Richard Thomas PYLES was my 2nd great grand uncle. He was the brother of my 2nd great grandfather, Wallace PYLES, who I wrote about here.
A farmer, then not
Richard started his adult life as a farmer like his father, but in 1860 he was a dry goods merchant in Barnesville, Maryland, also in Montgomery County. His real estate and personal property holdings were valued at $2100.
In Feb 1859, Richard had married Laura Virginia HAWKINS. They had two children together – Clagett born in 1859 and Annie Estelle (Nannie) born in 1861. Laura died in 1865 for reasons I don’t know. Two years later, Richard married Laura’s younger sister, Frances Ellen (Fannie) HAWKINS.
In the 1870 census, Richard was still a merchant in Barnesville and the value of his real and personal property was $7000. He was 38 years old in 1870.
During the 1870’s Richard was a warden of the St. Peter’s Parish Church. The original church edifice stood on what is now Monocacy Cemetery in Montgomery County. He was also a freemason, belonging to a lodge in Rockville, Maryland.
Living the good life
Life and business was good for Richard and his family during the 1870’s. Besides being a merchant, Richard worked as a district tax collector and as a postmaster. The post office was probably in his store. Nevertheless, he was the postmaster and was well paid by the government for that position.
Richard and Fannie had four children in the 1870’s, and on the 1880 census the family has a children’s nurse living with them. Sounds like a nanny or mother’s helper to me, a luxury not everyone could afford then or now. In 1885, a fifth child was born.
Richard becomes ill
In March 1888, when Richard was 56, he ‘was stricken with paralysis, falling senseless to the floor’ while he was conducting business in his store. This was reported in The News, a Frederick, Maryland newspaper. He recovered enough from the stroke to be named one of the first commissioners of the town of Barnesville when it incorporated in May 1888.
Sadly, one year later on 13 May 1889, Richard suffered another stroke and died. He was buried at Monocacy Cemetery.