Marshall Minerd was born on July 18, 1853, at Hopwood, Fayette County, PA, the son of Andrew and Sarah (Devan) Minerd. He is one of many known cousins to have been killed at work in a coal, coke or steel related accident.
Little is known of Marshall's 33 years on earth, except for his tragic death.
Marshall's birthdate, along with those of his seven siblings, was recorded in his father’s family Bible. The tattered Bible later was used to prove the age of one of his sisters so she could obtain a pension from the federal government. While the Bible is lost today, a letter containing all the names and dates transcribed from the Bible still exists in the National Archives in Washington, DC.
Marshall was married, but the name of his wife is unknown. He was a coal miner, and probably went to work in the mines at a young age, like many young men of his era.
Marshall labored at the Mahoning Mine in Dunbar, Fayette County in the mid-1880s. His uncle, Isaac Minerd, also is known to have worked (and been injured) there in the late 1870s and in 1880.
On Nov. 23, 1886, Marshall "was instantly killed … by a trip of loaded coal cars," said the Uniontown Genius of Liberty. Connellsville’s Keystone Courier described the accident by saying he had been "descending the Mahoning mine, … on the front of a coal car, [and] his head was caught between the car and the side of the pit, killing him instantly."
Marshall’s burial site is not known. The fates of his wife, or any children they may have had, also are lost to history.
On June 19, 2002, Marshall's tragic fate was featured in an article about Dunbar in the Connellsville Daily Courier. The story later was republished in the book, There's No Place Like Dunbar! 2002-2004 - Historical Vignettes and Personal Reflections from The Daily Courier's Dunbar Column, authored by Donna R. Myers and Bonnie L. Zurick of the Dunbar (PA) Historical Society. A thumbnail image of the book is seen here.