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Sarah (Miller) Pyles


Central Hill Baptist Church Cemetery

Sarah Louise (Miller) Pyles was born on Feb. 16, 1861 at Austen near Kingwood, Preston County, WV, the daughter of Hezekiah and Keziah Ellen (Fawcett) Miller.

Sarah married Daniel Mitchel Piles (also spelled "Pyles") (1845-1922), the son of Thomas and Mariah (Riley) Pyles. The wedding between the 15-year-old bride and 31-year-old groom took place "on the highway near Tunnelton," on Feb. 24, 1876, according to the marriage license still on file today at the Preston County courthouse. The ceremony was performed by Daniel R. Fortney. 

Daniel stood 5 feet, 6 inches tall, with a fair complexion, light hair and blue-grey eyes. He had been married once before, to Mary Catherine "Katie" Miller ( ? -1875), and brought four children to the marriage -- Nannettie "Etta" Pyles, Thomas H. Pyles, Nancy Zora Pyles and Mary Pyles. Mary, who had wed Daniel on Oct. 18, 1867, was the daughter of Henry and Mary (Hoelsman) Miller, and had died on Jan. 29, 1875.

The newlyweds Sarah and Daniel moved immediately from Newburg, Preston County to near Elizabeth, Wirt County, WV, where Daniel owned a farm. Despite an inauspicious start, they remained wedded for 46 years until the separation of death.

They went on to have 10 children of their own -- Annie Sophia Florence, Sarah Catherine "Kate" Pyles, Daniel Hezekiah "Hez" Pyles, Caleb A. Pyles, Kelso W. Pyles, Mariah Belle Pyles, Jessie Louise Pyles, Sylvia McCauley McMillion Matheny, Charles "Raymond" Pyles and Robert Augustus Piles. The Pyleses also raised a motherless grandson, Charles "Clarence" Florence, and "adopted Clarence into [their] heart and home where he became a son and brother."

Many years before his marriage to Sarah, Daniel was a soldier in the Civil War with the 6th West Virginia Infantry. He enlisted at Rowlesburg, Preston County on May 18, 1863, when he was 18 years of age. The regiment was commanded by Charles Harrison. While on duty at New Creek, WV, in September 1864, Daniel was stricken with malaria that caused fever, kidney disease and sore back. The following month, he left the regiment for treatment at a hospital in Clarysville, MD.

He returned to duty on Christmas Eve 1864 but continued to be jaundiced and may have been treated again in a hospital at Washington, DC. He rejoined his regiment for the second time on April 18, 1865 but still had traces of intermittent fever. Daniel received an honorable discharge from the Army at Cumberland, MD on May 30, 1865, upon the conclusion of the war.


Clarysville General Hospital in Cumberland as seen in 1864 -- where Daniel was treated for malaria during the war.


Upon returning home, to near Newburg, Preston County, Daniel often told friends about the soreness in his back and obstruction of his bowels and irregular heart beat. At age 44, in 1890, he wrote that "I have never been treated for said disabilities but have treated my self by using plasters on my back and using liniment and patent medicines for the first five years after my return from the Army.... I have done some work but it was with great boddily suffering but being poor I had to go when I was not able."

Friend Henry Newhouse, who lived within 200 yards of the Pyleses for eight years, and then within three miles for five years, once testified that Daniel "was complaining of with misery in his back and he would become so helpless that he could not help himself and I frequently had to chop his firewood and do his chores." Friend Robert H. Newhouse, of Morris, Wirt County, signed an affidavit saying Daniel was "totally disabled for the performance of manual labor. I know the above facts from personal knowledge from having heard him complain [and] of seeing him very frequently trying to work." Yet another friend, Stephen Vaught, also of Morris, Wirt County, believed Daniel's afflictions were of a "permanent character."

When the federal census was taken in 1880, the Pyles clan dwelled in the Tucker District of Wirt County, with six children under their roof. The census taker recorded that Daniel could read and write, but not Sarah. Daniel also was marked as owning his farm, free of any mortgage or financial encumbrance. That year, teenage sons Hezekiah and Caleb assisted with farm work. Among their next door neighbors were farmers Horner and Sarah Leander and John W. and Caroline Miller. The Millers later would be buried at the foot of the Pyles plot of graves in their church burying patch.


The Pyles' Central Hill Baptist Church, now abandoned


Central Hill Baptist
Church Cemetery

In 1893, 17 years after marriage, they were named in a legal agreement allowing their mother to take full possession of the family farm. Daniel signed his name, but Sarah, who did not know how to write, made her mark with an "X."

They remained through the decades of the early 1900s on their farm near Elizabeth, where Daniel continued his labors as a farmer. They were members of the Central Hill Baptist Church, with which Sarah "was united ... early in life." Reflecting the family's isolation, the one-room church was located three miles from what today is Route 14, along the lonely Rose Hill Ridge Road and then a left-hand turn on the dirt and gravel Country Comfort Lane. Now gone, a bell tower once stood at the front right-hand corner of the building, facing the road.

Because of his wartime ailments, Daniel became eligible to receive a federal pension. He began receiving payments of $8.00 per month at some point in the 1890s. Over time the payments were increased, but Daniel had to apply for them as well. In December 1915, he wrote to the Pension Commissioner asking that a four months' arrearage be paid right away, "for I am in a close place... It will help me out of trouble about my Debts. The other olde soldiers around here received their increase as it came due."

In 1910, the census shows that three daughters, two sons and a grandson lived in the family's farmhouse.

Tragedy enveloped the family in the fall of 1913, when teenage son Charles was killed in a fall while out hunting. A moving epitaph was inscribed on his grave marker describing the gash of loss that this created in the family. How Daniel and Sarah dealt with this personally is lost to us.

Wirt County Journal, 1922

In 1920, sons Daniel and Robert lived under their roof, as did widowed daughter Sylvia McCauley and grandson Clarence. Their farm consisted of a 100-acre tract, and the address was R.F.D. #3, Box #37, Elizabeth.

Daniel died in Elizabeth at the age of 77 on Sept. 6, 1922. The cause was heart failure, and no physician was in attendance. He was interred at Central Hill Baptist Church Cemetery. Among those attending the funeral were John Newhouse and Daniel's brother-in-law from his first marriage, John W. Miller (1844-1929), both of Wirt County.

The Wirt County Journal published an initial death notice, but no more expansive obituary has been found. In the notice, the Journal wrote: "Daniel Pyles, an aged and respected citizen of Tucker District died at his home on route 3, on Wednesday morning September 6th. At press time we had no details as to funeral arrangements."

Ironically, his death was described more fully in a Journal article two years later, in an obituary of a son, which states that Daniel "departed this life after an illness of only a few hours duration, at the age of 77 years."


Wirt County Journal, 1930

Sarah outlived her husband by eight years. She applied to the federal government to receive her late husband's pension payments. In a letter on her behalf, to the Bureau of Pensions in Washington, DC, attorney J.H. Smith of Elizabeth wrote: "I therefore ask that the claim be allowed at once. Claimant is now an old lady and if this matter is delayed much longer she will get no benefits whatsoever." She was approved for a monthly payment of $40.00 in May 1930.

Later in life, she made her home in Pettyville, Wood County, WV. During those long years, she endured the deaths of her adult children Sophia and Hez, the latter as a result of a coal mining accident far away in Ronceverte, WV

As Sarah lay dying, her daughter Louise "remained by her side and was recognized and named by her as her guardian Angel," said the Wirt County Journal. Her grandson Clarence, whom she had raised, "showed his appreciation by closely administering to her every need until death."


Vacant Central Hill Baptist Church, 2016

She passed away at the age of 68, on Oct. 6, 1930, of infirmities caused by old age. Her remains were laid to rest beside her husband and son Charles in Central Hill Cemetery. K.W. Pyles of Elizabeth was the informant on her death certificate. 

In an obituary, the Wirt County Journal said she had "left this world prepared to meet her God. She was patient in suffering and while we feel our extreme loss we rejoice to know that God gave her a longed for repose in his mansion of rest." The obituary gives her middle initial as "Q." but in all other known references her middle name was "Louise."

Over the years, the family church was abandoned even as the adjoining cemetery remained containing their dust. When visited by the founder of this website in May 2016, the building was open to the elements, its windows and doors removed and the bell tower gone, one in a chain of several vacant one-room church buildings along Rose Hill Ridge Road.


~ Daughter Annie "Sophia" (Pyles) Florence ~

Daughter Annie "Sophia" Pyles (1877-1904) met an untimely and useless end. Born in July 1876, she married Charles Florence (1867- ? ) on Dec. 12, 1896, when she was age 19 and he was 28. The groom was the son of Thomas and Lenora Florence.

The federal census of 1900 shows Charles and Sophia heading a farming household in Slate, Wood County, WV. Others living in their home were Charles' 63-year-old father Thomas and brothers Wade, Lysander and Camden. 

The Florences had one known son, Charles Clarence Florence.

Tragedy rocked the family in the early part of 1904. After having given birth, complications set in, and Sophia died shortly thereafter. No further details of her life are known. 


Locals pose in the courthouse square in Elizabeth


Son Charles Clarence Florence (1904-1960) was born on Dec. 22, 1903, and was raised by Sophia's parents, Sarah and Daniel Pyles. He grew to adulthood and married Dorothy Tuell (1916- ? ) on Aug. 15, 1936, in Parkersburg. She was the daughter of Robert and Malissa Tuell of Wirt County. They had at least one known son, Charles C. Florence Jr. Charles resided in Elizabeth, and circa 1930 was a farmer. That year, his widowed grandmother and unmarried aunt Jessie L. Pyles dwelled in his home. He also worked at one point as a laborer in Ames County. At the age of 56, he died of a coronary occlusion in C. Clark Hospital. He was laid to rest in Parkersburg's Evergreen Cemetery. Dorothy Florence of Elizabeth was the informant on his West Virginia death certificate. 

  • Grandson Charles Clarence Florence Jr. (1942- ? ) was born on Oct. 26, 1942 in Parkersburg. He married Edna Loretta McCutcheon (1941- ? ), daughter of Thomas Edgar and Edna (West) McCutcheon, on June 22, 1963. The wedding took place in or near the bride's hometown of Reedy, Roane County, WV, and was performed by Rev. Calvin McCutcheon of the Methodist Church in Reedy.


~ Daughter Sarah Catherine "Katie" Pyles ~

Daughter Sarah Catherine "Katie" Pyles (1879- ? ) was born in December 1879.

At the age of 20, unmarried, she lived at home with her parents in 1900.

She is lost to history for now.


~ Son Daniel "Hezekiah" Pyles ~


Wirt County Journal, 1924

Son Daniel Hezekiah "Hez" Pyles (1882-1924) was born in March 1882. and apparently was named after his grandfather Hezekiah Miller. Hez is one of a frightening number of cousins in the extended Minerd-Minard-Miner-Minor family to lose his life in a coal, coke and steel related workplace accident.


When he was age 18, he resided with his parents and assisted his father with farming chores.

Hez left home at the age of 21 and, said the Wirt County Journal, "divided his time in coal mining, construction work, and timbering, besides 4 years spent in Co. D, 7th Infantry, U.S. Regular Army. He was a 32 Degree Mason, having joined the shrine some years ago, and was always loyal to his fraternity."

His family considered him to be "charitable by nature and had hosts of friends who looked upon him as a brother. He gave freely to every good cause and never left his fellow man in need when he could help him. He never united with any church but held a christian in high esteem." 

At the age of 42, unmarried, Hez worked in a coal mine in Ronceverte, Greenbrier County, WV. Tragically, on July 20, 1924, he was caught in a fall of slate, which broke his back. He was taken to the Greenbrier General Hospital in Greenbrier County, where he languished for 17 days. Said the Journal: "While awaiting what he thought recovery he consecrated his life to God with the determination to serve Him fully the rest of his life, but pneumonia cut short his career and God called him home. He will be missed by all who knew him for his simple, cheerful, charitable and child like life." He on Aug. 10, 1924, and his remains were laid to rest in the Elizabeth Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery in Wirt County. 

His family published a lengthy obituary in the Journal, headlined "In Memoriam," and wrote, "We, his Mother, brothers, and sisters, take this occasion to thank our friends for their kindness and sympathy during our hour of trial, and trust that we may all meet some glad day where trials and heart aches are not known."


~ Son Caleb A. Pyles ~

Son Caleb A. Pyles (1884-1969) was born on Aug. 14, 1884 in Elizabeth, Wirt County.

He married his first wife, Nellie Miller (1884- ? ) on Dec. 23, 1904, in Wirt County. She was a native of Monroe County, OH, and the daughter of E.H. and Mary Miller. Because bride and groom were both underage (20), their fathers had to give consent. 

They had one daughter, Orma Pyles, born in 1906, in Athens, Athens County, OH.

By 1910, when he was age 25, Caleb was widowed, and had returned to West Virginia. Nellie's fate is not yet known. 

In 1910, Caleb boarded at a lumber camp in Burner Village near Green Bank, Pocahontas County, WV, where he labored as a sawyer. That same year, on Dec. 27, 1910, he married his second wife, Ora Sophia Newhouse (1890- ? ), the daughter of Samuel J. and Lucy Ann "Annie" (Mullen) Newhouse. Ora's father had to give his written consent to the marriage, as she was age 20. 

The Newhouse and Pyles families were close, as Caleb's half-sister Nanetta "Nettie" Pyles wed Robert Hayes Newhouse Sr. 


Wirt County Courthouse

Caleb and Ora went on to have at least nine more children of their own -- Millard Kelso Pyles, Phyllis Virginia Thornberry, Frederick Pyles, Clyde Alfred Pyles, Keith Louis Pyles, Hazel M. Cheberenchick, William D. Pyles, Donald Pyles and Faye Louise Cain.


Sadly, sons Frederick died of a heart condition at the age of five days, on Nov. 23, 1914; and Clyde at the age of one year, one month on March 6, 1919. Of Clyde's death, the attending physician wrote: "Death came suddenly - Presume had convulsion, resulting in heart failure. Had cold with Bronchitis & was teething."

During the 1910s, and again when the federal census was taken in 1920, Caleb and Ora and their growing family of children made their home on Row Avenue in Junior, Barbour County, WV. Caleb had found work there as a laborer in the booming coal mines. 

By 1930, the family had migrated to Enterprise, Harrison County, WV. Their home was on Midway Avenue. Caleb's occupation was as a "machine man" at a coal mine. Erroneously, the census-taker marked Caleb's first name as "Charles." In 1949, the year his daughter Hazel was married, their home was in Mill Creek and Valley Bend, WV, with Caleb working as a "coal operator." A newspaper once said he was a member of the Bealington Lodge (Barbour County?) of the Masons, Beni Keden Temple of Charlestown (or Charleston?) and the Consistory of Wheeling.

Later still, Caleb relocated into Pennsylvania, settling in Finleyville, Washington County. He died in Monongahela Memorial Hospital in New Eagle on April 26, 1969, at the age of 84. The Washington Observer-Reporter noted that he was survived by 12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. A short death notice was printed in the Monongahela (PA) Daily Republican. His funeral service was led by Rev. Joseph Rodgers.

Ora outlived him by two years, and died in Washington Hospital Extended Care Facility on Dec. 19, 1971. An obituary was printed in the Canonsburg Daily Notes.

They rest together in the Finleyville Cemetery. [Find-A-Grave]

Daughter Orma Pyles (1906- ? ) moved back to Wirt County, WV. There, she married Alfred E. Gray ( ? - ? ), son of Charles E. and Mary E. Gray of Roanoke, VA. Both wife and husband were age 21 at the time of marriage, which took place on Sept. 25, 1926, at Elizabeth, Wirt County. Rev. W.W. Metz performed the nuptials.

Son Millard Kelso Pyles (1912-1926) was born on July 7, 1912 in Burner, WV. He was not destined to reach adulthood. Sadly, Millard died on Jan. 15, 1926, at the age of 13, and his remains were placed into rest in the Valley River Brethren Cemetery in Junior, Barbour County, WV. Details of his untimely demise are not known, and no West Virginia death record has been found. A stone marks the grave today.

Daughter Phyllis Virginia Pyles (1915-2009) was born on Oct. 6, 1915. She wed Reuben O. Thornberry (1909-1993). They had two sons -- John Thornberry and James "Jim" Thornberry. Circa 1969-1971, their home was in Canonsburg, Washington County. By the early 1990s, they had relocated to Tampa, FL, where they apparently spent the remainder of their years together. Reuben passed into eternity in 1993 at the age of 83 or 84. Burial was in Millsboro Memorial Cemetery in Brandon, FL. Phyllis survived her spouse by 16 years. She joined him in eternity on Nov. 30, 2009. Survivors included two grandchildren and one great-grandson. [Find-a-Grave]

  • Grandson John Thornberry was wedded to Lonna Rae.
  • Grandson James "Jim" Thornberry

Son Keith Louis Pyles (1920-1981) was born on Jan. 26, 1920 in Junior. He married Mary ( ? - ? ). Circa 1969, at the death of his father, and in 1971 at the passing of his mother, he resided in Savannah, GA. He died on Jan. 26, 1981, at the age of 61. Burial was in Mims Baptist Church Cemetery in Bacon County, GA [Find-a-Grave]

Daughter Hazel Marie Pyles (1923-2007) was born on Jan. 6, 1923, in Junior. She migrated to Pittsburgh and was wed twice. Her first marriage, to (?) Shreves, a union which ended in divorce on May 16, 1945. At the age of 26, in 1949, she was employed as a sales girl, and lived at 2130 South 18th Street. On July 16, 1949, Hazel married again, to 28-year-old painting contractor Michael Cheberenchick (1921-  ), also spelled "Cheberenchic." He was the son of Austrian immigrant John Cheberenchick and his Pennsylvania-born wife Eva (Gabuza) Cheberenchick, of Castle Shannon, near Pittsburgh. The marriage license was filed in Washington County, PA. The couple made their home in Castle Shannon and remained wed for a remarkable 57 years. They produced three children -- Michael Cheberenchick, Terri Cooper and Daniel Cheberenchick. Possibly suffering from a kidney ailment, Hazel passed away in Pittsburgh on Sept. 1, 2007. Interment was in Jefferson Memorial Park in Pleasant Hills, near Pittsburgh following a mass of Christian burial held at St. Anne Church. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published an obituary.

  • Grandson Michael Cheberenchick Sr. was wedded to Karen. Their children are Michael Jr. and Brandi.
  • Granddaughter Terri Cheberenchick was married to Ronald Cooper. They produced children Kristen and Chad.
  • Grandson Daniel Cheberenchick was united in wedlock with Michelle.

Son William Dale Pyles (1924-1995) was born on Sept. 20, 1924 in Finleyville. He resided with his parents in Finleyville circa 1969-1971. He passed into eternity in Columbia near Charleston, SC on June 24, 1995. His remains were brought back to Pennsylvania to rest in the Finleyville Cemetery.

Son Donald Lee Pyles (1931-1972) was born in about 1931. He lived in the family home in Finleyville circa 1969-1971. He died in Greenville, Mercer County, PA at age 41 on May 12, 1972 and rests in the same plot of graves with his parents.

Daughter Faye Louise Pyles (1928-2008) was born on April 5, 1928 near Shinnston, Harrison County, WV. She married J. Paul Cain (1922-1983). Paul served as a machinist's mate in the U.S. Navy during World War II. They produced two daughters -- Candace Cain and Nancy McCombe. In about 1965, he obtained employment as a buyer for H. Levitt Company in the Sharaden section of Pittsburgh. The company was a whoesaler of home hardware products. Their home in 1969 was in McMurray, in Peters Township, Washington County. Reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, she "She was a member for more than 50 years of Center Presbyterian Church, where she was a Bible school teacher and was a longtime volunteer with Peter's Township Meals on Wheels." Paul was active with the Masons, the Castle Shannon post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Peters Township Chamber of Commerce and the Center Presbyterian Church. He died at age 61 on April 20, 1983. Funeral services were held in the Robert E. Wilson Funeral Home, and the Pittsburgh Press printed an obituary. Faye survvied her husband by a quarter of a century. She passed away at the age of 80 on July 10, 2008. Rev. Joseph Rychcik officiated at the funeral service. An obituarry was published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

  • Granddaughter Candace Cain lived in Cambridge, MA in 1983. She married Fred R. Nene and in more recent years has resided in Pittsburgh.
  • Granddaughter Nancy Cain was wedded to (?) Jenkins and later David M. McCombe. In 2008, the McCombes made their home in McMurray.


~ Son Kelso W. Pyles ~


Parkersburg News, 1971

Son Kelso W. Pyles (1887-1971) was born on April 8, 1887 in Elizabeth, Wirt County.


At the age of 28, in 1915, he married 23-year-old Nora Ethel Robinson (1892-1967) at Elizabeth, Wirt County. Nora was born at Kanawha Station, Wood County, WV, the daughter of James and Mary (Cline) Robinson of Wood County, WV. 

They had six children -- Alma (or "Arma") Clevenger, Lloyd M. Pyles, Robert William Pyle, Paul S. Pyles, Betty Congleton and one unknown.

Said the Parkersburg News, Kelso "taught school in Wirt and Wood counties for about 20 years, and was later employed at the America Viscose Div. of FMC Corp. until his retirement in 1952. He was a member of the Two Ripple Baptist Church in Wirt county."

The Pyleses lived in Ohio in 1917-1919 but returned to Wirt County. The federal census enumeration of 1930 shows the family living near the old Pyles farm in the Tucker District north of Elizabeth. That year, Nora's widowed mother lived under their roof, and adopted brother Clarence Florence and family resided next door.


When the federal census was enumerated in 1930, Kelso and Nora made their home in Wirt County, along with their four children and mother in law Mary Robinson. Next door lived Kelso's nephew Clarence C. Florence, mother Sarah (Miller) Pyles and unmarried sister Jessie Pyles.


The family relocated to Parkersburg, Wood County WV in the early 1930s and were there circa 1935.

Federal census records for 1940 show the family residing in Belpre, Washington County, OH, across the Ohio River from Parkersburg, WV. Employed by the America Viscose plant, he worked as a steam engineer. Their home was on Main Street in Little Hocking, north of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

Later, Kelso and Nora returned to Parkersburg, where their address was 2231 14th Avenue.

Suffering from pancreatic bleeding, and hardening of the arteries, Nora was treated in St. Joseph's Hospital in Parkersburg. She died at the hospital, at age 75, on Sept. 5, 1967. Burial was in Sunset Memory Gardens in Parkersburg. 

Kelso outlived Nora by four years. He resided at 20 18th Avenue in Parkersburg. He died on May 28, 1971, at the age of 84, "following a long illness," reported the Parkersburg News. He was buried in Sunset Memory Gardens. 

Daughter Alma (or "Arma") Pyles (1917- ? ) was born in about 1917 in Ohio and grew up near Elizabeth. She married Ercie Clevenger (1913-1978). Circa 1971, they lived in Parkersburg. Ercie is believed to have succumbed in Parkersburg in September 1978.

Son Lloyd M. Pyles (1918-1992) was on June 22, 1918 in Ohio. During World War II and the Korean War, he is believed to have served in the U.S. Army Air Force with the rank of master sergeant. While the Korean conflict was ablaze, he was a crew chief and mechanic on the Spirit of Freeport B-20 Superfortress. After the war, he made his home in Parkersburg and in 1953, retaining the rank of master sergeant, was stationed at Stead Air Force Base in Nevada. Evidence suggests that he had at least one daughter, Sonya Booher. Lloyd made his home in Parkersburg in 1971. He is thought to have died on March 11, 1992 and to rest for eternity in Little Rock National Cemetery in Arkansas.

  • Granddaughter Sonya Pyles graduated from Parkersburg High School and moved to Nevada with her parents. There, she obtained a job with Bell Telephone Company. On July 31, 1953, in a small private ceremony at the home of justice of the peace Bert Selkirk in Gardnerville, Nevada, she was wedded to Airman First Class Lloyd Booher, at the time serving in the U.S. Air Force. Patricia Bell, Garrett Pyles, Dudley Koren and Nick Corello were attendants at the wedding, which was reported on the pages of the Reno Gazette-Journal. The couple made their first home at 442 West Fourth Street in Reno, NV.


Robert William Pyle

Son Robert William Pyle (1925-2016) was born on Sept. 7, 1925 in Elizabeth, Wirt County. Over the years he shortened his last name to "Pyle" even though his sons used the original "Pyles." Robert and his first wife produced three children -- Jerry Pyles, Pamela Freyer and Steve Pyles.  In the early 1970s, he resided in Wilmington, NC. In 1983, at the age of 58, he was joined in marriage with Shirley (Toler) Moore ( ? -living). She too had been married previously and brought these offspring to the union -- Lisa Harris, Laurie Register and Melissa Fenton. Reported the Wilmington (NC) Star-News, Robert "passionately loved his large extended family. Robert served his country during World War II in the Army Air Corps, 366th Fighter Group, 390th Squadron. He received the Belgian Fourragere, The Distinguished Unit Citation, and the French Legion of Honor medal. He also participated in the Honor Flight for Veterans to Washington, D.C., in 2011. He was an avid ballroom dancer and enjoyed fishing, boating, and golf throughout his lifetime." He died at the age of 91 on Dec. 7, 2016 in Wilmington. A memorial service was held at the Windermere Presbyterian Church. In an obituary, the family asked that any memorial donations be made to the church's special music program or to the Lower Cape Fear Hospice.

Son Paul S. Pyles (1930- ? ) was born in early 1930 near Elizabeth. As an adult, he lived in Kalamazoo, MI.

Daughter Betty Pyles (1936-living) was born in about 1936 in either Elizabeth or Parkersburg. She was wedded to (?) Congleton.


~ Daughter Mariah Belle Pyles ~

Daughter Mariah "Belle" Pyles (1889- ? ) was born in August 1889. She grew up on the family farm north of Elizabeth.

She has faded from history.


Elizabeth, West Virginia -- May 2016


~ Daughter Jessie L. Pyles ~

Daughter Jessie L. Pyles (1892- ? ) was born in February 1892. 

She apparently never married. 

In 1930, when she was age 38, she was single and living in the household of her nephew Clarence C. Florence in Wirt County.

Her paper trail fades here for now. Her name has not yet been found on the 1940 United States Census.


~ Daughter Sylvia (Pyles) McCauley McMillion Matheny ~

Daughter Sylvia Pyles (1895 - ? ) was born in March 1895. 

At the age of 22, she married 20-year-old Shirley McCauley (1897- ? ) in 1918 in Wirt County. He was the son of J.E. and M.J. McCauley.The wedding was held at the home of Wesley McCauley, led by Rev. R.A. McMillion, minister of the Baptist Church.

By 1920, she was widowed, and had returned to the home of her parents in Wirt County. Later that year, on Christmas Day 1920, she married Buzzy H. McMillion (1894-1947), the son of Robert A. and Mary C. (Haught) McMillion of Wirt County. 

They lived in Pettyville, near Elizabeth, and had three children -- Ida Mae McMullen, Lyle Haught "Bob" McMillion and Harry H. McMillion. (The sons' surnames occasionally were shortened to "Million.") By 1930, they had migrated to Tygart, Wood County, WV, where Buzzy worked as a mechanic for an automobile company.


Buzzy's workplace, the 33-acre American Viscose plant in Parkersburg, manufacturing "Crown Brand" Rayon Yarns and Spun Rayon Fibre



Parkersburg Sentinel, 1947

Buzzy was employed as an electrician at the American Viscose Corporation. The company produced an artificial silk yarn known as rayon, made from mixing wood pulp and cotton fibers, and then dissolving the mixture into a thick, molasses-like solution called viscose. The resulting mixture was fashioned into miles of thread, into which the rayon was woven or knitted. "It is the only textile fiber which man has invented," said the book, West Virginia Yesterday and Today, authored by Phil Conley.


He also was affiliated with the Odd Fellows and Workers of the World lodges. It is said that he was "quiet and withdrawn."

Sylvia was the proprietor of a beauty shop in their home. They were members of the Standing Stone Baptist Church. 

At age 53, Buzzy died in the Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital, in Parkersburg, Wood County, WV, on March 9, 1947. Funeral services were held in the Pettyville Methodist Church. An obituary in the Parkersburg Sentinel said Buzz had been "a resident of Pettyville for 27 years." 

Circa 1969, Sylvia had remarried to (?) Matheny and made her home in Parkersburg. Her fate is unknown.

Daughter Ida Mae McMillion (1923- ? ) made her home as an adult in Belmont, Pleasants County, WV. She may have married Richard Allen McMullen (1918- ? ) on Aug. 23, 1941. At the age of 39, on April 3, 1962, she may have married Charles Raymond McMullen (1913- ? ). At the time, his residence was 4815 Camden Avenue in Parkersburg. Oddly enough, they were married again in a ceremony on July 4, 1963, held at the residence of Rev. Floyd Caplinger in Parkersburg. She later was joined in wedlock with Charles Kitley ( ? - ? ). She did not bear children to either of her marriages. Ida died in Florida.

Son Lyle Haught "Bob" McMillion (1923-1993) was born on Dec. 8, 1923. In Detroit in May 1954 at the age of 30, Lyle was joined in wedlock with Mary Frances (Oct. 6, 1926-2011). They made their home in Milford, Oakland County, MI and remained together for nearly four decades until the separation of death. Their children were Patricia McMillion, Karen McMillion, Sylvia McMillion and Robert Daniel McMillion. Sadly, Lyle died at the age of 69 on Feb. 17, 1993. Mary Frances outlived her husband by 18 years and joined him in death on March 27, 2011. Fr. Ron Anderson officated at her memorial mass held in St. Mary Catholic Church, with an obituary appearing in the Oakland (MI) Press.

  • Granddaughter Patricia McMillion (1955-living) was born in 1955 and married (?) Peele. She lives in Milford, MI and has one daughter, Amanda Peele.
  • Granddaughter Karen McMillion (1957-living) was born in 1957. She never married. Karen dwells in Milford, MI.
  • Granddaughter Sylvia McMillion (1959-living) was joined in wedlock with Russell Geiman. They make their home in Harper's Ferry, WV and have two children, Phillip Geiman and Stephanie Geiman..
  • Grandson Robert Daniel McMillion (1960-living) was born in 1960. He was wedded to Suzanne and has three sons, Gregory McMillion, Michael McMillion and Christopher McMillion.

Son Harry H. McMillion (1926-1985) was born in about 1926. He married Frances "Franny" (?). They had at least one son, Patrick McMillion.


Central Hill Baptist Church Cemetery

~ Son Charles Raymond Pyles ~

Son Charles Raymond Pyles (1897-1913) was born on May 20 or 29, 1897, presumably on the family farm in Tucker near Elizabeth, where he grew into teenagehood.

Tragically, while raccoon hunting at the age of 16, on the fateful day of Oct. 18, 1913, Charles accidentally fell and was killed. His gun may have gone off in the tumble, or perhaps the fall caused fatal injuries. The specific details are lost to history, but if found, will be added to this biography.

Charles' remains were placed into eternal repose in the cemetery of Central Hill Baptist Church north of Elizabeth, in a section of lots behind the church building, where he later would be joined in death by his father and mother.

No Wirt County newspapers of that era have been located, though it's presumed there was prominent news coverage of this awful event. His death was referenced more than a decade later, in the Wirt County Journal of Aug. 29, 1924, in the obituary of older brother Hez who was killed in a coal mining accident.

Charles' grave marker stood erect and completely legible when photographed by the founder of this website over the Memorial Day weekend in May 2016. The top of the marker is carved with the symbols of a cross within a crown, and the words "Life" and "Truth" are inscribed above his name. A very moving epitaph at the base of the marker is less legible but is believed to read as follows:


A light from our household is gone.
A voice we loved is stilled.
A place is vacant in our home
That never can be filled.


~ Son Robert Augustus "Gus" Pyles ~

Son Robert "Augustus" Pyles (1902- ? ) was born in about 1902.

In 1921, when Gus was age 18 or 19, he married Beulah Lockhart (1900- ? ), the daughter of James and Elizabeth Pyles. The ceremony took place at her home on Lynn Camp in Wirt County.

Circa 1923, they resided in Palestine, Wirt County. That year, their newborn son Robert Pyles Jr. died at the tender age of one day on Feb. 16, 1923.

In 1952, said the Elkins (WV) Inter-Mountain, Gus made his home in Detroit, MI.

Their fates will be added here once learned.


Elkins Inter-Mountain, 1939

~ Step-Daughter Nanette (Pyles) Newhouse ~

Step-daughter Nanetta "Ettie" Pyles (1868-1952) was born on Oct. 18, 1868, in Preston County.

On April 2, 1885, when she was age 16, and he 23, Ettie married Robert H. "Bob" Newhouse (1862-1939), the son of Sanford (or "Samuel") and Sophia Newhouse of Pennsylvania. Because she was legally underage, her father gave his consent to the union.

They were longtime farmers and made their home near Mill Creek in rural Huttonsville, Randolph County, WV, in the Valley Bend community.

The Newhouses had eight children -- Clara Esther Knipple, Dessie (or "Bessie") Ernest, Robert "Hayes" Newhouse Jr., Roma Pingley, Gladys "Nettie" Tacy, Jessie Hartman, Missouri Newhouse and one other not yet identified. Sadly, daughter Missouri and the unknown child both died young.

Bob passed away of bronchial pneumonia at the age of 77 on May 14, 1939. Following a funeral at the home of his married daughter Roma Pingley, in Huttonsville, he was laid to rest at the Brick Church Cemetery. Officiating at the funeral was Rev. Dr. G.O. Yount of the Mill Creek-Huttonsville Presbyterian Churches. In an obituary, the Elkins Inter-Mountain said Bob "was a native of Pennsylvania, but had made his home in this county for a number of years."


Elkins Inter-Mountain, 1952

Ettie outlived her husband by 13 years. She died of heart disease at the age of 83 on June 30, 1952. Burial was in Mill Creek Cemetery. The Inter-Mountain noted that she was survived by 23 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren and 18 great-great grandchildren.


Daughter Clara Esther Newhouse (1884-1941 ) was born on May 11, 1884 (or 1886) in Wirt County. She married Charles W. Knipple (1881- ? ), on Sept. 8, 1902, at Mill Creek, when she was age 18, and he 21. Charles was a native of Franklin, PA or Bedford County, WV. They resided for many years in Grafton, Taylor County, at the address of 527 Walnut. Charles was employed as a fireman on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Suffering from pancreatic cancer, she died at the age of 54 on March 13, 1941. She was interred in the Woodsdale Cemetery, possibly near Grafton. Charles married again, to Armentie Frame (1882- ? ). Their life together was short. Charles died of a cerebral hemorrhage, caused by hardening of the arteries and hypertension, at the age of 63, on March 9, 1945. He was buried at Woodsdale Cemetery. Reflecting her lack of knowledge about her husband's family, Armentie reported on his death certificate that his father was "William Knipple" and mother was "Etta Pyles." 

Daughter Dessie (or "Bessie") Newhouse (1888- ? ) married Ross C. Earnest (or "Ernest") (1890- ? ), a native of Greene County, PA, on March 17, 1909. She was age 22, and he 19, at the time of marriage, which took place at Elkwater, WV. William's father or brother, William A. Ernest, supplied the data for the official Randolph County marriage certificate. The Earnests lived in 1939-1952 in Buckhannon, WV. Their fates are unknown.

Son Robert "Hayes" Newhouse Jr. (1889- ? ) was born in February 1889. He was married twice. His first wife, name unknown, died sometime before 1937. Circa 1939, he made his home in Slaty Fork, Pocahontas County, WV. At age 47, Hayes wed his second wife, Flora Mabel Pingley (1899- ? ), age 38, a native of Randolph County. They were married on April 1, 1937, at Elkins. At the time, they lived in Huttonsville, Randolph County. Hayes esided in Mill Creek circa 1952. Nothing further is known.

Timbering near Elkins


Daughter Roma Newhouse (1892- ? ) was born in April 1892. She wed Charles Howard Pingley (1887-1963), the son of Richard and Virginia (Rosencrance) Pingley, and a native of Huttonsville, Randolph County. They resided in Huttonsville circa 1939, when the funeral of Roma's father was held at their house. In the early 1950s they made their home in Mill Creek. Charles died of a brain illness at the age of 75, in Elkins, on Aug. 7, 1963. He was placed into eternal rest at the Brick Church Cemetery. Roma was the informant on his official certificate of death.

Daughter Gladys Nettie Newhouse (1893-1942) was born on Aug. 13, 1893 (or 1895). She married Grover Cleveland "Cleve" Tacy (1889-1973), a native of Lee Bell, Randolph County, and the son of William Jackson and Victoria A. (Knapp) Tacy. The wedding took place on May 30, 1910, when Gladys was age 16 (or possibly 14) and Grover age 22, by the hand of G.E. Bartlett, pastor of the First Baptist Church. They had one known son, Clyde Haze Tacy, and resided in Elkins, Randolph County for many years. Suffering from heart disease, Gladys was felled by acute heart failure and died at age 48 on May 12, 1942, at Davis Memorial Hospital in Elkins. She was laid to rest in the Will Tacy Cemetery in rural Becky's Creek near Huttonsville, Randolph County. Cleve outlived his wife by many years, and married again, at the age of 59, on Dec. 30, 1947. His second wife was 53-year-old Mollie Reams (1895- ? ), daughter of George and Elizabeth Reams, and a native of Elk Garden, Mineral County, WV. At the time, they lived in Norton, Randolph County. Mollie died in Elkins on May 10, 1962, at the age of 78. Cleve outlived his second wife by 11 years. He passed away in Baltimore, MD at the age of 84 on Dec. 11, 1973, with burial with Mollie in Phillips Cemetery in Jimtown, Randolph County.

  • Grandson Clyde Haze Tacy (1913-1996) was born on Aug. 7, 1913 in Elkwater, Randolph County. At the age of 20, he wed 17-year-old Flora Virgniia Hess ( ? - ? ) in Elkins on June 28, 1934. Because both were underage, their parents had to provide consent. At the time of marriage, Clyde lived in Norton, Randolph County, and Flora in Elkins. Clyde resided for many years in Baltimore, Baltimore County, MD. He died there on Aug. 23, 1996. His remains were placed into eternal rest in Holly Hill Memorial Gardens in Middle River, Baltimore County.

Daughter Jessie Newhouse (1896- ? ) married Joseph S. Hartley (1862- ? ) -- more than twice her age -- on March 19, 1919. The ceremony was conducted in Belington, Barbour County, WV, by Rev. R.H. Skaggs, minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Jessie was age 23 at the time, and residing in Barbour County, and Joseph was age 57, making his home in Jackson County, WV. Jessie was last known to be alive in Elkins in 1952.

Daughter Missouri Newhouse (1897- ? ) was born in July 1897.


~ Stepson Thomas H. Pyles ~

Stepson Thomas H. Pyles (1869- ? ) was born in 1869.

He may have married Bertie J. Evans ( ? - ? ), resided in Bramwell, Mercer County, WV, and made his living as a book salesman. 

If so, he died at the age of 72, on Sept. 25, 1942, and is buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery along Bluefield Bramwell Road. 

In 2012, a search for his obituary in the Princeton (WV) Observer, on microfilm at West Virginia University's West Virginia Regional Collection, was unsuccessful.


~ Stepdaughter Nancy Z. Pyles ~

Stepdaughter Nancy Z. Pyles (1871- ? ) is lost to history.


~ Stepdaughter Mary E. Pyles ~

Step-daughter Mary E. Pyles (1872- ? ) -- nothing is known.


Copyright 2008-2013, 2016-2017, 2021 Mark A. Miner