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Christmas Leonard
(1846-1905)

 

Irwin Memorial Cemetery

Christmas "Chris" Leonard was born on -- what else -- Dec. 25, 1846, in Fayette County, PA, the son of Benjamin and Sarah (Harbaugh) Leonard. His name sometimes was misspelled as "Christian."

Chris married Fannie Elizabeth "Ann" Rankin (1851-1935), the daughter of Joseph Huston and Susanna (Hensel) Rankin. 

They had five children – Chauncey A. Leonard, Homer R. Leonard, Sarah "Sadie" Rush, Ellen F. "Ella" Manley and Mabel E. Leonard. They resided three miles east of Ohio Pyle in Stewart Township, Fayette County. 

Other Fayette County clan members who married into the Rankins over the years were William Minerd, who wed Elizabeth Rankin; Hester Ann Minerd, who married Civil War veteran Robert Rankin; Civil War veteran William Minerd, who married Sara Elizabeth Whoolery, daughter of William and Sarah (Rankin) Whoolery; and Elizabeth Virginia Minerd, who wed Charles William Rankin.

 

Uniontown news obituary

A Uniontown newspaper once said that Christmas "always was a strong robust man and always a hard worker…." Chris's father and brother in law George Perry Potter were "the first to manufacture splint chairs on Meadow Run," says the 2000 book, The Explorer's Guide to the Youghiogheny River Gorge, Ohiopyle, & S.W. Pennsylvania's Villages, by Marci McGuinness and Bill Sohonage. Later, Chris and his brother Reuben "kept his business going long after [the father's] death."

The Leonards were members of the Meadow Run Methodist Episcopal Church, a small log structure built by Christmas' brother Amos.

Fannie was considered "one of the most widely and highly esteemed residents of the mountain district…." A Uniontown newspaper once said she was "a devout Christian and beloved by everyone whom she met. She had been a member of the Methodist Episcopal church since early girlhood." 

When the federal census of 1870 was taken, Chris and wife "Ann" were living in Stewart Township, Fayette County, but had not yet had any children. Chris lived as next-door neighbors to his brother Reuben and also to Isaiah Collins, all three of whom were listed as chair makers.

Chris was afflicted with kidney disease, a malady which seems to have been common in the Harbaugh family. In 1903, his kidneys began to fail, and a newspaper reported that:

...after consulting a physician it was found he was suffering from Bright’s disease or diabetes and the disease had taken such a hold on his system that all the doctors could it, it seemed they could only give him relief. He spent awhile at the Uniontown hospital but the doctors give him no hope, and it was only on account of his iron constitution that he lived as long as he did.

 

Uniontown Hospital

 

Chris died on Jan. 16, 1905, after about two years of suffering with the illness. He was buried in the Belle Grove Cemetery (today known as Irwin Memorial Cemetery) near Ohiopyle.

Fannie outlived her husband by three decades, living near Belle Grove, three miles east of Ohio Pyle. When she turned 79, in January 1930, "neighbors and friends called to wish her many more returns of the day and the mail man brought greeting cards from her absent children and other friends," said the Uniontown Daily News Standard. "Best of all a large box of fruit and green vegetables arrived by mail just at the noon hour, sent by her niece, Mrs. Robert Clutter of Wilkinsburg, Pa. This formed a center piece for the dinner which was prepared by her daughter, Mrs. Sarah Rush and her grand daughter, Miss Elizabeth Rush." Among the others who attended the birthday party were Clara Holt, Hazel Leonard, Mrs. W.R. Johnson, Mrs. W.A. Grover, Walter Leonard, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Holt and son J.P.

 

Uniontown newspaper, 1935

When the federal census was enumerated in 1930, she and her daughters Mabel and Sarah made their home together along Meadow Run Road, along with Sarah's 21-year-old daughter Elizabeth Rush. Their next-door neighbors were step-cousins Frank and Bertha (Lee) Turner

On Jan. 10, 1931, when Fannie reached her 80th birthday, her family again organized a birthday party which made news in the Daily News Standard. She was "surrounded by her children, sisters and friends who bestowed upon her their gifts and best wishes." A special birthday cake was brought from Wilkinsburg by her niece Margaret "Maggie" Clutter. All five of her sisters were in attendance, among them Mrs. John Chidester, Mrs. Reuben Thomas and Eliza Rankin of Uniontown, Mrs. Henry Rohlf of Farmington and Mrs. Robert Porter of Pittsburgh. 

Fannie attended the first reunion of the Rankin clan -- descendants of her father, Joseph Huston Rankin -- held on July 23, 1932 at Elk Park along the National Pike east of Uniontown. William D. Rankin was elected president and Mary Rankin Thomas as secretary-treasurer. Fannie's daughter Mabel and daughter in law Ethel Mary (Mitchell) Leonard were elected to the executive committee, while son Chauncey and son in law Rev. Ray G. Manley were named to the picnic ground committee. She also attended the reunion in 1934, held at Ferncliff Park, Ohiopyle, with an attendance of 60.

At the age of 84 on Feb. 7, 1935, Fannie died at home from the effects of a stroke and hardening of the arteries. She also was buried at Belle Grove, and a lengthy obituary was published in the Uniontown newspaper: 

The services were conducted by Rev. Dillon, pastor of the Meadow Run M.E. Church, assisted by Rev. Jacob Kooser of Scottdale. The crowd was so great that many stood outside and braved the cold weather while the services were going on. Two young men from Bethany College who are classmates of Mrs. Leonard's grand-daughter, Florence Manly sang the following hymns: "Abide With Me", "Beautiful Isle of Somehwere," and "Wonderful Words of Life." The pall-bearers were six of her grandsons, Robert Russell and Ollie Leonard, sons of Homer Leonard, Oscar and John, sons of Chauncey Leonard and Bruce Manley, son of Rev. and Mrs. Ella Manley. Undertaker Dearth of New Salem ad the funeral in charge and interment was in Belle Grove cemetery beside her husband who preceded her in death more than thirty years ago.

Christmas was remembered in an article about the 75th anniversary of his brother Amos's first church in Meadow Run in the Aug. 9, 1935 edition of the Uniontown Morning Herald. The article also named Christmas's sons Chauncey and Homer, brother Reuben, nephew "Attorney H.P. Leonard" and niece "Mrs. R.G. Manley of Cardale."

 

~ Son Chauncey A. Leonard ~

Son Chauncey A. Leonard (1875-1954) was born on Nov. 23, 1875 in or near Ohio Pyle, Fayette County.

At the age of 32, he married 25-year-old Ethel Mary Mitchell (1882 -1948), daughter of Alfred and Alice (Dixon) Mitchell of Wharton Township, Fayette County. The wedding was held on Oct. 28, 1907 at Vanderbilt, Fayette County, led by Rev. Thomas Charlesworth of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 

The Leonards produced three children -- Oscar W. Leonard, John D. Leonard and Alice Keas. 

In about 1916, the family moved from their farm in Ohio Pyle to Connellsville, Fayette County. Chauncey was based in Connellsville as a longtime rail car repairman for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. He belonged to the First Methodist Church and the Knights of Pythias. Upon retirement, he joined the B&O Railroad Veterans Association. 

 

The B&O's busy yards at Connellsville

 

They lived at 1203 Chestnut Street in Connellsville. For many years, Ethel's unmarried sister Martha Mitchell lived under their roof.

In July 1932, Chauncey and Ethel attended the first reunion of the Rankin clan, held at Elk Park along the National Pike east of Uniontown. Her aged mother and adult siblings also attended with their families. Ethel and her sister in law Mabel Leonard were elected to the executive committee. They also attended the reunions in 1934 (held at Ferncliff Park, Ohiopyle, with an attendance of 60) and 1935 (also at Ferncliff Park). After the death of reunion president W.D. Rankin, Chauncey was elected to the post at the July 1936 gathering. At that event, reported the Uniontown Morning Herald, "a short memorial service was conducted in memory of the six members of the clan called by death during recent years. Dr. W. Scott Bowman of Uniontown gave an interesting address which was much appreciated and short talks were given by Rev. R.G. Manly and a number of others in the group. Remainder of the day was spent socially, with a variety of games and sports for all ages."

Sadly, Ethel passed away on Dec. 4, 1948, at the age of 66, after suffering from "a lingering illness," reported the Connellsville Daily Courier. She was buried in Green Ridge Memorial Park after a funeral officiated by Rev. Dr. LeRoy S. Cass.

Chauncey was ill for the last four years of his life, burdened with senile dementia and an enlarged prostate. He died at the age of 79 at Connellsville State Hospital on or about Aug. 27, 1954. Following a funeral led by Rev. C.E. Heine, he joined his wife in eternal repose in Green Ridge Memorial Park north of Connellsville. 

Son Oscar W. Leonard (1908-1979) was born on Oct. 28, 1908 in Ohio Pyle. At the age of 21, in 1930, he worked in Connellsville as a laborer, performing odd jobs. Still unmarried in 1940, at age 31, he worked as a helper for a home-building contractor. He is known to have resided with his elderly father in Connellsville during the early 1950s. After his father's death in 1954, he continued to make a home with his unmarried aunt Martha Mitchell in Connellsville. The pair received regular visits from a public service nurse. Tragically, during the month of January 1979, there was no heat in their home, andOscar prevented a third party from entering the home to deliver coal and fire the furnace. Unable to get warm, despite turning on the stove burners in their kitchen, Martha crawled under her bed on the second floor, and the 70-year-old Oscar lay on the floor of the room. When the public duty nurse found unopened newspapers on the porch of their home, she became concerned and called police. Martha and Oscar were found and rushed to Connellsville Hospital where she succumbed and he was admitted. The story was widely reported around the state. Sadly, Oscar never recovered. He passed into eternity later in January 1979. Norhing more is known.

Daughter Alice Leonard (1912-2004) was born on May 20, 1912. She married (?) Keas ( ? - ? ). In 1948-1954, they made their home in Somerton near Philadelphia. Alice passed into eternity on Oct. 2, 2004.

Son John Dixon Leonard (1915-2005) was born on Dec. 16, 1915 in Ohiopyle. In 1935, John is known to have been a pallbearer for his grandmother Fannie (Rankin) Leonard. On Nov. 29, 1940, he eloped to marry Mary Ann Davis (Dec. 17, 1914-2008), with their nuptials held in Cumberland, Allegany County, MD. Their union endured for 64 years. The couple did not reproduce. He served as a staff sergeant with the U.S. Army during World War II. John received a degree in electrical engineering from West Virginia University. Circa 1948-1958, he made his home in Philadelphia, at the address of 213 Walnut Street, Torresdale Manor. For 39 years, he was employed by Selas Heat Technology Company, which developed advanced thermal heat processing systems. During that time, he took additional classes at Drexel University and Temple University. John and Mary Ann enjoyed extensive travel around the globe. Later, in retirement, they moved back to Ohiopyle and eventually relocated to Sun City Center, FL. John died at the age of 89 on March 17, 2005. An obituary was printed in the Tampa Tribune and Uniontown Herald-Standard. His remains were transported back to Fayette County to rest in Irwin Memorial Cemetery. A memorial service was held in Meadow Run Community Church in Ohiopyle led by Rev. Kenneth VanSickle. Mary Ann outlived him by four years and is believed to have remained in Sun City Center. She passed into eternity on June 28, 2008.

 

~ Son Homer R. Leonard ~

Son Homer R. Leonard (1878-1958) was born in 1878 in Stewart Township, Fayette County. He was a lifetime farmer.

At the age of 27, he married 20-year-old Anna "Annie" Sproul (1885 - ? ), daughter of Robert and Sarah Sproul of Henry Clay Township, Fayette County. The wedding ceremony took place on Aug. 23, 1905, at Middle Ridge near Ohio Pyle, officiated by Rev. Thomas Charlesworth of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 

At the time of marriage, Annie was a teacher in Stewart Township.

The Leonards produced a family of nine children -- Robert Leonard, Olbert "Ollie" Leonard, Helen Leonard, Russell Leonard, Frederick S. Leonard, Elwood Leonard, Warren "Beanie" Leonard, Ray S. "Deacon" Leonard and Lawrence Dale Leonard.

 

Belle Grove Cemetery

Sadly, son Frederick died at the age of one in 1917, with burial at the Thorpe Cemetery (Belle Grove). A small, red granite marker stands at the grave, and was photographed in 2001. Daughter Helen also died young, but her details are not yet known.

Homer and Anna were lifelong residents of Ohiopyle and longtime farmers. They were members of the Oak Grove Methodist Church.

Running on the Republican ticket, Homer won election in February 1908 for Inspector of Stewart Township, beating Jehu Rowan 81 votes to 35. 

In July 1934, Homer and family attended the third annual reunion of the Rankin clan -- descendants of Joseph Huston Rankin -- held at Ferncliff Park, Ohiopyle, with an attendance of 60. 

In November 1941, when his cousin George "Benjamin" Turney died in Connellsville, Homer and Anna and daughter Helen traveled to attend the funeral, along with Homer's sister Sadie Rush.

Homer passed away at home at the age of 80 on Sept. 15, 1958. Following a funeral at the family home, he was buried at Johnson's Chapel Cemetery near Confluence, Somerset County, PA. 

Son Robert N. Leonard (1907- ? ) was born in about 1907. At the age of 80, he made his home in Ohiopyle in 1987.

Daughter Helen Leonard (1908- ? ) was born in about 1908. She was deceased by 1987.

Son Russell B. Leonard (1909-1987) was born on Jan. 18, 1909 in Steward Township. He was united in marriage with Georgia Alice "Georgie" Bryner (April 20, 1911-1984), daughter of Albert and Eva (Hall) Bryner of Ohiopyle. They were the parents of three -- Russell B. "Joe" Leonard Jr., Kathryn Van Nosdeln and Bailey Leonard. With their home in Markleysburg, Russell made a living as a lumberman over the years and was a charter member of the Ohiopyle-Stewart Volunteer Fire Department. The family belonged to the Markleysburg Union Church. Sadly, Georgia passed away in Sacred Heart Hospital in Cumberland, MD on Oct. 24, 1984 at the age of 73. Russell outlived her by three years. As the end came, he was admitted to the Garrett County Hospital in Oakland, MD, where he succumbed at the age of 78 on March 8, 1987. Burial was in the Bryner (Middle Ridge) Cemetery, with Rev. Tom Crogan and Rev. Peter Mallik co-officiating the funeral service. An obituary was printed in the Somerset Daily American.

  • Grandson Russell B. "Joe" Leonard Jr. (1933-2019) was born on Oct. 11, 1933 in Confluence, Somerset County. He was joined in holy wedlock with Fern Bryner ( ? - ? ). Their children were Gary Leonard and Cora Kemp. They lived in Addison, Somerset County in 1984 and in Grantsville, MD in 2019. As with many in this family, he was self-employed for 50 years with Leonard Signs and in the family's lumber business. In his spare time, he like to hunt, trap and fish. The family were members of the Gospel Center Church of Markleysburg. Russell was admitted as a patient to Uniontown Hospital and succumbed there on Feb. 18, 2019 at the age of 85. Pastor Marvin Stewart officiated at the funeral service, with interment following in Irwin Memorial Cemetery, and an obituary appearing in the Uniontown Herald-Standard.
  • Granddaughter Eva "Kathryn" "Flip" Leonard (1938-2017) was born in about 1938 and as a young woman lived in Ohiopyle, where she earned a living as a bookkeeper for her father's lumber business. She was twice wed. Her first husband was Richard Alan Van Nosdeln (May 9, 1938-2001). Their wedding was held on Feb. 28, 1959 in the First Christian Church of Connellsville, with Rev. George D. Massay officiating. Their union lasted for 42 years until death. They resided in Addison, Somerset County and were the parents of David Alan Van Nosdeln and Daniel Curtis Van Nosdeln. At the time of marriage, Richard earned a living working for Manufacturers Light and Heat Company of Connellsville. Active in the community, Kathryn served on the board of elections and was a notary public. For 28 years, she was employed as coordinator of administrative affairs for Pressley Ridge of Ohiopyle, a non-profit which serves vulnerable children, adults and families facing difficult challenges and complex situations. Richard died on Nov. 24, 2001. After Richard's death, she married again to Don Bowser ( ? - ? ). He too had been married before to Meriel Bigam ( ? -2001) and became widowed when she accidentally was shot and killed in her home by a local hunter's errant bullet. Don brought these children to the union -- Pam Hughes, Selena Tressler and Laverne Hager. Kathryn and Don dwelled in Ohiopyle and were leaders in the ministry of Star Junction Baptist Church, where she played piano for many years. In 2017, Don was honored for 30 years of service as pastor of the congregation. Sadly, the 79-year-old Kathryn passed away on Oct. 19, 2017. Rev. John DeVincent preached the funeral sermon, with burial in Irwin Memorial Cemetery.
  • Grandson Bailey D. Leonard (1946-2002) was born on Feb. 16, 1946 in Confluence. In about 1965, at the age of 19, he was united in matrimony with Gale Lorene Myers ( ? - ? ). They remained together for 36 years until the separation of death. The Leonards made a home in Markleysburg and produced these offspring -- Malinda Workman, Jason Leonard and Russell B. "Rusty" Leonard. Following graduation from high school, he served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Later, he founded Leonard Forest Products, which he actively operated. The family attended Gospel Center Church, with Bailey serving as a trustee of the congregation. At the age of 56, on April 25, 2002, Bailey passed away unexpectedly at home. Burial was in Bryner Ridge Cemetery, with an obituary appearing in the Somerset Daily American.

Son Odbert "Ollie" Leonard (1912-1999) was born on June 18, 1912. He married Alberta G. Lowery (Oct. 13, 1919-2005) on March 1, 1937, when he was age 25 and she 18. Ollie was a coal miner and member of the UMWA for six decades. According to the Uniontown Herald-Standard, Ollie "served as Stewart Township Supervisor for 18 years, was a Board member of the Ohiopyle-Stewart Community Center, a member of the Advisory Board of the Penn Highlands Teens for Christ and had served as President of the Irwin Memorial Cemetery." Ollie passed away on Jan. 4, 1999, at the age of 87. He was laid to rest in Belle Grove Cemetery near Ohiopyle. Alberta "served as Stewart Township Secretary for many years and was a member of the Ohiopyle Grange No. 1933," said the Herald-Standard. She died in 2005.

 

Ollie and Alberta Leonard's grave at Belle Grove

 

 

Purple Heart

Son Ray S. "Deacon" Leonard (1914-2007) was born in 1914. He wedded Dorothea V. Bowers ( ? -1997). They are not thought to have had children. Ray served as mayor of Ohiopyle for a dozen years, and was a charter member of the Ohiopyle Volunteer Fire Department. He also received a Purple Heart for wounds received in France during World War II. Said the Uniontown (PA) Herald Standard, "As a businessman Ray operated his own saw mill, Ray Leonard Lumber, for many years, and was also skilled in wood working, leaving behind many beautiful pieces for others to enjoy for years to come. Ray had many accomplishments in his life to be proud of and he told stories about them to all who would listen. He was very proud of the time he gave to serve our country in the United States Army." Dorothea passed away in 1997. Ray outlived her by a decade. He died on New Year's Eve 2007, at age 93. He was laid to rest in the Normalville Cemetery. 

Son Elwood Sproul Leonard (1919-1990) was born on April 27, 1919. During World War II, he served as a corporal in the U.S. Armed Forces and was pictured in the June 16, 1943 edition of the Connellsville Daily Courier. Circa 1946, he was joined in holy matrimony with Rose Marie Cesarino (March 11, 1925- ? ). News of their marriage license was published in the Daily Courier. They lived in Farmington, Fayette County circa 1987. Elwood died at the age of 70 on Jan. 17, 1990. Interment was in Mount Washington Presbyterian Church Cemetery along Route 40.

Son Warren D. "Beanie" Leonard (1921-2004) -- sometimes known as "Warner" -- was born on March 22, 1921 in Ohiopyle. In about 1941, he was joined in holy wedlock with Freeda I. Morrison (Dec. 9, 1921-1998), daughter of Vincent "Ben" and Pearl (Jackson) Morrison. Their marital union endured for 57 years until cleaved apart by the Grim Reaper. They dwelled in Ohiopyle  and bore two children, Doris J. "Cookie" May and Dale Leonard. The family were longtime members of Meadow Run Community Church. During World War II, he served with the Third U.S. Army. Warren founded Leonard Saw Shop in Addison in 1950 and operated it for the remaining decades of his life. He also was a member of the Ohiopyle Volunteer Fire Department, where he served as president for 38 years, and Freeda was active with its auxiliary. He belonged to the American Legion Post in Ursina and the National Rifle Association. Sadly, Freeda passed away at home on Dec. 15, 1998, at the age of 77. Warren lived as a widower for another six years. As his health failed, he was admitted to Uniontown Hospital, where he succumbed on Jan. 4, 2004 at the age of 82. Officiating at his funeral service were Rev. Kenneth VanSickle and Rev. David Morrison, with interment in Irwin memorial Cemetery. His obituary was published in the Somerset Daily American.

  • Granddaughter Doris J. "Cookie" Leonard married Donald G. May. Circa 2004, they dwelled in Mill Run.
  • Grandson Dale Leonard wedded Donna J. ( ? - ? ). They lived in Ohiopyle in 1998. By 2004, he was married to Candee.

 

Book naming Lawrence

Son Lawrence Dale Leonard (1924-2009) was born in 1924. He married Doris Morrison ( ? - ? ) in about 1952. They had no children. He owned the Lawrence Leonard Dairy Farm and was a member of the United Dairyman's Association. He also was the executor of his father's estate in the late 1950s and early '60s. Said the Herald-Standard, he "was a lifelong member of the Meadow Run Community Church, Ohiopyle," ... and a "Charter Member of the Ohiopyle-Stewart Volunteer Fire Department." In mid-August 1956, when Connellsville, Fayette County celebrated its sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary, Lawrence served on the Agricultural Day Committee along with distant cousins Graydon Work and Emmett Newell. Lawrence was named in the official program booklet, today preserved in the Minerd- Minard- Miner- Minor Archives. A number of other cousins were active volunteers with the celebration, including former Connellsville Mayors Dr. H. Daniel Minerd and Ira David Younkin who were members of the Executive Committee. Lawrence passed away at the age of 85 on Oct. 10, 2009, the last of his brothers and sisters. Following a funeral led by Rev. Martin Stewart and Rev. Donald Bowser, he was laid to rest in Irwin Memorial Cemetery.

 

~ Daughter Sarah Agnes "Sadie" (Leonard) Rush ~

Daughter Sarah Agnes "Sadie" Leonard (1880-1959) was born on Nov. 21, 1880. 

Sadie married Albert Stewart Rush (1883- ? ), son of Bryson and Annis Rush, on June 25, 1907, by the hand of Rev. J.F. Rush. She was age 26, and he 23, at the time. 

As a young man, Albert made his home in Bryner Ridge, and often came to Connellsville to conduct business in his role as a shipping clerk. In July 1905, the Connellsville Courier newspaper noted Albert had been hurt and "is now on the limp as a result of having had his foot injured by a horse stepping on it." Later that year, in November 1905, he and Mrs. James Rush were baptized in the Youghiogheny River at Ohio Pyle, by Rev. T.E. Boord. Observed the Courier: "Quite a number of persons witnessed the ceremony." At the time of marriage, Albert worked as a shipping clerk.

They had one known daughter, Edith Elizabeth Rush, born in 1909. 

Sadie and Albert made their home in the Hogg Addition of Connellsville, as shown on the 1910 federal census. There, he was employed as a railroad brakeman.

 

Book naming Sadie

Sadly, the Rushes ended their marriage died sometime before 1920. The 1920 federal census marks Sadie's marital status with a "D" -- meaning divorced. Albert is believed to have married again, and moved to Ohio. In January 1922, the "Ohiopyle" section of the Daily Courier noted that "Mr. and Mrs. Albert Rush of Ohio are the guests of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bryson Rush, on Commercial street."

As a single mother, Sadie moved in with her mother and sister Mabel Leonard, in a home on Meadow Run Road near Ohiopyle. They were there in 1920 and 1930 when the U.S. census was taken. 

In July 1932, Sarah and Elizabeth attended the first reunion of the Rankin clan, held at Elk Park along the National Pike east of Uniontown. Sarah's aged mother and adult siblings also attended with their families. She also went to the reunions in 1934 (held at Ferncliff Park, Ohiopyle, with an attendance of 60), 1935 (also at Ferncliff Park) and in 1936 (held at the Shaffer cabin near Fort Necessity, with attendance of 50). In 1937, the reunion again was held at the Shaffer and Rohlf cabins near the historic fort. Sarah is known to have attended the eighth annual reunion in 1939 at Rohlf Acres in the fort's vicinity. Sarah, Mabel and the Manleys again attended the reunion in 1940, with the Morning Herald reporting that "Greetings from as far distant as Long Beach, Calif., and Denver, Colo., were read at the seventh annual reunion ... at the Shaffer and Rohlf cabins near Fort Necessity. More than eighty registered for the day."

In January 1936, when cousin Maggie's husband Robert Clutter died in Wilkinsburg, Sadie traveled there to attend the funeral. Then in November 1941, when cousin George "Benjamin" Turney died in Connellsville, Sarah went to the funeral along with her brother Homer and his wife and daughter.

Sadie passed away at the age of 78 on Sept. 18, 1959. She rests for eternity beside her unmarried sister Mabel E. Leonard in the Belle Grove Cemetery near Ohiopyle.

In 1994, a photograph of Sadie, standing at the Meadow Run Methodist Episcopal Church, was published in the book, Yesteryear in Ohiopyle and Surrounding Communities, Vol. II, compiled by author Marci Lynn McGuinness.

 

Final resting place of sisters Sadie Rush and Mabel
Leonard at Belle Grove Cemetery near Ohiopyle

 

Daughter Edith Elizabeth Rush ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). As a young woman, she taught at the Garrett School of Music. On May 5, 1937, in nuptials held at the home of officiant Rev. W.H. McKinney, she wedded Russell A. Grover (June 10, 1912-1967), son of William A. and Annabelle (Cromwell) Grover of McKeesport near Pittsburgh. Russell moved to Ohiopyle as a young boy and was employed at the time of marriage with Big Boy Lumber Company of Ohiopyle. News of their wedding was printed in the Uniontown Evening Standard. The couple made a residence in Ohiopyle and were the parents of four children, among them Sarann Grover, Carol Jayne VanKirk, Marjorie Eileen Dorschlag and DeWayne R. Grover. Russell was a member of the Teamsters Union No. 491. In the community, he was a member of the Fayette County Firemen's Association, a 20-year supervisor of Stewart Township, and belonged to the Ohiopyle Grange. He also was a trustee of Meadow Run Methodist Church. In his mid-50s, Russell delivered furniture for Metzler's Furniture Store in Uniontown. While making a Christmas season delivery in 1967, he became seriously ill and was rushed to St. Clair Hospital in Pittsburgh. Sadly, at the age of 55, he passed away there on Dec. 21, 1967. Several months later, the firemen's association paid tribute to him and other fellow firefighters who had passed away.

  • Granddaughter Sarann Grover (1937- ? ) was born in Oct. 1937. At her 20th birthday, in 1957, she was pictured in the Uniontown Morning Herald. Circa 1967, she dwelled in Baltimore, MD, where she was employed as a computer punch card operator clerk with the Social Security Administration. By the 2000s, she was back in Ohiopyle. Her name was in the news in the Somerset (PA) Daily American in January 2012 when visited by a young grand-nephew from Frederick County, MD while on a quest to see snow.
  • Granddaughter Carol Jayne Grover ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). Circa 1965, she was employed as a typist in the Uniontown office of the Pennsylvania Department of Highways. In November 1965, she wedded Vietnam War veteran Robert L. VanKirk, son of John M. VanKirk of Carnation Street in Uniontown. The ceremony was held in the Meadow Run Methodist Church, officiated by Rev. James Bissell and Rev. R.T. Barner. Carol's photograph portraits were printed in Uniontown Evening Standard stories about her engagement and then the wedding. Prior to marriage, in the early 1960s, Robert served for four years in the U.S. Air Force and then secured a job with the department of highways as an assistant engineer. The VanKirks relocated to Indianapolis by 1967. Carol is believed to have lived in Hopwood near Uniontown circa 2012.
  • Granddaughter Marjorie Eileen Grover ( ? - ? ) was born in ?). In the mid-1960s, she worked at Uniontown Hospital as a nurse's aide in the maternity department. On Aug. 14, 1966, she was united in matrimony with Richard E. Durschlag ( ? - ? ), son of Robert Durschlag of Gibbon Glade, Fayette County. Their wedding was held in the Meadow Run Church, with a reception following in Cannon Brethren Church of Gibbon Glade. Reporting on the wedding, the Uniontown Evening Standard said that "Mr. Durschlag served two years in the U.S. Army and is presently employed as a truck driver for Carnation Milk. He plans to study welding." They resided in Gibbon Glade and were the parents of Lisa Ann Durschlag. At one point the Durschlags founded a trucking business.
  • Grandson DeWayne R. Grover ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). He is believed to have wedded Sherry Panetta, daughter of Albert J. and Rose (Smith) Panetta of Elmira, NY. They made a home for decades in Towanda, Bradford County, PA and bore daughters Stacey Williams and Karen Grover. DeWayne was in the news in October 1968 after he returned to Fayette County to hunt and promptly shot a 100-lb. doe with a bow and arow on the first day of archery season. In the 1990s, he is believed to have been active with the Schrader Creek Watershed Association.

 

~ Daughter Ella (Leonard) Manley ~

Daughter Ellen F. "Ella" Leonard (1884-1971) was born on Jan. 6, 1885 in Ohio Pyle, Fayette County. She is believed to have been a "school marm" in Room No. 2 in Ohiopyle in December 1905, making her home at Belle Grove. 

 

Rev. Ray G. Manley

At the age of 19, Ella married Rev. Ray Gerald Manley (1884-1967) on June 26, 1913, at the Christian parsonage in New Salem, Fayette County. The groom's father, Rev. Ernest E. Manley of New Salem, performed the ceremony. Ray was born in Penbrook, NY. Ray was of medium height and build, with blue eyes and black hair.

They had five known children -- Florence Irene Manley, Ruth Manley, Leah May Manley, Bruce Manley and Ernest Manley. 

During World War I, when Ray was required to register for the military draft, he listed his home address as Box 77, Republic, his occupation as minister and his employer as the Western Pennsylvania Christian Missionary Society.

The Manleys later resided at Cardale, Fayette County, in 1931-1958. In January 1931, when her mother turned 80, Ella and her sisters attended a birthday party at the old family home near Belle Grove, three miles east of Ohio Pyle. 

Ella was a teacher in Fayette County with a career covering 38 years, including three decades in the schools of Redstone Township. One of the school board directors in Redstone during that time was a distant cousin, Wilbert Regis "Patsy" Minerd.

 

Ray, 1916
Google Books

Ray was assigned the role as a mission pastor in the coal and coke region of Fayette County in 1909, a brutal assignment in a rough and tough work environment that was at the crux of organized labor. He stayed in this position for three decades, "through war, labor organizing riots, the flue epidemic, strikes, the depression, the struggling complexity of foreign born Americans," reported the Uniontown Morning Herald. To better understand his flock, said the Herald, he "later traveled abroad in Italy and Bohemia for six months to equip himself to work with foreign born groups." 

In April 1916, he was pictured in the publication, The American Home Missionary, featured with three others in a profile headlined "Four Notable Immigrant Missionaries." The story about him said his work was "primitive and initiatory" and that he "goes among the immigrant miners and coke burners in true missionary fashion, ministering to every possible need. He gathers the children and adults into Bible Schools and instructs them in English and in the Word of God. He directs some ten such schools, enlisting the help of the American population for the task." 

Another edition of the American Home Missionary in January-February 1918 noted:

These are splendid opportunities for developing self-supporting churches. Among the immigrants we have supported Ray G. Manley and his assistant, Miss Bertha Kleeberger, in Fayette county. This most unique work is with the polyglot population strung like beads in little villages among the creeks and between the hills. In halls, school houses and church buildings Ray Manley and his workers maintain fourteen points of contact with these most heterogeneous new citizens.

During that time, the Manleys' spiritual home was the First Christian Church of Republic. Among Ellen's distant cousins who also lived in Republic and were active union organizers in the mid-to-late 1930s were Wilbert Regis "Patsy" Minerd, Clyde B. Minerd and John R. Johnson. Whether Ray and these cousins knew of their family connections is unknown, but they had to have crossed paths more than once.

Ray was instrumental in organizing and pastoring Christian churches in New Salem, Republic, Grindstone, Brownsville and Allison. While at the Hopwood church, he would have become acquainted with one of its founding members, Elizabeth (Johnson) White, whose father in law Robert Marshall White Sr. was a distant step-cousin of Ella's. Other extended cousins belonging to these churches were John H. Whetzel (Brownsville), Edward M. and Susan (Jobes) Murdock (Grindstone) and Thomas I. and Anna (Burke) Gribble (Republic).

 

Uniontown Morning Herald, 1963
Courtesy Ancestry.com

In July 1932, Ellen and Ray and their children attended the first reunion of the Rankin clan, held at Elk Park along the National Pike east of Uniontown. Sarah's aged mother and adult siblings also went with their families. At the gathering, Ray was elected to the picnic grounds committee. They also attended the reunions in 1934 (held at Ferncliff Park, Ohiopyle, with an attendance of 60) and 1935 (also at Ferncliff Park). At the 1936 event, held at the Shaffer cabin near Fort Necessity, Ray made remarks as part of the day's business meeting. In 1937, the reunion again was held at the Shaffer and Rohlf cabins near the fort, with Ellen and Ray directing "a recreational program of games and sports," said the Morning Herald. The Manleys, and Ellen's sisters Mabel and Sarah, attended the reunion in 1940, with the Morning Herald reporting that "Greetings from as far distant as Long Beach, Calif., and Denver, Colo., were read at the seventh annual reunion ... at the Shaffer and Rohlf cabins near Fort Necessity. More than eighty registered for the day."

Under a heavy strain of his work, Ray's health began to decline, and in January 1939 he resigned from the pastorate. He and Ella then moved to Wauchula, FL where they spent their winters. In retirement, they returned to Cardale where Ray took on occasional preaching assignments. In June 1963, the Manleys celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with an open house in the social room of their church in Republic.

Ray died at the age of 83, in the Charleroi-Monessen Hospital, on Dec. 4, 1967. His funeral was held in the First Christian Church of Republic, followed by burial in LaFayette Memorial Park.

 

Just a Family History,
original dust jacket

Just a Family History
more recent jacket

As a widow, Ella moved to Belle Vernon, where her married daughter Ruth Miller lived. She died in the Haven Crest Nursing Home in Monongahela at the age of 86 on Feb. 2, 1971. She joined her husband in eternal rest at LaFayette Memorial Park following a funeral service led by Rev. Thomas Lowston. 

In 2011, Ray was pictured and mentioned several times in the book Just a Family History, authored by Glenn L. Bower. The book is a genealogical study of the Baür-Bower family that emigrated from Germany to Ohio in the 1830s. Ray's family history notes were used as source material for the volume, published by Xlibris (link to book). Specifically referenced were the stories Ray heard from his grandmother, Helen Bruce McElroy, that Revolutionary War veterans John Putnam and his father Gen. Israel Putnam were ancestors.

Son Bruce L. Manley made his home in Erie, Erie County, PA in 1967-1971. 

Son Ernest G. Manley married Ruth L. Sutton, daughter of Emmert C. and Della B. Sutton of New Salem, Fayette County. They were wed at the Christian Church of New Salem on Oct. 12, 1955. At the time of marriage, Ruth had been employed for 13 years in the Unino Supply Company's Filbert Store. Ernest was a student at the State Teachers College in Millersville, PA, and was a veteran of the Merchant Marine of New York and Philadelphia. Ernest resided in 1967 in Waynesboro, PA. He died in May 1968, with burial in LaFayette Memorial Park.

Daughter Florence Irene Manley graduated from Bethany College in West Virginia and the University of New York. Circa 1943, she was employed as a music teacher in the Matoaka Schools in Mercer County, WV. On Jan. 9, 1943, she wed Wayne Bailey, son of Leonard I. Bailey of Rock, Mercer County. The ceremony was held in the parsonage of the Bluefield Christian Church, officiated by Dr. Ben Johnson. At the time of marriage, Wayne was teaching science in Bramwell High School near Bluefield, and studied at Cornell University. Circa 1965-1967, the Baileys made their home in Marlinton, WV. While in Marlinton, Florence taught French and was librarian of Marlinton High School, and was selected to attend a national defense education act summer institute for advanced study in French at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. By 1971, when Florence's mother died, the Baileys lived in Chapel Hill, NC.

Daughter Ruth Manley married John Miller. Their home in 1967 was in Belle Vernon, PA. 

Daughter Leah Manley married Raymond LaVan. They lived in Allentown, Lehigh County, PA in the late 1960s.

 

Mabel

~ Daughter Mabel E. Leonard ~

Daughter Mabel E. Leonard (1889-1979) was born on Dec. 9, 1889. She apparently never married, but was a dedicated educator for more than four decades at a time when women teachers were not allowed to marry.

Mabel was a 1923 graduate of what is now California University of Pennsylvania. According to the Uniontown Evening Standard, she "taught school for 42 years in the Mountain School, beginning at the age of 16 in a one room school house." 

Circa 1931, she taught in the Republic schools of Redstone Township, near Uniontown. By 1946, she was teacher for primary grades 1 through 4 in the Ohiopyle High School.

Mabel and her widowed mother and divorced sister Sadie Rush resided together for decades. When the 1920 and 1930 federal censuses were taken, they lived under one roof along Meadow Run Road, along with Sadie's daughter Edith Elizabeth Rush. Mabel's occupation was listed as "teacher - public school."

 

Leather postcard sent to Mabel in the early 1900s from a friend in Newell, PA

 

 

Ohiopylean yearbook

In July 1932, Mabel attended the first reunion of the Rankin clan, held at Elk Park along the National Pike east of Uniontown. Her aged mother and adult siblings also attended with their families. Mabel and her sister in law Ethel Mary (Mitchell) Leonard were elected to the executive committee. They also attended the reunions in 1934 (held at Ferncliff Park, Ohiopyle, with an attendance of 60), in 1935 (also at Ferncliff Park) and in 1936 (at the Shaffer cabin near Fort Necessity, with attendance of 50).

In 1937, the reunion again was held at the Shaffer and Rohlf cabins near the fort. Mabel is known to have attended the eighth annual reunion in 1939 at Rohlf Acres in the fort's vicinity. Mabel, Sarah and the Manleys again attended the reunion in 1940, with the Morning Herald reporting that "Greetings from as far distant as Long Beach, Calif., and Denver, Colo., were read at the seventh annual reunion ... at the Shaffer and Rohlf cabins near Fort Necessity. More than eighty registered for the day." The 1954 gathering, which Mabel and her sister Ellen Manley attended, included singing of "Blest Be the Tie That Binds," held at Rohlf Acres. In 1962, Mabel went to the clan's 31st reunion, held at Ben Morgan's cabin at Rohlf Acres.

Mabel is pictured in the Ohiopyle High School's 1946 yearbook, The Ohiopylean. Among the current and former students also pictured in the yearbook were distant Minerd cousins Kenneth Turner, Frank W. Dean and Vincent Dean. An original copy is preserved in the Minerd.com Archives.

Mabel remained close with her sister Sadie Rush for the rest of their lives. At Mabel's death on March 20, 1979, at the age of 90, she was buried beside her sister. A beautiful red granite marker stands on their grave today.

 

Copyright © 2001-2006, 2008-2012, 2015, 2019 Mark A. Miner

Oval portrait of Ray. G. Manley originally published in The American Home Missionary and courtesy of Google Books.