Kate Miner and Her One-Room Schoolhouse

Miner_Kate_Fairmont_School_Group
Kate and her 8 siblings at the Fairmont School – enlarge

For five years, in the mid-to-late 1910s, Kathryn “Kate” Miner taught in one-room schools of Springfield Township, Fayette County, PA in the years before they closed and were consolidated into the Connellsville School District. One of her buildings was at Indian Creek, where she appears to have boarded with a local family and on weekends returned home to see her parents. Another was the Fairmont School in her hometown of Mill Run, seen in this rare image circa 1915, and located across the road from the historic Indian Creek Baptist Church.

Numbered “1” in this image, Kate had her hands especially full teaching and keeping discpline at Fairmont because among her pupils were her eight younger siblings, numbered accordingly. They include: 2. Clyde Miner — 3. Raymond Miner — 4. Wesley Miner — 5. Maggie (Miner) Dull — 6. Franklin Miner — 7. Edward Miner — 8. Ralph Miner — and 9. Lester Miner.

Kate’s career as a public school educator ended in 1920, when she married Daniel McKinley Burkholder, the son of James Wesley and Jenny (Hartzell) Burkholder of the family of Michael Ansell Firestone. The Minerd-Miner and Burkholder families were close, as Daniel’s sister, Rebecca married Kathryn’s cousin Otis “Freed” Minerd, and another sister Ida Alpharetta wedded double-cousin James “Franklin” Younkin.

In the late 1930s, Kate’s husband and son-in-law Lewis Cecil Ohler helpled to construct Fallingwater®, the house over a waterfall designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Kaufmann family that is widely considered America’s “most famous modern house.” Daniel was a general worker on the project, and Lewis helped to quarry stone from nearby sites and assist with plumbing installation. Kate’s brothers Ralph, Frank and Lester also were employed at Fallingwater of the years, with their unique stories chronicled in our 2004 reunion booklet, Fallingwater: A Long Family Affair.

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