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Silent City - Oscar Pile portrayed by Mike Watson



2019-10-09 - Columbia - Photo by Tiffany Kessler, columbiamagazine.com.
Historian Mike Watson stood at the graveside and said, "I will soon be 200 years young! Oscar Pile-- Pyle after about 1895 --was born on Christmas Day in 1819 in Adair County to John Pile and Martha "Patsey" Allen, who married in Virginia in 1809, came to Kentucky and finally settled in Columbia.

"Oscar spent his life in Adair County, and at the end of his life, at Columbia. Until his final months, his health was good and he never wore glasses to read. He was a good Christian man who cared for his neighbors as if they were his own relations, a long-time member of the Methodist church.

"He was first married to Mary Susan Craig, in 1847, who lived by a short time, about two years. His second marriage was to Margaret E. Craig, in 1853. His third wife was Elizabeth Ann "Lizzie" Flowers, in 1858, who survived him, after having been married more than forty years.

"Oscar was the father of eight children, seven by his last wife: the first, born in 1853, was the wife of James William Hurt; Allen B., born 1859, died at Washington, D.C., in 1961 at the age of 102 years; Benjamin Franklin; William Oscar; Lola F., who married Mr. Lovett; Dollie, married James E. Garentt; Minnie, married a cousin, Seldon Holmes Pile; and Lorena, who married Maurice S. Grubbs.

"His care of friends and neighbors bordered on the dangerous at least once. In 1873 deadly cholera made its way to Columbia and Adair County and dozens were taken ill, with many deaths, both in town and in various parts of the county. The disease was carried from place to place due to visitors and residents fleeing town for the hoped-for safety of the country.

"Oscar Pile, George M. Taylor, James Morris, Thomas Eubank, James Madden, and Rev. W.K. Azbill were once recognized as being among those who nursed the cholera victims while the few local physicians fought the disease, often in vain.

"Robert Garnett, who had been in town, repaired to his home near Glensfork and fell ill with the cholera. Mr. Pile was passing the Garnett home and heard of the sickness, and stayed to nurse the dying man. Almost immediately he James Morris went the home of Mr. Robert Morrison Montgomery, a veteran of the War of 1812, then aged 78 years, and his aged wife, Elizabeth, to nurse them in their fatal bout with the disease.

"He was not so unfortunate to contract cholera, but lived for decades afterward, but always able to remember the sad deaths of his friends and neighbors."

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