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George Howard Minard
(1877-1955)

 

George Howard Minard was born on July 8 (or 18), 1877 near Uniontown, Fayette County, PA, the son of William H. and Ollie (Stull) Minerd. He was a longtime coal miner who used both the Minerd and Minard spellings.

The federal census of 1880 shows that at age two years, George and his younger brother Charles resided next-door to their parents in the home of their uncle, Robert Hixenbaugh, near Uniontown.

When George was seven, in 1884, his father was tragically killed in an explosion at the Youngstown (PA) works of the Youngstown Coke Co. In a rare legal move for the times, George's widowed mother successfully sued the company and received more than $500 in damages to support herself and her children.

On Aug. 17, 1896, when he was age 17, George married 16-year-old Anna Lydia Weimer (Sept. 30, 1879-1947), a native of Mt. Pleasant, Westmoreland County, PA, and the daughter of George and Hannah (Reynolds) Weimer. At the time, he worked at Mt. Braddock, and she was residing at the nearby coal mine patch town of Oliver.

The Minards produced four children -- Wyland "Wiley" E. Minerd, Olive H. Crawford, Nettie R. Rossomme and Evelyn M. Augustine.

 

Uniontown skyline, circa 1920s

 

 

Following his father's dangerous field of work, George was a coal miner for U.S. Steel Corporation. He is thought to be the same "George Minerd" who worked in 1904 at the Stewart Mine in Fayette County. On July 1, 1904, at age 27, he was injured at Stewart when he was "badly bruised about body," according to that year's Report of the Bureau of Mines of Pennsylvania. In 1910, he was a "lamp cleaner," according to the U.S. Census, and in 1931 was a "lampman," per the Uniontown City Directory. George and his son Wyland worked together at the Percy plant of the H.C. Frick Coke Company in the fall of 1912.

 

George was a member of the Calvary Methodist Church in Uniontown (founded by his father's first cousin, Rev. David Ewing Minerd, the famed "Blacksmith Preacher" of Fayette County).

The family lived in the coal mine patch towns of Youngstown, Percy, and later at 419 West Main Street, Uniontown.

 

Wiley's obituary, 1912

Heartache struck the family on Oct. 31, 1912, when 18-year-old son Wiley was accidentally shot and killed while celebrating Halloween. In a major story, the Uniontown Daily News Standard reported that Wiley and his friends:

...had been at a prayer meeting at the Percy church early in the evening and planned to celebrate Halloween later....  It is claimed that two of the young men ... had revolvers.  Suddenly a revolver shot rang out and young Miner [sic] fell to the ground crying out that he was shot....  According to the story told later to the county detective, [the friend] intended to fire off his revolver to frighten the girls.  He pointed it down to the ground, but stepped backward into a small ditch which caused him to raise his hand as he was pulling the trigger.  The bullet entered young Miner's body and inflicted a fatal wound.  In the general excitement the young people did not realize how the accident had occurred....  The deceased young man was an active worker in the Percy church, also in the Christian Endeavor Society and the bible class in Sunday school.

 

Mount Pleasant Journal, 1947

A coroner's inquest at Lemont on Nov. 6, 1912 found that Wiley had been shot in the abdomen by Dennis Matthews but the jury ruled that "the shooting was incidental." Wiley was buried at Park Place Cemetery in Uniontown. Some 34 years later, in October 1946, after his parents purchased a plot of graves at Uniontown's Sylvan Heights Cemetery, Wiley's remains were relocated there.

In 1921, George was an organizer of the Minerd-Minard reunion, held on August 13 at Ohiopyle, Fayette County. In an advance story, the Uniontown Morning Herald reported that "Members of the family are located in Fayette and Somerset counties" and that George's cousin Lawson Minerd was president of the reunion association. Two days after the reunion, the Morning Herald noted: "Members of the Minerd family from all over Fayette County were at Ohiopyle Saturday for the annual reunion. George Minerd of Lemont was a member of the committee in charge. The day was spent in sports and in talking over old times. A big dinner and supper were served."

When the federal census was taken in 1930, George and Anna and their youngest daughter Evelyn lived in South Uniontown. George's occupation was listed as coal mine laborer.

For the last year of her life, Anna was stricken with cancer of the stomach. When she then suffered acute bleeding in the gastric area, on June 2, 1947, she succumbed. Her remains were buried at Sylvan Heights Cemetery in Uniontown. 

George survived her by eight years. In mid-August 1949, living at 419 West National Pike, he suffered "a gunshot wound of the lower jaw," reported the Morning Herald. He was admitted to the Uniontown Hospital and his "condition was reported good." 

Then in the fall of 1955, he had been admitted as a resident of the Weimer Nursing Home. He died there of nephritis on Nov. 8, 1955. He was buried beside his wife and son at Sylvan Heights. 

 

Olive and Ira Crawford
Courtesy "Blue Rose of Cairo"

~ Daughter Olive Hanna (Minard) Crawford ~

Daughter Olive Hanna Minard (1898-1978) was born in about 1898 in Fayette County, PA.

On Aug. 2, 1913, when she would have been about 15 years of age, Olive eloped to be joined in marriage with 22-year-old Ira D. Crawford (Sept. 6, 1891-1970), the son of Charles E. and Nancy E. (Hanah) Crawford of Uniontown. Their wedding ceremony was held across the state line in Cumberland, Allegany County, MD.

The couple resided in Shady Grove, near Uniontown, Fayette County, and produced two children -- Rasely Minard Crawford and Evelyn "June" Lyle. 

Ira was a longtime employee of the West Penn Power Company among many other cousins in the extended Minerd-Minard family.

The couple were considered "widely known residents of this area," said the Uniontown Morning Herald.

 

Ira Crawford
"Blue Rose of Cairo"

In August 1930, Olive and her sisters Nettie Rossomme and Evelyn Augustine and children attended the annual Minerd Reunion, held at Shady Grove Park in Uniontown. They gave their names to distant cousin Laura Jane (Minerd) Williams, who later wrote a lengthy account of the event for her local newspaper back home, the Huntingdon (PA) Daily News.

Olive and Ira lived in Lemont Furnace, Fayette County in 1950.

The Crawfords celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on Aug. 2, 1963 with a party at the home of Olive's sister and brother in law, Evelyn and Ray Augustine. The event was publicized in the Morning Herald.

Olive spent her final years in Washington Township near Dayton, OH. Her address was 5201 Mad River Road. She was admitted to Miami Valley Hospital where she passed away at the age of 81 on Dec. 7, 1978. Her remains were returned to Uniontown to rest for all time in Sylvan Heights Cemetery. An obituary was printed in the Dayton Journal Herald, asking that any memorial donations be made to the Montgomery County Society for Cancer Control.

 

Rasely Crawford
"Blue Rose of Cairo"

Son Rasely Minard Crawford (1914-1972) was born on April 27, 1914 at Shady Grove/Youngstown near Uniontown, Fayette County. In adulthood he stood 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighed 145 lbs. and had brown eyes, brown hair and a light complexion. He was first married to Virginia K. ( ? - ? ). They dwelled at 110 South Street in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, PA, and he earned a living as an office worker with the Pennsylvania Automobile Insurance Association. The marriage did not last, and Rasely sued for divorce in Dauphin County Court in August 1938, alleging desertion. The following year, at the age of 24, on April 22, 1939, he married a second time to 26-year-old Frances "Miriam" Vard (May 4, 1912-1985), a native of Newton Hamilton, Mifflin County, PA, and the daughter of Grover C. and Frances (McEwen) Bard. She too had been married once before. Their nuptials took place at Kernstown near Winchester, Frederick County, VA, with Methodist pastor Rev. Homer Welch officiating. At the time, both resided in Harrisburg, him at 110 South Street and her at 1801 Market Street. They bore one son, Rasely "Bard" Crawford. During World War II, Rasely served as a private first class in the South Pacific Theatre, as an agent with the Criminal Investigation Department of the Army. At the same time, Miriam was employed by the Hagan Dairy in Uniontown. After his honorable discharge from the military, Rasely and his family moved to Altoona, Blair County, PA, where they were located in 1950 at 411 Hemlock Street. Circa 1963-1968, they dwelled in Fort Myers, FL, where Rasely was operator of the Corbin Garden Center. They celebrated a wedding anniversary in April 1960 by having dinner at the home of F.E. Starnes. That year, in August, they came north to spend a vacation with Miriam's parents at their traler home in the Mizpeh Campgrounds in Newton Hamilton, and then motored to Uniontown to see his parents. Rasely died at the age of 58 on June 29, 1972. An obituary was printed in his hometown newspaper, the Uniontown Evening Standard. Miriam outlived her husband by a number of years and in 1978 was in Fort Myers Beach, FL. She passed away on April 11, 1985, at the age of 72. Interment of the remains was in Fort Myers Memorial Gardens.

  • Grandson Rasely "Bard" Crawford (1940-2008) was born on Dec. 20, 1940. In 1968, in Lee County, FL, he was united in holy matrimony with Laura Kimberly Morris ( ? - ? ). Then on Oct. 2, 1977, he married a second time to Sally Ann Thomas ( ? - ? ). The couple divorced in Lee County on Oct. 19, 1983. He spent his life in the Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach areas and was the father of Dawn (Thomas) Ward Cullen, Lisa Swartzbaugh Allison and Scott Thomas. Sadly, he endured the deaths of grandsons Tab Swartzbaugh on Jan. 2, 2008 in Hoschton, GA and Jason Allan Ward on Sept. 29, 2008 in Fort Myers Beach. Rasely died at home at the age of 67 on Nov. 8, 2008. An obituary was published in the Fort Myers News-Press. His remains are at rest in Fort Myers Memorial Gardens.

Daughter Evelyn "June" Crawford (1920-2010) was born on March 1, 1920 in Uniontown. She married Richard "Dick" Lyle, MD ( ? -1987), son of Charles and Rose Lyle. Children born to this marriage were Terry Lyle, Thomas Lyle and Jeffrey Lyle. Dick served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. In 1956, he received his medical degree from the University of Iowa and went on to perform his residency at Miami Valley Hospital from 1957 to 1960. He then joined the Miami hospital staff and in 1967 founded and was named director of its radiation and therapy department. The Lyles made their home in the late 1970s and 1980s in Washington Township near Dayton, OH. In addition to a membership in the American Medical Association, he belonged to the Montgomery County Medical Society, was vice chair of the Dayton Area Cancer Association and a clinical professor of radiological services at Wright State University in Dayton. In 1979, he co-authored the article, "Electron-Beam Arc Therapy Using a High Energy Betatron." Sadly, Dick died at the age of 65 on Feb. 3, 1987. Funeral services were led by Fr. Joseph Taudabaugh, and an obituary was published in the Fort Myers News-Press. Other places she lived included Centerville and Bellbrook, Greene County, OH. The Dayton Daily News once said of June that she "loved the sun, outdoors, laughing and her pets." Grief blanketed June's world when her son Jeffrey passed away at an early age. June died on Feb. 12, 2010, with an obituary appearing in the Daily News.

  • Grandson Terry L. Lyle married June. They resided in North Fort Myers, FL in 1987. Terry lived in Port Charlotte, FL in 2010.
  • Grandson Thomas R. Lyle wedded Joan. Their home in 1987-2010 was in Bellbrook, Greene County, OH.
  • Grandson Jeffrey L. Lyle (1960-2007) was born on Feb. 22, 1960. He dwelled in Washington Township. He may have married Kay ( ? - ? ) and is known to have been the father of Heather Lyle. He died in the Hospice of Dayton at the age of 47 on Nov. 7, 2007. The Dayton Daily News printed an obituary.

 

~ Daughter Nettie (Minerd) Rossomme ~

Daughter Nettie Minerd (1900-1990) was born in 1900.

Nettie married George Alexander Rossomme (July 6, 1897-1961), a native of Irwin, Westmoreland County and the son of Brussels, Belgium immigrants Alex and Elia J. (Mondron) Rossomme.

They lived in Smock, Fayette County and had two known children -- George "Edwin" Rossomme and Olive "Jeanne" Thomas.

George served in the U.S. Army during World War I. In 1930, he was employed as a lamp man in a coal mine in Menallen Township, Fayette County. By 1940, still in Menallen, he had been moved into management and was a payroll clerk at the mine.

Circa 1947-1958, the Rossommes lived in Brownsville, Fayette County. Then in the first few years of the decade of the 1960s, they were on 77 Bierer Avenue in Uniontown. He was employed for a long time as a bookkeeper for the H.C. Frick Coke Company. The family belonged to the Calvary Methodist Church, and he was a member of the Lafayette Post of the American Legion.

Over the years, Nettie served as an officer of the American Legion Auxiliary in Uniontown, the Menallen Township Young Republicans and the Fayette County Salon of the Eight and Forty. Her name and photograph frequently appeared in the Morning Herald in connection with Legion activities.

Sadly, George suffered a massive heart attack and died instantly on Sept. 17, 1961, at the age of 64. Rev. Frank A. Bodnar preached the funeral sermon, and an obituary was published in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Nettie outlived her husband by many years. By 1978, she had relocated to Novelty, Geauga County, OH. She died in 1990.

Son George "Edwin" Rossomme Jr. (1922-1996?) was born in about 1922. He served as a staff sergeant with the U.S. Army during World War II, with service in the South Pacific Theatre. His photograph appeared in the Uniontown Morning Herald for being awarded the Air Medal "for completing 47 combat missions against the enemy... [as] an aerial gunner with the famed Grim Reapers, a Boston A-20 attack unit of the Fifth Air Force." Upon his arrival home for a 21-day leave in April 1945, reported the Morning Herald, a buffet supper celebrations were organized in his honor within two days at the homes of his aunt and uncle, Evelyn and Ray Augustine, in Uniontown, and Olive and Ira Crawford of Shady Grove. "Table appointments were attractive in orchid and yellow [at the Augustine home]. Out-of-town guests were present from Morgantown, W.Va., Fairchance and Connellsville, and places were arranged for 25." Then on Christmas Eve 1945, he was united in marriage with Mary Margaret Williams ( ? - ? ), daughter of Fred Williams of Cleveland, OH. Rev. Earl P. Comfer, of the Central Christian Church, officiated at the weddin, held in the home of George's grandparents, George and Anna Minerd. At the time, Mary Margaret was an alumna of Allegheny College and working at the Cleveland Clinic, while George was employed at Thompson Products in Cleveland. He may have died at the age of 74, in Birmingham, AL, on Dec. 2, 1996.

Daughter Olive "Jeanne" Rossomme (1928-1978) was born in 1928. Circa 1946, she was a student nurse in the School of Nursing at Washington (PA) Hospital. At some point she married (?) Thomas and lived in Uniontown. She died in 1978. Burial of the remains was in Sylvan Heights Cemetery in Uniontown, with her stone marked "In Memory of Jeanne Rossomme."

 

~ Daughter Evelyn (Minard) Augustine ~

Daughter Evelyn (1906-1987) was born on March 7, 1906 in North Union, Fayette County.

She married Raymond Glenn Augustine (Aug. 11, 1888-1967), a native of Markleysburg, Fayette County, and the son of Robert and Alice (Meyers) Augustine.

The couple did not reproduce. They lived at 419 West Main Street in Uniontown. 

Ray was a veteran of World War I as a member of a Salvage Division. He went on to spend his working years as a coal miner. He was a member of the A.J. Allen Class of Calvary Methodist Church in Uniontown, and often was pictured in the local newspaper in connection with class projects.

Evelyn and her sisters Olive Crawford and Evelyn Augustine attended the 1930 Minerd Reunion, held in Shady Grove Park, Uniontown. They were named in a related news story in the Huntingdon (PA) News.

Ray became a resident of the Golden Age Nursing Home in Brownsville. He was burdened with arteriosclerotic heart disease and succumbed to death at the age of 79 on March 26, 1967.

Circa 1978, Evelyn dwelled in Big Pool, Washington County, MD. She passed away in 1987, with burial in the Minard/Augustine plot in Sylvan Heights Cemetery in Uniontown.

 

Copyright 2002, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2020 Mark A. Miner