, the Mayleses lived on a farm in the Knottsville District of Taylor County, WV. 

They resided in Grafton in 1953 and in Knottsville in 1963. 

Said the Barbour Democrat, Charles "was a retired farmer and had formerly been employed by the State Road Commission... [He] was a member of the Knottsville Wesleyan Methodist Church."

 

  

Nancy and Charles' weather-worn grave markers at Mt. View Cemetery

 

 

Obituary, 1964

Charles died unexpectedly of "failing composition of [the] heart" -- a heart attack -- on April 14, 1964, at the age of 76, at the Philippi home of his daughter and son in law Frena and Bernard Mayle. 

He was laid to rest at Mt. View, following a funeral at the West Hill Wesleyan Methodist Church led by Rev. Murray Maley. His obituary was printed in a local newspaper.

 

Obituary, 1965

Nancy outlived her husband by almost a year. 

She passed away at the age of 74 on March 11, 1965, at Broaddus Hospital in Philippi. After the funeral at West Hill Wesleyan Methodist Church, led by Rev. Winfield Mayle, she was laid to rest beside her husband Mt. View Cemetery.

Her obituary in the Grafton Sentinel reported that she "had been seriously ill for three weeks and in ill health five years." The Sentinel also said that she was survived by 39 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

 

~ Son Gilson G. Mayle ~

Son Gilson G. Mayle (1911-1930) never married. 

He suffered from acute kidney disease, and died at the age of 18 on May 10, 1930. He was buried at the Male Cemetery (later renamed Mt. View).

 

~ Daughter Frena (Mayle) Mayle ~

Daughter Frena Mayle (1914- ? ) was born in 1914. In her education, she completed one year of high school. 

She married Bernard Mayle (1917- ? ). She was three years older than her husband.

Their children were Kathryn "Kay" Culberson, Ann Moats and possibly others.

When the federal census was taken in 1940, the Mayles made their home in Pleasant Township, Barbour County. That year, Bernard was employed as an operator of a coal cutting machine in local coal mines, and Frena's 24-year-old brother Hartsel Mayle and 49-year-old Ernest Mayle boarded in their home. 

They lived at Route 1, Grafton, circa 1965.

Daughter Kathryn "Kay" Mayle (1942-2015) was born on Jan. 30, 1942 in Philippi. On Feb. 2, 1962, she was united in marriage with Alfred D. Culberson ( ? -living). In all, they were wed for 53 years. The Culbersons resided in Massillon, OH and had these known children -- David Culberson, Sonya Culberson, Daniel Culberson and Heidi Croston. Kay was a member of the Crystal Park Wesleyan church for 48 years and drove a school bus for Jackson County, OH School District for 29 years. At the age of 73, Kay died on June 17, 2015. Interment was in Rose Hill Memory Gardens following a funeral service preached by Pastor Charles McKenzie.

Daughter Ann Mayle married (?) Moats.

 

~ Daughter Stella "Stelsie" (Mayle) Fash ~

Daughter Stella ("Stelsie") Mayle (1914-2000) was born on Sept. 1, 1914. She married Lewis Fash. 

She moved to Arizona, and made her home circa 1964-1965 in Tucson. 

Stelsie died three days after Christmas in 2000 in Pella, Iowa.

 

~ Son Hartsel Lee Mayle ~

Son Hartsel Lee Mayle (1917-1968) was born on Feb. 3, 1917 in Moatsville, Barbour County. He is one of far too many of our cousins to lose his life at work in a minerals and metals industry accident

Circa 1940, Hartsel boarded in the home of his married sister Frena Mayle in the Pleasant District of Barbour County. His occupation was marked as coal loader.

He married Ara "Juanita" Dalton (1922-1994 ), the daughter of Clint and Freda (Stevens) Dalton. 

They had 17 children -- Ramona "Sianne" Keener (born in 1943 in Galloway), Dayton Lee Mayle (1944, Galloway), Albert Woodrow Mayle (1948, Moatsville), Charles Mayle, Sandra Joyce Mayle, Catherine "Freda" Mayle, Clinton Sherman Mayle, Donna Mae Mayle, Clarence Mayle, Elihue Mayle, John Mayle, Teresa Ann Reid, Genell Sines, Richard Mayle, twins Cindy Sue Stollar Serier and Linda Lue Walker Munoz and Doris Myrena Mayle. 

Sadly, daughter Doris (1941-1957), who was born with a brain injury, died at age 15 of bronchial pneumonia and the Asian flu. She was buried in the Pritchard Cemetery in Barbour County.

They resided in the Knottsville community of Grafton. They were members of the Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, and Juanita was active with the Paradise Cove Community Association.

 

  

Time Magazine, Dec. 14, 1970

Hartsel was a coal miner for 29 years, beginning when he was age 22. He was employed as a loading machine operator by Consolidation Coal Company and commuted 40 miles every day to labor at the Consol No. 9 Mine in Farmington, north of Fairmont, Marion County, WV. He also maintained a family farm to supplement his income. One of his colleagues in the mine was William D. Sheme, of the family of Emily Jane "Minnie" (Minard) Mayle. Another was Wayne Ralph Minor Sr. (1919-1968), of the unrelated family of John and Rella Ann (Myers) Minor of Wetzel County, WV.

Tragedy struck, along with the unexpected glare of national publicity, just before Thanksgiving 1968. In the early morning on Nov. 20, 1968, in an instant, the Consol No. 9 mine exploded, trapping 99 miners deep inside its bowels. Time Magazine reported to the nation: "Suddenly, deep in the earth, an explosion thundered through the eight-mile-long labyrinth of shafts and tunnels. Shock waves rippled outward for miles, jolting the Marion County mining community into frightened wakefulness. At daybreak, thick clouds of greasy black smoke billowed 150 ft. into the grey morning air." 

While 21 miners found their way to escape, 78 did not, with 51-year-old Hartsel and 30-year-old cousin Sheme among them. While explosions and fires continued for days, the Mayle family visited the mine entrance in the fading hope of seeing Hartsel emerge alive. Adding to the family's woes, four-year-old daughter Linda Lue, while at the site, fell and broke her leg, requiring hospitalization.

The raging mine fire kept rescuer parties from gaining access, and the mine had to be sealed nine days later to seal off the fire's supply of oxygen. Click to see NBC-TV's coverage at the time. 

 

 

Life Magazine, Dec. 6, 1968

Juanita, age 47, thus unexpectedly was assigned life's cruel fate as a widow with 16 fatherless children. It was such a deeply moving story that she allowed Time Magazine, Life Magazine and the Associated Press to report her story to national and international readers. She was pictured in Life's issue of Dec. 6, 1968, shown singing in the choir of the Wesley Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church. Reported Life's correspondent John Neary: 

 

There, as rain fell on the tin roof, Juanita stood straight, her eyes wet and dull with grief, and told the congregation, "I feel as my faith going down the floor. I think he's coming out and I'll have somebody to come to church with me next Sunday." They san together, in voices so strong that the backs of the hymnbooks vibrated, the words on the pages blurred through the tears on the lenses of one man's rimless spectacles, and they prayed for Hartsel Mayle, a miner for 29 of his 53 years, Juanita's husband. (Link to full story.)

 

Associated Press, 1969

At Christmas, she traveled to Farmington with 14 of her children "where Christmas toys and food were distributed at a party for families of the 78 men," said the Pittsburgh Press. Quoted in the story, Juanita said: "I didn't want to go, but I did it for the children's sake. A lot of other mothers felt that way too."

Ten months after the tragedy, on Sept. 11, 1969, with the mine still sealed, the Associated Press distributed a wire photograph coast to coast. The image, seen here, shows Juanita in the backyard of her home with some of her younger children. The caption read that "Operations to recover the bodies begins Friday." A related story was filed by Niles Jackson.

Two years following the accident, with the bodies still missing, Time revisited the scene, noting that "There is a tradition in mining communities as old as grief, but layered over with the special stresses of men who go into the mines: the dead must have a decent burial; the bodies must be recovered... As recovery operations stretched to 15 months -- the longest and costliest in mining history -- some of the widows sought an end to the strain of wondering 'when the phone will ring to say they've found him'." 

 

No. 9 book

Juanita and other widows eventually accepted the fact that their loves ones' bodies would not be brought out. They signed an agreement with Consol to permanently seal off those mine sections which contained human remains, receiving $10,000 each in return. She was quoted in Time saying "Tears rolled down my cheeks all the time I was signing the agreement. It was like putting a price tag on our husbands' bodies." Click for full text on Time's website. 

 

Donations poured in from as far away as Texas and Kansas. In nearby Pennsylvania, the town of Ellwood City rallied to donate $3,000 for the family, the only community-wide contribution the Mayles received. (The Ellwood City Ledger published a retrospective article, with a photo of Juanita and her children, in its edition of April 9, 2010.) 

Hartsell's badly decomposed body finally was found on Jan. 11, 1971. The book No. 9: The 1968 Farmington Mine Disaster, reports that Juanita and one of her sons identified the remains by the green shirt and wristwatch he had worn to work on that fateful day. As well, X-rays of his arms confirmed his identity by revealing two "old" fractures. He was placed into eternal rest in the Prichard Cemetery in Moatsville. Cousin Sheme's remains were not located until March 13, 1974.

 

Barbour Democrat, 1994

Juanita outlived her husband by 26 years. At some point, she was nominated for the "West Virginia Mother of the Year" Pageant, sponsored by MOM International. She was one of 12 finalists, selected from some 4,000 entries, and traveled to the state capitol of Charleston over the weekend of May 12-13 (year) to attend the event. A news article reported that since the time of her husband's death, "she has resided in Grafton, raising most of her children alone."

 

She died at the age of 72 on Dec. 2, 1994, with her obituary published in the Barbour Democrat. She rests at Prichard (Pritchard) Cemetery. 

In November 2011, Hartsell's tragic story was revisited with the publication of Bonnie E. Stewart's book, No. 9: The 1968 Farmington Mine Disaster, produced by the West Virginia University Press. He is named on pages 106, 170-171 and 219.

Son Dayton Lee Mayle lived in Detroit, MI circa 1968 and in Weaversville, NC by 1994. He was in a relationship with Angie Metcalf.

Son DeWayne Mayle wed Cindy (?). He made his home for many years in Canton, OH. 

Son Albert Woodrow Mayle married Delberta "Debbie" (?). He was stationed in 1968 at Fort Knox. Circa 2012-2014, he made his home in Grafton. 

 

Daughter Cindy Sue Mayle married (?) Siever and Bob Stoller, and had five children. Circa 2009, she was a first-grade teacher at the Tunnelton-Denver Elementary School in Preston County, WV. She was featured in the Times West Virginian newspaper in January 2009 for her battle against leukemia. 

Daughter Romona "Siann" Mayle (1943-2012) was born on Jan. 11, 1943 in Galloway. She was age 25 when her father was killed in the mine explosion. On March 20, 1976, at the age of 33, she married Donald Leroy Keener ( ? -living). Said the Grafton Mountain Statesman, she was a "member of the Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church. She worked as a waitress in various restaurants, and also worked in nursing homes. [She] enjoyed being a mother, and grandmother [and] a football mother at G.H.S." The Keeners had five children -- Hartsel Keener, Bartsel Keener, twins John Keener and Virginia Marie "Jenny" Gower, and Joseph Keener. Siann passed away at the age of 69 on June 16, 2012, at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, WV.  Following funeral services at the Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in Knottsville, she was laid to rest in the West Virginia National Cemetery. At the time of her passing, reported the Mountain Statesman, she was survived by seven grandchildren. As a widower, Donald remained in Grafton.

  • Grandson Hartsel Keener married Kali and lived in Grafton.
  • Grandson Bartsel Keener wedded Angel and resided in Grafton.
  • Grandson John Keener (1983-living) was born on June 1, 1983 in Grafton, a twin with his sister Virginia Marie. He was joined in wedlock with Karah and made their home in Grafton in 2018.
  • Granddaughter Virginia Marie "Jenny" Keener (1983-2018) was born on June 1, 1983 in Grafton, a twin with her brother John. On March 17, 2009, she was united in matrimony with Christopher Chad Gower ( ? -living), son of Thomas and Mary Gower of Fairmont. Christopher brought a son to the marriage, Blake Gower. The couple produced one son of their own, Connor Gower. They lived in Fairmont, Marion County, WV. Virginia enjoyed craftwork, shopping and watching her son play sports. Sadly, she died at the age of 34 -- on Jan. 12, 2018 -- while a patient at Monongalia General Hospital. An obituary in the Grafton Mountain Statesman said that she had "received her angel wings" and was survived by 11 nieces and nephews. Funeral services were held in the First Baptist Church of Grafton, led by Pastor Orville Wright, with burial in Arnold Cemetery.
  • Grandson Joseph Keener was joined in wedlock with Mallory and dwelled in Fairmont.

Son Clinton Sherman Mayle (1951-2012) was born on March 17, 1951 in Knottsville, Barbour County. He married Carolyn Lee Teeple, daughter of Lealand and Dorothy Jean (Bolner) Teeple,  on April 17, 1977, when he was age 26. They had two sons -- Dayton L. Mayle and Damon L. Mayle. The Mayles resided in Thornton, near Grafton. Clinton held numerous jobs over the years at a steel mill in Ohio and as a foreman-line supervisor at Rexhide Industries for more than two decades. In 1999, he obtained his licensed practical nurse designation from Gore Technical Center and went on to a nursing career at John Manchin Sr. Healthcare in Fairmont. He enjoyed hunting and belonged to the New Testament Fellowship Church. He died at the age of 61 in Fairmont General Hospital on Dec. 6, 2012. Burial was in Woodsdale Cemetery. At his death, said the Mountain Statesman, Clinton was survived by nine grandchildren.

Son Clarence Mayle made his residence in Grafton. 

Son Elihue Lee Mayle (1955-2014) was born on Valentine's Day 1955 in Taylor County. On Dec. 27, 1974, at the age of 19, he married Debbie J. Fragons ( ? - ? ). They lived in Philippi for many years where Elihue was employed as an electrician and mechanic with Murray Energy. They had three children -- Juanita Coleman, Douglas Mayle and Kylie Mayle. They attended the Methodist Church. Elihue passed away on April 29, 2014, at the age of 59, in the Mon General Hospital. Rev. Paul Mullen oversaw the funeral followed by burial in Mary's Chapel Cemetery. An obituary was published in the Grafton Mountain Statesman.

Son Richard "Rick" Mayle wed Angie (?). They lived in Grafton. 

Daughter Catherine "Freda" Mayle (1946-2013) was born in on Nov. 27, 1946 in Grafton. She wed Stanley James Mayle in about 1971, when she was 25 years of age. They had one daughter who sadly died in infancy, Catherine Michelle Mayle. They also considered Megan M. Bailey as a "special niece" and Timothy D. Mayle Jr. as a "special nephew." Freda worked in Grafton for Coney Island Lunch and then spent a quarter of a century employed in the housekeeping department of Grafton City Hospital. Their home was along Flag Run Road in Grafton. Freda passed away at the age of 66, in Ruby Memorial Hospital in nearby Morgantown, on June 27, 2013. She was interred in the Arnold Cemetery in Knottsville, Barbour County, following a funeral led by lay minister James Arnold.

Daughter Donna Mayle called Grafton her home in 2012. 

Daughter Genell Mayle married Teddy Sines. In 2012-2014, she maintained a home in Grafton. 

Daughter Teresa Mayle married Clyde Reid and lived in Grafton. 

Daughter Linda Mayle wed (?) Walker and Juan Munoz. In 2012, she lived in Grafton.

 

~ Son Elihu "Brooks" Mayle ~

Son Elihu "Brooks" Mayle (1919-1985?) was born in about 1919.

He resided in Knottsville in the mid 1960s and may later have moved to Grafton. 

He is thought to have died in Grafton in May 1985, at the age of 66. A search has been made for his obituary in the Grafton Mountain Statesman newspaper microfilm collection at West Virginia University, but none was found.

 

Bird's eye view of Grafton, showing the new railroad station and Willard Hotel in the center foreground

 

~ Daughter Clara (Mayle) Rine ~

Daughter Clara Frances Mayle (1930-2015) was born on Aug. 7, 1930 (or 1926) in Grafton, Taylor County, WV. 

On April 9, 1948, Clara married Elwood "Woody" or "Junior" Rine Jr. (1926-2012), the son of Elwood and Oceola (Loyer) Rine Sr. He was raised by his grandparents, Leroy and Luanna Rine. In all, Clara and Woody remained married for 63 years.

At the time of marriage, Clara was employed as a clerk in Brilliant, Jefferson County, OH, and Woody as a mechanic's helper of Mingo Junction, Jefferson County. Their marriage license listed both of them as "white." Rev. Herbert E. Massey of Brilliant officiated at their wedding.

They had three children -- Kay Wilson, Richard "Dick" Rine and Charles "Chuck" Rine. 

Their home in the mid-1960s was in the New Alexandria section of Mingo Junction, where they were members of the New Alexandria United Methodist Church. Woody was a longtime foreman at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation. He enjoyed dogs, fishing and hunting, and at one time was a New Alexandria Marshall in Jefferson County. 

Clara "was a member of the New Alexandria Community Chapel and a former employee of Lancia's Nursing Home," said the Steubenville Herald Star. "She loved spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren."

Woody passed away at the age of 83, on March 26, 2012, at Trinity Medical Center West in Steubenville. His obituary in the Herald Star noted that he was survived by five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. 

Clara survived her husband by three years. She died at home at the age of 84 on July 9, 2015. The Herald Star printed her obituary.

Daughter Kay Rine married Norman "Norm" Wilson. They made their home in New Alexandria.

Son Richard "Dick" Rine married Gail (?) and dwelled in New Alexandria.

Son Charles "Chuck" Rine wed Lynn (?) resided in New Alexandria.

 

~ Daughter Donna "Josephine" (Mayle) Smythe ~

Daughter Donna "Josephine" Mayle (1922-1960) was born in 1922 in Grafton. 

She married Wilfred Smythe (1921-2006) in or near Wellsburg, Brooke County, WV on March 25, 1939. Josephine was age 21 at the time of marriage, and Wilfred, a native of Brilliant, Jefferson County, OH, was 22. 

They had several daughters, one of whom is Tamara Barrick.

Josephine passed away on June 28, 1960, at the age of 38. 

Wilfred outlived his wife by 46 years. He passed away on June 26, 2006. They are buried together in New Alexandria, Jefferson County.

 

~ Son Calvin Mayle ~

Son Calvin Mayle (1924- ? ) was born in 1924. 

He lived in New Brunswick, Middlesex County, NJ in 1964-1965. 

More will be added here when learned.

 

"Drex" Mayle

~ Son Charles Drexel "Drex" Mayle ~

Son Charles Drexel Mayle (1932-2004) was born on May 11, 1932, in Grafton. 

On April 24, 1954, he married Betty Joan Corns (1938- ? ), daughter of Dean and Rose Corns of Moatsville, Barbour County. Charles was age 21, and Betty 16, at the time. Rev. Fred Decost, a Methodist minister, led the nuptials at his home in Simpson, Taylor County.

 

Grafton Mountain Statesman

They had four children -- Beverly A. Hupp, Charles Drexel Mayle Jr., Martin L. Mayle and Cynthia L. Izotic. 

 

Drex resided in 1964 in Canton, Stark County, OH. 

Over the years, the family returned to West Virginia and resided on Route 1 (Flag Run) in the Knottsville community of Grafton. Drex worked in carpentry and in general labor in and around Taylor County. Said the Grafton Mountain Statesman, "He was a Protestant by faith and a beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather."

Sadly, Drex passed away in Grafton at the age of 72, on March 8, 2004. Following a funeral led by lay minister James Arnold, his remains were placed into eternal rest in Arnold Cemetery. His obituary in the Mountain Statesman included his photograph and a five-paragraph article, and reported that he was survived by nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Daughter Beverly Mayle married Glenn Hupp.

Son Charles Drexel Mayle Jr. married Janet.

Son Martin L. Mayle resided in Florida.

Daughter Cynthia L. Mayle wed (?) Izotic and lived in Ohio.

 

~ Son Mathias Mayle ~

Son Mathias Mayle ( ? - ? ) may also have been known as "Almond" Mayle. If so, he was named for his father's brother who died as a toddler. 

Mathias/Almond is said to have died as a baby, during a horse and buggy ride with his family to visit grandparents. 

Nothing more is known about him.

 

Copyright 2005-2015, 2018 Mark A. Miner