Three sons of Grantsville's Lynn Oles served in World War II
(L to R)Capt. Joseph Oles. US Army four years; AFIC John Norman
Oles, four years US Navy; AMMP2C Lynn S. Oles, three years US Navy
By Bob Weaver
The Oles family lived in what is Grantsville's oldest historic house on Main Street, (the Thomas House), partly log.
The structure is known by many in the 20th century as the Lynn Oles (1896-1964) house. Lynn Oles was a member of the House of Delegates and owned the well-known Oles Garage.
Oles Garage on Grantsville's Court Street About
1925 (Photo Courtesy of Col. David L. Oles)
J. G. Oles and grandson, Lynn Oles, Jr. July
1925 (Photo Courtesy of Col. David L. Oles)
Workers in Ole Garage (1925) L to R: Harold Budge
The Oles family came to Grantsville shortly after 1900 from Pennsylvania. J. G. "Pop" Oles (1861-1930) came to start Godfrey L. Cabot's world famous carbon black factory, but was also a well-known riverboat builder and operator.
Campbell, Dyer Waldo, Herb Stump and Lynn Oles, Sr.
Oles built the "JG Oles" packet, and was being operated by family members Norman, Lynn and Sam in 1913, part of the Cabot Fleet. That boat was "a low water boat designed to ply the Little Kanawha River when it nearly runs dry, and will run on heavy dew." It had a huge 8 horsepower engine. Others in the fleet, the Acme, Virginia Rhodes, and GL Cabot.
The Cabot Fleet 1913-1914 - Left to right: "Acme," "Virginia Rhodes," "G. L. Cabot," and "J. G. Oles." Individuals are identified as J. G. (Joseph Garibaldi) Oles and Joseph Miller Smith. Gasboats transported carbon black from the G. L. Cabot Carbon Black Factory down river to the world market. (Photo Courtesy of David L. Oles)
A report says the Oles family, during World War I, brought Grantsville's historical Ginko trees back from China to be planted on Main Street. They are the world's oldest tree. Unfortunately, the Town of Grantsville cut the trees down in 2021, causing anger among some citizens.
Perhaps best remembered by the Grantsville community is Lonnie Mae Gilbert Oles (1898-1991), wife of David Loren "Sam" Oles (1904-1963). Lonnie was the right-hand woman with Gladys Weaver Stump, the women's clothing store known as the Quality Shop, mid-twentieth century (Now the location of the Calhoun Historical Society Museum).
Southern belle "Lonnie Mae" came to Grantsville from Georgia to work at the town's early department store Wiatt and Barr. The Quality Shop offered top of the line apparel to community with charm and finesse, with a number of aged Calhoun women holding on to the vintage clothing.
Children of Lynn Scott Oles, Sr. About 1928-29
(L-R) Lynn Scott Oles, Jr., Mabel Charlotte Oles
Prim Howe, Joseph Gara "Gary" Oles, John Norman
"Norm" Oles. The dog pictured was named "Betty"
"No Oles descendants currently live in Calhoun, All that remain are footprints in time, left behind, " said the Col. David L. Oles, who has had an illustrious military career. The Oles family were known as contributors to the life and well being of Grantsville and the county in the early days.
GRANTSVILLE'S OLDEST THOMAS-OLES HOUSE
Thomas-Oles house likely Grantsville's
oldest, photo circa late 1930s
Structure still standing on Main
Street, owned by the Gunn heirs
THE HOUSE STANDS EMPTY, WAITING FATE
The house is likely the oldest standing home in Grantsville, located on Main
There are remnants of the original logs within the structure,
certainly part of the building stands on original stones, and some of the
original window panes are still in existence. There have been numerous
"The home originally belonged to my great-grandparents, Dr. and Mrs.
William Harold Thomas," wrote
Virginia Jackson Hosey.
They were the parents of Mae Thomas Marshall, wife of
Robert M. Marshall (1861-1942), a well-known Grantsville teacher, banker and
newspaper editor and Mattie Thomas Mathews, wife of Senator Albert Mathews
(1872-1958), Grantsville attorney and one-time president of the WV State
2023 Photos of house, waiting for a large donation to restore it
Dr. Thomas had his office in his house, which was likely built shortly after the
Civil War. Thomas had two brothers, Jeff
and Guy who lived with his family. Jeff and Guy had a small store right next
door to the house. In later years, it was Marshall's Confectionery and Boatright's
Dr. Thomas was born in 1822 and died in 1891 and his wife Hattie Dilworth
born in 1840 and died in 1925.
The structure is known by many in the 20th century as the Lynn Oles (1896-1964)
house. Lynn Oles was a member of the House of Delegates and owned the Oles
Three Oles men were soldiers in World War II, and during World War I brought seeds for the Ginkgo trees from China that have been standing for 100 years on Main Street, but were cut down by the Town of Grantsville.
The Oles family came to Grantsville shortly after 1900 from Pennsylvania. J. G.
"Pop" Oles (1861-1930) came to start Godfrey L. Cabot's carbon black factory, but
was also a well-known riverboat builder and operator.
"No Oles descendants currently live in Calhoun, All that remain are footprints in
time, left behind, " said David L. Oles.
In recent years it has been rental property and was used for a restaurant.
It has stood empty for several years, with funds not available for its preservation.