Lillie as a young woman
Lillie as a young woman

The Wiley Girls - Florence, Lillie & Minnie
The Wiley Girls - Florence, Lillie & Minnie

Lillie Pearl Wiley
Lillie in her elder years

Robert Lee Wiley

Hulda Bertha Clara Tingler

Lillie Pearl Wiley

Born:     6 May 1901   Woodward County, Oklahoma Territory
Died:    12 May 1982   Stockton, San Joaquin, California

Spouse:   Richard Raymond Welch   (b. 14 July 1894   d. 23 May 1976)
Married:   28 Mar 1920 in Pritchett, Baca County, Colorado

Married at the Rural Minister's House -- Rev. John H. Welborn
Divorce:   Before 1944

Children of Lillie & Dick:
Living Daughter (b. 1921)
-- 3 sons / 1 daughter
Thelma Louise (1923-2005)
-- 3 sons / 1 daughter
Nellie Pearl (1924-1998)
-- 2 sons / 2 daughters
Douglas Grant (1928-1996)
-- 4 sons / 2 daughters
Living Son (b. 1935)
-- no children
Living Daughter (b. 1938)
-- 1 sons / 3 daughters

A brief history of Lillie Pearl Wiley

Lillie Pearl Wiley was born May 6, 1901 to Hulda B (Tingler) and Robert Lee Wiley. She was born at her grandparents' farm -- Carl August Tingler and Elizabeth Dora (Hindenberg) Tingler. The Tinglers lived in Woodward County, Oklahoma, about 18 miles south of the town of Woodward.

No one was at the birth, except Grandma Tingler and Aunt Emma. Aunt Emma delivered Nellie. Aunt Emma was Lillie's aunt, her mother's sister. Lillie's mother had a difficult delivery.

Lee Wiley and Hulda Tingler were married in Woodward, Oklahoma on September 27, 1897. In the first ten years, they moved nine times. He would buy small farms, fix them up and then sell them. He had a farm in Kingfisher County which they called the "Sandhill Place." In Blaine County they had a place called "Redhill Place." The house was on a hill and the dirt was red keel. The red stain would not come out of the clothes. Cecil was a baby then, and they lived in Woodward County in the Moscow Flats.

Lillie started school on the Sandhill Place when she was five and in the first grade. She wrote upside down and backward at first. Minnie was seven and she drove the one-seated buggy and old Granny, the mare, for mother and her to go to school. Florence started to school at Moscow Flats. There was one room for eight grades.

Hulda, Lee, and the other kids went to Colorado to look for a new home, while Lillie stayed home to take care of things with Aunt Emma helping her. While they were gone one day, Lillie turned the horses out to water and one kicked her. Another day, Lillie and Aunt Emma were carrying scalding water out to pour on an ant den and a broken piece of a glass jar ripped across the top of her foot. When her father came home, it looked like she was getting blood poisoning in her foot, and he put crude carbolic acid on it and it got well. She carried the scar the rest of her life.

In March 1914 when Mother was 12, they moved from Moscow Flats to Baca County, Colorado. They had two wagons--One was covered and one was a spring wagon. The trip took 10 days. Lee drove one wagon and a neighbor from Mooreland, Oklahoma, Phillip Caldwell, drove the other. Phillip's two brothers, Bill and Walt Caldwell were also settlers in Colorado. Lee Wiley and a neighbor had gone earlier to Colorado He had built a one room house of flat rock put together with mud. The rocks were hewed out with sledge hammers from sandstone. When they first arrived in Colorado, they stayed for awhile in an old school house. The rock house Lee had built was one room and the roof had three ridge logs on top and split cedar along the sides and then was covered with mud. Minnie, Florence and mother slept in a wooden frame with covers in it, which they called a trundle bed. They pulled it out at night into the middle of the floor and pushed it under the parents' bed in the daytime. Cecil and Claude slept with the parents. Right after they moved into the one room rock house, a rain storm came. It rained for three days and three nights; the roof leaked and there was not a dry place in the house except under the table.

There was no place to get supplies near, but within the year, Lee and daughter Florence took two wagons and went 88 miles to Lamar for supplies, Lamar being the nearest railroad town. There were two horses on each wagon. The roads were dirt rut roads all the way. Florence drove the wagon with cement on it and Lee drove the lead wagon loaded with lumber, etc. They built a 14 X 20 foot room and used it for a living room-bedroom combination. Later another rock room was built onto the westside for the boys. Later Elbert, Kansas got a railroad and was the nearest railroad town.

The homestead was on Whitby Creek. There were 320 acres, and later Lee filed for an additional 320 acres. The government allowed this on hilly land for grazing purposes only. He also bought several 1/2 sections from other settlers. (One was Bill and Walt Caldwell who were from Moorland, Oklahoma and old friends.) Lee farmed about 200 acres; corn for grain, broomcorn for a cash crop, cane for hay and later milo maise. The rest of the land was used for cattle. They raised a big garden and had peach and cherry trees, a small grain house, a chicken house and a barn. One year all four of the oldest children were allowed to plant pinto beans and take care of them and keep the money. They would get up early every morning before school and walk the 1/2 mile to the field and pull and pile a row or two apiece before school. Later when dry, a tarp was taken to the field and the beans pounded out on the tarp. Mother had twice as many rows as the others. When they started school in Colorado, they went to a one-room school down in the Canyon at the mouth of Whitby Creek where it ran into the Creso Creek. They went to school in a buggy as it was three or four miles to the school.

Florence stayed home to help her mother as she was sick. She had almost died just before moving to Colorado at the birth of a still born child, Virginia Lee Wiley. The third year in Colorado a new school was built. Lee was on the school board and the new school was called the Wiley school. It was about one mile east and one mile south of the Wiley home. (The school's nickname was "Ignorant Ridge.")

Some of the children attending besides Wiley children were: Welch children, Sheldon children, Ruby and Ena Lett who were stepchildren of Bill Major's. Ruby married Curt Tabor, brother of Rufus Tabor who became Florence Wiley's husband. The Wiley school was made of rock with a board roof and bottom.

The Wiley children were industrious, and that included their entertainment as well as their hard work. Lillie's younger sister Florence used to paint china beads and Lillie would make the body and arms and legs and they would have a doll. They had toy horses about six inches long made of iron and a tiny iron stove. They gathered wild gourds and played like they were cattle. They used string for fences and made wire branding irons and branded the gourds; rode stick horses.

On 28 Mar 1920 "Dick" (Richard Raymond Welch) married Lillie Pearl Wiley at the rural minister's house, John H. Welborn in Pritchett, Colorado. The young family would homestead near the Frank Welch homestead. It was a hard life, with the family living in a hand-built rock and mud house. They raised their six children with the back breaking labor of their hands. They would eventually expand their little home to include a lean-to kitchen.

Their children were Bessie Louise, Thelma Lucy, Nellie Pearl, Douglas Grant, Dale Roger, and Mary Alice.

Dick Welch was not an easy man to live with. He was physically harsh with his wife, and when she had finally had enough, Lillie left to create a new life for herself in Oregon and then California. To his dying day, Dick would always ask after Lillie and would always comment, "Lillie was a good woman."

Lillie found employment on the wharves of California and Oregon and finally settled in Stockton, California. Lillie began managing hotels to provide for herself and her two youngest children Dale and Mary. One of the hotels she managed was called the "Victoria Hotel Lodgings" which was located at 23 N. Hunter in Stockton, California. (Click here to read one of Lillie's letters sent from this hotel.) Eventually, Lillie purchased a small rooming house business. She had her individual home, and beside it was a courtyard around which stood several small individual houses; however, there was no indoor plumbing and the individuals who stayed there shared common plumbing facilities.

Lillie planted and grew a very large garden every year. Her abundance of vegetables and fruits were shared with her family and friends.

On May 12, 1982, Lillie passed away at home at the age of 81 in Stockton, California, and she is buried in Rural Cemetery.

Memories of my Grandma Lillie Pearl by her Granddaughter, Ellen (Welch) Rowley: "Grandma was an independent, outspoken woman who took care of herself and her needs, as well as trying to take care of her children and grandchildren. When we came to visit, Grandma would pull out a big skillet and load it with bacon and then fry eggs. She would take us on a tour of her large garden and load us up with vegetables from the garden and fruit from her trees. I especially remember the figs and boxes of walnuts. The last time I saw Grandma, she was sitting in her living room eating figs. She said the Doctor told her to quit, but said she just couldn't help herself, and sometimes she even ate a Bon Bon or two!

As a child, I sometimes found Grandma difficult to understand and her forthrightness sometimes embarrassing. When I was older and understood more of the life she had lived and the adversities she had overcome, I have grown to be in awe of her strength. Grandma did not molly coddle her children or grandchildren, but she did impart love and strength and determination.

-- Ellen Anne (Welch) Rowley    

Click to read Nellie's poem about her mother: Mamma.

Research References:

1910 US Federal Census -- Webster, Woodward, Oklahoma (Page 18 of 27)
Lee Wily 34
Hulda B Wily 30
Minnie M Wily 11
Liller P Wily 9
Florence C Wily 6
Wagel G Wily 2
Claud A Wily 4/12

Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Webster, Woodward, Oklahoma; Roll: T624_1276; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 291; Image: 962. Source Information: 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1910. T624, 1,178 rolls.

1920 US Federal Census -- Regnier, Baca, Colorado (Page 16 of 18)
Robert Lee Wiley 44
Hulda Bertha Wiley 39
Minnie May Wiley 21
Lillie Pearl Wiley 18
Florence Ellen Wiley 16
Cecil George Wiley 12
Claude August Wiley 10
Verna Curice Wiley 5
Sibyl Hope Wiley 2

Source Citation: Year: 1920;Census Place: Regnier, Baca, Colorado; Roll: T625_156; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 13; Image: 800. Source Information: 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA. Note: Enumeration Districts 819-839 on roll 323 (Chicago City. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1920. T625, 2,076 rolls.

Directories & Member Lists > California City Directories > Stockton > 1958 > City Information Victoria Hotel Lodgings Welch, Lillie P Mrs. HO4-6290

Directories & Member Lists > California Directories > Stockton > 1967 1031 Sinclair Ave N 466-7771 Welch, Lillie P Mrs

1930 US Federal Census -- Carriso, Baca, Colorado (Page 2 of 3)
Richard Welch 35
Lillie Welch 25
Bessie Welch 8
Thelma Welch 7
Nellie Welch 5
Douglas Welch 2 1/12

Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Carriso, Baca, Colorado; Roll: 229; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 7; Image: 851.0. Source Information: 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2002. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

Social Security Death Index
Name: Lillie Welch
SSN: 542-20-1605
Last Residence: 95205 Stockton, San Joaquin, California, United States of America
Born: 6 May 1901
Died: Aug 1982
State (Year) SSN issued:

Source Citation: Number: 542-20-1605;Issue State: Oregon;Issue Date: Before 1951. Source Information: Social Security Death Index [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2009. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.

California Death Index, 1940-1997
Name: Lillie Pearl Welch
[Lillie Pearl Wiley]
Social Security #: 542201605
Birth Date: 6 May 1901
Birthplace: Oklahoma
Death Date: 12 May 1982
Death Place: San Joaquin
Mother's Maiden Name: Tingler
Father's Surname: Wiley

Source Citation: Place: San Joaquin; Date: 12 May 1982; Social Security: 542201605. Source Information: California Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2000. Original data: State of California. California Death Index, 1940-1997. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics.

A VERY SPECIAL thank you to my cousin Florence Shively for contributing the two younger pictures of Lillie (and her sisters).