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Mary 'Agnes'
(Younkin) Crabtree

(1870-1910)

 

James and Agnes Crabtree

Mary "Agnes" (Younkin) Crabtree was born on Jan. 15, 1870 (or 1871) in Casselman, Somerset County, PA, the daughter of Josiah and Rachel (Phillippi) Younkin.

Agnes' father died when she was about six years old, and she grew up in Casselman with a stepfather John Wilkins for a period of time, and later had a "significant other" step-father figure, Jack Hobson.

On Nov. 11, 1888, at the age of 18, Agnes married 24-year-old laborer James M. Crabtree (Dec. 1864-1940), a native of Maryland and the son of Thomas and Hannah (Twigg) Crabtree. The ceremony took place at Hogg, Westmoreland County, PA, officiated by Rev. W.W. Elrick. Because Agnes was underage, her mother "Rachel Wilkins" signed her consent on the marriage license application. On that license document, Alice disclosed her father's first name as "Joseph" rather than "Josiah."

The couple produced eight children -- Minnie M. Bittner, Thomas C. Crabtree, Nathan R. Crabtree, Jacob Clarence Crabtree, Charles D. Crabtree, Ivy Beatrice "Betty" Ulery Echard, Rachel Goldie Craig and James E. Crabtree. 

Heartache rocked this family when son Thomas C. Crabtree died in a diphtheria epidemic at age one on May 14, 1893. The child's remains were buried at the Church of God Cemetery in Kingwood, Somerset County, PA. (His grave marker is said to be broken into two pieces.)

 

Agnes with sons Charles, Nathan, Jacob

When the United States Census was taken in 1900, the family was counted in East Huntingdon, Westmoreland County, with James earning a living as a coal miner. He also was a longtime farmer.

In 1902, Agnes apparently traveled back to Casselman to give birth to her daughter Rachel.

In 1910, when the federal census again was enumerated, they resided in or near Hammondville, Westmoreland County, PA, where James worked as a "laborer - odd jobs." Their married daughter and son-in-law, Minnie and Emerson Bittner, lived next door.

The Crabtree children attended Jones Mills School, taught by Francis S. Murray.

Agnes became plagued with what physicians of the time called "puerperal fever," or otherwise known as an infection of her reproductive organs usually associated with childbirth. She died of its effect on Nov. 28, 1910, at the untimely age of 39. She is buried at Walnut Hill Cemetery near Donegal. [Find-a-Grave]

After three years as a widower, James married again, to widow Emma (Smith) Davis. They performed a "self marriage" in the clerk of orphans court office in Greensburg, Westmoreland County on Sept. 1, 1913. She  brought a daughter to the marriage, Mrs. Howard Garrity.

They lived in Indian Creek Township near Donegal. The census of 1920 shows him laboring as a farmer on his own farm. Daughter Beatrice (age 19) and son James (14) were still living under their roof that year. 

When the 1930 census was taken, James and Emma made their home near Donegal, with 10-year-old grandson Clarence Ulery in their residence. Their son James Jr. and his wife and family lived next door. James Sr. worked as a farmer that year, while James Jr. labored for a coal company. 

James spent his final years suffering from heart disease, and endured Emma's death at age 64 on March 30, 1936. 

He passed away at age 76 on Aug. 28, 1940 and was buried at Walnut Hill Cemetery following a funeral services at Jones Mill Methodist Church. In an obituary, the Connellsville Daily Courier said he was "a retired farmer the past 10 years" and had "spent nearly 50 years of his life in and around Jones Mill."

 

~ Daughter Minnie Mae (Crabtree) Bittner ~

Daughter Minnie Mae Crabtree (1889-1957) was born on Sept. 4, 1889 in Markleton, Somerset County, PA. 

At the age of 18, on Sept. 3, 1907, she wed 26-year-old Emerson C. Bittner (1881-1966), son of Jonathan and Barbara (Robinson) Bittner of Jones Mills, Westmoreland County. The ceremony was held in Stahlstown, Westmoreland County, PA.

The couple bore four known children -- Oran "Eugene" Bittner, Sue M. Agnes Jones Phelps, James "Harvey" Bittner and Anna Jane Bittner.

The federal census of 1910 shows the Bittners living next to Minnie's parents in Jones Mills in the Indian Creek District of Donegal, Westmoreland County. As with his father in law, Emerson made a living as a laborer performing odd jobs. 

Controversy and tragedy blanketed this family in the winter of 1911, when they lived in Connellsville. While employed by the Fayette County Gas Company, Emerson removed a gas meter from the basement of the McCrory Five and Ten Cent Store in Connellsville. Soonafter, the building exploded, and five lives were lost. Emerson was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter. He was released on bail and later the case was dropped when he agreed to pay court costs. 

 

Front page of an extra edition of the Connellsville Daily Courier, Jan. 20, 1911

 

After this awful accident, the Bittners realized they had no future in the region. Sometime between 1914 and 1918, the family relocated to Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, OH. The 1920 census shows Minnie and Emerson and children living on Fulton Road, with Emerson laboring as a carpenter in a factory. In 1921, they lived at 1977 West 58th Street. 

Sadly, daughter Anna Jane died at the age of three on Aug. 25, 1921. Cause of death was "exhaustion" from hydrocephalus -- "swelling of the brain" -- a disability she had endured since childbirth. Her tired little remains were laid to rest in the West Park Cemetery in Cleveland.

In 1930, the family remained in Cleveland on Broadview, with grown sons Eugene and Harvey and divorced daughter Agnes Jones in their household. Emerson's occupation in 1930 was carpenter for a construction company. 

Then in about 1947, they relocated to Crawford County, OH and lived two miles southwest of Galion along the Hosford Road. Emerson worked in Galion as a carpenter and an a barber shop in their home.

The couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in September 1957.

Minnie died there at the age of 68 on Oct. 8, 1957. Funeral services were held in Galion by Brother Bryan Ireland of the Jehovah's Witnesses Church. An obituary in the Marion Star noted that her survivors included seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Emerson survived her by nine years. He succumbed in November 1966, at the age of 85, in Galion. His obituary in the Daily Courier said he was survived by eight grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

Son Oran "Eugene" Bittner (1908- ? ) was born in about 1908, and as a young boy moved with his parents to Cleveland. In 1930, at the age of 21 or 22, he was employed as a laborer with a construction company. Over the years, he lived at home with his parents in Galion, Crawford County, OH and helped raise a nephew, James Eugene "Jim" Jones.

Daughter Sue M. Agnes Bittner (1910-1991) was born on Nov. 17, 1910 in Jones Mills, Westmoreland County. She first was united in matrimony at the age of 18 on Nov. 24, 1928 with 19-year-old clerk Okey Jones ( ? - ? ), son of Cambridge C. and Nannie (Lewis) Jones of Lexington, KY. Their wedding was held in Cuyahoga County, OH, officiated by justice of the peace Stephen G. Vamos. The couple dwelled in Minerva and were the parents of James Eugene "Jim" Jones and Mae Bowshier. When the 1930 federal census was taken, Agnes at age 19 was divorced, and lived with her young daughter under her parents' roof in Cleveland. Her son was taken in by his grandparents and uncle Oran Eugene Bittner who raised him to manhood. On Jan. 27, 1939, Sue married Guy D. Phelps (Jan. 23, 1912-1992), son of Farrel E. and Donna A. (Pettit) Phelps of White Oak, PA. Their marital union endured for 52 years. They were the parents of Donna M. Humbert. At one time, Guy served in the U.S. Army. They resided in Galion, Crawford County, OH for decades. Guy earned a living operating cranes for Empire Steel in Mansfield. The family belonged to the local Seventh Day Adventist Church. Their address in the early 1990s was 710 Clay Street, Lot #1 in Galion. Sadly, Sue passed away on Oct. 30. 1991 in Atwood Manor Nursing Home. Guy outlived her by seven months. He died in Galion Community Hospital at the age of 80 on May 18, 1992. Burial was in Iberia Cemetery in Morrow County, with Rev. Jeba Moses leading the funeral service. An obituary was printed in the Titusville (PA) Herald.

  • Grandson James Eugene "Jim" Jones (1931-2015) was born on June 1, 1931 in Minerva. When his parents' marriage ended, he was taken in and raised by his grandparents and uncle Oren "Eugene" Bittner. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. Upon returning home, on Aug. 9, 1952, the 21-year-old James married 18-year-old Virginia Lee "Ginger" Frey ( ? - ? ), daughter of Harry Frederick and Violet Wilda (Couts) Frey of Bucyrus, Crawford County, OH. At the time of their nuptials, he worked for Allsteel as a repairman and she for Timken as an inspector. Their marriage lasted for 62 years until the separation of death. They produced three children -- Kristi keesee, Tami Stepp and Lynne Keesey. For many years, they lived in Galion. James learned the welding trade and earned a living in the field for four decades, employed by Allsteel, peabody Galion and McClain Industries. He moonlighted operating Jim's Trenching. When he retired, he went right back to work part-time in rural Galion for Dinkmar. He was an avid fan of the Cleveland Browns football team. Tragedy blanketed the family in the spring of 2015 when James was badly injured in an automobile accident. He was admitted to the Ohio State Medical Center in Columbus where he succumbed at the age of 83 on March 30, 2015. Funeral services were held at Grace Point-Galion Free Methodist Church, with preaching done by Rev. Paul Walter. An obituary was printed in the Mansfield News-Journal which requested that any memorial donations be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or Crawford County Humane Society.
  • Granddaughter Mae Loraine Jones (1929- ? ) was born on Jan. 31, 1929 in Cleveland. At the age of 17, on April 21, 1946, she wedded 24-year-old laborer Eldon Bowshier (Oct. 5, 1921- ? ), son of Arthur and Viola (Knox) Bowshier. Rev. Bryan Ireland officiated at the Jehovah's Witness wedding ceremony in Galion. Their home in 1976 was in Mechanicsburg, OH.
  • Granddaughter Donna M. Bittner (1940-2014) was born on March 18, 1940 in Little Cooley, Crawford County, PA. On April 3, 1965, when she was 25 years of age, she was united in wedlock with Kenneth J. Humbert (Dec. 8, 1939- ? ). They dwelled in Galion and were the parents of Denise Humbert and Chris Humbert. Donna was employed as an aide by the Galion City Schools, with assignments in North Elementary, Dawsett Elementary and the Middle School. They were members of Canaan United Methodist Church in Edison. Said a newspaper, "She enjoyed doing crafts, shopping and collecting. Donna loved all kids and she was a good wife and mother." The family endured heartache when Donna was diagnosed with cancer in about 2007. She suffered for seven years and passed away at the age of 73 on Jan. 7, 2014. Burial was in Iberia Cemetery in Morrow County, OH, with Rev. Matt Skelton officiating.

Son James "Harvey" Bittner (1913-1976) was born on April 27, 1913. He was united in wedlock with Anna Loretta Harris (Oct. 20, 1919-1993), daughter of Herman Curtis and Jennie Alma (Smith) Harris. The couple bore five children -- Dennis E. Bittner, James Harvey Bittner Jr., William Bittner, Becky Ann Lowe and Karen Petty. They lived in Little Cooley, Crawford County, PA before moving in 1947 to northwest of Galion, Crawford County, OH. They remained there for the balance of their lives, with Harvey earning a living as a brick mason. He retired in 1975. Harvey suffered a heart attack at home and was hospitalized in Galion Community Hospital, where a few days later he died on Nov. 8, 1976. With Rev. Ronald Seeley leading the funeral service, the remains were placed into eternal repose in Iberia Cemetery in Morrow County, OH. An obituary was printed in the Mansfield News-Journal. Anna Loretta outlived her spouse by 17 years. The Grim Reaper cut her away at the age of 74 on Nov. 14, 1992.

  • Grandson Dennis E. Bittner (1936- ? ) was born in about 1936. Circa 1959, he was in the U.S. Army and deployed to Hohenfels, Germany.
  • Grandson James Harvey Bittner Jr. ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). He wedded Nancy ( ? - ? ). The offspring produced by this marriage were James Harvey Bittner III and a daughter, (?) Bittner. Their address in 1959 was in Mount Gilead and in 1988 was 1412 Clymer Avenue in Galion. They were members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
  • Grandson William Bittner ( ? - ? ) resided in Galion in 1976.
  • Granddaughter Becky Ann Bittner ( ? - ? ) married John Lowe ( ? - ? ). They dwelled in the mid-1970s in Galion.
  • Granddaughter Karen Bittner ( ? - ? ) was united in wedlock with Gary Petty. Their home was in Galion.

 

~ Son Nathan R. Crabtree ~

Son Nathan R. Crabtree (1893- ? ) was born in April 1893. As a boy he lived with his parents in East Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County.

At the age of 17, in 1910, he lived at home and worked as a laborer at odd jobs.

Nathan has not yet been located on the federal census of 1920. His life story and whereabouts as an adult are unknown.

 

Jacob Crabtree at far right

~ Son Jacob Clarence Crabtree ~

Son Jacob Clarence Crabtree (1894- 1961) was born in Oct. 1894 or 1896 in Hammondsville, Westmoreland County, PA.

Sometime before 1910, Jacob found employment in Ohio as a railroad brakeman and moved to Minerva, Carroll County, OH. The federal census of 1910 shows him boarding in the residence of  Jennie Weston on Main Street in Minerva. 

He served in World War I with the 329th Field Hospital and 308th Sanitary Train. 

 

Minerva Leader, 1961

After the war, he returned to Minerva and rejoined the railroad, where he was promoted to conductor for the New York Central Railroad. The photograph seen here shows Jacob at far right, standing with co-workers at the Minerva Roundhouse. In all, he served for 44 years with the railroad.

Jacob married Loraine Vick (1902-1963), a native of Minerva and the daughter of Frank and Jennie (Perdue) Vick. The wedding took place on Nov. 12, 1920, in Canton, Stark County, OH. Jacob was age 23 at the time, and Loraine was 18.

They had three children -- James Howard Crabtree, Dorothy Florence Elliott Baxter and Jean Yoder Mantho Kennedy. 

They made their home at 803 Elizabeth Street in Minerva. Jacob was a member of the Methodist Church in Minerva, and Loraine belonged to the First Christian Church. He was a member of the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen and the local order of Eagles. Loraine was active with the Ladies Auxiliary of the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen.

Having suffered a heart attack in about 1960, Jacob suffered another attack at the railroad office, and died at the age of 65, "shortly after completing the day's run," said the Minerva Leader. His passing occurred on Dec. 21, 1961. Rev. Arthur Poll officiated at the funeral service, followed by interment in East Lawn Cemetery in Minerva. His obituary also was published in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

 

Reader's Digest article in which James Howard Crabtree is quoted by name

 

Lorain outlived her husband by almost two years. She passed away at the age of 61, at home, on Aug. 27, 1963, and joined James in eternal repose at East Lawn Cemetery. At her death, reported the Alliance Review, she was survived by 10 grandchildren.

 

James H. Crabtree

Son James Howard Crabtree (1921-1967) was born on Nov. 1, 1921 in Minerva, Carroll County, OH. He served as a seaman first class in the U.S. Navy during World War II. James was quoted in an article in the November 1942 Reader's Digest, "Convoy to Murmansk," authored by Edwin Miller. The story was billed as "a grim but heartening story of American youth pitted against merciless odds." The article was condensed from the original version published in the October 1942 issue of The Nautical Gazette. After the war, he returned to Ohio and was employed as a heater for Ford Motor Company in Canton, Stark County, OH. On Oct. 26, 1950, at the age of 28, he married 23-year-old Josephine June "Jo" Rogers (June 17, 1927-2003). The couple produced four children -- Donald Crabtree, Jacob James Crabtree, Lora Lee Crabtree and Sandra Sue Humerickhouse. Tragedy struck in the summer of 1967 when James fell at home and struck his head, fracturing his skull, and he passed away of his injuries on Aug. 13, 1967, at the age of 46. His remains were lowered into eternal repose in East Lawn Cemetery. Josephine lived for another 35 years. She supported herself by working as a data file clerk with Hoover Electric Sweeper Company in Canton. She also was a member of the Eastern Star and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary. At the age of 48, in September 1975, Josephine married again to Albert L. Changet (June 19, 1935-2007), son of Nicholas and Adelaide (D'Amato) Changet. Albert too was employed by the Hoover Company and belonged to the Polish-American Club and Amvets Post #124. They lived in North Canton. Josephine died at the age of 75 on  May 14, 2003, in Aultman Hospital in Canton. Burial was in East Lawn Cemetery. Albert survived Josephine and died on Dec. 22, 2007. Rev. Ralph Norman of the First Christian Church conducted the funeral, with interment in Eastlawn Cemetery.

  • Grandson Donald Crabtree
  • Jacob James "Jake" Crabtree
  • Granddaughter Lora Lee Crabtree
  • Granddaughter Sandra Sue Crabtree married (?) Humerickhouse

Daughter Dorothy Florence Crabtree (1927- ? ) was born on Feb. 21, 1927. She was twice married. Her first spouse was Arthur Elliott ( ? - ? ) of Minerva. The couple were the parents of three daughters -- Deborah Kay Tinlin, Kim J. Elliott and Vicky Lynn Elliott. In the early 1960s, Dorothy married again to Donald Baxter ( ? -1968). Donald passed away in September 1968.

 

Hoover Electric Sweeper Company in Canton

 

Daughter Jean Mae Crabtree (1929- ? ) was born on Sept. 1, 1929. She was thrice married -- to John "Jake" Yoder, Henry "Hank" Mantho and William Kennedy. She and Jake Yoder had no children, and divorced in 1953. She and Hank Mantho were married on Sept. 1, 1953, and had one daughter, Susan Loraine Jenkins Schmachenberger. In 1961, Jean's home was in Minerva. On July 24, 1971, Jean married William Kennedy (1935- ? ).

 

 

~ Son Charles D. Crabtree ~

Son Charles D. Crabtree (1898-1979) was born in Aug. 1898 in Champion, Fayette County, PA.

He married Sarah Coffman (1898-1989) on Oct. 4, 1919, in Westmoreland County.

They produced a son Charles Crabtree and a daughter Ann Orris Wright. 

 

Beaver County Times, 1979

Charles and Sarah first lived in Acme, Westmoreland County, and were in Jones Mills in 1940-1942. They later moved to West Mifflin, near Pittsburgh, and were there 1957-1961 where he was employed as a custodian for the West Mifflin School District.

Eventually, they relocated to Aliquippa, Beaver County, PA and made a home at 4114 West Shaffer Drive. He was a member of the Raccoon United Presbyterian Church. 

While in Daytona Beach in the winter of 1979, Charles died at the age of 80 on Feb. 8, 1979. His remains were returned to Pennsylvania for burial in Jefferson Memorial Park in Pleasant Hills. His obituary was published in the Beaver County Times.

Sarah outlived her husband by a decade. She passed away on June 25, 1989. Her funeral service was held at Whitaker United Methodist Church, followed by interment in Jefferson Memorial Park. 

Son Charles Crabtree Jr. ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). He served in an armored division during World War II, receiving training at Fort Ord, CA and Camp Chaffee, AR.

Daughter Anne R. Crabtree (1920- ? ) was born on March 7, 1920. At the age of 22, she married Chester W. Orris Jr. (1918- ? ), a store manager living in Homestead near Pittsburgh. He was the son of Chester W. and Edna Orris. The ceremony took place in Homestead Park on June 11, 1942, officiated by Rev. William E. Sims. Later, she wed (?) Wright.

 

~ Daughter Ivy Beatrice (Crabtree) Ulery Echard ~

Daughter Ivy Beatrice "Betty" Crabtree (1900-1982) was born on Dec. 21, 1900. 

As a young woman, she married (?) Ulery and in about 1920 had one known son, Clarence Ulery. 

She married again on March 26, 1924 -- at the age of 24 -- to Jacob Webster "Webb" Echard (1899-1984)..

They established a home in Scottdale, Westmoreland County and produced three children -- Carl E. Echard. James W. Echard and Lois E. Forbes.

 

Scottdale community Fourth of July outing in Loucks Park, early 1900s

 

Betty died as she neared her 82nd birthday on Nov. 11, 1982. Following a funeral led by Rev. G. Smith Hixson, she was laid to rest in Alverton Cemetery. 

Webster lived for another two years and succumbed in 1984.

Son Clarence Ulery (1920- ? ) lived with his grandparents as a 10-year-old in 1930. He died prior to 1992. More will be added here when learned. 

Son James W. Echard ( ? - ? ) 

Daughter Lois E. Echard (1927-1992) was born on Feb. 27, 1927 in Scottdale. She married Carl A. Forbes ( ? - ? ), and they had no children. Lois worked for many years as a telephone operator with Bell Telephone Company, and was a member of Christ United Methodist Church of Scottdale. Their home was at 316 Market Street in Scottdale. Lois died at the age of 65 in Frick Community Health Center on March 29, 1992. She was buried in Scottdale Cemetery.

 

~ Daughter Rachel Goldean "Goldie" (Crabtree) Craig ~

Daughter Rachel Goldean "Goldie" Crabtree (1902-1989) was born on Oct. 25, 1902 at Casselman, Somerset County. 

She married Frank K. Craig ( ? -1979) on April 26, 1922.

They had six children -- Kenneth G. Craig, Bernice Molek, Kathleen Massey, Betty Ann Warnick, William G. Craig and Ronald H. Craig. 

 

Obituary, 1989

The Craigs' home circa 1961-1989 was in Scottdale, Westmoreland County, at 212 Delaware Avenue. They were longtime members of the First Assembly of God Church of Scottdale and was a teacher in the junior girls Sunday School class. 

Frank was employed for 48 years by U.S. Steel Corporation and retired in 1968. He then worked as a locker room attendant for two years at the Pleasant Valley Golf Club, and then for Umbel Gulf Service Station in New Stanton.

Heartache rocked the family in 1972 when son Kenneth passed away. Details are not yet known.

In April 1972, the Craigs celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a family dinner at Meidel's Dining Room in Poplar Grove. Their photograph and an article were published in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Goldie died at the age of 87 in Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg on Nov. 28, 1989. She was laid to rest in Mt. Nebo Cemetery. At the time, she was survived by a dozen grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

Frank's fate is not yet known.

Daughter Bernice Craig married (?) Swink and (?) Molek. She lived in Monessen, Washington County, PA in 1972 and in Dawson, Fayette County circa 1989. 

Daughter Kathleen Craig wed Leo C. Massey. They made their home in Baltimore, MD in 1972-1989. 

Daughter Betty Ann Craig married Charles Brown and Robert Warnick. Her residence circa 1972-1989 was in Scottdale. 

Son William G. Craig lived in Mt. Pleasant, Westmoreland County, Pa in 1972 and later in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Son Ronald H. Craig resided in 1972 in Trenton, MI and in 1989 in Greenville, SC.

 

~ Son James E. Crabtree ~

Son James E. Crabtree (1905-1974) was born in about 1905. 

He married Mary G. Harkcom  (1909-1976) on Jan. 29 1927, when he was age 22 and she 18. Her parents were Willis and Nancy (Singo) Harkcom.

They had one son, James W. Crabtree.

Two years into the marriage, in 1930, they lived next to James' father and step-mother near Donegal. He worked that year as a coal company laborer. They continued to live in Jones Mill circa 1940, when James' father died in their home.

Circa 1956-1957, James and Mary shared homes in Latrobe, Westmoreland County and in Orlando, FL. He died at the age of 69 on June 1, 1974, at a hospital in Winter Park, FL. The funeral was conducted in Orlando. 

As a widow, Mary returned to Western Pennsylvania to live at Jones Mill. She passed away in Latrobe Area Hospital in Westmoreland County on Nov. 25, 1976. Her remains were returned to Florida for interment in Orlando, and her obituary was published in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Son James W. Crabtree lived in Chuluopa, FL circa 1974.

 

Copyright 2000, 2002, 2005, 2012, 2014 Mark A. Miner