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Norman Firestone


Norman Firestone was born in about 1855 in Somerset County, PA, the son of George and Catherine "Katie" (Younkin) Firestone.

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 II ~

Son Simon Firestone (1878-1926) was born on May 23, 1878 (or 1880) in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County. More then likely he was named for an uncle who lost his life in the Civil War. Simon II 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 ~

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


~ Son George Ross Firestone ~

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.

Son Oscar Firestone ( ? - ? ) resided in Scottdale, Westmoreland County, PA in 1951.


Son Orville Firestone ( ? - ? ) made his home in 1951 in Mill Run, Fayette County.


Son Donald Firestone ( ? -1977) resided in Somerset, Somerset County. He died in 1977.


Son Merle Firestone ( ? -1977) dwelled in Scottdale, Westmoreland County, PA in 1951. He died in 1977.


Obituary, 1978
Son 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.


Son Hillard "Hill" Firestone ( ? - ? ) dwelled in Meyersdale, Somerset County in 1951 and in Berlin, Somerset County in 1978.


Son Leo F. Firestone ( ? - ? ) made his home in 1951-1978 in Youngwood, Westmoreland County.


Son Lloyd Firestone ( ? - ? ) resided for decades in Somerset, Somerset County.


Daughter 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.


Daughter Dorothy Firestone ( ? - ? ) was joined in wedlock with George Gardner ( ? - ? ). In 1951-1978, they dwelled near Somerset, Somerset County.


Daughter Golden Mayme Firestone ( ? - ? ) was wedded to Kenneth Walthoun (or "Walthrom") ( ? - ? ) and in 1978 resided in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA.


Daughter 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. (Hartzell) Cole ~

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 ~

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.