My Paternal Ancestors - Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee & Elsewhere

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  • ID: I1611
  • Name: Charles Eugene Oyler Adopted
  • Surname: Oyler
  • Given Name: Charles Eugene
  • Suffix: Adopted
  • _AKA: birth name Clarence Eugene Whitaker
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 11 Sep 1919 in 621 N. Oak, Iola, Allen Co., Kansas
  • Death: 5 Apr 2000 in Palatka, Putnam Co. Florida of heart attack
  • Burial: 21 May 2002 Ashes scattered in Gulf of Mexico, Body donated to University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
  • _UID: 1439EAF3A426D511A1FB44455354616F7646
  • Note:
    Find A Grave Memorial# 55729021




    Ref: 1930 Census Montgomery Co. Kansas, Caney Twp, ED #7, Img 41, pg 41b, household #87
    Charles S. Oyler age 48 Missouri father England Mother Illinois
    Ruby wife age 40 Kansas father Nebraska mother Missouri
    Eugene son age 10 born Oklahoma
    Donald son age 6 Kansas
    Paul Russell son in law age furnace man smelting age 23 Ks
    Beatrice daughter age 22 Oklahoma
    Alice age 12 Kansas (none) she is the youngest sister of Paul Russell who's mother had already died
    Nylon H. grand son 3 yrs 1 mo Kansas
    Claude Dunn laborer 18 Oklahoma

    1st Grade - Washington School, Caney, Kansas
    2nd Grade - " " " " "
    3rd Grade - Mc Kinley School, Caney, Kansas
    4th Grade - 1st semester - Lincoln School, Caney, Kansas
    2nd semester - Pleasant Hill School, east of Caney, Kansas
    1st half of 7th grade
    7th, 8th, 9th Grade - Caney Junior High School, Caney, Kansas
    10, 11, 12 Grade - Caney Senior High School, Caney, Kansas
    Graduated 1937

    Ref: Memoirs of Charles Eugene Oyler written after we found out he definitely had been adopted. These letters were written in an attempt to help give my father some healing. I had not seen these letters until after the death of my father, when my mother sent them to me. By Carolyn Whitaker, daughter
    There is no date on this one, but must have been written about the same time
    "The Life of an Adopted Child"
    I tell this story of a child who has lived this life and I know firsthand of the heartaches and traumatic experiences that a person can encounter. I tell this with the hope that it might save someone what I have gone through. I suggst if anyone has, or knows of, anyone, who has an adopted or an illegitmate child or anything of this sort to please tell them at an accountable age. There have been good points and bad points come from this as there are from almost anything.

    (1) Some of the bad points are questions during your life that come up that you cannot determine the answers for until you find out the truth as I finally did.

    (2) Also, you find that you have missed knowing the members of your immediate famly by some, only a short time.

    (3) It caused many bitter resentments against my foster parents and sister, and my real mother for the secretiveness of it all.

    The good points are
    (1) I met my wife of 51 years and we had four wonderful children.

    (2) I came to know the Lord at an early age

    (3) Through times of deep frustration & bitterness I counseled with Bro Amos, Evie Cole, Rose Mary Motes and Betty Hawkins and others and was given the assurance that I was loved b both them and the Lord. Bro Amos gave me some worthwhile advice about what to do and he said you know that we need to turn our troubles over to the Lord, but he says I know we feel sometimes that seems hard to do. I was put on the prayer list and with the help of the Lord and fellow Christians I am feeling much better about it. It is comforting to know that regardless what comes the Lord is always by our side, and when there is only one set of footprints in the sand the Lord is carrying us. This has been an experience like I have never had in my entire lifetime and it has sure conviced me to trust in the Lord. Here is the life of my adoption

    (1) I was born Sept 11, 1919 as Clarence Ugene Whitaker. My father died at the age of 25 from pneumonia, 5 mo before I was born.

    (2) I was let out for adoption at the age of 3 mo and when I learned of all this I couldn't understand how a mother could give up a child she had after 3 mo. I was adopted by Charles and Ruby Oyler after the trial period on Aug 3, 1920. I was raised on a dairy farm near Caney, Kansas and started helping with the work at an early age. As I can remember I had a sort of lonely life as the foster sister was 12 years older than I. Four years after I was adopted a son was born to Oyler's, as I stated before a few years after this, questions started raising in my mind about things. We would get the bottled milk ready and deliver it before we went to church and sunday school, which was nearly every Sunday. That is one of the good points of my life. As I went to school in my early years I was late to school nearly every morning as we had to get the milk ready for delivery before we came to town. I went through school and graduated from Caney high school and on Mar 24, 1940 I was married to my wife Edith. We had four children and moved around different places and moved to Chanute, Kansas in 1951 which was only 8 miles from where I was born in Iola, Kansas. (but at this time I didn't know I was adopted). In 1967 my foster brother told me I was adopted but it was supposed to be a secret and I couldn't get any information about it. (NOTE: This was just after the death of Ruby Oyler, & actually occurred right after her funeral).

    In 1985 I finally got to looking into it and came to several ideas about who my father and mother were but my foster sister said they were not so, but her parents were both passed away and she would not give me any information. (So you can see why some of my bitterness).

    In February 1991 our youngest daughter Carolyn started writing an searching around for legal statistics, and the children's home, and adoption papers an finally found out about why my parents were and that I had a brother and other uncles and aunts. The sad situation was my mother passed away in 1967 and my brother July 31, 1991 just six weeks before I found all this out so with everything all piled into one it threw me into quite a traumatic situation. But as I stated earlier with the help of loving Christians and the Lord and my family I am beginning to get settled down and I praise the Lord dearly I have him I can turn to.

    Oct 3, 1991 to Ruby (his adoptive mother)
    Dear Ruby
    As I write this letter there is deep sorrow in my heart having found out about the lie that you and Charley and your children have lived concerning my adoption. I can't begin to tell you how sorry I am for you as the Lord will make you pay for these lies and the disruption they have caused in my life. I can't see what you hoped to gain by keeping this a secret like you did unless you were afraid you would lose your good help.

    The only real thing I can remember about my life with you was the fact you led me to the Lord for which I am very thankful, because there have been many times in my life had it not been for the Lord's loving hand I wouldn't have cared if I had lived or died.

    I never had a very exciting life as a child because there was always work to be done. It didn't seem like I got much special attention most of the time as much as Don and Beatrice. One thing to show what I am talking about you never had the courtesy or concern to wait Thanksgiving or Christmas meals for us when it was our turn to have the evening meal with your family and that really hurt my family's feelings. Also Don's and Beatrice's kids always seemed so special to you. Another thing that stays in my mind is how you threw pans of water in my face to stop me from eating dirt, and to this day I'm deathly afraid of water today.

    I sincerely believe, you could see the impact this has made on my life today, the shock of knowing I lived right next door to my relatives for 12 years and missing knowing my brother by 6 weeks, I am sure you would feel like you had not made you make the right choice.

    There has been a few good things come out of living around Caney was finding the wife and family I have for which I am thankful. Of course you never did like Edith because you knew she was aware of my adoption. What a mistake I made by not listening to Edith and pursuing this things then.

    Well Ruby with the good Lord's help maybe I can spend the rest of my days a little bit easier after having all this out in the open.

    Oct 4, 1991 to Charlie (adoptive father)
    Dear Charlie,
    I write this letter to you Charlie I wonder why you kept this from me about my being adopted. It has caused me a lot of heartaches finding this out in my later years and wonder why if you cared for me like Beatrice said you did how you could do this to me. I made a big mistake in staying with you after I graduated because all I had was bad memories and heartaches. I worked hard for you for 20 years and I am about to think that is all you wanted me for.

    There were a few good memories about you that I remember about how you used to keep Eva's kids and us and you taught us kids to play cards and dominos and you seemed to care a little bit, more about our children than Ruby did.

    There were also some things I remember that didn't set to well with me such as the time you beat me with a broomhandle and sent me upstairs to bed without any supper. Another episode I remember and have held it against you all of my life and that is the time I asked you to co-sign for my note for that Phillip's 66 tank wagon and you refused me, and especially, George Boggs who was 2 years younger than me had his dad co-sign for him and it was a gold mine. I never could understand why you wouldn't do it for me.

    Well Charlie I will have to say there weren't many really happy memories for me as an adopted child but I don't know what the future would have held for me and that is a question I'll never know the answer to. I just hope the Lord will help me heal some of these bad thoughts I have because I know they are wrong.

    13 Oct 1991 to Flossie (his natural mother)
    Dear Mom
    I am writing this letter after I have found out about the truth of my family. I can't see how you could stand to give up a baby after you had it for three months and especially keeping this all so secretive about who adopted me, so no one could pursue it. This is probably a question I will never know the anser of but who knows what my life would have been otherwise. I am also sorry to find out you didn't tell my brother Don about me or that he was adopted either, as this left as sad a spot in his heart about it as I have had. My life with the Oyler's wasn't the best but it could have been worse. The good thing that came of it was meeting my wife of 51 years and four wonderful children. The sad part was we lived at Chanute for 12 years and could have known you & Don and my cousins personally. Don's wife said he was so lonely and would have been happy to meet me and my family. Another thing Mom was the fact of you becoming an alcoholic and had you had the love of us children around you this might have never happened. My wife and I have experienced lonliness in our lives when our children were all on their own and we know how frustrating and heartbreaking it can be. I just hope Mom that the good Lord can forgive you for everything and maybe we can meet in heaven someday.

    Oct 3, 1991 to Beatrice (adoptive sister 12 years older than my Dad)
    Dear Beatrice
    I write this letter to you after I find that my real brother died July 31, 1991 just six weeks before I found him. My mother passed away in 1976 so had it not been for so many hard nosed people I could have known both of them. What a heartbreaking situation it has been and I am sure, knowing you, had the shoe been on your foot you would have been so mad you couldn't see straight. The thing I cannot understand is, after your mother and father passed away, why you could look me and my family in the eye and tell us a bare faced lie that you didn't know anything and what you would have had to lose by telling me. We could have had a much better relationship between the two of us but as it is I don't see how you can think that I could call you my sister after having been what I have been through because if that is the way a sister treats a brother she supposedly loves I am proud I didn't have a sister. Judy called me up that time I wrote you that letter and ripped me to pieces over how it tore you up, but I wonder if she has any idea what I have been through since I found this out.

    I don't know what your parents hoped to gain by keeping this on such a silent basis but I can tell you one thing it sure didn't make me feel grateful to them. As I look back on my life there were many questions I couldn't understand, but now many of the reasons have been made known, but there are some that I probably never will know the answer to. I can assure you one thing, you say I should honor them for raising me, but I never had what you could call an exciting life as their adopted child. I feel like I was more of a ward to them just as Alice Russell and Claude Dunne were. I had to work hard for what I got which is more than I can say for you and Don.

    I remember the times as a child when they would have Ruby's family gatherings, we kids had to wait until the adults ate and we had leftovers. Another thing that stuck in my craw was when it would be our turn to have Thanksgiving or Christmas supper at the Oyler household the meal was always held at noon and when we brought our food for supper we had to eat you people's leftovers.

    The Bible tells us we should forgive and forget but for some things even though you might forgive there is a scar there, such as this that you can in no way forget because everytime you look at a scar it reminds you what made it.

    I don't have too many years left Beatrice but I hope with the Lord's help and peoples prayers that I can ease some of the hurt I have experienced.

    You speak of my having a love and concern for your parents, but with the type of life I gave them such as 20 years of hard work and traveling some distances to pay tribute to their death plus helping to pay for their burial, I feel I have done my share.

    REF: Personal Knowledge by daughter Carolyn Sue Whitaker - 14 Jan 2001
    My father was raised and adopted by the Charles Oyler and Ruby Coltharp family. When they actually got him is not certain, but we know he was just a young infant. Some of the Coltharp family can remember Ruby pushing him down the main street of Caney in a baby buggy. They were residing in Washington Co. Oklahoma on a farm at the time. His adopted sister, Beatrice Oyler Russell, told me just prior to her death, that she remembered well the day they got my Dad. She had lost a kitten and Ruby told her not to worry that she was getting a new brother. Beatrice was 12 years old at the time, and said she loved to push Dad around in the buggy up and down the dirt road on the farm.

    As a child Dad grew up working on the farm and attending school. He was 8 years old when he started plowing the fields with a team of horses. He often spoke about the hard life he had working on the farm. He would get up at 5 o'clock in the morning, do his chores, and then he would walk to school 3 miles (as we have all heard these stories) in snow knee deep to an Indian, as he would always say. I still marvel in my mind, at the shear survival of these events in the bitter cold weather of walking to school that distance one way. Faced with knowing you had to go home and walk the 3 miles again!! And once home, start the chores all over again.

    He attended numerous schools around the area of Caney while in grade school. He then attended junior high and high school at the Caney High School. He had the opportunity for a scholarship to attend business college and turned it down to stay working on the farm with his adoptive parents. He had often regretted not going to college and using the scholarship.

    After Dad graduated from high school, his grandpa Coltharp gave him a car, a model A I believe it was. He really thought he was on top of the world when he got that car. And this was the beginning of his future with my mother. He was driving down main street of Caney when he met my mother, while she was walking down the street with a friend. Mom was about 14 years old at the time. He asked them if they wanted a ride, and they obliged the offer. Mom thought Dad was really "loaded" financially driving that fancy car and all!! (Boy was she in for a big surprise) They started dating and would go to dances where the band of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys would play, go on picnics with friends, play cards, or go to the movies, or swimming. During one summer when Mom was about 16 years old, she was living with her father's sister, Bertha Thompson Fielding, over in Sedan, Kansas, and working for Aunt Bertha throughout the summer. She and Dad corresponded during that time and she was very upset with Dad because he had gone out with another girl. She really told him just how the ole cow ate the cabbage, and told him to get lost. Dad wrote back to her asking for forgiveness and promised he wouldn't do that again. Consequently, Mom and Dad were married on Easter Sunday, March 24, 1940 at the preacher's house in Caney, Kansas. Aunt Beatrice and Uncle Paul were their witnesses. A bit of chivalry took place after the wedding, as my Dad pushed his new bride down the Main Street of Caney in a wheelbarrow. On my last visit with my Dad a month prior to his death, I discovered that Mom had saved all the love letters she and Dad had written to each other during their courtship. My Dad pulled this 4 or 5 inch thick stack of letters out of this little wooden tool box he had gotten as a child, and began to read them. My sister, Nancy and I asked if they would let us read them. What a great experience it was to share with my parents reading about the years of their young lives, and listen to the stories about what had happened and who they were talking about in the letters. After 60 years of a struggling and difficult marriage, I watched them sit in their chairs as they read the letters and we talked about how much they really must have loved each other when they were married and how much fun they had with their friends. Whenever I would ask them in earlier years how they met, Mom would just tell me "it was none of my business". I was so intrigued to finally be able to hear the story about their courtship after all the years they had been married. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary two weeks prior to my Dad's death. We celebrated with all four of their children home at one time together for the first time in 32 years.

    After their marriage, they made their home with Dad's parents. They were residing on the old Waller Place (farm) west of Caney in Chautauqua Co. Kansas. Charles and Ruby Oyler ran a dairy farm and farmed the land. They had no electricity and used a wood stove to heat and cook with. The house was quite small and had several screened in porches. Mom and Dad's room was one of these porches. Aunt Beatrice with her husband Paul and their son Nylon Hugh also lived with them. Uncle Don Oyler, dad's adopted brother, also lived with them. He eventually brought his "thought to be wife" Helen Littlefield home to live there as well. (We later found out after 50 some years they were never actually married.) Eventually, Aunt Bea and Uncle Paul moved out on their own. Dad told me that during the summer when it was just like "an oven" in the house, they would pull the hay wagon into the front yard, and drag their mattresses onto it, and sleep outside. During the winter, they would heat bricks and put under their mattresses to stay warm. After seeing the house, I just can't even imagine living in that house during the winter. They just covered the screen with plastic and slept out there!!! They also took showers in the summer outside. They warmed water all day in a large metal tub in the sun, then Dad would devise this makeshift shower using a funnel and pouring the water through it.

    My sister, Nancy born 1941, and brother, Jerry born 1943, were both born in this farm house.

    Dad was registered with the Draft Board and considered 4F since he was farming and was not required to join the Army during World War II.

    After many trials and tribulations within this family, my parents finally decided it was time to move out. They left and moved to what was the old hotel in Havana. Dad went to work for Mormon Feeds at that time selling feed. At some point in time, he starting working on pipe lines.

    He was working in Columbus, Kansas when mother was expecting my brother David. She came back to Caney to have David and he was born 1945 at Aunt Bea's house in Caney.

    When I was born 1948 they were living in the old hotel in Havana, Kansas. I was born at the Scimeca Hospital in Caney.

    My father worked on the railroad for a time in his life, and I believe it was after I was born. He often spoke of a "Gandy Dancer" when I was growing up. It was the people who laid the track. They used this giant tool which was placed under the rail then lifted up when the rail was ready to be laid into place. The actual name for the group of men laying track is a section gang. The name Gandy dancer came from the movement of the men in unison as they laid track using a machine manufactured by the Gandy Corp. of Chicago. Dad kept the old lantern he used when he worked on what he called the "road gang" for the railroad. Mom gave me the old lantern after dad died.

    My Dad was quite the character, and loved to "tease" everybody incessantly. He loved to dish it out, but didn't usually take it very well. He was a hard worker, & had many occupations when I was growing up, but always provided a good home for his family. Many times he would work two jobs to make ends meet. He did drink more than he should have and it caused many problems in his marriage to my mother.

    He loved to go dancing, fishing, and camping. There were many a summer day, we would go off fishing together at the local farmers ponds or go down to the river. He was always pretty patient with me when I'd get my clothes hooked on the barbed wire fences, get stuck in the mud, or get my fishing line caught in a snag while he was over on the other side of the pond. We also would go frog giggin and I always got to carry the stringer. I'd get so excited about finding another frog, I'd lay the stringer down and off they'd hop. He'd REALLY yell at me then!! Whenever I heard Dad talking about going someplace, I was always eager to make sure I wasn't left behind.

    We always raised a big garden, even after we moved to town. We rented some land from an old woman and put in the garden. I can remember Dad using a push plow before he was able to buy himself a garden tractor. He would lay off the rows with such precision using stakes and a string. He would then plow along the string to make a straight row. The rest of us would follow inserting the seeds, and another following with a hoe to cover them.


    REF: The County Chronicle, Caney, Kansas Wednesday, April 19, 2000
    PALATKA, Fla. - Former Caney resident Charles E. Oyler, 80, Palatka, Fla.; died Wednesday, April 5, 2000, at the Putnam Commuity Medical Center following an extended illness.

    A memorial service was held at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 8, at the First Baptist Church in Palatka with Dr. Don Aycock officiating.

    Charles Eugene Oyler was born to Ugene Whitaker and Flossie Gardner and was adopted in Iola, Kan. by Charles Oyler and his wife, Ruby Coltharp.

    He had lived in Palatka since 1974 coming from Caney, Kan. (actually from Hammond, Indiana). He was a member of the First Baptist Church in Palatka and had worked the past 14 years at Florida Furniture Industries. He previously worked 21 years as a diesel mechanic.

    He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Edith (Thompson) Oyler, Palatka; two daughters, Nancy Stanbery, Louisville, Ky. and Carolyn Whitaker, Des Moines, Iowa; two sons, Jerry Oyler, Deltona, Fla., and David Oyler, Palatka; seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

    Johnson-Overturf Funeral Home in Palatka was in charge of arrangements.

    Ref: Palatka Daily News, Palatka, Florida
    CHARLES OYLER Request Information
    SSN 510-18-7693 Residence: 32177 Palatka, FL
    Born 11 Sep 1919 Last Benefit:
    Died 5 Apr 2000 Issued: KS (Before 1951
    Palatka Daily News Obituaries
    Charles E. Oyler
    Charles Eugene Oyler, 80, of Palatka, died Wednesday, April 5, 2000, at Putnam Community Medical Center following an extended illness.
    He was the son of Ugene Whitaker and Flossie Gardner and was adopted in Iola, Kansas by Charles Oyler and his wife, Ruby Coltharp. He had lived in Palatka since 1974, coming from Caney, Kansas. He was a member of the First Baptist Church in Palatka and had worked the past 14 years at Florida Furniture Industries. He previously worked for 21 years as a diesel mechanic.
    He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Edith Thompson Oyler of Palatka; daughters, Nancy Stanbery of Louisville, Ky. and Carolyn Whitaker of Des Moines, Iowa; sons, Jerry Oyler of Deltona and David Oyler of Palatka; 7 grandchildren; and 8 great-grandchildren.
    Memorial services will be held Saturday, 2 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Palatka with Dr. Don Aycock officiating.
    Johnson-Overturf Funeral Home in Palatka is in charge of arrangements.
  • Change Date: 23 Aug 2010 at 13:37:06

    Father: Joseph Eugene Whitaker b: 7 Oct 1896 in Galveston, Galveston Co. Texas
    Mother: Flossie Bernice Gardner b: 7 Jan 1897 in Iola, Allen Co. Kansas

    Marriage 1 Edith Mae Thompson b: 26 Feb 1923 in Havana, Montgomery Co., Kansas
    • Married: 24 Mar 1940 in Caney, Montgomery Co., Kansas
    1. Has Children Living Oyler
    2. Has Children Living Oyler
    3. Has No Children Living Oyler
    4. Has Children Living Whitaker
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