Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Sawmiller, William P. Wehrly (1845-1909), 52 Ancestors # 15

The 15th Ancestor in my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project is my paternal great-great grandfather, William P. Wehrly (1845-1909).  William is number 18 on my Ahnentafel list, and previously I've written about the details of his life in an Exploratory Analysis post.

I am descended through:
* his daughter, # 9 Barbara Isabel Wehrly (1869-1930), married # 8 Luman Cooper LeMasters (1867-1933), in 1886.
* their son, # 4 Ord Wehrly LeMaster (1906-1971), married # 5 Ruth Pauline Haley (1911-1990) in 1932 - my grandparents
William was born November 2, 1845 in Preble County, Ohio1,2. William was the youngest of a family of 9 children born to John S. and Barbara (Petry) Wehrly.  The Petrys & Wehrlys had migrated from Pennsylvania to Ohio in the early 1820s, settling first in Stark County and then in Monroe Township, Preble County, Ohio.

William was enumerated with his family in the 1850 census in Monroe Township, Preble County, Ohio3.  In 1854, his family moved to Jay County, Indiana, settling in Madison Township near Salamonia.  By the 1860 census, he was enumerated in Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana4, where it was noted he had attended school within the year.

In October 1863, William enlisted as a Private in Company I in the 130th Indiana Regiment.  During his service, he was part of Sherman's march to the Sea and the battles at Nashville, Franklin and Atlanta.   I have his military and pension records and will make the subjects of future blog posts.  After the war, he returned to Salamonia where he married Olive Jane Smith on August 5, 18661,2.

Marriage record William P. Wehrly to Olive Jane Smith, Jay County, Indiana

There is a nice biographical write up of William's life in Biographical Memoirs of Jay County, Indiana, published in 1901.

Salamonia's sawmill was bought by William in 1876 and he operated it for a number of years, employing over a dozen men in the town.  I've often wondered how many of the houses in that tiny village were built with the lumber he milled.

1887 atlas of Jay County, map of Lancaster/Salamonia
If you enlarge the map, you can see that the saw mill was located just south of town near the river.  I would love to find a picture of what the mill looked like.

According to the biography, William was a well-respected man in Salamonia, and served as town treasurer for a number of years5.

William and Olive lived out their lives in the town and when William died on June 14, 19096 he was buried in the Salamonia Cemetery.


1. Brown, Walter L., "The Maxson Family, Descendants of John Maxson and Wife, Mary Mosher of Westerly, Rhode Island", 1954, page 123.
2. Wehrly, Blaine & Gladys, "Wehrly & Smith Family History." Report to Wehrly Reunion New Castle, Indiana, 16 August 1970. Photocopy held by Travis LeMaster.
3. 1850 U.S. census, Preble County, Ohio, population schedule, Monroe Township, dwelling 71, family 71; digital images, ( 30 August 2015); National Archives, Washington, D.C.
4. John S. Whorley household, 1860 U.S. census, population schedule, Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana, page 9, Salamonia P.O., dwelling 59, family 59, National Archives micropublication M653, roll 269.
5. Biographical Memoirs of Jay County, Indiana, B.F. Bowen Company, Chicago, 1901.
6. Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Indiana State Board of Health. Death Certificates, 1900–2011. Microfilm. Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.
, Wm. P. Wherly, 6-14-1909, Jay County, Indiana.

The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge was created by Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small blog.  The premise is to write once a week about a specific ancestor - whether it be a story, a biography, a photograph or a research problem.

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