James William Minerd was born in 1898 in Fayette County, PA, the son of Thomas Watt and Sarah Theresa (Dowling) Minerd.
Crippled since infancy, he lived with his parents and brothers in the coal mine patch town of Helen near Smock, Fayette County. He is known to have made many friends in the community.
Tragically, however, he drowned at age 13.
On Aug. 9, 1911, while rafting in the reservoir at the Helen Works, he fell into the water and was unable to rescue himself. The Uniontown Morning Herald reported that:
In plain view of Mrs. Harry Hassen and her two
sons, who made a frantic effort to save him, James Minerd, aged 15, was drowned
in the reservoir at the Atlas coke works, Helen, yesterday afternoon at 4
woman, attracted by the screams of the boys who were bathing with Minerd, ran to
It took but a glance to see the plight of Minerd.
She quickly secured a rope, fastened one end around her waist and the
other on the bank and jumped into the reservoir.
Before she could reach the spot where she had last seen the boy he had
disappeared for the third time....
He was buried at Pleasant View Cemetery in Smock, Fayette County.
Copyright © 2000, 2018 Mark A. Miner