last modified on July 1, 2000
jbl2403 at earthlink dot net

reezy at hevanet dot com

Amy E. Lyles
1881 to 1953
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Documents: military, deeds, plats, wills & probate,miscellaneous

Mountain Rest, SC
Obituaries and notices


Resting places
David Lyles
H.Isham Lyles
Westley Lyles
Who was Joseph Lyles (1792-1870)?
Joseph Lyles (Jr)
William A. Lyles, p.2
James Turner Lyles
Robert M. Lyles
Obadiah C. Lyles
Fairfield Co. Lyles
Fowler family
Vissage family
Where did William A. Lyles spring from?

We can confidently track our Lyles family line back to William Albert Lyles in Oconee County, South Carolina--but no further.

William A. Lyles appeared in the Federal Census for the first time in 1850, living in what was then the western part of the Pickens District of South Carolina, now Oconee County, South Carolina. He had married Mary Fowler, and they had produced five children--Sarah Ellen Lyles (1841), Robert Martin Lyles (1843), Obadiah Coleman Lyles (1845), James Turner Lyles (1846), and Zillah Lyles (1847). We inferred from the ages of the children that William A. and Mary Fowler were probably married in 1840, though they had not appeared as a separate household in the 1840 federal census. We could not tell what household they lived in 1840.

The only other paltry evidence that we had about William A. Lyles's early days was a scrap of information gleaned by Marilynn P. Lyles from our Great Aunt Amy Lyles: William A. Lyles and a Joseph Lyles were trustees, along with John W. Gassaway, of now-vanished Salem Methodist Church on Choestoea Creek in 1844. Recently, we have confirmed that gleaning; we have found the deed to the church's land that named William Lyles and Joseph Lyles among the church trustees.

In 1850, William A. and Mary Fowler Lyles and their five children were living in lower Oconee County next to Joseph Lyles(Sr) and Zilla Ward Lyles and tolerably close to five other Lyles families.

But our family records are silent about our relations with the other Lyleses. Who was William A. Lyles' father? Who was his mother? Aunt Amy Lyles (1881-1953), who lived all her life in Oconee County and who is the source of our family lore, did not tell us.

Here's what Aunt Amy left us to ponder

There was only one David Lyles (c.1765 to c.1840) of the right age in the South Carolina censuses from 1790 to 1830. He died about 1840 in Oconee County near the other Lyleses. Where David Lyles had come from is not certain, except that he may well have come from the Fairfield County, SC, branch of the Lyleses by way of Union County. Between the early 1780s and 1801, he and his wife Deborah had made a family of five daughters and three sons--Joseph, H. Isham, and Wesley--in Edgefield County, S.C. These are the known children.

But there is some evidence that David Lyles may have started a second family. By 1820, David and Deborah Lyles were apparently living separately. He had moved into the Pendleton District and she had moved to Abbeville, where she died about 1825. In 1830, David Lyles was living in the western Pickens District, and in his household there were several people who haven't been accounted for--a woman about his age, a younger female, and a 10- to 15-year-old boy.

Also by 1830, sons Joseph and Wesley had brought their own households to the Pickens District to live next to David Lyles. In 1840, son H. Isham Lyles appeared next door. And in the same neighborhood where David Lyles had lived, the 1840 census listed Mary Lyles, age 50-60. Although she has not yet been identified, there's a fair chance that she was the woman listed in the David Lyles household from 1820 onward.

After David Lyles died in 1839 or very early 1840, we knew from a brief note from one of our correspondents that Joseph Lyles administered David Lyles' estate in 1840 and sold 100 acres of David Lyles's land on Chauga Creek to James H. Dendy. Now, in June 1999, we have recovered two deeds involving the sale of David Lyles' land. Along with Joseph Lyles, our William A. Lyles figures in both deeds.

Two more yet-unidentified Lyles households showed up near the other Lyleses--in 1840, the Levi Lyles household and in 1850, the Littleton Lyles family. Levi Lyles and Littleton Lyles may have been among the males unaccounted for in the Deborah, David, and Joseph Lyles (Sr) households in the censuses of 1820, 1830, and 1840.

Joseph Lyles (Sr) (1792-1870), the eldest son of David Lyles, gives us similar puzzles. Late in life, in 1846, he married Zilla Ward, and they had no children. But was he married earlier in life, perhaps after his discharge from the army in 1814 at Savannah, Georgia? A 1920 letter suggests that he might have been. Did he have children from an earlier marriage? One of the sons of Joseph Lyles, Jr., Samuel Jason Lyles (1870-1952), believed that his father's father was Joseph Lyles, (Sr). Could William A. Lyles also have been one of those children? We haven't found the documentary records yet. But some strong circumstantial evidence, including some land deeds and plats we've just discovered, leads us to think that Joseph Lyles was the father of William A. Lyles. (See Who was Joseph Lyles ?)

1852 to 1857--
Our Lyles line withdraws to Mountain Rest.
Was there a family rift?

Sometime In the years between 1852 and 1857, our Lyles line seemingly withdrew from the rest of the Oconee Lyleses, perhaps because of a rift in the family.

Sometime between 1852 and 1857, the William A. Lyles family moved from Westminster up to Mountain Rest, where they helped build Double Springs Church. There is very little evidence that the Mountain Rest Lyleses communicated much with the lower Oconee Lyleses after that, except maybe during the Civil War, when some were in the same South Carolina Confederate units. What was the rift all about? We just don't know. But we do know that up to the present day the descendants in each of the two branches heard almost nothing about their kin in the other branch. A great-grandson of William Albert Lyles remembers hearing his elders speak of some kind of argument between William Albert and his brother (named Joseph). An older descendent of the lower Oconee Lyleses remembers that when she was young, the family talked freely about most of their kin, but when the subject of Lyles kin came up, the elders switched to other topics of conversation. Now, nearly a 150 years later, we are recovering our connections.

1852 to 1862--illness and war hit the Mountain Rest Lyleses

The decade between 1852 and 1862 hit the life of the Mountain Rest family hard. In 1852, the youngest child, Zillah, died in Westminster, about her fifth birthday. The oldest child, Sarah, did not marry. William Albert and his three boys all served in South Carolina Confederate units during the war, and two of the boys, Robert Martin and Obadiah Coleman, died in the summer of 1862. Until just recently we haven't known where or when they perished. Now we know.

Only James Turner Lyles survived the war and married. He wed Selena Vissage Lyles in the late 1870s, and they produced four children and made us latter-day Lyleses possible.

These web pages were originally created by James Robert Lyles III together with his cousin, Joseph Bryan Lyles. Following Jim's death on April 20, 2000, Bryan has taken on maintaince of the web pages with the assistance of Jim's sister, Marianne Lyles.

Go to William A. Lyles, page 2