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Iva Lucretia (Conn) Henry
(1899-1965)

 

   

Iva and Jesse Henry

Iva Lucretia (Conn) Henry was born on Oct. 31, 1899 in Jersey Hollow near Confluence, Somerset County, PA, the daughter of Alexander Wilson and Susannah (Harbaugh) Conn.

Twice suffering workplace fire accidents, her husband died a painful death at an early age, leaving her as a young widow who went on to spend more than 30 years alone.

On May 20, 1916, the 16-year-old Iva was united in matrimony with 18-year-old Edward "Jesse" Henry (1898-1931), the son of Charles Ross and Lydia (Ansell) Henry of Scullton, Somerset County. The ceremony was held at Scullton, officiated by Rev. S.W. Bryan. 

 

The Henry children

At the time of marriage, Jesse gave his occupation as "professor," suggesting he was a local school teacher. He listed his father's type of work as "traveler."

They produced a family of five children -- Franklin Bernard "Frank" Henry, Robert Bernard Henry, Edward Jesse "Jim" Henry Jr., Chester Allen Henry and Wilma Lois Everhart Wright.

Circa 1917, the Henrys resided in New Lexington, Somerset County. When the federal census of 1920 was enumerated, he worked as a cashier at a local railroad station. At some  point, they moved to the nearby village of Kingwood. They were members of the Wesley Chapel Methodist Church.

Jesse went on to operate a small restaurant in the nearby bustling railroad town of Rockwood, Somerset County. 

 

Iva's 1917 postcard

In a June 1917 postcard (seen here) sent to her aunt Letitia Stoner, Iva wrote:

I will send you our picture of my self, man and baby and Nora man and little boy. I am in my new home. I live 8 miles from home. Was at home the other day. They are all well. My baby can creep, go up stars and walk around chairs. He is 9 mo old.

In 1924, while working at the restaurant, Jesse suffered the first of two serious burn-accidents. Said the Somerset Herald, "while lighting a gasoline burner on a coffee urn, he was badly burned when it became enveloped in flames and he carried it outside." Fortunately, Jesse recovered, though he would not be so fortunate a second time.

Two years later, Iva and Jesse attended the first Harbaugh Reunion in August 1926. They are among a throng of cousins and friends pictured in the large reunion photo.

 

Rockwood with a railroad engine at left and a hillside of houses behind

 

 

Somerset Herald, 1931

At some point, changing careers again, Jesse became a "store keeper of New Lexington [Somerset County], where he catered to the public with general merchandise," said the Herald. In this position, he was "well known." The store is known to have been raided by state police officers in April 1931, during the Prohibition era, and "yielded 12 pints of moonshine whiskey," said the Somerset Daily American. Jesse posted a $1,000 bond pending an appearance in court. The officers found the distilling apparatus in the mountains and destroyed them with a blast of dynamite.

The second wave of tragedy struck in July 1931, when 33-year-old Jesse again was engulfed with fire at work and suffered fatal injuries. While "filling the tank of the gasoline engine of his electric plant" in his store, a gallon measure "exploded and set fire to his clothing." According to the Herald:

    Mr. Henry accompanied by George Leer of Kingwood, went into the cellar to refuel his electric power plant. He had a gallon measure filled with gasoline and as he opened the tank to pour it in, there was an explosion and the gasoline in the measure was ignited. Mr. Henry carried the flaming container about 15 feet to the foot of the cellar steps and called for help.
    Mr. Leer called to Henry and told him not to run, but in his excitement the man ran up the steps and out through the store toward the spring with Leer after him. Leer was unable to catching the burning man until he had gone some distance and upon reaching him, Leer grabbed his shirt and tore it off.
    Mrs. Henry, who was in their home across the highway, heard the screams of her husband and hurried to the scene where she directed the men who had gathered there to find the fire extinguishers and then called a physician. Mr. Henry was rushed to the Somerset Community hospital where he is confined with third degree burns of the chest, arms and head and possible internal burns.

 

Scullton Road

Just a day after the accident, on July 20, 1931, Jesse died at the hospital. The Herald said that "It is thought that his former burns had weakened the tissues so that when exposed to the second fire, his resistance was lower and he could not throw off the effects."

After a funeral at the Wesley Chapel Methodist Church, Jesse's charred remains were buried at the Scullton Cemetery along Route 653 (Springfield Pike).

The Scullton Road, framed against the picturesque backdrop of the "Little Alps of America," is seen here.

Iva then sought employment to support her and her children. One July in the late 1940s or early '50s, in a letter to a relative, Iva's mother wrote: "Gertrude and Iva has not bin here for some time. They don't get home often as they both work." 

Iva's mother attended the annual Harbaugh Reunion in August 1954, held at the Odd Fellows Grove near Kingwood. In a letter a week later, she wrote: "We was at the Harbaugh Reunion last Sunday. Had it out their ware Iva lives. My family was there, all except Lester."

In an October 1955 letter from Iva's mother to a relative, she wrote this update on family visits:

... yesterday Clint and his wife and family was here for dinner. Iva still lives at Kingwood and Gertrude still lives at Confluence and Lester still at bible school and Jess still at McKeesport.

Back, L-R: Iva, Jess, Nora, Gertrude, Lester (with baby), Clint. Front: Jess and Susie (Harbaugh) Conn Strickler

 

Further heartache rocked Iva again in November 1956, when her son Frank passed away after a tragic accident at work.

Iva died at age 66 on June 7, 1965, after more than three decades as a widow. At the time, reported the Connellsville Daily Courier and Somerset Daily American, she was survived by 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She is buried beside her husband in Scullton. 

 

 

The Henrys' grave markers at Scullton Cemetery

 

~ Son Franklin Bernard "Frank" Henry ~

Son Franklin Bernard "Frank" Henry (1916?-1955) was born in about 1916 with the name "Willard F. Henry."

He relocated to Ohio as a young man, where he obtained work in Akron with B.F. Goodrich Company.

During World War II, he served as a machinist's mate in the U.S. Naval Reserve.

He was joined in wedlock with Rubye Lou McVicker (Dec. 12, 1912-1979), daughter of Austin and Vina (Brown) McVicker. They made a home on Main Street in Rockwood.

The couple bore one known daughter, Vivian Loebig.

Frank earned a living as a steam shovel operator, employed by Allegheny Contracting Industries Inc. Circa 1955, he worked away from home on a state highway construction project at Quehanna, Clearfield County, PA, at the site of the erection of a new Curtiss Wright aircraft testing plant.

On the fateful day of Nov. 17, 1955, Frank was killed at work. The Clearfield (PA) Progress reported that he was "operating a large grade-all machine when the boom suddenly dropped and struck him on the chest and back. It was believed that his clothing may have become entangled in the lever used to raise and lower the bom, the weight of which was estimated at about two tons. Mr. Henry died in the ambulance enroute to the hospital without regaining consciousness." An examining physician wrote that his "Boom dropped down & squeezed subject to death." A short article about the accident appeared in the Altoona Tribune.

The body was tranported back to Rockwood to rest for all time in the Odd Fellows Cemetery.

Rubye outlived her spouse by 24 years. She married a second time to Anthony Thomas Seiler (Nov. 11, 1909-1977). He died on April 12, 1977, with interment in Twin Valley Memorial Park in Delmont, Westmoreland County.

At the end, she was admitted to Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh. She was gathered in by the Angel of Death at the age of 67 on Aug. 8, 1979. Rev. Donald Krestar preached the funeral service, with interment beside her first husband in Rockwood. An obituary was printed in the Meyersdale Republican.

Daughter Vivian Louise Henry (1935-2000) was born on June 26, 1935 in Rockwood. In 1950, she married Robert William Loebig (1930-2004). The children born to this union were Valerie Dobies, Kimberly Casale and Robert F. Loebig. They were in Pittsburgh in 1979. Sadly, Vivian died at the age of 65 on July 11, 2000. Her remains were lowered into eternal repose in Saint Barbara Roman Catholic Cemetery in Collier Township near Pittsburgh. Robert endured for another three-and-a-half years and passed into eternity on Jan. 25, 2004.

  • Granddaughter Valerie Loebig married (?) Dobies. She lived in Hampton Township north of Pittsburgh.
  • Granddaughter Kimberly Loebig wedded (?) Casale. She resided in South Fayette Township.
  • Grandson Robert F. Loebig made a home in South Fayette Township.

 

The Henry brothers, circa 1955. Courtesy Sylvester L. Everhart Jr.

 

~ Son Robert Bernard Henry Sr. ~

Son Robert Bernard Henry Sr. (1918- ? ) was born in 1918 under the name "Delmar Warren Henry."

He changed his name to Robert between 1930 and 1940, when he would have been of an age ranging from 12 to 22.

Robert was joined in marriage with Wilma Marie Panik (Aug. 30, 1918-2000), a native of Casselman and the daughter of Julius Michael and Mary Elizabeth (Prochnavy) Panik.

The couple produced five known offspring -- Robert Bernard Henry Jr., James Henry, Joseph Henry, Jack Henry and Stephanie Robin Snyder.

Sometime in the 1948 to 1951 timeframe, he left his family and relocated to the Pacific Northwest. There, he set up a home in Salem, Marion County, OR and worked as an automobile mechanic. His name was printed in Salem newspapers when he filed an assumed business name for his auto repair business in January 1951 and then again when charged with obtaining money on false pretenses in April 1952.

His whereabouts after that are shrouded by the mists of the past.

Wilma remained in Rockwood for decades and resided at 221 West Main Street in Rockwood. She died in Meyersdale Medical Center at the age of 81 on Feb. 18, 2000. Burial was in Saints Philip and James Catholic Church Cemetery in Meyersdale, with Rev. Sherman Berkey leading the funeral mass.

Son Robert Bernard Henry Jr. (1940-2015) was born on Dec. 18, 1940 in Casselman, Somerset County. In young manhood he joined the U.S. Army and trained as a radar operator with the C Battery, 2rd Missile Battalion, 60th Artillery at the Philadelphia Army Air Defense Command. When he was 18 years of age, on Aug. 15, 1959, he married Sandra Lee Meyers ( ? - ? ), daughter of Rev. Earl E. Meyers of Garrett. Their wedding was held in the Garrett Evangelical United Brethren Church, officiated by the bride's father, and announced on the pages of the Meyersdale Republican. At the time of their wedding, Sandra worked as a stenographer for Petrosky Insurance and the law office of Robert M. Keim. The couple bore two offspring -- Steve Henry and Jody Henry. Robert served in the U.S. Army. For many years, he was employed by Walbridge Aldinger, a Detroit-based construction services company. In his spare time, he liked to hunt and work on his vintage Thunderbird. After a divorce, he wed again to Joyce Penley ( ? - ? ). Their marriage endured for 23 years until cleaved apart by death. She brought two children to the second union -- Michael Penley and John Penley. The Henrys were in Detroit in 2000. Robert passed away at the age of 74, in Allen Park, MI, on March 1, 2015. His remains were interred in Michigan Memorial Park in Flat Rock.

  • Grandson Steve Henry married Debbie.
  • Granddaughter Jody Henry wedded Jim.

Son James W/ Henry wedded Sandra "Sandy." They resided in Detroit.

Son Joseph J. Henry ( ? - ? ) was employed as a young man by E. Arthur James Inc. in Pittsburgh. He joined the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He trained in Pershing missile operations at Fort Sill, OK. Joseph was united in matrimony with Marlene ( ? - ? ). They dwelled in Meyersdale.

Son Jack Henry ( ? - ? ) was joined in wedlock with Daisy ( ? - ? ). They put down roots in Garrett, Somerset County.

Daughter Stephanie Robin Henry ( ? - ? ) married Charles Snyder ( ? - ? ). Circa 2000, their home was in Bedford, Bedford County, PA.

 

~ Son Chester Allen Henry ~

Son Chester Allen Henry (1920-1998) was born on June 9, 1920 in New Lexington or Listonburg, Somerset County. 

On March 16, 1940 when he was age 20, and she 21, Chester married Betty Marie Patton (Aug. 22, 1918-2008), daughter of Norman Lewis and Orpha (Miller) Patton. Their marital union endured for 58 years.

Betty appears to have lived in young womanhood in Grantsville, Garrett County, MD. She brought a daughter into the marriage, Sonya Clair Patton. The couple bore three children of their own -- Norma Montgomery, Jess Henry and Clifford Henry.

They relocated to the Detroit area, where they made their residence in the communities of Allen Park and Manistee. The family grieved on Valentine's Day1960 when daughter Sonya, who shared a home with Betty Marie's mother in Grantsville, died of carbon monoxide poisoning at the age of 24. Her body was found in her automobile in the garage. Reported the Cumberland Evening Times, she was "Officials said [she] was lying on the front seat of the car as if she were tired, and said ti was possible she became ill just after she drove the car into the garage... The switch was still turned on when the body was found, but the car had run out of gas. The heater was still running." Rev. David Fetter, of the local Christ Lutheran Church, preached the funeral sermon. She rests for all time in Grantsville Cemetery in Garrett County, MD.

There, Chester owned Dayton Television in Lincoln Park, and later owned and operated Woodland Acres Cottages. They were members of the First Congregational Church in Onekama, MI. Chester also was an avid woodworker and hunter, and belonged to the Masons lodge in Lincoln Park. 

Chester died at home at the age of 77 on April 17, 1998. Funeral services were held in the First Congregational Church, led by Rev. John Peterson. An obituary was published in the Somerset Daily American.

Betty outlived her husband by a decade and remained in Manistee. The Angel of Death carried her away at the age of 89 on May 13, 2008.

Daughter Norma Henry was united in matrimony with Robert Montgomery and resided in Manistee, MI.

Son Jess Henry wedded Wendy and lived in Manistee.

Son Clifford Henry married Elizabeth and made their residence in 1998 in Hilton Head, SC.

E.J. and Dorothy. Courtesy S.L. Everhart Jr.

~ Son Edward James "E.J." Henry ~

Son Edward James "E.J." Henry (1922-2009) was born on June 4, 1922 in Middlecreek Township, Somerset County.

He relocated as a young man to Ambridge, Beaver County, PA, where he found employment as a carpenter.

Then during World War II, E.J. enlisted in September 1942 in the U.S. Marine Corps. He trained at Parris Island, SC and then was moved to a new post at Camp Lejeune, NC. At some point he was shipped overseas to the Pacific Theatre of War and took part in what is referred to as "the island hopping campaign."

He married Dorothy Hoffman (Sept. 4, 1923-2000), daughter of Dr. Sherman and Edith (Workman) Hoffman of Duquesne, PA near Pittsburgh.

 

World War II news

Circa 1955-1965, they lived in Elizabeth, Allegheny County, PA. The couple did not reproduce.

Said the Daily American, Jim "was a member of the American Legion and the Carpenter's Union. He was a member of the Kingwood Church of God and loved to play golf with his friends."

Dorothy was a longtime legal secretary for the law firm of Munnell and Norton in McKeesport, near Pittsburgh. She belonged to the Order of Eastern Star in Aliquippa and later in White Oak.

By 1998, apparently after retirement the Henrys returned to New Lexington.

Dorothy passed away at the age of 76 on June 29, 2000, as a patient in Somerset Hospital. Rev. James Monticue preached her funeral sermon at the Kingwood Church of God, with an obituary appearing in the Daily American.

Jim outlived his wife by eight-and-a-half years.

Toward the end, he was admitted to Pittsburgh's West Penn Hospital. He died there at the age of 86 on Jan. 14, 2009. Following funeral services again led by Rev. Monticue, he was laid to rest at Scullton Cemetery. The Somerset County Honor Guard furnished military rites at the service. The Daily American printed an obituary, in which the family asked that any memorial donations be made to the family church.

 

King's Bridge, a landmark built in 1802 near New Lexington

 

 

~ Daughter Wilma Lois "Sis" (Henry) Everhart Wright ~

 

Sylvester Everhart Sr.
Courtesy S.L. Everhart Jr.

Daughter Wilma Lois "Sis" Henry (1924-living) was born on Nov. 19, 1924 in New Lexington, Somerset County.

In young womanhood she relocated to Akron, OH where she earned a living as a waitress at Kestler's Restaurant. She then enrolled as a student nurse at Memorial Hospital in Cumberland, MD.

Wilma was married twice. In 1944, in a ceremony held in Baton Rouge, LA, she was united in matrimony with her first spouse, Rockwood serviceman Sylvester Leo "Bess" Everhart Sr. (May 2, 1921-1945), son of Samuel Nathan and Goldie Beatrice (Johnson) Everhart and a native of Cherry Run, Morgan County, WV. A story in the Somerset County Leader that she "was attired in a powder blue street length dress with white accessories, offset by a corsage of pink rose buds." Rev. G.A. Gatzhe led the ceremony in the local Lutheran Church.

The couple produced an only son, Sylvester Leo "Sam" Everhart Jr.

 

Sylvester Sr.
Courtesy S.L. Everhart Jr.

Prior to marriage, as World War II was raging, Sylvester had joined the U.S. Army Air Force on Oct. 20, 1943. He trained at Moore Field, TX and qualified on May 23, 1944 as a fighter pilot. After their wedding in Louisiana, the couple had some time together at Peterson Field in Colorado Springs, CO, where he was receiving final training.

The 24-year-old flier was then deployed to the China-Burma-India Theatre of war. He flew missions over Formosa, today known as Taiwan, as a member of the 72nd Fighter Group of the 2nd Squadron.

While Sylvester was away, Wilma made a home with his parents in Rockwood. She learned that she was expecting their baby.

Grief and anxiety cascaded through the family when Sylvester's aircraft was shot down. It happened on his 10th combat mission during a bombing run over Formosa on Feb. 25, 1945. He initially was declared missing in action. No announcement was made, however, until his mother was notified in Rockwood on April 2, 1945. The news was reported in the Connellsville Daily Courier and Somerset Daily American. His body was never found.

Wilma delivered a baby boy in August 1945, some five months after her husband was lost,

Sylvester finally was declared dead in March 1946, with the news published in the local newspapers as well as in the Pittsburgh Press. In the years that followed, his name was inscribed on a tablet at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, and on a bronze marker in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Rockwood.

After three years as a widow, in 1948, Wilma wedded Jack Thomas Wright (Nov. 20, 1918-1997), son of Franklin Cleveland "Frank" and Edith Margaret (Wass) Wright of Confluence.

Jack also was a veteran of World War II, having served as a bombardier in B-17 aircraft in Europe with the 332nd Bomber Squadron, 94th Bomber Group, 8th Air Force. They resided in Addison, where Jack worked for Dennis Lumber Company and Yezbak Lumber, and at one point was a self-employed carpenter.

They were members of the Addison United Methodist Church. Jack belonged to the Pennsylvania Chapter of the 8th Air Force Historical Society and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Wilma served as secretary of the inaugural reunion of the Rockwood High School class of 1942.

Jack passed away at the age of 78 at home in Addison on Oct. 15, 1997. Burial was in the Addison Cemetery.

Son Sylvester Leo Everhart Jr. (1945-living) was born in 1945, five months after his father was shot down during World War II. He attended Indiana (PA) State College for a year or two. Then, during the Vietnam War, he joined the U.S. Air Force and trained as a communications specialistat Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado. On Oct. 17, 1964, in nuptials held in Trinity Lutheran Church in Confluence, he was joined in the bonds of wedlock with Sandra Lee Koontz ( ? - ? ), daughter of Scott Ivan Koontz of Confluence of the family of Samuel G. and Mary Ann (Younkin) Phillippi. Co-officiating the nuptials were Rev. Lester E. Rudisill and Rev. John R. Hickson. In reporting on the wedding, the Uniontown Evening Standard said that Sandra "wore a floor-length gown of white taffeta, fashioned with a fitted empire waistline, portrait neckline, long tapered sleeves and controlled skirt ending in a watteau train. Her four-tiered veil of silk illusion was attached to a pillbox headpiece of silk and she carried a cascade of white pompons centered with a white orchid." The newlyweds' first home was in South Carolina, where Sylvester was posted at Shaw Air Force Base. Sandra was an alumna of Robert Morris Junion College. They made a home in 1997 in Oakton, VA and Pinehurst, NC in 2009. Sylvester graciously has shared photograph images for this biography.

 

Copyright 2001-2002, 2005, 2008-2009, 2012, 2014, 2017, 2020 Mark A. Miner