Friday, October 18, 2019
Julia Eberly was born in Perrysburg, Ohio
in 1868 to parents Rosina Schauker and John Eberly, a shoemaker. The Eberly's were German immigrants, though they had been settled in Ohio for several years by the time Julia arrived. She was their 10th child, with older siblings Amelia, Frederic, Elizabeth, John Jr., Frank, Charles, Mary, Frances, and Emma all having been born before her (though Mary and Emma passed away before Julia was born). She had one younger sibling, a sister named Clara.
In 1871, Julia's oldest sister, Amelia, married furniture store owner Joseph Matzinger. Tragically, Joseph died a year later, leaving Amelia a widow at 21. Their son, Frederick, was born months later. In 1880, Amelia and Fred were living down the street from her parents and with them were Julia and Clara, her two youngest sisters. Julia was 14 and already working as a milliner, while Amelia was a dressmaker. Perhaps Clara, at 12, was too young to work (though I have a feeling she helped.)
As a young woman, Julia was already showing signs of accomplishment. She was a member of the Second Rhetorical Section at Perrysburg Highschool and often recited essays at special presentations. When she graduated in 1886, she was granted something remarkable- a scholarship. She was only the second girl at her school to receive one. As the daughter of an immigrant shoemaker and one of the youngest girls in a large family, Julia had likely never considered the possibility of going to college. She chose to attend Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio. There she studied Literature, which according to the 1889-1890 OWU catalog required "two years of Latin, one of German, and one of Mathematics" for admission into the Freshman class. Julia lived in Monnett Hall, the women's dormitory. An account of Monnet Hall by Professor E.T. Nelson in 1895 describes a building complete with a spacious dining room, finely-furnished parlors, and a well-stocked library. Best of all, Julia would have gotten her own room! When Julia returned home to Perrysburg during winter break that first year, she reported that she was "well pleased with her studies and general surroundings." These two photographs were taken during her senior year of college, one at the beginning and one at the end. On the back of the 1890 photo is written "Etta Hagenbuch." Though I don't know why her name was written here, I do know that Etta Florence Hagenbuch was a fellow Literature student at OWU and lived in Monnett Hall. She graduated in 1888 and may have been a friend of Julia's. In 1890, the Perrysburg Journal proudly announced that Julia had graduated with honors and with the high praise of her professors. 1890 was also the year Julia left Ohio.
In October, Julia went to Lake City, Florida, to become a teacher. Unfortunately, I don't know much about Julia's time in Florida or about her teaching career. Four years later she returned to her hometown in Ohio, this time with a fiance. On December 18th, 1894, Julia Eberly married Robert S. Pyles, a sheriff from Brunswick, Georgia, in a "modest yet pretty home wedding." After an "elaborate wedding banquet," Julia left with her new husband on a midnight train back to Georgia, where they planned to make their home. The Perrysburg Journal described Robert as "a gentleman of refinement and culture, and of high-standing in the community where he is known..." The couple had one child together, a daughter named Clara, who I have to imagine was named after Julia's younger sister. In 1900, their home was also occupied by Robert's 62-year-old widowed mother, Elizabeth, and their housekeeper, Rebecca Night. By 1910, Robert's twin nephews Thomas and Richard Matthews had joined the household. In the 1920s, the Pyles took in several lodgers, three of whom were teachers, just as Julia had briefly been. Finally, in 1930, it was only Julia, Robert, and a 20-year-old Clara in the house. Clara was married in 1931 to Chapman K. Curry. After Robert passed away in 1935, Julia moved in with her daughter, son-in-law, and their daughter, named Julia.
Julia Eberly Pyles passed away in 1953 at the age of 80.
If you know who this may be, let us know in the comments!