Here’s my list of favorite news articles and blog posts since the start of 2018, which initially were posted on my award-winning website, Minerd.com. These stories cover important issues in our society and track how our collective heritage shapes how we live today. All have some connection to my favorite themes of Americana, culture, art, journalism, genealogy … and regional Pittsburgh, the epicenter of the extended Minerd-Minard-Miner-Minor family’s growth and development since 1791.
Ida and her horse and buggy – enlarge
Farmer Ida Ellen (Farabee) Taylor poses behind the reins of her horse and buggy, likely near in the vicinity of her home near Hundred, Wetzel County, WV. It’s very possible that this image was photographed by her son-in-law, Joseph Lindsey Jones, who briefly operated his own studio near Hundred and whose work is featured on the Minerd.com “Online Museum of Creativity.”
The daughter of Spencer and Nancy (Minor) Farabee of near Waynesburg, PA, Ida was married at the tender age of 15 to 23-year-old James Ambler Taylor. Over the years, the Taylors lived on farms in Hundred and just over the state line in Gilmore Township, Greene County, PA.
The couple produced 10 children – Cora May Jones, William “Franklin” Taylor, Nancy “Anna” Hostutler, Georgia Spencer Taylor, James “Oliver” Taylor, Flora Bell Butcher, Harry “Jackson” Taylor, Charles Oscar Taylor, Esther Luvinia Hixenbaugh Six and Arthur Edmund Taylor. They attended the Oak Forest Church along Brushy Fork Road, near Honsocker Knob, where they and four of their adult children later would be buried.
When Ida’s husband passed away of a stroke in 1932, the Wetzel (WV) Democrat reported that he was “one of the old-time citizens of the community [and] had passed his entire life in this neighborhood and was highly respected by all his neighborhood.” More on this large family>>>
Brothers Thomas and James Minerd
Likely born with a leg defect, James William Minerd (right) grew into a teen making many friends in the coal mine town of Helen, near what today is Smock, Fayette County, PA. Tragically, his lifelong disability led to his drowning death while at play at the age of 13.
On Aug. 9, 1911, while rafting in the reservoir at the Helen coal mine works, James fell into the water and struggled to rescue himself. The Uniontown Morning Herald reported what happened next:
In plain view of Mrs. Harry Hassen and her two sons, who made a frantic effort to save him, James Minerd, aged 15, was drowned in the reservoir at the Atlas coke works, Helen, yesterday afternoon at 4 o’clock. The woman, attracted by the screams of the boys who were bathing with Minerd, ran to the reservoir. It took but a glance to see the plight of Minerd. She quickly secured a rope, fastened one end around her waist and the other on the bank and jumped into the reservoir. Before she could reach the spot where she had last seen the boy he had disappeared for the third time….
The boy, who was the son of Thomas Minerd, a driver in the mines at Atlas, was a cripple and while he and the two sons of Harry Hassen were swimming in the reservoir, Minerd got beyond his depth. The two boys became so excited that they could not save the drowning boy but their cries brought the Mrs. Hassen to the scene…. Minerd was well known in the vicinity in which he lived and was one of the most popular boys at Helen.
To mark his awful passing, his parents Thomas Watt and Sara “Theresa” (Dowling) Minerd had this photograph produced, showing James seated with his older brother Thomas, possibly the only image of the ill-fated boy. The brother grew to adulthood, spent decades as a coal miner and married Anna DZiak, but never got over the heartache of the loss. The town of Helen, consisting of inexpensive worker-housing built by a coal company, eventually collapsed due to subsidence and no longer exists. Our long-time Minerd-Minard-Miner-Minor Reunion-goers may recall the Minerds’ daughter, the late Theresa Charnovich and her family, who attended a number of our annual gatherings and graciously shared memories and photographs for the Minerd.com website.
The Gaumer/Meinert family was formed in 1748 with the marriage of Maria Elizabeth Meinert to Johannes Dietrich Gaumer. From their home in Alburtis, Lehigh County, PA, they produced 11 known children who in turn bore 40+ grandchildren and 120+ great-grandchildren, many of whom dwelled in Somerset County, PA and Muskingum County, OH. Today their descendants are counted in the tens of thousands, scattered all over the world.
A new online archives has been launched that will lead you into their stories and experiences as they broadly helped to shape Americana over the past 270 years.
The 11 known children and their spouses are Johann “John” and Albertina Christina (Dean) Gaumer – Johann “Friedrich” and Catharina Barbara (Eisenhardt) Gaumer – Johann “Heinrich” and Anna Margaretha (?) Gaumer – Johann “Jacob” and Maria Catharina (Sowash) Gaumer Sr. – Johann George Gaumer – Mary Catherine Gaumer – Johann Dietrich and Rebecca Margaretha (Strunck) Gaumer Jr. – Heinrich “Henry” and Maria Gertrude (Gaumer) Meitzler – Johann “Adam” and Regina Gaumer – Heinrich “Henry” and Elisabetha (Gaumer) Schanckweiler – Peter Gaumer – and Jacob and Catherine (Keiser) Gaumer.
This compilation of Gaumer names and relationships has only been possible through the research, writing and/or gracious sharing of the following individuals spanning many decades: Eber and Marguerite (Lepley) Cockley – Gilbert R. Gaumer – Jeanne Gaumer – Lucie (Burditt) Gaumer – Paul K. Gaumer – William “Bill” Gaumer – Jeannie (Beghart) LaCues – Kenneth Moffitt – Eugene F. Podraza – Mary L. Shirer – Garold W. Sneegas – Keith Sturts – Paula (Gaumer) Tooke – Barbara (Moss) Wardsworth – and Myrtle (Knepper) Weniger.
Any comments, questions or revisions are welcome, with the original documentation requested as well.
Many small communities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries took great pride in their local bands which entertained at holidays, celebrations and festivals. The Hopwood Band, based in a village on the outskirts of Uniontown, Fayette County, PA, featured several Minerd-Minard-Miner-Minor cousins among the musicians. This image, from 1908, shows drummer Joseph M. Hopwood (3rd from left) and horn players Simeon Thomas Goff and daughter Lea Ray (Goff) Phillips Guyton (far right). Other known band members from the community were Tommy Hair (far left, who was blind) and Joseph Goff and Frank Goff.
Joseph Hopwood’s great-grandson James Philip “Phil” Parker, who furnished this image, and of the family of Bessie (Hopwood) LaClair, says that the photo was “taken at Hopwood picnic grounds near the site of the Howard Johnson’s restaurant.”
View an enlarged version of this image as the Minerd.com Photo of the Month for July 2018. If you can identify other of the faces in this photograph, please contact us. See other community band images as our Photo of the Month for April 2017 — November 2012 — and January 2002.
Electric bass player and new West Virginia Country Music Hall of Famer Lisa Lynn Lizzie-Ann (Hawker) Janoske — inducted April 21, 2018 — started singing at the age of three and has been going strong for four decades.
Her early teachers were known to say, “Give her a stage, and she’ll perform on it.” Lisa made her first stage appearance at seven with her father’s band, The Royal Tones, at the Westover Fair near Morgantown. Even at a young age, she performed at Applachia Lake in Bruceton Mills with Nashville stars such as the Hagar Twins from Hee Haw, Doyle Holly, the Statler Brothers, Ronnie Milsap, Tanya Tucker, Herb Humphrey and Lynn Anderson. In addition to her late father Jack Hawker, she counts her mentors and teachers over the years as Jack “Tiny” Waycaster, Don Corbin, Bob “Tootie” White, and Dick and Kelly Choma. She also has been a leader in the music business as the youngest member to hold office on the board of directors of the American Federation of Musicians Union in Morgantown. In 2009, Lisa and her daughter Jena joined 155 others in a performance of Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance to benefit House of Hope in Garrett County, MD. In the process, they not only raised more than $30,000 but coordinated their dance with 300 cities in 32 countries to establish a record in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Today Lisa performs for Brenda’s Body Shop dance company in Garrett County, MD and with her husband Bill is a member of the house band at Sagebrush Round-Up, a music hall in Bunner Ridge near Fairmont, WV which also houses the hall of fame. She has produced her own show, Honor Thy Legends, paying tribute to George Jones and Tammy Wynette. She is employed as a guidance secretary with the Garrett County Board of Education, is a Sunday School teacher and youth leader and enjoys using her music and dance to raise money for charity. She is the mother of two, Jena and Jack.
Those who have attended our national Minerd-Minard-Miner-Minor Reunion will recall having met Lisa’s mother, our longtime treasurer, Doris (Sands) Hawker of the family of Alma (Ream) Sands. In fact, Lisa’s great-grandfather Joseph Ward Ream was elected secretary-treasurer of the old Minerd-Miner Reunion circa 1924.
Connect with Lisa on Facebook.
Clara (Leonard) Holt was among several of our cousins who had connections to historic French and Indian War sites in southwestern Pennsylvania known as Fort Necessity (site of George Washington’s first battle, a loss to the French) and Braddock’s Grave (marking the burial site of a British general mortally wounded in an attack near Pittsburgh in 1755). Clara was the wife of John T. Holt and daughter of Reuben H. and Martha (Cunningham) Leonard.
An early educator in the family, Clara taught in one-room schoolhouses in Stewart and Springfield townships, Fayette County. The book she’s holding in this image may reflect a love of learning. Tragically, her husband was killed in a freak accident near Markleysburg, PA in 1919, while en route home from a stone quarry. He fell from his truck, driven by a son, and was run over and crushed to death. Clara outlived her husband by more than two decades, remaining in their home along the National Road (U.S. Route 40) in the mountains of Farmington, east of Uniontown.
Part of her 500-acre farm was located 12 miles east of Fort Necessity and considered historic property, referred to locally as the “Camp of the Twelve Springs.” During the war, Washington and his beaten army camped there after surrendering Fort Necessity on July 4, 1754, and the following year, General Braddock made his eighth encampment there on June 25, 1755. Later, Job Clark patented the land and kept a tavern at the site. An article in the Uniontown Daily News Standard reported in 1932 that “Outlines of the old springs and the tavern are still visible.”
Clara had what a newspaper called “considerable interest in the historical significance of the farm on which she lives.” Her sons made an effort to locate each of the 12 springs on the property. In 1932, she paid to have a commemorative marker produced and placed at the site of Twelve Springs. John Kennedy Lacock, an authority on the Braddock expedition, and professor of history at Harvard University, organized a dedication service on Sept. 11, 1932. Yet the site never fully captured the public’s attention. By 1937 John P. Cowan, park ranger and historian at Fort Necessity, wrote to the editors of the Daily News Standard saying “everybody has overlooked” the area. More about our family’s links to the fort and grave sites>>>