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.
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,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 dwelled near Philippi, residents of "the so-called Bloody Creek section of Chestnut Ridge," said the Philippi Republican newspaper.
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 30-year-old Emard in 1923.
Heartache struck the family again and again over a six-year span from the late 1920s to the mid-1930s. On Feb. 3, 1929, after suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis, their 28-year-old Enoch died of tuberculosis.
Then, a little more than two months later, her husband William succumbed 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 lost her 10-year-old granddaughter Magdalene Mayle in August 1935 as a result of pneumonia and appendicitis which became gangrene and peritonitis. A physician was summoned to the Mayles' mountain home, and he performed an incision to drain the infected area. Magdalene's life hung in the balance for four excrutiating days. Nothing further could be done.
She is seen here in a snapshot, in her older years, wearing a headscarf and a patterned shawl wrap.
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.
On July 17, 1969, at age 100, 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 placed into 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.
~ Daughter Ethel Mayle ~
Daughter Ethel Mayle (1894- ? ) was born in 1894 in Philippi. At the age of six, in 1900, she lived at home with her parents and siblings.
~ Son Enoch Mayle ~
Son Enoch Mayle (1900-1929) was born in 1900.
He stood 6 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."
On March 25, 1925, at the age of 25, Enoch married 16-year-old Dosha Levada Newman (March 24, 1909-1971), the daughter of Delbert and Ada (Croston) Newman.
The Mayles produced two known daughters -- 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.)
On June 21, 1931, the 22-year-old Dosha married her second spouse, 47-year-old widower and farm laborer Arlie Kennedy (1884- ? ), son of Emma Kennedy of Philippi. Rev. M.C. Harris officiated at the ceremony held in Meriden. Having previously been married to Rovilla Mayle and Emma (?), Arlie brought five children to the marriage -- Bessie Kennedy (age 20), Claudia Kennedy (18), Carson Kennedy (17), Robert Kennedy (13) and Dorothy (Kennedy) Croston (12).
The Kennedys did not have children of their own. The marriage did not last, and Dosha and Arlie eventually separated. The 1940 federal census shows Arlie living alone at age 57 in Knottsville, Taylor County.
Tragedy rocked Dosha's world repeatedly during the 1930s. At that time, her daughters Magdalene and Opal Deola Mayle were two years apart in age and about as close as sisters could be during the Great Depression years in the coal mining town of Meriden.
Magdalene, born in 1925, and Opal, in 1927, seemed destined for a long life of friendship and companionship and sharing all sorts of experiences as sisters do -- including losing their father and grandfather in the same year (1929), but also having their photograph portrait taken together (seen at left).
But cruel fate intervened. During the hot and muggy mid-August of 1935, the 10-year-old Magdalene contracted pneumonia and appendicitis which turned into acute gangrene and peritonitis. Dr. L.S. King of Philippi was summoned to the Mayles' mountain home, and he performed an incision to drain the infected area. Magdalene's life hung in the balance for four excrutiating days. Nothing further could be done.
Magdalene succumbed on Aug. 23, 1935, relieved of her agony, but leaving behind her mother and sister Opal to try to reason with what had just taken place and how they were going to go on. After an autopsy, the girl's remains were brought back home for the funeral. This snapshot captures the haunting moment of the final goodbye from one sister to another, with Magdalene's long hair decorated in ribbons, and the casket filled with fresh flowers, while Opal grasps the handle, perhaps in an attempt to hold onto her beloved sister for as long as possible. Burial was in the Chestnut Ridge Cemetery, where the child's father, grandfather William Stephen Mayle and great-grandparents Henry C. and Sarah Catherine (Croston) Minerd already were at rest.
Circa 1935-1946, Dosha was involved in a relationship with fellow Meriden resident Martin Mayle (1884-1964), son of Boss Mayle. He brought several children to the involvement, among them Dollie Davis, Helen Mayle and Ulie Mayle. Dosha and Martin went on to have these additional offspring -- Bradford Mayle (born Jan. 24, 1935), Correll Kennedy (1937), Mary Everhart Bolyard, Harold Kennedy and Ira K. Mayle (1946).
But then on Jan. 14, 1938, her son Bradford died at the age of three years, two months after suffering from pneumonia, emphysema and malnutrition. Dosha was photographed holding the body of her dead son, after which his tender remains were placed into repose in Chestnut Ridge Cemetery.
Martin died in 1964 and is buried with his son Eulah Mayle (1910-1973).
In the late 1960s, several decades after her daughter Opal had relocated there, Dosha moved to Canton, Stark County, OH, where she spent the balance of her life.
While in Canton, Dosha was wedded a third time to Charles H. "Charlie" Johnson (May 2, 1901-1981). She was a member of the Nazarene Church in Canton and resided on Henrietta Avenue Northeast.
In 1971, Dosha suffered even more loss as a mother when son Correll died at the age of 32. Further details are below.
Less than a month after Correll's demise, Dosha was admitted to a hospital in Canton, where she passed away on July 16, 1971, at the age of 64. While her obituary was headlined "Mrs. Charlie Johnson," she is buried under the name "Dosha L. Kennedy" in the Welch Cemetery in Philippi, with the funeral conducted in the Chestnut Ridge Church by Rev. J. Franklin Peoples. On the right-half of the face of her grave marker is inscribed: "Mom. Rest in peace." A newspaper obituary noted that she was survived by 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Now widowed, Charlie outlived Dosha by a decade. He passed into eternity on Nov. 3, 1981. Funeral services were held in Belpre, Washington County, OH, with Rev. Michael Springston preaching the funeral service, and interment in Rockland Cemetery in Belpre.
Daughter Opal Deola Mayle (1927-1986) was born on Oct. 10, 1927 in Philippi. At the age of 17, she married 21-year-old Shirley Johnson (1923-1980), the son of Willis and Polly (Mayle) Johnson of Meriden. The nuptials were held in Meriden on May 31, 1945, by the hand of Rev. M.C. Harris, pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Philippi. Because Opal was legally underage, her mother has to sign her consent to the union. The newlyweds relocated in 1945 to East Canton, Stark County, OH, where they lived for good. They produced seven children -- Beverly Joanne Smith, Freeda Mae Palmer, Danny E. Johnson, Myron V. Johnson, Roger L. Johnson, Ronald Dean Johnson and David S. Johnson. Their addresses in East Canton were Blecker Street Northeast followed by Schwalk Avenue Northeast and later 1307 Trump Avenue Northeast. Opal was employed at Timken Mercy Medical Center for a decade, while Shirley made a lengthy career with Conrail, where he spent 36 years of work. They were members of the Valley Chapel Brethren in Christ. Opal belonged to the Allegheny Nation Indian Center in Canton and enjoyed attending Native American celebrations with her uncle Rev. Okey Mayle. Their address in Canton in the late 1970s-1980 was at 4310 14th Street Northeast. As his health gradually failed, Shirley was admitted to the Timken Mercy Medical Center, where he died on Aug. 23, 1980, at the age of 57. Rev. Paul Smucker of the family church officiated at the funeral, followed by burial in Evergreen Memorial Gardens. A newspaper obituary noted that his survivors included 11 grandchildren, sisters Bertha Newman of Philippi and Edith Hopkins of St. Clairsville, OH and brother James Johnson of Pittsburgh. Opal outlived her husband by six years and made her home at 1504 Eastview Northeast. 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, her remains were laid to rest in Evergreen Memorial Gardens in Canton.
Dosha's stepdaughter Bessie Kennedy (1911- ? ) was born in about 1911.
Dosha's stepdaughter Claudia Kennedy (1913) was born in about 1913 in Philippi.
Dosha's stepson Carson Kennedy (1914- ? ) was born in about 1914. At the age of 17, on Feb. 28, 1931, he was wedded to 19-year-old Leona Norris (1912- ? ), daughter of William and Frances Norris. Rev. Norman P. Farrior officiated at the nuptials held in Philippi. Leona was two years older, and Carson fibbed on his marriage license, stating that he was 19 years old. The Kennedys lived in Philippi before relocating to Canton and were the parents of three daughters -- Revel Zelastine Kennedy, Lola Collins and Shelda Jane (Kennedy) Kennedy. They also lost an unnamed infant in a premature birth on July 2, 1931, with the baby's tender remains placed into repose in Chestnut Ridge Cemetery. When the federal census enumeration was made in 1940, the Kennedys dwelled in Philippi, with Carson earning a living providing labor for road work. Leona's widowed father, 56-year-old William Norris, lived under their roof and also worked doing road labor.
Dosha's stepson Robert Kennedy (1916-1982) was born on Nov. 26, 1916. On Nov. 4, 1938, when he was 21 years of age, he was joined in wedlock with 15-year-old cousin Evelene Croston (March 17, 1922-2010), daughter of Earl and Laura "Fez" (Mayle) Croston of Philippi, of the family of Francis "Frank" Mayle. See Frank's biography for more details.
Dosha's stepdaughter Dorothy Kennedy (1919- ? ) was born in about 1919. At age 14, on Nov. 13, 1933, she married 20-year-old Luther Croston (1913- ? ), son of Albert and Inez Croston. The wedding was performed at Meriden by Rev. R.L. Parker. They resided in Canton and produced these known offspring -- Marvin Wayne Croston (1956-2015), Darlene Allender, Louise Mayle, Donna Buskirk and David Lee Croston.
Dosha's son Correll Kennedy (1937-1972) was born on Aug. 31, 1937 in Philippi. On April 2, 1960, when he was 22 years of age, Correll married 21-year-old Velvie Johnson (Nov. 2, 1938- ? ), daughter of Hayward and Bertie Johnson. Rev. J. Frank Peoples, of St. Peter's Methodist Church of Philippi, led the marriage ceremony. (Showing that the two families were close, Velvie's brother Shirley was wed to Correll's sister Opal.) The couple produced three children -- Correll (or "Carroll") Kennedy, Jane Kennedy and Mary Kennedy. They dwelled in Philippi, where Correll earned a living through his work for the Mineral Coal Company. Tragically, the family was cleaved apart on June 21, 1971 when Correll died at the age of 33. Rev. Peoples -- who had performed the Kennedys' marriage ceremony some 11 years earler -- conducted the funeral service in the Chestnut Ridge United Methodist Church. Correll rests for eternity in Welch Cemetery in Philippi.
Dosha's son Harold Kennedy ( ? -2003) married Diane Dalton ( ? - ? ). They dwelled in Moatsville, Barbour County in 1971. He is believed to have died in 2003.
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 ( ? - ? ), and they were together circa 1971 when named in her mother's newspaper obituary. 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 stepdaughter Dollie Mayle wed (?) Davis and lived in 1971 in Philippi.
Dosha's stepdaughter Helen Mayle resided in 1971 in Moatsville.
Dosha's stepson Eulah "Ulie" Mayle was in Moatsville in 1971.
Dosha's son Ira K. Mayle (1946-1994) was born on June 19, 1946. Circa 1971, his home was in Moatsville, Barbour County. 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.
Magdalene was a graduate of Ohio University in Athens, quite an accomplishment at that time.
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 ~
Son Emard Mayle (1905-1923) was born in 1905. In 1910, when shown in his family's household in that year's federal census, his name was written as "Emert."
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 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 (May 3, 1914-1999), 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 Quentin Mayle, Tressie Walton, Olivia Spiva, Barbara Newman, Geraldine Mayle and Okey Mayle Jr.
Circa 1959-1968, he resided in Detroit, MI, but later returned to his home region of Philippi. 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."
Sadly, Rosalee passed away at the age of 84 on Feb. 27, 1999. Funeral services were held in her husband's church, Okey's Gospel Chapel, with their son Menelus officiating in cooperation with Rev. Rebecca Carr and Rev. Winfield Mayle.
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 -- and in the Fall 1999 edition of Goldenseal Magazine in an article co-authored by his grand-niece, Beverly Joanne (Johnson) Smith.
He died at the age of 91 on April 11, 1994, and was laid to rest in the Chestnut Ridge Cemetery near his ancestors.
Son Rev. 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.
~ 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.
~ Daughter Icie Clara (Mayle) Norris ~
Daughter Icie Clara Mayle (1912-1955) was born in 1912.
She married Isaac Norris (1893-1974) 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 survived his wife by almost two decades. He joined her in eternity in November 1974.