Author Archives: Debora Kerr

Notification of Birth Registration, West Virginia, ca. 1938

[information typed on pre-printed form]

[Front of Document]

Notification of Birth Registration

This certifies that the following Record of Birth is registered and preserved in the office of the State
Registrar of Vital Statistics at CHARLESTON W. VA.
Name: FRENCH J. WYKLE Sex MALE No. 25303
Date of Birth: Dec. 29, 1921 Place of Birth SANGER, W. VA.
Name of Father FRENCH WYKLE
Maiden Name of Mother WINNIE CANTLEY

W. L. Austin [signature]
W. L. Austin, Director of the Census
H. E. Steele [signature]
Special Agent, Bureau of the Census

[Back of Document]
It shows that this birth is legally registered with the Vital Statistics Division of the State Department
of Health
This notification of birth registration will be valuable in proving the name, age, birthplace, and
parentage of the child for school records, working rights, establishing identity, and other purposes.
If errors are found in the statements on this notification, please return it with corrections at once to
the Special Agent of the Bureau of the Census at the office of the State Registrar of Vital Statistics, as
shown on the front of this certificate.
The original record of birth on file in the office of the State Department of Health will then be
completed and a corrected Notification of Birth Registration will be mailed to you free.

Source: Original found in James Wykle’s (the above FRENCH J. WYKLE) belongings after his death. In possession of author.

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Marriage Certificate, Ohio, 1946

Marriage Certificate

This is to certify that
Mr. James F. Wykle, Jr.
of Akron, Ohio
Miss Rosa Lee Pietkoski
of Akron, Ohio
were by me
United in Marriage
according to the Ordinance of God, and the Laws of the
State of Ohio, at Akron Ohio
on the 15th day of July A.D. 1946.

What, therefore, God hath joined
together, let not man put asunder. Rev. W.E. Henry, Officiating
Matt. 19-6
Mrs. Carl B. Carter [signature]
Carl B. Carter [signature] Witnesses
Probate Court
Summit County, Ohio
Marriage License
No. ____ [blank]

Source: Original document in possession of author.

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Marriage License, Ohio, 1946

Marriage License
NOT VALID After Sixty Days from Date

The State of Ohio, Summit County
To Any Person Legally Authorized to Solemnize Marriages in the State of Ohio:

I, the undersigned, Dean F. May, [pre-printed on form]

Judge of the Probate Court within and for the County and State aforesaid, have Licensed, and do hereby License and Authorize

Mr. James F. Wykle, Jr. and
Miss Rosa Lee Pietkoski
to be joined in Marriage

In Witness Whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed the seal of said Court, at Akron, Ohio, this 11th day of July A.D. 1946
Dean F. May
Judge of the Probate Court
by Garnet Johnson [signature]
Deputy Clerk

The above marriage was solemnized by me this 15th day of July 1946
Rev. W.E. Henry [signature]

Source: Original document in possession of author.

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Obituary, Ohio, 2011

James French Wykle, Jr, 89, passed away February 28, 2011 in Collins, MS.

He was born December 29, 1921 in Sanger, W. Va., the son of James Wykle and Winona Cantley.

He is survived by his daughter, Debora Kerr, of Midlothian, Va.; and his sister, Dorothy Hearn, of Collins, Ms.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkin-son’s Research.

An interment service will be held for members of the family at Hillside Memorial Park.

Please share your thoughts and condolences online at our website:

Source: Akron Beacon Journal, 13 March 2011, online at

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Three Postcards, Texas, 1942 & 1944

Color postcard folder. “Greetings From Mineral Wells and Camp Wolters Texas”

Addressed to:
Miss Rosa Lee Pietkoski
201 N. Broad St.
Middletown, Delaware

Camp Wolters, Texas
Oct 6

Color postcard folder. “Souvenir Folder of Texas, The Lone Star State”

Addressed to:
Miss Rosa Lee Pietkoski
309 N. Broad St.
Middletown, Delaware

Pvt. Bernard R. Pietkoski, U.S. Army
COD 55th Btn. 4th Plt.
Camp Wolters, Texas

Camp Wolters, Texas
Nov 24

Color postcard folder. “Views of Cadet Life at S.A.A.C.C.”

Addressed to:
Miss RosaLee Pietkaski
Singerly Village
Elkton, Maryland

A/C Robinson H.D. 33721681
GR.T, Sqdn. 276, Class[? – maybe 45-D]
San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas
Sep 6

Source: Property of Rosa Lee Pietkoski in possession of author.

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USMC Separation Report, Maryland, 1945

U.S. Marine Corps Report of Separation

1. Wykle (JR) James French
2. Rank: Sgt
3. Pay Grade: 4th
4. Serial Number: 425374
5. Permanent Address for Mailing Purposes: Minden, Fayette Co, W. Va.
6. Race: W
7. Sex: M
8. Citizen: X [yes]
9. Date of Birth: 29Dec21
10. Address From Which Person Will Seek Employment: Same as #5
11. Married: X [no]
12. No. of Dep: None
13. Place of Birth: Sanger, W. Va.

Record of Marine Corps Service

14. Registered [selective service]: X [no]
15. Address at Time of Entry into Service: Same as #5
16. Sel. Ser. Bd. No. : Unk
17. County & State: Unk
18. Means of Entry: Enlisted – 1
19. Place of Entry into Active Service: DHS, Charleston, W. Va.
20. Date of Entry: 3Aug42
21. Component: Res. 111b
22. Pension Claim Filed: No
23. Place of Separation from Active Service: MB, Bainbridge, Md.
24. Date of Separation: 20Nov45
25. Org at Separation: Sep Co.
26. Type of Discharge Cert. : Honorable
27. Length of Foreign and/or Sea Service: Years – 1, Mos – 9, Days – 18
28. Military Specialties: Demolition Spl. 533; Const Crew Chief 796
29. Service Schools Attended: None, Courses – None, Weeks – None
30. Principle Military Duty: Const. Crew Chief. 796

Employment and Non-Service Educational Data

31. Civilian Occupation – Title: Blaster, D.O.T. Number – 5-74, No. Yrs. – 2, Last Employed – Jun42. Job Summary – Was blaster for construction company and shot fire man in coal mine. Place and tamped charges of explosives. Fired them by electricity.
32. Secondary Occupation – Title: Machine Oper., D.O.T. Number – [blank], No. Yrs. – 1, Last Employed – [blank]
33. Last Employer Before Entry into Service: New River Co., Summerlee, W. Va. Date Left – Jun42
34. Job Aid Desired? X [yes]
35. Education in Years: Grammar – 8, High School – 2, College – [blank], Degree – [blank]
36. Major Courses: Academic
37. Trade Courses: None
38. Courses of Greatest Interest: None
39. Last School Attended: Oakhill High Sch., ” ” [ditto marks for Oakhill] W.Va. ’37


40. Preference for Additional Training: Apprenticeship training.
41. Job Preference: Undecided, Reason [blank]
42. Locality Preference: Will go where job demands., Reason [blank]
43. Signature of C.O. or Pers. O.: R.A. Nedwidek; Type in Name of Off. Rank – 2nd Lt. USMCR; Signature of Dischargee – James F. Wykle Jr.

Source: U.S. Marine Corps Report of Separation, original document in possession of author.

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Land Grant, Giles County, 1811

Mitchel Clay, Jr
100 acres
Giles County

George Wm Smith, Esquire, Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, To all to whom these presents shall come Greeting: Know ye, That by virtue of Land Office Treasury warrant, number 3954, issued the 2nd day of June, 1804; there is granted by the said Commonwealth, unto Mitchel Clay, junior, a certain Tract or parcel of Land, containing One hundred acres by survey bearing date, the 14th day of November 1809, lying in the County of Giles, on the east side of New river, and bounded as followeth, to wit: Beginning at a pine on a ridge, and running thence, north fifty eight degrees east, fifty two poles to a hickory and two black oaks on a hill side: north fifty two degrees west, eighty eight poles to two pines on the top of a ridge: north seventy five degrees west, one hundred and one poles to a black oak on the top of a high ridge: south one degree west, twenty poles to a double pine on the same ridge: south sixty eight degrees west, fifty eight poles to three red oaks on the bench[?] of a hill: north forty five degrees west, seventy eight poles to two pines on the point of a ridge: north twenty five degrees east, twenty three poles to three little hickories on the top of a hill: north forty seven degrees west, fourteen poles to a pine: south thirty seven degrees west, twenty six poles to two pines: south twenty degrees east, sixty poles to three small red oaks about ten poles to Reuben Roberts corner on three white oaks: thence with, or nearly with said line, south sixty degrees east, eighty poles to a black oak and poplar: and thence south seventy eight degrees east, one hundred and sixty four poles to the beginning. To have and to to [word repeated] hold the said Tract or parcel of Land with its appurtenances, to the said Mitchel Clay junior, and his heirs for ever. In witness whereof the said George Wm Smith, Esquire Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, hath hereunto set his hand, and caused the lesser Seal of the said Commonwealth to be affixed at Richmond, on the sixteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and eleven, and of the Commonwealth the thirty-fifth.

Geo: Wm Smith

Source: Land Office Grants and Patents, Giles County, Virginia, 1810 – 1811, p. 495 – 496, LVA microfilm reel 61, Library of Virginia

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Obituary, Raleigh County, 1895

      Mrs. Awry [Ora] Clay was born in Giles Co., Va., Jan. 30,
1812, and departed this life July 17, 1895, aged 83 years,
5 months and 19 days. She was the youngest child of a
family of 24 children and daughter of Ralph and Polly Stew-
art. She has only one brother surviving her, Hon. Chas.
Stewart, Sr., of Wyoming Co. She united with the Methodist
Episcopal Church in 1825 and lived not only a consistent,
but a warm, zealous, practical christian life for 70 years.
“Praise the Lord!” Christianity is no failure with Mother
Clay, it was a practical pay down system.
      She was united in marriage with Charles L. Clay in 1828,
he passed away in full triumph of faith some six years ago.
      She was the mother of 15 children, ten sons and five
daughters, nine of whom are still living, six have preceded
her to the great beyond.
      Farewell, Mother Clay. She lived right and died well.
Let the bells toll, let the curtain fall. Aunt Awry has passed
away from Earth gone beyond the clouds and dwells in that far
away home of the soul. “That land of pure delight where saints
immortal reign.” She’s an angel now, a child of god, a daugh-
ter of resurrection.
      Children and Grandchildren of Mother Clay, weep not and
sorrow no more. We can look through a glass (by faith) and
see dimly glimpses of Heavenly glory, and know in part. But
she is seeing face to face, and knowing even as she is also
known. Upon her grave I would drop a tear, and place emblems
of love, purity, and affection symbolizing the pure life she
lived. Awry Clay was a noble woman. Peace to her ashes.

William Turner
Matville, W.Va

Source: Typed transcript found in DAR files, with other notations about the Stewart family written on it.

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Letter, Fayette County, 1928

Summerlee, W. Va.
June 12, 1928

United States Veterans bureau
Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir,
           Year 1918 When I was
in the American Army I got the second
citizen papers. When [sic] was about to
go to France our papers were send [sic]
to Washington, D.C. When the war
was over we came back from the
army. But they didn’t send me the
citizen papers. I don’t have the
second citizen papers because they
didn’t send them to me. If you
find the citizen papers please send
them to me. But if you can’t find
them please let me know what to
do about them. My discharge No. is
Certificate No. is 1432704.

Peter Pieckowski

Source: C-File of Peter Pieckowski, No. C1058795, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, USCIS Genealogy Program.

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Interview, James F. Wykle, 2009

Questions and Answers: James F. Wykle on his 88th birthday, 29 Dec 2009
Interviewer: Debora Kerr

Q. When you were a young boy, did you like school?
A. I did like school. I was on the Monroe County Honor Roll. I was a good student.

Q. What do you remember about your teachers or classmates?
A. I remember one day I got into a fight at Sanger School with my cousin, William Wykle. The teacher, Mr. Gwinn, decided I was to blame and announced he was going to whip me. I stood there and challenged him, “You’re not whipping me!” and he backed down.

Q. You must have been intimidating [laughter].
A. I could fight. Years later I was in Chicago in a bar. Some guy came up to me and said something which I didn’t really hear or pay attention to. Then he said something else and slapped me. Then I jumped him and when it was all done he was taken to the hospital. I remember going up to my hotel room and looking in the mirror to see his blood all over my shirt.

Q. Didn’t you participate in organized boxing matches for a while?
A. Just for a short time. I remember the name of the first kid I beat: Alfred Kerr. I was 16 at the time. I beat him twice.

Q. What was your first job?
A. I worked in the coal mine at Summerlee [WV] for a short time. That’s where I learned to set blasting charges. I worked with a big cutting machine that would undercut the rock so it could be blown up. It was really dangerous and I got out and joined the CCC [Civilian Conservation Corps].

Q. Did you enjoy that?
A. It was a good program. We had classes and lots of good work to do. We earned money that was sent home. I sent my money to my sister Mildred who I was living with then. I always wanted to go back and see what that park looks like now.

Q. What work did you do there?
A. We cut timber, worked in a limestone quarry, raised turkeys, and built roads. That was at Camp Bowers. [Pickens, Randolph County, WV] After that I joined the Marines.

Q. You were wounded on Saipan. Do you remember what happened?
A. I was in a foxhole with another Marine. I told him to keep down but he didn’t and we came under heavy fire. He was killed and I was hit in the leg. I kept lobbing grenades until the machine gun fire that was coming at me stopped. When the medics came to get me they put me on a C47 transport plane to Hawaii. The plane had to stop twice to refuel before it got me to Hickam Air Force Base.

Q. Then after the war, you got married.
A. I proposed to Rosa Lee [Pietkoski] at Club Charles in Baltimore.

Q. And you lived in Laguna Beach for a while?
A. Yes, when I was in the Marine Corps Reserve.

Q. In some old family movies, I saw a part with a crazy guy dressed as an old prospector. Do you remember what that was?
A. That guy used to stand outside the Pottery Shack [famous Laguna Beach store] and yell funny things at cars and people. When he saw a license plate from out of state he’d always yell out “Texas!” or wherever it was from. One day Red Skelton was in Laguna and he stood clowning around on the opposite corner and the two of them had traffic completely stopped from their antics.

Q. Sounds like they had quite an audience! Did you ever speak before large crowds when you were in the Teamsters?
A. Probably the biggest one was when I made a United Way speech at Firestone.

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