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Eugenus C. Gribble
(1861- ? )

 

Eugenus C. "Eugene" Gribble was born in 1861 in or near Kingwood, Preston County, WV, the son of Henry Harrison and Mary Catherine (Fawcett) Gribble. He was a skilled stone mason who migrated to the industrial heart of Beaver County, PA, but his fate is hidden from us by the clouded shroud of the past.

Eugenus is named in a Gribble genealogy in the July 30, 1908 edition of the Preston County Journal, one of a series of articles that year on the "Pioneers of Preston." A copy of this article is in the Minerd-Miner-Minor Archives. 

When the federal census was taken in 1880, Eugenus was a 19-year-old farm laborer residing with his parents on their farm in the Grant District of Preston County.

In about 1884, when he was age 23 and she 15, Eugenus married Sarah V. Michaels (1869- ? ), daughter of William Michaels of Pisgah. Her maiden name also has been spelled "Mitchell."

They went on to have five children -- May C. Helmick, Ray Ernest Gribble, Guy G. Gribble, William Hugh Gribble and Frank F. Gribble. The next-to-last son was born in 1894 in Terra Alta, Preston County.

The federal census of 1900 shows the Gribbles residing near Morgantown, Monongalia County, WV, north of Decker Creek. That year, Eugene was employed as a stone mason and Sarah had seasonal work as a binder in a woolen mill.

 

Rochester's New York Avenue, looking north, early 1900s

 

By 1907, the family had migrated north to Rochester, Beaver County, PA, where industrial jobs were booming. That year, they were listed in the Beaver Valley Directory and were living at 371 New York Avenue in Rochester, with two of their sons and a married daughter and son in law. That year, Eugene's occupation was listed as stone mason, while sons Ray and Guy labored in the glass industry, and son in law William Helmick worked as a glass cutter.

Eugenus and Sarah separated sometime prior to 1910. There is no record of a divorce in records of the Beaver County Courthouse.

When the federal census was taken in 1910, Sarah was living on Connecticut Avenue in Rochester with her married daughter and son in law, May and William Helmick. Also in the household that year were sons Frank and Guy Gribble. 

Eugenus has not yet been located on that 1910 census, and his name does not appear in Beaver County records of deaths, estates or real estate purchases. After that, he disappears into the mists of history.

By 1930, 65-year-old Sarah had moved again. She made her home with her married son and daughter in law, Frank F. and Maud Gribble, in Pittsburgh's 23rd Ward. Her address in 1937 was 1131 Progress Street in the city's 23rd Ward.

Suffering from hardening of the arteries and chronic heart disease, Sarah succumbed at the age of 72 on Oct. 13, 1937. Her son Frank was the informant for the death certificate. Her remains were transported back to Preston County for interment in Fairview Cemetery of the Methodist Episcopal Church. A death notice was published in the Pittsburgh Press.

 

Irvin Cemetery, Rochester

~ Daughter Charlotte May (Gribble) Helmick ~

Daughter Charlotte May Gribble (1881-1918) was born on May 16, 1881 (or 1885) in Preston County.

At the age of 20, in about 1901, she married William Helmick (Feb. 15, 1882-1958). He was a native of Masontown, Fayette County and the son of Amon and Julia (Willard) Helmick.

They had at least two sons, Edwin W. Helmick and Wayne H. Helmick. 

In 1907, they were listed in the Beaver Valley Directory as living with May's parents at 371 New York Avenue in Rochester. That year, William was a glass cutter, while his father in law Eugene worked as a stone mason and brothers in law Ray and Guy also labored in the glass blowing industry. 

William was employed as a cutter in a glass house in Rochester in 1910, the year the federal census was enumerated. In 1918, their home was at 385 Vermont Avenue in Rochester.

Sadly, May became afflicted with bronchial pneumonia in the fall of 1918, at a time when influenza was sweeping the nation and carrying off many Americans. She died on Nov. 16, 1918, at the age of 37. She was laid to rest in Irvin Cemetery in Rochester. (Her birth year inscribed on her grave marker reads "1885" instead of "1881.") Her son Edwin was the informant on her death certificate.

The following year, in about 1919, William went on to marry again, to Olive D. Gamble (1895- ? ) in about 1919. 

William and Olive's home circa 1930 was on 385 Vermont Avenue in Rochester. William was proprietor of his own glass shop, Quality Cut Glass Company, and Olive was employed as a saleslady in a wall paper store. He also managed a merchant retail wallpaper store in the 1950s. Burial was in Sylvania Hills Memorial Park.

Stricken for three years with cancer of the tongue, William was admitted to Rochester General Hospital. He died a week later on Jan. 5, 1958.

Son Edwin W. Helmick (1903- ?  ) was born in 1903. He married Lexie E. (?) (1904- ? ) in about 1926. The Beaver Valley Directory of 1925-1926 lists him as working for Pittsburgh Bridge & Iron Company (PBI) and residing with his father, step mother and brother Wayne at 385 Vermont Avenue in Rochester. Circa 1930, Edwin and Lexie continued to make their residence with his parents, with Edwin working at PBI.

Son Wayne H. Helmick (1908- ? ) was born in 1908. He married Martha Trumpeter (1910- ? ), the daughter of Mabel Trumpeter of Beaver County. The federal census of 1930 shows Wayne and Martha residing with widowed Mabel in Monaca, Beaver County, on Washington Avenue. The Helmicks went on to have two children -- Wayne William Helmick, M.D., and Martha May Helmick. After Martha Trumpeter Helmick's death, Wayne married again to Diane Kefalas ( ? - ? ). Diane brought a stepdaughter to the union, Katherine Halstead.

  • Grandson Wayne William Helmick, M.D. (1934-2002) was born in 1934 in Monaca. He married Gayle Johnston (1936-2014), daughter of Dwight and Helen (Reed) Johnston of Beaver Falls. They produced three daughters -- Susan Besselievre, Kristen Nelson and Kathleen Percey. Wayne was a 1954 graduate of Geneva College, obtained his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh and completed his internship at Sewickley Hospital. WaynHee served in the U.S. Navy as a physician assigned to a Marine Corps unit at Camp Lejeune, NC. Later, he specialized in family practice and kept an office in Rochester from 1961 to 1996. He "was instrumental in establishing" The Medical Center in Beaver, today part of Heritage Valley Health System, and at one time was president of the medical staff. He passed away at the age of 68 on March 18, 2002, following a battle with lung cancer. Gayle was a reading specialist for 25 years with the Beaver Area School District and a member of the American MENSA. She was a member of St. Stephen's Church in Sewickley, where she volunteered baking cookies for The Christy House lunches. She endured the passing of son-in-law Douglas G. Besselievre -- a senior network analyst with Fiserv SourceOne of Pittsburgh -- on March 7, 2004, in Beaver, due to cancer. Gayle died at age 77 on July 5, 2014. They are buried at Beaver Cemetery.
  • Granddaughter Martha May Helmick (1931-2018) was born on Feb. 8, 1931 in Rochester. She never married. For 37 years, she was employed as an accountant by McCarl's Inc. of Beaver Falls, a plumbing and heating company which grew into an industrial contractor today owned by Talen Energy. She was a member of Beaver Alliance Church. In her later years, she resided with her widowed stepsister, Katherine Halstead. Martha died at the age of 87 at Heritage Valley Beaver on Nov. 17, 2018. An obituary appeared in the Beaver County Times.

 

~ Son Ray Ernest Gribble ~

Son Ray Ernest Gribble (1887-1945) was born on Sept. 25, 1887, in Pisgah, Preston County. As an adult, he was of medium height and weight, with grey eyes and brown hair. 

In about 1906, Ray married Mary (?) (1889- ? ), of Pennsylvania.

They had one known son, Wilford Hugh Gribble Sr., born in 1908 in West Virginia.

When the federal census was taken in 1910, Ray, Mary and Wilford made their home in Huntington, Cabell County, WV. The census-taker noted his occupation as glass blower in a glass factory. 

Sadly, Mary died sometime in the early 1910s. The cause and place are unknown. 

As a single father, Ray came to Beaver County with his parents, and obtained employment as a glass blower at Rochester Tumbler Company, where his brothers also worked.

Rochester Tumbler works sandwiched between the railroad and the Ohio River. Note the long line of rail cars stacked with pallets for shipping the company's products.

 

Ray registered for the military draft during World War I. On his card, he noted his address as 385 Vermont Street in Rochester, and that he was not married but had a nine-year-old child. 

By 1920, the widowed 31-year-old Ray and his married, 22-year-old brother Frank were employed as attendants at the Dixmont Hospital for the Insane in Kilbuck, Allegheny County, PA. In all, he worked at the hospital for 16 years, his final position as supervisor of male attendants.

He and son Wilford boarded in 1930, along with Ray's 65-year-old mother, under the roof of his brother Frank in Pittsburgh. 

Ray in 1943 was mentioned that year in the Pittsburgh Press obituary of his brother Frank. His address in 1945 was 215 Knox Avenue.

Suffering from hardening of the arteries, Ray suffered a heart attack and was admitted to Mayview State Hospital where he passed into eternity on Jan. 17, 1945. Burial was in South Side Cemetery, with a death notice published in the Press.

Son Wilford Hugh Gribble Sr. (1908-1999?) was born on March 7, 1908 in West Virginia. He married Lucille Senedogar (Oct. 8, 1913- ? ). They produced two sons, Wilford Hugh Gribble Jr. and Michael Ray Gribble. The family was in Pittsburgh in 1935. Then, by 1940, they relocated to Arlington Heights, IL. There, he was employed as office manager for a mill of Pillsbury Flour Company. He transferred to Minneapolis and dwelled there in 1943-1958, at the address of 5605 St. Andrews Avenue in the Edina section of the city. In December 1961, the couple traveled to Honolulu to visit their son and family. Evidence suggests that Lucille died in Anaheim, Orange County, Ca in Dec. 1985 and that Wilford Sr. passed away in Anaheim on Oct. 14, 1999, at the age of 91.

  • Grandson Wilford Hugh Gribble Jr. (1934- ? ) was born in 1934 in Pittsburgh. He moved frequently as a boy when his father was transferred in his business. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1956 and established a home in Southern California. On Dec. 22, 1958, in nuptials held in Huntington Park (CA) Christian Church, he was united in holy wedlock with Bettie Sue Pettijohn ( ? - ? ), daughter of James Houston Pettijohn of Oregon, MO. News of the wedding was printed in the Minneapolis Star. Bettie Sue was a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. They made a home in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1961. Circa 1989, Wilford operated a Jack in the Box business in Ontario, CA.
  • Grandson Michael Ray Gribble ( ? - ? ) studied at the University of Minnesota. He married Ann Florence Chapman ( ? - ? ), daughter of Fred L. Chapman of Edina near Minneapolis, and a fellow student at the university. News of their engagement was printed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He received his A.A. degree from UM in 1964.

 

~ Son Guy Gribble ~

 

County courthouse fire of 1932
likely destroyed Gribble
marriage and estate records

Son Guy Gribble (1893-1915) was born on April 21, 1891 (or 1893). 

In 1910, at age 17, he married 18-year-old Hazel G. Heston (Sept. 22, 1891-1930), a native of New Waterford, Columbiana County, OH and the daughter of Sumner and Irene (Stackhouse) Heston. They lived in Rochester the year they were wed.

The couple produced a son, Paul C. Gribble, born in 1910.

Guy's occupation was as a glass blower at Rochester Tumbler Co., a glass house among many in that region. 

In September 1910, Guy and his brother Hugh were sued by Rochester Tumbler in a dispute over money. Records in the Beaver County Prothonotary's office are missing for that period -- likely engulfed in the great courthouse fire of 1932 -- and thus details of the case are lost to history. 

Guy relocated to Columbus, Franklin County, OH where he secured work as a glass blower at Federal Glass Company. They dwelled at 1884½ Parsons Avenue.

Tragically, suffering from a urinary tract infection at the age of 24, he accidentally overdosed on morphine and died on Sept. 9, 1915. His brother Hugh Gribble of 340 Morrill Avenue signed the death certificate. Interment was in the city's famed Greenlawn Cemetery.

Hazel remained a widow for about two years. Then on May 3, 1917, the 24-year-old wedded a second time to 23-year-old printer Otis Slusher (Aug. 29, 1893- ? ). Rev. A.B. Riker officiated. Otis was a native of Greenfield, OH and the son of Enoch W. and Esther (Larkins) Slusher.

The Slushers' marriage did not last long, and Hazel lived circa 1920 at 2576 East Main Street in Columbus and earned a living as a sales lady. At the age of 26, on Jan. 5, 1921, she married for a third time to 33-year-old electrician Clarence Mearl Smith (July 17, 1887- ? ), a native of Pickaway County, OH and the son of Samuel and Salvina (Foust) Smith. Rev. T.O. Reed officiated. In her marriage license application with Clarence, she did not disclose the Slusher marriage.

The couple made their home at 159 Lorain Avenue in Columbus. Hazel worked as a house detective for the F. & R. Lazarus Company. Tragedy struck on the fateful day of July 29, 1930. While driving near Harrisburg, OH, she sustained a fractured skull and broken neck "when her car overturned after attempting to turn a curve at high speed," reported the Akron Beacon Journal. She was rushed to Mt. Carmel Hospital, where she died at the age of 39. Her broken remains were lowered into repose in East Lawn Cemetery.

Son Paul C. Gribble (1910-1964) was born on June 29, 1910 in Rochester, Beaver County. He moved to Columbus with his parents and was but a boy of five when his father died. He earned a living as a supervisor or superintendent in Columbus in the late 1930s. When he was 29 years of age, on June 6, 1939, Paul wedded 30-year-old bookkeeper Della M. Garby (Oct. 15, 1908- ? ), daughter of Jesse and Ellen J. (Poole) Darby. The wedding was held in Columbus and was officiated by Rev. Robert Leonard Tucker. Paul died in Dec. 1964. Details are not yet known.

 

~ Son William "Hugh" Gribble Sr. ~

Son William "Hugh" Gribble Sr. (1893-1947) was born in Terra Alta, Preston County, on July 26, 1893. 

In about 1914, at the age of 20, he married 24-year-old Sarah Sabina "Bina" Brobson (1891- ? ), a native of Wheeling, Ohio County, WV. He was four years younger than his bride. 

The Gribbles produced at least six children -- Eugene Guy Gribble, William Hugh Gribble Jr., Edward P. Gribble, Charles H. Gribble, Ernest James Gribble, Mary E. Gribble and Betty Marie Gadd. Sadness blanketed the family when son Ernest passed away in infancy in Columbus, OH on March 24, 1924 and Sabina delivered a stillborn baby boy on June 25, 1925.

Hugh worked early in his career as a glass blower in one or more factories along the Ohio River in Rochester, Beaver County, PA. In September 1910, William (using the name "Hugh") and his brother Guy were sued by Rochester Tumbler in a dispute over money.

By 1915, Hugh relocated with his brother Guy to Columbus, Franklin County, OH. His and Sabina's address in 1915 was 340 Morrill Avenue. They moved back to Beaver County by 1918, when he registered for the military draft. At that time, he and Sabina resided on Virginia Avenue in Rochester, with Hugh stating his employer as Rochester Tumbler.

In 1920, the census shows that Hugh was employed as a railroad detective in Rochester. The 1922 Beaver Valley Directory lists William and wife "Barbara B." as living in Rochester at 196 Pennsylvania Avenue, and with the Pennsylvania Railroad listed as his employer.

Again moving back to Ohio in about 1922, Hugh accepted employment with Federal Glass in Columbus, Franklin County, a position held held for the next quarter century until his death. The 1930 census shows the family residing on South Parsons Avenue in Columbus, where Guy was listed as a "blower" in a glass factory. In the 1940s, they made their home at 270 Morrill Avenue in Columbus. 

Hugh suffered from bowel problems and died at the age of 54 on Sept. 22, 1947, at Mt. Carmel Hospital in Columbus. He was laid to rest at St. Joseph Cemetery. Interestingly, on his death certificate, Sabina correctly named Hugh's father but wrote "Unknown" in the space for Hugh's mother.

Son Eugene Guy Gribble (1915- ? ) was born on Aug. 7, 1915 in Columbus, OH. He was married twice. At the age of 28, he first married 28-year-old divorced waitress Eva (Swift) Dotter (Nov. 26, 1914- ? ) on Dec. 16, 1942 in nuptials held in Columbus, led by Rev. W.R. Walker. She was the daughter of Clayton and Lulu (Burchnell) Swift. The marriage ended within a few years. In the mid-1940s, Eugene lived at 712 Mohawk Street in Columbus and worked as a "sample man." On Aug. 5, 1949, at the age of 34, he wedded his second wife, 37-year-old divorcee Nada I. (Flaugher) Kuhner ( ? - ? ), daughter of Charles and Mignon (Fleming) Flaugher of Willard, KY. Rev. George S. Schultz led the nuptials ceremony. Nada lived in Columbus at the time of marriage and earned a living as a "trimmer."

Son William Hugh Gribble Jr. (1917- ? ) was born on July 6, 1917 in Rochester, Beaver County, PA. He joined the U.S. Army during World War II and was stationed at Fort Knox. When he was 27 years of age, on March 12, 1945, he was joined in matrimony with 26-year-old divorcee Anna Mae Miles (Jan. 16, 1924- ? ), daughter of Tolbert and Martha (Campbell) May. Justice of the peace V. Glenn Smith officiated. She was a native of Grayson, KY but at the time of marriage lived in Columbus and worked as an assembler.

Son Edward P. Gribble (1919- ? ) was born on June 1, 1919 in Rochester, Beaver County, PA.He relocated to Columbus, OH as a boy. He worked as a truck driver in Columbus in 1941. When he was 21 years of age, on May 31, 1941, he was joined in holy matrimony with 21-year-old sales clerk Hazel Buxton (March 18, 1920- ? ), daughter of Claude and Jeanette (Phillips) Buxton. Rev. Julius G. Klinec officiated.

Son Charles H. Gribble (1922- ? ) was born in about 1922 in Beaver County, PA.

Daughter Mary E. Gribble (1928- ? ) was born on March 28, 1928 in Columbus, OH. As a teenager, she dwelled with her parents at 270 Morrill Avenue in Columbus. In 1945, when she was age 17, she took out a marriage license with 27-year-old laborer and World War II veteran Roy O. Bailey (May 18, 1918- ? ), son of Robert W. and Fria (Hill) Bailey of Mason County, WV. There is no evidence that a wedding took place.

Daughter Betty Marie Gribble (1931- ? ) was born in 1931. At the ae of 22, she lived in the Columbus area and was employed as a machine operator. On April 18, 1953, she was joined in marriage with 21-year-old Homer Floyd Gadd ( ? - ? ), son of Homer J. and Alma L. (Lanhan) Gadd. At the time of marriage, he earned a living as an office worker.

 

~ Son Frank Fuller Gribble ~

Son Frank Fuller Gribble (1898-1943) was born on Sept. 13, 1897. As a young man, he was of medium height and build, with grey eyes and brown hair.

He married Maude Hughes Shannon (1895-1982), a native of Kentucky. 

They had twin daughters, Mary Ellen Stiles and Helen Gribble, born in 1918 in West Virginia. 

 

Dixmont Hospital for the Insane, where Frank
and his brother Ray worked in 1920

In September 1918, when he was required to register for the military draft during World War I, Frank disclosed that he was employed as a glass worker by Rochester Tumbler Company of Rochester, Beaver County, PA. At the time, they lived and worked in Huntington, Cabell County, WV, making their home at 1411 Adams Avenue.

By 1920, Frank and Maude were back in Rochester, having ended his work in the glass business. There, he and his older brother Ray were employed as attendants at the Dixmont Hospital for the Insane in Kilbuck, Allegheny County, just upriver from Rochester. (The asylum is seen here.) 

By 1930, the federal census shows that Frank and Maude had moved to Pittsburgh, where he was a municipal fireman. That year, Frank's 65-year-old mother, brother Ray and nephew Wilford, and Lucille and Betty Green boarded in their home. In 1937, their address was 215 Knox Avenue in the city.

They later moved to 1415 Brownsville Road in the Carrick section of the city, almost directly across from South Side Cemetery. Frank owned a 1936 Terraplane automobile.

Frank died in Pittsburgh on April 30, 1943, at the age of 45. Following a viewing at the Walter S. Schaub Funeral Home, he was laid to rest in the South Side Cemetery, in Section B, Range 12. A short obituary in the Pittsburgh Press noted that he was the "brother of Ray and Hugh Gribble." His grave was not marked. His estate is recorded in the Allegheny County Estate Index (#5006 of 1943), with Maud serving as his executrix.

Frank rests without a grave marker on this hillside with a commanding view of Carrick, Pittsburgh, PA

 

Several other Minerd branches rest for eternity in South Side Cemetery -- among them Hester Minerd (1887); John H. Inks (1926) and his wife Alice (1954); and Mentzer E. Tilbury (1938). While there were three adjacent raves owned by the family at South Side, the other two were never used. Maude, now living at 231 Summit Street in Pittsburgh, contacted the cemetery and asked to sell the lots. 

Maude migrated to Southern California with her married daughter and son in law, Mary Ellen and Melden Stiles. They settled in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County. Maude died there on Jan. 18, 1982, at the age of 87. Burial was in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Covina Hills. [Find-a-Grave]

Daughter Mary Ellen Gribble (1918-1995) was born on Aug. 8, 1918 in Huntington, Cabell County, WV, a twin with her sister Helen. She moved to Western Pennsylvania as a young girl, residing in Rochester, Beaver County and Carrick near Pittsburgh. At the age of 22, she married Melden E. Stiles (1918-2007), who was a native of Detroit but lived in Pittsburgh at the time of marriage. They eloped to Wellsburg, Brooke County, WV and were wed on June 5, 1941 by the hand of Rev. William J. Frayer of the Assembly of God Church. After Mary Ellen's father died in 1943, they migrated to Southern California, where they spent the remainder of their lives. Mary Ellen passed away in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County on Nov. 30, 1995. Melden outlived his wife by a dozen years. He died in Claremont, Los Angeles County, CA on Dec. 13, 2007.

Daughter Helen T. Gribble (1918- ? ) was born on Aug. 8, 1918 in Huntington, Cabell County, WV, a twin with her sister Mary Ellen. When she was in her early 20s, circa 1940-1943, she lived at home with her parents in Carrick. Her paper trail ends there.

 

Copyright 2006, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2018 Mark A. Miner

Courthouse fire photo courtesy of the Beaver Area Heritage Museum.