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Ruth Ann (Minerd) Mayle


Ruth Ann (Minerd) Mayle was born on May 29, 1869 on the Newman farm in or near Philippi and Moatsville, Barbour County, WV, the daughter of Henry C. and Mariah (Pritchard) Minerd

Ruth may have been named for an aunt, Ruth Ann (Minerd) Kennedy

She married William Stephen "W.S." Mayle (1867-1929) on June 22, 1887, at the residence of Rev. Lemuel Ryan. He was the son of John and Elizabeth (Norris) Mayle. She was age 18 at the time of marriage, and he was 20. 

The Mayles had nine known children among them John Edward Mayle, Ethel Male, Henry C. Mayle, Icie Clara Norris, Okey Mayle Sr., Emard Mayle, Ernest Mayle, Andrew Mayle and Enoch Mayle. 

The Barbour County Personal Property Book for 1897 shows that William was considered a "colored male." He is marked as possessing no horses, cattle or hogs.

Circa 1903 and 1929, the Mayles resided near Philippi, residents of "the so-called Bloody Creek section of Chestnut Ridge," said the Philippi Republican newspaper.


William Stephen Mayle with a group of unidentified children, date unknown.


The census of 1920 shows the Mayles making their home in the Philippi district of Barbour County, where William and son Henry were coal miners. That year, among their neighbors was Ruth Ann's cousin Harrison Kennedy and his wife Elsina. 

Tragically, two of the Mayles' sons died of tuberculosis or related meningitis within eight months of each other in the early 1920s -- 14-year-old Andrew on May 21, 1922, and Emard in 1923. 

Heartache struck the family twice again in early 1929, when son Enoch died of tuberculosis. 

Then, a little more than two months later, William died at home of heart disease at the age of 61 on May 6, 1929. William's obituary in the Republican noted that his demise was "following a long illness but only a day or two of recent confinement" and that he was survived by Ruth Ann and three children, which may not be accurate. "Burial was made Wednesday morning on Chestnut Ridge." 

Ruth Ann survived her husband by a remarkable 40 years, and outlived nine of her children, remaining in the Philippi area. In May 1969, she celebrated her 100th birthday.


Ruth Ann with son Enoch (left, holding a dog) and an unknown boy, 1920s


Ruth Ann in later years

She is seen in a snapshot at right, in her older years, wearing what appears to be a headscarf and a patterned jacket or blouse.

On July 17, 1969, at age 99, just two months after her milestone birthday, Ruth Ann passed away "in an Elkins nursing home where she had been a patient for some four months," said the Barbour Democrat.

Her remains were returned to Philippi to be laid to eternal rest beside her husband and sons Emard and Enoch at Chestnut Ridge. Her funeral arrangements handled by the John M. Stemple Service, and the funeral service conducted by the Rev. Franklin Peoples. 

A simple metal plaque marks her grave today.



Graves of Ruth Ann (1969) and William S. Mayle (1929)  at Chestnut Ridge, separated by four decades of time


~ Son Enoch Mayle ~



Son Enoch Mayle (1900-1929) was born in 1900. 

He stood six feet tall and was slender, with black hair and eyes. At the age of 18, in 1918, he was employed as a coal miner for the Franklin Coal Company in Meriden. That year, he registered for the military draft during World War I. The draft board officer listed him as "Negro" and added, "Claims to be white but generally called colored."


Enoch's hand-hewn grave marker

Enoch married Dosha L. Newman (1909-1971), the daughter of Delbert and Ada (Croston) Newman, on March 25, 1925. He was age 25, and she 16, at the time of marriage.

The Mayles had two known children -- Opal Deola Johnson and Magdalene Mayle -- and resided in Philippi. 

Heartache struck the young family when Enoch died just a few weeks shy of his 29th birthday, on Feb. 3, 1929, after suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis. His burial site was initially said to be in Belington, Barbour County, but in fact he rests for eternity at Chestnut Ridge, with his grave marked by an upright, hand-carved marker (seen here) still barely legible when photographed in May 2007. 

The young, 21-year-old widowed Dosha and her fatherless children moved into the home of her parents in Philippi. The federal census of 1930 records them there, living with her father and mother and siblings Neshion Newman, Brady Newman, Winford Newman and Junior Newman. (Dosha's brother Neshion Newman later married Enoch's cousin, Sygurnie Croston, daughter of Laura "Fez" (Mayle) Croston and granddaughter of Frank Mayle.)

Dosha later married Arlie Kennedy ( ? - ? ) and circa 1946 had a relationship with Martin Mayle (1884-1964), son of Boss Mayle. In all, she had five more children, among them Bradford Kennedy, Correll Kennedy, Mary Everhart Bolyard, Harold Kennedy and Ira K. Mayle. 


Dosha's darkened grave marker in Philippi

Tragedy rocked Dosha's world when daughter Magdalene (1926-1940) died of appendicitis at the age of 14 in about 1940, and within a year and a half she lost her son Bradford at age three to respiratory problems caused by pneumonia. 

In 1971, son Correll died at the age of 33. Just a few months later, Dosha also passed away, in 1971, at the age of 64. She is buried under the name "Dosha L. Kennedy" in the Welch Cemetery in Philippi.


Opal and Shirley Johnson

Daughter Opal Deola Mayle (1927-1986) was born on Oct. 10, 1927 in Philippi. She moved to Canton at the age of 17, in 1944, and was employed at Timken Mercy Medical Center for a decade. At the age of 18, she married 22-year-old Shirley Johnson (1923-1980), the son of Willis and Polly Johnson, on May 31, 1945. They had seven children -- Beverly Joanne Smith, Freeda Mae Palmer, Danny E. Johnson, Myron V. Johnson, Roger L. Johnson, Ronald Dean Johnson and David S. Johnson. She was a member of Valley Chapel Brethren in Christ and the Allegheny Nation Indian Center in Canton. Shirley died on Aug. 23, 1980, at the age of 57. Opal outlived him by six years and made her home at 1504 Eastview NE. She died in Canton at the age of 59 in 1986. Following funeral services at the Valley Chapel Brethren in Christ Church, led by Rev. Eric Stanton, she was laid to rest in Evergreen Memorial Gardens in Canton.

Son Correll Kennedy (1937-1972) was born in 1937. He married Velvie Johnson (1938- ? ), daughter of Hayward and Bertie Johnson. He died in 1972, at the age of 33. He rests for eternity in Welch Cemetery in Philippi. 

Dosha's daughter Mary Croston Everhart Bolyard (1944-2010) was born on Feb. 24, 1944. She was thrice married. Her first husband was Delmus Jimmy Croston ( ? -2013). They had two children, Kathy Croston and Jimmy Croston. Mary also had a daughter Pam Croston. After Mary and Delmus divorced, she wed again. Her second spouse was Jim Everhart ( ? - ? ). After her marriage to Jim ended, she married her third husband, W. Randall Bolyard (1954- ? ). Mary died on Feb. 2, 2010, just a few weeks before her 66th birthday. She rests for eternity in Welch Cemetery, as does her first husband, who died May 6, 2013.

Dosha's son Ira K. Mayle (1946-1994) was born on June 19, 1946. He lived to be the age of 48. Ira died on Sept. 24, 1994, with interment in Philippi's Welch Cemetery. Etched on his grave marker was a scene of dogs chasing a raccoon at night, along with these words: "You will be missed and loved."

~ Son John Edward Mayle ~

Son John Edward Mayle (1891-1968) was born in 1891. He was a coal miner, following a long-term area of employment in the family at large. He was married at least twice. The details of his first marriage are not known, except that he was divorced.

He wed his second wife, Flossie M. Kennedy ( 1897- ? ) on April 9, 1948. She also was divorced from a previous marriage. Rev. Warner T. Gifford of the First Baptist Church officiated.

The Mayles resided in Webster, Taylor County. They had no children. 

John died at age 76 on April 6, 1968, and was laid to rest in the West Hill Cemetery. His funeral service was preached by Rev. Winfield Mayle and Rev. Murray Mayle. 

Flossie's fate is unknown, but will be reported here when learned.

~ Son Henry C. Mayle ~

Son Henry C. Mayle (1897-1972) was born on June 29, 1897, and likely was named for his grandfather. He was tall and of medium build, with brown eyes and brown hair.

He registered for the military draft during World War I, and gave his employment in 1918 as the Lee Sandridge Coal Company of Meriden. He lived with his parents, working in a local coal mine, when the 1920 census was taken.

At the age of 31, in 1928, Henry married 30-year-old Magdalene Mackey (1898- ? ). She was a native of Zanesville, Muskingum County, OH, and the daughter of Sidney and Lucy Mackey. The wedding took place in Randolph County, WV. 

In the 1930 census, the Mayleses are shown living next door to Henry's mother in Philippi. That year, Henry was employed as a farmer, and Magdalene's occupation was "teacher - public school." Said the Barbour Democrat, Magdalene "was a retired Barbour County school teacher, having taught for 44 years. She was a member of the Chestnut Ridge Church, a member of the ladies' aid, and a member of the National Retired Teachers Association." They made their home in their later years in Moatsville.

Henry passed away on Jan. 10, 1972, at the age of 75. His obituary in the Barbour Democrat said Henry was "a member of the Chestnut Ridge Methodist Church, and was a retired miner and farmer." 

Magdalene outlived him by only two years. Apparently while visiting one of her nephews or nieces in Columbus, OH, Magdalene fell ill and died in a local hospital. Her remains were returned to Philippi for the funeral held at the Chestnut Ridge Church, led by Rev. Frank Peoples, followed by burial in the Chestnut Ridge Cemetery.

~ Son Emard Mayle ~


Chestnut Ridge Cemetery

Son Emard Mayle (1905-1923) was born in 1905. He learned the skills of a coal miner and worked in that occupation. Sadly, he passed away of tuberculosis at the age 18 on Jan. 27, 1923. He was buried in the family row in the Chestnut Ridge Cemetery.

Emard's grave (seen here) was marked with an upright, hand-lettered stone (as photographed in 2007). 

His brother Enoch, who would follow him to the grave six years later, would be buried next to him, with a similarly shaped and hand-lettered stone marking the final resting place.

~ Son Andrew Mayle ~

Son Andrew Mayle (1908-1922) was born in 1908. 

He died on May 21, 1922, in Barbour County, at the age of 14. The cause of his passing was listed as tubercular meningitis.


Icie and Isaac Norris

~ Daughter Icie Clara (Mayle) Norris ~

Daughter Icie Clara Mayle (1912-1955) was born in 1912. 

She married Isaac Norris (1893 - ? ) on June 6, 1932. She was age 21 at the time, and he age 39 and had been married at least once before. Isaac was the son of Granville "Chug" and Polly Norris of Meriden. 

The Norrises resided in Philippi. They apparently had no children. 

Icie suffered from Hodgkins Disease, and died at the age of 43 at the Union Protestant Hospital in Clarksburg, Harrison County, on Oct. 21, 1955. Her remains were returned to Philippi for burial in the Norris Cemetery, with the funeral service conducted by Rev. M. Harris at the Chestnut Ridge Methodist Church. Icie's obituary was published in the Philippi Republican newspaper. 

Isaac's fate is not yet known.

~ Son Rev. Okey Mayle Sr. ~


Rev. Okey Mayle Sr.

Son Rev. Okey Mayle, Sr. (1903-1994) was born on Jan. 18, 1903. 

He was a well known preacher who "was an early leader in the drive to recognize the native heritage on Chestnut Ridge," said a feature article, "We, the People of Chestnut Ridge," published in the Fall 1999 edition of Goldenseal magazine

On Feb. 5, 1933, Okey married Rosalee Margaret Adams (1915- ? ), the daughter of E.E. and Lora Adams. Okey was age 30, and Rosalee 18, at the time of their wedding. 

They had seven children -- Rev. Menelus Mayle, Elzie Auentin Mayle, Tressie Walton, Olivia Spiva, Barbara Newman, Geraldine Mayle and Okey Mayle Jr. 

Circa 1959-1968, they resided in Detroit, MI, but later returned to their home region. According to a local newspaper, Okey "was a retired carpenter and painter  and was, at the time of his death, minister of St. Peter's A.M.E. Church at Chestnut Ridge. He was a member of the Barbour County Senior Citizens and the Allegheny Nation, Native American Association." 

Okey Sr. is pictured extensively in the book, Our Kind of People: Identity, Community and Religion on Chestnut Ridge, authored by Thomas McElwain and published in 1981.

He died at the age of 91 on April 11, 1994, and was laid to rest in the Chestnut Ridge Cemetery near his ancestors.



Okey Mayle in the doorway of a church; and Okey's Gospel Church, also known as the St. Peter's African Methodist Episcopal Church of Chestnut Ridge


Son Menelus Mayle took over as pastor of his father's church, "known today as Okey's Gospel Church," said the Goldenseal article. "Okey was a wise and gentle man, and a true community leader." He also was profiled in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in "Ridge Folks: Heirs to Uncertain Identity" authored by Barry Paris, and published on Dec. 31, 1984.

Son Okey Mayle Jr. ( ? - ? ) was married and resided in New Brighton, Beaver County, PA. They had four known children -- Ronald Allen Mayle, Brenda Mayle, William Mayle and David Adam Mayle. Sadly, on April 13, 1959, their six-week-old son Ronald died of pneumonia in Beaver Valley General Hospital. The boy's obituary was published in the Beaver Valley Times.


Copyright 2004-2010, 2013-2016 Mark A. Miner

Research by the late Glenn W. Barnett has been helpful in sorting through this family.