David L. Oles

May 6, 1989.

     The first Oles footprints in Calhoun County West Virginia were those of Joseph Garibaldi Oles (b. 17 August 1861; Riceville, PA), his wife Mabel Lestina [Scott] (b. 8 May 1868; Athens, PA), and their three children who came to Grantsville in April, 1903. They arrived from Ludlow, Pennsylvania, where Joseph had operated a small carbon black factory for several years. "J. G." or "Pop" Oles, as Joseph was often known by the town's folk, became the superintendent of one of the carbon black (lamp black) factories in the area owned by Godfry L. Cabot. J. G. later owned and operated some of the many gasoline powered boats that hauled carbon black and other goods down the Little Kanawha River to Parkersburg. Some of his boats included the Acme, Virginia Rhodes I and II, the G. L. Cabot, and the J. G. Oles, which was powered by a whopping eight horsepower gasoline engine. "Pop" Oles died in Grantsville on 4 November 1930. His wife Mabel died the following year on 15 February.

     The children of Joseph and Mabel Oles remained in the Grantsville area for many years. Velma Faye (b. 5 September 1888; Ludlow, PA), was a nurse; she married Gay Hardman of Roane County and had 11 children. John Norman (b. 13 December 1890; Ludlow, PA) married Amy [Bell] and remained a resident of Grantsville until his death (from appendicitis) on 13 July 1916. They had four children including a set of twins, Velma and Norma. Lynn Scott (Sr) (b. 22 February 1897; Ludlow, PA) married Grace Lucreta [Smith]. "Gracie" (b. 14 February; Butler, PA) was one of 13 children born to Joseph Miller Smith and Charlotte "Jenny" [Slagle]. Joseph brought his family to Calhoun County from Butler County Pennsylvania on 13 October 1904 and worked as the superintendent of another of Cabot's carbon black factories until his death on 15 August 1915. His son, "Mont" Smith and grandson "Emery," remained long-time residents of Grantsville. J. G. and Mabel's youngest child, David Loren ("Sam") Oles, was the first Oles born in Calhoun County (20 Jul 1904 at Cabot Station). He was named after his grandfathers, David Newman Scott and Loren K. Oles. Sam married Lonnie May [Gilbert] and resided in the area until he died from a heart attack on 24 March 1963. He and Lonnie May never had children.

     Sam, Norman, and Lynn all assisted J. G. in the river boat operation for several years. Sam eventually completed college and became an accountant for several gas and oil companies in the area. Lynn held positions on the town council and in the 1920s, was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates. He also owned and operated the Oles Garage on Mill Street for many years. Lynn, Gracie, and their children occupied the large house on Main Street which was next to the building that once housed Marshall's Confectionery, and later the A & P grocery store. In their later years, they could often be found sitting on their front porch swing enjoying conversations with friends passing by in the evening. Lynn died on 7 July 1964 and his wife Gracie died on 19 January 1980; both are buried in the Bethlehem Cemetery at Grantsville, where many Oles relations are laid to rest.

     Lynn and Gracie had four children, all born and reared in Grantsville. Mabel Charlotte Oles (b. 27 November 1915) first married Richard Prim and had a daughter Roberta. She later married Otto Howes; there were no children from this union. Joseph Gara ("Gary") Oles (21 April 1918 - 15 November 1987) married Audra Kelly (d/o William and Lorena [Stump] Kelly of Grantsville) and had four children; Carol, William, Barbara, and Lisa. Barbara, born on 18 September 1950, was the last Oles born in Grantsville. John Norman (b. 7 January 1920) married Eva [Phillips] and had two children, Sue Ann and Lynda. Lynn Scott Oles, Jr. (b. 22 December 1923) married Willa Frances [Jarvis], a member of another long established Calhoun County clan. They had two children, David Loren and Rahn Stuart. No Oles descendants currently reside in Calhoun County. All that remains are the footprints in time, left behind.

Note: The above was written for, and published in:
The History of Calhoun County West Virginia, 1989;
Don Mills Inc., & The Calhoun County Historical Society, Inc.; 1990.