Thursday, June 13, 2013

Wiley Jobes, 1886-1953

JOBES, WILEY, fiddler, middle-aged in 1930s; unlettered; itinerant in Greene County and adjacent West Virginia communities.

Wiley Jobes was born on July 25, 1886 in Greene County, Pennsylvania, to George Jobes and Margaret Ellen Pearson. It's uncertain whether his father died or his parents separated or divorced, but on October 16, 1897, when Wiley was eleven, his mother married Jacob Harvey Henthorn in Tyler County, West Virginia. It was Jacob's first marriage, Margaret's second, and Rev. D. H. Elder performed the ceremony.

So far, the family has eluded me in the 1900 census, but in 1910, the Henthorn family was renting a house on Fish Creek Road in Springhill Township, Greene, Pennsylvania, the county where Margaret was born. The household included Jacob H. Hentham, age 45; Margaret E., wife, age 43, George W., son, age 8, Huldah K., daughter, age 3, and Wiley, stepson, age 22. Margaret is shown as the mother of five children, three living, but it's uncertain whether they were Wiley's full or half siblings.

Both Wiley and his stepfather were laborers at odd jobs. Jacob reported steady work in 1909, but Wiley, then in his early twenties, had been out of work 20 weeks during the year. No one in the family could read, but George was attending school, and the census taker noted that Wiley could write, most likely his name and little else.

Another man on the same census page also earned his living doing odd jobs--he was listed servant to the head of household where he was enumerated--but the Hentham's nearby neighbors included a rig builder and a driller in the oil industry, a blacksmith, a merchant, a physician, a public school teacher, and farm and oil field laborers.

Wiley never married, but in 1920, he was renting in the Church District of Wetzel County, West Virginia, working as a laborer to support a household that included his two half-siblings,  George, age 16, and Hulda, age 13, and his widowed mother. Both of Wiley's half-siblings were literate and Hulda was still attending school.

I haven't been able to find Wiley in 1930 yet, but he was living in Jefferson County, Ohio in 1935.

By 1940 he was back in Pennsylvania, living with his cousin Bert Rogers in Freeport, Greene, Pennsylvania. Burt, age 30, was married to Ethel, age 21, and they had two small children, Jeannette and Frankie. David Rogers, age 68, Bert's father, was also in the household.

The 1940 census asked detailed questions about employment. During the last week of March, Bert had been working on road construction in a government relief job. Wiley, whose previous job is given as forestry laborer, was unemployed and unable to look for work. Bert had worked 40 weeks during 1939 and had earned $405. Wiley had not been employed during that year.

The census suggests that Bert, Ethel, David, and Wiley each had an eighth-grade education but it seems unlikely that it was true for Wiley.

Two years later, on April 27, 1942, when Wiley registered for the draft, he was living at 2648 Main Street in Wheeling, Ohio, West Virginia, working for the Works Progress Administration. He was described as 5' 9" tall, 145 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair, and a light complexion and the tips of his index and middle fingers on the right hand were missing. His alternate contact, someone who would always know his address, was Columbus Garrison, a neighbor living at 2642 Main Street.

I don't know how Wiley spent the next ten years, but there was a Social Security number listed on his death certificate which suggests that he might have received some sort of benefit.

He was in Wheeling when he died on January 19, 1953 at the age of 66. The cause of death was coronary occlusion and the illness had lasted just short of six months. Daisy Garrison was the informant on his death certificate. He's buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery in Wheeling.


History of Society Security in the United States

PDF of Source Documents


West Virginia. State Department of Health. "Search Death Records." Database and images.  West Virginia Division of Culture and History. : 2013.

1910 U.S. Federal Census, Greene County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Springhill Township, Enumeration District 119, Sheet 4A, p. 76 (stamped), Dwelling 62, Family 62, Jacob H. Henthorn; digital image, ( : accessed 12 June 2013), National Archives microfilm publication T624, Roll 1349.

1920 U.S. Federal Census, Wetzel County, West Virginia, population schedule, Church District, Enumeration District 137, Sheet 11A, p. 193 (stamped), Dwelling 205, Family 206, Wiley Jobes; digital image, ( : accessed 12 June 2013), National Archives microfilm publication T625, Roll 1972.

1940 U.S. Federal Census, Greene County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Freeport Township, Enumeration District 30-15, Sheet 6A, Dwelling 116, Bert Rogers; digital image, ( : accessed 12 June 2013), National Archives microfilm publication T627, Roll 3512.

United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [Fourth Draft; 'Old Man's Draft']," digital images, FamilySearch accessed 13 June 2013), card for Wiley Jobes, serial no. 2406, Selective Service Local Board Richey County, Wheeling, Ohio, West Virginia; citing World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of West Virginia, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) microfilm publication M1937, no roll cited; Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 2,240,091.

Dodd, Jordan, comp., West Virginia Marriage Records, 1863-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.

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