go to the Wm A. Lyles page | created Oct 4,1999
go to the Joseph Lyles page

Somwhere in the middle of whatever fracas split up the Lyles family in the 1850s, there Zillah Ward Lyles seemed to be.

1815 or thereabouts--Zillah Ward was born somewhere in S.C.
1838-1840 or so--Zillah came to the western division of Picken District, most likely with her family. We don't know which Ward family it was.
1846--At age 30 or 31, she married Joseph Lyles, 54, at Westminster or near Madison. They were married by a justice of the peace, Edward Hughes. L.R. Ward of Clark County Georgia, and Thomas Jenkins of Oconee County, S.C., witnessed the ceremony. Did any other Lyleses attend? We don't know.
1847--William Albert and Mary Fowler Lyles named their fifth and last child Zillah. (Little Zillah died in 1853 and was buried somewhere around Westminster.) At the time, they were living either in the house with Joseph Lyles and Zillah Ward Lyles or just next door.
1850--The two unidentified young men, the woman, and the girl who had lived in the Joseph Lyles household in 1840 were now gone from the house. Now in in the house in 1850 Joseph Lyles had only Zillah Ward Lyles, young Caroline Moorhead, 15, (maybe as a serving woman to Zillah) and an infant boy, Franklin Moorhead. William Albert Lyles and Marry Fowler Lyles and their 5 children lived just next door.
1852--Five-year-old Zillah Lyles, daughter of William A. and Mary F. Lyles, died and was buried somewhere at Westminster in what Aunt Amy Lyles called "the family plot." In another Lyles family, Joseph Lyles, Jr., and Letty Ann Whisenant Lyles had a new infant daughter--Letty Ann Arzilla Lyles.
1855--Letty Ann Arzillah Lyles died. Neither of these Lyles families ever named a child Zillah again.
1852-1859--The William A. and Mary F. Lyles family moved from Westminster to Mountain Rest. From this time onward, there is no evidence that the Mt. Rest Lyleses were in touch with any of the Westminster Lyleses, except during the Civil War when several Mt. Rest Lyleses and Westminster Lyleses belonged to the same Confederate units.
1866--William A. Lyles borrowed $186.10 from E.P. Verner. The large loan, which William A. borrowed on Nov. 12, was due back with interest on Jan. 1, 1867. But William A. did not pay it back, and E.P. Verner sued and won a judgement against William A. in 1879 for the original loan and interest and costs--a total of $357.93. Did this have anything to do with E.P. Verner's work as executor of Joseph Lyles' estate and Zillah's efforts to keep the estate out of the hands of Joseph's heirs?
1869-1870--Joseph Lyles made out his will and added a codicil specifically designating the household cash and goods and the land to Zillah Ward Lyles during her lifetime and pleasure. If things were sold, however, the proceeds were supposed to go to the "legal heirs," whom Joseph did not specifically name. Wills--it's worth noting--were very uncommon in this area at the time, except for a few large estates. Joseph Lyles' estate was quite modest. Did Zillah cajole him to write the will? Did Zillah persuade Joseph Lyles to name E.P. Verner his executor? Joseph Lyles died in July 26, 1870.
1874--Starting in 1874, the peculiar probate of Joseph Lyles' will stretched out for 20 years, till 1894. It looks as if in the end Zillah--and perhaps E.P. Verner--kept all but a meager remainder of the estate out of the hands of Joseph's legal heirs.
1878--Zillah applied for a pension as a widow of a soldier of the War or 1812. Oddly, when she had to call witnesses to say that she had indeed married Joseph Lyles, she did not call on any Lyleses.
1880--Zillah sold the 194 acres upon which she lived to A.H. Land for the absurdly low price of $25, with the provision that she retain all rights while she lived. Because the land and estate were supposed to go to Lyles heirs after Zillah's death, it's hard to see why she made this sale--except to shortchange the heirs after her death. (Was E.P. Verner anywhere in the background of this sale?)
1890 or thereabout--Zillah died. We don't know what happened to her estate or where she was buried.

Zillah's Pension
Bounty Land Warrant
Residence of Soldier
Residence of Widow
Maiden Name of Widow
Date of Marriage
Death of Soldier
Joseph Lyles (he spells it Liles)
Zila Lyles
Capts. Keith & McQueen, Co. of U.S. Inf
8 October 1812
7 April 1814
1851-Pickens Dist SC
1878-Oconee Co. SC
Zila Ward
1846 near Westminster SC
26 July 1870 near Westminster SC
[The underscored blanks below indicate parts of the printed application form that were not filled in for Zillah's application.]
On this 11th day of April 1878 appeared Zila Lyles, aged 62 years, a resident of Westminster SC, declares that she is the widow of Joseph Lyles who volunteered under the name of Joseph Lyles at Edgefield SC on the ____ day of ____ 1812 as a private in the SC Infantry, commanded by ____ in the War of 1812; that he he was nearly all of the time at St. Mary's GA, having first volunteered and then enlisted in another command and was discharged at Savannah GA on the ____ day of ____ 1814. That he received a Land Warrant of 160 acres; that she was married under the name of Zila Ward to said Joseph Lyles on the ____ day ____ 1846 by Edward Hughes near Westminster SC, there being no legal barrier to such marriage; that her husband died near Westminster on the 26 day of July 1870, and that she has not remarried since his death; that she supports the Constitution of the United States, that she makes this declaration for the purpose of being on the pension rolls of the United States under the provisions of paragraphs 4737 and 4738 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, or under the provisions of any other act of Congress. She annuling all former Powers of Attorney, hereby appoints George E. Lemon of Washington, DC her Attorney to prosecute her claim and procure the issuance of a pension certificate to her; that no prior application has been filed by soldier or widow, that her post office address is Westminster, Oconee County, South Carolina.
Zila X Lyles
(If claimant sign by X mark, two persons who write their names must sign here as witnesses thereto)
wit: Thomas Jenkins
Joseph L. Harbert
In the matter of pension claim of Zila Lyles, widow of Joseph Lyles, appeared before me, L.R. Ward, age 62 years and residing at Watkinsville, Co. of Clark, GA, well known to me to be reputable, declare in the relation to aforesaid case: That he was present at the marriage of Joseph Lyles to the claimant whose maiden name was Zila Ward, which occurred in 1846 in Westminster SC. Marriage ceremony performed by Edward Hughes, Justice of the Peace.
Wit: J.M.A. Johnson, J.W. Johnson /s/ L. R. Ward
Came before me Zila Lyles and declared: That there is no record evidence of her marriage in existence, that the person who married her is dead, that the best evidence that she can give is that of witnesses who were present at her marriage and know that she and her husband lived together as man and wife for many years.
Wit: C.H. Smith, Samuel Lumpkin Zila X Ward
Came before me, Zila Lyles, a citizen of Westminster, County of Oconee SC, and declares: That her husband was born 9 Apr 1792 and died 26 July 1870. That she has resided near the above named place since 1840. That her husband enlisted in the lower part of the state but she does not know where, and was discharged at Savannah GA. That she cannot give the names of an officers under whom her husband served except Capt. or Lt. Leopold. That she cannot find any of her husband's comrades. That in 1856, 1857, or 1858 her husband procured a land warrant and sold it to E.P. Verner and that her husband forwarded his discharge when he procured the land warrant. That she frequently saw his discharge up to the time of the land warrant, but she has not seen it since. That the said land warrant was procured by Edward Hughes, deceased.
Wit: W.G. Gilmer, A.F. Gilmer Zila X Lyles
Personally appeared before me, Thomas Jenkins, age 69 years, and declared: That he was present at the marriage of Joseph Lyles to the claimant whose maiden name was Zilla Ward; which occurred in 1846 at Fort Madison SC, marriage performed by Edward Hughes, JP.
Wit: F.M. Whiten /s/ Thomas Jenkins
R.A. Gilmer, Notary Public, 17 May 1878
Personally appeared, Thomas Jenkins and Joseph L. Harbert, age 69 and 65 respectively, of Westminster SC, and declared: That they were personally acquainted with Joseph Lyles and Zilla, his wife, for 32 years prior to the death of Joseph Lyles in 1870. That the said Zilla Lyles has not remarried but has remained his widow to the present time.
Wit: H.L. Kelley /s/ Joseph L. Harbert
F.M. Whiten /s/ Thomas Jenkins
In the matter of pension claim of Zilla Lyles, widow of Joseph Lyles. Personally came before me, a Notary Public in and for the said County and State; E.P. Verner, a citizen near Westminster SC, and declared: That Joseph Lyles, husband of Zilla Lyle, owned a land warrant in the year 1857 or 1858, and I purchased the said land warrant from him.
Wit: D.D. Verner, R.H. Crosby /s/ E.P. Verner
Sworn to and subscribed before me this day by the above affiant. Witness my hand and seal this 15th day of Nov 1878.
R.A. Gilmer, Notary Public
SERVICE PENSION, War of 1812, Claim No. 18842, Cert. 14298, Original Case, Widow's Brief:
Zillah Lyles, widow of Joseph Lyles
(Rank: Corporal
(Capts: Keith & McQueen
(Regt: 8th Infantry
(State: U.S.
Post Office: Westminster, County of Oconee, State of South Carolina
Attorney: George E. Lemon, Washington DC, Fee $25.00, 19 Jun 1878
Application filed: April 16, 1878
Alleged Service: Volunteer under the name of Joseph Lyles at Edgefield SC in 1813 as a Private in SC Infantry and served 18 months in the War of 1812. Was nearly all of the time stationed at St. Mary's GA, having volunteered and then enlisted in another command and was discharged at Savannah GA in 1814.
Record evidence: 3rd Auditor's Report April 12, 1852. Joseph Liles served under Capt. Keith from 8 Oct 1812 to 7 Apr 1813, when discharged. On 31 Jul 1852, claimant is found to have enlisted for 18 months on 8 Oct 1812 and to have been discharged from Capt. William McQueen's Co. of 8th Infantry on 7 Apr 1814, and paid in full.
Parole evidence: Soldier's discharge as Corporal of Capt. McQueen's Co. of 8th Infantry from 7 Apr 1814 on file in B.L. [Bureau Land?]
Length of Service: Eighteen Months
Proof of Identity: Two identifying witnesses. Claimant alleges that soldier received land warrant for 160 acres, that he was born 9 Apr 1792. Age corresponds. E.P. Verner testifies that he bought a land warrant of this soldier.
Admitted: Dec 6, 1878 to a pension of $8.00 per month from 9 March 1878, the date of the Act. No pension previously applied for.
Approved: Dec. 9, 1878 Alexander R. Speel, Research
J.A. Compton Bounty Land Claim: 22083-160-50
Reviewer N.E. Robinson, Land Search
Rufus W. Durning, Examiner