The Robert Ohio Weibles, Circa 1951
What can we learn about lives we knew well, and to their fruition, when we look at a history taken some 60 years ago, when the bulk of their years — for most — were yet to be lived out?
This is where the second supplement to The History of Christian Metzger: Founder of an American Family finds us, at least where the family of my grandmother, Suzanne Abbott Weible, is concerned.
Ella Metzker Milligan’s 1941 book and 1951 supplement do a great job of detailing the lives of older ancestors. Such as my great-great-great-great grandparents Jakob and Nancy (Metzger) Weible’s journey from Pennsylvania to Tuscarawas County in the early 1800’s. Or the achievements of the children and grandchildren of my great-great-great grandparents, Frederick and Susanna (Schrock) Weible, as played out from the early 1900’s through the mid-20th century.
These sketches are brief, but fascinating. We learn the happy accomplishments of lives — education, marriage, children, work — without necessarily getting bogged down in the everyday or tragic. (Milligan practically ignores the circumstances surrounding the early deaths of family members like Otheo Weible or David Wible, or the stories of relatives who didn’t happen to leave hangers-on back in Tuscarawas County, pausing only to complain about the lack of information. Hmmmm. But wasn’t that her task? I digress.)
Where my extended family comes in, Milligan’s supplemental sketches in 1951 catch them shortly after their deaths (in the case of Robert Ohio Weible), but mostly on the cusp of their lives playing out, as is the case with Bob and Sue Ley, Bill and Ann Weible, and their older brother Arry, not to mention aunts and uncles who were just getting to toddling around.
To me, it’s like a time-capsule snapshot of how they, the information-givers, viewed the important milestones of their lives in the moment. And it’s all the sweeter for our knowledge today of what was to come. Which, with all due acknowledgment to Milligan, wasn’t always sublime, but on the whole, pretty sweet.
Robert Ohio Weible
The seventh child of Franklin Eli and Esther Bliss (Goddard) Weible — my great-grandfather — was born and died in Dover, Ohio. He married Beatrice Morgan of Carnegie, Pa. on May 6, 1914.
According to the supplement:
(He) was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. (A handy trick, considering his paternal ancestor, Jakob, came to America after 1800… but the Goddards and Blisses go waaaaaaay back. — Colt) He was a 32nd degree Mason; a Shriner; and a member of B.P.O.E. (Elks–C.) Also (as a hobby), he belonged to the Ohio Gun Collector’s Association.
He was appointed by Governor John Bricker as superintendent of purchases and printing for the state of Ohio. Later he was executive secretary for Ohio General Salvage Divisions of the War Production Board (and of the Ohio Salvage Committee).
That’s where Milligan’s record ends. I can add that R.O. died much too young. According to his death certificate, he was just 55 when he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage July 12, 1947, and died four days later in Union Hospital. His wife, whom we know better as M.A., and whose family we still know too little about, died in 1974. They’re buried in the Weible plot in Maple Grove Cemetery, Dover.
Robert Earl Ley Jr. and Suzanne Abbott (Weible) Ley
Grandpa and Grandma were just getting started as Milligan’s pages caught up with them. She records their family as:
Robert Earl Ley III, b. 11/19-1944
Sallie Ann Ley, b. 2/6-1947
Jean Abbott Ley, b. 3/31-1948
Of Grandpa, the supplement notes: “Lieut (j.g.)… (physician and surgeon at present) of Dover, Ohio.” At the time, they’d been married just eight years. They would go on to raise four more children, and enjoy their time with 14 grandchildren and, today, they can boast another 8 great-grandchildren — 29 descendants, in all. In 2006, they celebrated their 63rd year of marriage. Grandma died in January 2007, Grandpa in July 2008.
Robert Colt Weible
Born Aug. 22, 1915. Not yet married to Marge. The supplement notes:
(He) joined the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1942, as a flier in Naval Air Corps. He was a pilot in the Naval Air Transport Service during World War II. He was accepted in the Regular U.S. Navy in 1946. He was with the Air Wing II in the Pacific Fleet until recently. At present, he is with Operation Naval Air Station, at Key West, Florida.
Arry, as we knew him, would of course continue his naval service and move to Hawaii, where he would live with wife Marge until his death in 2003 at age 87. He is buried in the famous Punch Bowl — the Naval Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Here’s a picture from my last visit with Arry, from whom I inherited my middle name (a generational gift from gun collector R.O.)
William Albert Weible & Ann (Arnold) Weible
The youngest child of R.O. and M.A. was born Aug. 18, 1923. He married Aletha Ann Arnold of Dover Nov. 27, 1948, according to the supplement, which catches them just before the birth of their daughter, Mary Beth, in 1951. A son, Robert, would follow, in 1953.
William Albert Weible entered World War II while attending Ohio State University, 1943. He saw service with the Third Marine Division in the South Pacific as Ph.M 2/c U.S.N.R. Later he reentered the Ohio State University and completed his education. He resides in Dover.
Great Uncle Bill’s proximity to my family and my grandpa and grandma in Dover meant that I saw him and Great Aunt Ann frequently, around town, at family gatherings and at church. I remember spending cross-country and band practices in high school watching for Bill and my grandma to appear on one of their frequent morning walks around Dover City Park. As Rob Weible notes on Geni.com about his father, “He had a totally wicked sense of humor — had some of the best ‘sight’ jokes ever — the world is not nearly as funny with him gone, but we all try to pick up the slack!”