Monday, March 30, 2015

Grandfather Charles Pyle - Different - 52 Ancestors #13

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is Different.

After summarizing my paternal grandmother's life last week, I thought I'd share what I know about my paternal grandfather. (No wonder they divorced; from all accounts, they were very different!)

Charlie Pyle
Charles McAlpin Pyle was born on September 6, 1893, in Morristown, New Jersey. He was the fifth child and third son of James Tolman Pyle and Frances Adelaide McAlpin. Their sixth and last child, a younger brother, was born about eight years later.

Young Charlie lived a very comfortable childhood in the family home on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and at the family's country estate, Hurstmont, in Morristown, New Jersey.

His father's death in February 1912, hit him hard. In 1914, he enlisted in the National Guard (which I wrote about here) so that when the draft started for World War I, he was able to indicate that he had some military experience. He was part of the Calvary; he always loved horses.

On March 1, 1919, he married Elizabeth Adsit, of Chicago. They lived in New York City for several years (where they are found in the 1920 U.S. Census), at least until my father, Charles McAlpin Pyle, Jr. was born in 1924, then they moved to Morristown, New Jersey (where they are found in the 1930 U.S. Census).

Apparently he had a tough time figuring out what he wanted to do with his life. The 1917 WWI Draft Card shows an occupation of Manager at the Cyclops Steel Company in Titusville, Pennsylvania. The 1920 U.S. Census shows him living in Manhattan with an occupation of "Manager." In 1930, his occupation is listed as "Broker, Stocks." And by 1940, he is living in Ellicott City, Maryland, working as "Operator, Farm."

According to Padre Pio: The True Story, by C. Bernard Ruffin, a book about his sister, Adelia (Mary Pyle), he "tried to invent his own religion, which he called "Egoanalysis." He even wrote a book called Your Way to Happiness and made calls to the Vatican in an attempt to interest the pope in his new doctrine." However, it is doubtful his new religion brought him happiness.

His first marriage (to my grandmother, Libby) failed by 1933, and soon after his divorce, they both remarried. Charlie's second wife was Feroll Claire Moore, originally from Florida. It is believed that she married him for his money, and when she didn't get it, they soon divorced (by 1941).

The 1940 U.S. Census shows Feroll Pyle, married, living in Manhattan (with her 1935 residence as Ellicott City, Maryland). Charles Pyle, married, is living in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Lucy and Charlie, 1941
In 1941, Charlie married Lucy Buford Triplett in South Carolina. I have not found much information about her.

He was living at "Spring Hill Farm" in Ellicott City, Maryland, in April 1942, when he was required to register for the World War II draft.

By the 1960s, they were living in Washington, D.C.

Sadly, my father was estranged from his own father and was rarely in touch with him throughout his adulthood. Soon after my parents married, my mother encouraged my dad to contact his father, which he did in 1964 (during a summer heat wave, as my mother remembers it: As they drove from Massachusetts to Washington, D.C., they had to stop every so often so my pregnant mother could cool off in air-conditioned restaurants).

My grandfather, whom I never met, died at age 72 on August 17, 1966. He is buried in the Fairview Cemetery, Culpeper, Virginia.

Four years later, in December 1970, the wife he was married to the longest, Lucy, died, and was buried next to him. I still have a pearl necklace (and a note from her signed "Grandmother Lucy") that she gave me as a Christmas gift when I was very young.

I shared a death notice for my grandfather here.

See his FindAGrave memorial here.


  1. You are always so thorough even when you're brief. I LOVE it. Keep going. You're doing great.

    1. Devon, thank you for your compliment. It takes me so long to write a post because I want to re-write and edit (and do a bit more research) as I go, so I appreciate when readers enjoy the post.

  2. Wow, how interesting Charles and his family were. I think it was his sister who was a good friend of Padre Pio and who is up for beatification-- wow! :-)

    1. Karen, yes, his sister Adelia worked with Padre Pio and I have written some interesting posts about her.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!