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Lawson 'Floyd' Gorsuch
(1887-1916)

 

Maple Summit Cemetery

Lawson "Floyd" Gorsuch was born on Nov. 13, 1887, at Maple Summit, Fayette County, PA, the son of Richard M. and Martha (Minerd) Gorsuch. He was named in part for his uncle, Lawson Minerd.

Floyd and his brother in law Frank Zearfoss were among far too many known Minerd-Minard-Miner-Minor cousins to die in coal mine accidents.

He never married although the local newspaper considered him "well-known" in the Indian Creek Valley.

The federal census enumeration of 1910 shows the 22-year-old bachelor Floyd in the household of Freeman and Roseanna (Porterfield) McMillen in Springfield Township, Fayette County, where he earned a living as a hired man on their farm. In an interesting twist, the McMillens' daughter Ada was married to Floyd's cousin Ulysses "Grant" Firestone of the family of Michael Ansell and Lavina (Nicklow) Firestone.

In May 1916, at the age of 29, Floyd obtained employment as a laborer at the coal mine of George Warrick -- known as Works Coal Co. -- at Rogers Mill, near Normalville, Fayette County. While working on this job, Floyd boarded at the home of Russell Miller.

Coal miners in the famed "Connellsville Seam" of Fayette County

 

 

Connellsville Daily Courier

On June 26, 1916, he was instantly killed "when he was caught by a fall of slate," reported the Connellsville Daily Courier. "Men who were working near the young man heard the fall and rushed to his assistance, but life was extinct when his body was removed shortly afterwards...." An examining surgeon noted that he had suffered internal injuries.

An inventory of Floyd possessions shows that he had a watch, gun, suit of clothes, suitcase and trinkets, raincoat, set of shirts, lot of clothing, and two pairs of shoes.  His back wages due from the Warrick Co. totalled $40.

Floyd's broken remains were laid to rest at the Maple Summit Cemetery, near the final resting places of his baby sister Leah and grandparents, Charles and Adaline (Harbaugh) Minerd.

Hazel McMillan, who had known Floyd many years, dating back to when he had boarded with her parents, provided vital details for his official Pennsylvania death certificate. It's possible they were sweethearts.

For many years afterward, on 10-year intervals of the anniversary of his tragic death, short news items were published in the Daily Courier's "Out of the Past" column.

 

Copyright 2000, 2006, 2014, 2017, 2021 Mark A. Miner