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George Washington Rankin
(1881-1970)

 

The Rankins' darkened grave marker

George Washington Rankin was born on March 13, 1881 in Wharton Township, Fayette County, PA, the son of Robert and Hester (Minerd) Rankin.

On Dec. 28, 1901, when he was age 20, George married Daisy M. Franks ( ? - ? ). They resided with his parents in Wharton Township, but the relationship was not stable.  

In January 1902, just a few weeks into marriage, Daisy left and went back to her parents’ home in German Township. She returned to her husband in April of that year but by Christmas had departed again. 

During the short marriage, two children were born, but at least one if not both are thought to have died. On the grounds of desertion, George was granted a divorce on Jan. 8, 1907.

Later in 1907, at the age of 26, George wed his second bride, 19-year-old Lillie "Pearl" Fields (Nov. 31, 1887-1927), also known as "Edith." She was the daughter of George H. and Armelia Fields of Fairchance, Fayette County. At the time, he worked as a laborer.

They went on to have 12 children – Sarah Pearl Miller, Verna Morrison, Blanche Marinda Alisvard (or "Alasvird"), Bessie Mae Squires, Donald Edward Rankin, Earl Raymond Rankin, Cora Belle Henigan, Herbert Rankin, Delbert Amadee "Pete" Rankin, Edith Taylor, Alvie Rankin and Margaret Viola Rankin. Tragically, their two youngest children – Alvie and Margaret – both died young.

In 1910, the United States Census shows the Rankins living on a farm next to his parents and married sister Sarah Addis and brother Alfred Rankin and their families in Wharton Township. Then after the death of George's father in 1918, the widowed mother came to live in their household.

The federal census enumeration of 1920 lists the family remaining in Wharton Township, with nine children in the home, ranging in age from 14 years to 23 months.

After bearing a dozen children, Pearl suffered from severe heart disease ("myocarditis") and died at the far too young age of 39 on July 2, 1927. She is buried at the Brown Cemetery near Elliottsville.

George outlived Pearl by a remarkable 43 years. He continued to ply his work as a farm laborer, as shown in the 1930 census. That year, 21-year-old sawmill laborer George H. Teets boarded in the home.

In 1936, George made news when he helped rescue victims of a tragic airplane crash near his home. That year, on April 6, a TWA airliner named the Sunracer crashed in the mountains above Uniontown. Everyone was killed except the flight attendant and two passengers. The attendant escaped the wreckage and somehow stumbled to the home of George’s nephew, Ray Addis. George and his brother Alfred and nephews Harold and Robert, who all resided close by each other, raced together to the smoldering, twisted wreckage to see what had happened and try to help survivors.

Circa 1940, census records show that all of George's children had left the household, but that 53-year-old widow Jenny Glenn was residing there as a housekeeper.

George lived in Haydentown, Fayette County in 1957.

George died in 1970, at the age of 89. Their grave marker, photographed in 1995, is blackened with age, and barely legible.

 

~ Daughter Sarah Pearl (Rankin) Miller ~

Daughter Sarah Pearl Rankin (1906-1930) was born in 1906. She married Homer C. Miller ( ? - ? ), a distant cousin who was the son of Jesse and Flora Belle (Farabee) Miller. See the Miller biography for more.

 

~ Daughter Louvernia "Verna" (Rankin) Morrison ~

Daughter Louvernia "Verna" Rankin (1908-2000) was born in 1908.

She married Melvin Emmet Morrison (1905-1964). At the time of marriage, she lived in Morgantown, Monongalia County, WV. 

They made their first home in Brownfield, Fayette County. Later, they lived at 487 East Main Street in Uniontown and had three children -- James Morrison, Wallace Mark Morrison and Greta Marie Mitchell.

Melvin was a longtime employee of Gulf Oil Company. He was a member of the Masons lodge of Uniontown, the Knights Templar of Pittsburgh and Syria Temple.

Melvin died at age 59, in Uniontown Hospital, on June 19, 1964. He was laid to rest at Sylvan Heights Cemetery. At the time of his passing, the Uniontown Morning Herald said his survivors included five grandchildren.

Verna outlived him by more than 35 years. In July 1965 and July 1966, she attended the annual Alfred Rankin Reunion at Lick Hollow Park.

Verna died on Oct. 14, 2000, the last living member of her family. 

Son James Morrison made his residence in Laurel Terrace in Uniontown circa 1969. They had one known daughter, Lynn Renee Morrison.

Son Wallace Mark Morrison ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). He was employed circa 1955-1956 as a foreman by Michael Berkowitz Company. On June 2, 1956, he wedded Marla Rae Mitchell ( ? - ? ). The couple lived in Uniontown in 1964 and Hopwood (Buttermilk Lane) in 1970. They bore these children -- Mark Frederick Morrison, Patrick Morrison and Kelli Morrison.

Daughter Greta Marie Morrison (1937-1970) was born in about 1937. As a young woman, she worked in the administrative office of Michael Berkowitz Company, a shirt manufacturer. At the age of 19, on Christmas Day 1956, she married Navy veteran James F. Mitchell ( ? - ? ), son of Fred Mitchell of Buttermilk Lane, Hopwood. Their wedding was held at Central Christian Church, officiated by Rev. Dr. Earl P. Confer. Prior to marriage, James had served with the U.S. navy for three-and-a-half years on the USS Kepler. They lived in Hopwood and were the parents of two offspring, Jamie L. Mitchell and Timothy A. Mitchell. The Mitchells were members of the Hopwood Methodist Church. Circa 1970, their address was 2 Trader Street, Uniontown. Grief wracked the family when Greta died at the untimely age of 32 on March 24, 1970. The cause is not yet known. Funeral services were led by Rev. Arnold A. Slagle and Rev. Dr. Earl P. Confer, followed by interment in Mt. View Memorial Park. An obituary was printed in the Uniontown Evening Standard.

 

~ Daughter Blanche (Rankin) Alasvird ~

Daughter Blanche Rankin (1909- ? ) was born in 1909. 

At the age of 21, Blanche married 24-year-old John Alasvird (1903-1966). The ceremony took place on Oct. 7, 1929 at the Methodist Episcopal Church parsonage in Brandonville, Preston County, WV, by the hand of Rev. S.E. Ryan.

The Alasvirds resided in the Haydentown area of Smithfield, Fayette County. They did not reproduce. 

They were members of the Haydentown Christian Church. John labored for many years as a coal miner and was a member of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). 

John passed away at home at the age of 63 on March 28, 1966. Following the funeral at the family church, he was laid to rest in the church cemetery.

As a widow, Blanche remained active and in August 1971 attended the second annual Fields family reunion, held at Rainbow Park and attended by 170 relatives.

 

~ Daughter Bessie (Rankin) Squires ~

Daughter Bessie M. Rankin (1910-1983) was born on Feb. 25, 1910.

On Aug. 20, 1927, when she was 17 years of age, she wedded 22-year-old Homer H. Squires (May 19, 1905-2003).

They established a home in Smithfield, Fayette County and were the parents of five -- Franklin Squires, Eugene Squires, Gail Victor, Wilma Jean Mace and Helen Squires.

The family is known to have attended the second annual Fields family reunion in 1971, held at Rainbow Park and attended by 170 guests.

When the couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1977, a yard party was held at their home for 100 guests and included live bluegrass music performed by the group Buck Fever. They were pictured in a related article in the Uniontown Evening Standard.

Bessie died at the age of 73 in July 1983. Her remains were placed into eternal repose in Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Smithfield. [Find-a-Grave]

Homer lived for another two decades after her passing and appears to have remained in Smithfield. He was cut away by the Grim Reaper at the age of 98 on May 31, 2003.

Son Franklin Squires lived in Amherst, OH in 1977.

Son Eugene Squires relocated to Ohio, where he resided in 1977 in Amherst.

Daughter Gail Squires wedded (?) Victor ( ? - ? ). Their home in 1977 was in Smithfield.

Daughter Wilma Jean Squires married (?) Mace and dwelled in Amherst, OH.

Daughter Helen Squires was unmarried and made a home with her parents in 1977.

 

~ Son Donald Edward Rankin ~

Son Donald Edward Rankin (1911-1990) was born on Aug. 12, 1911 in Wharton Township, Fayette County.

On April 1939, Donald was united in wedlock with Thelma Everly (April 5, 1921-1994). The couple were a decade apart in age.

Circa 1940, the 28-year-old Donald and 19-year-old Thelma resided next to his parents and in close proximity to Rankin and Addis relatives in Wharton Township.

The children born to this marriage were Bonnie Hickle, Jenny McCullough, Stanley Rankin, James Rankin and Betty Miller.

Donald earned a living over the years through employment with Chess Coal Company.

When the Rankins reached their 35th wedding anniversary in 1974, they held a family dinner on Easter Sunday to celebrate. The news was published in the gossip columns of the Uniontown Evening Standard.

Donald entered eternity on July 27, 1990, when he was 79 years of age.

Thelma lived on as a widow for four years. She succumbed to death on Nov. 20, 1994. They rest together in Mountain View Memorial Park in Brownfield, Fayette County. [Find-a-Grave]

Daughter Bonnie Rankin ( ? - ? ) married Raymond Hickle ( ? - ? ). They lived in Uniontown circa 1974. Their offspring were Raymond Hickle Jr. and Joy Hickle.

Daughter Jenny Rankin ( ? - ? ) wedded Earl McCullough ( ? - ? ). They dwelled in Uniontown. The couple bore these children -- Brenda McCullough and Scott McCullough.

Son Stanley Rankin ( ? - ? ) was united in matrimony with (?). They produced four known daughters -- Michele Rankin, Paula Rankin, Donna Rankin and Kathy Rankin.

Son James "Jim" Rankin ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). As a young man, circa 1968, he worked for Tri-State Mining Supply Company. He was joined in wedlock with Mary Jane Dankle ( ? - ? ), daughter of Joseph Dankle of Smithfield. When their engagement was announced, Mary Jane's photograph was published in the Uniontown Evening Standard. Their two known sons were James Rankin Jr. and Donald Rankin. Their home was in Fairchance in 1974.

Daughter Betty Jean Rankin ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). In August 1971, she was married to Donald James Miller ( ? - ? ), son of Henry Miller of Fairchance. The nuptials were held at the Central Christian Church's Educational Building, officiated by Rev. Earl P. Confer. Betty was pictured in a related story in the Uniontown Evening Standard, which noted that she "wore a floor-length gown of Chantilly lace over satin with high neckline and long lace sleeves. Her four-tiered elbow-length veil of silk illusion fell from a crown of sparkling crystals." At the time of marriage, Betty worked at White Front Super Dollar in Fairchance and Donald at U.S. Steel Corporation's coal mine at Robena. They resided on Oak Street in Fairchance and were the parents of James Miller.

~ Son Earl Raymond Rankin ~

Son Earl Raymond Rankin (1913?-1941) was born on April 13, 1913.

He married Fanchion V. "Pat" Lowe (April 11, 1917-2004), the daughter of Charles Huey and Nellie Lowe of Hardin Hollow, Georges Township.

They produced an only son, Merle Edward "Mark" Rankin, born in 1939.

 

    
Rare views of the old Phillips coke plant near Uniontown

 

 

Earl's obituary, 1941

Earl was employed as a coal loader at H.C. Frick Coke Co.'s Phillips coal mine and coke plant near Uniontown. The facility was widely considered a model of efficiency and safety for the time. He was a member of the Phillips local union of the United Mine Workers of America.

But tragedy struck on July 22, 1941 when Earl was killed in a freak accident at the age of 28. A newspaper reported: “The car left the rails and crashed into a post, causing a fall of slate. It was several hours before rescuers could clear the debris and remove the dead and injured men." The county coroner ruled that cause of death was "Body crushed. Shock." He was laid to rest in White Rock Cemetery, also known as Fairchance Cemetery. [Find-a-Grave]

Of the many known Minerd-Miner-Minor cousins to be killed in a coal-coke-steel workplace accident, Earl is the one of the more recent.

Fanchion endured her grief and went on to a long life. She married again to George J. Kelley (1919-2009). They did not reproduce during their marriage of 52 years.

At the age of 87, she passed away on Aug. 29, 2004. Rev. George W. McLaughlin officiated at her funeral service. George died in 2009. They share a grave in Mount Moriah Baptist Cemetery in Smithfield.

Son Merle Edward "Mark" Rankin (1939-2006) was born on June 4, 1939 in Fairchance. He was but a boy of two when his father was killed. Merle resided in the Uniontown area. He died only two years after his mother, on Aug. 14, 2006 at the age of 67. His remains are at rest in Mount Moriah Baptist Cemetery in Smithfield. Inscribed on his grave marker are the words "Son of Fanchion Kelley."

 

~ Daughter Cora B. (Rankin) Henigin ~

Daughter Cora B. Rankin (1914-1978) was born on Sept. 17, 1914.

She married Leonard Henigin (1912- ? ) -- also spelled "Hennigan" -- a coal miner working in and around Georges Township, Fayette County.

The couple bore these known children -- Dolores Henigin, Reta Henigan, Leonard Henigin Jr., (?) Henigin, Charles W. Henigin, Walter T. Henigin and George Richard Henigin.

When the federal census enumeration was made in 1940, they made a home in Georges.

Cora is known to have attended the second annual Fields family reunion held in August 1971 at Rainbow Park.

They moved to Point Marion, Fayette County in the 1940s and remained their for the balance of their lives.

Cora died in March 1978.

Daughter Dolores Henigin (1935- ? ) was born in about 1935 in Georges Township.

Daughter Reta Henigin (1937- ? ) was born in about 1937 in Georges Township.

Son Leonard Henigin Jr. (1938- ? ) was born in about 1938 in Georges Township.

Son (?) Henigin (1940- ? ) was born in 1940 in Georges Township.

Son Charles W. Henigin ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). In 1959, he earned income working at Klein's Department Store in Point Marion. In June 1959, he is believed to have been joined in marriage with Donna Fitzsimmons ( ? - ? ), daughter of Lloyd M. Fitzsimmons of Fairchance.

Son Walter T. Henigin ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). Circa 1965, he was employed by Valley Camp Coal Company. He is thought to have been united in wedlock with Ruth Ann Brewer, daughter of Ira C. Brewer of 27 Main Street in Point Marion. As a young woman, she worked as a secretary for U.S. Steel Corporation in Pittsburgh.

Son George Richard Henigin ( ? - ? ) was born in (?) in Georges Township. He secured work as a construction laborer at the Lake Lynn hydroelectric power dam and at the Fort Martin Power Plant. In April 1967, he was joined in wedlock with Priscilla Ann Harvey ( ? - ? ), daughter of Edgar and Virginia Harvey of Dilliner, Greene County. The nuptials were held at the Mount Pleasant Methodist Church in Dilliner, officiated by Rev. D.W. Logan, with a story printed in the Uniontown Morning Herald. At the time of marriage, Priscilla was employied in Cleveland by Gibson Homes.

 

~ Son Herbert Rankin ~

Son Herbert Rankin (1917-1970) was born in 1917.

He was joined in matrimony with Marie Joseph (1921-1966), the daughter of William and Caroline (Sharp) Joseph.

They resided in Elliottsville Farmington, where they belonged to the St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church at Farmington. 

The Rankins had four children -- Irene Guthrie, Pauline Close, Paul Eugene Rankin and Dale Rankin.

Marie died at the age of 45 on June 11, 1966. 

Herbert survived her by five years, and passed away at the age of 53 on Feb. 22, 1970. Following his requiem high mass funeral, he was laid to rest at the Visitation Cemetery in Farmington.

Daughter Irene Rankin married James Guthrie and lived in Farmington.

Daughter Pauline Rankin ( ? -2009) -- twin to Irene -- married James Richard Close ( ? -1983) and resided in Ruffsdale circa 1970 and at Uniontown. They had two children -- Darlene Marie Close and Linda (Close) Tucker. Said the Uniontown Herald-Standard, "Pauline loved her flowers and grandchildren very much." She passed away at the age of 69 on Jan. 31, 2009. She was buried at Lafayette Memorial Park near Uniontown. 

Son Paul Edward Rankin (1947-2012) was born on June 22, 1947. He was twice married, first to Marian Zapotosky ( ? - ? ). They made their home in Bitner. Paul's second wife was Eva Rockwell ( ? - ?), and they resided in Uniontown. In all, he had four children -- Paul E. Rankin Jr., Kimberly (Hice) Idrovo, Jamie (Hice) Guth and Joni Marie Hice. Said the Uniontown Herald-Standard, Paul "was a life long truck driver with his own rig and worked 17 years for his friend and employer Dale Malinzak and all his fellas at Dem Trucking." He died in Uniontown at the age of 65 on Sept. 10, 2012. He was laid to rest in Mt. Washington Cemetery in Perryopolis, Fayette County.

~ Son Delbert E. Rankin ~

Son Delbert E. Rankin (1918-1975) was born in 1918.

He wedded Pauline (?).

They were the parents of six children -- Delbert E. Rankin, Thomas Rankin, Philip Rankin, Barbara Cody, Sandra Hamilton and Deborah Cain.

Circa 1975, he made his home in Elyria, OH, where he was employed a factory worker with Chevrolet Motor in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, OH, while Pauline lived in Fort Lauderdale, FL. 

Tragically, Delbert was killed on Dec. 30, 1975 of "injuries sustained in an automobile accident" along Route 119 near Collier Crossroads, reported the Uniontown Herald-Standard. His remains were returned to Fayette County for interment in Haydentown Christian Church Cemetery. At the time, the newspaper said he was survived by 16 grandchildren. 

Son Delbert E. Rankin lived circa 1975 in Rosebush, MI.

Son Thomas Rankin resided in Amherst, OH.

Son Philip Rankin made his home circa 1975 in Amherst, OH.

Daughter Barbara Rankin married (?) Cody. She lived in Lower Salem, OH.

Daughter Sandra Rankin wed Daniel Hamilton. They resided in Lorain, OH.

Daughter Deborah Rankin married Gregory Cain and made their home in Amherst, OH.

 

~ Daughter Edith M. (Rankin) Taylor ~

Daughter Edith M. Rankin (1921- ? ) was born in about 1921 in Wharton Township.

In about 1939, when she would have been age 18, Edith married Donald Raymond Taylor Sr. (June 10, 1916-1965), son of George and Etta (Campbell) Taylor of Balsinger, PA.

The couple produced 10 children, among them Donald R. Taylor Jr., Sandra Mansberry, twins Betty Hromada and Roger L. Taylor, Linda Smalley, Patricia Ann Taylor, Donna Jean Taylor, Brenda Taylor, Robert Taylor and Deborah Taylor.

At the time of marriage, Donald earned a living as a road construction laborer. Later, he became a painter by trade. Their address in the mid-1960s was 115 Railroad Street in Hopwood/Uniontown.

Sadly, Donald Sr. suffered a severe heart attack and was pronounced dead on arrival at Uniontown Hospital on July 11, 1965. He was only age 49. Interment was in Maple Grove Cemetery. Funeral arrangements were handled by the Edward E. Minerd Funeral Home of Uniontown,

Son Donald Raymond "Don" Taylor Jr. (1941-2019) was born on June 27, 1941 in Balsinger, Fayette County. In about 1959, he married Irene Stacia Sharp ( ? -living). The union of this couple lasted for six decades. Their four children were Ricky Lee Taylor, James Edward Taylor, Peggy Sue Armel and Doris Jean Saenz. The Taylors made a home in Brownfield, Fayette County in 1965. Later, they moved to Dunbar. The family belonged to the First Christian Church of New Salem. Donald earned a living over the years as a truck driver specializing in long-distance routes, employed by the Teamsters Local 491. In his free time, he was a member of the Hutchinson Sportsmen's Club. Sadly, Donald died at home at the age of 78 on July 17, 2019. Pastor Andy Miles led the funeral service, with burial in Maple Grove Cemetery.

  • Grandson Ricky Lee Taylor lives in Royal, PA.
  • Grandson James Edward Taylor married Cathy and dwells in Dunbar.
  • Granddaughter Peggy Sue Taylor wedded Robert Armel. They make a home in Adah, Fayette County.
  • Granddaughter Doris Jean Taylor was joined in wedlock with (?) Saenz. Her residence in 2019 was in Arvada, CO.

Daughter Betty Taylor (1949- ? ) was born in 1949, a twin with her brother Roger. She married David Franklin Hromada Sr., son of Thomas and Leona Hromada of Republic, Fayette County. They had at least one son, David Franklin Hromada Jr. David Sr. was employed in 1974 at the G.C. Murphy Store in Laurel Mall, holding the position of assistant manager. The Hromadas lived in Uniontown in 2019.

Son Roger L. Taylor (1949-1969) was born in about 1949, a twin with his sister Betty. He married Linda Rockwell ( ? - ? ). During the Vietnam War, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps and attained the rank of corporal. Grieg blanketed the family when Roger died at the age of 20 in Alexias Hospital in Cleveland. His remains were returned to Uniontown to rest in Maple Grove Cemetery in Fairchance. Rev. Roland M. O'Brien led the funeral service.

Daughter Sandra Taylor ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was united in holy wedlock with (?) Mansberry. Their home in 1969 was in Uniontown and in 2019 in Big Brownfield.

Daughter Linda Diane Taylor ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). On Oct. 24, 1965, she wedded John James Smalley Sr. ( ? - ? ), son of Earl Smalley Sr. of Tower Hill 1. Rev. Franklin Bishop officiated at the wedding, held in the Pentecostal Holiness Church of Uniontown. In reporting on the nuptials ceremony, the Uniontown Morning Herald said that she "wore a street length sheath of white lace. Her short veil was attached to a white bow and she carried an arrangement of white carnations with pink rosebuds." At the time of marriage, John Sr. was employed in Fayette City. The couple lived at 106 Pershing Court Manor in Uniontown in 1972. The children born to this union were John James Smalley Jr., Karen Lynn Smalley and Kimberly Ann Smalley. Circa 2019, they lived in Port St. Lucie, FL.

Daughter Patricia Ann Taylor ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was united in matrimony with (?) Glisan. She was in Markleysburg, Fayette County in 2019.

Daughter Donna Jean Taylor ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was joined in marriage with Merle Thompson. They reside in Uniontown.

Daughter Brenda Taylor ( ? - ? ) is not married. In 1970, as a camper at Happy Day Camp in Uniontown, she was pictured in the Morning Herald with camp director Bonnie Clawson, receiving a donation from officials from the Uniontown Junior Civic League.

Son Robert Wayne Taylor ( ? - ? ) was deceased by 2019.

Daughter Deborah Taylor ( ? - ? ) is not married.

 

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