Biography of Orin P. Wambley
Rush County, IN Biographies





ORIN P. WAMBLEY, proprietor of the Hotel Scanlan at Rushville, president of the Hotel Keepers' Association of Indiana and one of the best known hotel keepers in the country, is a native son of Rush county and has done much in his way to reflect credit upon the place of his birth, his popularity among the leaders of his calling in Indiana culminating in his election in 1920 to the responsible position of administrative head of the state association to which he had long given his earnest and helpful attention; a fitting recognition of his managerial ability as well as an unsought testimonial of the high esteem in which his associates hold him. Barring a period of several years during which he lived in Indianapolis gaining valuable experience in the hotel business Mr. Wainsley has always lived in this county and his acquaintance is county wide, even as it is state wide among hotel men. He was born at the pleasant old village of New Salem in Noble township on May 26, 1882, a twin, but was bereft by death of his mate, Earl, when eight weeks old. He is a son of William C. and Eliza A. (Boling) Wamsley, the former of whom is still living, connected with the management of the Hotel Scanlan and familiarly and lovingly known as "Dad" to hundreds of traveling men throughout the middle West who make Rushville on their rounds and whose favorite stopping place there is the Scanlan. William C. Wamsley is a native of the old Buckeye state, but has been a resident of Indiana and of Rush county since the days of his boyhood and there are few men in this county who are better known then he. He was born at Oxford, Ohio, September 4, 1847, son of William B. and Mary (Ingram) Wamsley, the latter of whom was horn in the state of New Jersey. William B. Wamsley was born in Boone county, Kentucky, son of George W. Wamsley and wife, pioneers of that county, who later came across the river and settled in Hamilton county, where George W. Wamsley was killed by a log falling upon him and crushing his head during a pioneer "barn raising" in the neighborhood in which he lived. William B. Wamsley grew to manhood in Hamilton county and after his marriage located at Oxford, in Butler county, whence he presently moved to Cincinnati and was serving as sheriff of Hamilton county at the time of his death there in 1851. His widow survived him but a few months. dying in 1852, leaving four children, William C. Wamsley having had three sisters (all now deceased), namely: Amelia, who married John Plough, of Rush county, and had five children, all of whom are now deceased save Mrs. Robert Downing, of Detroit, Mich.; Mary Eliza, who married John Mitchell, of Decatur county, this state, and had two children, Edward, who made his home in Decatur county, and Minnie, who married Newton Casey, of Rush county and died leaving two children, one of whom, Edward, of Decatur county, is still living, and Elizabeth, who married William F. Rhinehart, of this county, who died in Grant county leaving six children, all of whom are living, though none is a resident of this community, some of them living in Grant county and others in Oklahoma. Bereft of his parents when but a small child, William C. Wamsley was taken care of by his maternal grandparents who were then living in Dearborn county, this state, for three years and thereafter by others until he was thirteen years of age when, his eldest sister meanwhile having married, he joined her at Richland in this county, and was living here when the Civil war broke out. Though but thirteen years of age he volunteered his services to go to the front as a soldier. This patriotic offer was promptly rejected by the recruiting officers but the lad was bound to get into the war some way and he presently succeeded in entering the service of the Government as a horse boy to help in the work of moving cavalry horses from Indiana to points needed in the army, and in this capacity he served for two years and two months. Upon the completion of this service he rejoined the family of his sister at Richland and for awhile was engaged there in farm work, but presently (in 1872) opened a harness shop at Richland. In the following year he moved his shop to New Salem, where he established his home after his marriage in 1875, and was there engaged in business when in February, 1877, his establishment was destroyed by fire, entailing a complete loss of his business and more than $1,000 in cash which he happened to have on hand at the time. After this fire Mr. Wamsley resumed fanning for a time and then took up the trade of carpenter and continued thus engaged, building in and about New Salem, until his retirement in 1913 and removal to Rushville to enter upon his present connection with the management of the Hotel Scanlan, of which popular old hostelry his son. Pearl, meanwhile had become the proprietor. It was on February 17, 1875, that William C. Wamsley was united in marriage to Eliza. A. Boling, who was born in Anderson township, this county, July 12, 1854, daughter of Gordon and Sarah (Trees) Boling, both members of pioneer families in this region, the former born in 1817 and the latter in 1818. Mrs. Eliza Boling Wamsley died on January 6, 1898. By her union with William C. Wamsley three sons were born, Charles W. and the twins, Pearl and Earl, mentioned above. Charles W. Wamsley was born on September 27, 1876, and has always lived at New Salem, where he is now engaged as a rural mail carrier, a position he has occupied for years, he and his wife, who was Estella Geise, who also was born in this county, having a pleasant home there. O. P. Wamsley spent his boyhood at New Salem, where he was born, received his schooling there and remained there until he was sixteen years of age, when he went to Rushville and became connected with the old Grand hotel, learning there the rudiments of the business in which he has since achieved a distinctive success. Not long afterward he left Rushville and went to Indianapolis, where he further extended his hotel experience and where he was married, continuing to reside there save for a brief period spent at Connersville, until 1912 when he returned to Rushville and took over the management of the Windsor hotel. In the next year (1913) he became the proprietor of the Hotel Scanlan and has since been very successfully conducting that popular old hostelry. Mr. Wamsley has for years taken an active interest in the affairs of the Indiana Hotel Keepers' Association and in 1920 was elected president of the association. He and Mrs. Wamsley and "Dad" give their personal attention to the operation of the Scanlan and thus have imparted to it that delightful "home" atmosphere that has made it so widely and popularly known among the traveling men who make this region. The Scanlan's dining room has a justly wide reputation, the cuisine commending itself to all who enjoy that rarest of features about the modern hotel known as "home cooking" and which is found at the Scanlan in its highest development. On May 6, 1906, O. P. Wamsley was united in marriage to Nelle G. McKee, who also was born in Rush county, daughter of Charles and Catherine (Simonson) McKee, members of old families in this region, and further mention of whom is made elsewhere in this volume, and to this union two children have been born, Charles William Gordon, born at Indianapolis, who died at the age of five years, and Catherine, born on December 12, 1912. Mr. Wamsley is a Republican, as is his father. The latter is a member of the local lodge of the Red Men, and of the Pocahontas. O. P. Wamsley is chancellor commander of the local lodge of the Knights of Pythias and chaplain of the uniform rank of that order. Mrs. Wamsley is excellent junior of the local lodge of the Pythian Sisters and both take an active interest in lodge affairs. They are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and Mr. Wamsley is leader of the choir in the same. Prior to her marriage Mrs. Wamsley had been for some time engaged as a teacher in the schools of Rush county.

From:
Centennian History of Rush County, Indiana
Edited by: A. L. Gary and E. B. Thomas
Historical Publishing Company
Indianapolis 1921


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