Francis "Frank" Mayle was born in March 1879 in Barbour County, WV, the son of Hiram "Poke" and Margaret (Minerd) Mayle. The paper trail of his life story is filled with uncertainty and confusion -- so this biography will spell out the facts as they are known.
The 1900 census shows Frank making his home with his parents in rural Philippi.
Circa 1900, when he was age 21, Frank apparently had a relationship with his 18-year-old next door neighbor Sarah Mayle (1882-1926), the daughter of the late Boston Mayle and widowed Susan (Baker) Mayle.
Sarah gave birth to their daughter, Laura "Fez" Mayle the following year, in April 1901.
Later in 1900, on Oct. 18, 1900, Frank married 16-year-old Huldah J. Mayle (1883-1960) in Barbour County. She was the daughter of (?) Norris and "Lady" Lacey A. (or "Susan") Male.
Frank and Hulda went on to have at least two children, Harold "Harley" Mayle (born 1902) and Chester C. Mayle (born 1905).
The marriage between Frank and Hulda ended sometime between 1905 and 1908.
Frank's fate after that is unknown. He has not yet been located in the federal census of 1910 and may have died sometime during that decade.
Hulda married again, at age 22, to William Andrew Collins (1877-1947), on Sept. 10, 1908. He was the son of Charley and Sally (Collins) Bishop. (William's birth year has been given also as 1872 and 1883.) Hulda and William went on to have at least one daughter, Octavus Collins (born 1910).
~ Sarah Mayle's Story ~
Sarah Mayle -- mother of Frank's daughter Laura -- went on to wed Samuel Kennedy (1872-1954), the son of Jacob and Margaret (Mayle) Kennedy of Barbour County.
The Kennedys were farmers and lived near Grafton, Taylor County and had two children of their own -- Hayward Kennedy (born 1909) and Dorcas "Doris" (Kennedy) Thorpe (born 1907).
Sarah passed away on March 31, 1926, at Cecil, Taylor County. She was laid to rest in West Hill Cemetery near Grafton. Said the Grafton Sentinel, she died "of complications following an illness of one year. She had been a resident of that section for a great many years." In Sarah's newspaper obituary, her daughter Laura "Fez" Croston was not mentioned, but children Hayward and Doris were cited by name.
Samuel outlived his wife by almost three decades. He died less than a week before his 82nd birthday, on March 9, 1954, in Weston, Lewis County, WV.
Sarah's son Hayward Kennedy (1909- ? ) was born in 1909. He lived in Grafton in 1970 and was named in the Barbour Democrat obituary of his half-sister, Laura (Mayle) Croston.
Sarah's daughter Dorcas Kennedy (1907- ? ) was born in 1907. She married (?) Thorpe and in 1970 lived in Grafton, and also was mentioned in Laura Croston's obituary as a half-sister.
~ Fate of Frank's Widow, Huldah (Male) Mayle ~
When the 1910 federal census was taken, Frank's family of children was divided. Daughter Laura (age eight) resided in the home of her widowed grandmother, 60-year-old Susan Male in Philippi. Son Harold (age eight) and Chester (age five) lived with their mother Hulda and step-father William A. Collins in Philippi, as next door neighbors to Frank's parents Hiram "Poke" and Margaret (Minerd) Mayle and just a few houses away from Frank's brother Elsworth "Elzie" Mayle. In the 1910 census, Hulda's second husband William Collins was a laborer performing "odd jobs."
Sadly, son Harold Harley Mayle (1902-1914) died at the age of 12 in 1914, of causes unknown.
Hulda is not to be confused with Hulda J. Collins (1885-1914) who died in 1914 and is buried in Welch Cemetery in Phillippi. She died in the son of her home Clarence Morrison in Cleveland, OH on May 30, 1960.
William A. Collins died on Jan. 3, 1947, at the age of 70. He was buried at Welch Cemetery in Philippi.
~ Daughter Laura "Fez" (Mayle) Croston ~
Laura married World War I veteran Earl "Roe" Croston (1892-1934), the son of Lewis and Darcella "Druzilla" (Newman) Croston. She was age 17, and he 23, at the time of their marriage in about 1918. With the West Virginia drawl, Earl's name sometimes was pronounced "Oral."
Laura and Earl were longtime farmers in the Philippi area, residing on Chestnut Ridge.
The Crostons had 11 known children, Nichodemus Croston, Saragourney ("Sygurnine" or "Sigerno") Newman, Isabelle Newman, Orlenis Dalton, Miranda Mayle, Edgar Croston, Jethro Croston, Amond "Amon" Croston, Evelyn "Evelene" Kennedy, Loretta "Rettie" Newman and Violene Kennedy. Eight of these children were alive as of 1934.
The federal census of 1930 shows the family making its home in the Philippi District of Barbour County, with their six eldest children living under their roof. Coming into the household within a year or two was Earl's aged mother.
During the heart of the Great Depression, in early 1934, Earl faced despair over mounting financial pressures and his ill health. Said the Philippi Republican, his "family and his neighbors said that he had been acting strangely for about three months" in the spring and early summer of that year. On the morning of July 2, 1934, he got up early and left home with his shotgun. In a front-page story, the Republican reported what happened next:
Shortly afterwards their daughter, who was near the house milking, heard a shot as did Joe Mayle, a nearby-neighbor, and different other ones heard the shot. Mayle and members of the family went in the direction of the shot and found Crosten in the woods near the path leading to a spring propped up against a tree. He had stuck the gun through the fence to hold it up against him and then had pulled the trigger with a small stick. The shot killed him instantly.
Local police were called, and the county sheriff, coroner and health physician came to the scene. No inquest was held, as the cause of death was plainly visible. After a funeral at their home on Chestnut Ridge, his remains were buried in Welch Cemetery.
Laura outlived her husband by 36 years and "was a Protestant by faith," reported the Barbour Democrat. She passed away at the age of 69, at Broaddus Hospital in Philippi, on Oct. 17, 1970. The funeral was held at Olive Hill Church, led by Rev. Winfield Mayle, followed by burial at at Welch Cemetery. At the time of Laura's death, she had produced two grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
Son Nichodemus Croston (1916-1918) was born in about 1916. He only lived to the age of 16 months, and, after contracting a deadly case of spinal meningitis, died in Barbour County on Feb. 2, 1918. Nothing more is known. His name is mentioned in the obituaries of many of his adult siblings.
Daughter Miranda "Merranda" Croston (1918-2003) was born on July 13 or 23, 1918 in Meriden, near Philippi, Barbour County. At the age of 19, she married 24-year-old Luther Mayle (1913-1944), son of John and Stella (Norris) Mayle. The marriage ceremony was held on April 29, 1937, in Philippi, led by Durward Belmont Brown. They went on to have six children -- Delbert Lee Mayle, Nellie Rosalee Kennedy, Harry Junior Mayle, Emogene Sparks, and twin daughters who died in infancy. Sadly, while swimming in the Tygart River on June 15, 1944, he accidentally drowned, at the age of 31. He was buried in the Norris Cemetery. As a young widow, Miranda made her residence in Philippi for decades, and was a homemaker. She suffered the deaths of her adult children Harry and Emogene. She died after an extended illness on Feb. 20, 2004, at the age of 85. Rev. Winfield Mayle officiated at her funeral, followed by burial in the Mayle Cemetery.
Daughter Sygurnie (or "Sygurnia" or "Saragourney") Croston (1919- ? ) was born on May 4, 1919 (or maybe 1921). She only attended school through the fourth grade. On May 20, 1937, the 21-year-old Sygurnie married 22-year-old Neshion Newman (1915- ? ), son of Delbert and Ada Newman. Rev. M.C. Harris performed the nuptials. (Neshion's sister Dosha Newman wed Enoch Mayle, son of Ruth Ann [Minerd] Mayle.) Neshion had a little more schooling than his bride, having finished seventh grade. The couple is seen here circa 1938 -- she was pregnant at the time, but lost the baby in December of that year. When the federal census was taken in 1940, they lived in Meriden near Philippi, with Neshion employed as a road laborer. Sygurnie's age in the 1940 census was given as "19." She passed away before 1970. Neshion's fate is unknown.
Daughter Evelene Croston (1922-2010) was born on March 17, 1922, in Philippi. She married Robert Kennedy (1916-1982), and they made her home in 1970 in East Canton. They had at one child, Josephine Kennedy. Robert passed away in March 1982 in Waynesburg, Stark County, OH. Evelene outlived him by more than a quarter of a century. She passed away at Aultman Hospital in Canton on May 31, 2010, at the age of 88.
Son Jethro Croston (1924-2006) was born on March 1, 1924, in Barbour County. At the age of 20, on May 31, 1944, he married 20-year-old Elsie Miner (1923-1992), daughter of William "Babe" and Emaline (Croston) Miner, and grandson of George Riley Minard. Rev. M.C. Harris, minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, officiated. The Crostons made their home on 212 Chestnut Street in Philippi, and had two children -- Marty Croston and Veldean Mayle. A World War II Army veteran, Jethro was a longtime coal miner and farmer, and enjoyed hunting and gardening. Elsie, said the Barbour Democrat, "was a member of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ." At the age of 69, Elsie died on Aug. 26, 1992, at Grafton City Hospital, "following an extended illness," reported the Democrat. She was laid to rest in the Welch Cemetery, following a funeral led by Rev. Marvin Brown. She was survived by six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and three step-grandchildren. Jethro survived Elsie by 14 years, and passed away in Philippi at the age of 82 on May 30, 2006.
Son Edgar Croston (1926-2005) was born in Philippi but spent his adult years in Zanesville, Muskingum County, OH. Said the Zanesville Times Recorder, "He worked in construction for several companies most of his life and enjoyed fishing and hunting." Edgar married Pauline M. Hill ( ? - ? ), daughter of William E. and Martha E. (Mayle) Hill, on Aug. 29, 1951, when he was age 25. They went on to have four children -- Brenda Croston, Robert W. Croston, Laura Croston and Ella Rose Croston. Heartache rocked this family in May 1966 when Pauline's brother William Thomas Hill took his own life near Zanesville with a .12 gauge shotgun after allegedly killing his brother in law Leo Leon Lucas and Leo's girlfriend Elsie Lee Saylor. In 1976, Pauline was employed as a cafeteria worker at Roosevelt Junior High School in Zanesville. At the age of 79, in 2005, Edgar died at home in Zanesville "after a long illness," said the Times Recorder. He was laid to eternal rest in Woodlawn Cemetery.
Daughter Violene Croston (1928- ? ) was born on March 1, 1928 in Moatsville, Barbour County. On Nov. 8, 1948, at the age of 20, she married 23-year-old Ralph Edward Kennedy (1925- ? ), son of Boyer and Osa Bell (Minerd) Kennedy. Rev. M.C. Harris of the African Methodist Church led the ceremony. See the Kennedy bio for more.
Daughter Isabella Croston (1928?-1988) was born on May 28, 1928 (?) in Meriden, near Philippi, Barbour County. At the age of 18, on July 22, 1946, she wed 24-year-old Hubert Newman (1922-1970), the son of Marcellus and Zetta Cansoura (Kennedy) Newman. Rev. M.C. Harris, pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, performed the ceremony. They are reputed to have had one child. In 1970, Isabella resided in Canton. Hubert is believed to have died in Philippi in February 1970, at the age of 48. Isabelle survived him by 18 years. She passed away in 1988.
Daughter Orlenis "Orleans" Croston (1932-1993) was born on Sept. 11, 1932 in Barbour County. She married Clyde Albert Dalton (1926- ? ), son of William Riley and Elizabeth Marie (Adams) Dalton of Taylor County, WV. At the time, she was but the tender age of 16, and he was 22. Their nuptials were performed on Sept. 16, 1948, in Philippi, by the hand of Rev. M.C. Harris, who also oversaw the marriages of several of Orleans' siblings. The couple produced five children -- Eva Dalton, Linda Mayle, Rita Dix, Gary Dalton and Allen Dalton. Over the years, Orleans served her family as a housewife. They attended the Methodist churcha and circa 1970, they made their home in Grafton. Sadness enveloped the family when Orleans died at the age of 60, on Feb. 22, 1993, in Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, Monongalia County, WV. An obituary in the Clarksburg (WV) Exponent Telegraph noted that she was survived by three brothers, four sisters and nine grandchildren.
Daughter Loretta "Rettie" Croston (1939-2012) was born on May 11, 1939, in Moatsville, Barbour County. She was five years old when her father took his life, and she never knew his first name. (When asked for the name on her marriage license, she could not provide it.) At the age of 16, Rettie married 18-year-old Fred Newman (1937-1997), son of Alston and Alberta Newman. The wedding ceremony was held on Sept. 3, 1955, at the Taylor County residence of Rev. Fred DeCost, a minister of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. (Fred's brother Alston Junior Newman married Frances Jeannette Miner, daughter of Marion "Frank" and Lona [Croston] Miner, and granddaughter of George Riley Minard.) The couple had two daughters -- Peggy Mayle and Betty Newman. Rettie and Fred later migrated to North Canton. Fred passed away the day after Christmas 1997. Rettie survived her husband by 15 years. Following an illness of six months' duration, she died in Canton's Aultman Hospital on March 23, 2012. Her remains were returned to Philippi for burial in the Welch Cemetery.
Son Amon Croston (1945-2017) was born on Aug. 4, 1945 in Philippi. During a military conflict in Korea in 1965-1967, he served with the U.S. Army. Then, at the age of 20, on Dec. 22, 1965, he was joined in holy wedlock with Lois Kennedy ( ? -living). They lived for many years in Canton, Stark County, OH and were the parents of Leslie Kennedy and Stephen Croston. Amon earned a living as a locomotive engineer within the plant of Republic Steel Corporation in Canton, joining the company in 1965 and working there for 37 years until retirement in 2002. Among was a member of the Allegheny Lenape Indian Council of Canton. The founder of this website met Lois during a May 2017 visit to a mutual cousin's home in Canton. Sadly, as a patient in Mercy Medical Center in Canton, Amon passed away at the age of 72 on Nov. 13, 2017. His death ended a marriage which had spanned 51+ years. An obituary noted that he was survived by four grandchildren. Rev. Raymond Stanley preached the funeral sermon, followed by burial in Evergreen Memorial Gardens.
~ Son Chester C. Mayle ~
Son Chester C. Mayle (1906- ? ) was born in 1906.
He married Elsie Parsons (1911- ? ), the daughter of Jonah Parsons of Barbour County. Chester was 22, and Elsie 17, at the time of their wedding. They had at least two children -- John Mayle (born 1929) and May Mayle (1931-1945), born in Philippi.
When the census was enumerated in 1930, Chester, Elsie and John made their home with Elsie's widowed father, farmer Jonah Parsons. But that same year, he may have served time in the Philippi jail, as shown on another federal census record.
In 1945, they lived in a trailer camp beside Meyers Lake near Canton, Stark County, OH.
Tragically, on July 20, 1945, 14-year-old daughter May died of uremia at Canton's Mercy Hospital. Her remains were transported back to Philippi for burial.
Chester was still living in 1970, in Canton, but nothing more is known of their lives.
Copyright © 2005-2012, 2014, 2017 Mark A. Miner