First Time Author Michele Miner and Her Novel ‘Their Moon Was Cardboard’

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Michele and her new novel – enlarge>>>

First-time author and long-time theatrical manager Mary “Michele” Miner — granddaughter of Clyde Calvin and Bertha (Smith) Miner of St. Louis — signs copies of her new novel, Their Moon Was Cardboard, published earlier this year. Michele’s plot revolves around the fictional Southern California character Matthey Cole, a “successful freelance production stage manager, currently working at the Parkinson Hopkins Theatre on a world premiere, [who] becomes involved in murder, the NSA, sex and maybe drug trafficking while trying to get her show open,.” she writes. “Just part of the job for a stage manager in Los Angeles.”

Michele has spent years as a freelance theatrical production stage manager, logging such Broadway credits as Division Street (1980) and Burn This (1987, starring John Malkovich). From there she became a production manager at Pomona College where she also taught for six years. Today she and her husband are involved with Parson’s Nose Theater in Pasadena, a company known for performing professional, 90 minute adaptations of classics. She first made contact with the founder of this website in early 2004, and has remained interested in her pioneer Ohio roots of more than two centuries ago.

Michele’s better half, Paul Perri, is a noted Broadway, Off Broadway, film and television actor. His Wikipedia page says he is “best known for portraying Edwards and Skinless Parker in Hellraiser: Bloodline, Harry Hume from Chaos, and as Dr. Sidney Bloom from Manhunter.” He’s also played parts in episodes of Seinfeld, ER, Frasier, NYPD Blue, The West Wing and Grey’s Anatomy. Paul’s Broadway credits include Burn This, A View From the Bridge, Macbeth and The Bacchae. His Los Angeles regional credits range from God’s Man In Texas, True West and Hitler’s Head to Ivanov, Golden Boy, Hurlyburly, Counselor-At-Law, Day and Nights Within, Much Ado About Nothing and Love’s Labours Lost. Paul has performed for the Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Yale Repertory and Cohoes Music Hall. His film credits include The Insider, Freeway, Gathering Evidence, Demolition Man, Memoirs of An Invisible Man and Delta Force II, while his TV credits include Battlestar Gallactica, Killer Instinct, CSI: New York, Smallville, Dark Angel, The Twilight Zone.

See other cousin-authors and their books as the “Photo of the Month” in December 2017December 2016 – and March 2016.

The ‘Blacksmith Preacher’ and a Legacy of Public Service

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Family of Rev. David E. and Sarah Catherine (Williams) Minerd. Enlarge>>>

Among the more well-known branches of our family in southwestern Pennsylvania was the Rev. David Ewing and Sarah Catherine (Williams) Minerd clan of Dunbar, Fayette County. Nicknamed the “Blacksmith Preacher,” David spent 60 years as a Methodist minister, overseeing 6,500 funerals and 3,500 weddings and planting several churches which still exist today. Enjoying tremendously positive press coverage, he once was praised by the Connellsville Daily Courier as “a very useful man, especially among the poor and working classes, and he enjoys the respect of everybody in the community.” He is is one of the very few of our cousins living outside of the New York City area to have an obituary published in the New York Times.

In a tragic twist of irony, David’s first marriage to Emma Speer ended in heartbreak when she and their two young children died within just nine months. His second marriage, to Sarah, resulted in the large family seen in this portrait. Their brood’s collective record of providing public service is remarkable.

David and Catherine are seated at center. The standing adults, left to right: Dr. Harold “Daniel” Minerd, a popular dentist and World War I veteran who served two terms as Mayor of Connellsville and one as Fayette County Treasurer and whose classmate Dr. John Bain “Jock” Sutherland coached the University of Pittsburgh football team to five national championships — Ewing David Minerd, World War I veteran and postmaster of the town of Dunbar — Bess (Minerd) Lemon, postmistress of the town of Youngwood, Westmoreland County, PA and Westmoreland County Institution District official — Edward Eugene Minerd, World War I veteran and founder of the Minerd Funeral Home of Uniontown — Edna (Minerd) WagnerWilliam Alfred Minerd, Assistant Fayette County Treasurer and Connellsville Airport timekeeper — and Marybelle (Minerd) and John Scott Riley holding baby Virginia, he a longtime conductor with the Pennsylvania Railroad. The other children, left to right: Boydell Lemon, Catherine Driscoll, Mary Lou Lloyd and Markle Riley.

See pages from David’s prayer book and Bible artifacts and the Hart Moore poem, “Looking Backward.”

Alfred Arthur ‘Alf’ Younkin and the Casselman Cornet Band

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Alf Younkin stands 2nd from left, back row. Enlarge>>>

YounkinAlfredArthurCasselmanPACornetBandMore than a century ago, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, many small communities across America had their own musical bands. Comprised of local citizens, they played in parades and at holiday gatherings and were a great source of hometown pride.

Cousin Alfred Arthur “Alf” Younkin, second from left, back row, played what appears to be a trombone in the Casselman Cornet Band in Casselman, Somerset County, PA. The date on this image is not yet known, but certainly it was before 1910, by which time he had migrated to North Dakota.

The faces in the photograph are: back row, left to right, Billy Scott and Alfred Younkin (trombones), Harry Weimer, Harry Heil, Charlie Pritts, Roscoe Shank (cornet); middle row, left to right, Ray Mickey, Howard Heinbaugh, Orville Heinbaugh, S. Pritts, Harry J. Hechler, Frank Wiltrout (clarinet); and front row, left to right, Raleigh Whipkey (drum), Blair Kirpatrick, (?), Cal Liphart, Roy Mickey, (?) director (base drum). This image was published in the 1985 book Down the Road of Our Past, published by the Rockwood Area Historical & Genealogical Society.

The adopted son of of Charles and Sarah (Artest) Younkin, Alfred married a cousin, Lillian Rhoads, daughter of James and Minnie (Younkin) Rhoads, also of Somerset County. Together, they eventually migrated to Washington State and became pioneer apple growers, establishing their own orchard in Wenatchee, Chelan County, continued after their deaths by their son James “Melvin” Younkin. Another son, Leland Alfred “Lee” Younkin, piloted a B-24 bomber during World War II and flew 100 missions over enemy territory. A granddaughter, Diana (Younkin) Burnell Egan, was deeply interested in her family history, edited and printed her father Mel’s wartime memoirs and founded the Younkin Reunion-West in Salem, Oregon.

Other community bands have been featured as the Photo of the Month during Minerd.com’s two decades online — Kansas Civil War veterans (January 2002) – Mill Run, PA (November 2012) – and Hopwood, PA (July 2018). The site marks its 20th anniversary on May 7, 2020.

Lucinda (Steyer) Minerd and Her Mother Tend the Family Chickens

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Lucinda and her mother – enlarge

Lucinda (Steyer) Minerd (left) and her mother Celesta Ann (Growall) Steyer tend chickens at the family’s coop in this image from the 1910s. The 70-acre farm was located at Maple Summit near the mountainous border of Fayette and Somerset Counties, PA and a short distance from the original Jacob and Maria (Nein) Minerd Sr. pioneer farm dating to 1791. The community was so small that while at one time it had a post office by the name of “Nicolay,” it no longer exists.

Very little is known about Lucinda, not unlike many farm wives of the era who toiled in anonymity and rarely had her name printed in local newspapers. Her better-known husband Lawson F. Minerd was a longtime farmer, born at nearby Hexebarger near Kingwood, Somerset County, who moved to this mountain abode just after the Civil War. As the son of first cousins who were married to each other, Lawson was very close with both the Minerd and Harbaugh branches of the family. In fact, in the 1920s, he was elected president for several years of the annual Minerd-Miner Reunion of southwestern Pennsylvania.

Lawson served as a school director of Stewart Township, Fayette County and as an elder of the Peoples United Church of Maple Summit, also known as the Maple Summit Church of God, located just a short distance from their farm. Later, he was superintendent of the charter Sunday School of the newly built Hampton Church of God near Mill Run, and was teacher of its Bible Class.

The Minerd and Steyer families were close. Lutitia’s sister, Jennie married Lawson’s step-cousin, Marshall Ellsworth Rowan, and Lutitia’s sister Ida wedded Lawson’s and step-cousin Charles Ross Burkholder.

Lutitia and Lawson are named in several historical books. Among them are the 1912 volume by John W. Jordan and James Hadden, entitled Genealogical and Personal History of Fayette and Greene Counties, and the 1970 work A History of Mill Run, published by the History Committee of the Socialite Club.

The Interconnected 1972 Graduating Class of Connellsville Area (PA) High School

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L-R: cousins Peg Mansberry, Joe McKnight, Jill Aird

At our national family reunion last summer, I thought it was amazing that three cousins came who all were 1972 graduates of Connellsville Area (PA) High School – Peggy Sue (Grimm) Mansberry (of the family of Jennie [Enos] Snyder) —  Joe McKnight (of the William Stewart McKnight branch) — and Jill (Channing) Aird (granddaughter of Agnes [Miner] Miller).

But Joe, knowing that our pioneer Minerds settled nearby in 1791, and that their offspring had grown exponentially in headcount over time, figured that the actual number of grads in the 600-member class had to be much, much higher. In fact, the count as of today has been identified as an astonishing 35-plus. View the list>>>

Our family today is indeed massive. Check out the math. The ancestors of most of us, Western Pennsylvania pioneers Jacob and Maria (Nein) Minerd Sr., produced at least 1,957 descendants by the year 1900, comprising just the first four generations of offspring.  This includes their dozen children – 87 grandchildren – 470 known great- grandchildren – and 1,400 known great- great- grandchildren – mainly all born before the turn of the 20th century. Just imagine then how these numbers grew even more in the 120 years since 1900.

Joe recently posted on Facebook about his vision for going deeper into researching this question and request for others to engage in the process:

Our class, (The Connellsville High School Class of 1972), has many members who are cousins, as descendants of the Minerd family tree. Upon learning that this was true of myself, Jill Channing, Peggy Grimm, Lou Ann Miner, and Debbie Minerd, I was curious as to how many more cousins there might be in the class of ’72. I asked Mark Miner, who is Creator and administrator of Minerd.com if maybe he could look into it. I provided Mark with the list of all the names in our commencement program. Mark scanned the list and was excited to message me back a list of around 40 names. Through the help of those listed above, we were able to confirm currently 33 names. I found a lot of obituaries and the ladies did also, and readily knew a few. You can click on the link to view the names, and how connected. Mark has an amazing website, which he developed 20 years ago, and connects over 50,000 cousins, mostly from the Somerset and Fayette County areas. It would be awesome if some of you would look at the list and at the website to see if you might also be cousins. The 33 names who are confirmed are in dark print, and includes classmates who married into the Minerd clan. If you can confirm even a classmate who married someone with Minor/ Miner/ Minerd/Minard connections, please message my Facebook account, email me at jmck13@yahoo.com, or just comment on this post. It has been interesting and fun to find all these cousins in our class. Thank you in advance for any assistance!

Newly Discovered WWII Casualty Thomas ‘Glenn’ Burnworth

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Johnson Chapel Cemetery near Confluence, PA

In the course of carrying out their mission to serve and protect our nation, far too many of our cousins in the military — comprised of Minerd-Minard-Miner-Minor cousins and their spouses — have made the ultimate sacrifice of giving their lives during wartime and peacetime. On our Minerd.com webpage “In Lasting Memory,” we seek to highlight their names and honor their memory so they will never be forgotten.

The past week, new research identified the 65th known cousin to lose his life in military service — Thomas “Glenn” Burnworth, son of Thomas Ziba and Melissa (Show) Burnworth of the family of Job and Mary (Ream) Flanigan of the Johnson Chapel community near Confluence, PA. Glenn is the 22nd known World War II casualty in the extended clan.

During World War II, Glenn joined the U.S. Army Air Forces and trained in Miami Beach and flexible gunnery school in Laredo, TX. He then was deployed to the South Pacific as a sergeant in the 868th Bomb Squadron. While on a combat mission on Aug. 7, 1945, just eight days before the Japanese surrender, his B-24 bomber — a four-engine Liberator known as the Lady Luck 11 — was en route home from a night mission.

The airplane with its 11-man crew attacked what appeared to be a Japanese fishing fleet. But anti-aircraft fire tore into the fuselage, and the craft spun out of control over South Korea. The Lady Luck 11 crashed and exploded against the Mangwood Peak mountain near the villabe of Manhae. All were killed instantly.

A local druggist, Hyung Duk Kim, gathered and buried the bodies and kept their identification materials. Some years later, he erected a monument measuring 11.5 feet high at the site. At the time of the crash, the family was notified but was not told for seven months that their son had finally been declared dead.

Circa 1949, the remains were dis-interred and shipped to Johnson Chapel for burial in the church cemetery. Among those traveling to attend the funeral were the Oran Show and Robert Jenkins families of Richeyville, PA and the airman’s half-brother Donald Show from South Dakota.

In July 1965, the Air Force’s Airman Magazine printed a story about Glenn and his crewmen, written by Master Sergeant James A. George and Airman First Class Chris Stauder. The article was excerpted and reprinted in the Meyersdale (PA) Republican, Aug. 5, 1965, two decades after the incident.

Glenn’s grave marker was photographed in July 2017 by Minerd.com’s founder, in the hope of connecting him to the family someday, which is now done.

Kate Miner and Her One-Room Schoolhouse

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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.

William Beltz’s Painful, Disfiguring Civil War Back Injury

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William Beltz’s hunched back

His fragile back horribly distorted by a Civil War injury, William Henry Beltz bore the appearance of a hunchback for the rest of his long life, worsening as time went on. Born near Schellsburg, Bedford County, PA, he was the son of Lewis Beltz and stepson of Matilda (Comp) Beltz.

The slightly built William stood 5 feet, 2 inches tall in adulthood and weighed 123 lbs. After the Civil War broke out, he joined the Union Army, enlisting on his 17th birthday and was placed within the 55th Pennsylvania Infantry. In the spring of 1864, he saw action at the battles of Petersburg, Cold Harbor and Drewry’s Bluff, all near Richmond. While carrying heavy loads of ammunition in his knapsack one day, his undersized frame could not bear the weight, and his spinal column shifted out of place, causing debilitating pain. He “broke down completely” later that year and was admitted to Hampton Hospital at Fortress Monroe, where he spent the remainder of the war there.

In June 1868, back at home, he applied for and was awarded a military pension. John A. Livingston, his former company commander, wrote that “if any man in the country deserves a pension that man is William H. Beltz.” He and his wife Isabella moved to the Hazelwood section of Pittsburgh, where he taught penmanship, oratory and dramatic art in the city schools. He authored “True to the Flag,” which the Braddock Herald once said was “a play that lays hold of the motions and you must laugh and can’t help but cry.” In 1908, he spoke at a church event, reciting his poem, “The Battle of Cold Harbor,” which the Connellsville Daily Courier noted “was highly appreciated by everyone present. The house was filled.”

As the years progressed, William suffered increasingly from spinal pain. It was the equivalent, he claimed, of having lost a hand or foot, rendering him unable to perform manual labor. Physicians noted that the spinal column fully three inches out of alignment which caused his left lung to collapse. His condition was photographed from time to time, with the images provided to the government as further proof of his disability. This image, found in his pension file, was provided courtesy of the National Archives in St. Louis. More>>>

Movie Heartthrobs Harland Wynn Tucker and Marie Walcamp Honeymoon in Japan

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Ohio natives Harland Wynn Tucker of Toledo and Marie Walcamp of Dennison were movie stars of the silent film era who married each other. They met when acting together in a series produced by Universal Studios, known as The Dragon’s Net, and their wedding was held in 1920 in Tokyo, Japan. Here, the honeymooners are aboard ship en route back to the United States. Enlarge>>>

Harland was the son of Judge Robert Tucker of Portland, OR, of the family of Jones and Catherine (Welker) Tucker. He was considered a hearththrob although he never had starring movie part. Early in his career, he played leading roles in stage plays in Los Angeles. In 1935, he portrayed Lord Throgmorton in the play Mary of Scotland, authored by Maxwell Anderson and Helen Hayes and later made into an RKO Radio film starring Katharine Hepburn and Fredric March. In 1936, he was in the film Charlie Chan At the Opera for Twentieth Century Fox. Among his other movie appearances were in Kid Galahad (starring Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart), Missing Witnesses (starring Dick Purcell, John Litel and Jean Dale) and Slim, all circa 1937.

Marie was the daughter of Arnold and Mary (Mackel) Walcamp. Her filmography included more than 100 productions between 1913 (The Werewolf) and 1927 (In a Moment of Temptation), many of them silent films where she often was a heroine of the action and Western genre. Reported one newspaper, “Her popularity in series and westerns during WWI was second to none in the industry.”

The Tuckers dwelled in Hollywood and are known to have performed together in films such as On the Ragged Edge (1928) and in carnivals with Jack Benny. They separated in February 1934 but within a few months were reconciled. For years, they are known to have traveled to Ohio to visit Marie’s brother Harry and to nearby Pittsburgh, leading Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph columnist George Seibel to write in 1935 that “Marie Walcamp, who is a Pittsburgh girl, was famous before she married George Sharp’s leading man. She was the desperate cowgirl of the early Western movie serials; more redskins, greasers, and cattle-rustlers have bitten the dust before her trusty rifle than the total losses at Gettysburg.” At her tragic death at the age of 42, syndicated Hollywood columnist Robbin Coons wrote the following:

Marie Walcamp is dead, victim they said, of worry over poor health. The new generation of film fans would not remember the name. Once upon a time kids stomped and whistled and cheered when it flashed on the screen, usually on Saturday matinees, which was serial pictures. Marie, with her blonde curls streaming, dared death week after week with the brawly little Eddie Polo… When Marie went abroad the natives cheered as loudly as for Mary Pickford, then the queen of screen drama. They mobbed her and fought for her autograph. And when she died she rated a couple of sticks of type. Hollywood has no serial queens today to compare with those of the Marie Walcamp era.

More>>>

Santa Claus and the Missouri Pacific Lines Magazine, 1926

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For the second straight year, Minerd.com presents an unusual, almost 100-year-old image of Santa Claus on the cover of the Missouri Pacific Lines (MOPAC) railroad company magazine. Cousin Edward Harlan “E.H.” McReynolds, the grandson of Missouri pioneers, was its longtime editor until his tragic demise during the depths of the Great Depression. Enlarge>>>

Based in St. Louis, the MOPAC was a small regional midwestern railroad which dramatically expanded in the 1920s and ’30s. Edwin was hired in 1923 as assistant to the president and director of publicity-advertising. Over the span of his 14-year career, among other roles, he served as editor of the company magazine, and his name graced the masthead of each and every issue. Edward once wrote of his gratification in the “continuous publication of what has come to be widely acclaimed as one of the outstanding employe magazines in America.”

View the MOPAC magazine archive on Minerd.com >>>

This issue was printed in December 1926; last year’s was the December 1927 issue. Minerd.com shares in wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.