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Hershell Minerd


Hershell Minerd was born on July 17, 1896 (or June 24, 1897) in Dunbar, Fayette County, PA, the son of Andrew and Anna (Kissinger) Minerd

Hershell registered for the World War I military draft in 1918, and stated his occupation as the Monongahela Connecting Railroad Company. He had light blue eyes, dark brown hair and a medium slender build. He weighed 154 lbs. and stood 5 feet 7¾ inches tall.

In 1919, when Hershell was 24, his father was killed in a coal mine accident in Allison, near Uniontown, Fayette County.

At the time the federal census was taken in 1930, Hershell and his mother made their home together in Bullskin Township, north of Connellsville. His occupation was listed as farm laborer. Living just four doors away were Hershell's cousins Mariah (Minerd) Whetzel and Larmer Arthur Minerd

Hershell entered into marriage with Sarah "Sadie" (Esby or Espey) Kidwell (1899- ? ) on Aug. 24, 1920, in Wellsburg, Brooke County, WV. He was age 23, and she 21, at the time of marriage.

They resided in the Hays section of Pittsburgh, and produced several children -- Clifford H. Minerd, Audrey Anna Minerd and perhaps several others who died young. Sadly, daughter Audrey died at age three months, seven days of "cholera infantum" (intestinal infection) on Aug. 4, 1922. The baby girl was buried in Mt. Lebanon Cemetery.

In 1932, Hershell dwelled in Owensdale, Fayette County. That year, he and three others robbed a service station "at the brown of the hill on the Springfield pike just beyond Connellsville," reported the Connellsville Daily Courier. "Some one caught the license number of the car just as it pulled away with two 15 gallon drums of oil." Police tracked down the foursome at a house Hershell leased. They found 123 pine bottles of home brewed beer, 10 quart bottles and a 20-gallon crock of beer, four gallons of peach brandy and two and a half gallons of moonshine, in addition to the stolen oil and "a large quantity of furniture and household goods ... taken the robbery of the Zimmerman store warehouse last week while dishes and coffee pots were identified as premium taken when a Jewel Tea Company store wagon was stripped in Connellsville in July." He was found guilty and sentenced to prison on Sept. 27, 1932. At his imprisonment, he claimed he was "estranged" in his marriage and a Methodist in his religious affiliation.

In 1934, Hershell, guilty in the furniture theft, appealed to the State Board of Pardons for clemency. At the time, he was residing on Springfield Pike in Connellsville.

At some point, Hershell and Sarah divorced. Sarah later married James "Jay" Riley ( ? - ? ).

Hershell was required to register for the military draft at the age of 44 in 1942, during World War II. At the time, he was residing in Grindstone, Redstone Township, Fayette County. He earned a living with the H.C. Frick Coke Company at its Colonial No. 4 mine. He disclosed to the registrar that he was missing four toes from his left foot.

Hershell either married again to or began cohabitating with Dorothy McDonald (1915-1947), daughter of Alex McDonald and a native of Hopewell, Bedford County, PA. They were 18 years apart in age and made their home at 118 South Cottage Street in Connellsville. During that time, Hershell made a living as a railroader, specifically as a brakeman. 

The marriage apparently was rocky, and on the fateful day of Sept. 12, 1947, Hershell had her arrested on charges of "aggravated assault and battery with intent to kill," reported the Connellsville Daily Courier. "The charges grew out of a fight the two had the night before in which Minerd suffered wounds of the head, face and nose from a knife the woman allegedly wielded." Police came to the home and escorted her to City Hall, where she was held in a cell block. Just an hour later, Dorothy ended her life by hanging. She was only 32 years of age. Her remains were returned to Hopewell for interment.

He resided later in life with his widowed mother on West Peach Street in Connellsville, PA. He was a member of the Lutheran Church.

Hershell died at age 66 of hardening of the arteries and heart trouble in Connellsville State Hospital on March 24, 1963. He was buried next to his mother in the cemetery plot owned by his sister Venetta at Allegheny County Memorial Park in Allison Park, PA. His grave is unmarked. 


Clifford H. Minerd

~ Son Clifford H. Minerd ~

Son Clifford H. Minerd (1919-1971) was born on April 5, 1919 (or 1921) and attended Gladstone Schools.

Clifford served in World War II in the United States Navy, entering the service on Feb. 2, 1944 and training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station. He received an honorable discharge on Feb. 2, 1946.

He married Dorothy Retenauer ( ? -2011), daughter of Philip and Elizabeth (Schaub) Retenauer.

They produced two daughters -- Phyllis Semenko and Dorothy DeBlasio. 

At the time of marriage, Clifford was employed as a laborer and lived with his mother at 4739 Second Avenue in Pittsburgh. Clifford was estranged from his father, and did not know his father's whereabouts when filling out his marriage license application in 1942.

They resided in the Hazelwood section of Pittsburgh. Their address during World War II was 710 Rivermont Drive,

He worked for his father in law in the Retenauer Bakery in Hazelwood for four decades. He also was a brakeman on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in Hazelwood. 

Clifford is pictured in the book, Young American Patriots, World War II, Pennsylvania, accompanied by a short biographical profile.

Grief swept over the family when Clifford died at the age of 50 on May 10, 1971. His remains were lowered into repose in Jefferson Memorial Park in the Pleasant Hills suburb of Pittsburgh.

Dorothy passed away at the age of 91, in Munhall, on Oct. 23, 2011. Her obituary was published in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Daughter Phyllis Minerd married (?) Semenko.

Daughter Dorothy Minerd wedded Roger DeBlasio.


Copyright 2001, 2008, 2011-2012 Mark A. Miner