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Katie (Younkin) Firestone


George's grave, Delilah Younkin Cemetery

Catherine"Katie" (Younkin) Firestone born in 1813 in Hexebarger near Kingwood, Somerset County, PA, the daughter of Jacob "of John" and Eleanor (Chambers) Younkin.

Katie married George Firestone (1812-1884), son of John and Margaret (Thrasher) Firestone of Lower Turkeyfoot Township who was a native of Virginia. He could neither read nor write. George's parents were natives of Virginia and had been pioneer settlers of Ursina, Somerset County circa 1802. John's father Johann Nicholas Firestone, a German immigrant from Alsace, was a veteran of the American Revolution, and grandparents Hans Nicholas and Catharina (Nunnemacher) Firestone brought the family to America aboard the Peggy, arriving in Philadelphia on Sept. 24, 1753.

George's known siblings were Catherine Younkin, Joseph Firestone, Jacob Firestone, John Firestone, Mary May, Elizabeth Miller and Margaret Leighliter.

Prior to marriage, George had produced a son out of wedlock with Hannah Ansell, daughter of Michael Ansell (and who later in life married John Minerd). The son was named Michael Ansell and raised by Hannah under that name until the time that he entered the Union Army during the Civil War, when the surname "Firestone" was added so that his entire name was "Michael Ansell Firestone." As illegitimacy was a dark stain on families of the 19th century, it was conveniently disguised over the years by the Firestones that Catherine -- and not Hannah -- was Michael's birth mother.

Katie and George produced these six known children of their own -- Harriet Burkholder, Ellen Firestone, Simon Firestone, Harriet Firestone, Jacob "Ross" Firestone and Norman Firestone. They owned a farm in the Cranberry Glade section of Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County, at the border of Fayette County and next to the farm of Leonard and Martha (Minerd) Harbaugh Sr.

When Katie's father Jacob Younkin died in 1848, he did so without the benefit of having written a will. Katie and her brother John M. Younkin each inherited the sum of $21.44 from the estate.

At some point presumably in about 1851, George borrowed $700 from his father and signed promissory notes about repayment of $50 a year. When the father was dying, he wrote a last will and testament on May 1, 1852, stating that George would need to make the payments to the heirs.

Circa 1850, federal census records show the Firestones making their home in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, with George's 81-year-old father John Firestone and 17-year-old orphaned nephew William Younkin living on the property.

Circa 1879, George was involved in a transaction of land involving John Rayman Jennings Sr. and Michael Koontz located in Lower Turkeyfoot and containing three acres, a one-and-a-half story dwelling, stable and blacksmith shop. In May 1880, the Firestones' farm nearly was engulfed in a blaze. Reported the Somerset Herald, "A destructive fire passed over the greater part of George Firestone's farm in the mountains of Turkeyfoot. Being surrounded by woods it played havoc with the fence, and would have burned the buildings, had not the neighbors come to aid him in fighting the fire."

Catherine died on April 1, 1883 at the age of 70. Her remains were placed into rest in the Delilah Younkin Cemetery, sometimes also known as the Ansell Cemetery. [Find-a-Grave] George paid to have a marker erected at the grave. When he wrote his will on July 7, 1886, as he was dying, he ordered "my executor to have me decenty [sic] buried by the side of my wife Catharean and to have a tomb stones like the ones I got for my wife Cathren and to be paid for out of my estate."

In about 1885, a firm from Mauch Chunk, PA was engaged in logging operations in the region and possibly also stone quarrying, known as the Schweibinz Heinen Company, with office in Confluence. The owners also established the Somerset County Railroad Company, ostensibly for use in transporting lumber and stone over an 8.7-mile length of track to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad lines. George apparently allowed the company to remove timber from his property for a price of $240.08. The bill was not paid until after his death.

George joined Catherine in eternity after three years in widowhood, on Oct. 30, 1886, at age 72. He too was lowered into repose in the Delilah Younkin Cemetery, with his grave marker standing but somewhat submerged in the earth and barely legible today. [Find-a-Grave]

An auction was held to dispose of George's personal property and took place on Dec. 4, 1886. At the sale, daughter in law Mary Ellen (Gates) Firestone purchased a feather tick bed, quilt, towel and rocking chair. Daughter in law Jane "Jennie" (Hartzell) Firestone bought a pillow slip and bolster, sheet and pillow. Daughter Harriet Burkholder was the high bidder for a blanket. Son in law James Wesley Burkholder acquired a sheet, tick mattress, coverlid, towel, table clock, lots of carpet, a looking glass (mirror) and two chairs. Son Ross purchased a coverlid, stand, pocket knife, bridle and grey mare. Daughter Ellen Nicola bought a bureau, and her husband Freeman Nicola a blanket and bedstead. Double cousin James "Dempsey" Younkin was the highest bidder for a shawl and cloth. Among other buyers, neighbor Ed Lingenfield acquired two calves and a cow.

In October 1935, more than half a century after Catherine's and George's deaths, their gravesites were visited by a distant double cousin Charles Arthur "Charleroi Charley" Younkin, an organizer of the Younkin National Home-coming Reunion. Charley was in the midst of deep research, trying to make sense of all the disparate branches of the ancient family in Somerset County and across the nation. In a letter to reunion president Otto Roosevelt "Pete" Younkin, Charley wrote: "Visited the Lila Younkin Cem. and found the graves of Katie (Younkin) Firestone and her Husband George Firestone. I am told by Aunt Rosetta Miner [that Katie] was a cousin to Polly (Younkin) Miner.... The cemetery at Lila Younkin farm is all cleaned up in very good shape thanks to our good friend Wm. L. Younkin" [of the family of Frederick J. Younkin].


Delilah Younkin Cemetery where George and Katie rest for eternity


~ Daughter Ellen "Nellie" (Firestone) Nicola ~


Freeman Nicola

Courtesy Linda Marker

Daughter Ellen "Nellie" Firestone (1840-1909) was born on Feb. 1, 1840 on the family farm in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County.

When she was about 40 years of age, in 1879 or 1880, Ellen married 36-year-old Civil War veteran Freeman Nicola (March 5, 1844-1928), the son of Jacob and Catherine (Ansell) Nicola. The family name sometimes was known as "Nicolay" or "Nicklow." Freeman had been married before, to Phoebe Vough ( ? -1878) who had died on Feb. 19, 1878, just a few weeks away from her 24th birthday, and with burial at Laurel Church Cemetery. He brought a young son to the marriage, five-year-old William Willis Nicklow.

Ellen and Freeman went on to produce three children -- Harry "Bruce" Nicklow, Minnie C. Trimpey and one unknown.

During the Civil War, Freeman served in the Union Army as a member of the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry, also known as the 113th Pennsylvania Volunteers. He is believed to have been wounded in the left leg, but this needs to be confirmed. His term of service lasted from March 31, 1864 to July 26, 1865, one year, four months and 25 days.

The couple dwelled on the Firestone farm in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, north of the Draketown community. When Ellen's father wrote a will as he was dying in the summer of 1886, he wanted Ellen to inherit the lower end of the old home farm but she had to pay her sister in law Mary Ellen (Gates) Firestone the sum of $100 to be made in annual installments of $25. They lived on that farm in 1900 when enumerated in the United States Census, and among their near neighbors was the family of a cousin Levi Younkin, a son of "Weasel Jake" Younkin.

Suffering from heart failure, due to chronic heart valve problems and an enlarged heart, Ellen underwent treatment from a Younkin cousin, Dr. Winfield Scott Kuhlman of Ursina (of the family of Louisa [Smith] Kuhlman), but a recovery was hopeless. She died on Feb. 21, 1909 at the age of 69. Her remains were lowered into eternal repose in the Old Bethel Church of God Cemetery in Kingwood, Upper Turkeyfoot. Freeman was the informant for the death certificate.

Freeman survived Ellen by about 19 years and retired from farming. At the age of 69, he married again on Dec. 21, 1913 to 30-year-old Saloma Pyle (1883- ? ), daughter of Zachariah and Mary M. (Berg) Pyle. Justice of the peace Andrew J. Case officiated at the ceremony held at the bride's home in Lower Turkeyfoot. The couple was 39 years apart in age and eventually divorced. Freeman was felled by a stroke in Sept. 15, 1928 and died a day later at the age of 84. Interment was in Old Bethel Church of God Cemetery. William Nicola of Markleton signed the Pennsylvania death certificate.

Freeman and Phoebe are mentioned in the 2010 book by Samuel Miller, A Place Called Hexie.

Strepson William Willis Nicklow (1874-1952) was born on June 18, 1874 in Somerset County. He was just three years of age when his mother died, and about five years old when his father remarried to our Ellen Firestone. On the Fourth of July 1894, at the age of 20, he was joined in wedlock with 21-year-old Minnie Rebecca Stairs (1873-1970), an orphan who was the ward of (?) Strayer. The ceremony was led by Rev. A.B. Miller at the home of E.M. Stairs in Kingwood. Their children were Harry Nicklow, Lulu Yoder, Clarence William Nicklow, Orion M. Nicklow and Lola Gertrude Williams. They were farmers for decades in the Kingwood area and are believed to have owned a tract in Hexebarger which earlier had belonged to John Minerd and his parents Jacob and Catherine (Younkin) Minerd Jr. dating to 1804. William was burdened with cardiovascular and kidney disease and died at age 77 on April 14, 1952. His remains rest in Old Bethel Cemetery. Minnie outlived her husband by 18 years and passed into eternity in 1970.

  • Grandson Harry F. Nicklow (1897-1945) was born on Aug. 21, 1897. He married Mollie Tressler ( ? - ? ). They dwelled in the Kingwood area and were farmers. Their seven children were Etta Grace Turney, Evanell Ream, Annabelle Pletcher, Harold Nicklow, John Nicklow, Geraldine Nicklow and Peggy Nicklow. Tragedy visited this family in September 1945, when an accident turned Harry into a "human torch" in the aftermath of "a severe electric storm which swept over Somerset County." Reported the Meyersdale Republican, Harry was:

    ...trying to get his automobile into his garage when caught outside with the car when the storm broke, Saturday evening. The storm was so fierce that he could not get the car into the garage and was forced to leave it outside until the storm was over. On Sunday morning, assisted by his 12-year-old son, John, he was trying to get the water drenched car started to take his family to Sunday School. He had difficulty in getting ignition, and while he had the hood open and was working on the engine, the boy poured some gasoline into the carburator from an open container, just as a switch was accidently turned, causing a spark that ignited the gasoline which suddenly flamed up and set Mr. Nicklow's clothing on fire. Almost instantly the man became a human torch. He threw himself on the ground a few feet from the car and rolled himself over and over, trying to smother the flames, but nearly all of his clothing was burned off him and the skin on his abdomen and back was burned almost to a crisp. A nearby camper rushed the suffering man to the Price Hospital in Confluence in his car. Nicklow was able to walk into the hospital, but his burns were so severe and covered such a large area of his body that healing was impossible. All that could be done to alleviate his suffering was done by Dr. Price and the hospital staff, until death put an end to his agony.

    Burial was in Old Bethel Cemetery, with Rev. J.I. Kalp leading the funeral service. Son Harold Nicklow serving as informant for the official Pennsylvania certificate of death.

  • Grandson Clarence William Nicklow (1895-1981) was born on Sept. 15, 1895 in the Kingwood area. He was wed twice. His first spouse was (?). Their four offspring were Lawrence Nicklow, Albert Nicklow, Clifford Nicklow and Robert Nicklow. Clarence's second bride was Mary Warrick (1918-1994), daughter of Thomas and Bessie (Sibert) Warrick of Lower Turkeyfoot. Clarence was 23 years older than Mary. They went on to produce three daughters of their own -- Eleanor Cottrell, Darlene Geyer and Ruby Lear. The family were members of the Old Bethel Church of God. Clarence died at Meyersdale Community Hospital at the age of 86 on Oct. 17, 1981. Funeral services were held at the Old Bethel Church officiated by Rev. Paul Tobias. An obituary in the Somerset Daily American noted that he was survived by 20 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Mary lived for another 13 years after Clarence's death. Toward the end, she went to live in the Bouras Personal Care Home in Farmington, Fayette County to be nearer to her daughter Ruby Lear. She died there at the age of 75 on Feb. 24, 1994. As he had before, Rev. Tobias led her funeral at Old Bethel.
  • Grandson Orion M. Nicklow (1904-1993) was born on Aug. 17, 1904 in Upper Turkeyfoot. He married Nannie G. Saylor (1905-1985), daughter of Ross and Mary (Williams) Saylor. The Nicklows had a family of children -- Howard J. Nicklow, Everett Nicklow, Louise Kreger, Dr. Clark W. Nicklow, Shirley Hoffman, Dale Nicklow, Cora Lee Tressler and Robert Nicklow. Sadly, Robert died at birth on June 4, 1931. They were longtime members of the Kingwood Grange and the Old Bethel Church of God. In 1959-1960, Orion was a member of the building committee that constructed a new, brick building to house the Old Bethel Church. Seven years later, he took part in a mortgage burning ceremony when the church completed repaying a $13,800 building loan. Said the dedication booklet, "Due to the goodness of our Heavenly Father, the faithfulness of members and friends by sacrificial giving, the indebtedness has been liquidated as of January 1, 1967, approximately four years ahead of schedule." A copy of the program booklet for the mortgage burning ceremony is in the archives of the Historical Society of the Churches of God in Findlay, OH. Orion also served on the school boards of Upper Turkeyfoot Township, in 1951-1952 and of Rockwood Joint Schools in 1957-1958. He is pictured and mentioned in the October 1995 edition of the Hexie Gazette, published by the late Clyde Miller. Sadly, Nannie passed away at the age of 80 on Sept. 18, 1985 at home. Rev. Douglas Baker officiated at her funeral service, followed by burial in the Old Bethel Cemetery. After Nannie's death, Orion married again to a schoolhood friend, Evanell (Miner) Kimmel, daughter of John Andrew and Susie (Pletcher) Miner and the widow of Irvin Lester Kimmel Sr. Evanell and Orion were featured in a 1987 issue of the Somerset Daily American, headlined “Couple Given a Second Chance at First Love.” In the 1980s and '90s, the founder of this website was a visitor at their home. Orion died at the age of 88 on Feb. 4, 1993. Rev. James Monticue officiated at the funeral service at the Kingwood Church of God, and with an obituary published in the Somerset Daily American.
  • Granddaughter Lola Gertrude Nicklow (1910-1980) was born on Oct. 29, 1910 in Upper Turkeyfoot, a twin with her sister Lula. Lola married Edward Williams ( ? - ? ). They did not reproduce and made their home near Somerset. Lola was a member of the Old Bethel Church of God. She died in Somerset Community Hospital at the age of 69 on June 5, 1980. Burial was in Somerset County Memorial Park following funeral services preached by Rev. James Vandervort.
  • Granddaughter Lula Grace "Lulu" Nicklow (1910-1993) was born on Oct. 29, 1910 in Upper Turkeyfoot. She was a twin with her sister Lola. Lula was twice married. Her first spouse was (?) Show ( ? - ? ). This marriage produced two children -- Lorene Sabo and Larry J. Show. Later, she married her second husband, Wilbur Yoder (1914-1998), son of Francis and Ella (Yoder) Yoder. They lived in the vicinity of Somerset. Lula worked for the Somerset County Club and attended the Somerset Alliance Church. During World War II, Wilbur served in the U.S. Army as a military policeman. He worked at Somerset Country Club as a groundskeeper for more than 55 years, reported the Somerset Daily American, and enjoyed fishing, hunting and trapping. Lulu died at the age of 82 in Somerset Community Hospital on Jan. 3, 1993. Rev. Melvin E. Vance officiated at the funeral, followed by burial in Somerset County Memorial Park. The Daily American printed an obituary, stating that her survivors included seven grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren. Wilbur lived another five years and joined her in death at the age of 84 on Aug. 29, 1998.


Book naming the Nicklows

Son Harry "Bruce" Nicklow (1880-1950) was born on Aug. 28, 1880 on the home farm in Lower Turkeyfoot. As an adult, he apparently spelled the family name "Nicalo" and at times "Nicola" and "Nicklow." On May 29, 1904, when he was 24 years of age, Bruce was joined in holy matrimony with 18-year-old Susan Belle "Susie" Romesberg ( ? -1966), daughter of Hiram and Phoebe Ann (Pletcher) Romesberg of Black Township on the outskirts of Rockwood. Officiating at the union was Rev. W.H. Blackburn. At the time of marriage, Bruce earned a living as a laborer. The Nicalos produced two daughters -- Eva G. Harned and Bessie Irene Reeves. Initially they made their residence in Rockwood, but by 1913, the family dwelled in Humbert, Lower Turkeyfoot Township. The Nicalos spent the balance of their lives as farmers in the Kingwood area, and in 1940 are thought to have resided along or near Wino Road or Hexie Road in Hexebarger, in between the farms of cousins Alex and Mattie Jane (Younkin) Ohler of the family of "Weasel Jake" Younkin and Charles Milton and Grace (Beachy) Younkin of the family of Frederick J. Younkin. That year, in 1940, their seven-year-old grandson Ronald Harned lived under their roof even as his parents made their home in Somerset. Bruce was stricken with a cerebral hemorrhage and died at the age of 69 on May 1, 1950. His remains were returned to the earth in the Kingwood IOOF Cemetery. On Bruce's death certificate, his mother's maiden name erroneously was given as "Vough" instead of "Firestone." Susan survived her husband by 16 years and made her home with her married daughter Eva Harned "in a more-than-a-century-old stone house near the intersection of the Somerset road," said the Somerset Daily American. In November 1953, to honor Susan's birthday, her family held a dinner party which was reported in the gossip columns of the Daily American. "A large cake was decorated for the occasion, and many gifts were received." She succumbed at the age of 79 on Feb. 12, 1966. An obituary appeared in print in the Meyersdale Republican. Bruce and Susan are named in Samuel Miller's 2010 book entitled A Place Called Hexie.

  • Granddaughter Eva G. Nicola (1913-1999) was born on Nov. 24, 1913 in Humbert, Lower Turkeyfoot Township. She married Robert Edward Harned (1907-1992), son of John Edward and Nancy Mae (Cameron) Harned. They had five children -- Ronald Harned, Robert L. Harned, Shirley DeVore and Gloria Johnson and little Nancy Harned who died in infancy. Circa 1940, federal census records show the family making its residence in Somerset, Somerset County, with Robert earning a living as a tunnel construction laborer, presumably along the main line of the new Pennsylvania Turnpike. Eva was a member of the auxiliary of the Ursina American Legion. By 1951, the Harneds lived along Humbert Road. They donated an old piano in 1953 to the American Legion, "where it will be welcome in furnishing music for the accompaniment to the orchestra," reported the Somerset Daily American. Robert also served for a dozen years on the Turkeyfoot Valley Area School board, retiring in December 1971. Robert passed into eternity in Kingwood on June 1, 1992. Eva survived him by almost seven years. She died at Somerset Community Hospital at the age of 85 on March 3, 1999. Burial was in the IOOF Cemetery in Kingwood, with Rev. Edward DeVore leading the funeral service. An obituary was published in the Daily American.
  • Lyman Trimpey

    Courtesy Linda Marker

    Granddaughter Bessie Irene Nicalo (1905-1998) was born on June 9, 1905 in Rockwood. She was wedded to Herbert L. Reeves ( ? -1981), the son of William T. and Alta (Jenkins) Reeves of Lower Turkeyfoot. They lived on the outskirts of Confluence and attended the Ursina Church of God. The Reeveses had one daughter, Verdella Metheney. In September 1951, they attended a reunion of the Reeves family held at the "old homestead near Humbert, now a ghost town," noted the Somerset Daily American. Herbert passed away at home at age 77 on April 21, 1981. Rev. Roy C. Bower and Rev. Edward DeVore jointly conducted the funeral service. An obituary followed in the Meyersdale Republic. Bessie died in Somerset Community Hospital on Oct. 29, 1998 at the age of 93. Rev. Edward DeVore offiiciated at the funeral, followed by interment in the Kingwood Odd Fellows Cemetery. The Daily American noted in an obituary that she was survived by two grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren.

Daughter Minnie C. Nicklow (1883-1956) was born on May 10, 1883 in Lower Turkeyfoot. At the age of 24, on March 27, 1907, she was wedded to 31-year-old school teacher Lyman C. Trimpey (1876-1962), son of Henry M. and Amanda Elizabeth (Meyers) Trimpey. Rev. W.J. Umstead officiated at the nuptials held at the home of Minnie's brother William. They are not believed to have reproduced, but in 1920 and in 1930, young William Pletcher lived in their home and attended school. By 1940, federal census records indicate that they had taken in a "hired boy," 13-year-old Virgil Warrick. In addition to his work as a school teacher in early adulthood, Lyman spent the balance of his life farming. Minnie passed away on July 18, 1956. On March 29, 1961, Lyman remarried to a longtime neighbor and friend, Susie (Pletcher) Miner (1887-1985), widow of John Andrew Miner. They enjoyed a little more than a year of marriage until Lyman's death on July 7, 1962. Minnie and Lyman are mentioned in the 2010 book by Samuel Miller, A Place Called Hexie.


~ Son Simon Firestone ~

Son Simon Firestone (1843- ? ) was born in 1843 in Lower Turkeyfoot.

As with many of his Younkin cousins, he served in the Union Army during the Civil War as a member of the 85th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Company H. Simon enlisted on Nov. 1, 1861. He was mustered out of the regiment on June 28, 1865.

He is reputed to have died shortly after the war or as a result of his wartime injuries/ailments. On April 26, 1879, his mother submitted a pension application to the federal government as compensation for her son's death. [Mother Application #244.553] There is no indication that the petition was approved or that she received any funds.


J. Wesley Burkholder

~ Daughter Harriet (Firestone) Burkholder ~

Daughter Harriet (Firestone) Burkholder (1846-1897), born in 1846 in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County. 

On April 30, 1871, at the age of 25, Harriet was united in holy matrimony with 21-year-old James "Wesley" Burkholder (1850-1915), the son of Daniel and Catherine (Cramer) Burkholder of New Centerville, Somerset County. He had been born on the old Christopher Creamer farm, and as a youth, he had attended the old one-room Harbaugh School.

The Burkholders produced these eight known children: Ella Frances Burkholder (born May 29, 1872); Christian C. Burkholder (May 14, 1873); Simon Burkholder (Sept. 18, 1875, died 13 days later); Minnie Catherine Burkholder (April 15, 1877, died Nov. 14, 1880); Charles Ross Burkholder (Jan. 31, 1879), James Garfield Burkholder (1881); William Russell Burkholder (1884) and Harry Robert Burkholder (July 4, 1886).

They resided on a steep-sloped farm in Nicolay, on the Somerset County side of the Fayette County line which Harriet had inherited from her father upon his death in the summer of 1886.


The Burkholder property along the mountainous border of Somerset and Fayette Counties, from the 1876 Atlas of Somerset County


Harriet's grave, Imel Cemetery

In the 1910s this area was considered part of Confluence. Allen Edward Harbaugh, a local artist, painted figures of a farmer, milk maid and animals on the lower-floor doors of the Burkholder barn.

In 1906, Wesley and his parents were profiled in volume 3 of the book Bedford and Somerset Counties, Pennsylvania (Lewis Publishing Company, New York/Chicago). The profile read that he "was educated in Harbaugh's school house. He is now engaged in farming and stock-raising. He has been for sixteen years tax collector of his township, and for ten years has served as school director, to which office he has recently been re-elected for a term of three years. He has served three terms as inspector and the same length of time as auditor, two terms as judge of election and one term as supervisor. His vote and influence are given to the Republican party."


The Burkholder barn

The Firestone/Burkholder family's interconnections with the Minerd and Younkin family were many -- Wesley's brother William married Josephine Gorsuch; his sister Phoebe was wedded to James Dempsey Younkin (of the family of George A. and Charlotta [Younkin] Younkin) and Andrew Jackson Younkin (son of "Devil Jake" Younkin); his daughter Ida married James Franklin Younkin; his son Daniel married Kathryn Miner; and his daughter Rebecca wed Otis "Freed" Minerd.

Sadly, Harriet died on Jan. 27, 1897, at the age of 51. The cause of death is not known. Her remains were placed into eternal repose in the Imel Cemetery near Clay Run. Her marker was erect and legible when photographed by the founder of this website in 2013.

A little more than a year later, at the age of 47, Wesley wed his second wife, 33-year-old widow Jane "Jennie" (Hartzell) Firestone (1864-1951), one of 15 children of Melchi and Annie (Johnson) Hartzell, and granddaughter of William and Margaret Johnson. The ceremony took place on Feb. 6, 1898 at Draketown, Somerset County. R. Vanaman, a justice of the peace, performed the ceremony. (In an interesting tie, Jennie's brother Thomas William Hartzell married the widow of Wesley's brother in law Norman Firestone.)

Jennie had been married before, to her husband's brother in law Jacob "Ross" Firestone (1848-1892), son of George and Catherine (Younkin) Firestone. At the time of the second marriage, she resided in Washington County, PA. She brought two known sons to the second marriage -- Samuel Firestone and George Russell Firestone Sr.


Combined family of James Wesley and Jennie (Hartzell) Burkholder (seated, center), circa 1899. Standing, from left: Samuel Firestone, George Russell Firestone, James Burkholder, Russell Burkholder, Harry Burkholder. Front, L-R: Charles Burkholder, baby Ida Younkin on her mother's lap, hired girl. Son Christopher Burkholder was alive but not pictured.


Jennie Burkholder

Wesley thus married into another extensively large family, and when his mother in law died in 1924, she was said to have left behind 316 living descendants. Jennie's siblings alive circa 1924 were Rebecca Henry of Champion, Fayette County; Emma Miller of Dunbar; Thomas Hartzell of Monarch, Fayette County; Lizzie Hartzell, Henry Hartzell, Norman Hartzell and Arminda Hartzell, of all Draketown. Of Jennie's siblings and in-laws who died before 1924, her brother George W. Hartzell and brother in law Uriah Conn were killed in the Civil War; and brother in law Hiram Sanner was wounded in battle.

They resided at Nicolay, near the Fayette/Somerset County border, and produced four more offspring, three of whom married into the Minerd clan: Ida Alphretta Younkin, Daniel McKinley Burkholder, Rebecca Jane Minerd and Theodore Roosevelt Burkholder. Heartache swept over the family when son Roosevelt died at the tender age of one day on March 7, 1905. His remains were lowered into the earth's arms in the Imel Cemetery.


Wesley's obituary, 1915

Wesley was said by a news reporter to have been "a man of the highest character, a devoted husband and father, a true friend and one respected in every walk of life."

Suffering from cirrhosis of the liver, Wesley passed away at age 64 on Jan. 21, 1915. No physician was in attendance. In an obituary, a local newspaper said that he "had been sick for about three years from a complication of diseases that ultimately paralyzed his whole system rendering him helpless for over a year.

Burial was in the Imel Cemetery. Jennie survived her husband by many decades. She remained in the Confluence area and owned a one-acre tract with a two-story frame house.

She relocated in 1945 to West Mifflin near Pittsburgh and lived with Ralph Burkholder at 3913 Eliza Street. She suffered a stroke and died at the age of 87 on March 25, 1951. Her remains were returned to Fayette County to rest with her husband in Imel Cemetery. Rev. Percy Davis, of the Homeville Christian Church, led the funeral service. An obituary in the Connellsville Couirier noted that she left behind 42 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.

Daughter Ella Frances Burkholder (1871-1929) was born on May 29, 1871. In about 1892, when she was 21 years of age, Ella was wedded to Robert Gove (1865-1930), an immigrant from Scotland. They resided on Maple Street in Everson, Fayette County circa 1910 and later at 350 South Chestnut Street in Scottdale, Westmoreland County, PA. There, in the era of 1900 to 1910, he was a ticket agent for the Pennsylvania Railroad. They produced these known children -- Rev. David W. Gove, Robert R. Gove, Gilbert S. Gove, Charles "Lyle" Gove, Harriet C. Strickler, Earl M. Gove, Ruth C. Gove, Elizabeth Gove and Ella R. Gove. Robert also served as borough clerk in Everson and Scottdale in the 1910s. They were members of the Presbyterian Church of Scottdale. Upon learning of the death of her uncle J.N. Tannehill in Confluence in February 1922, Ella and her son Robert attended the funeral, along with C.C. Burkholder of Hazelwood, Lloyd Colborn, Mr. Mountain and Mr. Shaw of Brownsville, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Shelkey, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Shannon and Lucinda Younkin of South Connellsville. At the age of 58, suffering from chronic kidney disease and cystitis, she died on Nov. 5, 1929. Burial was in Scottdale Cemetery, with Elizabeth Gove of Scottdale signing the Pennsylvania death certificate. Robert only survived his wife by four months and worked as a freight agent at the Pennsy's office at Mt. Pleasant, Westmoreland County. On the fateful day of March 4, 1930, he stopped in the railroad's office in Scottdale, said the Connellsville Daily Courier, "sat down on a chair in the office and fell over dead, presumably from a heart attack." Continued the Courier: "Mr. Gove had been an employe of the railroad company for 40 years. He was freight agent at Everson, Scottdale and Mount Pleasant in turn. For 25 years he had been secretary of the Everson Council, holding the office at the time of his death. For many years he resided at Everson. Some years ago he moved to Scottdale but retained his post as secretary of the council of the sister borough." Funeral services were led by Rev. J.W. Witherspoon of the First Presbyterian Church.

  • Grandson Rev. David W. Gove Sr. ( ? -1945) was born in (?). He married Rena Eicher, daughter of Charles H. and Lida (Hutchinson) Eicher of Scottdale. Their only known son was David W. Gove Jr. David Sr. graduated from Oberlin College in 1916 and then attended Auburn Theological Seminary. He became an ordained clergyman and was an assistant pastor at the First Presbyterian church of Morristown, NJ. By 1920, he accepted a position as assistant director of the educational and promotion department of the Board of Home Missions of the New York Presbytery in New York City. He helped to officiate at the wedding of his sister Harriet in Scottdale in April 1920. By 1932, he had become director of the central distributing department of the General Council of the Presbyterian Church, also in New York City. He traveled back to western Pennsylvania for the 13th annual Eicher Reunion held Aug. 12, 1939 at Pleasant Hill Church, with about 260 attending. Their son David Jr. served in World War II and after sustaining a wound or injury of some kind convalesced in a hospital in England. David Sr. passed away at home on June 3, 1945, at the age of 52. His remains were returned to Scottdale for burial.
  • Grandson Gilbert S. Gove attended art and design at Carnegie Tech University in Pittsburgh and then in 1918, during World War I, enlisted in the U.S. armed forces, specializing in military aeronautics. His home in 1930 was in Detroit and in 1945 in Birmingham, MI.
  • Grandson Earl Gove attended college in Philadelphia cireca 1927 and resided in Detroit in 1930. His home in 1968 was in Fair Haven, MI.
  • Grandson Robert Gove made his home in 1930 in Chicago and in 1945 in South Bend, IN.
  • Granddaughter Elizabeth Gove relocated to Sewickley, near Pittsburgh, and dwelled there in 1930. She was a talented tennis player. She married (?) Petty and later to Walter Szost.
  • Granddaughter Harriet Gove (1902-1968) was born on Jan. 24, 1902 in Everson. She was joined in marriage with George E. Strickler, son of H.B. Strickler of Scottdale. The nuptials took place on April 3, 1920, at her parents' home, with Rev. James E. Hutchinson officiating, assisted by her brother Rev. David W. Gove. In announcing the marriage, the Connellsville Daily Courier said that Harriet "is one of the most popular members of Scottdale's younger social set. The bridegroom is one of Scottdale's young men who served with honor with the 110th Infantry in France and since his return from overseas has been located in New Mexico." The couple produced XX children -- George E. Strickler Jr., Robert E. Strickler, James G. Strickler,  H. Ivan Strickler, Jane Thornton, Jean Wilton, Donald W. Strickler, Ruth Ann Hartswick and William L. Strickler. By 1930, they had returned to Scottdale and in 1945 were in Smithton, PA. Harriet worked over the years at Anchor Hocking Corporation in South Connellsville, the Kantorik Equipment Company of Mount Pleasant and Scottdale Venetian Blind Company. For two decades, she was a member of the Dawson Grange, and she belonged to the Scottdale First Presbyterian Church. Harriet died at home in Smithton at the age of 65 on Jan. 14, 1968. Interment was in Scottdale Cemetery.
  • Grandson Earl M. Gove
  • Granddaughter Ruth C. Gove
  • Granddaughter Ella Roberta Gove married Edgar Gumbert and lived in Edinboro, PA in 1968.

Son Christian C. "Christ" Burkholder (1873-1936) was born on May 14, 1873. He was joined in holy matrimony with Mary E. Phillips ( ? -1920), daughter of Disney and Emma (Herrington) Phillips, the father a native of Utah. The couple had several children and dwelled in Hazelwood, near Pittsburgh, in the rear of 5110 Second Avenue. There, he worked for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Sadly, suffering from acute kidney disease and insufficient blood flow through her aorta, Mary died at the age of 39 on April 25, 1920. Her remains were lowered into repose in the Smithfield E.E. Cemetery in Pittsburgh. A year later, Christ and the children published a memorial poem in the Pittsburgh Press: "We mourn for her in silence, And none shall see us weep; But in our sorrowed hearts Her memory we will keep." Christ survived his wife by 16 years. While vacationing in Baltimore, MD, he died in late July 1936. Word of his death was transmitted to Mrs. C.L. Shannon of Vine Street in Connellsville. Funeral services were scheduled to be held in Pittsburgh.


Charles, Ida and Dessie Burkholder


Charles Ross Burkholder

Son Charles Ross Burkholder (1879-1961) was born on Jan. 31, 1879 in Somerset County. He married Ida Steyer (1880-1947), the daughter of Daniel and Celestia Ann Crowell (also spelled "Growel" or "Graul") Steyer. The Burkholders had six children -- Earl K. Burkholder, Wilmer L. Burkholder, Donald D. Burkholder, Dessie Firestone, Minnie Dickey and Elmer E. Burkholder. Sadly, son Elmer died in infancy. Said the Connellsville Daily Courier, Charles "lived at Clay Run, where he operated a farm, moving to Mill Run in 1925. He was a former school director and supervisor of Springfield Township, a former state Highways Dept. employe, and a timber worker for the Back Creek Lumber Co. for many years. He was a member of the Mill Run Grange, the Mill Run E.U.B. Church and the Gleaners Sunday School class."Ida was a 50-year member of the Mill run Evangelical United Brethren Church, the Ladies Aid Society, Women's Christian Temperance Union and Armor Bearer Sunday School class of the church. In an interesting twist, Ida's sister Lutitia Steyer married Lawson Minerd and lived in Mill Run. The family received shocking news in 1905 when Ida's brother Albert Steyer, living in South Dakota, was killed in a railroad accident. Ida passed away of a heart attack at the age of 66 on May 29, 1947. Reported the Daily Courier, "She was on her way home from the Normalville Cemetery where she had gone to place flowers, when she was seized with the attack, succumbing shortly thereafter. She had been ailing for the past year." Funeral services were held at the home of their daughter Minnie Dickey at Mill Run, with additional prayers held at the family church, followed by interment in Normalville Cemetery. Rev. Merle S. Cowhere and Rev. Paul A. Morris led the funeral services. Charles outlived his wife by nearly 14 years. He suffered a heart attack and died in Connellsville State Hospital on April 25, 1961, at the age of 82. Burial was in Normalville Cemetery. The Daily Courier reported that he was survived by 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

  • Grandson Earl K. Burkholder lived in Mill Run.
  • Grandson Wilmer L. Burkholder resided in Mill Run.
  • Grandson Donald D. Burkholder made his home in Mill Run.
  • Granddaughter Dessie Burkholder married Orville Firestone. In 1961, their residence was in Mill Run.
  • Granddaughter Minnie Burkholder married Dwight Dickey and dwelled in Mill Run.


James G. Burkholder

Son James Garfield Burkholder (1880-1918) was born on June 18 or 29, 1880, in Somerset County. He was named for the President of the United States who was elected as the nation's chief executive that same year. As a young man, he relocated to Everson, Westmoreland County where he was a a car inspector with the railroad. In about 1906, when he was age 26, he was married to Rebecca Hoke (1887- ? ), daughter of C.L. and Elizabeth Hoke. The couple resided near Laurelville, PA and produced five children -- Lafayette W. Burkholder, Elmer Eugene Burkholder, Sarah E. Burkholder, Viola G. Burkholder and John W. Burkholder. As an adult, James obtained employment as a car inspector with the Pennsylvania Railroad, and was based at East Huntington, Westmoreland County, PA. On the next to last day of October 1918, James disappeared, and his body was not found for nearly a month. Relatives and friends "dragged the nearby creeks and scoured the woods looking for the body," reported the Connellsville Daily Courier. "When Burkholder was last seen he left the Summit mine at 6 o'clock on Wednesday evening. This was pay day, and since he draws a very good pay, it was first thought that he was held up for his money. But later it was learned he had been at home at noon and had just taken $6 along back with him and with this he intended to buy a load of coal." On Nov. 24, 1918, a search party consisting of his brother Christ Burkholder, Jesse Vance, Frank Shelkey, Blaine Younkin and brother in law Robert Gove found the corpse in Mountz Creek about three miles south of Scottdale, along the Ray farm. Upon examining the body, the coroner ruled "death by drowning." An autopsy was conducted, and a small blood clot was found on the brain, though there was no fracture of the skull. Burial was in Greenlick Cemetery near Mount Pleasant, or in the Hoke Cemetery near Laurelville. Rev. J.E. Hutchinson officiated at the funeral. Providing key details for the death certificate was Robert Gove of Everson. Now widowed, Rebecca made her home in Scottdale in 1920 and took in laundry work to make ends meet.

  • Grandson Elmer "Eugene" Burkholder (1907-1959) was born on Jan. 17, 1907 at Everson. He was married to Mildred Weisgerber ( ? - ? ). They had two offspring -- Richard J. Burkholder and Mary Jane Burkholder. In about 1928, they moved to Connellsville, where their residence was at 1999 Vine Street. Eugene worked as an inspector with Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation in South Connellsville. Eugene also was a city street foreman and Fifth Ward Committeeman. He belonged to the Elks Club and the Trinity Episcpal Church. He was stricken with a heart attack and died suddely at the age of 52 on Dec. 15, 1959. His remains were lowered into eternal rest in Green Ridge Memorial Park. Rev. Frank C. Irvin, of the Trinity Episcopal Church, preached the funeral sermon.
  • Grandson Lafayette W. Burkholder (1909-1967) was born in about 1909. He married Suzanne T. (?) and produced four sons -- Jack Burkholder, James Burkholder, Ronald Burkholder and Stanley Burkholder. Lafayette was employed for a quarter of a century by United States Steel. They made their home in Star Junction, Fayette County. Sadly, he died at home at the age of 58 on Jan. 14, 1967. Burial was in the Mount Washington Cemetery in Perryopolis, with Rev. John Donley officiating at the funeral. An obituary in the Daily Courier noted that he was survived by 14 grandchildren and a sister "Mrs. Dottie Heinbaugh" of Vanderbilt, wife of Frank Heinbaugh.
  • Granddaughter Sarah E. Burkholder (1911- ? ) was born in about 1911.


  • Granddaughter Viola G. Burkholder (1915- ? ) was born in about 1915.
  • Grandson John "Wesley" Burkholder (1916- ? ) was born in about 1916. He lived in Scottdale in 1959.


Russell Burkholder

Son William "Russell" Burkholder (1884-1971) was born on Jan. 2, 1884 in Somerset County. He was a lifelong resident of Mill Run. He married Mabel Hall ( ? - ? ), daughter of James R. and Mary Eliza (Harbaugh) Hall on June 15, 1918, when he was 34 years of age. See the Hall biography for more details on this couple.


Harry Burkholder

Son Harry Robert Burkholder (1886-1957) was born on July 4, 1886 in or near Confluence. He was united in holy wedlock with Minerva Dalton ( ? - ? ), daughter of Lucy Dalton. They made their home in Springfield Township, Fayette County in 1915 and later in Scottdale, Fayette County. The couple apparently did not reproduce. During World War II, Harry was employed at the Christy Park works of the National Tube Division of United States Steel. Following the war's end, he found work with the Borough of Scottdale. Harry was a member of the Junior Order of United American Mechanics and a longtime worker with the Scottdale Volunteer Fire Department. Minerva was an officer with the Dames of Malta in Scottdale. They belonged to the Scottdale Church of Christ. In late May 1957, the Burkholders received word of the death of Minerva's mother in Old Town, VA. As they were preparing to leave for the funeral, Harry was stricken with a heart attack at home and died within five minutes on May 27, 1957. Funeral services were held in the Church of Christ of Scottdale, followed by burial in the Scottdale Cemetery, with Rev. Ralph M. Read officiating.

Son Ralph T. Burkholder (1907-1982) was born on May 4, 1907. He was united in marriage with Dortha A. Buzard (1907-1987). They resided in West Mifflin, near Pittsburgh, circa 1961-1973. Ralph passed away on June 13, 1982. Burial was in Jefferson Memorial Park in Pittsburgh's South Hills. Dortha outlived him by seven years and died on Feb. 21, 1987. [Find-a-Grave]

Stepson George Russell Firestone (1884-1949) was born in 1884 in Somerset County. He lived in Mabie, WV in 1909, where he was employed as a laborer. At the age of 25, he married 24-year-old Margaret "Maggie" Rowan (1885-1913), daughter of Elijah and Mary (Rush) Rowan of Ohio Pyle, Fayette County. They united themselves in marriage, on Aug. 21, 1909. They had a daughter, Florence, who was born in 1910 in Ohio Pyle. The couple made their home in 1913 in Everson, Fayette County, where he was employed as a railroad laborer. Tragically, in January 1913, Maggie was stricken with peritonitis and her health declined rapidly. She died six days later, at the age of 27, on Jan. 18, 1913. Her remains were brought back to Ohio Pyle for burial. The widowed George gave up his daughter for adoption to longtime friends Frank and Adelia Woodmancy of Iowa. Two years later, on Valentine's Day 1915, he married again, to Cordie Etta Romesburg (1890-1933), daughter of Hiram H. and Phoebe Anne (Pletcher) Romesburg of Rockwood, Somerset County. Their ceremony took place in Connellsville, Fayette County, conducted by Rev. J.S. Showers. George and Cordie had at least four children -- Samuel A. Firestone, Charles R. Firestone Jr., Robert R. Firestone, Mary Ellen Bane, Eva Wilson Johnson and Helen Firestone. Over the years, George continued his work with the railroad and eventually became a conductor, residing in the community of Manor. Heartache rocked the family in late October when Cordie, age 42, was in the midst of a difficult pregnancy. During a caesarian section, she suffered an acute heart attack and died on Nov. 1, 1933. Burial was in Old Madison Cemetery. George was widowed for the second time in 20 years. He survived Cordie by 16 more years. Suffering from hypertension and heart disease, he was felled by a stroke on July 10, 1949. He lingered for a little more than five months, in Western Pennsylvania ("West Penn") Hospital in Pittsburgh, and succumbed the day after Christmas 1949. Burial was in Madison-Union Cemetery in Westmoreland County. The Daily Courier published an obituary noting that he was survived by 11 grandchildren.

  • Step-granddaughter Florence Firestone (1910-1985) was born in 1910 and was age three when her mother died. She moved to Iowa, where she was adopted by her parents' friends Frank and Adelia Woodmancy. On Nov. 23, 1933, when she was age 23, Florence married her step-parents' farm hand, Harold Street (1911-1973). The wedding took place in Jackson County, MN. The couple resided over the years in rural Tama County, IA (1935) and Gladbrook, Tama County (1940). Their five children were Jack M. Street, Margaret Street, Michael Street, Judy Kay Street and Thomas J. Street. They remained there for the rest of their lives. Harold died at age 72 on Sept. 20, 1973. Florence outlived him by a dozen years, dying on Nov. 1, 1985.
  • Step-grandson Samuel A. Firestone (1916-1984) was born on Jan. 3, 1916 in Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County. At the age of 25, he married Marion I. Suttle (1920- ? ) on May 17, 1941, at Wilkinsburg, near Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, PA. The produced two children. In 1949, when he signed his father's death certificate, his home was in Wilkinsburg at 1325 Woodlawn Avenue. Samuel passed into eternity in August 1984. Marion wed a second time, to Ernest Laughner (1915-1998).
  • Step-granddaughter Eva Mae Firestone (1918-2012) was born in January 1918 in Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County. She wed (?) Wilson and lived in Irwin, Westmoreland County. They had one son, George Ronald Wilson. After the first marriage ended, she wed again, to (?) Johnson. Later in life, she moved to Bowling Green, KY, where her son is known to have resided. She died in Bowling Green on Dec. 2, 2012, with an obituary printed in the Bowling Green Daily News.
  • Step-grandson Charles R. "Barney" Firestone Jr. (1920-1997) was born on Jan. 16, 1920. He married Gladys "Pauline" Wilcox (1924-1997), a native of Marysville, Avoyelles Parish, LA . Gladys died on Jan. 13, 1997. Barney followed her to the grave less than six months later, on July 1, 1997. They rest together in Madison Union Cemetery.
  • Step-grandson Robert Ray Firestone (1922-1975) was born on Jan. 9, 1922 in Youngwood, Westmoreland County. When he was 27, he wed Dorothy R. Getz (1923-1992) on Jan. 24, 1949, near Pittsburgh. Her parents were Roy John and Ruth R. (Sarver) Getz. In 1949, they lived in Terrace, Westmoreland County. Robert died at age 53 in May 1975. Dorothy remarried to (?) Waldron. She passed in July 1992 in Allegheny County, PA.
  • Step-granddaughter Mary Ellen Firestone (1923-1996) was born in Youngwood, Westmoreland County, PA. At the age of 26, she married Donald Wayne Bane (1929- ? ), a welder and resident of Pittsburgh. Their marriage took place on Nov. 17, 1950, officiated by W. Omar Hysong, a Pittsburgh alderman. At the time, Mary Ellen was a waitress living in Wilkinsburg. They had one son, Donald Wayne Bane Jr. Sadly, Mary Ellen died in North Huntington on July 15, 1996. Donald married again to Dorothy J. Sellman-Rylander.
  • Step-granddaughter Helen Louise Firestone (1931-1994) was born on March 24, 1931 in Greensburg. She resided in Irwin, Westmoreland County in 1949. She was united in marriage with Korean War veteran Richard C. "Dick" Kellner (1930- ? ), son of Richard C. and Adaline Kellner. They had four daughters -- Rita D. Funk, Donna N. Ramsey, Kathleen K. Whitecavage and Lorna F. Bennett Jr. Over the years, they made their home in Peach Bottom, Lancaster County, PA, where Dick was employed as a truck driver for Anchor-Leasing Motorcar Transport. He retired in 1992. Helen passed away in Wakefield, Lancaster County on Oct. 21, 1994. Dick lived for another decade and died in Wakefield on March 18, 2004. His obituary was published in the Lancaster (PA) Intelligencer-Journal.
  • Step-grandson George Russell Firestone Jr. made his home in 1949 in Terrace, Westmoreland County.

Burkholder and Steyer family gathering


~ Son Jacob "Ross" Firestone ~

Son Jacob "Ross" Firestone (1848-1892) was born in 1848 in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County.

He married Jane "Jennie" Hartzell (1864-1951), a native of Kingwood and the daughter of Melchior and Anna "Annie" (Johnson) Hartzell. She was 16 years younger than her spouse.

The couple produced three known children -- George Russell Firestone, Samuel Melchior Firestone and Mary Firestone.

When Ross's father was dying in the summer of 1886 and wrote a last will, he stipulated that Jane was to receive the upper half of the "old home farm" which contained a building, even if she were to remarry after Ross's death. Ross also was to receive $5 cash from the estate. The terms spelled out that in the event Ross died first, Jane was to pay Ross's sister Harriet the sum of $100, made in installments of $25 annually.

Sadly, Ross passed away at the age of 44 on April 6, 1897. 

Jane survived him by more than half a century. She married again to J. Wesley Burkholder (1850-1915), the widower of her dead husband's sister Harriet. See their bio on this page for more.


~ Son Norman Firestone ~

Son Norman Firestone (1855-1889) was born in about 1855.

He married Mary Ellen Gates (1860-1902), a native of Maryland and the daughter of Jacob S. and Adaline Gates. They produced four children -- Simon Firestone, Sabina Firestone, George Ross Firestone and one unknown.

When the 1880 federal census enumeration was made, the young family lived next door to Norman's parents in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County, with Norman earning a living as a farm hand.

Norman and Mary Ellen were named in the last will of Norman's father, written in the summer of 1886. The father's exact words were: "I give and bequeath after my death to Mary Firestone and her hears so long as she is the wife of Norman Firestone and keeps his name and if he Norman Firestone dies before his wife Mary then the property one half of the Glade Farm the south end with the buildings there on...." Norman also was paid $5 from the estate.

Tragedy shook the Firestone family when Norman succumbed on Dec. 16, 1889, at the age of 34, just nine days shy of Christmas. The cause, and his burial site, are unknown. As a young widow, Mary Ellen continued to resided in Lower Turkeyfoot. She applied to the County of Somerset for "out-door relief," stating that she had four young mouths to feed, and she received a payment of $32 for support, with a notice published in the Somerset Herald.

On March 12, 1893, at the age of 33, Mary Ellen married again to 22-year-old laborer Thomas William Hartzell (Jan. 1871-1949), son of Melciah and Anna (Johnston) Hartzell of Somerset County. The groom was 11 years younger than the bride. Performing the nuptials at the residence of Edward Lingenfield was justice of the peace Z.L. Tannehill. (Coincidentally, Mary Ellen's brother in law James Wesley Burkholder was wedded to Thomas' sister Jennie Hartzell.)

They resided in Moyer, Fayette County, PA and produced two more children -- Estella G. "Stella" Cole and James Henry Hartzell. Later, they moved to Lemont Furnace near Uniontown. Thomas worked as a brickmaker.

Sadly, Mary Ellen passed away just four days before Christmas 1902, at the age of 42. The cause of her passing is not known and may be lost to history. The widowed Thomas found work in the lumbering business and made his home in Humbert, Somerset County in the early 1900s.


Percy Church, where Thomas Hartzell rests

On May 26, 1904, at the age of 33, Thomas married again to 27-year-old Elizabeth "Lizzie" Ayers (1877- ? ), daughter of Lewis and Emma Ayers. The ceremony was held in Ursina, Somerset County by the hand of justice of the peace H.D. Altfather. Lizzie brought these children to the marriage -- Mary Esther (Ayers) Butler (born 1894), Oran "Ornie" Hartzell (1900) and Charles W. Hartzell (1902-1949). The couple went on to produce these additional five children -- Bessie Bell (born 1904), Myrtle Hart Herring (1906), Anna Morrow Rizer (1908), Margaret Dumbauld (1911) and Maxwell R. Hartzell (1918).

The combined family lived in 1910 in the coal patch town of Mt. Braddock, near Uniontown, where Thomas labored as a coke drawer at the coke works. By 1920, now in Dunbar, Fayette County, Thomas worked in a local coal mine with his sons James, Oran (machinist) and Charles.

He endured heart disease and hardening of the arteries and died in Lemont Furnace just a few weeks before his 79th birthday on Dec. 19, 1949. Daughter Stella Cole, living in Lemont Furnace, signed the certificate of death. In an ironic twist, less than 12 hours after Thomas' passing, his son Charles W. Hartzell also died, of a heart attack, at the age of 47. The father's funeral service was held at Burhans Funeral Home in Dunbar, with burial in Percy Cemetery, while the son's was at the family residence, followed by interment in Sylvan Heights Cemetery in Uniontown.

Son Simon Firestone (1878-1926) was born on May 23, 1878 (or 1880) in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County. He was a farm laborer over the years. He married Flora K. (?). They lived in Normalville, Fayette County. Stricken with typhoid fever at the age of 47, he was admitted to Connellsville State Hospital, where he died on March 26, 1928. Interment was in Normalville Cemetery. A one-paragraph obituary in the Connellsville Weekly Courier noted that "A Widow and one daughter survive."

Daughter Sabina Firestone (1880- ? ) was born in May 1880 in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County.

Son George Ross Firestone (1882-1951) was born on April 2, 1882 in Somerset County. He was wedded twice. His first bride was Emma Cramer ( ? -1900). They produced two sons -- Oscar Firestone and Orville Firestone. Sadly, Emma passed away in 1900. George's second wife was Emma Nedrow ( ? - ? ). They were dairy farmers and resided in rural Jefferson Township near Somerset, Somerset County. Their known children were Donald Firestone, Merle Firestone, Paul L. Firestone, Hillard Firestone, Leo Firestone, Lloyd Firestone, Gertrude Bittner, Dorothy Gardner, Golden Mayne Walthoun and Gayla Boley. Suffering from a heart blockage, George died at the age of 69 on May 29, 1951. Interment was in Somerset County Memorial Park, with Rev. M.J. Broughter and Rev. W.F. Berkebile officiating at the funeral held at the Somerset Church of the Brethren.

  • Grandson Oscar Firestone ( ? - ? ) resided in Scottdale, Westmoreland County, PA in 1951.
  • Grandson Orville Firestone ( ? - ? ) made his home in 1951 in Mill Run, Fayette County.
  • Grandson Donald Firestone ( ? -1977) resided in Somerset, Somerset County. He died in 1977.
  • Grandson Merle Firestone ( ? -1977) dwelled in Scottdale, Westmoreland County, PA in 1951. He died in 1977.
  • Obituary, 1978
    Grandson Paul L. Firestone (1915-1978) was born on Sept. 10, 1915 in Somerset County. He married Sara Pletcher ( ? - ? ). Their offspring were Sally Kay Firestone, Terry T. Firestone, William R. Firestone. They made their home on Green Street in southwest Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA. For 36 years, until retirement, Paul was employed at the Robertshaw Company plant in Youngwood, Westmoreland County. He was a member of the Church of the Brethren and of its Thilathea Sunday School class. Sadness enveloped the family in 1967 at the death of their daughter Sally Kay. Paul passed away at the age of 62 in Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg on June 9, 1978. Following funeral services at the Church of the Brethren in Greensburg, led by Rev. James V. D'Amico, his remains were lowered into eternal repose in the St. Clair Cemetery.
  • Grandson Hillard "Hill" Firestone ( ? - ? ) dwelled in Meyersdale, Somerset County in 1951 and in Berlin, Somerset County in 1978.
  • Grandson Leo F. Firestone ( ? - ? ) made his home in 1951-1978 in Youngwood, Westmoreland County.
  • Grandson Lloyd Firestone ( ? - ? ) resided for decades in Somerset, Somerset County.
  • Granddaughter Gertrude Firestone ( ? - ? ) was twice married. her first spouse was (?) Pyle, and they made their residence in Somerset. Later, she wed again to Emerson Bittner ( ? - ? ) and in 1978 lived in Rockwood, Somerset County.
  • Granddaughter Dorothy Firestone ( ? - ? ) was joined in wedlock with George Gardner ( ? - ? ). In 1951-1978, they dwelled near Somerset, Somerset County.
  • Granddaughter Golden Mayme Firestone ( ? - ? ) was wedded to Kenneth Walthoun (or "Walthrom") ( ? - ? ) and in 1978 resided in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA.
  • Granddaughter Gayla Firestone ( ? - ? ) was united in matrimony with William Boley ( ? - ? ). They made their residence in Jeannette, Westmoreland County in 1951 and in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA in 1978.


Lemont Furnace plant of H.C. Frick Coke


Coke oven laborer at the Lemont Furnace

Mary Ann's daughter Estella G. "Stella" Hartzell (1894-1983) was born on April 9, 1894, likely in Fayette County. She married Albert Franklin Cole (1885-1966), a native of Shady Grove near Uniontown. The couple did not reproduce. For decades, they lived in Lemont Furnace near Uniontown, where he labored as a coal miner for the H.C. Frick Coke Company. At the age of 81, Albert died following "a prolonged illness," said the Uniontown Morning Herald. Burial was in Percy Cemetery, following funeral serviced officiated by Rev. Samuel P. Show and Rev. Elmer LaRew. An obituary in the Morning Herald noted that he was survived by half-brothers Ortho Livingston of Mt. Braddock, PA and Elzie Livingston of Bentleyville, PA. Now widowed, Stella spent her final years in Markleysburg, Fayette County. She joined her husband in death in April 1983, at the age of about 89.

Mary Ann's son James Henry Hartzell (1896-1961) was born on March 24, 1896 in Moyer, Fayette County. He married Daisy Mae Vance ( ? - ? ). They moved in about 1924 to Grindstone, Fayette County, where James earned a living as a coal miner and electrician at the Colonial No. 3 and 4 mines of the H.C. Frick Coke Company. Theirs' was house 211 at the Colonial No. 4 mine. They belonged to the Grindstone First Christian Church, and he was a member of the United Mine Workers of America. Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for two decades, added to pneumonia and heart disease, James died at the age of 65 on April 21, 1961. Interment was in Lafayette Memorial Park in Brier Hill, west of Uniontown. An obituary in the Uniontown Morning Herald confirmed that his parents were "Thomas and Mary Hartzell."


Copyright 2015-2017 Mark A. Miner

Research for this page graciously shared by the late Olive Duff, the late Donna (Younkin) Logan and the late Joseph Warren Thomas III.