Richland County, Ohio, Centennial Biographical
Fort Wayne, Indiana L489 274 .07
Herman L. Wiles, D.D.
A man of ripe scholarship and marked executive ability, whose life has been consecrated to the cause of the Master and to the uplifting of men, there is particular propriety in here directing attention to the life history of the pastor of the Lutheral church of Mansfield. He has devoted himself without ceasing to the interests of humanity and to the furtherance of all good works. His reputation is not restricted and his power and influence in his holy office have been exerted in a spirit of deepest human sympathy and tender solicitude. There has not been denied him the full harvest nor the aftermath whose garnering shall bring the sure reward in the words of commendation, "Well done, good and faithful servant." His wide acquaintance in the state and his prominence as an eminent divine of the Lutheran ministry will make his history one of especial interest to the readers of this volume.
Dr. Herman Lewis Wiles is a native of Frederick county, Maryland, born July 15, 1840, his parents being John and Catherine (Long) Wiles. The paternal grandfather, Thomas Wiles, was a native of Virginia, and prior to the year 1780 located in Middletown Valley, Frederick county, Maryland. He had eight children, namely: John, Thomas, George, William, Samuel, James, Mrs. House and Mrs. Blessing. Of this family John Wiles, the father of our subject was married, in 1817, to Catherine Long, whose father was a captain in the state militia, and was called into service in the war of 1812; but when the troops had proceeded as far as Hagerstown on the way to the scene of hostilities it was learned that the war had ended. They had ten children, five sons and five daughters: John Thomas, the eldest, was married, about 1840, to Elizabeth Smith. They had one daughter, Ellen, who married William DeGrange and resides near Jefferson, Maryland. Mr. and Mrs. DeGrange have three sons and one daughter.
Tilghman B., the second member of the family of John and Catherine Wiles, died in September, 1899. He was a very active member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He was married, about 1848, to Susan Baker, a native of Maryland, and until the death of his wife they resided near Middletown, Maryland. Their children were as follows: Edward C., who resides in Mansfield. Alice became the wife of Cornelius Dye, of Chicago, Ohio [error in book?]. He was married the second time, on the 1st of January, 1863, to Emily Crone. Their living children are: Olive, Herman, who married Mary Charles, now deceased, by whom he had a son, Roy: he afterward wedded Mary A. Logan; Charles O., of Lucas, Ohio, who married Miss Zoda Myers, and has two children: William Otto, who married Miss Doll Baker, by whom he has one child and resides near Lucas; Effie, the wife of Frank H. Fike, who resides near Butler, Ohio, and has two children; and Walter, who is living at the old home near Lucas.
Lloyd and one other son of the family died in infancy.
Of the daughters, Elizabeth m. became the wife of George Culler, and resided near Lucas. She is survived by two of her children: Charles T., who is living near Lucas, and married Mary Darling and has two living children, one being Orton Culler; and Mary A., who is married and resides in Chicago, Illinois.
Mary J. became the wife of Joshua Rhoads and resided at Frederick, Maryland. Her children are: Fannie, who is married and lives at Union Bridge, Maryland, and has two children; Charles, of Frederick, Maryland, who wedded Mary A. Haller and has four children; Shaffer, who is married and has one child; Della, the wife of Mr. Strausner, who lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and has five children; Molly, the wife of Mr. Hanon, of Cuyahoga, Ohio.
Anna E. is the wife of J.P. Heiteshu, and they lived and died at Clyde, Ohio. In their family were four daughters and two sons.
Amanda C. married Samuel Anderson and resides in Monroe township, Richland county. They have five children: Carey married Daisy B. Parry and with their family they reside at Shelby, Richland county. Their children are: Minnie, Alta and Vina. Alta, the next child of Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, is now the wife of Frank L. Inks. Lloyd, the youngest, resides at home.
Lydia A. Wiles became the wife of James Valentine and resides in Mansfield, Ohio. Their children are: William, a railroad engineer, who wedded Mary Stout, and has three children; Kate, the wife of George Parry, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, by whom she has one child; Olive, the wife of Sherman Harter, of Mansfield, by whom she has one child, Sherman, who married Cennie Pollock; and Myrtle, who is at home.
Herman L. Wiles, the youngest member of the family and the immediate subject of this review, was reared upon a farm, and as soon as old enough to handle a plow began to work in the fields. He was only four years of age at the time of his father's death and he lived with a brother until he was eighteen years of age, providing for his own support from his tenth year. He attended the common schools during the winter season and supplemented his knowledge by study at home. At the age of eighteen he had thus become qualified for teaching. He entered upon his profession with the intention of using the money thereby gained to fit himself for the practice of law. About that time, however, he was converted to the Lutheran faith and united with the church, and feeling called to enter the ministry he gave up his school and began preparation for the higher calling to which he has devoted his life. He became a student in the Academy at Middletown, Maryland, where he remained two years, and in the fall of 1859 he entered the freshman class at Wittenberg College, in Ohio, in which institution he was graduated four years later, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, winning the second honors in his class. He immediately afterward began the study of theology in the same institution, and on the completion of that course was graduated in 1864. The degree of Master of Arts was conferred upon him by the same college in 1866, and ten years later the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity was given him by his alma mater. Dr. Wiles had the honor of taking one of the highest grades ever taken in that institution.
After completing his theological course, Dr. Wiles accepted the pastorate of the Lutheran churches at Lucas, Mount Zion, St. John's and Mifflin, officiating at all four churches from 1864 until the fall of 1871. His labors were attended with splendid results, for during that period he added to the membership of the four congregations a total of seven hundred and twenty-eight. The work of the church was earnestly carried on in all of its departments and new houses of worship were erected for the congregations at Mount Zion, St. John's and Mifflin. During that period, in 1864, the doctor was united in marriage to Miss Effie Routzahn, daughter of Dr. Routzahn, of Springfield, Ohio. In 1871 he was called to the church at Wooster. The congregation was in a disorganized condition, its membership being divided and decreasing numerically. Under his able guidance the working forces of the church were soon in harmonious and concentrated action. A revival service was held soon after entering upon his labors and action. A revival service was held soon after entering upon his labors and action. A revival service was held soon after entering upon his labors and seventy-five new members were taken into the church, and from that time forth the growth of the church was steady and continuous, so that the house of worship soon became too small for the increasing congregation, making necessary the erection of a more commodious church edifice. With untiring zeal and devotion to the cause, Dr. Wiles, in 1877, began the erection of the beautiful church building that belongs to the English Lutheran society in Wooster, and the structure was completed in the spring of 1880. Several years later a chapel was erected, the total cost of the building being forty-five thousand dollars.
In the meantime the fame of Dr. Wiles as a minister, pastor and organizer became widely known, and during his service in Wooster he was invited to the pastorate of the First church of Cincinnati, First church of Omaha, First church at Indianapolis, First church at Cleveland, St. Matthew's Lutheran church in Brooklyn, and the Third Lutheran church of Baltimore. He was also elected to the presidency of the Lutheran college at Carthage, Illinois, and chosen as the secretary of the board of church extension to the general synod. He declined to accept all of these wishing to devote his entire time and energy to the upbuilding of the Wooster church.
In 1884 he accepted a call to the English Lutheran church of Mansfield. He had preached here two Sundays and was making preparations to remove to this city when a committee of the Wooster church called upon him at the parsonage and invited him and his wife to attend a meeting at the church, the purpose of which was not explained to him. He felt somewhat bewildered upon walking down the aisle to observe that the immense auditorium was filled to its capacity, seating and standing room. The chairman of the meeting, one of the elders, stated that the congregation had assembled in response to a call sent out that afternoon and its purpose was to ascertain whether there was any consideration that would induce him to remain. He replied that there was none; that he felt conscientiously called to a new field and that he was going to Mansfield in answer to his own convictions. And he came.
Dr. Wiles has been the pastor of the English Lutheran church here since 1884 and has added to it nineteen hundred members. The church has today a total of about fourteen hundred members. Three months after he came here he was elected to the presidency of Wittenberg Theological Seminary, his alma mater, the highest position in the gift of the Lutheran church; but he declined it to pursue his ministerial labors. While at Wooster he was the president of the East Ohio synod two terms and since he came to Mansfield he has been the president of the Wittenberg synod two terms, and has, in his time, occupied almost every place in synodical labors. For twenty-five years he was trustee of Wittenberg College, and nine times he has represented his synod in the general synod of the United States.
In 1890 Dr. Wiles began the erection of the new church building in Mansfield, at the corner of Parke avenue and Mulberry street, it being completed in the year 1894. It is the fifth house of worship built under his supervision and is the direct result of his untiring labors. On the 1st of April, 1901, he closed the thirty-seventh year of his service in the ministry, and seventeen years of that time have been passed in Mansfield, Ohio.
Unto the marriage of Dr. and Mrs. Wiles have been born two children - Otis and LaVergne. Both were born at Mount Zion, Richland county, Ohio: Otis July 15, 1866, and LaVergne November 17, 1868. Otis pursued his literary education in Wooster University and Wittenberg College, at Springfield Ohio. Subsequently he read medicine for one year in the office of Dr. Craig & son of Mansfield, and then entered the medical department of the Western Reserve College at Cleveland, where after three years he was graduated in 1892. He was married, December 6, 1899, to Miss Emma Krabill. LaVergne married Lenora Keen, of Mansfield, and died at the age of twenty-four years.
Mrs. Wiles has ever been to her honored husband a faithful companion and helpmate, sharing his Christian labors and supplementing his work by her counsel and devotion. The Doctor is a man of high scholarly attainments. As a speaker he is forceful and eloquent, and his every utterance rings with sincerity and honest conviction. A master of rhetoric, he is enabled to present his views in such a way as to entertain as well as instruct his hearers, and his earnest and impassioned words reveal the deep fervor with which he is imbued in presenting the divine truths, which are thus made to appeal more strongly to those whom he addresses. His mind, quickly disciplined, analytical and of broad ken, his deep perception and quick and lively sumpathy, make him a power in his field of labor.
[I contribute this biography in the hope that someone will share additional information with me about this Wiles family of the Middleton Valley of Maryland. email@example.com.]