Herbert Wilt
Herbert Stanley Wilt

Herbert Stanley Wilt


        Herbert Stanley Wilt was born in Garrett County Maryland at Mountain Lake Cozy Row on June 27, 1904. He moved with his parents to the Dennon Hotel Caretaker house and while living there his father was injured in a lumbering accident when he was three years old. (November 15, 1907). His sister, Loretta died while his father was in the hospital (February 1908). His father, John Hanson Wilt died on November 30 1910. After his father's death, his uncle George made it possible for the Wilt family to buy a house on Old State Road about one mile out of Oakland. While living along the State Road, Bert (Herbert) made friends with a lady by the name of Mrs Truman (Martha) Castell. He was just a little tow head boy of eight. Martha had a 1912 Ford and Bert was always ready to ride with her. Mother Wilt always worked and Susie, his sister, took care of the boys and the home. Susie married in 1913 to Arthur Holbert and moved to West Virginia to live. Bert's mother then married a man by the name of Jehu Williams but this marriage didn't last long, the older boys asked Jehu to leave and he left. They sold their house to Harry and Bertha McRobie and moved to the Naylor Farm on Broadford Creek, not far from Mountain Lake Park. Sarah Weimer McRobie, Bert's grandmother, had lived with them since her husband died (Samuel McRobie) in 1899. In later years Bert would remember how he would sit on his Grandmother's knee when he was little and she would speak to him and tell him stories in what he thought was Dutch but she was speaking (deutsch) German. They moved from the farm to Oak St. in Oakland. His grandmother McRobie died while they lived here in 1918. Herbert (known as Bert later as Bud) was always doing odd jobs, like building and banking fires and tending furnaces in the winter. His first job was delivering groceries for Ed Offett of Offett's Store in a little red wagon. He tended fires in some of the larger houses in the area making twenty five cents a day. Of course, he could do several furnaces a day. When local men found out how much money could be made tending furnaces he lost his job. They moved from Oak St. to the Moneypenny property near the high school. After moving to West Virginia Susie had her first son, Forest Dale but returned to live with her mother when her second son was due to be born. Harry Stanley was born August 21, 1919. About this time Bert got a job in Leisenring, Pennsylvania in the coal mines. He worked there for a short time and then came to Four States, West Virginia. He was working at Four States when his brother Henry died on November 13, 1923 in a mining accident. In 1925 Bert returned to Oakland and worked as a taxi driver, first for Bill Shaffer and then for Burlyn Hollar. (Believe it or not the taxis were radio dispatched in Oakland in 1925). He was driving taxi while Deep Creek Lake was being built. In 1926 his mother broke up house keeping and her son Ernest took the furniture. Bert (now known as Bud) and his brother George came to West Virginia to live with their sister, Susie, who lived on Shaw Run off Little Bingamon Creek in Harrison Co. They both got a job at Nora Mines at Martins Road on Big Bingamon Creek. They went to work on October 9, 1926.

        They then moved out and rented a shanty in the mining camp at Nora Mines. Shortly after that George joined the Marines, serving until March 18, 1932 with a tour in China. Bud's cousin Loree (Socks) McRobie came to work and lived with him. Loree only stayed for a short time and he also joined the Marines. Loree remained in the Marines for 30 years until retirement. After Loree left for the Marines, Bud moved and was a boarder with Belle Lucas. Just before he moved to the Belle Lucas home, Bud attended a Box Social at the Long Run School and this is where he met Virginia Stiles. (The rule was, when you bought a box lunch that had been prepared by a young lady you were to share your lunch with that young lady. Bud bought several lunches to take back to his friends and one of the lunches he bought was that of Catherine, Virginia's younger sister. She was very upset when Bud just took the lunches and left).

        He only boarded at Belle Lucas's for a short time and then moved to the home of Ashby and Mabel Stiles to board until 1928 when he returned to Crellin, Maryland to work. Bud returned to West Virginia and was married to Virginia Stiles on February 4, 1929 in the United Brethren Church parsonage by Rev. S.A. Jesse at 940 Clark St. Shinnston, West Virginia. They went to live in Crellin, Maryland with Bud's brother and sister-in-law (Ernest and Lillian). They later moved to a furnished room on Liberty St. near the Presbyterian Church upstairs over Resse and Mabel Friend. They bought a Model "T" Ford from Rechkert and Godfelty and came to West Virginia for a visit and took Virginia's sister, Catherine, back with them for a one month visit. When they returned Catherine home they found that the mines were starting to pick up in work so they borrowed fifty dollars from Virginia's parents (John and May Stiles) to pay for the remainder of the cost of the Model "T" Ford and moved in with Virginia's mother and father for a short time. Bud got a job at Kelly Mines and they rented a house from Talbot (Tally) Piggot, bought furniture (Bow End Bed, table and chairs, porcelain top table, rocking chair, etc.) and went to house keeping on July 14, 1929. Bud got a job then at Nora Mines, at Martins Road, working for Ed Heldrith. Tally's son, Ed, wanted the house in which they were living so Bud and Virginia rented a company house above the railroad at Martins Road and moved in the early of 1930.

        Their first child, Barbara, was born there on January 28, 1930. Virginia's brother, Ashby, had gotten a job working for the American Visco Company in Parkersburg, West Virginia and Ed Heldrith had moved into Ashby's house across Bigamon Creek from the mining camp. Ed liked a house that Levi and Carrie Moore lived in and Carrie wanted the small cottage that Bud and Virginia lived in so everyone moved and Bud and Virginia ended up living in Ashby's house. Work was starting to slow in the mines so when Barbara was 6 weeks old Bud went to Webster Spring and got a job with his brother-in-law, Leo Davis in the Elkhorn Mines owned by Curtin Lumber Company. He worked 6 weeks, got homesick and came home. Leo and Maggie (Virginia's sister) had a son, Fred at this time. Ashby was laid of at the plant in Parkersburg and he wanted to move back so Bud and Virginia rented a house from Jim Heldrith. Barbara was only three months old and she became very ill with whooping cough. Virginia cooked on a coal stove (called a TorchLight), heated by coal in an open grate, and had oil lights. Later that summer there was a drought but Bud and Virginia raised a good garden. In the fall they moved to a small cottage below the tracks in Martins Road, next door to Charlie and Susie Ogden. Susie was Virginia's first cousin. Labor trouble was brewing in the spring of 1931 and one very cold morning Bud looked out the window and saw a Lewis boy he knew on the picket line so he asked him in for breakfast. He ate with them and because of this Bud was accused of being a strike agitator. He was discharged and they were told to move out of company housing at Martins Road. This incident made Bud a life long union man and he was a strong union man the rest of his life. Since Ashby had been called back to the plant in Parkersburg Bud and Virginia moved back into his house. Times were very bad that year. Bud signed up for a Road Card and he only got a few days work, this was in 1932. Finally Bud got the trouble straightened out with the mines and they called him back to work. Coal business was bad and they were only paying one dollar and eighty cents a day and you had to pay ten cents for your mining light. Roosevelt was elected president and the NRA was put into effect. Nora Mines got a six months contract and the pay went up to three dollars and sixty cents a day. Times were getting better. The Nora Coal Company dropped their state compensation. George (Bud's brother) had been discharged from the Marine Corp and moved in with Bud and Virginia. He got a job at Nora Mines. Bud and George changed jobs and went to work for the Consolidation Coal Company at Owings West Virginia for four dollars and eighty cents a day on February 9, 1934. They boarded with Jerry Lucas at Willard. George married Hazel Brookover on December 30, 1933. Bud and Virginia rented half of a double house (duplex)) number eleven at Solon located in Shinnston. and moved on February 15, 1934. When they moved in Jim and Jane Odell were their neighbors in number twelve, but were separating so George bought their furniture and moved in with his wife. Bud and Virginia only lived here for a short time until they moved into a single cottage, number thirty two, at Solon. (All of the double houses in Solon were destroyed by the tornado in June 1944.) They lived in Solon until September 5, 1935 when they rented a house and eleven acres on Mudlick Rd. between Bethlehem and Enterprise, belonging to Charles Long. Here their second and third child was born, Richard Reese on December 5, 1935 and Dana Sue January 6, 1938. Dana died on July 22, 1938 of crib death syndrome. They lived here until May 1, 1945, when they bought a house in Shinston, 424 Howard St. in Pleasant Hill Addition. It was a new house, having been built, after the Shinnston tornado on June 24, 1944, by Santo Rotunda. In this house their last child was born, Kathryn on September 7, 1945. Bud continued working at Owings Mines until he was given the job as dispatcher on eleven to seven shift. This shift and job did not work out so Bud only worked for one year and then quit and went to work for Bethlehem Steel at their Carolina Mine on February 1947. He worked there for one year and then returned to work for the Consolidation Coal Company at Williams Mine (formerly Nora Mine on Bingamon). He worked at Williams Mine until 1961 when he was furloughed due to lack of business in the coal fields. He then went to work as a policeman in the City of Shinnston.

        He held this position until 1964 when the coal business improved and he returned to work at Williams Mine and retired at age 63 on June 24, 1967. (According to Social Security and Census records he was born in 1903 so he was officially retired at age 64) Bud and Virginia enjoyed retirement until he succumbed to ill health caused by black lung and the onset of Alzheimer's disease in February 1985 and was placed in St. Barbara Nursing Home in Monongah and passed away on June 13, 1985. Virginia remained at their home in Shinnston until March 16, 1998 when for health reasons she was placed in Asbury Height Nursing Home in Pittsburgh PA. Virginia passed away April 29, 2002. Bud and Virginia are both buried in the Masonic Cemetery, Shinnston, WV.

Return to Biography Index