GRANDPA CLEVE’S STORY
Written by: Barry P. Foley
Copyright © 6 March 2019
This is a story of my Grandpa Cleve Foley
He was born Charlie Cleveland Foley on the 9th Apr 1898 to William Howard Foley and Mary Rorrer. His brother, Willie Lee was 2 years old. Their mother died giving birth to twins in 1902.
So Howard, a 28 year old widower, turned his two small children over to his sister- in-law Minnie Rorrer to raise. Or at least until he found a new wife to take care of the boys. Howard remarried in 1905 to Martha Bouldin. It's unclear when the boys came back into the household. Cleve & Willie had six step-brothers and sisters.
His Grandpa Buck Foley and Grandma Ginny both died in October 1914, 11 days apart. Cleve was 16.
Cleve was raised in a section of Patrick County off the Pendleton School House Road in a section now called Stillwater. As a young boy, I used to ride horses over in that area with my Daddy. Daddy referred to it as the "Old Homeplace". LIttle did I know that my Daddy did live there for a number of years.
In 1981, Grandpa showed me the old family home, which was nothing but a chimney or two still standing, covered by weeds to thick you couldn't get within 100 feet. Out past the old house through the brush was the gravesite of his father who died in 1937.
Grandpa Cleve married Lonie Bet Pilson in April 1920 when he was 22 and she had just turned 16. She was the daughter of John Rufus Pilson and Mary "Mollie" Law.
They had 8 children. Thelmer born in 1921, Ray in '22, Mildred in '24, twins Pauline and my Daddy Eugene in '26, Hazel in '29, Robert in '31, and Paul in '36. In 1941, they adopted Marshall who was the son of 14 year old Pauline.
Grandpa Cleve told me a story about going to the West Virginia Cold Mines in the Great Depression Days. He said he was making 35 cents an hour at Stanleytown Furntiture and he went to West Virginia for better money. The family remained in Henry County. He said he had to lay flat of his back on a sled and they would tow that sled a mile or so underground to get to the work area in Cold Mine. After a couple months, he was back at his old job at Stanleytown making 25 cents an hour. I bet Grandma Lonie didn't let that go by very easy!!
The family seems to move back and forth from various rental houses in Patrick and Henry Counties. They lived in both Henry and Patrick County much of his young adult life, raising kids. He and Lonie moved to permanently to Elamsville and bought his first house from Roy Foley in 1958. He lived there till around 1974 when he moved back to Stanleytown with his second wife Mae in an old factory house across the street from his daughter Pauline.
My Daddy built our house in 1958 right next door to Grandpa Cleve. In the 60's it seemed like every Sunday over half of his children would come to visit. That made for a lot of activity on Sunday afternoons. With all of us rowdy kids, somebody was always getting hurt!
Grandma Lonie suffered with obesity for many years and had been in the "Rice House Clinic" in Durham NC to help her lose weight. She eventually died from complications of Diabetes on 10 February 1963. The children contributed money to help pay funeral expenses, because all of Grandpa's money went to pay Lonie's Doctors Bills.
Shorthly after Lonie's death, Grandpa Cleve turned 65 and retired from the Furniture Factory. He led a solemn Christian life alone, but stayed busy in the summer with a big garden and keeping everything clean as a pin on his property. He seemed to thrive on physical labor.
He attended the Elamsville Brethren Church regularly, but he often went to revivals at other churches. I remember during a mid-60's revival at the Buffalo Ridge Church of God of Prophecy, he stood up and requested the congregation sing Rock of Ages.
To my knowledge, Grandpa Cleve never owned a TV. He might come over to our house and watch the 6 o'clock news several times a year!!
He got reacquainted with a widow that he had known in his younger days. On 24 February 1966, he married Sallie May Plaster-Greenwood.
I went in the Navy in November 1972 and didn't see Grandpa much until the late 70's. My routine on a weekend visit from Virginia Beach Virginia, would be on our return trip on Sunday, we would stop and visit Grandpa Cleve and Mae. He was always so delighted to have company.
Around 1981, I began researching the Foley Family Tree. Having the benefit of a living Grandparent on both sides, I had an great starting point. Grandpa Cleve literally recited from memory two generations of family. His stopping point was he did not know the identity of his Great-Grandparents who had died long before he was born.
Finding his Great-Grandparents became my immediate focus. In 1982, I went to the Stuart courthouse and got a copy of a 1865 marriage license of his Uncle Reed Foley and it identified Reed's parents as Jeremiah and Nancy Foley. Jeremiah was born in1794 and died 20 years before Grandpa Cleve was born.
Grandpa was my guest of honor when I reenlisted in the Navy in 1981 in front of the Jeb Stuart Statue at the Court House.
In 1988, I was transferred to Naples Italy. We made a visit back to Patrick County stay our goodbyes. The last stop was Grandpa. I had came to grips with fact, it would most likely be the last time I would see him. It was a sad goodbye, especially for my daughter Michelle, who was very fond of her Great-Grandpa. But as luck would have it, I was back in Norfolk Virginia for training in May of 1989. I tacked on a week's vacation to go home to see family. I made a big surprise visit to Grandpa Cleve and Mae, but not without the lingering feeling, that this again would be the last time I would see him.
Grandpa Cleve still drove a car, but normally not very far and not after dark. According to my cousin Earl Hazelwood, Grandpa Cleve had driven from Stanleytown to Stuart to checkup on his son Marshall. It had gotten late, so on his way home, it was already dark he stopped his car on Route 8 just past the "Cold Storage". It is presumed that he must had thought he pulled off the road. But a short time later, a car traveling a 55 mph rammed his parked car there in the right lane. He died on the 20th of October 1989 in the Winston Salem NC Hospital.
He was buried in the Ross Harbour Cemetery in Elamsville beside his first wife Lonie.
Grandpa Cleve and Lonie raised 9 children. They have 38 Grandchildren, 63 Great Grandkids and to date, 84 Great-Great Grandchildren and 11 Great, Great, Great Grandkids.
Grandpa Cleve led a good Christian life. He didn't drink, smoke or curse. But his life was not with plenty of hardship.