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Thomas 'Ira' Gribble
(1875-1932)

 

Redstone Cemetery

Thomas "Ira" Gribble was born on Oct. 5, 1875 in Redstone Township near Uniontown, Fayette County, PA, the son of James and Susan (Murdock) Gribble.

On Feb. 7, 1896, when both were age 19, Ira was joined in the holy bonds of wedlock with Elizabeth "Lizzie" T. Keefer (1871-1960), the daughter of Charles W. and Minerva (Keffer) Keefer of Dunbar, Fayette County. Because Lizzie was underage at the time, her mother had to provide her consent to the union. Rev. H.F. King officiated.

The couple went on to bear eight children -- Homer L. Gribble, Frances E. Hertzog Hennesey, Rebecca Swogger, William E. Gribble, Hildred Minerva "Hilda" Freeman, Alice Bennett, Georgianna Santemyre and Thomas Ira Gribble Jr. 

The federal census of 1910 shows Ira and Lizzie making their home along the New Salem Road near Haddenville in Menallen Township, Fayette County, with Ira laboring on his own dairy farm. Living next door was Ira's brother Edward and family, also working on their own farm. Haddenville was a small community along U.S. Route 40, with an Amoco service station owned by C.F. Olm and furnished cottages for tourists.

In 1916, the family relocated to the farm of their son in law William Freeman. Its location was "left of the National Road" near Grindstone in Redstone Township, Fayette County, as recorded by a census taker. They remained there the rest of their lives, and were members of the Central Presbyterian Church of Brownsville.

Ira's occupation in 1920 was as a surveyor for the Monongahela Railroad, and eldest son Homer was a motorman in a local coal mine. In March 1929, they received the horrific news that their son-in-law Harry Edward Hertzog had been killed in a coal mine explosion near New Kensington, Westmoreland County, leaving his wife with four children to raise.

 

Haddenville, PA, a small community along the National Road/US Route 40 featuring a gasoline station and furnished cottages for tourists

 

 

The census of 1930 lists Ira, Lizzie and family living in Rowes Run, Redstone Township, and including widowed daughter Frances Hertzog and her young daughter in their home. That year, Ira was a laborer in the railroad shop of a steam rail road. He was a member of the Junior Order of American Mechanics. By 1932, his role at the railroad was considered "civil engineer."

In July 1930, Ira, Lizzie, daughters Georgianna and Frances, and Frances' four children, attended a McCormick Addition picnic at Areford Park in Hopwood. Said the Uniontown Daily News Standard, "Every one who has ever been a resident of the section is invited to attend and each year brings the renewal of friendships between former neighbors." Lizzie was elected to the executive committee of the reunion association. The following month, the group held an annual corn roast on the Charles Smith farm on the old Pittsburgh road.

 

Entrance to Redstone Cemetery

Their home was long the National Pike East.

Ira was burdened with cardiac problems where insufficient amounts of blood were pumping through his system. He passed away at home at the age of 56 on March 11, 1932. His death, said a newspaper, was "due to complications." Rev. H.W. Jamison of the First Methodist Episcopal Church preached at the funeral, followed by interment in Redstone Cemetery.

Elizabeth outlived him by almost three decades, and continued to make her home with the Freemans in Grindstone. In August 1933, she and her son Thomas, daughter Frances Hertzog and future son in law Harry Hennessey attended the sixth annual McDowell family reunion, held at Shady Grove Park near Uniontown. Among the other cousins who came to the McDowell event, said the Uniontown Daily News Standard, were Arthur and Lillie Belle (Miner) McDowell of the family of William G. and Alice (Kuhns) Miner of Connellsville.

She died on June 28, 1960, at the age of 83, in the Freeman residence. The Uniontown Morning Herald reported that she was survived by 28 grandchildren and 65 great-grandchildren.

Following funeral services led by Rev. D. Alan Martens, she joined her husband in eternal rest at Redstone Cemetery.

 

Bird's-eye view of Brownsville, early 1900s

 

~ Daughter Frances (Gribble) Hertzog Hennessey ~

Daughter Frances E. Gribble (1901-1997) was born on Jan. 22, 1901 in Menallen Township.

She was twice married, with her first spouse killed in a coal mining accident.

In about 1918, when she was age 17, Frances wed 21-year-old coal miner Harry Edward Hertzog Sr. (1897-1929), the son of George W. and Mary E. (Meese) Hertzog of Thornton, PA.

The couple produced four known children -- Minerva Oliver, Harry Edward Hertzog Jr., Bessie Jane Locher and Erma House Diedrich Carpenter, born between the years 1919 and 1925. 

 

Smoldering ruins of the Kinloch Mine

In 1929, on the eve of the Great Depression, the family resided in Parnassus, Westmoreland County, PA. That winter, the 32-year-old Harry was employed by the Valley Camp Coal Company as a loading machine laborer at its Kinloch Mine in Lower Burrell Township. On the fateful day of March 21, 1929, an explosion rocked the mine, when a coal-laden conveyor broke and fell back into the shaft, igniting coal dust. Some 200 of the miners were able to escape, but Harry was one of 85 who was trapped. He died after being terribly burned in addition to suffocation from the toxic mixture of poisonous gases. An examining deputy coroner noted that the explosion was "probably accidental." Harry's blackened remains were brought back to Brownsville for interment in the Redstone Cemetery. The March 23 edition of the Greensburg Daily Tribune printed a list of the known dead, with Harry among them. When his body was remove from the mine, it was front-page news in the Uniontown Morning Herald

By 1930, at the age of 29, the widowed Frances and her four children made their residence with her father and mother along the National Pike east of Brownsville in Redstone Township. Frances supported her family by working as a payroll clerk at a local coal mine. 

Tragedy nearly struck again in February 1930 when son Harry, age nine, was "struck by a hit-and-run automobile as he was walking along the National Pike near his home, just east of Brownsville," reported the Uniontown Morning Herald. He "suffered injuries to his face and bruises. The lad was rushed to the Brownsville General Hospital, where his condition is not serious." 

Frances was still at home in March 1932 when her father died. Along with her mother and brother Thomas, and future husband Harry Hennessey, she attended the sixth annual McDowell Reunion in August 1933, held at Shady Grove Park near Uniontown.

 

Anxious families of Kinloch's entombed miners await news

 

By 1938, she was married to Harry R. Hennessey (1899-1957), the son of Calvin and Ada (Hardy) Hennessey Sr. A step-daughter and stepson were brought into the marriage, Ruth Frenecy and Roy Hennessey. 

They lived in Thornton, PA in 1938. Circa 1941, Harry was employed as a coal miner at the Allison coal and coke works near Brownsville. He was a member of the Protective Home Circle 430 of Uniontown and the United Mine Workers of America. Over the years, following the availability of mining jobs, the couple also lived in Bobtown, Dilliner near Fieldson's Crosroads (1952-1957), Mather and Greensboro, Greene County, PA.

In the winter of 1957, Harry was employed by Jimmy's Coal Company in the mining patch town of Dilliner, Sadly, as he was leaving for work on Jan. 28, 1957, he was stricken with an acute heart attack at the age of 57 and died. Burial was in Lafayette Memorial Park, with Rev. Floyd Greene of Charleston, WV officiating at the funeral. An obituary was printed in the Waynesburg (PA) Democrat-Messenger, noting that he was survived by 12 grandchildren.

 

Harry Hennessey's workplace at the Allison coal mine

 

As a widow, Frances moved to Mentor, OH and then again to Clairton, PA by 1968, and that year attended the Freeman reunion at the home of William Freeman in Grindstone. Over the years, she was very active in leadership roles with the United Methodist Women of the Bobtown Church.

Frances passed away in Trinity House in Tarentum, Allegheny County, PA on Nov. 13, 1997. Burial was in Lafayette Memorial Park.

Daughter Minerva E. Hertzog (1918-2008) was born on April 29, 1918 in Grindstone, Fayette County. She married George Oliver ( ? -1980) and resided in New Kensington, Westmoreland County. The Olivers produced four children -- George D. Oliver, Charlotte Davis, Vivian Lee Mazeski and Jackie Cohen. In New Kensington, they owned and operated Oliver's Confectionary Store. Minerva also earned income by working at Churchfield-Peters Funeral Home. They were members of the United Presbyterian Church of New Kensington. Said the Valley News Dispatch, she "enjoyed playing cards, crocheting, crossword puzzles, reading and traveling." George passed away in 1980. Minerva survived him by more than a century. In her later years, she relocated to San Leandro, CA to be near her married daughter Charlotte Davis. Minerva died in San Leandro Hospital on Jan. 20, 2008, at the age of 89. Her remains were returned to Fayette County for interment in Lafayette Memorial Park. The News Dispatch reported that she was survived by eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

  • Grandson George D. Oliver married Patricia and resided in Fairfax, CA.
  • Granddaughter Charlotte Oliver wed Harold Davis and lived in San Leandro.
  • Granddaughter Vivian Lee (Oliver) Mazeski made her home in Rohnert Park, CA.
  • Granddaughter Jackie Oliver married Maurice Cohen. Their residence was in Montreal, Canada.

Son Harry Edward "Jack" Hertzog Jr. (1921-2001) was born on Jan. 28, 1919 or 1921 in Grindstone, Fayette County. He married Mary Elizabeth Gordon (1921- ? ), daughter of Charles Albert and Mary Agnes (Caldwell) Gordon. The wedding took place in Clairton, Allegheny County, PA on June 12, 1940, when Harry was age 21 and Mary 19. They had one son, Clyde A. Hertzog. As a young man, Harry was employed as a machine operator, likely at the Clairton works of United States Steel. In 1957, he lived in Dravosburg near McKeesport. Harry resided in Ocala, FL later in life. He died on April 3, 2001, with his obituary published in the Ocala Star Banner.

Daughter Bessie Jane Hertzog (1923-1993) was born on Jan. 31, 1923. She wed Lewis J. (or "Louis") Locher ( ? - ? ). The couple lived in Crawford County, PA in 1957 and later in Mentor, Lake County, OH. They had two sons -- Charles Locher and Terry L. Locher. Bessie died at the age of 70 on Feb. 2, 1993, in Mentor. She was interred in the Western Reserve Cemetery in Chesterland, OH. Lewis married again to Madge (?).

  • Grandson Terry L. Locher (1957-2006) was born in about 1957 in Crawford County, PA. He moved to Easley, SC, where he was a member of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Pickens. He died at the age of 49 on Dec. 12, 2006, survived by a special friend, Mark D. Gurney. Burial was in Greenlawn Memorial Park. 
  • Grandson Charles Locher lived in Easley, SC.

Daughter Erma Fay Hertzog (1924-2010) was born on Dec. 15, 1924 in or near Brownsville. She was only a little more than four years old when her father was killed. She married Harold C. House ( ? - ? ), son of Harold T. House of Painesville, OH. Harold had a son to a previous marriage, Michael House, and he and Erma had three children of their own -- Dale Edward House, David M. House and James D. House. They resided in Cleveland in the 1940s, and later apparently divorced. Erma remarried to (?) Diedrich and later still, on April 26, 1975, to Rodney Ray Carpenter (1924-2007). Rodney brought two adult children to the marriage -- Larry Carpenter and Rita Grizzard. They made their home in Quaker City, Guernsey County, OH. Said the Cambridge (OH) Daily Jeffersonian, Erma "enjoyed camping and traveling." Sadly, Rodney passed away on July 10, 2007, ending their 32 years of married life together. Erma survived him by two and a half years, and died on Jan. 21, 2010. Interment was in the Friends Cemetery in Quaker City, with an obituary printed in the Jeffersonian. At her death, she was survived by three grandchildren, six step-grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and five step-great-grandchildren.

  • Grandson David M. House ( ? - ? ) was stationed with the U.S. Army at Fort Knox, KY during the Vietnam War. He married Marilyn and resided in Winter Haven, FL.
  • Grandson Dale Edward House (1946-1964). Tragedy rocked this family on Nov. 3, 1964 when 18-year-old Dale, living in Geneva, OH, was killed in an automobile accident. He was laid to rest in North Madison Cemetery in Lake County.
  • Grandson James House wed Sharon and made their home in Mentor, Lake County, OH.
  • Step-grandson Larry Carpenter married Donna and lived in Claysville, Guernsey County, OH.
  • Step-granddaughter Rita (Carpenter) Grizzard made her home in Byesville, Guernsey County, OH.

Stepdaughter Ruth Hennessey ( ? - ? ) married Ralph Ferency (or "Frenecy") and in 1957 lived in Eastlake, OH.

 

~ Son Homer L. Gribble ~

Son Homer L. Gribble (1898-1977) was born on Oct. 15, 1898 in Uniontown.

He married Sarah K. Gribble (1895-1966), daughter of John L. and Sarah (Hardsock) McCune of Brownsville. She was four years older than her husband.

Their four children were Martha Bulstra (or "Buletza"?), Barbara Vance, Elizabeth Hough and John L. Gribble. 

Circa 1938, their residence was in Blainesburg, PA. Later, they made their home on Jefferson Avenue and at 509 Jackson Avenue in West Brownsville, Fayette County. They belonged to the Christian Missionary Alliance Church of West Brownsville.

Homer was a longtime engineer for the Monessen Southwestern Railroad of the Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation. He also was a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and the California Hill Gun Club. 

Homer and Sarah and the children enjoyed attending the McCormick Addition Picnic reunion in Uniontown circa July 1927, along with Homer's mother and siblings.

Sarah passed away at the age of 70 on Sept. 11, 1966. An obituary in the Uniontown Morning Herald said she was survived by 16 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren as well as her sister Ethel Armstrong of West Brownsville. Rev. Carl Hughes officiated at her funeral followed by interment in Lafayette Memorial Park.

Homer outlived her by 11 years. He died at the age of 75 at Brownsville General Hospital on Nov. 11, 1977. Burial was at Lafayette Memorial Park. At his death, Homer was survived by 18 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Daughter Martha Gribble (1921?-1991?) was born on March 5, 1921. She married John Buletza (1919-1990). He was a veteran of World War II. The couple lived in Blairsburg, PA in 1966 and in West Brownsville in 1977. John is thought to have died in 1990, with burial in Lafayette Memorial Park. Though this needs to be proven with precision, she is believed to have joined her husband in death on Aug. 4, 1991.

Daughter Barbara Gribble wed (?) Vance and dwelled in District Heights, MD in 1966 and in Winchester, VA in 1977. By 2005, now back in Uniontown, she responded to a Uniontown Herald-Standard query about the history of the Wright-Metzler Department Store, and had her name published by columnist Glenn Tunney.

Daughter Elizabeth Gribble was united in marriage with (?) Hough and resided for many years in Brownsville.

Son John L. Gribble made his home in LaBelle and Brownsville, Fayette County, PA. LaBelle has been described by one newspaper as a "coal mining patch on an inside bend of the Monongahela River" in Luzerne Township. 

 

~ Daughter Rebecca (Gribble) Swoger ~

Daughter Rebecca Gribble (1904-1938) was born on March 23, 1904 in Menallen Township, Fayette County.

She married coal miner Clark Alpheus Swoger (1896-1983), the son of Clark and Hannah Swoger (sometimes spelled "Swogger.") of Newell, Fayette County. He stood five feet, six inches tall, weighed 147 lbs. and had brown eyes. The couple was eight years apart in age. Clark had been married once previously, and brought two sons to the marriage, Clark R. Swoger and Robert D. Swoger.

They had seven children of their own -- Clark Alpheus Swoger Jr., Rebecca H. Trippi, Dearth A. Swogger, Lydia Ann Miller, Nanette Batten, Cecelia H. Cooley and an unnamed infant. They endured the death of son Clark at age two days in August 1920 and the still birth of a son in October 1930.

During World War I, Clark served in the U.S. Army. 

In 1930, their home was in the Taylor patch town near Uniontown. By 1938, they had moved to House 5 on Albany Street in Jefferson Township, near Brownsville, Fayette County. As there apparently was no postal service to their home, they received their mail at Box 412 in Brownsville. 

Tragically, Rebecca was afflicted with cancer of the uterus when in her young 30s. She suffered and died at the age of 34 on June 20, 1938, without any apparent medical treatment. Interment was in the family lot in Redstone Cemetery. An obituary in the Uniontown Morning Herald called the cause of her death "a year's illness of complications." Her motherless children ranged in age from six to 16.

 

Filbert coal mine, H.C. Frick Coke Company

When the federal census was enumerated in 1940, the widowed Clark resided with his mother and children in Jefferson Township, where he continued his labors in a local coal mine. He remained in the Brownsville area through World War II, working for the H.C. Frick Coke Company at its Filbert plant. When registering for the military draft during the war, he listed his daughter Lydia as his next of kin.

Later, Clark relocated to Ripley, Chautauqua County, NY, where he resided circa 1949 and worked as a "foreman." He apparently re-married, to Mary Pauline (?) ( ? -1969). Strong evidence suggests that he died on Oct. 4, 1983 in Dunkirk, Chautauqua County, with burial in Evergreen Cemetery in Saint Augustine, St. Johns County, FL.

Daughter Rebecca Hannah Swoger (1921-1972) was born on Aug. 28, 1921 in or near Brownsville. She married Lawrence Trippi (or "Trippy"). They had a family of children. Sadly, Rebecca died on Sept. 20, 1972, at the age of 51.

Son Dearth A. Swoger (1923-2014) was born on Sept. 2, 1923 near Brownsville. He was age 15 when his mother died. During World War II, he served in the 5th Armored Division of the U.S. Army. Upon the end of the war, he moved to New York with his father, settling in Ripley, Chautauqua County. On Dec. 13, 1945, when he was age 21, he married Betty Borstorff ( ? - ? ). They had a family of four children -- Thomas Swoger, Terry Swoger, Connie Rupczyk and Joyce Kelly. Though living New York, Dearth worked across the state line in North East, PA and was employed by Sunshine Packing in the Erie County Industrial Park for 16 years. He volunteered with the Ripley Fire Department and was a member of the American Legion Post 105 in North East. Said the Erie Times-News, he "enjoyed watching professional wrestling and was an avid Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Pirates fan, but most of all he loved family gatherings with his children and grandchildren." In their retirement years, Dearth and Betty relocated to Florida circa 1979. Later, they returned to Pennsylvania, making their home in North East, Erie County. He died at the age of 91 in UPMC Hamot Hospital in Sept. 19, 2014. His death terminated a marriage which had lasted for 68 years. In an obituary, the Times-News reported that he was survived by nine grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren. Burial was in Grahamville Cemetery.

  • Grandson Thomas Swoger married Dawn and lived in Ripley.
  • Grandson Terry Swoger made his home in North East.
  • Daughter Connie Swoger wed John Rupczyk of Westfield, NY.
  • Daughter Joyce Swoger married Timothy Kelly and resided in Brocton, NY.

Daughter Lydia A. Swoger (1925- ? ) was born on Feb. 27, 1925 in or near Brownsville. At the age of 24, she lived in North East, near Erie, Erie County, PA. On April 15, 1949, Lydia married 26-year-old laborer Phillip F. Miller (1923- ? ), also a resident of North East, and the son of farmers Franz and Vira (Skinner) Miller of Erie County. The nuptials were performed by Rev. C.S. Brewer, a minister of the Gospel. The couple asked that the news not be published in the local newspaper. 

Daughter Nanette Swoger (1928-1991) was born on March 6, 1928 in Brownsville. She was twice married. She and her first husband (?) Burgess had five daughters -- Laura Caruso, Nancy Archer, Lois Orlowski, Robin Shumac and Tammy Vella. They resided in or near North East, Erie County, PA. Later, she wed widower George N. Batten (1913-2006), a native of Somerset, Somerset County, PA and the son of Hugh G. and Elizabeth (Lyons) Batten. George brought two adult children to the marriage -- Leonard A. Batten and Roberta Groters. George was employed for 31 years as a millwright with Eureka Electrical Products, retiring in 1978. Nanette died in Erie on June 4, 1991 at the age of 63, with burial in Grahamville Cemetery in North East. In his final years, George made his residence at 8585 Oxbow Road in North East. He died at Twinbrook Medical Center on Aug. 15, 2006. He was survived by 18 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren.

  • Granddaughter Nancy Burgess married (?) Archer and lived in Ripley, NY.
  • Granddaughter Lois Burgess wed Henry Orlowski and resided in North East.
  • Granddaughter Robin Burgess was united in marriage with Mark Shumac and lived in Brandon, FL.
  • Granddaughter Tammy Burgess wed Salvatore Vella and made their home in North East.
  • Granddaughter Laura Burgess married (?) Caruso.

Daughter Cecilia Hazel Swoger (1932-2005) was born on Feb. 3, 1932 in Brownsville. She was age six when her mother died. In the 1940s, she moved with her widowed father to Ripley, Chautauqua County, NY. She was married two times. Her first spouse was Homer Burgess ( ? - ? ). Later, she married Edward Cooley ( ? - ? ) and resided in Chautauqua County. She bore nine children -- James Burgess, Phyllis Barr, Bonnie Burgess, Linda Burgess, Joanne Burgess, Susan Helwig, Kathy Collins and Gayle Hayes. In addition to raising her children, she worked at the Chautauqua County Home in Dunkirk. The Jamestown (NY) Post-Journal said she was an avid fan of the New York Yankees and Buffalo Bills. She died in Fredonia, NY on June 23, 2005, with burial in the Grandview Cemetery in Pennsylvania. An obituary was printed in the Post-Journal.

 

William at work, 1944

~ Son William E. Gribble Sr. ~

Son William E. Gribble Sr. (1906-1987) was born in 1906.

In about 1928, when he was age 22, and she 15, William married Dorothy Reagan (1913-2005). She was the daughter of John and Dorothy (Campbell) Reagan of Broadford, near Connellsville, Fayette County.

They went on to become the parents of seven children -- William E. Gribble Jr., Homer Gribble, Donna L. Ochmann, Joanna Boyd, Nancy Yeardie, Patty Higginbotham and Susan Winter.

In 1930, they made their residence with William's parents in Grindstone, Redstone Township, and William's occupation that year was as a pipe fitter for the steam railroad, most likely the Monongahela Railway Company. He is pictured with his fellow Monongahela Railway shop employees, in the South Brownsville facility, in October 1944. In 1950, he continued his occupation with the railroad, and they lived in Brownsville.

The Monongahela Railway was in business to provide short coal-hauling transport between sites in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It had a combined ownership, a joint venture between the Pennsylvania Railroad, Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad, and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. South Brownsville served as the point of connection between the co-owners and was where the company was headquartered. Later, the Penn Central Transportation took possession of the New York Central and Pennsy and operated independently for many years.

 

Above, busy railroad junction in Brownsville. Below, William (yellow circle) with fellow Monongahela Railway employees in October 1944. Distant cousins Thomas Springer McKnight (right) and his son David are circled in red.

 

When the Freeman family reunion was held in September 1968, at the home of married sister and brother in law Alice and William Freeman of Grindstone, William and Dorothy attended, along with William's sister Frances Hennessey. They made their home in Brownsville circa 1977, and were members of the United Christian Church of California, PA.

 

Pittsburgh & Lake Erie logo

William died in 1987, at the age of 81, ending their married life of 59 years. He was laid to rest in the Lafayette Memorial Park.

Dorothy passed away at the age of 92 on May 11, 2005, in Beverly Health Care in Uniontown. At her death, she was survived by 29 grandchildren, 65 great-grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren. She joined her husband in eternal repose.

Son William E. Gribble Jr. (1929-2009) was born in 1929. He married Constance "Jean" Smith, RN (1929-2009), the daughter of Francis Edwin and Frances "Fanny" (Dils) Smith. They had one daughter, Alison Stilwell. The Gribbles lived in Brownsville, where William worked for the Monongahela Railway and was a union member of the United Transportation Union (UTU) and Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen (BFL&E). Jean, a registered nurse, received her education from the Washington Hospital School of Nursing and went on to work for physician offices and in hospitals until retirement in 1986. Jean died in UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh at the age of 79 on May 9, 2009. At her death, she and William had been married for 58 years. He only lived for a little less than three months longer. He passed away at the age of 80, in Uniontown Hospital, on Aug. 5, 2009. Burial was in Lafayette Memorial Park in Brier Hill, near Uniontown.

  • Granddaughter Alison Gribble married Raymond Stillwell and lived in Tennessee.

Daughter Joanna Gribble (1932- ? ) was born on Oct. 9, 1932 in Brownsville. At the age of 17, on March 3, 1950, she married 24-year-old Harry "Bud" Boyd Jr. (1925-2010), the son of Harry P. and Audomay (Martin) Boyd Sr. of Elliottsville, Fayette County. Their union endured for an extraordinary six decades until cleaved apart by death. Harry was a post office worker at the time of marriage. He earlier had served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force during World War II. The family resided in Grindstone, Fayette County for decades. The eight offspring born into the brood were Harry Boyd, Gary Boyd, Thomas Boyd, Douglas Boyd, Brian Boyd, Donna Mayne, Audrey Stevelak and Cheryl Young. Harry held memberships in the Grindstone post of the American Legion and the Brownsville Sportsmans Club. On March 3, 2010, the couple marked their 60th wedding anniverdary. Sadly, Harry passed away at home at the age of 85 on April 3, 2010. Rev. Larry Smith presided over the funeral service, with interment following in LaFayette Memorial Park. In an obituary, the family asked that any memorial donations be made to the American Cancer Society.

  • Grandson Harry Boyd married Dana. They were in Vanderbilt, Fayette County in 2010.
  • Grandson Gary Boyd wedded Candy. They established a residence in Grindstone.
  • Grandson Thomas Boyd was united in matrimony with Jennifer. The couple migrated to Haywood, VA.
  • Grandson Douglas Boyd was joined in wedlock with Sandy. The pair put down roots in Brownsville, PA.
  • Grandson Brian Boyd entered into marriage with Natalie. They also remained in Grindstone.
  • Granddaughter Donna Boyd wedded Don Mayne. They dwelled in 2010 in Smock, Fayette County.
  • Granddaughter Audrey Boyd married Jody Stevelak. The Stevelaks relocated to Lakewood, OH.
  • Granddaughter Cheryl Boyd was joined in matrimony with Brian Young. They have lived in Frederick, MD.

Son Homer Lee Gribble (1934-2009) was born on Oct. 16, 1934 in Brownsville, Fayette County. He was married twice. Offspring born to the first marriage were Alan Gribble, William Gribble and Debbie Tack. In about 1980, he wed again to Eleanor (Coleman) Roberts (March 28, 1937-2020), a native of Wytheville, VA and the daughter of Raymond and Grace Coleman. She is believed to have brought two children into the marriage, Lisa Blything and Michael Roberts. Homer initially resided in Alliance, OH, where he was employed as a manager of manufacturing for TRW. He joined Concord Casting in Eastlake in 1979, about the time he and Eleanor were married, and the family moved to Willoughby, OH. Homer spent 20 years with Concord as manufacturing manager, retiring in 1999. He liked to bowl, golf and root for the Cleveland Indians baseball team. He passed away at home on March 26, 2009, at the age of 74. Burial followed in Western Reserve Memorial Gardens. An obituary was published in the Willoughby News-Herald. Eleanor lived as a widow for 11 years. Death swept her away at the age of 82 on March 11, 2020, as a resident in the Heartland of Willoughby.

  • Grandson Alan Gribble was joined in wedlock with Mary. They resided in 2009 in Canton, OH.
  • Grandson William "Bill" Gribble entered into marriage with Cheryl. They moved to Carmel, IN.
  • Granddaughter Debbie Gribble was united in matrimony with (?) Tack. She was in Alliance, OH in 2009.
  • Step-granddaughter Lisa marred William Blything. Their home in 2009 was in Mentor, OH.
  • Step-grandson Michael Roberts dwelled in Eastlake, OH in 2009.

Daughter Donna L. Gribble (1931-2005) was born on Jan. 18, 1931. She was wed to Bernard B. "Bernie" Ochmann (Aug. 1, 1927-2008). The pair stayed together for 46 years until the separation of death. Three known children born into this family were Jeffery Ochmann, Pamela Toth and Rita Rode. Their home in 2005 was in Parma, OH. Sadly, Donna died on July 1, 2005, with an obituary appearing in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Bernard survived his bride by only three years. He passed away on Jan. 8, 2008.

  • Grandson Jeffery Ochmann wedded Sherry.
  • Granddaughter Pamela Ochmann married Thomas Toth.
  • Granddaughter Rita was united in wedlock with Robert Rode.

Daughter Nancy Gribble married Samuel Yeardie ( ? - ? ) of Brownsville. They had at least two children, Samuel Yeardie Jr. and Frances Kay Yeardie. Samuel Sr. was deceased by 1998. In 2005, Nancy lived in Brownsville.

  • Grandson Samuel Yeardie Jr. married Christine and lived in Fredericktown, Washington County, PA.

Daughter Patricia "Patty" Gribble was united in marriage with Donald Higginbotham. Their residence in 2005 was in West Brownsville.

Daughter Susan Gribble wed Charles Winter. They lived in West Farmington, Trumbull County, OH.

 

~ Daughter Hildred Minerva "Hilda" (Gribble) Freeman ~

Daughter Hildred Minerva "Hilda" Gribble (1908- ? ) was born in 1908. 

On March 4, 1925, at the age of 17, she married 21-year-old William Sommerville Freeman (Jan. 30, 1904-2002), son of John and Jannette "Nettie" Freeman. The ceremony was led by Rev. William Swaim and was held at the residence of the groom's parents in Mt. Sterling. Their union endured for a remarkable 57 years.

They made their home in Grindstone, Fayette County, where William was employed for many years with Republic Steel Corporation, from which he eventually retired.

Together, the couple bore three known daughters: Janet Price, Phyllis Marie Bowser and Irma Davis.

Circa 1916, Hilda's mother, and perhaps both parents, moved into their home in Grindstone, along the National Pike. Hilda's mother remained under the family roof for 44 years, and died in the home on June 28, 1960.

William was employed for 49 years in the coal mining industry. He worked at the Clyde and Agnes Mines of Republic Steel Corporation and retired as a fire boss.

Their addresses over the years were first in Rowes Run, Fayette County and then a move in 1939 to their permanent residence along the National Pike East in Republic/Grindstone. She was mentioned in the 1938 newspaper obituary of her sister Rebecca Swoger and in the 1960 obituary of her sister Alice Bennett.

William was active in the Dunlap Creek Presbyterian Church and later in the United Christian Church of California, PA, holding the posts of deacon, elder and trustee. He was a member of the Tri-County Men's Fellowship. He also liked to farm, garden and host family gatherings, and belonged to the Masons lodge in Brownsville. In later years, they enjoyed spending winters with their married daughter Phyllis Bowser in Barstow, CA, attending the Barstow First Congregational Church.

In 1975, the couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary and were pictured in the Uniontown Morning Herald. They held an open house at the Dunlap Creek Presbyterian Church Academy in Merrittstown. Two years later, in September 1977, they hosted a large family reunion at their home, with a resulting article in the Uniontown Evening Standard.

William passed into the arms of the eternal at the age of 98 on May 4, 2002, as a resident of LaFayette Manor in Uniontown. Funeral services were held in the family church, led by Rev. Wesley Ward. Interment was in LaFayette Memorial Park. Obituaries were printed in California in the Daily Press, Hesperia Star & Desert Dispatch.

Daughter Janet Freeman (1925- ? ) was born on Oct. 22, 1925. She was trained as a nurse. Janet wed Wendell Price ( ? - ? ), son of Ernest Price of 193 Derrick Avenue. In young manhood, Wendell had played baseball in Uniontown and earned income working for a department store. In January 1945, during World War II, Wendell joined the U.S. Army and was deployed to Okinawa with the Medical Detachment of the 9th Station Hospital. He was profiled in the camp's newsletter, The Beachcomber, reprinted in the Uniontown (PA) Morning Herald. The article said that "There is no denying that the most popular and best patronized department of the hospital is the post office. However, a person has to have an iron constitution to listen to all of the gripes and groans from the 'No Letter Today' fans. To Wendell Price goes this week's honors, for he has just the right personality for the job." The family resided at 44 Country Club Boulevard in Uniontown in the 1950s. They produced one known son together, James Guy Price. Janet worked at Uniontown Hospital's maternity ward. Active in hospital affairs, she helped with the annual membership drive of the Women's Hospital Auxiliary in 1951. Janet entered a Gold and Silver Dollard Cards promotion of the Kroger's supermarket and, when she won $200 in cash in April 1966, was pictured in a store advertisement in the Uniontown Evening Standard. In 1977, she served as nurses chairman for the annual fundraising dinner of the Fayette County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

  • Grandson James Guy Price (1953- ? ) was born in 1953. On his first birthday, he was pictured in the Uniontown Morning Herald.

Daughter Phyllis Marie Freeman (1929-2012) was born on St. Patrick's Day 1929 in Brownsville, Fayette County. She was a graduate of Redstone High School and then educated as a nurse at Brownsville Hospital, with additional training in hospitals in Allentown and Philadelphia. At the age of 22, in June 1951, she was united in matrimony with Clifton Bowser ( ? - ? ). Their marriage endured the ups and downs of an extraordinary 61 years. The couple bore two children -- Holly Bowser and Walter Bowser. Clifton joined the U.S. Army, and they lived together during his posting at Fort Knox, KY before he was transferred in the mid-1950s to Camp Irwin, CA. Phyllis drove cross-country by herself to join him there in the winter of 1955. The couple put down roots in the Mojave Desert in Barstow, CA and stayed for good, moving to their permanent home in 1962. She made a living as a nurse with Dr. Wilkes at Barstow Hospital and was involved with polio vaccinations and tuberculosis screenings for residents in the San Bernardino County area. She earned her bachelor of arts degree frm California State University at Los Angeles and in 1957 became a high school nurse with Barstow Union School District. She went on to another 21 years as an elementary school nurse for the Barstow Unified School District. During that time, she was a faculty advisor for the Candy Stripers and Future Medics Clubs. In all, her school nursing career lasted for 45 years, with retirement in 2002. The Bowsers like to make "occasional trips to her relatives in Pennsylvania, and frequent trips in the famil camper throughout the west and Baja," reported the Desert Dispatch. She also cultivated flower plantings and lily ponds at their home. She succumbed to death on Aug. 20, 2012. In an obituary in the Dispatch, the family requested that any memorial donations be made to the Boy Scouts, Hinkley School Science Department or Desert Aquatics swim team.

  • Granddaughter Holly Bowser married Alvaro.
  • Grandson Walter Bowser wedded Mary.

Daughter Irma Freeman ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was united in marriage with Wilbur Davis (Dec. 14, 1926-2020), son of Samuel Earn and Ruth (Springer) Davis. They remained together for an exceptional 72 years. The couple's two children were Joyce Kielbasa and Gene Davis. Wilbur was a graduate of Brownsville High School, with his education interrupted by service during World War II. As a member of the U.S. Navy, he was a radar instructor for the Atlantic Fleet Training Command. Upon his discharge, he returned home. They made their home in Brownsville in 1975-2002 and belonged to the United Christian Church in Coal Center, PA and Americal Legion post in Brownsville. In 1946, he joined the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 432. He earned a living as a master craftsman, the fourth generation in his family to pursue this trade. He was employed by McAnallen Corporation as a construction superintendent, and retired in 1989. William is known to have constructed their family dwelling. Said a newspaper, "hand in hand Wilbur and Irma built a beautiful life together centered around God, family, laughter and love." In his free time he liked to take part in sports car rallies, waterskiing and boating, as well as going to Gospel music concerts. At the age of 93, Wilbur died at home on Sept. 4, 2020. Following funeral services held in the family church, burial was held in LaFayette Memorial Park.

  • Granddaughter Joyce Davis entered into marriage with Edward Kielbasa. The pair were in Virginia Beach in 2020. Their offspring are Karen Ryan Patterson and Kevin Kielbasa.
  • Grandson Gene Davis wedded Carol. They put down roots in Mansfield, OH. They bore two known children, Scott Davis and Mallory D'Augustine.

 

~ Daughter Alice Clara (Gribble) Bennett ~

Daughter Alice Clara Gribble (1913-1960)was born on July 15, 1913 in Haddenville, Fayette County.

On July 11, 1938, at the age of 25, she married John "Reagan" Bennett ( ? - ? ), son of Walter Bennett of Brownsville. Rev. J. Byers Brice led the nuptials, held at the Pleasant View manse. At the time, reported the Uniontown Morning Herald, Reagan was employed at Bevan's Garage in Brownsville, and the newlywed couple began married life under the roof of John's parents.

They produced a brood of four children -- Mary Alice Petrosky, Cindy Lou Bennett, James R. Bennett and J. Lee Bennett.

In 1938, they lived in Searight, near Uniontown, and in 1960, their home was located at 556 Fifth Avenue Extension in Brownsville.

Stricken with colon cancer, Alice endured the disease for three years until her death on June 18, 1960, at the age of 46, at Brownsville General Hospital. Her passing occurred just 12 days before her mother's death. Her obituary was published in the Uniontown Evening Standard, and she was laid to rest in Redstone Cemetery in Brownsville, officiated by Rev. Frederick Wright.

Daughter Mary Alice Bennett wedded Albert Petrosky.

Daughter Cindy Lou Bennett married Steve Krocsko.

Son James R. Bennett

Son J. Lee Bennett (1933-2017) was born on Nov. 26, 1933 in Brownsville, Fayette County. He entered into marriage with Beverly ( ? - ? ). The couple's chidlren were William R. Bennett and Diana Malloy. The couple divorced. As his health declined, Lee became a resident of Generation Elder Care. He died there at the age of 83 on Sept. 29, 2017.

  • Grandson William R. Bennett wedded Andrea. They are believed to be the parents of Billy Jo Bennett.
  • Granddaughter Diana Bennett married (?) Malloy

 

~ Daughter Georgianna (Gribble) Santmyer ~

Daughter Georgianna Gribble (1916-1989) was born on Nov. 9, 1916. Her name also has been spelled "Georgiana."

She wed Orbin E. Santmyer (1912-1985), also spelled "Santemyre" and "Santmeyer." He was the son of Donald E. and Olive M. (Page) Santmyer.

The Santmyers had two known daughters, Leona "Fay" Calvey and Margaret Ann Charlton.

They lived in Grindstone and Brownsville circa 1938-1955. Orbin was a coal miner, and was employed in 1951 at the Maxwell Mine as a coal loader. His lower left leg was injured at work in late April 1951, after slate collapsed and fell on him. He was hospitalized in Brownsville and released. Circa 1955, their home was along the National Pike East near Brownsville.

Georgianna and her daughter Margaret and the Freemans traveled to Barstow, CA in July 1955, to visit with the Freemans' daughter and son in law, Clifton Bowser, who was stationed there in the Army. 

In 1966, Georgianna and Orbin made their home in Munhall in the Monongahela Valley near Pittsburgh. Georgianna remained there at least through 1977. 

Orbin passed away in March 1985 in Homestead, Allegheny County. 

Georgianna survived him by four years. She died in March 1989, also in Homestead.

Daughter Leona "Fay" Santmyer (1935-2021) was born on May 30, 1935. She graduated from high school and moved to Cleveland, OH, where she obtained employment with American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T). She married John A. Calvey ( ? - ? ), son of Mary Calvey, on Jan. 21, 1955. The wedding took place at St. Catherine's Roman Catholic Church in Cleveland. At the time, John was a laboratory technician with Republic Steel Corporation. Four children born in this family were John A. Calvey Jr., Thomas Calvey, James Calvey and Daniel Calvey. For decades, their home was in Garfield Heights. The Calveys endured the untimely deaths of their sons Daniel and Thomas, the latter son only three months before his mother. Sadly, Fay died on March 29, 2021 at the age of 85. Burial was in Calvary Cemetery.

  • Grandson John A. Calvey Jr.
  • Grandson Thomas Calvey (1959-2020) was born on April 19, 1959. He resided in adulthood in Garfield Heights, OH. He died at the age of 61 on Dec. 27, 2020. His funeral mass was sung at Saints Peter and Paul Church.
  • Grandson James Calvey
  • Grandson Daniel Calvey

 

Robert Charlton flew a private plane from California to see West Virginia football games

Daughter Margaret Ann Santmyer ( ? - ? ) worked prior to marriage as a teller at the Gallatin National Bank in Brownsville. On June 8, 1963, she wed Lt. Robert James Charlton (Sept. 3, 1940-2002), son of Donald V. and Julia (Steiner) Charlton of Brownsville. They were united in marriage in the First Presbyterian Church of Brownsville. The couple had two children, Donald Eugene Charlton and Lynn Rae DeFranco. Robert was a 1958 graduate of Brownsville High School where he played football and performed with the marching band. He went on to receive his bachelor of arts degree in aeronautical engineering in 1963 and a masters degree in mechanical engineering, both from West Virginia University. At the time of marriage, Robert was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, Sunnyvale, CA as a member of the 94th Aereospace Test Wing at Moffet Naval Field. He is known to have held a top secret classification for his military work during the 1965-1968 timeframe. Having also received a private pilot's license, he was able to fly from Sunnyvale to Morgantown to attend West Virginia Mountaineers football games. In 1967, he was bestowed an "Air Force Commendation Award and the following year received an honorable discharge.

The couple returned to southwestern Pennsylvania but eventually divorced. Robert found employment as a mining engineer and circa 1977 helped to design the Emerald Mine near Waynesburg, a facility owned by Alpha Resources which remained in operation until closure in 2015. Then in 1978, he founded Barbara Jean Coal Co., Inc., also known as AMD Industries, Inc. and Warrior Services Inc. based in California, PA. The companies employed 18 families in 2002 and was in the business of mitigating acid mine drainage at 15 former mine sites, with daily treatment of more than 35 million gallons of abandoned coal mine water. One of the company's project sites was the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, PA. In the community, Robert held a membership in the Beallsville lodge of the Masons and in 2000 was a recipient of the Republican of the Year and National Leadership Awards. He belonged to the Society of Mechanical Engineers in Pittsburgh and the Mountaineer Athletic Club at his alma mater, where he was designated a "Gold Scholar." Robert's final years were spent in Coal Center at 20 Melwood Drive. He passed into eternity at the age of 61 on May 6, 2002. Posthumously, in September 2014, he received a Brownsville Area Schools Distinguished Alumni Award.

  • Grandson Donald Eugene Charlton (1966- ? ) was born in 1966 in El Camino Hospital in Mt. View, CA. He is the father of Michael Charlton. His home in 2002 was in California, PA.
  • Granddaughter Lynn Rae Charlton ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was joined in matrimony with John DeFranco ( ? - ? ) . Four children born to this couple were Robert DeFranco, John DeFranco, Ryan DeFranco and Jenna DeFranco. Circa 2002, John managed his father-in-law's businesses, Barbara Jean Coal Co., Inc., also known as AMD Industries, Inc. and Warrior Services Inc. based in California, PA. The family resided in Coal Center, PA in 2002.

 

~ Son Thomas Ira Gribble Jr. ~

Son Thomas Ira Gribble Jr. (1919-1999) was born in 1919. 

In 1940, when he was 20 years of age, he earned a living as a truck driver with the Works Progress Administration (WPA). That year, the federal census shows that he lived with his widowed mother in the dwelling of his brother in law in Redstone Township, Fayette County.

He married AnnaMae Burke ( ? -2014), daughter of Jack and Emma Burke of Brownsville. They resided for decades in Hibbs, near Brownsville, and had three children -- Robert Dale Gribble, Timothy Gribble and Rindy McDowell.

Reported the Uniontown Herald-Standard, Thomas "was a member of the First Christian Church of Republic, a World War II veteran, having served with the Air Force in the Pacific. He was a life member of VFW Post 167, Charleroi, and a retired salesman for Mon Valley Provision."

Thomas died in Brownsville General Hospital at the age of 80 on Dec. 20, 1999. He was laid to rest at Lafayette Memorial Park in Brier Hill, Fayette County.

AnnaMae survived her husband by 15 years and remained in Hibbs. She passed away at the age of 94, at the Mount Macrina Manor in Uniontown, on June 5, 2014. She was placed into eternal rest beside her husband.

Son Timothy "Tim" Gribble married Robin Saxon, daughter of Arthur and Darlene (Hissom) Saxon of Brownsville. They are believed to have had two children, Apryle Dione Herczeg and Timothy J. "Tim" Gribble. Circa 1973, Robin owned and operated Robin Gribble Dance Center in Republic and Brownsville. At some point, they relocated to Belle Vernon/Rostraver Township, where Tim was employed as associate director of maintenance for the Allegheny County Housing Authority.

  • Grandson Timothy J. "Tim" Gribble is believed to have played football at Duquesne University (1992-1996) and served with the Pittsburgh Steelers scouting department for two years before joining the Washington Redskins as a scout. His scouting role has entailed evaluating college prospects throughout the northeast and now the midwest. 
  • Granddaughter Apryle Gribble married Alfred Herczeg. They lived in Belle Vernon and had one known son, Oliver J. Heczeg. Following her mother's path, Apryle became a dancer and as a teenager traveled extensively to teach and assist others. On stage in Las Vegas, she performed in the $100 million production, EFX, at the MGM Grand Hotel with David Cassidy, Tommy Tune and Rick Springfield, among others. She also has appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Learning Channel, Entertainment Tonight and the Billboard Music Awards. In 2007, she founded Company G, a dance studio in Perryopolis, Fayette County.

Daughter Lorinda "Rindy" Gribble married David McDowell. They had two known children -- Thomas Levi McDowell and David McDowell Jr. They made their residence in 1999-2000s in the Hibbs/Uniontown area. 

  • On May 20, 2006, son Thomas Levi McDowell, a loss prevention lead with Dick's Sporting Goods, married Charity Eileen Weyand in Rockwood, Somerset County, PA. At the time, the bride worked as a human resources manager with Cintas Corporation.

Son Robert Dale Gribble (1942-1999) was born on Feb. 3, 1942 in Brownsville. In 1979, at the age of 37, he married Sherry Puffer ( ? - ? ). He had four children -- Laurie Powers McCulley, Robert Gribble Jr., David Powers and Tony Gribble. He moved to Washington, DC in about 1965 and then in 1979 relocated to New Hampton, IA. Over time, he also made his residence in Greenville, SC; Jackson, MS, Traverse City, MI; Chicago; and Ames, IA. Said the Deborah (IA) Public Opinion, after obtaining an associate degree in mechanical engineering, he "worked for the United States Federal Government's Naval Research Laboratory and the Goddard Space Flight Center on the design of the first lunar landing space module and NASA's Space Shuttle. Most recently, he was executive director for Uncle B's Bagel Bakery in Ellsworth and was former executive director of operations for the Sara Lee Bakery Corp." In the community, he was a New Hampton City Councilman and president of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, served on the board of directors for the South Carolina Manufacturers Association, was appointed to the Governor of Mississippi's Business Development Task Force and was an Annandale Boys Club soccer coach and a high school basketball referee. Afflicted with cancer, Robert died at home in Ames on Sept. 10, 1999, at the age of 57. Rev. David Nerdig officiated at the funeral, held at Bethesda Lutheran Church in Ames, following by interment on the family farm in Fort Atkinson.

  • Granddaughter Laurie Powers wed (?) McCulley and lived in Alexandria, VA.
  • Grandson Robert Dale Gribble Jr. resided in Washington, DC.
  • Grandson David Powers made his home in Alexandria, VA.
  • Grandson Tony Gribble lived in 1999 in St. Louis.

 

Copyright 2007, 2009, 2012-2013, 2015-2016, 2021 Mark A. Miner