Twin boys named for Wiley Post and Will Rogers

Will Rogers (standing on wing) and Wiley Post in Alaska (August, 1935)
Will Rogers and Wiley Post

On July 10, 1935, Bert and Irlean Ash of Oklahoma City welcomed twin sons. The boys went without names — they were “designated merely as No. 1 and No. 2” — for more than a month.

Then, on August 15, a plane crash in northern Alaska killed two fellow Oklahomans — Wiley Post and Will Rogers. Post was the pioneering aviator who’d flown solo around the world in 1933 aboard the Winnie Mae, and Rogers was a popular entertainer and social commentator of the day.

Bert and Irlean decided to honor the pair by naming their sons Wiley Rogers Ash and Will Post Ash.

Bert was quoted as saying, “We hope the twins will be able to fly sometime.”

P.S. William Penn Adair “Will” Rogers, who was part Cherokee, was named after Cherokee leader William Penn Adair.

Update, July 2023: I recently stumbled upon another set of twins named after Post and Rogers!

Will Rogers Wallace and Wiley Post Wallace were born in Kenbridge, Virginia, on January 12, 1936.

[Their mother] had decided that if her 12th child was a boy, she’d name him Will Rogers Wallace after American humorist Will Rogers, who had died in a plane crash in August 1935 in Alaska.

But when the doctor announced that she was in labor with twins…she accepted his advice to name the younger boy after Rogers’ pilot, Wiley Post, who also died in the crash.

This second set of twins inspired me to check the U.S. data on both names. Turns out that both Wiley and Will saw an uptick in usage in 1935 specifically:

Boys named WileyBoys named Will
1937222 [rank: 364th]230 [rank: 355th]
1936257 [rank: 341st]234 [rank: 353rd]
1935286 [rank: 324th]305 [rank: 311th]
1934224 [rank: 366th]215 [rank: 370th]
1933216 [rank: 369th]224 [rank: 362nd]

Which of the two names do you prefer?


Image: Will Rogers and Wiley Post (public domain)

[Latest update: Jul. 2023]

4 thoughts on “Twin boys named for Wiley Post and Will Rogers

  1. HOLY SMOKES!! THAT’S MY DAD AND HIS TWIN BROTHER!!!!!!!!!!!! WOWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!! HOW COOL IS THIS!!! There’s no way.. lol.. IM STUNNED!!! Bert! Irlean! my grandma and grandpa!!! My dad’s twin brother will died in 1977 of getting hit in the head by a pipe letting out the pressure on a gas well, and my dad (wiley) died in 2002 of cancer when I was 18. Incredible you have something involving my dad. Please email me if you want to talk more about the history! My family and I are honored!!!

  2. My father Will told me his parents named them Will Rogers Ash and Wiley Post Ash but when they signed up for the navy and my Uncle Wiley gave his name to the sign up guy he told them his name was Wiley Rogers Ash and my Dad was stuck with Post.

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