Thursday, August 14, 2014

More Wiley Family Tree...

Last blog post where I left off my ancestor story I posted a photo of my grand parents Caleb and Pinky with son Clay. Clay Wiley passed away of spinal meningitis. He left behind a wife Vina and two children Rena and Raymond. As always I welcome any info from the family they may have but this is their story as best as I have pieced it together. 

Here is my mother's niece Rena. She was a few months older than my mom and they were often taken for  sisters. The 1930 census has the family (Clay had passed by this time) in Golden Lake Township near Wilson Arkansas. Rena is 6 and brother Raymond is 8. Parents Clay and Vina are listed as 26. The 1940 census lists Vina as widowed and living in Civil District 5 Tipton, Tn.  
With the war soon underway many women went to work. Rena  pitched into the war effort and went to work in the Chickasaw Ordinance Works at Millington, Tn. It was there she was killed in an explosion in the powder room. She was apparently the only employee killed. A date is unknown to me. 

A little internet research tells that this plant opened in 1941 making smokeless powder for small arms, artillery and TNT. The info I discovered said that by 1944 8000 women worked there and the plant was awarded for 2 million and later 3.6 million man hours without a major injury. It once operated day and night for 871 days round the clock. I guess it's pretty easy to rack up the hours with a large workforce and those kind of hours. Easy to miss one fatality. The plant was shuttered in 1946 after it was deemed too dangerous to operate anymore. The smoke stacks still stand and images of them are quite plentiful on the internet.The area is classified as a toxic waste site. 

The only mention I found on the internet about Rena's death came from a paranormal site researching reports of activity in the plant area. You can read their site by clicking HERE

Rena's brother Raymond joined the navy. I don't know what year but my mother recalls his death from a brain tumor. Other family members recall a fall from a mast on a ship and the death coming some time after this. Here's Raymond.
Another Raymond photo.
I think this is Raymond's dad Clay also in a Navy uniform. 

These are Raymond's children Jeannette, Dannie and Claudia. No info on them. If I have a photo of Raymond's wife I don't know which one it is. There are about 3000 photos I am taking these from so it's a bit of a job sifting through.  

Clay's wife Vina, the mother of Rena and Raymond. No info on her whereabouts or the date of this photo. 

I invite all relatives to add to these stories with anything they have. 


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