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William Thomas 'Bill' Minard


William Thomas "Bill" Minard was born in May 1862 (or 1863) in Barbour County, WV, the son of Margaret Minerd. His father's name is not known and most likely is lost to history. His mother later married Hiram "Poke" Mayle.

William resided in Philippi early in his adult life. On June 28, 1885, at the age of 22, he married 15-year-old Berthena Croston (1870- ? ), a native of Taylor County who was living in Barbour. The ceremony took place at the home of William's mother and step-father, with Rev. Israel Moats conducting the ceremony. "Boss Male" provided information for the couple's marriage license. 

William made his living as a coal miner at the time and occasionally traveled to find work. At one point circa 1890 he mined coal in Gilmer County, WV, staying there for several weeks at a time before returning home.

The Minards' marriage was troubled and did not endure. Berthena filed for divorce in 1890, stating that "he treated me so bad I couldn't live with him." In her deposition, she said that William "left one day and said he was going back to the coal bank and he never come back until I was gone, which was about two weeks afterward. He left me without anything to eat or live upon."

Philippi's famed covered bridge, built in 1852 and used by Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War


After their separation in 1890, Berthena went to live in the home of Jonathan "John" Mayle, and helped tend to his wife who was seriously ill following childbirth. William offered to pay John for his wife's room and board, while John paid Berthena to wash clothes. After the baby died, Berthena and John went together to the Glades in Maryland, while the wife remained behind to convalesce. William was led to believe they had "eloped," and later heard that John bought shoes for Berthena at Fred Byrer's store, hid them below the house of William's mother, and then told William's mother that John had sold all of Berthena's "things." It was clear to William that his wife had been unfaithful.

At some point, William forced an encounter with his estranged wife. It took place in the forks of the road "by Sam Watring's." In Berthena's words, "One day I was going to Taz Male's and my husband came out of the woods with a club in his hands and told me to stop. He called me all manner of scandalous names." As they argued along the road, each accused the other of adultery. Aus Male, Hanson "Hans" Croston and Andy Kennedy were present and observed the dispute. As an example of the complexity of the situation, William later asked Berthena, "Didn't you and Hans make it up between you that if you would give him a divorce to get my woman that Hans could give you a divorce to get Steve's woman?" 

William also bragged to Berthena that he had a girlfriend, Lucy Ann Ross (a.k.a. Collins), whom he "kept" at Ben Jones' home and for whom he had bought a dress. When Berthena asked about Lucy's "big belly," William acknowledged that he was the father of the baby. During the argument in the road, William spotted one of Berthena's ribbons on Hans Croston's hat. Hans and Berthena then left the scene of the argument, walking to retrieve Berthena's hidden clothes at the home of William's mother.


~ Marriage to Lucy Ross a.k.a. "Collins" ~

William filed for divorce, and it was finalized in late 1890 or early 1891. Both remarried almost immediately. Berthena wed Hans Croston [1872-1938] on March 22, 1891. 

Three days later, William married 20-year-old Lucy Ann Ross, also known as "Collins," (1871-1951), the daughter of Charles and Irene (Collins) Ross. The ceremony, states the marriage license, occurred "at the jail in Philippi,"with Rev. Moats again leading the service. Chester Male was the informant for the Minard-Ross marriage license. An effort to find a newspaper account of this unusual wedding, at the archives of West Virginia University, was unsuccessful.

Lucy had been born in Grafton "near "96."

William and Lucy Minard shortly thereafter moved to Athens County, OH, to the towns of Beebe and Lathrop. Daughters Grace Ellen Boehm (June 1893) and Edna Comedy (June 1896) both were born in Philippi although their births are officially on record in Ohio. There were at least 12 other children, eight of whom survived -- Oliver Minard (or "Minor"), William Thomas (or "Francis") Minard Jr., Gertrude M. "Girti" Holmes, Golda "Goldie" Adams Griffin, Myrtle Vincent, Charles Arthur Minor Sr., Lester Virgil Miner Sr. and Mildred Irene Owens Giblison. 

When the federal census was taken in 1900, William and Lucy and their six children lived in Philippi, where he labored as a coal miner. 

By 1910, the family had relocated to Fairmont, Marion County, WV. The census that year shows William as a "laborer - working out," while son Oliver was employed as "laborer - street," son Willie as "laborer - working out" and daughter Gertrude "working out - private home." The census taker labeled William's race as "black" while Lucy and the children were listed as "mulatto." Their home was on Jackson Street in Fairmont, and in 1910 they had seven boarders residing there -- Herbert and Hester Dingess, Wilson Porterfield, Douglass Howard, Bertha Newman, Floyd Male and Frank Robinson. 


In one final indignity, the Grafton Sentinel misspelled Lucy's name

At some point, in the mid-1910s after the birth of their youngest child, William and Lucy separated. While he has not yet been found on the 1920 census, the 1930 census suggests William was a "boarder" in the home of 55-year-old widow Lillia Newman and her three daughters in Philippi. That year, William worked as a farm hand. 

In June 1925, the Minard family received the shocking news that their son Oliver, age 36 and working at a coal mine near Clarksburg, was killed in a fall of slate. See below for details.

Lucy made her home circa 1930 in Grafton, Taylor County, at the age of 59. The census-taker marked her as "negro" and married, and working as a cook in a restaurant. Living under her roof were sons Charles (age 20) and Lester (18) and daughter Irene M. (16). Residing a short distance away were her married daughters Grace Ellen Boehm and Gertrude Freeman.

When her son Charles registered for the military draft in 1940, he stated that Lucy would always know his whereabouts. At the time, her address was 121 Ross Street in Grafton.

While in his early 80s, William suffered from cancer of the liver. He died at age 85 on June 24, 1948, and was buried at Chestnut Ridge Cemetery. His grave is not marked. The informant on his death certificate was son William Minard of Grafton, Taylor County. 

Lucy moved to Parkersburg, Wood County, WV in her later years, suffering from nephritis and hardening of the arteries. She died there on Dec. 5, 1951, at the age of 80, in the Camden Clark Hospital. In an obituary, the Grafton Sentinel reported that "Friends here have learned of the death of Mrs. Lucy Ann Minor of Parkersburg, wife of the late William T. Minor." On her death certificate, her race was labeled as "Negro." Following a funeral held at the Warren Methodist church, her remains were laid to eternal rest at Bluemont.

The "old colored section" of Bluemont Cemetery in Grafton contains hundreds of burials, virtually all unmarked, in the grassy section behind the arch. William, Lucy and at least one son are believed to rest here anonymously.


~ Son Oliver Minard ~


Clarksburg Exponent, 1925

Son Oliver Minard (1889-1925) was born on June 23, 1889 in Philippi. He spelled his name "Miner" and "Minor" as an adult. He was of medium height and stout build, with dark eyes and dark hair.

He is believed to have married Bertie Newman in July 1911, by the hand of Rev. M.W. Rider in Taylor County. 

During World War I, Oliver was required to register for the U.S. military draft. At that time, he lived at 37 Addison in Grafton, and was employed as a coal miner. He claimed that his employer was the State of West Virginia and that he worked at a penitentiary. He listed his race as "black."

When the 1920 census was taken, Oliver was married to Mary (?) (1879- ? ). They lived on Garnet Street, and he labored as a coal miner. He was a full decade younger than his wife. By 1925, however, Oliver was single again, and working as a coal miner at Ocean Mines, Harrison County, WV. 

Tragically, on June 4, 1925, he was killed at work while inside the mine, just a few weeks before his 36th birthday. The Clarksburg Exponent said he  was caught "in a fall of coal while working in the mines of the Cortright-Corning Colleries Company at Bridgeport. [He] had been employed by the company but a short time." His remains were returned to Grafton for the funeral at the home of his parents in Grafton, with services led by Rev. Byrd of the Second Baptist Church. Oliver's broken remains were laid to rest at Bluemont Cemetery in Grafton, likely in the "old colored section." 

The informant on his death certificate was Beulah Jones of Ocean Mines, connection unknown. Oliver is one of far too many cousins in our extended family to lose his life in a coal, coke or steel related accident in the workplace -- click for more.

Typical coal mining operation in Harrison and Marion Counties


~ Son William T. (or "F.") Minard ~


News obituary, 1977

Son William Thomas (or "Francis") Minard Jr. (1891-1977) was born in 1891.

He married Bernadine Delores Woods (1897-1998), the daughter of John and Margaret Marie (Connely) Woods of Wheeling, Ohio County, WV. The wedding took place in 1916, when William was age 25, and Bernadine 18. 

They went on to a married life spanning 62 years. Circa 1930, they made their home in Grafton, Taylor County, and he was not employed at that time. The census taker both listed then as "negro." William was a longtime coal miner and livestock dealer, and a member of the Pentecostal Mission. Bernadine, said a local newspaper, "was employed at the former Beaumont Glass Factory of Grafton. 

She was a member of the Fellowship Mission Church and the Taylor County Senior Center. Although she never had any of her own children, she loved and nurtured many children. 

William died in Grafton, Taylor County, WV on May 9, 1977, at the age of 86. 

Bernadine outlived her husband by 21 years, and celebrated her 100th birthday on Oct. 29, 1997. In her last years, she enjoyed her "good friends Paul and Dottie Crawford and Lena Saffel, all of Grafton," a newspaper said, [and] very special caregivers, Janet Minard and Ann Kismore, from the Taylor County Senior Center and a very special nurse Cindy Haller, of Hospice. Her last days were spent in the comfort of her home, surrounded by many caring friends." 

She passed away on April 25, 1998, and was laid to rest in Wesley Chapel Cemetery. Bernadine's obituary was reprinted in the 2004 booklet, Taylor County Tombstones, compiled by Pam Slaton and Norma Wyckoff, and on file today at the Taylor County Public Library in Grafton.


Bird's eye view of Grafton, showing the well-known railroad roundhouse in the center foreground


~ Daughter Grace Ellen "Helen" (Minard) Boehm ~


Daughter Grace Ellen "Helen" Minard (1893- ? ) was born in about 1893.

On Feb. 25, 1916, she married Leroy Boehm (or "Boehn") (1895- ? ) . She was age 22, and he 21, at the time. Rev. John W. MacPhail officiated. 

They are believed to have had one daughter, Juanita Brown.

When the federal census was taken in 1920, Grace lived on Fourth Street in Clarksburg, Harrison County, WV. With Leroy working away, she took in boarders Willard R. Randolph (shoe shine shop operator) and Elmer Pratt (hotel cook) to generate extra income.

In 1925, when named in the Grafton Sentinel obituary of her brother Oliver, Grace lived in Grafton. 

The 1930 census shows her married but residing alone on Front Street in Grafton, employed as a laundress. Living next door was her married sister Gertrude Freeman who not only was raising her own five children but also Grace's daughter Juanita. Their mother Lucy and younger siblings lived together in a separate dwelling a short distance away. 

Daughter Juanita Boehm (1921- ? ) was  born in 1921. She was raised by her aunt Gertrude (Minor) Freeman. Juanita married (?) Brown and migrated to New York State. In 1966 and 1993, when mentioned in Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle obituaries of her aunts Mildred Irene Giblison and Myrtle Vincent, her home was in Buffalo, NY.


~ Daughter Gertrude Mae (Minor) Freeman Holmes ~

Daughter Gertrude Mae "Girtie" Minor (1894-1965) was born in about 1894 in Ada, Hardin County (?), OH.

She wed William Franklin Freeman (1893- ? ), a native of Greenbrier County, WV in about 1915, when she was age 21, and he was 22. They were married in Kanawha County, WV, with Julius S. Carroll performing the ceremony.


Charleston Sunday
Gazette Mail
, 1965

They lived on Browns Creek near Charleston, Kanawha County, in 1925-1930, where William worked as a tailor. 

They are believed to have had nine children -- Sarah W. Johnson, Dorothy M. Marrs, Lovane Freeman, Carolyn E. Hyrams, William Thomas "Uncle Son" Freeman, Lucy M. Burns, Nadina Freeman, Denver S. Freeman, Sylvia Freeman and Ruth Freeman. Gertrude also helped raise her sister's daughter Juanita Boehm. 

When the federal census was taken in 1930, Gertrude lived next door to her sister Grace Ellen Boehm on Grafton's Front Street. Marked as "married," she headed a household of six children. She had no listed occupation. William's whereabouts are unknown, but he may be the same William Freeman who was a coal loader boarding that year in a house in Shinnston, near Clarksburg, Harrison County, WV.

By 1940, William had obtained work as a messenger in the state house in Charleston. Census records for 1940 show him heading a household with daughters Sarah and Dorothy and son William, and Gertrude's niece Louise Comedy and her two-year-old son. Gertrude's whereabouts in 1940 are not yet known.

Later, Gertrude married Oscar Holmes ( ? - ? ), who had been wed once before. He brought three adult children to the marriage -- Oscar Holmes, Elaine McCants and Mary Antoni.

The Holmeses lived at 1507 First Avenue in Charleston. Gertrude was a member of the First Baptist Church, Order of the Eastern Star and the Boyd Gleaners Club.

Gertrude died at the age of 70 in Charleston on Dec. 11, 1965. Her obituary, including a photograph, was published in the Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail. She was laid to rest in Charleston's Spring Hill Cemetery.

Daughter Sarah Freeman (1920- ? ) was born in about 1920 in West Virginia. Unmarried at the age of 20, she lived at home with her father in Charleston, Kanawha County, WV. Circa 1965, she was married to (?) Johnson and made her home in Mount Clemens, MI.

Daughter Dorothy Freeman (1920- ? ) was born in about 1920 in West Virginia. In 1940, at age 20, she resided in Charleston with her father and earned income as a waitress in a restaurant. She was wedded to (?) Marrs. In 1965, she dwelled in Chicago.


William T. Freeman

Son William Thomas Freeman (1923-2013) was born on Oct. 15, 1923 in Charleston, Kanawha County. He carried the nicknames "Son" and "Uncle Son." William lived in Charleston with his father in 1940. He joined the U.S. Army Air Force and served in World War II, Indochina and Korea. In 1965, he was stationed in Japan bearing the rank of sergeant. In 1952, at the age of 29, William was joined in marriage with Hideko Yamashita (1927-2010). A native of Osaka, Japan, Hideko was the daughter of Masato and Gin Yamashita. She bore the nicknames "Chuck" and "hideko-san." Three children were born to the marriage -- Frances McIntyre, William Hideo Freeman and Tomie Freeman. The Freemans relocated in 1959 to the United States. Hideko was " always a source of amusement and a source of all things Japanese," said a web news source. She "trained two generations in the joys of homemade Japanese foods." Sadly, the family grieved at the untimely death of daughter Frances, but details are not yet known. They spent their final years in Colorado Springs, CO. Hideko died first on Nov. 13, 2010, at the age of 83. William followed her to the grave three years later at the age of 89 on Sept. 1, 2013. His remains were placed into honored rest in Fort Logan National Cemetery.

Daughter Carolyn Freeman ( ? - ? ) was joined in wedlock with (?) Hyrams and resided in Chicago in the mid-1960s. She may be the same Carolyn Hyrams who died on Aug. 12, 2008 in West Virginia, but this needs to be confirmed.

Daughter Lucy M. Freeman ( ? - ? ) married (?) Burns. In 1965, she lived in Chicago.

Stepson Oscar Holmes ( ? - ? ) made his residence in Washington, DC in 1965.

Stepdaughter Elaine Holmes ( ? - ? ) married (?) McCants. She dwelled in Philadelphia in 1965.

Stepdaughter Mary Holmes ( ? - ? ) wed (?) Antoni and called Chicago home in the mid-1960s.


~ Daughter Edna Clara (Minard) Comedy ~

Daughter Edna Clara Minard (1896-1978) was born on June 15, 1896 in West Virginia.

At the age of 19, on April 15, 1915, Edna was joined in wedlock with 21-year-old William Comedy (1894- ? ), a native of Wood County, WV but a resident at the time of Sistersville, WV. Jesse R. Jones performed the ceremony in Taylor County. Edna's maiden name was spelled "Minor" on the marriage license application.

They went on to produce three offspring -- Pearl C. Jackson, Paul E. Comedy and Louise Comedy. Some time after the birth of their youngest child, in 1919, the Comedys separated and divorced.

Federal census records for 1930 show Edna, age 33, living with the children in a rented house on Latrobe Street in Grafton and earning income as a laundress. By 1940, Edna dwelled alone on Latrobe Street and was marked as a "widow" and "negro." She was employed in 1940 as recreation director for a Works Progress Administration recreation center in Grafton..

In 1977, Edna lived in Pasadena, Los Angeles County, CA, and was mentioned in the Grafton Mountain Statesman obituary of her brother William. 

She died in Los Angeles on Aug. 26, 1978, at the age of 82. Burial was in Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, Los Angeles County.

Daughter Pearl Comedy (1914-1992) was born on Sept. 7, 1914 in West Virginia. She married (?) Jackson -- his first name is believed to have been "Melvin" (1910- ? ). In 1935, they dwelled in Fairmont, Marion County, WV but by 1940 had migrated to the Bronx, New York. There, in 1940, they were housekeepers in the residence of Dr. John and Lillian Brush on Grosvenor Avenue. Melvin's fate is not yet known. Pearl died in or around Pasadena, Los Angeles County, CA on Sept. 26, 1992, at the age of 78. Her remains are believed to have been interred in Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, Los Angeles County.

Son Paul Edward Comedy (1916-2009) was born on Feb. 13, 1916 in West Virginia. He relocated to Southern California, settling in Pasadena. He passed into eternity in or around Pasadena, at the age of 93, on Oct. 22, 2009.

Daughter Louise Comedy (1919- ? ) was born in about 1919. She migrated to Charleston, Kanawha County, WV and boarded in the household of her married aunt and uncle, Gertrude and William F. Freeman. When she was about age 19, in 1938, Louise gave birth to a son, whom she named Charles Edward Comedy. The 1940 United States Census shows 20-year-old Louise and two-year-old Charles in the Freeman residence, and that she and her cousin Dorothy Freeman worked as restaurant waitresses.

  • Grandson Charles Edward Comedy (1938- ? ) was born in about 1938.


~ Daughter Goldie (Minard) Adams Griffin ~

Daughter Golda "Goldie" Minard (1898-1997?) was born in about 1898 in Ohio, with evidence suggesting her actual birthdate of Aug. 20, 1897.

She married Russell Adams (1894- ? )  in Taylor County on Dec. 6, 1915, when she was age 17 and he 21. Goldie's father gave his consent to the marriage, which was performed by Rev. J.W. MacPhail.

The Adamses had at least three children -- Irene Howard White, Helen Hyson Madison and Delbert Adams. 

They made their home in 1920 in Elizabeth, Allegheny County, PA. The 1920 census record shows New York-born Russell as black and working in a steel mill, while Goldie was labeled as mulatto. In their home that year was young daughter Irene Adams and Goldie's unmarried sister Myrtle Minor, age 12. 

By 1925, the Adamses had relocated again, to New York State, settling in York Township, Livingston County, where Russell obtained employment with a railroad. Their home was on Linwood Road in York Township, as indicated on the 1930 census.

Census records for 1940 list the ramily in Garbutt, an unincorporated community in Wheatland Township, near Rochester, Monroe County, NY, with Russell earning a living as a farm laborer. In addition to their three children, four-year-old grandson Jimmie Hyson lived under their roof that year.


Bird's-eye view of Rochester, with the landmark Eastman Kodak plant in view


In 1977, Goldie made her residence in Phoenix, AZ. She married again to Frederick Griffin ( ? -1999), who was divorced from her brother Charles' wife Mollie. Wife and husband were named in the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle obituary of her sister Mildred Irene Giblison in 1986 and their son in law Carl H. Madison in November 1988.

Goldie died on March 11, 1997 in Mesa, Maricopa County, AZ, just five months shy of her 100th birthday. An obituary in the Democrat and Chronicle named her three children and grandson, all living in Rochester, and also mentioned a "dear friend" as one of her survivors. Her remains were buried at the City of Mesa Cemetery, with her marker inscribed "1900-1997" along with the phrases "My loving friend" and "Always remembered." [Find-a-Grave]

Frederick survived her by two years. He passed away in Mesa on May 24, 1999. His remains were returned to Rochester for interment in Riverside Cemetery.

Daughter Irene Adams (1917- ? ) was born in about 1917 in West Virginia. Unmarried at age 23, she dwelled with her parents in Garbutt, Monroe County, NY. She eventually was united in holy wedlock with (?) Howard. The couple produced two daughters, Sheila Howard and Linda Howard. Later, Irene married a second time to Frank B. White ( ? -1985). Frank's children were Donald W. White, John E. White, James D. White, Elizabeth L. Cromartie, Louise E. Carpenter, Florence B. Whitt Morrison and Grace Tobias. They dwelled for many years in Rochester, Monroe County. Sadly, Frank passed into eternity on March 2, 1985 in Rochester. In addition to their children, an obituary in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported that he was survived by 33 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren and a dozen great-great grandchildren. His remains were placed into repose in Mt. Hope Cemetery following funeral services at the First Church of God led by Rev. Joseph Cromartie.

  • Granddaughter Sheila Howard made her home in Los Angeles in 1985.
  • Granddaughter Linda Howard resided in 1985 in Rochester, NY.
  • (Step?) grandson Donald W. White lived in New York City in the mid-1980s.
  • (Step?) grandson John E. White was wedded to Johnny Mae ( ? - ? ). Their residence in 1985-2007 was in Rochester.
  • (Step?) grandson James D. White married Nancy. They lived in Rochester.
  • (Step?) granddaughter Elizabeth L. White was joined in wedlock with (?) Cromartie and made her home in Rochester.
  • (Step?) granddaughter Louise White ( ? - ? ) was united in matrimony with Clarence E. Carpenter ( ? - ? ). They dwelled in Rochester and had these children -- Pandoura LaRose Carpenter, Pamela Ikpot, Clarence Carpenter Jr. and Mark R. Carpenter. Their daughter Pandoura (1948-2007) moved to Denver, CO, where in the 1970s and '80s she was involved in feminist activism, and then relocated to Oakland, where she was employed as a court mediator and authored several books. Circa 1985, she was active as a director of the Oakland Bay Area's Wry Crips Disabled Women's Theater Group. She also was involved with Y.O.U.T.H. Training Project, a collaboration of California Youth Connection and the Bay Area Academy of San Francisco State University, author of Taxi Tales, co-founder of Onyx: Black Lesbian Newsletter and founding member of Progressives Challenging Anti-Semitism,. She was pictured in the 2005 book Moving Over the Edge: Artists with Disabilities Take the Leap, authored by Pamela Kay Walker. Sadly, the 59-year-old Pandoura died "suddenly," reported the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, on Nov. 8, 2007. She was "loved by everyone." Funeral services were in Oakland, with a memorial service held in Rochester.
  • (Step?) granddaughter Florence B. White married (?) Whitt and (?) Morrison and lived in Rochester.
  • (Step?) granddaughter Grace White wed John L. Tobias. In 1985, their home was in Buffalo. Grace is believed to have been deceased by 2007.

Daughter Helen Adams (1921-2000) was born in about 1921 in West Virginia. At a young teen age, Helen married (?) Hyson. They produced a son, Jimmie Hyson, born in 1936. Helen and her son lived with her parents in Garbutt, Monroe County, NY in 1940 as shown by the federal census enumeration. She was marked as "married," but her husband's whereabouts are not known. She may also have produced a son George Hyson, but this needs to be confirmed. Later she was wedded to Carl H. Madison ( ? -1988), son of Theodore and May Madison. Carl had two sons -- Steven Madison and Carl Madison Jr. -- but it's unknown of Helen was their mother. Sadly, Carl died on Nov. 5, 1998, with an obituary printed in the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle. His remains were lowered into repose in the veterans section of Riverside Cemetery in Rochester. In 1997, Helen's home was in Rochester, Monroe County. Having survived her husband by a year and a half, Helen passed into eternity on May 3, 2000. The Democrat and Chronicle reported that arrangements were managed by Hall Funeral Home.

  • Grandson James Arthur "Jimmie" Hyson (1936-2002) was born in 1936 in West Virginia. He grew up in Garbutt, Monroe County, NY. James was joined in matrimony with Barbara Jean "Barb" ( ? - ? ). Their offspring were James Arthur "Chuckie" Hyson Jr. and Kenneth T. "Kenny" Hyson. Sadly, James died "quietly" at the age of 66 on Jan. 14, 2002. In an obituary, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle said that funeral arrangements were handled by Serenity Hill's Funeral Chapel and that interment would be "at the convenience of the family."

Son Delbert "Earlie" "Buddy" Adams (1925- ? ) was born in about 1925 in New York. He was wedded to Josephine LaSpina ( ? -1985). Their two children were Madelyn Evans and Nicholas Allegretti. Sadly, Josephine died on Sept. 15, 1985. Funeral services were held in St. Francis Xavier Church, with interment in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, and an obituary appearing in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Circa 1985-2000, the widowed Delbert made his home in Rochester, Monroe County, NY.

  • Granddaughter Madelyn Adams married Dennis Evans.
  • Grandson Nicholas Allegretti ( ? - ? )


~ Daughter Myrtle (Minor) Vincent ~

Daughter Myrtle Minor (1907-1993) was born on April 20, 1907, in Grafton.

Apparently after her parents separated, she went to live with her married sister Goldie Adams in Elizabeth, along the Monongahela River near Pittsburgh. 

Later, she married (?) Vincent ( ? - ? ).


Rochester, NY's famed Upper Falls


She made her residence in Rochester, Monroe County, NY in 1977.

At the age of about 86, Myrtle passed away on May 24, 1993 in Rochester. An obituary in the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle named as her survivors her sister Goldie Griffin, brother in law Frederick Griffin, nieces Helen Madison, Irene White and Juanita Brown and nephew Delbert Adams. Funeral services were held in the Joseph Hall Funeral Home.


~ Son Charles Arthur Minor Sr. ~


Mt. Albion Cemetery
Find-a-Grave photo by Susan Bradley

Son Charles Arthur Minor Sr. (1909-1964) was born on July 25, 1909 in a house on Latrobe Street in Grafton, Taylor County, WV.

At the age of 20, Charles lived with his mother and siblings in Grafton, where he was a laborer performing "odd jobs," as recorded on the 1930 census. He stood 5 feet, 7 inches tall, weighed 147 lbs. and had brown eyes and black hair.

Census records suggest that by 1935, Charles may have married Gertrude (1913- ? ). The couple did not reproduce.

Circa 1935-1940, the Minors lived in Knottsville, Taylor County, where he earned a living as a laborer for the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

Charles at age 31 was required to register for the military draft in October 1940, as the nation anticipated its potential entrance into World War II. At that time he disclosed that he was employed on Project 61 of the Works Progress Administration. The WPA was one of the ways President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the federal government tried to overcome unemployment and is widely considered one of the Roosevelt's largest and most ambitious undertakings of his "New Deal" to get the nation back on sound economic footing. Over the years, the WPA hired millions of out-of-work individuals to build public works projects, such as roads, bridges, retaining walls and buildings.. The family had a telephone exchange number "295." The draft registration clerk marked him as "Negro."

At some point, Charles migrated to upstate New York and boarded in the Griffin residence in Caledonia, Orleans County. On the night of Oct. 11, 1949, he and his landlord got into an argument, and she shot at him with a .22 caliber rifle. The bullet missed Charles but unfortunately wounded her 11-year-old son Gordon Griffin in the leg.

In an interesting twist of fate, Charles eventually marriage his feisty landlord Mollie (Chapman) Griffin (1916-2010), daughter of William and Emma Belle Chapman and a native of Caledonia, Livingston County, NY. She was divorced from Frederick Claymon Griffin (Dec. 11, 1916-1999) and brought these six known children to the marriage -- James D. Griffin, Frederick Griffin, Virginia Griffin, Benjamin Griffin, Harvey Eugene "Gene" Griffin and Gordon Griffin.

Charles and Mollie together produced 10 more offspring, among them Harvey Minor, Lucy Minor, Brenda Risher, Charles A. Minor Jr., Terry Minor, Wanda Minor, Arthur William Minor, Linda Minor, Richard "Rickey" Minor and Sandra Shaver.

The Minors were involved in a vehicular accident on Nov. 12, 1957 while driving in Brockport, NY. Their vehicle was "struck a car backing from a driveway onto the highway, and then was hit by a third car as it stood on the highway following the first collision," said the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Mollie was admitted to Lakeside Memorial Hospital in good condition.

Charles passed away at the age of 55 on Aug. 3, 1964. His remains were interred in Mount Albion Cemetery in Orleans County, NY. [Find-a-Grave]

Said a newspaper, in later years, "Mollie enjoyed the family barbeques, football games, and watching the kids play baseball. She liked to watch General Hospital, and would sit at the window with a cup of tea and enjoy nature. After Molly moved from the area, her family would always take her to Tasty Freeze for a vanilla ice cream whenever she would visit."

Mollie spent her final years in the Livingston County Skilled Nursing Facility. She died there at the age of 93 on March 5, 2010. An obituary was published in the Democrat and Chronicle naming all of her children and stating that she was survived by "a host of grandchildren, great and great-great granchildren, friends and loved ones." Burial was in Mt. Albion Cemetery in Orleans County, and the family asked that any memorial donations be made to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

Ex-husband Frederick Griffin married again to Goldie ( ? - ? ). He passed away in Mesa, AZ on May 24, 1999. Burial was in Riverside Cemetery in Rochester.

Stepdaughter Virginia Griffin ( ? - ? ) married Isidoro Morales Sr. ( ? - ? ). They produced seven children -- Felix Morales, Isidoro Morales Jr., James Morales, Frederick Morales, John Russell "Hymie" Morales, Lewis Morales and Molly Morales. In May 1967, she and her mother provided testimony in court in the robbery case involving her brothers James and Charles. Heartache enveloped the family at the deaths of her sons Felix in 1988, John in 1996 and James in 2014. She was living in Rochester in 2008..

  • Step-grandson Felix Morales (1960-1988) was born on Dec. 15, 1960. Tragically, at the age of 27, he died on Feb. 3, 1988. A short death notice was published in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
  • Step-grandson Isidoro Morales Jr. ( ? - ? )
  • Step-grandson James D. Morales ( ? - ? ) passed into the realm of eternity on Nov. 11, 2014. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle printed a brief death notice.
  • Step-grandson Frederick Morales ( ? - ? )
  • Step-grandson John Russell "Hymie" Morales (1966-1996) was born on July 23, 1966. The family was plunged into grief when he died at the age of 29 on Feb. 23, 1996. Interment of the remains was in Riverside Cemetery, with an obituary appearing in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
  • Step-grandson Lewis Morales ( ? - ? )
  • Step-granddaughter Molly/Mollie Morales ( ? - ? )

Stepson Benjamin Russell Griffin (1942-2008) was born on June 4, 1942 in Pavilion, NY. In young manhood circa 1969, he made his home at 78 Cleveland Street in Rochester. On Aug. 23, 1969, when trying to evict three party crashers from his home, he was shot in the back and hospitalized at Strong Memorial Hospital. He recovered and continued to dwell in Rochester. He was the father of four -- Chanita Griffin, Terry McClain, Va'Shaye Griffin and Benjmin Griffin Jr. Sadly, following an extended illness, believed to have been cancer, he succumbed to death at home at the age of 66 on Sept. 13, 2008. Burial of the remains was in the soil of St. Joseph Cemetery in Batavia.

  • Step-granddaughter Chanita Griffin relocated to North Carolina.
  • Step-granddaughter Terry McClain migrated to Missouri.
  • Step-granddaughter Va'Shaye Griffin made her residence in Rochester.
  • Step-grandson Benjmin Griffin Jr. lived in Rochester circa 2008.

Stepson Harvey E. "Gene" Griffin (1944-2020) was born on Dec. 23, 1944 in Caledonia, Livingston County, NY. He and Daisey Parker ( ? - ? ) produced a daughter, Antoinette Parker. He and Daisy Marie Brown bore a daughter Denise. Circa 1967, when his brother James and half-brother Charles Minor were accused of robbery and grand larceny, Harvey testified in court that he had an alibi and was in a Rochester tavern at the time of the killing. Then in 1970, Harvey was united in the bonds of matrimony with Paula ( ? - ? ). Their union endured for 49 years until cleaved apart by death. The couple's children are believed to have been Tammy Griffin, Keith Griffin and Kenneth Griffin. These other children were involved in some way -- Sheila Goins, Joslin Shipman, Woodrow Flagler and Levi Flagler.The Griffins resided in East Pembroke, Genesee County, NY. Sadly, as a patient in Unity Hospital in Rochester, the 75-year-old Harvey passed away on Jan. 24, 2020. An obituary said he was survived by 11 siblings and "a host of" grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

  • Granddaughter Antoinette Parker ( ? -2001) was born in (?). She was the mother of two children, Geneitha Parker and Tyshawn Abayomi Parker. Sadly, she died on Jan. 7, 2001. Funeral services were conducted at Grace-Unity Fellowship Church. Her obituary was published in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. In June 2006, her son Tyshawn, at the age of 23, was acquitted of the charge of two counts of second-degree murder in the May 2005 stabbing death of 28-year-old Christopher Youmas. The news was widely covered on the pages of the Democrat and Chronicle.
  • Granddaughter Tammy Griffin makes her home in East Pembroke.
  • Grandson Keith Griffin married DeOnn. They reside in North Carolina.
  • Grandson Kenneth Griffin was joined in marriage with Carolyn. They dwell in Batavia.

Stepson Frederick Griffin Jr. (1936- ? ) was born in about 1936. He made his residence in Batavia, NY in 1984-2008.

Stepson Gordon Thomas Griffin Sr. (1938-1997) was born in 1938. At the age of 11, in 1949, he was shot in the leg with a .22 caliber rifle "during an argument between his mother and a boarder," reported the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Fortunately he survived. By 1958, he was found guilty of stealing money from a milk machine and was imprisoned in Chester County Prison in West Chester, PA. Then in October 1958, he and a companion escaped but were arrested 20 miles away walking along railroad tracks in Morton, Delaware County. Gordon married Ciletta Reese ( ? - ? ) and made a home on Lincoln Street in Rochester. They were the parents of two known children -- Gordon Thomas Griffin Jr. and Ciletta Griffin, and perhaps others. The couple divorced. Gordon married Sherrilyn Wade ( ? - ? ), who brought five daughters to the union -- Shalondra, Alicia, Shenea, Shawana and Cokeitha Wade. Gordon lived in Ohio in 1984. He died on Oct. 29, 1997, with his obituary appearing in the Democrat and Chronicle.

  • Grandson Gordon Thomas Griffin Jr. ( ? -2004) was born in (?). He was united in wedlock with Monique ( ? - ? ). They were the parents of three. Research is underway to confirm that he died on Feb. 18, 2004 in Rochester.
  • Grandchild Ciletta Griffin ( ? - ? )

Stepson James D. Griffin (1944- ? ) was born in about 1944. In 1967, he and his half brother Charles Arthur Minor Jr. were convicted of first degree robbery and first degree grand larceny from a theft occurring in December 1966. His father and brothers Benjamin and Fred Jr. testified on their behalf in court. He made Rochester his home in the mid-1980s-2008.

Stepdaughter Lucy Griffin ( ? - ? ) was joined in wedlock with (?) Cartledge ( ? - ? ). Her residence in 1984 was in Rochester. By 1999, she was married to Howard Young ( ? - ? ). She relocated to Pittsburgh by 2008 and was there in 2020.

Son Charles Arthur Minor Jr. (1950- ? ) resided in Huntington Park near Rochester. When he was 17 years of age, he and his half-brother James D. Griffin were convincted of first degree robbery and grand larceny in the armed robbery of a couple living on McNamar Road. As a young man, he worked as a tool and die machinist at Genesee Metal Stampings Inc. of Henrietta, NY. On Aug. 30, 1996, he was married to Saurnthia D. Houser ( ? - ? ), daughter of George L. and Clizabeth A. Curtis of Lincoln Street in Rochester. The nuptials were held in Holley Falls, Orleans County, NY, with Delbert Adams serving as best man and Earlene Oxendine as maid of honor. Saurnthia was employed as a secretary in the Monroe County Health Department. In 2008, Charles lived in Rochester.

Son Richard "Rickey" Minor ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). He married Dianna ( ? - ? ). He made his home in Rochester, Monroe County in 1984 and in Buffalo, NY in 2008..

Daughter Sandra Minor ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). Sandra lived in Rochester, NY in 1984. She and Eddie McCrea are believed to have borne two sons, Norman McCrea and Malik Taje McCrea. Later, she was joined in matrimony with Theodore "Ted" Shaver (Aug. 2, 1953-2007). Two other children are connected with the family in some way -- Lisa McClary and Tina McClary. Mourning descended on the family when their son Norman died in 2002. The family asked in an obituary that any memorial donations be made to the Victims' Assistance Program. Sandy is thought to be the same "Sandy Shaver" who co-authored a guest column for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle on May 2, 2005, headlined "Into the Mournful Depths, One Group Throws a Lifeline," in support of the organization Family and Friends of Murdered Children and Victims of Violence. At the time, she dwelled in Springwater, Livingston County, NY. Sadly, Theodore passed away at the age of 54 on Oct. 14, 2007. His death notice was printed in the Rochester newspaper. The widowed Sandra remained in Rochester.

  • Grandson Norman McCrea ( ? -2002) was born on (?). On the horrific early morning hours of Nov. 9, 2002, while sitting in his SUV vehicle outside Omari's bar and restaurant on Lake Avenue, the 29-year-old Norman was approached by another man bearing a handgun and shot point blank in the chest. He died that day. An obituary was printed in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, and it later became known that the dispute was over a comment he had made to a woman. Burial of the remains was in Riverside Cemetery. The killer fled the scene, and was pursued via Crime Stoppers. A Kentucky man was arrested for the murder in 2008.
  • Presumed grandson Malik Taje McCrea ( ? - ? )

Daughter Brenda Minor ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She wedded Joseph Risher ( ? - ? ). Circa 1984, their home was in Pittsburgh, PA. Joseph is believed to have been a deacon, and she a sister, in the Corinthian Baptist Church in Pittsburgh's Soho District. Evidence suggests he once was named in a Pittsburgh Courier article about the congregation honoring its pastor, Rev. Christopher Glover, for 35 years of ministry. Circa 2020, the couple were associated with United Vision Baptist Church in Pittsburgh's Hill District..

Daughter Wanda Minor ( ? - ? ) dwelled in Rochester in the mid-1980s. She was quoted in several newspaper articles about the tragic accidental death of her brother Arthur. She was in Rochester in 2008.

Daughter Linda Minor ( ? - ? ) resided in Rochester in 2008..

Daughter Terry Minor ( ? - ? ) married (?) Carter ( ? - ? ). She made her residence in Minnesota in 1984-2008.

Son Arthur William Minor (1960-1984) was born on June 24, 1960. Circa 1981, when he was age 21, he obtained work as a carpenter for a roofing contractor in Holley. Tragedy visited the family on June 7, 1984 when 23-year-old Arthur was struck and killed by two passing automobiles in Clarendon, Orleans County, NY. At the time, he was living at 15989 Brown School House road in Clarendon. Reported the Democrat and Chronicle, he "was found at 2:55 a.m. by two motorists who apparently drove over Minor's body near the intersection of Lake Road in Clarendon, crushing his head and chest." The drivers were not charged, and suspecting foul play had led to his death in the first place, the family posted several hundred reward notices and classified advertising in an Orleans County newspaper. The family event went so far as to engage a psychic to try to solve the mystery and asked that additional assistance, preferably from a black organization, be brought in to help. A bartender who had served Arthur the night of the incident said that Arthur had fought with three men from West Virginia.


~ Son Lester Virgil Miner Sr. ~

Son Lester Virgil Miner Sr. (1911-1951) was born on July 12, 1911 in Grafton, Taylor County. In adulthood, he also spelled his name "Minor."

Early in 1930, Lester lived with his mother and was employed as a laborer of "odd jobs."

On June 26, 1930, at the age of about 19, Lester married 16-year-old Virginia R. Boston (1914- ? ). L.A.H. Moore officiated at the ceremony held in Grafton. Virginia was the daughter of John and Leona Boston Sr. of Grafton, all marked as "negro" on the 1930 census. 

Lester and Virginia first resided in the Grafton area and had at least two children -- Rosalie Miner and Lester Virgil Miner Jr. They also are believed to have produced daughters Katherine Minor and Dolores Minor.

In mid-1931, they lived at 121 Ross Street in Grafton. 

Sadly, two of their offspring died in childhood -- son Lester at age 10 months on April 21, 1931, caused by measles and pneumonia; and daughter Rosalie at age three months on Jan. 5, 1932, caused by intestinal toximia. The children were buried in Bluemont Cemetery, most likely in the "old colored section."

The family relocated to Lackawanna, Erie County, NY by 1940, as shown in the federal census, making their residence in a rented house at 161 Ingham Avenue.

By the early 1950s, Lester maintained a home in Conneaut, Ashtabula County, OH, with an address of 917 Day Street. He earned a living some distance away as a stokerman in the lime plant of Bethlehem Steel Company in Lackawanna south of Buffalo, NY.

Tragedy shook this family on July 18, 1951 when he and friends were enjoying an outing at Lake Erie near Conneaut. At 9:10 p.m., the 40-year-old Lester was in a row boat with companions Charles Jones and William Russell near the Conneaut lighthouse and jumped overboard to retrieve a comic book. He slipped below the surface of the water and disappeared. The Coast Guard was notified and dragged the lake in the search for the body. He was not declared dead until four days later, on July 22, 1951, when the corpse was discovered by fishermen at nearby North Springfield, PA. His remains were removed to Buffalo, Erie County, NY for interment. The Associated Press reported on the tragedy which was carried as a news story in newspapers across Ohio and Pennsylvania, and noted that Lester's two companions were charged with drunkenness.

Virginia was rendered a widow at age 37. Her fate after that is not known.

Presumed daughter Katherine Minor (1934- ? ) was born in about 1934 in West Virginia. In 1940, she lived with her mother in Lackawanna, Erie County, NY.

Presumed daughter Dolores Minor (1935- ? ) was born in about 1935 in West Virginia. In 1940, she lived with her mother in Lackawanna, Erie County, NY.


~ Daughter Mildred "Irene" (Miner) Owens Giblison ~

Daughter Mildred "Irene" Miner (1914-1986) was born in 1914.

On March 27, 1931, in Taylor County, WV, Irene married 21-year-old Ernest Owens (1910- ? ), a native of Tennessee. Rev. L.A.H. Moore performed the ceremony, the same clergyman who officiated at the wedding of Irene's brother Lester. Because Irene was age 18 at the time of her marriage to Ernest, her mother had to provide consent.

Irene eventually migrated to upstate New York, where she settled in Rochester, Monroe County.

She married Arthur Giblison ( ? - ? ). The couple did not reproduce.

In 1977, Irene made her home in Rochester.

She entered eternity on Nov. 25, 1986 at the age of 72. An obituary in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle identified her survivors as her husband, sisters Goldie and Myrtle, nieces Juanita Brown of Buffalo and Helen Madison of Rochester, and nephew Delbert Adams, also of Rochester. The site of her final resting place is not yet known.


Copyright 2005-2010, 2017, 2021 Mark A. Miner