January 2017

Introducing Jacob Verlynne "Lynn" Spiker (part 1 of 2)

Save the Date - 2017 Reunion

Save the Date - Sunday, May 28, 2017

By Mike Spiker

Hi. Hope you are surviving the winter. It’s now time to ask all who subscribe to the newsletter to SAVE THE DATE for the 2017 Spiker Family Reunion.

The reunion will be on Sunday, May 28. I want to remind everyone to consider bringing an Auction item. Proceeds from the auction are FIRST applied to the cost of the chickens, charcoal and other items needed for grilling the main course. SECOND, the auction monies pay for the domain and web hosting costs of our family website. THIRD, in keeping with one of our goals – honoring the memories of prior generations – we have elected to send this year’s balance to the Masonic Memorial Park Cemetery in West Union where Lynn and Adelene Spiker are buried (see article below.)

Their son, John Spiker, has volunteered as auctioneer at our reunion for many years. And now that the South Fork Cemetery (the recipient in our previous auctions) is in better condition, we want to make a gesture of support to show our appreciation of John, sister Melinda, their parents and families.

Introducing: Jacob Verlynne "Lynn" Spiker (part 1 of 2)

By Bobbi Spiker-Conley

Jacob and Gay Spiker, and six of their seven children, are buried at the South Fork Cemetery. Their son, Lynn, is buried alongside his wife, Adelene, at the Masonic Memorial Park Cemetery in West Union. 

A headstone inscribed on one side with the “Maxson” family name marks the gravesites of Adelene’s parents, Glen and Gay (Britton) Maxson. On the opposite side, the headstone is divided between family names “Spiker” for Lynn and Adelene (Maxson) Spiker and “Booher” for Adelene’s brother-in-law and sister, Ed and Arlene (Maxson) Booher.

Every now and then, someone points out that Uncle Lynn’s name is recorded differently on our Family Group Sheet than is reflected on his footstone (and pretty much every other document that bears his name.) In order to explain, this seems like the ideal time to “introduce” you to Lynn Spiker.

When Jacob Verlynne Spiker was born on January 19, 1913, at the family home in Ritchie County, WV, his father Jake, was 31 and his mother, Gay, was 28. He was their fourth child, second son.

The name “Verlynne” appears on the 1920 and 1930 censuses when he lived with his parents and siblings in Ritchie County. He later moved to Lewis County where the 1940 census records his name only as “Lynn.” 

And when his birth was eventually registered with the state of West Virginia in 1943 (see Vital Statistics Timeline below,) his mother reported his full name as “Lynn Spiker.” His daughter, Melinda, explained the discrepancy, “Dad didn’t like his name, so when he turned 18 his mom…let him change it to Lynn. That’s why he didn’t have a middle name.”

Lynn served in World War II. He enlisted in the Army on April 16, 1943, in Clarksburg, West Virginia, when he was 30 years old. For perhaps the first time in his life, he would have been required to submit “proof of birth.” His birth record was registered the following June.   

Vital Statistics Timeline

Before 1853 – No statistics were recorded by the counties or the state. Family Bibles, diaries and letters are often the only sources of such information.

In 1853 – Virginia law required all counties to record births, deaths and marriages. The county clerks served as sole registrars and custodians of the events that occurred in their respective counties.

In 1863 – West Virginia was created from the state of Virginia and was governed by the same law requiring the registrations. Data was gathered from parents, physicians and midwives, then hand-written or typed in printed register books that contained multiple entries per page. But compliance with the law was haphazard and not easily enforced. Through 1879, only 15% of births were recorded.

In 1917 – The Vital Registration Office was created, and statewide birth registrations began. By 1920, coverage had increased to 65%. However, due to sprawling rural populations in West Virginia and lack of consistent collection mechanisms, the reporting was still not considered adequate until about 1925. In 1936 – The Social Security Act was passed. To apply for an account, one was required to submit “proof of birth.” The same became true for those seeking to obtain personal identification such as a passport, and for those entering the military. Thus, people born prior to record-keeping or born outside a hospital filed for a “delayed birth certificate.” By 1945, nearly complete reporting of vital events was achieved nationwide.

On May 17, 1946, Lynn married 22-year-old Adelene Marjorie Maxson in Vienna, West Virginia. They were united in marriage by Lynn’s Uncle, Rev. Ofa Bennett (husband of Gay Spiker’s sister, Coe.)

By 1950, the Lynn Spiker family of four was complete but the story was just beginning. We can think of no-one better to tell it than their daughter.