In 1892, Charles and Mary Jane retired from the farm, but kept possession of it. They moved to a house in the village of Wesleyville, a couple of miles down the road to the north of the Station Road farm. In Mary Jane's memoirs, she writes, "In 1892 we gave up farm life and retired to Wesleyville, Pa., where Charles bought a house and lot for $1300.00. After one year [Ed: month?] on April 7, 1892, this house burned to the ground (there was no insurance). He immediately rebuilt on the old foundation a new house which cost $1500.00. Here we lived in peace and contentment."
Retirement House in 1907
Sam Wagner Photo
Family Comes to Visit
Rear L/R: Wilfred, Ross & David Bliley; Barbara Bliley Lambing;
Mary Agnes Bliley Wagner & Inez Wagner
Front L/R: Charles, Mary Jane Bliley & grandson Wilbur Lambing.
Sam Wagner Photo, 1901
Mary Jane & Her Siblings
L/R: Mary Jane Mead Bliley, Jehu Mead,
Isabel Edson Bonnell.
Retirement Home, July 25, 1908,
All lived within Harborcreek Township.
Sam Wagner Photo
Mary Jane & Charles Relaxing
Retirement Home, July 25, 1899.
Sam Wagner Photo
Headed Out in the Family Carriage
Sam and Inez Wagner on South Street in
front of the retirement house.
Inez, a thoroughly-modern young woman,
does not hesitate to take the reins.
October 21, 1906, Sam Wagner Photo
"My Awful Uncle"Inez Wagner
Caption by Inez in photo album; Summer 1899
Standing: Inez in arms of Uncle Ross Bliley
Seated: Mrs. Wilfred Bliley & Mrs. Ross Bliley
Sam Wagner Photo
On this photo-post card card is a short and simple statement of love as a son,
Ross A. Bliley, reflects on his mother's life on her birthday. This unused card
must have been created 14 years after Mary Jane's death.
The photo album to the right was a gift to Wilfred H. Bliley from his nephew, Sam Wagner, and his niece, Inez Wagner. It is approximately 5" x 7", and contains over two-dozen photographs of the Bliley and Chambers families.
It appears that Sam and Inez made photo album gifts for family members and friends. They also produced more than a dozen much larger albums for themselves. No doubt, these were a favorite center of conversation for family and friends visiting the home of Charles and Mary Jane.
The front row, L/R:
1. Rosana Bliley Curtis
2. Mary Jane Mead Bliley
3. Charles A. Bliley
4. Ellen "Nellie" BlileyLower Internment
Ellen Butler Bliley (Ross' wife)Upper Internment
5. Ross Bliley (No Marker)
Andrew Blila (Son) and his family are in the next
row behind the Bliley family plot marker.
Photo by Carl Wolf, 2005
|1822, July 23||Born, Krozingen, Baden, Germany||0|
|1847, June 08||Married, Mary Jane Mead||25|
|1847||Bought family farm & built new house||25|
west to look for a new farm. Gone six weeks.
Almost bought a farm and changed his mind after returning.
|1891, Jan. 1||Mother, Catherine Eich (Bleile) Bliley dies||69|
|1892||Retired from farming on Station Road farm||70|
|1892, April||House destroyed by fire. Rebuilt immediately.||70|
|1906, Nov. 15||Died, Harborcreek Twp., Erie Co., PA||84|
It is believed the farm was rented to their son, Wilfred H. Bliley, after Charles and Mary Jane retired. There are entries in Mary Jane's notebook of money being paid to Charles and her on a loan to Wilfred, as well as entries regarding his slaughtering of livestock that may have been used to pay rent.
Two years after Charles' death, Wilfred bought the western portion of the farm (the brick house & 41 acres) from the estate of his father for $3075, as stipulated in Charles' will. The balance of the farm, the eastern portion, was subdivided into five parcels and sold with the proceeds distributed to Charles and Mary Jane's descendants and family.
Wilfred apparently supplemented the income from the much smaller farm by harvesting grapes for the Welch's Grape Juice Company, as the photos attest. In 1914 the U.S. Navy prohibited alcoholic beverages on-board ships and purchased Welch's grape juice as a substitute. 1914 was a good year for Welch's, and probably, a good year for Wilfred.
Wilfred H. Bliley, Circa 1914
Harvesting Grapes for Welch Grape Company in the fall of 1914.
The map below shows the places around Erie, Pennsylvania, that were important to Charles and Mary Jane. The distances they traveled were relatively short by today's standards, but in the horse-and-buggy days, it would easily have taken over an hour to ride downtown to Saint Mary's R.C. Church where they were married and worshiped. It probably took over two hours to travel from the Station Road farm to Trinity R.C. Cemetery to visit the family plot (K-25). After the introduction of public trolley transit in the latter part of the 19th Century, travel times were significantly reduced.
Adjacent to Harbor Creek Township (South)
Detail from Page 70, 1876 Atlas of Erie County, Penn.
Published by Everts, Ensign & Everts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
For higher-quality maps of Harborcreek and Greene Townships, go to the Downloads Page.
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