What's New

Photo of the Month

Minerd.com Blog


National Reunion


Cousin Voices

Honor Roll

In Lasting Memory

In the News

Our Mission and Values

Annual Review

Favorite Links

Contact Us


Jay Orlando Blythe


Jay Orlando Blythe was born in April 1857 in or near Henry County, OH, the son of Henry and Isabelle (Van Horn) Blythe. He was an early pioneer of South Dakota and Washington State.

He married Lydia S. Hoy (1860- ? ) on Oct. 11, 1879, when he was age 21, and she 18. They had six daughters and one son -- Lydia May Axford, Susie Holtz, Henry Ross Blythe, Cora Howey, Nellie Hall, Sarah Elizabeth "Bessie" Blythe and Florence Murdock. 

The family lived in Ohio early in marriage, where their two eldest children were born. In about 1883 or 1884, they migrated to South Dakota, where they settled in Antelope, Spink County, and where the remaining five children were born. His Hoy in-laws also moved to Antelope -- her presumed parents Samuel and Melinda Hoy, and brother John and Estella Hoy.


Jay and Lydia Blythe, seated, with their children, clockwise from upper left: May Axford, Susie Holtz, Henry, Cora Howey, Nellie Hall, Elizabeth Wares, Florence Murdock


He is said to have been a "tyrant" who bullied his wife and abused his children despite a public persona as a civic leader. 

The 1900 census shows Jay ("J.O."), Lydia and all seven children living in Antelope Township, with Jay working as a farmer. The families of Samuel and John Hoy lived next door.

Sometime between 1900 and 1910, the Blythes relocated again to Washington State, settling in Seattle, King County. 

When the federal census was taken in 1910, Jay was employed as a teamster in a coal yard, while 26-year-old son Henry worked as a collector for a telephone company, and 24-year-old  daughter Cora taught in a public school. 

By 1920, after all of their children had left home, Jay and Lydia moved to a new home on Beach Road in Mountain View Township, Whatcom County, WA. That year's census shows Jay, age 63, laboring as a farmer on a poultry farm. In a twist of fate, possibly unknown to Jay, his cousin Rebecca (Minerd) Behme Kearns and her adult children also made their homes in Whatcom County during this era.

Jay died in Ferndale, WA in 1929 or 1930. 

Lydia passed away in Ferndale on Jan. 4, 1938. 


May Axford

~ Daughter Lydia "May" (Blythe) Axford ~

Daughter Lydia "May" Blythe (1880- ? ) was born in February 1880 in Ohio. 

In about 1906, when she was age 26, she married Morgan Axford (1872- ? ), a Michigan native, and possibly the son of Mariette Axford. Almost immediately, they began living in Michigan.

They had at least three children -- Daniel R. Axford, Hilton W. Axford and May "Blythe" Eldridge.

The federal census of 1910 shows the Axford family making its home in Oxford, Oakland County, MI. Morgan was unemployed at that time. 

By 1920, remaining in Oxford, Morgan found an occupation as a bank teller, as shown on the census. That year, they lived on Mechanic Street. He held that position for at least a decade, as listed on the 1930 census of Oxford.


Oxford, Michigan -- note the Jossman's dry goods store on the corner


Son Daniel R. Axford (1908- ? ) 

Son Hilton W. Axford (1909- ? ) 

Daughter May "Blythe" Axford (1912- ? ) married Carlton Eldridge and had three children. According to the Springfield (IL) State Journal-Register, she was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. 


Susie Holtz

~ Daughter Susie (Blythe) Holtz ~

Daughter Susie Blythe (1882- ? ) was born in February 1882 in Ohio. 

In about 1904, when she was age 22, Susie married 25-year-old Mason Holtz (1879- ? ), a native of Wisconsin, whose father was German and mother from Wisconsin.

They had six known children -- Carrie Holtz, Nellie Holtz, Donna Holtz, Herman J. Holtz, Oneda Holtz and Lydia Holtz.

The couple made its first home in Cornwall, Spink County, SD, where their three eldest children were born. Census records for 1910 show the family in this location, with Mason laboring as a farmer. They likely followed Susie's parents and siblings to Washington State, sometime in the 1910s.

When the federal census was taken in 1920, the family made its home in Custer, Whatcom County, WA. Mason's continuing occupation that year was farming.

By 1930, the Holtzes relocated to Mountain View, Whatcom County. That year's census lists Mason's livelihood as a "laborer" in a "lumber mill." 

Daughter Carrie Holtz (1906- ? ) 

Daughter Nellie Holtz (1908- ? ) 

Daughter Donna Holtz (1910- ? ) 

Son Herman J. Holtz (1915- ? ) 

Daughter Oneda Holtz (1917- ? ) 

Daughter Lydia E. Holtz (1923- ? ) 


Jay and Lydia's adult children, circa 1946, at their first gathering in more than 40 years. Back, l-r: Cora, Ross, Susie and May. Seated, l-r: Elizabeth, Florence and Nellie.

Henry Ross Blythe

~ Son Henry "Ross" Blythe ~

Son Henry "Ross" Blythe (1884-1976) was born in May 1884 in South Dakota. He may have been named for an uncle, Henry Ross Blythe, only four years older than Ross.

He migrated to Seattle, WA with his parents and siblings in the early 1900s. At age 26, he lived with his parents in Seattle, and worked as a collector for a telephone company.

He may have been married three times. One of his brides was Lauren Rene Johnson. 

The federal census of 1920 shows 35-year-old Ross married to 27-year-old Hazel (1893- ? ), and living in San Francisco, CA. He was employed as a salesman for an "oil station."

Ross and Hazel had one daughter, Shirley Blythe, born in 1914, in California. 

Sometime between 1920 and 1930, Ross married "Lydia" (1861- ? ), who was 25 years older than her husband. 

When the federal census was enumerated in 1930, Ross, Lydia and Shirley made their residence in San Francisco, CA. His occupation was given as salesman for Ruud Heating Company. William Kusler, a 13-year-old nephew, also lived under their roof that year. 

Their fates are not yet known.


Cora Howey

~ Daughter Cora I. (Blythe) Howey ~

Daughter  Cora I. Blythe (1886- ? ) was born in August 1886 in South Dakota. As a teenager, she relocated to Washington State with her parents and siblings, and settled in Seattle. 

The federal census of 1910 shows her at age 24, living under her parents' roof in Seattle, and employed as a public school teacher. 

In the early 1910s, she gave up the teaching profession to marry Ansel P. Howey (1880- ? ), a native of Missouri. They had at least two children -- Wayne P. Howey and Doris A. Howey. 

When the census again was taken, in 1920, the Howeys made their home in Chewelah, Stevens County, WA. Boarding under their roof was Ansel's 22-year-old brother, Ralph L. Howey. Ansel's occupation was as a logger in a saw mill, and Cora's as a housewife. 

Their fates after that are unknown. 

Son Wayne P. Howey (1914- ? ) 

Daughter Doris A. Howey (1915- ? ) 


Nellie Hall

~ Daughter Nellie J. (Blythe) Hall ~

Daughter Nellie J. Blythe (1890- ? ) was born in September 1890 in South Dakota. As a girl, she relocated to Washington State with her parents and siblings, settling in Seattle. 

At some point, however, she is believed to have returned to her parents' native Henry County, OH, and in about 1909 married Arkie Hall (1882- ? ), the son of Lyman and Emma (Hoy) Hall. He may have been a cousin of hers' on her mother's side of the family.

They had several children -- Lyman R. Hall, Norma A. Hall and Kenneth A. Hall. When the U.S. census was enumerated in 1910, newlyweds Nellie and Arkie resided with his parents in Harrison Township, Henry County. Arkie's occupation was farm laborer.

The 1920 and 1930 censuses of Harrison Township, Henry County, shows the Halls living there, with Arkie laboring as a farmer. Arkie died of apoplexy and a fractured left hip in Heller Memorial Hospital in Napoleon, Henry County, at age 70, on Feb. 25, 1953. He was laid to rest in Shunk Cemetery in the local area. 

Nellie's fate will be added here when discovered.

Son Lyman R. Hall (1915- ? ) 

Daughter Norma A. Hall (1920- ? ) 

Son Kenneth A. Hall (1921- ? )


Elizabeth Wares

~ Daughter Sarah "Elizabeth" (Blythe) Engstrom Wares ~

Daughter Sarah "Elizabeth" Blythe (1894- ? ) was born in May 1894 in South Dakota. 

She was married twice. Her first husband was David B. Engstrom (1891- ? ), a native of Sweden, who had emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1907. The federal census of 1920 shows Elizabeth and David making their residence in Seattle, with David's occupation given as proprietor of an acetylene welding firm. Elizabeth's 21-year-old unmarried sister, Florence E. Blythe, lived under their roof that year. 

The marriage ended sometime between 1920 and 1929.

At the age of 34, she married 39-year-old Ernest G. Wares (1981- ? ) in 1929. He was born in Massachusetts, and the son of Florence Wares. He may have had a twin brother Harry Wares.

Ernest apparently brought a daughter to the marriage, Betty Wares, born n 1923. 

They appear as a family in the 1930 census of National, Pierce County, WA. Ernest's occupation was as a welder in a local lumber mill. 


Florence Murdock

~ Daughter Florence E. (Blythe) Murdock ~

Daughter Florence E. Blythe (1898- ? ) was born in March 1898 in South Dakota. 

As a young woman, she secured employment operating an adding machine with a department store in Seattle. She boarded in the home of her married sister and brother in law, Elizabeth and David Engstrom, on Shelby Street.


Carol and Joe Scinto at our
2008 reunion in Pittsburgh

In about 1921, when she was age 22, Florence married 24-year-old Glen E. Murdock (1897- ? ), a native of Willapa Precinct, Pacific County, Washington, and the son of N.E. and Arepta Murdock. 

The year before marriage, Glen lived at home with his parents, and worked as a radio operator.

They had seven children -- Kenneth David Murdock, Carol Blythe Scinto, Florence Gael Willingham, June Arepta Cummins, William Glen Murdock, Ross McClain Murdock and Alan Nelson Murdock. 

When the family appeared on the 1930 census of Seattle, King County, Glen's occupation was listed as "Salesman" of "Bakery goods." Their four eldest children lived under their roof that year. 

Their daughter Carol Murdock married Joseph Scinto. The Scintos attended our "Pittsburgh 250" national family reunion in 2008, held at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.


Circa 1945, Florence Murdock with her children, clockwise from upper left: Kenneth D. Murdock, Carol Scinto, Florence G. Willingham, June A. Cummins, William G. Murdock, Ross M. Murdock, Alan N. Murdock


Copyright 2003-2005, 2008, 2011, 2012 Mark A. Miner