Sachems / Chiefs - Leaders

Rev. Okey Mayle - Sachem


On Feb. 5,1933, Okey married Rosalee Margaret Adams (1915-?), the daughter of E.E. and Lora Adams. Okey was age 30, and Rosalee 18 at the time of their wedding. They had seven children -- Rev. Menelus Mayle, Elzie Aientin Mayle, Tressie Walkton, Olivia Spiva, Barbara Newman, Geraldine Mayle and Okey Mayle Jr.

Circa 1968, they resided in Detroit, MI, but later returned to their home region. According to a local newspaper, Okey " was a retired carpenter and painter and was, at the time of his death, minister of St. Peter's A.M.E. Church at Chestnut Ridge. He was a member of the Barbour County Senior Citiens and the Allegheny Nation, Native American Association."

Oakey was a descendent of Sam Norris and Pretty Hair, Wilmore Mail, Henry Dalton and Gustavis Croston. All listed as Indian and early founders of what would become known as "The West Virginia Guinea" of "The People of Chestnut Ridge". 

Oakey Mayle - Downtown Philipi, Barbour County. WVA


He stood out among his predecessors, enlightening others and perpetuating American Indian Cultural Heritage in a time and place that was deemed not particularly friendly to our culture.

Okey Sr. is pictured extensively in the book, Our Kind of People: Identity; Community and Religion on Chestnut Ridge, authored by Thomas McElwain and published in 1981.

He died at the age of 91 on April 1, 1994, and was laid to rest in the Chestnut Ridge Cemetery near his ancestors.

Son Menelus Mayle took over as pastor of his father's church, "known today as Okey's Gospel Church," said the Goldenseal article. "Okey was a wise and gentle man, and a true community leader." He also was profiled in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette in "Ridge Folks: Heirs to Uncertain Identity" authored by Barry Paris, and published on Dec. 31, 1984.


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