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Rebecca (Emerick) Knieriem


Cook Cemetery

Rebecca A. (Emerick) Knieriem was born in December 1843 in Somerset County, PA, the daughter of Jonathan and Rachel (Sturtz) Emerick Sr.

At the age of 18 in 1861, Rebecca married German immigrant Peter D. Knieriem (1836-1916), of unknown parentage but a native of Hesse Cassel. Aboard the ship Johannes, he came to the United States in 1855 at the age of 16, arriving in Baltimore, declaring himself a coal miner and his destination as Frostburg, MD.

In 1860, the unmarried Peter at age 21 boarded in the home of his future wife's uncle and aunt, Jacob and Eliza Emerick in Southampton and worked as a farm laborer. They were longtime farmers and dwelled in Wellersburg, Somerset County. Neither was able to read or write.

Their known children were Rachel Knieriem, Annie C. Knieriem, Mary E. "Laura" Bradour, Margaret Alice "Maggie" Witt, Clara M. Knieriem, Lottie R. Knieriem, Eva Jeannette Boger, John P. Knieriem and Louis C. Knieriem.

In 1880, census records show Peter, Rebecca and their six daughters in the household along with servant Benjamin Huff. Considered to be widely respected in the community, Peter was a member of the Odd Fellows of Meyersdale, Somerset County, for 47 years. They family also was affiliated with the Reformed Church.

Rebecca was named in the 1913 Meyersdale Republican obituary of her brother Nathan as living in Wellersburg.

Stricken with cancer on the side of his face at age 79, Peter succumbed in Wellersburg on March 7, 1916. His remains were placed into rest in Cook's Cemetery in American soil to which he had come some 61 years earlier. His nephews Henry Knieriem of New York City and Henry Rinker of New Jersey traveled to attend the funeral.

Rebecca survived him by 17 years, and endured the heartache of her daughter's mental illness and eventual death in the county home. At the age of 89, Rebecca suffered a stroke and died on Sept. 15, 1932. Interment was in Cook Cemetery in Wellersburg, following funeral services held in the Wellersburg Reformed Church. Her daughter Laura, living in Cumberland, MD, signed the death certificate, and a short obituary was printed in the Meyersdale Republican. [Find-a-Grave]


~ Daughter Rachel Knieriem ~

Daughter Rachel Knieriem (1862- ? ) was born in about 1862.

More will be added here once learned.


~ Daughter Annie C. Knieriem ~

Daughter Annie C. Knieriem (1865- ? ) was born in about 1865.


~ Daughter Mary Ellen "Laura" (Knieriem) Bradour ~

Daughter Mary Ellen "Laura" Kneriem (1868-1950) was born in about 1868 in Wellersburg.

In about 1891, when she would have been age 22 or 23, she was married to George "William" Bradour (1858-1928), who was a decade her senior in age.

Their offspring were Marie Shaffer, Naomi (Mrs. Richard H.) Mathews, Guy W. Bradour, Paul W. Bradour and Willard M. Bradour.

In 1916, they lived near Cumberland, Allegany County, MD. The Bradours were members of St. Luke's Lutheran Church. Federal census records for 1920 show their address as Bedford Road and William's occupation as "truck farmer" -- growing vegetables for commercial sale.

Sadness enveloped the family in 1928 at George's death.

By 1932, the widowed Laura relocated to Roanoke, VA where her married sister Maggie Witt had resided for some time. At some point she returned to Cumberland.

During World War II, Laura worried as her son served for two years in the China-Burma-India theatre of war. In September 1945, Laura made her home on Bedford Street in Cumberland when her son Paul married Stella Mae Bortz. She made her home in her final years at 1414 Bedford Street in Cumberland.

On Sept. 9, 1950, the 82-year-old Laura died at home. Rev. Dr. H. Hall Sharp of the family church officiated at the funeral, followed by burial in the church cemetery. An obituary in the Cumberland Sunday Times noted that she was survived by five adult children, all living in Cumberland, and by five grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Daughter Marie Bradour wedded (?) Shaffer.

Daughter Naomi Bradour married Richard H. Mathews.

Son Guy W. Bradour.

Son Paul W. Bradour.

Son Willard M. Bradour.


~ Daughter Margaret Alice "Maggie" (Knieriem) Witt ~

Daughter Margaret Alice "Maggie" Knieriem (1870-1953) was born on May 16, 1870.

On Nov. 24, 1891, at the age of 21, Maggie was joined in wedlock with 33-year-old widower Levi Witt (1857-1944), son of John G. and Rebecca Margaret (Shaffer) Witt. Rev. B. Knepper officiated at the nuptials held at the Knieriem residence.

At the time, Levi made his home in Roanoke, an independent city in Virginia, where he labored as a blacksmith, while Maggie lived in Wellersburg. His first wife, Mary Ella (Gaumer) Witt, had died Oct. 31, 1888, and he brought two children to the marriage -- Nellie V. Witt and Ida Gertrude Witt, both of whom died within a few years. 

The couple left Pennsylvania to establish residence in Levi's community in Roanoke.


Skyline of Roanoke, VA, home of Levi and Margaret Witt


They produced three more offspring of their own -- Ruth Witt, Ralph K. Witt and Margaret Witt.

When the federal census was taken in 1910, the Witts' abode was on Jefferson Street in Roanoke, with 63-year-old Levi having no occupation, but daughter Ruth teaching in a public school. The Witts remained in Roanoke for several more decades and are shown there in the 1930 census. By that time, their address had changed to First Street.

Levi died in 1944, with burial in Roanoke's Evergreen Burial Park.

Maggie survived as a widow for nine years and died on Aug. 5, 1953. [Find-a-Grave]

Stepdaughter Nellie V. Witt.

Stepdaughter Ida Gertrude Witt.

Daughter Ruth Witt.

Son Ralph K. Witt.

Daughter Margaret Witt.


~ Daughter Clara M. (Knieriem) Evans ~

Daughter Clara M. Knieriem (1873- ? ) was born in November 1873 in Pennsylvania.

In about 1894, when she was 21 years of age, she was united in marriage with 23-year-old Charles H. Evans (1871- ? ), a native of West Virginia.

The couple produced these known children -- Charline S. Evans, Beulah C.M. Evans, Harold K. Evans and Glen F. Evans.

In 1900, U.S. Census records show the family on Market Street in McKeesport, near Pittsburgh, with Charles earning a living as a cook, and Clara's younger unmarried sister Nettie Eva under their roof. Between 1905 and 1910, the Evanses relocated to Cumberland, Allegany County, MD, with Charles having obtained a job as a cook in a local hotel. That year, they lived in a rented dwelling on Bedford Street.

Daughter Charline S. Evans.

Daughter Beulah C.M. Evans.

Son Harold K. Evans.

Son Glen F. Evans.


~ Daughter Charlotte R. "Lottie" (Knieriem) Harper ~

Daughter Charlotte R. "Lottie" Knieriem (1878- ? ), was born in about 1878.

She was united in holy matrimony with James L. Harper (1878-1938), son of Scottish immigrants John and Jean (Love) Harper of Lonaconing, MD.

They produced three known children -- James K. Harper, Raymond L. Harper and Charlotte V. Novak.

Circa 1916, their home was in Pittsburgh.

James obtained new employment as a molder with the Thew Shovel Company and the family relocated to Elyria, Lorain County, OH. Their address in 1938 was 136 Pasadena Avenue in Lorain.

Sadly, James suffered from chronic heart disease and died in Elyria Memorial Hospital at the age of 60 on May 19, 1938. Interment was in Ridge Hill Park Cemetery.

The 1940 federal census shows the widowed Lottie heading a household in Elyria, with all three of her adult children and one son-in-law living under her roof.

Son James K. Harper resided with his widowed mothe rin Elyria, OH in 1940, earning a living as a sprayer for a tank manufacturer.

Son Raymond L. Harper supported himself as a clerk in a retail dry goods store in Elyria circa 1940.

Daughter Charlotte V. Harper wedded Arthur R. Novak. He was employed in 1940 as a molder in an alloy manufacturing company.


~ Daughter Eva Jeannette "Nettie" (Knieriem) Boger ~

Daughter Eva Jeannette "Nettie" Knieriem (1880-1926) sometimes spelled "Canary," was born in April 1880 in Wellersburg. 

At the age of 20, in 1900, she was unmarried and dwelled with her married sister and children in McKeesport near Pittsburgh. She was united in matrimony with Herbert Daniel Boger (1880-1939), son of Henry H. and Lydia B. (Dickey) Boger of Brothersvalley Township, Somerset County.

They resided in Meyersdale, Somerset County, where Peter earned a living as a coal miner.


Somerset County Home, Eva Jeannette Boger's homeplace in her final years


Tragically, Eva Jeannette suffered from mental illness, and perhaps as early as March 1924 was admitted to the Somerset County Home and Hospital. She was treated there by Henry Wilson, M.D., of Somerset.

Eva Jeannette died in the Home on Nov. 6, 1926, at the age of 46, caused by "general paralysis of the insane," ruled a physician. Burial followed in Union Cemetery in Meyersdale.

Herbert lived for another baker's dozen of years. He retired from mining in 1931, when he was only age 51, perhaps as the mines shut down during the Great Depression. Suffering from heart disease and hardening of the arteries, he passed into eternity at age 58 on New Year's Day 1939. [Find-a-Grave]


~ Son John Peter Knieriem ~

Son John Peter Knieriem (1882-1963) was three days after Christmas in 1882 near Wellersburg. He stood 5 feet, 7 inches tall, weighed 145 lbs, had grey eyes, black hair and a ruddy complexion.

At age 17, he lived at home on the farm and provided farm labor.

On Jan. 22, 1908, when he would have been age 26, John married 20-year-old Lyda D. Arnold (1888-1976), daughter of William H. and Rhoda M. (Mahaney) Arnold. The nuptials were celebrated at the First Methodist Church on Bedford Street in Cumberland, MD, with Rev. W.A. Melvin officiating. Attendants were Carrie (White) Shade and Lawrence H. Stutz.

Their nine known children, all born in Maryland, were Kathryn Hixson, Lt. Col. John Peter Knieriem Jr., Donald L. Knieriem, Mary E. Weimer, Martha L. McNeill, Robert Brooke Knieriem, Albert "Henry" Knieriem and two who died young.

They made their home for decades in Cumberland. The federal census of 1930 shows John at age 48 earning income by work as a building construction laborer. In 1930 and '40, they dwelled along Willowbrook Road, where he was a self-employed farmer.

John belonged to St. Paul's Lutheran Church were he was a member of the Duke Memorial Bible Class. Lyda was a member of the Cumberland chapter of the Order of Eastern Star and of Kingsley Methodist Church.

By 1940, John had taken on a new occupation as a dairy farm operator in Cumberland. The family was covered in worry during World War II when son John Jr. took part in the invasion of France and later saw action in Germany.

John was named in the Cumberland (MD) Sunday Times obituary of his sister Mary Ellen Bradour in 1950 and lived in Cumberland.

Sadly, John died in November 1963. Yet confusion abounds as five-plus years later, on Jan. 22, 1969, the couple was reported to have quietly celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary.

Lyda lived for three more years at their home at 475 Willowbrook Road. At the age of 88, she died in Cumberland Nursing Home on Aug. 31, 1976. Her obituary was printed in the Cumberland News.

Daughter Kathryn Knieriem narrued (?) Hixson.

Son Lt. Col. John Peter Knieriem Jr.

Son Donald L. Knieriem.

Daughter Mary E. Knieriem wedded (?) Weimer.

Daughter Martha L. Knieriem was joined in matrimony with (?) McNeill.

Son Robert Brooke Knieriem.

Son Albert "Henry" Knieriem.


~ Son Louis C. Knieriem ~

Son Louis C. Knieriem (1885-1964) was born in September 1885 in Wellersburg. He never married.

In 1940, federal census records show the 55-year-old boarding in the home of Walter and Edith Sturtz along Old Plank Road in Wellersburg, with no occupation.

He was admitted to the Somerset County Home in about 1942 and remained there for the rest of his life. In 1950, when mentioned in the Cumberland (MD) Sunday Times obituary of his sister Mary Ellen Bradour, he was living in Somerset, PA.

He died in January 1964 and, following funeral services conducted by Rev. John A. Klindt of the Church of Christ, was buried with his parents in Cook Cemetery. An obituary in the Cumberland News noted that his sister in law Lyda Knieriem of Cumberland and several nieces and nephews were his only survivors.


Copyright 2000, 2011, 2015-2017, 2021 Mark A. Miner

Minerd.com thanks the late Gilbert R. Gaumer for his contributions to this biography.