Marley, William D.
William D. Marley was one of the pioneer citizens of Edgar county. He was born in Randolph County, NC on July 31, 1818. He came to Illinois in 1836 and arrived with $2.50, a span of oxen, a cart and strong and willing hands that held an axe.
He found employment in a saw mill near the town of Sandford, Indiana. Mr. Marley walked to the government land office in Vincennes to enter a 40 acre tract of land in the vicintiy of Sandford. Success attended his efforts and during his long life he accumulated 2,200 acres of land, plus a sizable sum of money and bank stock.
A family story about W.D. has been passed down through the generations. W.D. had made a friend of an Indian that stayed with him twice a year. He would eat in the house, but always slept in the barn, due to his belief that spirits exhist under the white man’s roof. They were good friends and his visit was always anticipated, due to his passing through to join his tribe.
A neighbor came to W.D. one day asking to borrow a gun. W.D. gave him a hand gun. Upon returning the weapon he told W.D. that he had shot an Indian. Much to their sorrow, it was the friendly Indian. W.D.buried him beside the road that he had always traveled. He said of the gun, that it would never be used again in his lifetime and it was not. The gun was later passed to my grandfather Ernest Marley, and he in turn gave it to my son Steven Peak. It has never been fired to this day. When the road was widened, the body of the Indian was moved to Marley Cemetary.
Mr. Marley married Julia A. Yergin (sic) on November 12 1839. They brought forth 11 children. Eight sons and three daughters.
Julia Marley died nine days after their Golden Wedding Anniversary on November 12, 1889. She was 68 years old.
Mr. Marley married Sarah Evinger on June 5, 1890. A year before his death, he called his surviving children and grandchildren, whose parents were deceased, and equally divided his land holdings.
He was a director and stockholder in the First National Bank at Paris, Illinois. He spent 62 years of his life in Elbridge Township, where he was universally respected as a thoroughly representative citizen. He was a man of the strictest propriety and all of his dealings were marked with candor and staight forward honesty.
Mr. Marley died at his home near Marley Station at 12:20, Sunday February 24, 1900. The funeral was held at noon at his home with Reverend Moffitt officiating. He is buried in Marley Cemetary.
Mr. Marley was preceded in death by seven children: Mary Anne McReynolds, John W. who died in the seige of Vicksburg in 1863, Alvis A in 1880, Usebia, wife of William Goodman in 1884, Raymond in 1879, Hallick in 1882 and an infant daughter. Living at the time of his death were: twins, Firman and James, George, and William. Alvis A. married Rebecca Goodman. They were the parents of Ernest Edwin and Lillie Blanche. Ernest was born January 31, 1877 and Lillie in 1878, on the farm owned by W.D. near Elbridge. This faarm was inherited by Ernest, after his father died from the effects of a broken arm and exposure in riding horseback, in winter, to a doctor to have the arm set. Rebecca Goodman Marley remarried to William Safford. They in turn, had one child, Bertha Safford Fisher, Now living in West Terre Haute, Indiana.
Ernest Marley received his education in West Terre Haute, Indiana. He moved back to the family farm and began farming, never leaving that area in the Elbridge vicinity. Ernest was united in marriage to Pearl Smith Hanks on February 26, 1898 at the home of the bride’s parents, William and Laura Price Smith. They lived many happy years together, celebrating their golden wedding in 1949. Unto this union were born two daughters: Mannetta A. on April 16, 1900 and Ruth M. on October 6, 1906. It remains a lovely rural home and is owned by Ruth, their daughter.
Mannetta A married Charles Sturgell on September 17,1919. They lived in Vermilion, Illinois until her death on September 25, 1926. Mannetta had one child, Elenor Rose, whom the Marleys raised as their own. Charles Sturell now lives in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Pearl Marley lived most of her life within sight of her parent’s home and died on September 25, 1957. Ernest lived many happy years on his farm, weathering the depression years and died May 14, 1965. He enjoyed community activities, Masonic Lodge, receiving his 50 year pin, before his death, from the lodge in Vermilion.
Ruth married Kenneth Hurst of Elkhart, Indiana. Ruth taught school at Mayo School, Elkhart, Indiana and St. Joseph, Michigan. They had two children: Walter J. who married Nancy Berrie on March 28, 1970 and James E. who married Linda Ray on March 10, 1967 and now lives in Gobles, Michigan with their three children, Jon Marley, James Ivan and Joel Ray. Walter died in 1972 and Ruth now resides in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
Eleanor Sturgell married Frank W. Peak of Huntingburg, Indiana in 1943. Frank Peak graduated from Rose Hulman Institute, did graduate work at Harvard and Cornell University and is now employed as consulting application engineer with the General Electric Company. Eleanor and Frank are the parents of three children: Mannetta H., Steven C., and Dallas E. Mannetta married Dr. Michael Braunstein MD of Indianapolis, Indiana and is a surgical nurse at Winona Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana. Steven married Cheryl Stiver and lives in Bloomington, Illinois. Steven graduated with a masters from Purdue University and is employed as an engineer in research and development with General Electric Company. Dallas attends grade school and lives with his parents in Evansville, Indiana.
Mrs. Eleanor Peak inherited the farm of the WD Marley estate from her grandfather Ernest Marley. The Peaks enjoy weekends at the farm and benefit from the efforts of the labors of W.D. Marley
Submitted by Eleanor Peak
From the book Prairie Progress- A History of Edgar County 1880-1975