Master Surname Index

Bill Nye

Ancestry of
Bill Nye

TV's The Science Guy

    Edwin Darby "Ned" Nye

    View famous kin of Edwin Darby Nye

    • Father of Bill Nye — 2nd Generation
    • Ahnentafel No:
    • Birth Date:
    • 3 May 1917 
    • Birth Location:
    • Washington, D.C. 
    • Christening Date:
    • Christening Location:
    • Death Date:
    • 23 Aug 1997 
    • Death Location:
    • Burial Date:
    • Burial Location:
    • Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia 
    • Marriage Date:
    • 29 Dec 1945 
    • Marriage Location:
    • Baltimore, Maryland 
    • Notes: 
    • On July 23, 1941, Edwin Darby Nye departed San Franciso aboard the S.S. Mariposa and arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii, five days later. Less than two weeks later on August 8, he was aboard the USS Regulus (AK-14), a U.S. Navy cargo ship headed for Wake Island. He was a civilian passenger headed for a new job on Wake Island as a canteen clerk.

      Exactly four month later, on December 8, 1941, Edwin Nye would be on the island when the Japanese would attack. It was the same day as the Pearl Harbor attack as Wake Island is on the opposite side of the international date line. Although Edwin Nye is often listed among the civilians of Wake Island, that same day according to military records, Edwin Nye enlisted in the U.S. Navy and became one of the island's famed defenders.

      Wake Island's defenders beat back the initial Japanese amphibious assaults and were able to hold out for over two weeks. Unfortunately on December 23, a vastly superior Japanese invasion force overwhelmed the defenders. Most of the civilian and military personnel were sent to POW camps, among them was Edwin Nye. However 98 mostly civilian laborers were enslaved by the Japanese and kept on the island to help improve its defenses.

      The island was later successfully bombed several times by the Americans. Among the pilots in these raids was the future U.S. President George H. W. Bush. After one successful air raid by the Americans, the Japanese executed the 98 remaining Americans and buried them in a mass grave. Edwin Nye was sent to China to the Shanghai War Prisoners Camp in Kiawgwan, a suburb of Shanghai. Some sources show Edwin as a civilian POW, while others show him as having a muster date of August 8, 1941, the day of the initial attack. In any case, he would serve out the rest of the war in a prisoner of war camp.

      Edwin Nye finally received his freedom at the end of the war in 1945. Four years after his capture, Edwin Nye married Jacqueline Jenkins on December 29, 1945, in Baltimore, Maryland. Edwin Nye died in 1997 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery with the inscription “Wake Island Defender” on his tombstone. His wife Jacqueline, also a Navy veteran, is buried alongside him.

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  • Sources for Edwin Darby "Ned" Nye

    • 1 Federal Census, District of Columbia, 1940, Washington, E.D. 1-284, Sheet 10B, Image 20 of 37.
    • 2 Federal Census, District of Columbia, 1930, Washington, E.D. 381, Sheet 2B, Image 4 of 18.
    • 3 Federal Census, District of Columbia, 1920, Washington, E.D. 323, Sheet 2A, Image 3 of 41.
    • 5 Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, and Death Announcements, 1851-2003, 1983, The Washington Post, Obituary for mother Minnie Farr Nye.
    • 6 Maryland, Marriages, 1666-1970, Marriage record for Edwin Darby Nye and Jaqueline B. Jenkins.
    • 10 Nye, R. Glen, A Genealogy of the Nye Family, Vol. II, n.p.: The Nye Family of America Association Inc. (1965), 62, 111.
    • 11 Wikipedia, "Bill Nye", (accessed 02/03/2015).