Odger Miner -- no middle name -- was born on May 21, 1905 in Washington, Washington County, PA, the eldest son and one of seven children of Harry Orlan and Armena V. (Cain) Miner. He had no middle name.
Odger is seen at right holding his younger brother Orlan Lloyd Miner, circa 1908.
In the mid-summer of 1919, when Odger was 14, his father died unexpectedly of a stroke. Faced with the overwhelming heartache, and the need to support his widowed mother and three younger siblings Orlan, Jessie and Anna, Odger made the difficult decision to leave high school and get a job.
He found employment as a machinist at the old Hazel Atlas Glass No. 2 plant in Washington, where in 1926 he earned a whopping total of $1,616. He was a member of the American Flint Glass Workers' Union, and his name was published in the union's Quarterly Report of the National Secretary Treasurer in 1928. (Click here to see a rare old postcard photograph of the plant.)
On Jan. 2, 1928, at the age of 23, Odger was united in matrimony with 21-year-old Monalea Eleanor Ullom (1907-1977), the daughter of Lantz Hupp and Maude Alice (Hinerman) Ullom. (The Ulloms owned Ullom's Hardware, Wallpaper and Paint Store for many years on West Chestnut Street in Washington.) The wedding took place in the morning in the parlor of Monalea's parents' home on North Franklin Street so that Odger could then go to work without missing any time.
The spring after they were married, Odger and Monalea honeymooned at the famed Civil War battlefield in Gettysburg, PA. They were photographed standing at the monument to the 9th Battery, Massachusetts Artillery, along the Wheatfield Road. In an interesting twist, Monalea's parents accompanied them on the trip. Photographic evidence suggests that the foursome also made a swing up to New York City on that trip, or another time in the early years.
When the Hazel Atlas plant closed, in about 1928, the Miners relocated to the growing steel town of Aliquippa, Beaver County, PA. Odger found a steadier, better-paying job at Peoples Natural Gas Company, which was supplying fuel for the booming Jones & Laughlin Steel factory as well as expanding residential communities. He remained with People for the next 40 years.
He also ran a side business, Gas Appliance Service. On many cold snowy winter nights, including more than one Christmas Eve, Odger and his sons went to customers' homes to repair mal-functioning gas furnaces and other gas appliances.
~ The Henry Miner Family Reunions, 1928-1931 ~
Odger was part of an effort in the late 1920s to recognize his family history through a reunion of the offspring of his great-grandparents, Henry and Polly (Younkin) Miner. The first reunion was held in September 1928, at Washington Park, and his uncle William Allen "Will" Miner was elected president and recited a family history he had commissioned. Others involved with the organization were his late father's cousins William R. Bedillion, Golie Cephas Bedillion, Lucy (Bedillion) Martin and Rebecca (Birch) McElfish.
While the first event was billed erroneously as the "Henry and Elizabeth Yonkon Miner" family, it drew 10 families and a total of 40 people, and Odger was elected secretary. Reported the Washington Reporter, "After partaking of a bountiful supper, plans were made for an annual reunion." The uncle's historical report disclosed that the family name had once been spelled "Minerd" with the "d," and that it was of "Pennsylvania Dutch" (German) origin. He promised to send a copy to Odger's sister Jessie Schultz, but "never got around to it," she recalled. Unfortunately, the report was lost, said to have been left behind in the Pomona house where he last lived, and Orlan's daughters later made an effort in vain to recover the papers.
The 1929 reunion was held at Wheeling Park in West Virginia, with "a large attendance" of guests coming from Aliquippa, Charleroi, Washington and Martins Ferry, OH, said the Reporter. Odger was re-elected secretary and Orlan was elected vice president. At the following year's reunion on Aug. 9, 1930, in Washington Park, Orlan was re-elected as vice president, and the Reporter said there was "a good attendance. The afternoon was taken up with games and conversation. At 6 o'clock a picnic dinner was served." All that's known of the 1931 reunion -- as the nation slipped deeper into the morass of the Great Depression -- was that it was scheduled to be held on August 8 and in an advance story, the Reporter said that "All relatives are invited to join this group taking well filled basket for a sumptious [sic] dinner. Dinner will be served at 6 o'clock."
~ A New Home in Aliquippa ~
The Aliquippa in which the Miners made their first home was dominated by the city's largest employer, Jones & Laughliln Steel, or "J&L" for short. The corporation's sprawling works churned out steel products and stretched for miles on the banks of the Ohio River. It's said that in a city with a population of about 30,000, about a third worked "in the mill."
The company also built communities of houses in segregated sections -- known as "plans" -- so that Eastern Europeans were to live in Plans 1, 2, 4 and 9; Serbs and Slavs in Plan 7; Italians and Poles in Plan 11; Jews in Plan 8; Anglos, Germans and Nordics in Plan 12; and management in Plan 6.
Initially, from 1928 to 1934, the young family made their home in Aliquippa's Plan 12 at the address of 1124 Irwin Street, a rented house. During that time, Odger suffered from painful stomach ulcers, thought to have been caused by his dread and fear that he might die young, as his father had at age 42. For a time, he was bedfast and could only drink milk to soothe his stomach. Only after he reached his early 40s did he lose this anxiety and fully recover his health.
The census-taker of 1930 recorded the names of Odger and their eldest son as spelled "Ordger" and at the time Odger worked in sales for the gas company. When his widowed mother married Benjamin Franklin Marshall in September 1934, the nuptials were held in Odger and Monalea's Irwin Street home so that he could participate as best man. Later that year, the Miners moved four-tenths of a mile away to a house at 711 Reed Street.
By 1936, Aliquippa was undergoing a profound change. That year, tempers flared widely when J&L was engaged in a battle over wages and working conditions with unionized workers. When the company fired employees who were union members, they filed suit with the National Labor Relations Board. The largest picnic in the history of Aliquippa was held in September 1936, drawing 60,000 spectators who enjoyed a parade of marching and floats, with events "held at three locations, a park in Plan 11, Franklin Field, now Morell Park, and Ravine Park, which was the center of activities," said the Beaver County Times.
Perhaps because of the need to be physically and mentally tough to survive, Aliquippa has produced more than its share of talented people who went on to national fame over the years. The list includes pro football hall-of-famers Tony Dorsett, Mike Ditka, Ty Law and Darrelle Revis, basketball superstar Pistol Pete Maravich and multi-Oscar and Grammy Award winning musical composer Henry Mancini, among many others. Odger and Monalea's son Wayne and son-in-law Gordon Jones worked "in the mill" during their college summers, and both decided that type of life was not for them.
Aliquippa thrived for decades until the decline of the steel industry and shutdown of J&L in 1985. Today Plan 12, where the Miners first made a home, is widely reputed as one of the most dangerous in Beaver County.
From 1930 to 1940, the Miners produced four children were Odger "Wayne" Miner, Richard "Dean" Miner, Marjean Lee Jones and Donald William Miner.
All three sons and their son in law later served in the U.S. Armed Forces -- Wayne during the Korean War, Dean during the Japan Occupation, Don during the Cuban Missile Crisis and Gordon Jones during the Korean War era.
In 1936, with Odger working despite the grip of the Great Depression, but with the Aliquippa community in widespread conflict, they purchased a lot of ground on McKinley Avenue in the new subdivision of Sunset Hills in nearby Hopewell Township. The price for the ground was $235 through Laughner Real Estate Company. Odger engaged architect Harold Bradley to design a Cape Cod style house, into which they moved in the late winter of 1936. They expanded by constructing a garage in 1937 and adding to their small dining room in 1945. With an eye toward the future in 1940, for a dollar, they purchased an adjoining lot and used it over the years as a garden. A telephone was first installed in 1945.
During the winter of 1936, Monalea and sons Wayne and Richard "Dean" took a walk on thick ice of the frozen Ohio River in Aliquippa, seen here, not far from their home. On the back of the snapshot, Monalea wrote: "This was taken out on the river two weeks ago. It was solid clear across and heaped ice cakes taller than I am. We were probably a third of the way across when this was taken." Later, when the ice melted throughout Pittsburgh's three rivers region, it caused what is considered the worst flood ever to engulf the City of Pittsburgh and environs.
~ Hopewell School Board ~
In 1943, Monalea was a candidate for Hopewell's Judge of Elections and Supervisor of Elections. She remained interested in public and community service throughout her life.
Despite the fact that he only had an eighth grade education, Odger served from 1947 to about 1952 as a school board director and/or secretary of what today is the Hopewell Area School District. During his tenure, a new junior-senior high building was constructed, and the district undertook a major merger with two other districts (Independence and Raccoon), which was pioneering in the field of public education at that time.
Odger is mentioned and pictured in The Viking high school yearbooks during that period of time, many of which are preserved today in the Beaver County Genealogy & History Center at the Carnegie Free Library of Beaver Falls, PA. As well, Odger is named and pictured in a 1953 study of the merger published by University of Pittsburgh researchers William Yeager and William Byers, entitled A Limited Educational Survey of Hopewell Independence Raccoon Joint School. A copy of the Pitt study is in the Minerd-Minard-Miner-Minor Archives. Among the board directors with whom he served were Mona Lang, B. Albert Smith, Lawrence F. Blaney, Frank Manges, Myron E. Rowley, Dr. G.B. Rush, Pearl Temple, C.L. White, Michael Kalenek and H.B. Roberts.
~ Hopewell Volunteer Fire Department ~
Odger also was an active Boy Scout troop leader and a director of both the Hopewell Township Volunteer Fire Department and Hopewell Firemen's Relief Association. The fire department was created in 1940, four years after the Miners moved there, after a major fire occurred on South Heights Road. Two years later, in 1942, the department members pooled their funds to purchase two old fire trucks from the Aliquippa Fire Department -- a 1916 Brockway and 1918 American LaFrance. According to Aliquippa historian Gino Piroli, a columnist with the Beaver County Times, the fire department was the unofficial center of the local Republican party during those years. Seen here, Odger stands second from right on the running board of the Brockway truck, along with Hopewell volunteer firemen Lester Ramsey, Clyde Spieker, Walter Ramsey and R. Lee Ramsey.
(The Brockway fire truck image was the Minerd.com "Photo of the Month" for April 2014 and was further reprinted by the Beaver County (PA) Times as part of its "Vintage Views" feature on April 28, 2014.)
An actual fire hall building was constructed in 1945 at the corner of Brodhead Road and McKinley Avenue, just down the street from the Miners' dwelling at 3006 McKinley. As a boy, the founder of this website attended fish fries and an auction at the fire hall over the years.
The Hopewell firemen knew how to poke fun at themselves during parades. They would place a box of old engine parts in a compartment in the engine area of the truck. When driving up to the judging stand, one of them would pull a string causing the parts to fall to the ground with a loud clattering sound, and another would make the truck backfire, adding more sound effects. Then they would run to the front of the truck, gather back all of the parts, and continue driving along. The stunt was guaranteed to amuse spectators, time after time.
~ Other Community Activity in Hopewell ~
Continuing their interest in history, Odger and Monalea were founding members of the Mill Creek Valley Historical Society, a region in the south side of Beaver County. He collected antique lamps, and one later was donated to the Baker-Dungan Museum at the Beaver Campus of Penn State University. A local newspaper once said his lamps were important:
...not only for their own value locally, but also in the wider context of their relation to county, state and national history.... Many of his lamps have been collected locally, for example, one said to be from the old Academy in New Sheffield, but he has obtained others from Boston to Florida, and throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the W.Va. panhandle.
Odger and Monalea were active in church and attended the CM&A Church in Aliquippa. Later, they joined the Ohio United Presbyterian Church in Hopewell, where he was a trustee for many years. He also was chairman of the Department of United Church Men of the Council of Churches of Beaver County. At right, Odger holds grandson Mark at a family get-together circa 1962. They enjoyed hosting family get-togethers and other social events at their home.
During the 1950s, after Odger's uncle Will Miner became ill, he came to live temporarily with the Miners in Hopewell while he received medical treatment. Will's health returned, and in gratitude for the kindness, but without Odger's knowledge, he went to the bank to pay off Odger's mortgage. When he discovered that Will had tampered with his finances, even in such a positive way, Odger was furious.
The Miners are known to have traveled to Florida in the summer of 1956 so Odger could attend the Lions International Convention in Miami. On that trip, they visited at the Tampa home of Monalea's favorite uncle, George Allen Hinerman (a.k.k. "Hineman"), a veteran of the Spanish-American War. During that trip, Odger and their son Don joined Lions Club friends on a fishing trip in Miami, and Don hooked a three-foot, 18-lb. dolphin. A photograph Odger, Don and the prized catch was printed in the Beaver Valley Times (July 12, 1956).
~ The Miners' Final Years ~
Monalea outlived Odger by nine years. She took a dream vacation to Europe in the summer of 1969, visiting England, Italy, France and Spain, among other countries. She also became involved in many community activities, including as a volunteer docent at Old Economy Village in Ambridge. She also volunteered with the Baker-Dungan Museum at the Beaver Campus of Penn State University, and took in Penn State students as lodgers.
She died on Oct. 25, 1977, at the age of 70, in Aliquippa Hospital, after a painful battle with stomach cancer. She was laid to rest beside her husband in Washington Cemetery, directly across the road from the graves of her parents and married sisters Thelma Riggs and Mildred Day.
Today, the Miners' names adorn a beautiful blue memorial stained glass window in the Ohio UP Church sanctuary in Hopewell.
~ Son Odger "Wayne" Miner, P.E. ~
Son Odger Wayne Miner, P.E. (1930-2012) was born on March 19, 1930 in Washington, PA.
His earliest years were in Aliquippa's Plan 12 and then in Hopewell. He was a delivery boy for the Beaver Valley Times newspaper. He also helped his father install and repair natural gas furnaces in customers' homes in the area, often on freezing cold nights when the appliances gave out, and once or more on Christmas Eve. He was vice president of the student body at Hopewell High School, and when graduating, was handed his diploma from his father, secretary of the school board.
At the age of 27, on July 6, 1957, he married Constance Irene Jagerski, daughter of Frank J. and Helen (Balysh) Jagerski Sr., of Monaca, Beaver County. They enjoyed 55 years and one day of married life together.
They bore three sons -- Mark Alan Miner, Scott David Miner and Eric Wayne Miner.
Wayne initially attend Washington and Jefferson College and then Grove City College. During the Korean War, he served in the U.S. Army. It was seeing the Golden Gate Bridge as a soldier, and knowing that it was fabricated in Ambridge, that inspired him to become a civil engineer. He received his bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1958 from the University of Pittsburgh, and went on to a 39-year career as a highway engineer with the firm Richardson Gordon & Associates and its successor, HDR Engineering, retiring in 1997.
He was involved with the design of the Crosstown Boulevard (I-579), completion of the Fort Duquesne Bridge (Bridge to Nowhere), White Swan interchange I-376, Sewickley Bridge, sections of the Ohio River Boulevard and many other works in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. A licensed professional engineer (P.E.) and surveyor in Pennsylvania, he was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He and his professional colleagues were featured as the Minerd.com "Photo of the Month" in January 2008.
Wayne and Connie and family resided in the Pittsburgh suburb of Perrysville until the birth of their youngest son, at which time they moved to Franklin Park Borough in Wexford, Allegheny County. They were active in many organizations involving their three sons' school and sports activities, as well as traveling extensively in Europe and to many of the 50 U.S. states. He loved classical music and was a season ticket holder of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He was a longtime member of Memorial Park Presbyterian Church and enjoyed its Friday Men's Group. Having suffered two strokes in the span of four years, he died at home on July 7, 2012, surrounded by his family, hymns, prayers and many tears. Burial was in the Miner family lot at Washington Cemetery.
Son Scott D. Miner is married to Alyssa Hurwitz, and they have four children. For many years, he was a physician with Cape Cod Healthcare in Harwich, MA, specializing in family practice with a focus on preventive medicine, acute and chronic care, and pediatrics. He also was the medical director of a Cape Cod physicians practice group. In 2017, they relocated to Tennessee. Scott's wife Alyssa (Hurwitz) Miner creates custom jewelry and owns her own business, Jammin' Hammer Jewelry. Among her creations have been bracelets for mothers, grandmothers and others, made of sterling silver with accents in 14K gold and 14K gold-filled beads, spelling out the names of loved ones. A sample is seen here, featuring the names of her sons "Jake" and "Jordan."
Son Eric Wayne Miner is married to Lori Ann Padilla and has two children. He sells steel and metal products for Beaver Steel in the Pittsburgh area.
Son Mark A. Miner (1961-living) wed Elizabeth Diane Zoeller. He is the founder of this website, and president of the national Minerd-Miner-Minor Reunion. Based in Beaver, PA, he is CEO of his own public relations consulting firm, Mark Miner Communications, LLC, and Minerd.com Publishing, LLC. Among his books are Forged in Steel: The Seven Time-Tested Leadership Principles Practiced by the Pittsburgh Steelers, co-authored by Tunch Ilkin and Damian W. Williams; and Well At This Time: The Civil War Diaries of Ephraim Miner. In 2005 was elected to the Renaissance Hall of Fame of the Public Relations Society of America for his work in the legal, accounting and engineering professions. As a service to the community, he has served as chairman of the Beaver Area Heritage Museum and has been a board director and executive committee member of the American Cancer Society in Pittsburgh and the Mental Health Association in Beaver County.
~ Son Richard Dean Miner ~
Son Richard Dean Miner (1932-2018) was born on May 2, 1934 in Washington.
After serving in the U.S. Air Force following the Korean War, he married Ann Trebes ( ? -living).
They lived in Miami, where he was a salesman for Nabisco. The couple divorced in about 1960.
Richard married again to Mae Elizabeth Horne ( ? -living), a native of York, PA.
They bore a son, David Richard Miner.
Richard and Mae initially made their home in York, where he was a traveling salesman for Strine Printing. After re-uniting with his daughters after a separation of many years, they made the decision to leave Pennsylvania and return to Florida in 1979.
Now in their new home in Ormond Beach, Richard was a longtime barber in the Daytona area. He also was an accomplished sculptor, specializing in creating wooden carvings of wildlife figures and madonnas, which he painted or stained for effect.
Mae published her first work of fiction in 2005, Pastor Beloved: Finding the Spiritual in Religion, under the pen name "Eva Mae Ely" to honor her mother and grandmother. In a review, the York (PA) Daily Record said that the "graduate of York Hospital School of Nursing and Millersville University said she was moved by her experiences working in hospice care to write about book that would discuss the questions people often wonder about: 'Who am I?' 'Why did I come here?' 'Where am I going?' ... [The book] features a pastor struggling with his identity and faith" and making detailed comparisons between spirituality and religion. A thumbnail image of the book's cover is seen at left. The paperback volume is available for sale on Amazon.com -- click here to order -- with a review on RoseDogBookstore.com. Also read her poem, When I'm Ready to Die, Let Me Go.
After decades in Ormond Beach and Daytona, the couple relocated to Sarasota in the mid-2010s. Richard passed away on March 31, 2018.
Daughter Lesley Shumard is married to Thomas Shumard and has two sons, Edward Shumard and Loren Shumard. She formerly was employed at the Tampa YMCA as operations manager and wellness director.
Daughter Laura Treece has a son, Eric Treece, and two grandsons. She has worked for Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, Inc., in the Tampa area and in a local law office. Today, she is employed as association coordinator at On Top of The World Condominiums.
Son David Richard Miner was the founder of a website, DivingInDepth.com, that connects scuba divers around the world to information ranging from dive travel, diving news and training to technical cave and wreck diving, forums, shopping, gear, careers/jobs and education. In 2006, he was part of the team that videotaped the planned sinking of the USS Oriskany aircraft carrier in Pensacola, Fla., and later taped their dive of the submerged wreck. He also at one time publishedf Adventure Racing Magazine, which covered multi-sport endurance challenges such as kayaking, canoeing, biking, trail-running, hiking, climbing, swimming, mountaineering, rafting, and orienteering. A set of the magazines is preserved in the Minerd.com Archives. In 2018, David wed Danetta "Dani" Lafrance ( ? -living). Today they reside in western North Carolina, where he is owner and president of Beer Treks, LLC and she is a real estate broker/realtor with BHHS Great Smokys Realty.
Daughter Marjean Lee (Miner) Jones was born on Aug. 19, 1937 in Rochester Hospital near Aliquippa, Beaver County, PA.
At the age of 25, on April 14, 1962, Marjean was joined in matrimony with 31-year-old Gordon Sykes Jones (1931-2014), a native of Butler, Butler County, PA and the son of Edward and Martha (Sykes) Jones. The pair did not reproduce.
She received her bachelor's degree in education Westminster College. Her first cousin, Sheryl (Neely) Andrews Salakas, of the family of Harold "Bud" and Anna (Miner) Neely, was a student at the same time and in the same graduating class.
The Joneses lavished much love and attention on their greatest passion, their 16 nieces and nephews. All were treated as their own children. This included many beach vacations on the Jersey shore mixing both sides of their family, and graciously hosting many get-togethers in their home. “When are you coming to see me?” was one of her favorite lines.
~ Son Donald William Miner ~
Son Donald William "Don" Miner (1940-living) was born on July 19, 1940, sharing a birthday with his grandfather Harry Orlan Miner and also a grand-nephew born many years later.
Don married Barbara Brown ( ? -living).
They have two children, Heather Ann Dandy and Matthew Jay Miner.
His first job at age six was delivering the Pittsburgh Times and Sun Telegraph newspapers. He was a 1958 graduate of Hopewell Township High School. After serving for four years in the United States Air Force, he graduated from Pennsylvania State University.
Don worked for more than 40 years as a land surveyor in western Massachusetts, for Huntley Associates of Northampton and for Eaton Associates of Hadley. Included in his areas of expertise are historical deed research and project management. He was quoted and mentioned in numerous local news articles over the years for his work representing clients' interests at public meetings.
He is a former member of the Massachusetts Association of Land Surveyors and Civil Engineers. He pursued additional education through its program of seminars in the areas of land survey and business management. Don is a graduate of and was an instructor for the Dale Carnegie programs.
In his spare time, Don has been a member of the Hampshire County Radio Controllers for more than 25 years, serving in the capacity of treasurer, vice president and president. He has built from scratch and flown radio control model airplanes for over 35 years. He has been active in the Episcopal Church, serving on the church’s Vestry, as its treasurer for many years and as its Senior Warden. He is an avid gardener.
After 45 years, Don and his wife Barbara sold their family home in Northampton, to move closer their daughter Heather, currently residing in Holyoke.
Daughter Heather Miner attended Holyoke Community College and works as an administrative assistant. She has two children: Sara Monalea McMahon and Andrew Dustin McMahon. Sara is a cum laude graduate of Elms College and a graduate of Western New England Law School. Sara at one time was employed as a sessions clerk with the Massachusetts Trial Court. Today, she is the head law librarian at the Hampshire Law Library in Northampton, part of the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries. She has been a member of Law Librarians of New England since 2017, serving on the Access to Justice Committee and most recently co-chair of the Communications Committee. Andrew has studied at Holyoke Community College and plans to pursue a career in the field of criminal justice.
Son Matthew Jay Miner married Elizabeth Jane Gouveia in 1997 in Hyannis, MA. They enjoy the outdoors and Bronco truck riding and have authored several articles in the Bronco Driver magazine.
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