Marcellus Murray was born on Sept. 19, 1873 near Normalville, Fayette County, PA the son of Elijah and Hannah (Minerd) Murray. He was 11 years old when both his parents died, leaving him an orphan. His life is not well known but is written here as a starting point.
In a short period of time, in 1893 and '94, Marcellus broke through the hazy mists of recorded history. Just before Christmas 1893, the Connellsville Courier reported that:
Marcellus Murray met with an accident, Monday, while unloading some heavy timbers. It was thought first that his arm was broken, but an examination showed that he was only badly bruised about the arm and shoulder.
In 1894, the Courier said he and his brother in law Nelson Kern were living near Reagantown, Fayette County, and were visiting at Normalville.
When the census was taken in 1900, when Marcellus was age 26, he was residing with the elderly Sarah Whipkey near Normalville. A 1902 issue of The Mountaineer reported that "Frank Clark and sister and Marcellus Murray of Hemminger's Mills, spent Saturday and Sunday as guests of David Shank."
On June 6, 1903, 30-year-old Marcellus married widow Bertha Jane (Clark) Wilson (March 1876-1918), the daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (Huff) Clark. Her first husband, Albert Wilson, died of typhus circa 1899. She brought two sons to the marriage -- Emerson Samuel Wilson and Orville Albert Wilson.
Marcellus and Bertha resided in Prittstown, Fayette County, and had two children of their own -- John William Murray and Verna Elizabeth Saltsman. Later, they lived at the Cross Roads, near Pennsville.
In 1917, during World War I, the 44-year-old Marcellus registered for the military draft at Local Board No. 2 in Fayette County. He resided in Scottdale at that time. He was employed as a laborer for the U.S. Cast Iron Pipe and Foundry Company in nearby Scottdale, Westmoreland County. Another cousin who worked for U.S. Cast Iron Pipe in that era was Howard Campbell Miner.
Tragedy struck the family when Bertha was pregnant in the spring of 1918 at the age of 41. She attempted an abortion, which led to a deadly septic shock. Unable to recover, she passed away at age 42 on May 3, 1918 in Mount Pleasant. Her funeral was held at the Paradise Evangelical Church, and she was buried at Stauffer Cemetery.
Marcellus married again fairly quickly, to widow Cleveland Etta (Adams) Stillwagon (1885-1968), the daughter of John and Polly (Burkett) Adams. The wedding occurred on Dec. 10, 1919. Cleveland was 12 years younger than Marcellus.
Cleveland's first husband Franklin "Frank" Stillwagon (April 13, 1886-1913) had died tragically at the age of 28 when cleaning a shotgun in a cornfield near Murphy's Siding. The gun fired accidentally, with the shot passing through his brain, killing him almost instantly.
She brought a number of children to the marriage -- Carl Stillwagon, Edna (Stillwagon) Basinger, Caroline (Stillwagon) Lawver, Louella Saylor and Freda DeWitt. Sorting out "who was who" is still somewhat confusing.
Marcellus and Cleveland produced one son of their own, Norman Murray, born in 1919. It's also possible that daughters Emma and Louella also were Marcellus's.
The family is enumerated on the 1920 federal census of Upper Tyrone Township, Fayette County. In that census, 46-year-old "M.C." Murray is listed as head of the household with 34-year-old wife Cleveland, and with children John (age 15), Verna (13), Freda (5), Emma (2) and infant son Norman (2 months).
Tragically Marcellus was stricken with a bacterial strep infection in the winter of 1920, just a few months after the marriage. He passed away on Feb. 6, 1920, at the age of 47. The Connellsville (PA) Daily Courier simply reported that he "died yesterday afternoon at his home in Kingview. He leaves a wife and family. No funeral arrangements have been made." As the United States was in the grip of a national epidemic of influenza at the time, he may have been a victim of that dreaded disease. Burial was in Springfield Cemetery -- possibly otherwise known as "Normalville?"
On May 19, 1921, twice-widowed Cleveland married her third husband, 59-year-old widower Martin F. Paes (1862-1925). He may have adopted some of her younger children (Emma and Norman) and gave them his surname. The couple lived at 21 South Grant Street in Uniontown, where he earned a living as a blacksmith.
Heartache struck again just three years later, on Dec. 15, 1925, when Martin suffered a stroke and died at the age of 64. His remains were placed into repose in Mount Olive Cemetery. His death left the 40-year-old Cleveland as a three-time widow.
Cleveland lived for more than 40 more years but apparently never married again. She dwelled in Republic and Brier Hill, Fayette County, communities built around coal mining operations. She also lived for a time in Clarksville, Greene County, PA.
She passed away on Jan. 20, 1968 in Brownsville (PA) General Hospital, and was laid to rest at Mount Olive Cemetery in Bullskin Township. At the time of death, she had seven living children, 56 grandchildren, 93 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
When Marcellus Murray's cousin Agnes (Miner) Miller compiled details genealogy notes late in life, she wrote his name on a list, but stated nothing more.
~ Son John William Murray ~
Son John William Murray (1904-1973) was born in 1904.
He was married twice. His first wife was Harriet Wyant (1902-1926), the daughter of Nicholas Wyant of Everson, Westmoreland County, PA.
They had one son, Frank Murray.
She died at age 24 of "heart trouble and dropsy," said the Daily Courier, and was laid to rest at Scottdale Cemetery.
John's second wife was Mabel Lavenia Lehman (1903-1998), the daughter of Edward G. and Betty Lehman and a native of Dunbar, Fayette County. Their marriage ceremony was performed by a distant cousin, Rev. David Ewing Minerd, the famed "Blacksmith Preacher" of Fayette County.
They resided on a farm near Hopedale, Harrison County, OH. Said the Cadiz (OH) Republican, "He had been a farmer and was a former German Twp. trustee and a substitute mail carrier." John was a collector of functional antiques, such as a shed full of old crank type telephones, a field full of old automobiles from the 1930s and '40s, and many old glass insulators from telephone poles. Relatives sold their eggs and possibly other farm products to customers in nearby Weirton, WV.
They are buried at Blue Ridge Cemetery near Hopedale.
~ Daughter Verna Elizabeth (Murray) Saltsman ~
Daughter Verna Elizabeth Murray (1907- ? ) was born in about 1907
She married Frank Saltsman (1919-1994).
They lived in or near Jefferson County, OH.
Said the Steubenville Herald Star, Frank "was employed in area mines for more than 50 years. He was a retired mechanic from Consol Mining in Cadiz and Moore's Company, which Consol bought out. He was ... a member of United Mine Workers Local 7451, a 50-year member of the Salineville American Legion, an Army veteran of World War II, having served in the European Theater and having been awarded four Bronze Stars."
~ Son Norman Murray ~
Son Norman Murray (1919-1984) was born in 1919.
He resided in Brier Hill. He took back his "Murray" surname at some point after temporarily adopting the "Paes" name.
He married Mildred McNatt (1923-1993), the daughter of Charles and Susue (Holland) McNatt.
They had seven children -- Roberta Bizik, Marlene Rapchak, Darlene Androsky, Thomas R. Murray, Terry S. Murray, Ronald C. Paes and Debi Kopec.
Said the Uniontown Herald-Standard, "He was a member of UMWA District 4 and was a former employee of J&L Steel."
Norman and Mildred are buried at Pleasant View Cemetery in Smock near Uniontown, Fayette County.
~ Stepson Carl E. Stillwagon ~
Stepson Carl E. Stillwagon ( ? -1967) was born in (?).
Carl was married.
The couple bore a son William Stillwagon.
He was a sergeant with the Pennsylvania State Police, beginning his career in the 1930s in Uniontown "as one of the original highway patrolmen," said the Uniontown Morning Herald. "The Highway Patrol and state police merged in 1937 and was known as Motor Police and later changed to Pennsylvania State Police. The sergeant was transferred to Greensburg and as a member of the drivers' examination detail returned frequently to Uniontown." He retired in 1960 and worked in Jeannette, Westmoreland County as a security officer for the Elliott Manufacturing Company.
He died on May 17, 1967. An obituary was printed in the Uniontown Morning Herald and Uniontown Evening Standard. A requiem mass was sung at Lady of Grace Church in Greensburg.
Son William C. Stillwagon ( ? - ? ) became an attorney. He practiced in Greensburg circa 1967 and into the 2000s. His office was located at 319 South Maple Avenue.
~ Stepdaughter Edna May (Stillwagon) Basinger ~
Stepdaughter Edna Stillwagon (1906-1956) was born on Dec. 13, 1906 in Breakneck near Connellsville.
She married Harry Wilson Basinger (1907-1984)
Edna passed away in Waynesburg on Nov. 10, 1956.
Interment was in Greene County Memorial Park.
~ Stepdaughter Caroline (Stillwagon) Lawver ~
Stepdaughter Caroline Stillwagon (1908-1986) was born in 1908
She wedded Amnie Lawver (1901-1984).
They produced a family of children -- Edna Lawver, Louella Catherine Furman, Amnie Eugene Lawver, Dortha Mae Bennett, Dale Eugene Lawver, Timothy Lawver, Harven Benton Lawver and Margaret Lawver.
Continuing heartache blanketed the family when their children Edna Dale, Timothy, Harvey and Margaret all died in infancy or early childhood.
The couple resided in Clarksville, Greene County, in 1968.
Death carried Amnie away in June 1984. He rests for all time in Mount Tabor Cemetery in Connellsville.
Caroline died in 1986.
~ Stepdaughter Louella (Stillwagon) Saylor ~
Daughter Louella Stillwagon (1912-2000) was born on Feb. 26, 1912.
She married Gilbert Saylor ( ? -1987).
Their offspring were Naomi Miller, Frank Saylor, Paul Saylor, James Saylor, Ruth Rich, Mary Evans and John Saylor.
In 1968, they lived in Ravenna, OH. Later, they returned to Fayette County. Louella was a member of Calvary Assembly of God Church in Connellsville.
Gilbert entered eternity in 1987.
Louella died in Eicher's Family Home in Normalville, Fayette County on Aug. 21, 2000 at the age of 88. Interment was in Green Ridge Memorial Park, with Rev. David C. Bashor officiating at the funeral service. An obituary said she was survived by 22 grandchildren and 38 great-grandchildren.
Daughter Naomi Saylor married (?) Miller. They lived in Ravenna, OH.
Son Frank Saylor wedded Mary. In 2000, they dwelled in Connellsville
Son Paul Saylor was joined in marriage with Audrey. They made a residence in Churchville, NY.
Son James Saylor was united in wedlock with Juanita. Their home in 2000 was in Connellsville.
Daughter Ruth Saylor married Donald Rich and lived in Connellsville.
Daughter Mary Saylor wedded (?) Evans and lived in South Connellsville.
Son John Saylor was united in matrimony with Patty.
~ Stepdaughter Freda (Stillwagon) DeWitt ~
Stepdaughter Freda Stillwagon (1914-1997) was born in 1914.
She married Wilbert DeWitt ( ? - ? ).
The couple dwelled in Brier Hill and Warminster, PA.
~ Stepdaughter Freda (Stillwagon) DeWitt ~
Stepdaughter Emma Stillwagon (1918- ? ) was born in 1918.
She married Charles Springer and in 1968 lived in Detroit.
~ Stepson Emerson Samuel Wilson ~
Stepson Emerson Samuel Wilson
Circa 1961, Emerson resided at Scottdale, Westmoreland County. Circa 1973, he lived in Everson, PA.
~ Stepson Orville Albert Wilson ~
Stepson Orville Albert Wilson
Orval lived at Hurst, MA in 1961. His fate is unknown.
~ Fates of Cleveland (Adams) Stillwagon Murray Paes' Children ~
Cleveland's son Charles Paes lived in Detroit in 1968.
Cleveland's son Kenneth E. Paes (1923-2011) was born in 1923. He married Madeline F. McNatt ( ? - ? ). They had four children -- Ronald Paes, Kenneth Paes Jr., Judy King and Richard Paes. Circa, 1968, the family lived in Brier Hill, Fayette County. Later, they moved to Grindstone, near Brownsville, Fayette County. Kenneth died on May 3, 2011 at the age of 87. He was laid to rest in LaFayette Memorial Park. At his death he was survived by a dozen grandchildren and 11 great- grandchildren.
~ More ~
Lily Murray of the family married John E. Devore (1931-2001), who "was employed by Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp., Mingo Junction, at the blast furnace," said the Steubenville Herald Star.
Copyright © 2001, 2004-2007, 2011, 2014, 2019 Mark A. Miner