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John Clarence Gorsuch
(1879-1962)

 

John C. Gorsuch

John Clarence Gorsuch was born on May 13, 1879, at Bidwell, Fayette County, PA, the eldest son of Richard M. and Martha (Minerd) Gorsuch. He was raised in Maple Summit, Fayette County, and is thought to have been named after his father's brother.

John was of medium height and slender build, with blue eyes and brown hair. His parents often fought and his father frequently left home for long periods of time. Nonetheless, John recalled, "He was friendly with me up to the last time I saw him."

In the 1910s John purchased an 18-acre farm near the family home in Maple Summit.  He later deeded it to his widowed mother.  She once described the farm as "rough, there is a couple acres of it can be farmed but we have no way to farm it."

At the age of 26, on July 26, 1905, John married 22-year-old Carrie Nancy Dawson (Aug. 16, 1882-1967), daughter of Lee and Elizabeth (Stillwagon) Dawson. The wedding was held in the parsonage of the Greensburg Methodist Church. led by Rev. J.B. Knox.

Together, they produced a family of four children -- Margaret May Lohr, Elizabeth Hamman, Ruth Henrietta Buttermore and Roger Lee Gorsuch.

 

John and Carrie at far left, back row, at the Maple Summit Church. Cousin Marshall "Ellsworth" Rowan stands in the front row, 2nd from right.

 

 

Connellsville's Main Street

In the fall of 1911, John and Carrie relocated to Edwardsburg, Cass County, MI to get work. After that move, he received one letter from his estranged father, and replied, "and that was the end of our exchange of letters," he recalled. John's father disappeared in the spring of 1912, never to be seen again.  Over the years John tried to locate his father, and even was interviewed at length by a government investigator. A copy of the transcript, found in the National Archives in Washington, DC, is now in the Minerd.com Archives.

During World War I, John was required to register for the military draft. At the time, he was laboring on a farm in Edwardsburg, owned by William Rosencarne. [spelling?]

Two of their children were born in Michigan. The Gorsuches returned to Western Pennsylvania in mid-June 1920, and settled in Connellsville, PA, where he found employment as a laborer in a foundry. In 1921, they resided at 238 East Fairview Avenue in Connellsville.

One of John's granddaughters reports that "he was a very kind, gentle man.  He was the male figure that I looked up to as a child.  He was a farmer and in later years, janitor in a church." 

The federal census of 1930 shows the family remaining Connellsville, with John working as a department store janitor. Carrie's widowed mother resided under their roof at the time.

 

Carrie and John

Circa 1938-1940, they made their home on Blackstone Avenue in Connellsville. By 1955, they had moved to 426 North Pittsburgh Street. They also resided in Greensburg for a short time.

He spent eight years as custodian of the Central Methodist Church in Connellsville, and previously for 17 years as custodian of the First Evangelical United Brethren Church. He also was employed by Boyts, Porter & Company. He retired on Nov. 21, 1961. 

He was a member of the EUB Church and its Men's Bible Class. Carrie belonged to the church's Women's Society of World Service and the Royal Circle Bible Class. 

In July 1955, John and Carrie celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with two surprise dinners, one at their home, and the other at the residence of Silas May. The event at the Mays' involved a ham supper and golden frosted wedding cake. They received many floral bouquets and gifts. During one of the events, the couple's dear friends, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Lowe of Youngwood, called to offer their congratulations. John's aged mother, living in Somerset, was unable to attend, but sent a note with her sentiments. John and Carrie were pictured in a related article in the Daily Courier.

John died of a stroke on April 5, 1962. At the time of death, he had 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Carrie outlived her husband by five years. She passed away on June 26, 1967, at the age of 84, in the Emerson Nursing home in Dunbar. The Connellsville Daily Courier said she had suffered "a lingering illness." They are buried at Green Ridge Memorial Park near Connellsville. 

 

~ Daughter Margaret May (Gorsuch) Lohr ~

Daughter Margaret May Gorsuch (1906-1993) was born on May 27, 1906 in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA.

She was married to Louis William Lohr Sr. (Sept. 12, 1898-1986), son of Jesse F. and Mary Kathryn "Kate" (Wilson) Lohr.

Together, they bore two children -- Louis William Lohr Jr. and Audrey Ann Brooks.

During World War I, Louis served in the U.S. Marine Corps from July 30, 1918 to Aug. 11, 1919, with deployment overseas. He is known to have been a patient in the Veterans Administration Hospital in the Aspinwall section of Pittsburgh in July 1945 but recovered and lived a long life.

In 1956, the Lohrs relocated to Ohio, first living in Flatrock and then in Brunswick, OH, with an address in 1958 of 24 Richie Drive.

Louis succumbed to death at age 87 on Aug. 21, 1986. Burial was in Connellsville's Hill Grove Cemetery.

Margaret passed into the arms of eternity at age 86, on March 1, 1993, in Medina, Medina County, OH. Her remains were transported back to Connellsville to sleep for the ages in Green Ridge Memorial Park.

Son Louis William Lohr Jr. (1930- ? ) was born on Nov. 10, 1930. News of his birth was announced in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Daughter Audrey Ann Lohr ( ? - ? ) joined the First Evangelical United Brethren Church on Lincoln Avenue. She was a 1954 graduate of Connellsville Joint High School and in young womanhood was employed in the office of Green Ridge Memorial Park. She apparently did not join her parents in a move to Ohio but rather stayed behind, living for several months with her grandparents John and Carrie Gorsuch. On Aug. 16, 1958, she entered into marriage with Ralph M. Brooks ( ? - ? ), son of Ralph M. and Mary Christine Brooks Sr. of Reidmore Road, South Connellsville. Because her church was under renovation at the time, their wedding was held in the Albright Evangelical United Brethren Church of South Connellsville, officiated by Rev. E.I. Mankamyer. In a related story, the Connellsville Daily Courier said that the bride wore "a ballerina length town of white pure silk. The sleeveless bodice, featuring a scoop neckline, was topped with a tight-fitting bolero of the same material with long tapering sleeves and a tiny Peter Pan collar. Seed pearl designs highlighted the bodice." The reception was held at the home of her uncle and aunt, John and Elizabeth Hamman. Ralph was a 1951 alumnus of Connellsville High School and spent four years with the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. After a return home, he secured work for Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation and enrolled in Fayette County Area Technical School. The Brookses have dwelled in Connellsville for decades. In 2000, just a few months after this website was launched, Audrey made contact with the site's founder and shared valuable content.

~ Daughter Elizabeth (Gorsuch) Hamman ~

Daughter Elizabeth Gorsuch (1909-1979) was born on Feb. 9, 1909 in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA. Her childhood years were spent in Edwardsburg, MI and then in Connellsville, PA.

Single at the age of 31, in 1940, she dwelled at home in Connellsville and earned a living as a selector in a glass plant.

On Sept. 20, 1939, she wedded John G. Hamman (June 23, 1912-1966), son of Mathias A. and Rebecca (Dull) Hamman. The nuptials were held at the First United Brethren Church, officiated by Rev. E.A. Schultz. Elizabeth wore "a forest green dress with black accessories and a corsage of gardenias and roses," said the Connellsville Daily Courier.

 

3 generations, 1954, L-R: Elizabeth Hamman, Martha Gorsuch, Carrie Gorsuch
Courtesy Audrey (Lohr) Brooks

 

 

Final resting place for the Hammans

The couple were the parents of a son, John J. Hamman.

At the time of marriage, John was employed with the Munson Heater Company. Evidence suggests that he served in the U.S. Army during World War II, with deployment to England in July 1944 and France in July 1945.

Later, they lived in Connellsville, where on Jan. 5, 1948, John was hired as a member of the city police force. Their address for decades was 1000 Blackstone Avenue.

John was promoted to assistant chief of police in Connellsville in January 1962, under the administration of Mayor John W. Collins. He was a member of the First Evangelical United Brethren Church and attended its men's Bible class. He also belonged to the Walter E. Brown post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Western Pennsylvania Chief of Police Association, the National Police Officers Association and the Lafayette lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Sadly, in early April 1966, John was stricken by an acute heart attack. He was admitted to Connellsville State General Hospital. There, his heart failed him at the age of 53, and he passed away on April 13, 1966. The remains were placed into eternal repose in Green Ridge Memorial Park, with Rev. Lester Crum presiding. The headline obituary was printed in the Uniontown Evening Standard. Connellsville Mayor J. Harold Dull -- a distant cousin of Elizabeth's, of the family of John and Lydia (Emerick) Beal -- appointed Cpl. Anthony Cataldi as his replacement.

Elizabeth lived for another baker's dozen years as a widow. Death enveloped her at the age of 70, just three days after Christmas 1979.

Son John J. Hamman lived at home in 1966.

 

~ Daughter Ruth (Gorsuch) Buttermore ~

Daughter Ruth Henrietta Gorsuch (1916-2002) was born on Sept. 17, 1916 in Edwardsburg, Cass County, MI. She moved in girlhood back to her parents' home community of Connellsville, PA.

Ruth was a 1934 graduate of Connellsville High School.

In June or July 1936, when she was 19 years of age, she was joined in wedlock with 23-year-old Kenneth L. Buttermore (1913-1973), the son of Karl K. and Lula (White) Buttermore of Connellsville.

They resided in the outskirts of Scottdale, Westmoreland County and bore four children -- Karl Kenneth Buttermore, Nancy Tzan Madden, Susan Horton and Elizabeth A. King. 

Kenneth was employed for four decades by Columbia Gas Company, in Uniontown, primarily as a utility inspector. The pair belonged to the Christ United Methodist Church of Scottdale, with Kenneth active with United Methodist Men and the church's Berean Bible Class and she as a member of the church choir and Circle 4 Women's Society. He was a member of Columbia Gas's Quarter Century Club, while she liked to make crafts for the church's annual bazaar.

Sadly, they endured the death of their son Karl from scarlet fever at age six in March 1947. 

Kenneth died in Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg at age 60 on May 17, 1973. He was laid to rest in Green Ridge Memorial Park near Connellsville. The Connellsville Daily Courier published an obituary.

Ruth survived her husband by nearly three decades and remained in Scottdale/East Huntingdon Township. She passed away on Sept. 14, 2002 in Hagerstown, Washington County, MD, at the age of 85. The remains were returned to Connellsville for burial. An obituary was published in the Greensburg (PA) Tribune-Review.

Son Karl Kenneth Buttermore (1940-1947) was born on Sept;. 3, 1940 in Connellsville. He grew up into young boyhood in the rural outskirts of Scottdale, PA. Tragically, in March 1947, he contracted scarlet fever, which led to acute kidney failure. Two weeks later, he died at home on March 25, 1947. Rev. John C. Stoner, of the Scottdale Evangelical United Brethren Church, officiated the funeral service. His remains were lowered into the sacred soil of Green Ridge Memorial Park, and an obituary appeared in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Daughter Nancy Buttermore ( ? - ? ) was a 1960 graduate of East Huntingdon High School. As a young woman, she was employed by Connellsville State General Hospital as a laboratory technician. On Sept. 5, 1964, she married Gus N. Tzan ( ? - ? ), son of Greek immigrants Nick and Mary Tzan of Uniontown. The wedding was held at the First Evangelical United Brethren Church in Scottdale, by the hand of Rev. James D. Mowrey. The couple were pictured in a Connellsville Daily Courier story announcing their marriage. Two known offspring born to the couple were Douglas Tzan and William Tzan. The newlyweds first lived in Rockville, MD at 241 Rollins Avenue. There, Gus worked for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Circa 1973, they were in Wheaton, MD. The couple divorced. Nancy married a second time to David Madden ( ? - ? ), while Gus wed again to Johanna and resided in Georgetown, DE. The Maddens lived in Jacksonville, FL in 2002.

  • Grandson Douglas Tzan ( ? - ? )
  • Grandson William Tzan ( ? - ? )

Daughter Susan Madel Buttermore ( ? - ? ) was a 1966 alumna of Southmoreland Senior High School and went on to earn her bachelor's degree in social studies from California State College. She then secured a position as administrative assistant with the Association for Retarded Citizens in Wheaton, MD. On Sept. 16, 1972, she wed Douglas Keith Horton ( ? - ? ), son of John H. Horton of St. Thomas. Rev. Edward Donner led the service, conducted at the Christ United Methodist Church of Scottdale. In announcing the marriage, the Connellsville Daily Courier said that the bride "was attired in a floor-length gown of white silk organza with white embroidery and pink satin ribbon highlights on the bodice and down the center of the skirt. Featuring the bodice were juliet sleeves and a victorian collar. Complimenting the goal was a chapel train trimmed with matching white embroidery and pink satin ribbon." Together, the Hortons produced three children -- Carrie Nancy Horton, Zachery Horton and Jonathan Horton. The family made their first home in Rockville, MD and remained for years. Douglas was a graduate of James Buchanan High School in Mercersburg, PA and the Lear Siegler Institute of Silver Spring. At the time of marriage, he worked as a research assistant for Silver Spring's Operations Research, Inc. and took evening classes at Montgomery College in Rockville. Circa 2002, the Hortons dwelled in Keedysville, MD.

  • Granddaughter Carrie Nancy Horton ( ? - ? )
  • Grandson Zachery Horton ( ? - ? )
  • Grandson Jonathan Horton ( ? - ? )

Daughter Elizabeth Buttermore ( ? - ? ) - She married David King ( ? - ? ). The pair resided in Scottdale and then by 1977 moved to Irmo, SC. Later, they dwelled in Beltsville, MD. Together, they produced a family of at least three -- Sean David King and twins Christie Lynn Shrefler and Jennifer Ann Hughes. The family resided in Scottdale, PA in 2002.

  • Grandson Sean David King (1972- ? ) was born in about 1972.
  • Granddaughter Christie Lynn King (1976- ? ) was born in 1976, a twin with her sister Jennifer. At the twins' first birthday, they were pictured in the Connellsville Daily Courier. She married (?) Shrefler.
  • Granddaughter Jennifer Ann King (1976- ? ) was born in 1976, a twin with her sister Christie. She wedded (?) Hughes.

 

~ Son Roger Lee Gorsuch ~

Son Roger Lee Gorsuch (1918- ? ) was born on Jan. 15, 1918 in Edwardsburg, Cass County, MI. He moved in boyhood back to southwestern Pennsylvania with his family.

He graduated in 1935 from Connellsville High School and went on to study divinity at Shenandoah College. He was employed at a J.G. McCrory store in Connellsville in 1938.

On May 21, 1938, when he was about 20 years of age, Roger married Ruth Imogene "Gene" Brownlee (Oct. 13, 1918-2010), daughter of Rev. J.S. Brownlee. The ceremony was led by the bride's father and brother in the parsonage of the First Baptist Church of Connellsville. In announcing the marriage, the Connellsville Daily Courier called it "a quiet wedding.... The bride wore a baby blue lace gown and a corsage of gardenias and roses.... Mr. Gorsuch and bride are active church workers and have a wide circle of friends." Their union endured for an extraordinary 69 years.

Ruth also was a Connellsville graduate, in the class of 1936, and an alumna of the Franklin Business College.

Four offspring known to have been borne by the couple were Alan Lee Gorsuch, Denny Gorsuch, Glenn Gorsuch and Kathy Shell Rodgers.

 

Chattanooga's famed Moccasin Bend, above, and skyline

 

They relocated to Chattanooga, TN and lived there circa 1955, at the address of 2007 East 12th Street. Roger worked for many years for Starkey Printing.

Ruth is known to have been elected treasurer of the Highland Park Parent-Teacher Association in the late 1950s. They were members of South Seminole Baptist Church, with Roger active with its Open Door Sunday school class and her with the Love Sunday school class.

Over the years, the couple's hearts were deeply invested in helping underprivileged and at-risk youth. All told, over the span of 45 years, starting in the late 1950s, they served as foster parents for 233 children, in Michigan and in Tennessee with the Department of Children's Services. The foster children ranged in age from a day old to 15 years, many with mental, physical and emotion disabilities. They only stopped when in their 80s, at which time they were pictured and featured in an article in the Chattanoogan. The story also was featured in the Washington Post issue of Dec. 19, 2004, which said that their home was lined with photographs of each and every one of their foster kids. The couple often was in court speaking on the juveniles' behalf, only to have their recommendations rejected by judges.

Their home in 2008 was in the East Ridge section of Chattanooga. Sadly, Roger died at the age of 90 on March 14, 2008. Dr. Ron Perry led the funeral service. Survivors included a baker's dozen grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren. Interment of the remains was in Lakewood Memory Gardens South.

Gene survived her spouse by a little under three years. She surrendered to the angel of death at age 91, in Chattanooga, on Jan. 8, 2010. Rev. Ron Perry conducted the funeral service.

Son Alan Lee Gorsuch (1939-2007) was born on Oct. 25, 1939. He joined the U.S. Navy during what is considered the Vietnam War era. Circa 1957, he trained at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center and was named a recruit petty officer. Two years later, in November 1959, he was an electronics technician seaman aboard the destroyer USS Hale, part of the U.S. 6th Fleet operating in the Mediterranean. He may have wedded Ritsa ( ? - ? ). His final years were spent in Homestead in Miami/Dade County, FL. Sadly, Alan died at the age of 68 on Dec. 13, 2007. His remains are in honored rest in Chattanooga National Cemetery.

Son Denny Gorsuch attended Kirkman Technical High School in Chattanooga. He was joined in wedlock with Pat.

Son Glenn Gorsuch was united in matrimony with Beverly.

Daughter Kathy Gorsuch entered into marriage with Jim Rodgers.

 

Copyright 2000, 2002, 2006, 2011, 2017, 2021 Mark A. Miner