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Otis 'Freed' Minerd


Freed Minerd

Otis "Freed" Minerd was born on Sept. 24, 1899 in Mill Run, Fayette County, PA, the son of Lawson and Lutitia (Steyer) Minerd.

As a boy, Freed attended the Clay Run School in the local township, taught by Iva Mountain.

On Aug. 12, 1920, at Confluence, Somerset County, PA, the 20-year-old Freed married a distant cousin, 18-year-old Rebecca J. Burkholder (1902-1980), the daughter of James Wesley and Jennie (Hartzell) Burkholder, of the family of Catherine (Younkin) Firestone. Justice of the peace W.S. Bower officiated, with the news reported in the Meyersdale Republic.

Freed and Rebecca had two children Ernest "Raymond" Minerd and Beatrice Miller.


Freed and Becky,
1920 Minerd Reunion

A week after the wedding, the newlyweds attended the Eighth Annual Minerd Reunion, held at Ferncliff Hotel at Ohiopyle, and posed in a group photograph taken that day. Click to view a photo of the entire reunion group.

In August 1924, the Minerds were among a crowd of 82 who attended the annual Minerd-Miner Reunion held at Lincoln's grove, near the Western Maryland Railroad Station in Confluence, Somerset County. In an article about the reunion, the Meyersdale Republican reported: "A very successful and pleasant reunion of the Minard family was held ... A fine picnic dinner was partaken of at 12:30 p.m., after L.L. Mountain invoked a blessing." The following year, in August 1925, Freed was one of 120 individuals who attended the reunion, held at Sellars' hall, apparently in Confluence. Said the Republican: "After dinner, at the business meeting, Lawson Minerd was elected President of the Association. Joseph Ream, Confluence, Secretary-Treasurer; Fred [sic] Minerd, Ross Hyatt, L.L. Mountain, Daniel Younkin and J.L. Luckey, executive committee. Rev. Joyce gave an address portraying the benefits of family reunions and showing why they should be held. Burgess C.R. McMillan gave a recitation and Rev. Williams of Connellsville made an interesting address."


Freed's mother and grandmother
herding chickens

Freed was a talented photographer. He took a series of photo images on his parents' farm in the late 1910s and early '20s that provide a glimpse into their agricultural world. Seen here is a view of Freed's mother (left) and grandmother Calista Steyer at the farm's chicken coop.

Rebecca and Freed later divorced. Freed then married Marie (Shroyer) Maust, a native of Hyndman, Bedford County, PA, and the daughter of Benjamin and Elsie (Williams) Shroyer. She had been married once before, to George E. Maust, and brought four children to the marriage Tolva Durst, Reva Lappi, LaNola White and George Maust. Freed and Marie had one son of their own Braden. 

For a time, the family lived in Buffalo, NY, during the World War II era, before returning to Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Freed was a member of the Kantner Assembly of God Church and the National Rifle Association.


Indian Creek Baptist Church Cemetery

During World War II, son in law George Miller served in the Armed Forces.

Rebecca passed away on April 25, 1980 in Memorial Hospital in Johnstown, Cambria County, PA. She was buried at Somerset Memorial Park.

Marie and Freed died 16 days apart she passed away at Conemaugh Valley Memorial Hospital in Johnstown on Feb. 1, 1984. Freed died on Feb. 17, 1984 at Cambria County Nursing Care Center. They are buried together at Indian Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in Mill Run.


~ Son Ernest "Raymond" Minerd ~

Son Ernest "Raymond" Minerd ( ? - ? ) was born in (?).

He married Gladys E. Brant (1922-2008), the daughter of Morris and Elsie (Marker) Brant. The wedding took place on Feb. 28, 1942. 

They had two daughters -- Raynelle Early and Dixie Woolley.


The Minerds moved to Rome, Floyd County, GA in 1973. Gladys was a member of the New Life Church where she was a member of the choir and taught Sunday School for many years. She also enjoyed working in her garden, cooking and housekeeping. 

Sadly, Gladys died at the age of 85 in Rome on Jan. 7, 2008. She was laid to rest in the Floyd Memory Gardens. 

Daughter Dixie Minerd ( ? - ? ) married Rev. Guy Watson "Tim" Woolley (1942-2010), the son of Ray and Alta Pearl (Durst) Woolley. They were married on July 26, 1964, and had no children. Guy received his ordination in the Church of God in 1975, and during his career was pastor of churches in Georgia and Pennsylvania. He retired in 2001, and retired in Rome, GA, where he was senior adult pastor of the New Life Church of God, Sunday School superintendent and member of the church council. From 2005 to 2010, he was manager of the General Nutrition Center at Mt. Berry Square in Rome. Guy died at the age of 67, in Rome, on Feb. 15, 2010. Following a funeral led by Rev. Sean Belcher, Rev. Paul Stover and Rev. Jeff Coleman, he was laid to rest in Floyd Memory Gardens.


~ Daughter E. Beatrice (Minerd) Miller ~

Daughter E. Beatrice Minerd (1922-2009) was born in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County.

She married George W. Miller ( ? - ? ).

They had five children -- Connie Bittinger, Lynette R. Feth, Lynn D. Miller, Dennis L. Miller and Wanda K. Koval.

During World War II, George served in the Armed Forces. Later, Geoherge was owner and operator of Brotherton Garage in Brotherton, Somerset County.

Said the Somerset Daily American, "Beatrice was a member of the Somerset Church of God for over 60 years and served as church organist... She was a loving and devoted wife, mother, grandmother and sister and devoted to her church and God.  George passed away first, but his details are not known. 

Beatrice passed away at the age of 86 in Somerset on June 4, 2009. She was laid to eternal rest in Somerset County Memorial Park.

Daughter Connie Miller (1942-2004) wed Blaine W. Bittinger (1939-1988). They had one daughter, Connie Sleasman. A 1960 graduate of Somerset High School, Connie was secretary for the Church of God state headquarters. Blaine died on July 29, 1988, at the age of 49. Connie outlived him by 16 years. She passed away at the age of 61 on June 22, 2004. They rest together in Mizpah Cemetery (Flight 93 Memorial Cemetery) in Somerset County.

~ Son Braden F. "Buzz" Minerd ~


Braden "Buzz" Minerd with old chalk portraits of his great- grandparents, Charles and Adaline (Harbaugh) Minerd


Son Braden F. "Buzz" Minerd (1945-2008) was born in 1945 in Buffalo, NY.

He served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. Braden married Dorie Firment ( ? - ? ) and had two sons, Timothy Minerd and David Minerd. 

They made their home in Calumet, Westmoreland County, PA. Said the Greensburg Tribune-Review, Braden "was employed as a rural mail carrier for 35 years by the U.S. Postal Service of Mt. Pleasant," PA. He also served as Assistant Fire Chief in Calumet, and was a member of St. Florian Catholic Church of United, PA. 

In 1998, Braden kindly opened his home to the founder of this website, and shared many rare old Minerd paper and photographic treasures.

Braden died at the age of 62 on Sept. 21, 2007 in Greensburg. He was laid to rest in St. Florian Cemetery in nearby Trauger.


~ Stepson George E. Maust Sr. ~

Stepson George E. Maust Sr. ( ? - ? ) married Dora Merkosky ( ? - ? ).

They had three known children -- George E. Maust Jr., Theresa Maust and Pamela Crawford. 

Sadly, son George Jr. died on Feb. 12, 1984, at the age of 13. He was laid to rest in All Souls Cemetery in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, OH.


Copyright 2002, 2007-2009, 2012, 2017 Mark A. Miner