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Oakey David Harbaugh
(1894-1975) and
Annie 'Gertrude' Shroyer (1897-1978)

See Fallingwater Today, Images of Bear Run, 2004 Reunion and Fallingwater: A Long Family Affair

 

  

Oakey and Gertrude

Oakey David Harbaugh was born on Oct. 8, 1894 at Maple Summit, Fayette County, PA, the son of Robert B. and Elizabeth (Long) Harbaugh Sr.

On Valentine's Day 1917, at the age of 20, Oakey married 19-year-old Annie "Gertrude" Shroyer (1897-1978). She was a native of Clay Run, Fayette County, the daughter of Jacob A. and Laura Belle (Younkin) Shroyer

They were married for more than a half-century -- nearly 58 years, to be exact.

The Harbaughs produced a family of five children – Evelyn Morgan, Lester D. Harbaugh, Wilma "Gladys" Kellner, Laura Elizabeth "Betty" Lafferty and Norma Liston. 

They are seen here in a penny postcard photograph with their eldest children Evelyn, Lester and baby Gladys.

 

With children Evelyn, Lester & Gladys

Oakey was a longtime farmer residing near Normalville, Fayette County. They were members of the Indian Head Church of God, where Gertrude was a member of the Ladies Bible Class.

The Harbaughs enjoyed attending the annual Harbaugh Reunions, beginning in the inaugural year of 1926. Their involvement continued over a span of more than four decades. From 1969 to 1973, Oakey won the annual reunion award as the "Oldest Man Present." Over that same timespan, he and Gertrude captured the yearly award for "Couple Married Longest."

Oakey worked for a dozen years at the Mill Run country estate of Pittsburgh department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr. Kaufmann is best known for his landmark house, Fallingwater, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built over a waterfall, widely considered around the world the most famous modern house in America. 

 

Fallingwater

Oakey and Gertrude resided on the Kaufmann property circa 1956, in a two-story frame house next to the large Kaufmann barn where Oakey labored along what is now Route 381. 

When the federal census was taken in 1930, Oakey and Gertrude and their four children were listed as making their home in Springfield Township, Fayette County. Just a few doors away were a number of relatives -- including John Andrew and Susie (Pletcher) Miner, Jacob and Laura Belle (Younkin) Shroyer and J. Frank and Ida (Burkholder) Younkin.

During World War II, when he was age 47, Oakey registered for the military draft. He stated his employer as "self" and that his mailing address was Mill Run. He stood five feet, nine inches tall, and weighed 135 lbs., with grey eyes, brown hair and a ruddy complexion.

Gertrude was an article contributor to the Younkin Family News Bulletin, a national and unique family newspaper published between 1934 and 1941, and edited by her cousin, Charles Arthur Younkin.

 

Kaufmann house and barn where the Harbaughs lived and worked near Mill Run

 

 

Younkin Family News Bulletin

A 1938 edition of the News Bulletin carried an article headlined "Five Living Generations – Is There Another?" The piece highlighted the birth of Oakey and Gertrude’s new grandson, Galen W. Morgan. On Gertrude’s side of the family, the baby was a fifth generation of living relatives. Said the article, "This great family group can boast of at least one, very few persons regardless of age, have known of the fifth generation ‘to live,' and be a part of it is a proud heritage." 

 

55th anniversary

In December 1934, Oakey and his brothers in law Kenneth and William Shroyer won civil lawsuits against C.B. Moore in wages for labor they had performed for Moore. The case was heard by cousin William Henry "Squire" Miner, a justice of the peace in Mill Run. Oakey's award was for $38.50, and Kenneth's for $25.00. William's amount was not recorded.

In 1972, the Harbaughs celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary. The color image seen here shows Gertrude and Oakey posing beside their three-tiered anniversary cake.

Sadly, Oakey passed away on Jan. 26, 1975, at the age of 80, at Somerset Community Hospital. He was buried at the Indian Creek Baptist Cemetery in Mill Run, Fayette County, where many generations of his ancestors are at final rest.

Gertrude survived him by three years. 

She moved to Franklin, Venango County, PA, where her daughter Gladys Kellner made her home. There, Gertrude passed away on Jan. 24, 1978.

 

Oakey and Gertrude's grave at Indian Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, Mill Run

 

 

Fallingwater Rising

Oakey and Gertrude are mentioned in a highly praised 2003 book by Franklin W. Toker, entitled Fallingwater Rising. It was published by the prestigious New York house of Alfred A. Knopf. (Click to read more about the book along with short reviews by the New York Times and Washington Post, among others.) 

They also were honored at our family's 2004 national family reunion, held at Kingwood, Somerset County, PA, on the theme of honoring all of the cousins known to have been employed at Fallingwater over the decades.

 

~ Daughter Evelyn (Harbaugh) Morgan ~

Daughter Evelyn Harbaugh (1917-1998) was born on Aug. 18, 1917 in Springfield Township, Fayette County. 

In the late 1930s, Evelyn married Lloyd J. Morgan (1909-1974), a native of Rockwood, Somerset County, and the son of Frank and Ada (Growall) Morgan. They were eight years apart in age.

They produced at least three children: Galen Wayne Morgan, Douglas E. Morgan and Jean Hostetler.

When the federal census was taken in 1940, the Morgans dwelled on Bridge Street in Rockwood, with Lloyd employed as a wood worker at a planing mill, apparently helping to build a government park. 

The family were members of the United Methodist Church of Rockwood.

Over the years, Evelyn worked as a secretary in the Rockwood office of her husband's business, Clapper's Building Materials. 

Said the Somerset Daily American, Lloyd "was a member of the United Methodist Church of Rockwood, the Rockwood Rotary Club, [and] he also managed the Clapper Building Materials in Rockwood since 1957." 

Lloyd died at the age of 65, in Somerset Community Hospital, on Christmas Day 1974. Burial was in the Rockwood IOOF Cemetery, following a funeral service officiated by Rev. Dwayne Johnson of the family church.

Evelyn survived her husband by almost a quarter of a century. She entered eternity, in Somerset's Patriot Manor, on Feb. 24, 1998, at the age of 81. An obituary in the Somerset Daily American noted that she was survived by nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Son Galen Wayne Morgan (1939- ? ) was born in about 1939. He married Kay (?) and resided in Meyersdale RD3.

Son Douglas Morgan apparently was married twice. He and his first bride had three children -- Wayne Morgan, Kim McGraw and Jeff Morgan. Later, Douglas married a distant cousin, Sharyn (Wheaton) Tinsmith (1947-2015), daughter of Douglas and Kathleen (Younkin) Wheaton of Somerset. She too had been wedded before, and brought two sons to the marriage -- Douglas Tinsmith and Michael Tinsmith. Together, for some 22 years, Douglas and Sharyn owned and operated the Country Trail Store in Rockwood. She also was a licensed practical nurse and worked for many years at the Somerset Correctional Institute (SCI) Somerset. Sadly, at the age of 68, Sharyn died at home on Sept. 29, 2015. Rev. Jim Monticue officiated at her funeral and burial in the Kingwood Odd Fellows Cemetery.

  • Grandson Wayne Morgan died young -- details to be learned.
  • Granddaughter Kim Morgan married Jim McGraw and made their home in Jenners, Somerset County.
  • Grandson Jeff Morgan resided in Rockwood.

Daughter Martha Jean Morgan was united in wedlock with Roger Romesberg. They made their home in Somerset.

 

Normalville Cemetery

~ Son Lester Harbaugh ~

Son Lester Harbaugh (1919-1987) was born in 1919. 

He married Margaret Brooks (Feb. 8, 1919-1997), the daughter of Braden and Margaret (Miller) Brooks of Normalville, Fayette County.

The Harbaughs made their residence in Normalville and went on to have a family of four children -- Vivian Biler, Sandra Tressler, Larry Harbaugh and Rodney Harbaugh. 

Lester “was a self-employed farmer and carpenter for the building and trade union,” said the Somerset Daily American. "He was a veteran of the U.S. Army in World War II and a member of the Mill Run Grange."

 

Brooks history book

During the war, his movements were chronicled in a hometown newsletter, The Messenger, edited by a distant double cousin, Ferne (Minerd) Work. In June 1945, for example, the Messenger noted that "Mrs. Lester Harbaugh spent 10 days with her husband at Camp Blanding, Fla. Lester has recently been transferred to Fort Belvoir, Va." Another Messenger article in February 1946 said that "Earl Friend and Lester Harbaugh are both in the Pacific in the Philippines, I believe. They are just two miles apart and have visited each other." In March 1946, it reported that "We hear Lester Harbaugh is going to get home, soon." 

The Harbaughs were members of the Indian Creek Baptist Church. They are mentioned in the 1975 book, Brooks Family History

Lester passed away on June 6, 1987 at the age of 78. An obituary in the Somerset Daily American said that among his survivors were six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Margaret outlived him by a decade. She died in Mill Run at the age of 78 on Feb. 8, 1997. Her obituary also appeared in the Daily American.

Daughter Vivian Harbaugh ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was united in matrimony with Charles Biler ( ? - ? ), the son of John and Mary (Kolecki/Kraynak) Biler. Circa 1978, they dwelled in Connellsville.

Daughter Sandra "Sandy" Harbaugh ( ? -living) was born in (?). She wedded Warren Tressler ( ? - ? ). They were the parents of Toni Lou Porterfield and Amy Rae Shaffer. A single mother for many years, Sandra made a home in 1987 in Mill Run and in 1997 in Somerset.

  • Granddaughter Toni Lou Tressler (1966-living) was born in 1966. At her second birthday, she was pictured with her sister in the Connellsville Daily Courier. Toni was united in the bonds of marriage with Earl Porterfield ( ? -living).
  • Granddaughter Amy Rae Tressler (1967-living) was born in 1967. She was pictured in the Connellsville Daily Courier when celebrating her first birthday. On Aug. 18, 1990, when she would have been about 23 years of age, Amy was joined in wedlock with David Alan Shaffer ( ? -living), son of William and Shirley Shaffer. The wedding was conducted at the Friedens Lutheran Church, with Rev. James Ling presiding. At the time of marriage, Amy Rae woked at Sheetz in Somerset, while David was employed by Highland Tank Manufacturing of Stoystown. They have spent their married lives in Stoystown and have borne two sons, Jacob Aaron "Jake" Shaffer and Eli Shaffer. Grief cascaded over the family when son Jake -- the father of Braxton Eli Shaffer -- "lost his battle with addiction" at the age of 28 on May 16, 2020, reported the Somerset Daily American. "Jake was a 'Jack of all Trades' for Shaffer Construction, best known for beautiful bathrooms. There was nothing he couldn’t fix with his mechanical skills. He enjoyed working on cars (many in Somerset Co.), dirt bike riding, where he was the king of wheelies, and spending time with family."

Son Larry D. Harbaugh ( ? - ? ) married Dorothy ( ? - ? ). They were in Mill Run circa 1987-1997.

Son Rodney D. Harbaugh ( ? - ? ) made his residence in Pittsburgh in 1987. At the marriage of his niece Amy Rae in 1990, he escorted her down the church aisle. Rodney relocated to Chicago and was there in 1997.

 

~ Daughter Wilma "Gladys" (Harbaugh) Kellner ~

Daughter Wilma "Gladys" Harbaugh (1927-living) was born in about 1927 and grew up in Mill Run, Fayette County.

As a young woman, she made a living for two years as an employee of Robertshaw Thermostat plant in Youngwood, Westmoreland County, PA.

Then on July 1, 1944, she married Robert Samuel Kellner ( ? - ? ), son of William J. and Dess (Young) Kellner of Oil City, Franklin County, PA. The nuptials were held in Jacksonville, FL, in the parsonage of the Springfield Presbyterian Church, officiated by Rev. Russell F. Johnson. At the time, Robert was a first class petty officer. News of the wedding was printed several months later in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Robert served for 44 months with the Navy during World War II and was honorably discharged at the Naval Air Base in Jacksonville in November 1945. From there the couple relocated to Oil City.

The Kellners produced several children, among them Barbara Elizabeth Foster, Richard R. Kellner and Robert Kellner.

 

Connellsville Daily Courier, 1944

 

 

Kellner's Fireworks logo

They were owners of Kellner's Market, a Oil City grocery store, and Kellner’s Fireworks, founded in 1947 and operating in Harrisville, Butler County, PA. Their address in the 1970s was 40 East Bissell Avenue.

Today the family business is run by their son Robert. Kellner's Fireworks was a corporate sponsor of our 2008 national reunion celebrating "Pittsburgh 250."

Son Richard R. Kellner obtained a bachelor's degree from Gannon College in Erie, PA. He spent his early years in law enforcement, first with the U.S. Army military police at Fort Dix, NJ and later with the Erie Police Department in Erie, PA. He wedded Aris Ramos, daughter of Manuel Ramos of Browns Mill, NJ. Aris had received a degree from the University of Puerto Rico in Ponce. At the time of marriage, she worked as a federal government educational counselor at Watson Army Hospital at Fort Dix. News of their engagement was printed in the Franklin (PA) News-Herald.

Daughter Barbara Elizabeth Kellner graduated from the local vocational education school in 1970 and attended Clarion State College's Venango Campus. She also was employed by Franklin Hospital as a licensed practical nurse. On July 12, 1975, she was united in holy matrimony with Robert Erick Foster ( ? -living), son of Taylor W. and Louise Foster of Franklin, PA. The couple bore three children -- Erick Matthew Foster, Abby Foster and Elizabeth Werkheiser. Robert was an alumnus of Waynesburg College, having received a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1968 and West Virginia University, where he earned a master's degree in business administration in 1970. At the time of marriage, Robert was an assistant vice president for personnel with First Seneca Bank. They later relocated to Wexford, Allegheny County, PA and lived just a few doors away from the parents of the founder of this website.

 

  • Erick Foster

    Grandson Erick Matthew Foster ( ? - 2007) was born in Oil City but grew up in Wexford, Allegheny County, PA. He graduated from Duquesne University in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in information systems management.At the age of 29, serving as a captain and paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, he died Aug. 28, 2007 of combat injuries sustained during an enemy attack using small arms fire in Muqdadiyah, Iraq. He was the troop commander of A Troop, First Squad, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. Erick had one previous combat deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2004 to 2005. Click here for the Army’s official announcement, a related story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and a KSDK-TV feature in St. Louis about a special tribute made by his sister Elizabeth. Tragically, Erick is now one of more than 30 known cousins of the Minerd-Minard-Miner-Minor family to make the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives in military service during wartime. Kellner's Fireworks organized a huge fireworks exhibition on Aug. 22, 2008 in Oil City, Pa in memory of Erick and as a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project. Visit the Capt. Erick M Foster Memorial Fireworks Exhibition website.

 

At our 2008 reunion celebrating "Pittsburgh 250," Gladys (Harbaugh) Kellner and family unveil a portrait of her grandson, Capt. Erick Foster, who lost his life in military service in Iraq.

 

 

Betty and Bob Lafferty

~ Daughter Laura Elizabeth "Betty" (Harbaugh) Lafferty ~

Daughter Laura Elizabeth "Betty" Harbaugh (1926-2003) was born in 1926. 

She married Robert Lee Lafferty (1923-2003), the son of Charles Albert and Elnora (Saylor) Lafferty.

They remained married for 41 years, and had no children. 

Robert worked for Dick Sparks Sawmill early in life, and later was a truck driver and laborer for Springfield Township in Fayette County, a position from which he retired. 

 

Anchor Hocking Glass, Connellsville

Betty worked for many years at Anchor Hocking Glass in Connellsville, Fayette County, seen here. They were longtime members of the Mill Run United Methodist Church. 

They hosted a visit from the founder of this website in the fall of 1992. 

Betty passed away at the age of 76 at the Eicher Personal Care home in Normalville, Fayette County, on Feb. 13, 2003. 

Robert followed her into eternity eight months later, at the age of 80, on Nov. 8, 2003. They were laid to rest in the Husband Cemetery in Somerset, Somerset County, PA.

 

~ Daughter Norma K. (Harbaugh) Liston ~

Daughter Norma K. Harbaugh (1934-living) was born in about 1934 and grew up in Mill Run, Fayette County.

On March 21, 1952, at the age of 17 or 18, she eloped with 28-year-old Ora Ray Liston (Nov. 26, 1923-2020 to be wedded in Oakland, Allegany County, MD. He was a native of Bruceton Mills, Preston County, WV and the son of Hosea B. and Hazel (Foreman) Liston. Their marital union endured for an extraordinary 68 years.

Ora was a veteran of World War II.

The three children born to this marriage were Cynthia Rae Pletcher, Robbie Younkin and Terri McKeel.

As the young children reached milestone birthdays, they were pictured in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

In about 1960, the couple relocated to Mill Run, Fayette County. They were members of the Mill Run United Methodist Church and later the Indian Head Church of God.

 

Anniversary article, Connellsville Daily Courier, 1992

 

Ora was a longtime carpenter and woodworker and made a hobby of constructing birdhouses. He belonged to the Pittsburgh Carpenters Local 2274 and Local 1010. He also was a farmer, raising barley and pigs which he advertised for sale in the local newspaper. Norma was an active volunteer leader with the Mill Run Community Fair. They enjoyed vegetable gardening. Ora also was a member of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars and at death was its oldest member.

When they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in 1992, the Listons were profiled in the Connellsville Daily Courier. The article said that the "anniversary was celebrated with a party hosted by their children held at the Silver Leaf Dining Room, Connellsville, for about 100 friends and family members. Among the gifts was a money tree given in their honor by their grandchildren. The story later was reprinted in the Younkin Family News Bulletin.

Sadly, Ora was carried away by the Angel of Death at the age of 96 on April 25, 2020. Because of the national quarantine due to the coronavirus, no public funeral service was held. Rev. Douglas Nolt and Rev. Ed Mikkelson officiated at the private funeral, with burial in the Indian Creek Baptist Cemetery.

Daughter Cynthia Rae Liston (1953- ? ) was born in 1953. She wedded William "Bill" Pletcher ( ? - ? ). In 1992-2020, they dwelled in Hunker, Westmoreland County, PA.

Daughter Robbie Liston ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). Circa 1977, she was employed by Shinholt Chiropractic Clinic in Somerset, PA. In June 1977, she married a double cousin, Randy Younkin ( ? - ? ), son of Calvin R. "Junior" and Beryl (Sparks) Younkin of Normalville of the family of William Henry and Rachel (McClintock) Younkin. In a story about the wedding, Robbie was pictured in the Connellsville Daily Courier. Prior to marriage, Calvin received a bachelor's degree from Penn State University in 1975 and secured employment as a mining engineer with Consolidation Coal Company's Laurel Mine in Central City. Their home in 1992-2020 was in Rockwood, Somerset County.

Daughter Terri Liston ( ? - ? ) was joined in wedlock with (?) McKeel ( ? - ? ), son of Joe and Mora McKeel of Markleysburg. She resided in Mill Run. Later, she was united in matrimony with John Hamm ( ? - ? ), son of Sandy Hamm. They endured the untimely death of John's son Stephen Matthew Gordon at the age of 39 on March 25, 2019.

 

Copyright © 2003-2004, 2006-2008, 2015 Mark A. Miner. Fallingwater Rising cover image courtesy of RandomHouse.com. Erick M. Foster image courtesy of the US Army.