Joseph L. Minard was born on June 20, 1833, most likely in Knox County, Ohio. He is strongly thought, but not absolutely proven, to have been the son of Solomon and Rachel (Little) Minard Sr.
This biography is comprised of fragments of information about Joseph, but as so little of his life is known, more needs to be researched and discovered before his connection to our family is proven with more precision.
When a young boy, in the early 1840s, Joseph's mother died at a young age, leaving behind a large family of children. Then when his father remarried. Joseph and his sister Mary were sent to live with maternal aunts and uncles.
Joseph was taken to near Selbysport, Allegany County, Maryland to reside with an uncle and aunt, Joseph and Ann (Coddington) Little. The federal census taker recorded that Joseph, age 16, was in the Littles' household in 1850.
Joseph was joined in the bonds of matrimony with Nancy Stuck (1834-1872), a Maryland native whose family lived just over the state border from Somerset County, PA. She could neither read nor write.
They together bore a family of three sons -- William Minard, Howard Minard and Charles Minard.
The Minards made their home near Somerfield in Henry Clay Township, Fayette County, PA in 1860, with their sons. Joseph worked as a day laborer. Sadly, their son Charles died on Christmas Eve 1862, just a few weeks after his first birthday.
In 1857, when Joseph's father died near Jelloway, Knox County, OH, Joseph was named in a legal advertisement in a newspaper, naming all of Solomon's living heirs, as published in the Mt. Vernon Republican. The original today is found in Solomon's estate papers in the Knox County courthouse in Mt. Vernon.
In another legal document in connection with the father's estate, Joseph's whereabouts were listed as "unknown," while the locales of all of his other siblings were spelled out in detail.
During the Civil War, Joseph registered for the military draft, but was never selected for duty. The draft registration book shows that he was age 30, his occupation was "laborer," that he was born in Ohio, and that he resided in Henry Clay Township. The handwritten entry spells his name "Minor."
It's believed that the Minards' home in Selbysport was close to the town of Addison, Somerset County, PA, then known as "Petersburg." Addison sat along the National Turnpike, also known as the National Road and the National Highway, our nation's first super highway. At one end of town was a toll gate and eight-sided toll-keeper's building that are preserved today. The unique building is located within one-quarter mile of the cemetery where Joseph and Nancy later were buried. It is the home of the Great Crossings Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
When the federal census was taken in August 1860, the family (spelled "Miner") lived near Somerfield, Henry Clay Township, Fayette County. Joseph, age 27, is marked working as a day laborer.
Sadly, Joseph died on Sept. 4, 1865, at the age of 32, just a few months after the end of the Civil War. It's not known if he saw military service during the war, but this is being researched. He was laid to rest in Addison Cemetery.
By 1870, Nancy remarried to Jasper Umbel (1841- ? ), also spelled "Humble." He was the son of Thomas and Sarah Umbel of Henry Clay Township, Fayette County.
The couple produced at least three more children, and possibly five -- Benjamin F. Umbel, Laura Umbel, Felicia Umbel, Nancy Umbel and Jasper Umbel Jr.
Nancy and Jasper, along with her children Howard Minerd, Benjamin Umbel and Laura Umbel, all lived under one roof on a farm at Fayette Springs in Henry Clay Township, when the federal census was taken in 1870. Fayette Springs, also near the National Turnpike, was about 23 miles from Selbysport.
Nancy only lived a few years after her second marriage. Sadly, she passed away on May 2, 1872, at the age of 38. As she was dying, she asked her son Howard to promise that she would be buried on the Stuck family farm near Markleysburg, Fayette County, just a few miles from Selbysport. The dutiful son complied with his mother's wishes.
The now-widowed Jasper Umbel was left with several young mouths to feed. Suffering from rheumatism, he moved with the offspring back to his parents' farm in Henry Clay Township. He is shown there in the 1880 federal census, with the census-taker marking him as widowed and "Infirm."
Some 33 years after her death, in 1905, Howard had his mother's remains moved to Addison Cemetery so the family would be together for eternity. He installed a marker for the combined grave that features a beautiful, mysterious and haunting statue of a woman in thought, seated at the very top of the massive monument. No doubt this statue was intended to represent the memory of his long-dead mother and the sorrow of Howard's loss at such a young age.
One of the reasons for the relocation was the convenience so it "could be looked after better," said an article about the event in the Connellsville (PA) Daily Courier. Howard let it be known that the cost of transporting the sacred remains was $160 and of the monument was $2,000. During the work, the casket apparently was opened, revealing a bow of ribbon and a decorative pin which Nancy wore when buried, and which "were in a good state of preservation." Howard took the ribbon and pin out of the casket and showed the objects to friends.
During the 1930s, laborers with the Works Progress Administration recorded all the burials at Addison Cemetery, and prepared a long typed list of the names and dates. Today, this list is available online on the Somerset County GenWeb Archives, on page 21. Other members of the Stuck, Coddington and Umbel clans also rest in the Addison Cemetery.
The fates of son William Minard (born 1855) and Nancy's second husband Jasper Umbel are unknown, and possibly lost to history. They are being researched, and will be reported here when learned.
We are grateful to Little family researcher Sue Sohn for sharing her research findings on Joseph Minard's origins.
~ Nancy's Son Benjamin F. Umbel ~
Nancy (Stuck) Minard Umbel's son Benjamin F. Umbel (1868- ? ) was born in about 1868 in Henry Clay Township, Fayette County.
~ Nancy's Daughter Laura Umbel ~
Nancy (Stuck) Minard Umbel's daughter Laura Umbel (1869- ? ) was born in Aug. 1868 in Henry Clay Township, Fayette County.
~ Nancy's Daughter Felicia Umbel ~
Nancy (Stuck) Minard Umbel's daughter Felicia Umbel (1871?- ? ) was born in about 1871 in Henry Clay Township, Fayette County.
~ Nancy's Daughter Nancy Umbel ~
Nancy (Stuck) Minard Umbel's daughter Nancy Umbel (1873?- ? ) was born in about 1873 in Henry Clay Township, Fayette County.
~ Nancy's Son Jasper Umbel Jr. ~
Nancy (Stuck) Minard Umbel's son Jasper Umbel Jr. (1873?- ? ) was born in about 1873 in Henry Clay Township, Fayette County.
Copyright © 2000, 2007, 2011, 2019 Mark A. Miner