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The Life of Holmes Wiley 1800-1878 , Garrett Co., MD

Hoye's Pioneer Families of Garrett Co., MD

"Holmes Wiley was born in 1800 in Pennsylvania and died in 1878 in Garrett Co., Maryland.  He was the son of John Wiley, Sr. and an English woman named Mary Ann Pannett.  John Wiley was an Irishman who settled in old Grantsville on the Braddock Road.  He and his sons worked on the National Road and the Little Crossings bridge when they were under construction.  He was a shoemaker by trade.
Holmes was one of the areas noted hunters. 

John Brown wrote in his book the following about Holmes:

'Wiley was a remarkable man in many respects; of a commanding presence, with a powerful constitution, capable in his better days of enduring almost any hardship, endowed with excellent judgement and strong common sense and a memory which scarecely ever failed him.
He was a farmer by vocation but the rifle and the hunt were his enjoyments throughout a long life.
Wiley was somewhat primitive in his habits, but a kindhearted and generous man.  He raised a large family, but none of his sons inherited their father's fondness for the woods.'

Holmes Wiley settled and owned what is now the Rush[sic, Resh] farm four miles north of Bittinger, then the center of a well forested area full of wild animals.  His log house and barn stood on the hill above where Christopher Orendorf (who later owned the farm) built his house.  The members of the Church of the Brethren met in the Wiley barn.  Wiley's first land purchase was military lot 2330, which he bought for $23 in 1835 from Eli Ridgely.  He also patented the "Sulphur Spring" tract of which, in 1871, he deeded lots 2315 and 2316 to James P. Wiley and lots 2310 and 2311 to Thomas B. Wiley.
Wiley and his first wife are buried in the family graveyard of their home; their graves are unmarked.  Wiley was an active old man.  One late winter day he insisted on walking alone from his home to visit his son, Thomas, south of Bittinger.  The way was long and the snow deep; the old hunter became exhausted; he knelt by a maple tree, prayed for strength, and finally reached his son's home, but pneumonia set in and he soon passed.
Holmes Wiley first married Elizabeth, daughter of Peter Yeast of Chestnut Ridge.  His second wife was Nancy[nee Woodin, also Yeast, Layman] Hufford.
Holmes Wiley was a Democrat in Politics until Buckhannon's[sic] administration.  Three of his sons, Sampson, Thomas and James P. served in the Union Army.
Grant Wiley of Grantsville is a son of James P. Wiley whose wife, Barbara, is still living at an advanced age."

Holmes Wiley Married (1) Elizabeth, daughter of Peter Yeast of Chestnut Ridge.
Their children were:
(1) Maria, m. Thomas Wilburn.
(2) Alexander, b. 1831, m. Martha Garlitz.
(3) Sampson, unm.
(4) Sarah, m. Walter Engle.
(5) Jane, m. Walter Engle.
(6) Rebecca, m. Abraham Miller.
(7) Thomas, m. (1) Isabella Lohr; (2) Lydia Winterberg.
(8) Elizabeth, m. Walter Engle.
(9) James Polk, b. March 14, 1845, m. Barbara, daughter of Conrad Myers, a German.
(10) John, unm.

From "History of Western Maryland Including Biographical Sketches", Vol 2, Garrett County and Districts, by J. Thomas Scharf (page 1520):

"Holmes Wiley's father was Thomas Wiley, a native of England, one of the first settlers of Garrett County.  He died about 1850.  He took great pleasure in being able to vote without having been naturalized (though born in the old country), from the fact of his being older than the constitution of 1789.  Joseph T. Wiley, the youngest son of Thomas, and a brother of Holmes Wiley, the hunter, fell dead Nov. 10, 1881, of heart disease, on the streets of Grantsville, in his sixty-second year.  He was the last living child of Thomas, the pioneer."


Receipt for preaching sermon at funeral of Holmes Wiley

4 February 1879

From The History of Western Maryland

HOLMES WILEY

"Holmes Wiley, who died recently, aged seventy-seven years, was the last of the three hunters of the olden times in Garrett.  First, Christian Garlitz, father of B. T. Garlitz, of Cumberland, died many years ago, whom Meshach Browning, the Nimrod of the forest, and historian of his own achievements, followed some twenty years since, and recently the junior of the trio expired.
Wiley was a remarkable man in many respects; of a commanding presence, with a powerful constitution, capable in his better days of enduring almost any hardship, endowed with excellent judgment and strong common sense, and a memory that scarcely ever failed him.  He was a farmer by vocation, but the rifle and the hunt were his enjoyments throughout his long life.  None but himself could enumerate his many achievements in the the mountains of what is now Garrett County.  One of his exciting adventures he narrated somewhat as follows: While out hunting on a winter day he came upon the track of a powerful wolf.  He pursued the animal to it's den in a cavern in Negro Mouintain.  He at once saw that it was beyond his reach unless he could follow the beast to its lair.  The entrance to the cave was only large enough to allow a man to approach in a crawling  attitude.  In this manner he felt his way in utter darkness for a long distance, with the reliable rifle at his side, until the glare of the eyes of the enraged animal disclosed its position.  A crack from the gun, and in a moment the fierce growl ceased.  The old huntsman was too well skilled in forest life to rush upon his game at once, but when he approached it was found to be dead.  The leaden missive had struck a vital point, and to his surprise and satisfaction be found six live whelps with the dead mother, all of which were brought forth and scalped, for which trophies he secured one hundred and thirty dollars, under the law as it then stood in regard to the destruction of these animals.  Wiley often said this was a pretty good return for an ounce of lead, half as much powder, and a little trembling in the boots.  But he observed that there was a little more grumbling that fiscal year than usual among the tax-payers.  He said this was his last encounter with the wolf tribe, as soon after, the Baltimore and Ohio railroad Company extended its road through the bounds of the county, and drove them off entirely.  Wiley was somewhat primitive in his habits, but a kind-hearted and generous man.  He raised a large family of children, but none of his sons inherited his fondness for the "woods".
His second wife was the noted Nancy Hufford, who was tried and acquitted in 1856 [actually 1851] of the charge of poisoning Mrs. Engle.
Holmes Wiley's father was Thomas Wiley, a native of England, one of the first settlers of Garrett County.  He died about 1850.  He took great pleasure in being able to vote without having been naturalized (though born in the old country), from the fact of his being older than the constitution of 1789.  Joseph T. Wiley, the youngest son of Thomas, and a brother of Holmes Wiley, the hunter, fell dead Nov. 10, 1881, of heart disease, on the streets of Grantsville, in his sixty-second year.  He was the last living child of Thomas, the pioneer."



 


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