Mary Ann (Minerd) Crayton Cross was born on March 15, 1861 in Hopwood, Fayette County, PA, the daughter of William and Sarah Elizabeth (Whoolery) Minerd. More is known about her second husband -- a Civil War veteran -- than about her.
As a young woman, Mary Ann lived with her parents in the coal mining patch town of Mt. Braddock near Uniontown, Fayette County.
On Jan. 19, 1882, at age 21, Mary Ann married her first husband and Mt. Braddock neighbor, Henry L. Crayton. Their wedding was held in Dunbar, Fayette County, and was reported in the Uniontown Republican Standard. They "went to housekeeping" in the nearby patch town of Brownfield.
Their two children were William H. Creighton and Alice M. Crawford.
The marriage did not last long. After just two and one-half years, on Nov. 29, 1884, Henry deserted his wife and family. He was last heard from in 1888, when he was residing in Baltimore, MD. In April 1896, after 12 years, Mary Ann sued for divorce, with her father serving as a "next friend" -- a legal term meaning he was charged with looking out for her best interests. At that time, she was living in Hutchinson, Fayette County, and asked that the marriage bond be dissolved "as if she had never been married, or as if he the said Henry L. Crayton were naturally dead." Mary Ann later stated that her first husband had died in December 1891. But in an affidavit signed in 1914, a relative wrote that Henry L. Crayton "went away and is believed to be dead though the date and place of his death is unknown."
In 1892, Mary Ann bore a daughter, Annie G. Crayton. The father of the child is lost to history.
By 1900, Mary Ann and her children had moved back in with her parents in South Union Township.
She gave birth to a fourth child, Alva E. "Alvie" Crayton, in December 1903. She was age 43 at the time. The identity of the child's father is unknown.
~ A Second Marriage to Heley Patrick Cross ~
At age 47, in 1908, Mary Ann married again to her second spouse, and became the third wife of Civil War veteran Haley Patrick Cross (1838-1924). He son of John and Mary Cross, and a native of Mount Savage, MD. (It's believed that Mary Ann's sister Frances "Fannie" Minerd later married Haley's cousin John, but the Cross relationship needs to be confirmed.) Mary Ann and Haley had no children.
Haley was a 69-year-old Civil War veteran at the time of marriage. He had served in the 1st Battallion, 19th United States Infantry and 2nd Maryland Infantry (Companies C and A).
Born as "Patrick Heley Cross" at Mt. Savage, MD, on March 30, 1839, he grew to stand 5 feet 6½ inches, with blue eyes and auburn hair. He was a laborer before the war.
Haley enlisted in the 19th U.S. Infantry at Somerset, PA, and served about 18 months. Having received not "a penny" of pay and overhearing that the government could not hold soldiers after three months without pay, he deserted after the Battle of Antietam. The horrific fight in September 1862 the horrific fight Antietam Creek claimed 22,000 Union and Confederate killed and wounded.
Seen at right is a bird's eye view of the famed "Bloody Lane" at the Antietam battlefield at Sharpsburg, MD, in the quiet postwar years.
After his desertion, Haley went immediately to Somerset County, PA, where his father, attending a Dunkard Baptist Church camp meeting, gave him money. Haley then went to his father's hometown of Winchester, near Alliance, Stark County, OH, and dug coal for a week. Earning enough funds to go to Cumberland, MD, on Feb. 23, 1863, he joined the 2nd Maryland Infantry in which his brother, William R. Cross, was serving.
Haley enlisted under the name "Heley Patrick Cross" to avoid detection. In May 1864, at Greenland Gap, WV, he shot his own right hand index finger while practicing a skirmish drill. He was sent to the hospital at Clarysville, MD, where the finger was amputated. He was discharged at Camp Braddock, Baltimore, MD, on May 29, 1865.
For many years after the war, Haley drew two pensions, one under each version of his name, finally spurring a government investigation. A special government examiner, Theodore Tallmadge, examined his case, and later made this report:
I found this claimant ready and willing to make a truthful statement in respect to the bounty he actually received and am entirely convinced from his manner, that as far as the receipt of the $300.00 State bounty is concerned, that I made an error in employing words that conveyed the idea that the payment was made upon his enlistment. It is too long ago since that statement was written, over twelve years, for me to undertake to state whether the error was mine or his... [I have] met him at least once since then in connection with a complaint he made which proved well grounded as to a remarriage of a widow pensioner, and he explained that his pension was being continued.
Haley must have had an entrepreneurial spirit. The March 22, 1883 issue of the Uniontown Genius of Liberty reported that "H.P. Cross, formerly of Mt. Braddock, has started a grocery and provision store in the room on Main street, recently occupied as a restaurant by Mr. Richie."
Haley and his first wife, Matilda (McClain) Cross, lived at Alice Mines, Westmoreland County, PA. Sadly, in February 1886, Matilda died, of causes unknown. Later, he lived at Mt. Braddock and Rodgerstown, PA, working in the coal industry. Co-workers once gave testimony that "most of the time he worked in the mine as a track-layer and was often compelled to work in the water and wet places."
On Oct. 2, 1888, Haley married again, to Catherine Maust. They had three children -- Elvira "Vira" Black, Blanche Grove and Sherman P. Cross. Divorcing Catherine in June 1908, after two decades of marriage, he claimed she had given him "the clap" -- venereal disease.
He then married our Mary Ann (Minerd) Crayton on Aug. 1, 1908.
~ Mary Ann's Life with H.P. Cross ~
Just two years after marriage, Haley was admitted to the Soldiers National Home in Knoxville, TN on June 12, 1910. While at home on furlough in Smithfield in March 1911, he wrote a letter to an attorney who was helping him receive pension payments from the federal government. Circa 1914, he was back home and living at Smithfield, and was receiving $24 per month in federal pension.
Haley died "from the infirmities of age," said the Connellsville Daily Courier, on Nov. 5, 1924 at home near Smithfield. He was buried in the Minerd family plot at Hopwood Cemetery.
Mary Ann outlived Haley for nearly two decades, and tried to obtain her late husband's pension. She resided in Uniontown circa 1930 when her sister Jennie Worrick died, and then circa 1931-1933, she was living at 748 East Market Street in Warren, OH, near her brother James William Minerd.
In a letter from her son's home in Smithfield in 1937, she wrote:
I am 76 years old and I have a hard time to get along. I am staying with my son but he has his family and it is pretty hard. I applied for the old age pension but I have been living in Ohio and they said I could not get it. I lived in Pa. 69 years before going to Ohio. But my son has moved back to Pa.
As she aged, and her health began to fail, Mary Ann moved in with her son Alvie in Woodbridgetown, near Smithfield. When her sister Sarah Crawford died in March 1943, Mary Ann was mentioned in the newspaper obituary.
Less than two months after her sister's death, Mary Ann herself passed away in Alvie's home at age 82 on May 11, 1943, and was buried beside her husband at Hopwood Cemetery. At her death, reported the Uniontown Morning Herald, she was survived by 13 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.
~ Son William Henry Creighton ~
Son William Henry Creighton (1882-1957) was born on Oct. (?), 1882 in or near Uniontown, Fayette County. He never knew his precise birth date and generally went by the spelling of "Creighton" as an adult.
He married 18-year-old Estella "Stella" L. Wakefield (1881- ? ), daughter of Thomas W. and Abbie Wakefield of Monongahela City. At the time, William lived in Hutchinson, Fayette County, was age 17 and employed in "digging coal." Rev. P.T. Conaway married the couple on the Fourth of July 1900 in Fairchance, Fayette County.
The Creightons had seven children -- Golda "Goldie" Davis, Helen "Irene" Jarvis, Alice Black, Blanche Creighton, Lowell "Frank" Creighton, Pearl Zynosky and Rev. Albert Creighton.
William was a coal industry laborer for many years in Western Pennsylvania. They lived in New Eagle, Washington County, PA )in 1910, where William worked as a machinist in a repair shop); in Charleroi, Washington County (1920-1940), where he was a machinist in an iron works and steel mill); and somewhere between Charleroi and Monongahela City, Washington County (1943). After retirement, in about 1953, he moved to rural McClellandtown, German Township.
William was afflicted with hardening of the arteries and heart disease. He suffered a heart attack and died instantly at the age of 74 on June 21, 1957. Burial was in the Monongahela Cemetery.
Daughter Golda "Goldie" Creighton (1901-1971) was born in 1901. At the age of 19, Goldie was employed as a sales woman in "five and ten cent" store. She married James Davis and resided in Monongahela in 1966. They had three children -- James Edward "Eddie" Davis, Thomas Davis and Thelma Columbus. Goldie lived on Main Street in New Eagle. She died in Monongahela Memorial Hospital at the age of 71 on June 4, 1971.
Daughter Helen "Irene" Creighton (1902-1973) was born on July 27, 1902 in Fayette County. She married Earl Mathias Jarvis (June 14, 1902-1959), the son of Matthias and Clara (Chattaway) Jarvis of Monongahela, PA. They had three children -- Helen Irene Gunder, Marilyn Ann Palmer and Arden Earl Jarvis. Circa 1954, the Jarvises lived in Charleroi, PA, where he was employed in river transportation by United States Steel. They relocated in 1954 to 1005 Wayne Avenue in Indiana, Indiana County, PA. Sadly, Earl suffered a heart attack while at the home of their daughter Helen in Hopwood, Fayette County, and died at the age of 56 on May 25, 1959. An obituary in the Monongahela (PA) Daily Republican reported that he "had not worked for two weeks because of the heart ailment, but death was unexpected." Irene outlived her husband by 14 years. In 1966, she lived in Indiana and by 1971, she moved into the home of her her son Arden in East Liverpool, Columbiana County, OH. She was a member of the First Free Methodist Church of East Liverpool. She died at age 71 in East Liverpool City Hospital on April 7, 1973. Following a funeral led by Rev. Richard Merkle, she was laid to rest in the Monongahela Cemetery.
Daughter Alice Creighton (1904- ? ) was born in 1904. She wed Arthur Black. They had three children -- Irene Woodall, James Black and Lois Rosena. Her home in 1971-1973 was in Charleroi. She died on Nov. 4, 1986.
Daughter Blanche Creighton (1908- ? ) was born in 1908. She may have married Carl F. Saunders on Aug. 13, 1925, in Washington County, but this needs to be confirmed.
Son Lowell "Frank" Creighton (1911-1966) was born on Jan. 9, 1911. He was employed as a steel mill laborer in Charleroi, Washington County, circa 1930. He married Esther O'Neill (1912-2001) and had two children -- Timothy Lowell Creighton and Sharon Slomberg. Later, he worked at the Corning Glass Works' plant in Charleroi. At the age of 55, Frank suffered a heart attack and died in Charleroi-Monessen Hospital on June 8, 1966. He was laid to rest in the Sacred Heart Cemetery in New Eagle, following a funeral service led by Rev. Ernest Gunder of McKeesport. His obituary was published in the Valley Independent newspaper of nearby Monessen. Esther outlived her husband by almost 35 years. She worked at the Corning Glass Works in Charleroi and at St. Anne's Church in Rostraver Township. She also was a member of Mary, Mother of the Church Parish in Charleroi. Heartache visited her life many times in the intervening years when she lost her daughter, son in law and grandson. She died in Pittsburgh's Mercy Hospital on April 9, 2001, at the age of 89.
Daughter Pearl Crayton (1916-1985) was born on March 23, 1915. She married Sigmund Zynosky (1917-1977). In 1971-1973, they resided in Evans City, Butler County, PA. Sigmund died in December 1977. Pearl outlived him by seven-plus years. She passed away in March 1985.
Son Rev. Albert Crayton (1918-1984?) was born on Sept. 21, 1918. He lived in Avonmore, Westmoreland County, PA in the mid-1960s and Blacklick, PA in 1971-1973. He is believed to have died in Penn, Westmoreland County, in May 1984. This needs to be confirmed.
~ Daughter Alice Mae (Crayton) Crawford ~
Daughter Alice Mae Crayton (1885-1965) was born in April 1885 in or near Uniontown, Fayette County.
Alice married Elmer A. Crawford (1882-1960), the son of Joseph and Tilitha Crawford, of Bedford, Bedford County, PA. The ceremony took place on June 30, 1903, in Smithfield, by the hand of Rev. James W. Hays. He was age 21, and she 18 at the time.
The couple had two known sons -- W. Leroy Crawford and Donald H. Crawford.
Elmer was a coal miner. They resided on Carlisle Street in Uniontown in 1920, when the federal census was enumerated, and in Warren, Trumbull County, OH circa 1943.
Elmer passed away in 1960, at the age of 78, and was buried at Hopwood Cemetery.
Alice joined him in eternity five years later, in 1965, and was laid to rest beside him at Hopwood.
Son W. Leroy Crawford (1907-1995?) was born in 1907. He is believed to have died in Indiana, Indiana County, PA on Jan. 8, 1995, but this needs to be confirmed.
Son Donald H. Crawford (1916- ? ) was born in about 1916.
~ Daughter Anna G. "Annie" Crayton ~
Daughter Anna "Annie" Crayton (1892- ? ) was born in April 1892 (or 1895).
She was unmarried and lived with her married brother Alvie in Warren, Trumbull County in 1930 and in Woodbridgetown, Fayette County in May 1943. Annie was employed as a housekeeper for private families.
~ Son Alva E. "Alvie" Crayton ~
Son Alva E. "Alvie" Crayton (1903-1945) was born on Dec. 22, 1903 in Smithfield, Fayette County. The identity of his father is unknown.
At the age of 21, he married 16-year-old Mary Diehl (1909- ? ). They lived in Smithfield, Fayette County and later in Warren, Trumbull County, OH at 507 East Market Street.
They had at least three sons -- Harold "Elmer" Leroy Crayton, Alvie E. Crayton and Kevin A. Crayton -- and two daughters -- Anna Mae Crayton and Mildred Crayton. Tragically, Alva and Mary lost all three sons over a 16-year period, from 1927 to 1943.
Elmer died just after birth on Nov. 15, 1927, "probably suffocated as the baby was found dead by the family," wrote a physician. Little Elmer's remains were returned to Uniontown for burial at Hopwood. Son Alvie Crayton died in 1941, followed by his brother Kevin A. Crayton in 1943. All of them rest at Hopwood Cemetery.
When the federal census was enumerated in 1930, Alvie and Mary and their daughters lived together in Warren, Trumbull County. Alvie's unmarried sister Annie resided under their roof, as did three roomers -- William George, Ruby Momula and Mary Momula. Alvie's occupation was listed as laborer and contractor.
In January 1939, Alvie endured a heart-breaking experience at work. he was driving a truck with Works Progress Administration employee James Blair, near Masontown, Fayette County, to get goods for a construction project. After obtaining their material, they were headed onward when Blair suffered a heart attack, collapsed in the truck's cab and died almost immediately. Alvie rushed him back to the company offices, but doctors pronounced him dead.
Alvie later moved back to Woodbridgetown, near Smithfield, and his mother made her home under his roof in the 1940s. He worked as a truck driver and is known to have advertised a hydraulic hoist and body for sale in April 1942 on the pages of the Uniontown Evening Standard.
At the age of 41, Alvie was stricken with cancer of the stomach. He died in Uniontown Hospital on Oct. 21, 1945. The Connellsville Daily Courier carried a brief obituary, saying he was survived by his widow, three daughters, two sisters and one brother. Burial was in Hopwood Cemetery.
~ Mary Ann's Step-Children ~
Stepdaughter Elvira "Vira" Cross (1892- ? ) was born on Aug. 25, 1892. At the age of 13, on Feb. 15, 1905, she was enrolled in the Industrial Soldiers' Orphan School. She married (?) Black.
Stepdaughter Blanche Cross (1898- ? ) was born on Jan. 4, 1898. At the age of 7, on Feb. 15, 1905, she was enrolled in the Uniontown Soldiers' Orphan School. She married (?) Grove.
Stepson John C. Cross (1898- ? ) was born on Dec. 6, 1898. At the age of five, on Ma 2, 1903, he was enrolled in the Uniontown Soldiers' Orphan School.
Stepson Sherman P. Cross (1900- ? ) was born on April 20, 1900. At age five, on Feb. 15, 1905, he was enrolled in the Uniontown Soldiers' Orphan School. He remained there at least through 1916.
In 1924, when Haley died, his children were living in the following locales: Sherman Cross in Uniontown, PA; Blanche Grove in Williamsport, PA; and Vira Black, place unknown.
Copyright © 2000, 2002, 2006-2007, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2018 Mark A. Miner