At the age of 24, on July 23, 1843, he was among 53 individuals and 11 Reams who joined the Jersey Baptist Church and were baptized that day. The following year, he was elected a trustee, and his parents joined the church.
Reported the Somerset Herald, he was "known as a kind, accommodating neighbor, always ready to respond to any worthy cause. He served as Justice of the Peace in Lower Turkeyfoot township for about 25 years."
He is mentioned in the 1884 History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, which said that "Thomas is the only survivor. He lived at Draketown since his fourth year, farming and milling. He has been justice of the peace twenty years, and was recruiting officer of this township during the late war."
He was married three times and produced children with all three wives.
Thomas' first bride was Hester "Esther" Stull (1825-1850).
Their four children were Susan Ream, Rebecca Ream, Albert Ream and Huldah Hester Popey.
In 1850, this family dwelled in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County, where Thomas was a flour miller. It's said he took over the mill from Mr. Drake, for whom Draketown is named.
In March 1840, after the death of his father, Thomas purchased many of his parents' farm goods and tools at an estate sale. Among these were barrels, spades and shovels, grubbing hoes, a box with shoemaker tools, riding bridles, a blue mare and colt, wagon, wheelbarrow ("wheal barry"), barshear plow, harrow, shovel plow, horse geers, windmill, cutting box, forks, rakes, carding machine, stone hammers, wheat stores, bushels of oats, grindstones, shaving tools, whiskey, tooth drawers, doubletrees, halter chains, sledscooper tools, chisels, drawing knives, a saw, augers, sifters, turning lathe, bushels of flour, rye and wheat, tubs, tin box, pocket books and bushels of corn.
Sadly, Esther died on Nov. 4, 1850, at the untimely age of 26 years, eight months and 20 days. Her death occurred just one and a half months after the birth of their daughter Huldah, and could have been due to post-partum health complications.
Her remains were placed into eternal repose in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery. The plot where she was laid became the Ream family burying area where Thomas himself later would be interred along with a number of their family. Her grave marker stills stands tall and erect, perfectly legible when photographed in July 2016 by the founder of this website.
Esther's demise left Thomas with four young mouths to feed and in need of a mother figure.
Within less than three months, Thomas married again. His second wife was Sarah McMillen ( ? -1865), and they were joined in wedlock on Jan. 20, 1851, by the hand of Rev. John Harned of Harnedsville, Somerset County.
They went on to produce six children -- Austin Ream, Zobeidi Jane "Betty" Colborn Younkin, John Ream, George Ream, William Ream and Sarah Ream.
When the census again was taken in 1860, Thomas and Sarah headed a household of nine children, age 14 and under, with three others living under their roof -- 26-year-old domestic Barbary McMillen, 25-year-old mistress Elizabeth Nicklow and 68-year-old house carpenter Thomas McMillen.
Further heartache visited the family when Sarah passed away on or about the second day of the new year in 1865, aged 45 years, one month and 15 days. Her mortal remains were lowered to the earth at the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery, in a row including the first wife and other Reams. At the base of her grave marker -- still erect and legible today -- was carved this epitaph:
Kind Angels watch her sleeping dust,
Till Jesus comes to raise the just.
Then may she wake with sweet surprise
And in her Savior's image rise.
Her death left Thomas as a two-time widower with many young mouths to feed in addition to his own.
Thomas' third spouse was Adaline Shaulis (May 12, 1844-1925), who was 24 years younger than he. She was the daughter of Levi and Barbara (Berkey) Shaulis of near Somerset.
The couple went on to produce five more children, of whom four have been identified -- Ida Amelia Porterfield, Bertha Ream, Irvin Scott Ream and Joseph Ward Ream.
In 1880, Thomas served in the elected position of justice of the peace for Lower Turkeyfoot. That same year, he and A.S. Hyatt and Eli Conn were the first trustees of the newly built Draketown Methodist Episcopal Church, "a tasty and beautiful church," said the 1884 History, "erected... at a cost of eleven hundred dollars."
He died on June 9, 1885, at the age of 65 years and nine months. Burial was in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery near Ursina. An epitaph was inscribed on the base of the grave marker, reading as follows:
Dear father with a reverent hand,
This to thy memory given.
While on by one thy household band
God reunites in Heaven.
Adaline survived her husband by a remarkable four decades and made her home during those many years in Draketown. In her final years, she suffered from heart valve disease and "dropsy" (buildup of fluid).
At the age of 81, Adaline passed away on Sept. 13, 1925 in her home at Draketown. An obituary in the Meyersdale Republic stated that in addition to her four children and three step-children, she was survived by 40 grandchildren and 41 great-grandchildren. Funeral services were held at the Jersey Baptist Church, with Rev. L.H. Powell officiating. Burial was in the church cemetery, but the location of the grave is not yet known, and it may well not be marked. Her son Joseph Ward Ream signed her official Pennsylvania certificate of death.
~ Daughter Susan Ream ~
Daughter Susan Ream (1843- ? ) was born in 1843.
~ Daughter Rebecca Ream ~
Daughter Rebecca Ream (1845- ? ) was born in 1845.
~ Son Albert Ream ~
Son Albert Ream (1847-1877) was born in about 1847. He married Barbara "Ellen" Dull (1952-1938), daughter of Frederick and Margaret "Peggy" (Faidley) Dull. See their biography for more.
~ Daughter Hulda Hester (Ream) Popey ~
Daughter Hulda Hester Ream (1850-1914) was born on Sept. 20, 1850.
When she was about age 26, in 1876, she married Daniel Henry Mathias "Matt" Popey (Jan. 1854-1929), son of Louis and Catherine Popey, the father an immigrant from Germany. The groom was five years younger than the bride.
The couple produced one known daughter, Mary Ellen Harper.
When the federal census was taken in 1900, the Popeys made their home on Freeland Street in Pittsburgh's Ward 31, with Daniel employed as a puddler, likely in a steel mill. At that time, a puddler's work involved converting pig iron into wrought iron in the exceptionally hot, smelly and dangerous environment of a blast furnace.
Later, the Popeys relocated to Washington County, PA, where they lived in their married daughter's home in Eldora, near Monongahela, Carroll Township.
Suffering from heart problems, Hulda died at the age of 63 on Aug. 20, 1914. A death notice in the Pittsburgh Daily Post said that funeral services were held in the Harpers' home. Burial was in Monongahela Cemetery, in Section D, Lot 165.
Daniel survived his wife by 15 years and married again within a few years to Emma T. Brack (Jan. 24, 1877-1950), daughter of Charles and Augusta (Koegler) Brack. They lived at 60 Millbridge Street in Pittsburgh and were 23 years apart in age. The couple went on to produce two more children, Daniel George Popey and Robert William Popey.
In his mid-70s, Daniel earned a living as a watchman at the Pennsylvania Gauge & Supply Company. Suffering from heart problems, asthma, congestive heart failure and more, he succumbed at age 75 on Feb. 21, 1929. His remains were returned to Monongahela to rest beside Hulda. William Brack of the home address signed the death certificate.
Emma survived as a widow for another 21 years. She died on Jan. 23, 1950 at the age of 72. Robert W. Popey of the home was the informant for the official certificate of death. Emma rests for eternity in Zimmerman's Cemetery in Pittsburgh.
Daughter Mary Ellen "Mayme" Popey (1878-1945) was born on July 21, 1878 in Pittsburgh. She was wedded to Charles Edward Harper (March 12, 1872-1916), son of Amos and Susan Harper of Phillipsburg, PA. They had six children -- Matt Harper, Daniel Harper, Charles Harper, Harry Harper, Esther Cisik and Howard "Arthur" Harper. In about 1915, the Harpers moved into Eldora near Monongahela, Carroll Township, Washington County, where Charles obtained work as a millman. On the fateful day of Feb. 10, 1917, the 44-year-old Charles met death when he fell over a streetcar bridge in West Monessen and fractured his skull. The county coroner ruled the death accidental. Mary Ellen was stricken with gall bladder cancer in 1944 and it spread to her liver. She was unable to rally and died at age 67 on Aug. 26, 1945. Her remains were lowered into repose in Monongahela Cemetery. An obituary was printed in the Monongahela Daily Republican.
Great-grandson Daniel L. Harper (1930-1995) was born on Dec. 2, 1930. He served in the U.S. Army in Korea as a member of 187th Airborne Division and was a recipient of the Purple Heart medal. After the war, he worked for Guttman Welding Supply Company in Speers and later by Valley Welding in West Mifflin. He married Dolores Cooper ( ? - ? ). the couple did not reproduce. For years, they resided in Craven Hill near Charleroi. Daniel enjoyed golf and was a member of the Monongahela Valley Country Club. He died in Pittsburgh's Mercy Hospital at the age of 64 on July 20, 1995. The Valley Independent printed an obituary. He rests in Monongahela Cemetery.
Great-grandson Donald Bryan Harper (1941-1984) was born on March 11, 1941 in Charleroi. He was a military veteran of the U.S. Army. He relocated to Trenton, MI. He passed away in Newport, Monroe County, MI on June 27, 1984. His remains were shipped back to his hometown for burial in Monongahela Cemetery.
Great-grandson William James Harper (1942-2004) was born on May 23, 1942 in Charleroi. At the age of 19, during the Korean War, he joined the U.S. Army in June 1961 and served until June 1964. He was joined in wedlock with Rose Ann Fronzaglio ( ? - ? ). The couple bore two sons, Sean D. Harper and Troy J. Harper. They dwelled in 1978 in Donora, where he was employed by Combustion Engineering Foundry. William belonged to the local American Legion post. Eventually the couple migrated to Ohio and put down roots in Elyria, Lorain County. There, he worked for Elyria Foundry. As a patient in the EMH Regional Medical Center in Elyria, he succumbed to death at the age of 61 on April 16, 2004. Funeral services were officiated by Rev. Fr. David J. Kriss of the Our Lady of the Valley Parish of Donora. Interment of the remains was made in Monongahela Cemetery, and an obituary was printed in the Blairsville Dispatch.
Daniel's son from the second marriage, Daniel George Popey (1917- ? ), was born on Aug. 24, 1917. He was a bookkeeper in Pittsburgh. On June 14, 1947, at the age of 29, he was united in the holy bonds of marriage with 26-year-old clerk Matilda Julia "Tillie" Sommer (Sept. 5, 1920-2009), daughter of Joseph and Julia (Balash) Sommer of 930 Lillian Street in Pittsburgh, with Matilda's parents having emigrated from Hungary. Rev. Edgar M. Waxler officiated at the nuptials held in Pittsburgh. The Popeys made their home in Bethel Park and had two children, Alan Popey and Barbara Julia Erps. Over the years, Tillie worked as a stenographer for Buhl Optical, followed by employment with AT&T, the Pennsylvania Telephone Guild and as secretary of the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church. Tillie spent her final years in Townview Nursing Center in Canonsburg, Washington County. She died there at the age of 88 on May 24, 2009. An obituary was printed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, with interment in Jefferson Memorial Park.
Daniel's son from the second marriage, Robert William Popey (1921- ? ) was born on Sept. 4, 1921. He was a woodworker. At age 28, on Oct. 29, 1949, he was united in matrimony with 23-year-old stenographer Alva M. Coward (Sept. 10, 1926- ? ), daughter of Frederick and Loretta (Weckler) Coward.
~ Son Austin Ream ~
Son Austin Ream (1851-1861) was born on Oct. 4, 1851. He died at the age of 10 on Oct. 25, 1861, with burial in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery. The cause of death is not yet known. A stone was inscribed and erected at the site of his grave. Over the years it has broken in half and the upper half cemented back into place. The lettering was somewhat legible when photographed by the founder of this website in July 2016.
~ Daughter Zobeidi Jane "Betty" (Ream) Colborn Younkin ~
Daughter Zobeidi Jane "Betty" Ream (1854-1925) was born on May or June 26, 1854, although her death certificate erroneously lists a much earlier date of 1843. She was twice married, first to John Colborn ( ? -1885) and second to Civil War veteran Silas Younkin (1844-1924). See the Younkin biography for details.
~ Son John Ream ~
Son John Ream (1855-1917) was born on Feb. 3, 1855 at Draketown. He grew up on a farm and also learned the trade of carpentry.
When he was about age 30, circa 1885, he married 30-year-old Izena A. "Izene" Lenhart (Jan./Feb. 12, 1855-1935), daughter of Peter and Almira (Hyatt) Lenhart of Ursina. Her name at times has been given as "Inez."
They produced these children -- James "Lewis" Ream, Alice E. "Allie" Ream and Hulda "Bell" Blight. Six others died in childhood.
Said the Meyersdale Republic, "Mr. Ream was a man of above ordinary intelligence and always took an interest in public affairs, and for several years after the death of his father, he took the latter's place as justice of the peace for Lower Turkeyfoot. He was a man of kind heart and always ready to do a friend a favor." In about 1893 or 1893, the Reams relocated to nearby Confluence, where John was considered a well known resident and made a reputation as a carpenter.
The federal census enumeration of 1900 shows that John and Izene had been married for 15 years and produced nine offspring, of whom only three were living. At that time, John was employed as a lumber clerk in the Confluence area.
By 1910, John's work had changed and was performing labor for odd jobs.
Izene served as clerk of the congregation of the Confluence Baptist Church circa 1912. In May 1912, the newly rebuilt church was dedicated as a "mountain chapel," and her name was printed in a long article in the Meyersdale Republican. The sanctuary featured stained glass windows in memory of members and donors, among them Jehu and Mary Ann (Ream) McMillan.
In his later years, he was burdened with heart valve disease. On May 27, 1917, at the age of 62, John passed away unexpectedly at home. Noted the Republican, "Mr. Ream had been confined to his home with asthma the msot of the past winter and appeared to be getting weaker day by day until a few weeks before his death when he seemed to be regaining a little health and strength and was able to sit on his porch until a few minutes previous to his death, when he requested his son to lead him out on the porch and suddenly dropped dead in his son's arms." Funeral services were held in the family home, with Rev. W.A. Wissinger of Brownsville, PA preaching the funeral sermon. Interment was in Draketown Cemetery. Lewis Ream of Confluence signed the Pennsylvania certificate of death.
The widowed Izene outlived her husband by 14 years and relocated with her daughters to Detroit in 1918. She and unmarried daughter Bell returned to Confluence for summer visits with her son. In 1922 and 1923, she came back to attend the annual Wills family reunion of descendants of Michael Wills, held in Ursina. The Meyersdale Republican observed in 1923 that "Although the family is a large one and scattered over different parts of Western Pennsylvania, they always observe the day, and it takes very serious obstacles to keep any of the numerous families away from their annual celebration. It is an unwritten law with them that the celebration be held in Ursina near the home of William R. Wills, one of the sons of Michael Wills, who follows the vocation of his father, that of blacksmith."
Izene grieved in November 1934 at the untimely death of her son Lewis in Confluence. She only lived for a short time after that and became deathly ill. Word of her infirmity was printed in the Republican, which stated that she "was for many years a resident of Confluence, and has a host of friends here." She succumbed to death at the age of 79 on Feb. 10, 1935. Her remains were shipped back to Pennsylvania for funeral services at the home of her sister Elizabeth Coughenour. She rests for all time in the Confluence Baptist Cemetery. A short obituary was printed in the Connellsville Daily Courier, naming her other surviving siblings as Dora Richardson of Greensburg, PA; Bessie Conn of Fairmont, WV; and K.B. Lenhart of Ursina.
Son James "Lewis" Ream (1886-1934) was born on April 27, 1886 in Draketown, Somerset County. He learned the barber trade and as a young man joined the Confluence Christian Church. In 1911, he resided in the coal mining town of Trauger near Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County, PA. By 1917, he had relocated to Rockwood, Somerset County. He also barbered in Somerset before returning to Confluence for good. In all, he cut hair for 29 years. Circa 1916, Lewis married Grace Shipley ( ? - ? ), daughter of Beeson S. and Emma (Sterner) Shipley of Confluence. They were the parents of an only son, Thomas Elmer Ream. The family dwelled on Dean Street in Confluence, where Lewis earned a living as a barber. He was a member of the Pleasant Valley Lodge of the Knights of Pythias. He also had a seat on the church's board, while Grace led the children's division of the 19th annual convention of the 10th District of the Somerset County Sunday School Association, held in Confluence. She also is known to have taught classes of the association. Lewis suffered from dental problems and underwent surgery to remove teeth from infected gums. A side effect of the operation was an abscess of the brain in October 1934 "from a complication of diseases" which he had endured "for a whole year," said the Meyersdale Republican. He was confined to his house as his life ebbed away. The Angel of Death spirited him away at the age of 47 on Nov. 2, 1934. The Republican noted in an obituary that he was nicknamed "Lew" and was "popular" and "well known." The obituary added that Lewis "was a sincere Christian and a kind and loving friend and neighbor, and his departrue from this earth is lamented by his friends throughout the community. His death leaves a void in the life of the community that will be very hard to fill." Co-officiating at his funeral service were Rev. C.W. Diehl and Rev. Paul Clemmensen. His former barber shop was taken over by John F. Kreger of Uniontown, son of Laura Kreger of Confluence. By 1936, Grace and their son Thomas relocated to Cumberland, Allegany County, MD, where the boy was attending Catherman's Business College. Despite the grip of the Great Depression, Grace and Thomas motored to Detroit in June 1937 to visit with her late husband's sisters, and by September 1938 elected to stay in the Motor City, where the son had enrolled in the Detroit Business Institute. Her address in 1939 was 2976 Northwestern Avenue. Unspeakable grief cascaded upon her life when her son became deathly ill in 1939 and died after a 14-week stay in Detroit's Harper Hospital. The following month, she spent several weeks of vacation in Connellsville, Fayette County and at the Confluence home of her cousins Mr. and Mrs. Ray Hyatt. Grace remained in Detroit through the 1940s but may eventually have returned to Confluence.
Daughter Alice E. "Allie" Ream (1889-1978) was born on Dec. 30/31, 1889 in Lower Turkeyfoot Township. She never married. At the age of 20, in 1910, she was employed as a school teacher in Confluence, and went on to a 43-year teaching career in Somerset County and in Michigan. She relocated in 1918 to Detroit with her mother and sister and was there in 1935. At Easter 1939, four years after her mother's death, Allie donated 75 new songbooks to the family church in Confluence in her memory. A related story in the Meyersdale Republican said that "The Reams are an old Somerset County family, and this particular Ream family lived in Confluence many years, where they are well and favorably known." Allie eventually returned to Confluence. She passed away at the age of 89 in Somerset Community Hospital on March 28, 1978. An obituary was printed in the Somerset Daily American. Interment of the remains took place in the Turkeyfoot Valley Baptist Church Cemetery, with Rev. Richard McClintock leading the funeral service.
Daughter Hulda "Belle" Ream (1891-1970) was born on July 25, 1891. In 1910, when she was 19 years old, she earned income as a clerk in an office in Confluence. She and her mother and sister migrated to Detroit in 1918 after her father's death. She married Wesley Blight ( ? - ? ). They were the parents of Dr. William Blight. Circa 1935, the family continued to dwell in Detroit. Belle and her sister are known to have returned to Confluence by the early 1960s. She lived in the Acme Apartments and in 1970 in the Humbert Apartments on Latrobe Avenue. The sisters were active with the Women's Society of Christian Service in connection with the Confluence Baptist Church. Sadly, Belle passed into eternity at the age of 79 on Dec. 23, 1970. Burial was in the Confluence Baptist Cemetery.
~ Son George Ream ~
Son George Ream (1857-1871) was born in 1857. He lived into his teenage years. At the age of 13, he passed away on March 28, 1871. Burial was in the plot of Ream family graves in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery, including his mother's. A marker was erected at the grave, and is somewhat legible in the center although worn down on the left and right hand edges.
~ Son William H. Ream ~
Son William H. Ream (1859-1943) was born on March 25 1859 in Draketown. His middle name also has been given as "Lorentz." At the age of 21, in 1880, he lived at home and earned a living as a flour miller. Later, he became a self-employed carpenter until age forced him to retire.
Circa 1880, when he would have been 21 years of age, William wedded Rhoda Anderson (Feb. 1862-1945), sometimes known as "Mary" and "Annie" and the daughter of Rev. Noah Anderson of Drakedown. They moved to Confluence in about 1899, and remained there permanently.
Their known offspring were Mary Shipley Coughenour, Beda Jane Leckemby, William Herschel Ream Jr., Rose Ream, Nell Lamison, Albert R. Ream, Stella "Pearl" Felt, Verna Semple and Mildred V. Ream.
The 1910 federal census enumeration shows the family living in Confluence, with their married daughter Mary Shipley and her children among those under their roof.
At the age of 84, suffering from heart disease of two decades' duration, added to chronic kidney problems, he died on May 20, 1943. Daughter Rose Ream of Confluence was the informant for his death certificate. Burial was in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery, following a funeral sermon preached by Rev. Henry Knoell, and with an obituary appearing in print in the Meyersdale Republican.
Rhoda only lived for two more years after her husband's death. She suffered a heart attack and died on Aug. 14, 1945. The Republican listed her surviving brothers as Bruce Anderson and John Anderson of Claysville, PA; Lloyd Anderson of Cameron, WV; and Harvey Anderson of Aleppo, PA.
Daughter Mary E. Ream (1882-1973) was born on Aug. 2, 1882 near Confluence. In about 1899, at the age of 18, she was first married to Andrew Shipley (1875- ? ). They had two sons -- Stanton "Clifford" Shipley and Raymond "Kenneth" Shipley. The couple first dwelled in Ohiopyle, Fayette County in 1900 but appears to have separated by 1910, and Mary moved back into her parents' home with her sons. Later, she married for a second time to widower James B. "Big Jim" Coughenour (1856-1932), son of the late Gilbert and M. L. Coughenour of Connellsville. They lived in the west end of Confluence. At the age of 18, said the Meyersdale Republican, James had "entered the service of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad as a helper in the Connellsville shops. After a years' service with the B. & O., he became an apprentice in the shops of the National Locomotive Company. In 1878, at the age of 22, he returned to the service of the Baltimore and Ohio, entering the service as a locomotive fireman. After fourteen months service, he was promoted to locomotive engineer, and served in this position both on freight and passenger runs...." After the death of his first wife, James returned to Connellsville, and then in 1917 came back to Confluence, "entering the passenger service between Connellsville and Cumberland. He served later as engineer on a work train out of Confluence, followed in turn by service on the C. & O. Branch and in service on Passenger Train 43 between Cumberland and Connellsville, in which service he was when he retired in 1921" In retirement, he was twice elected justice of the peace and served from 1924 to his death. In 1931, he was named as weighmaster of Confluence Borough. James was a member of the Confluence Baptist Church, the Elks Lodge of Connellsville, the B&O Veterans Association, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (Lodge No. 50, of Connellsville) and the "last surviving member of Co. C, Connellsville Grays, a company of the Pennsylvania National Guard" said the Republican. "In politics he was a consistent and outstanding Democrat." James passed away following two successive strokes at the age of 75 on Aug. 11, 1932. Interment was in the cemetery of the Confluence Baptist Church, with services officiated by Rev. Leslie Magargee, supply pastor of the church. Mary lived for another 41 years as a widow. She dwelled in Confluence in 1943 and in Smithfield, PA in 1945. She spent her final years in the Somerset County Home for the Aged in Berlin and died there at the age of 93 on Jan. 15, 1973. Burial was in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery.
Daughter Beda Jane Ream (1882- 1960) was born on Jan. 22, 1882 in Confluence. She was wedded to John B. Leckemby (1882-1949). They were the parents of Robert P. Leckemby, James A. Leckemby, Raymond C. Leckemby, Mildred Lorayne Manley and John Leckemby. In 1910 and 1920, when the U.S. Censuses were taken, the couple dwelled in Smithfield, Fayette County, where John was employed as a railroad engineer. Later, Beda Jane lived along Railroad Street in Smithfield. At the age of 76, stricken with liver cancer, she was admitted to Pittsburgh's St. Francis Hospital. She passed away there on Jan. 5, 1960. Burial was in Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Smithfield, with Rev. James O. Bissell. Obituaries in the Uniontown Evening Standard and the Connellsville Daily Courier said she was survived by 10 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Son William Herschel Ream Jr. (1884-1956) was born on March 25, 1884. He relocated to California and dwelled in Stockton, San Joaquin County in 1922-1956. He secured employment there as a switchman with the Western Pacific Railroad. On Oct. 19, 1922, when he was 38 years of age, Herschel married Mabel L. ( ? - ? ), with their nuptials held in Stockton. Their address circa 1923 was 1319 East Washington Street. The marriage was doomed almost as soon as it began. Charging cruelty, the couple separated in August 1923, with Mabel filing for divorce. The Superior Court in Stockton handed down the divorce in December 1923, with the news reported in the Stockton Daily Evening Record. The federal census enumeration of 1930 shows Herschel working as a switchman on a railroad, with 32-year-old housekeeper Elsie V. Hawkins and 11-year-old James M. Swetnam living under his roof. In 1940, he had no employment. He passed away in San Joaquin County on May 3, 1956.
Daughter Rose Ream (1886-1974) was born on Aug. 31, 1886. She never married. At the age of 19, in January 1906, she gave birth to a son, Cecil Eugene Benning. Rose did not marry the boy's father, John A. Benning. Rather, she made her home with her parents for many years until their deaths. She continued to live in Confluence for the remainder of her life. She died at the age of 97 in March 1974. Burial was in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery with Rev. Larry Dean officiating. The Meyersdale Republican published an obituary.
Daughter Nell Ream (1889-1948) was born on Sept. 9, 1889. She was united in marriage with Clair Lamison ( ? - ? ). In 1943, their home was in Tarentum, Allegheny County, PA. Burdened with gallstones and a gangrene infction of the gall bladder, added to chronic heart disease, she was admitted as a patient to Allegheny Valley Hospital. There, she underwent surgery on Nov. 22, 1948. But tragically, she threw a pulmonary embolism and died at the age of 57 on Dec. 2, 1948. Her remains were lowered into eternal rest in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery near Ursina. A short obituary was printed in the Connellsville Daily Courier.
Son Albert R. Ream (1891-1931) was born in June 1891. In his early 20s, he was employed at Connellsville as a railroad brakeman. When age 24, in 1915, he and Violet C. (Daniels) Linderman (Aug. 8, 1886-1962) applied for a marriage license and were wed. He was five years younger than she. A native of Salisbury, Somerset County, Violet was the daughter of David and Tillie (Ringer) Daniels. She had been married previously to Leroy Linderman and brought four offspring into the union -- Marjorie M. Linderman, Eunice V. Linderman, David L. Linderman and Paul T. Linderman. The couple made their residence in 1920 in South Connellsville, with the four Linderman children and 28-year-old sister in law Mildred C. Daniels in the household. By 1930, the Reams relocated to nearby Morgantown, Monongalia County, WV, where he had secured work as a railroad conductor. That year, their next-door neighbors were distant cousins and newlyweds Robert A. and Alma L. (Ream) Sands. The couple's address in 1931 was 119 Lorentz Avenue, Morgantown. For reasons not yet known, Albert was despondent at the age of 39. On the grisly day of April 25, 1931, he placed a gun against his head and pulled the trigger. Death was instantaneous. Burial was in Morgantown's East Oak Grove Cemetery. Violet remained in their Lorentz Avenue home for the remaining three-plus decades of her life. She supported herself as a school teacher. When she was was stricken by gall bladder inflammation, the 76-year-old Violet was admitted to Monongalia General Hospital for surgery. Three days later, she was felled by a massive heart attack and died there on Dec. 10, 1962. Her remains were shipped to Homewood Crematory in Pittsburgh.
Daughter Estella "Pearl" Ream (1894- ? ) was born in May 1894. At the age of 15, in 1910, she lived under the roof of her married sister Beda Leckemby in Smithfield, Fayette County. She was married to (?) Felt. They lived in Chicago in 1943-1960.
Daughter Mildred "Verna" Ream (1897- ? ) was born in 1897. She was joined in wedlock with (?) Semple/Sample. They resided in the 1940s and 1960s in Warren and Erie, PA. In 1973-1974, she made her home in Bridgeville, south of Pittsburgh.
~ Daughter Alice C. (Ream) Grantz ~
Daughter Alice C. Ream (1860-1941), sometimes known as "Sarah," was born in about May 1860.
On July 28, 1892, at the age of 32, Alice was wedded to 30-year-old Rev. William Albert Grantz (May 1, 1862-1928), a Methodist preacher widely known as the "Blind Evangelist of Confluence."
They produced two children -- Samuel Grantz and Myrtle Grantz.
As a newborn, William contracted smallpox and then at age 11 became completely blind. He attended the State School for the Blind in Philadelphia where he learned how to weave and graduated with a degree in music. William began his career in Pittsburgh and was active with a political body known as the "Straighout Republicans."
In October 1891, he had been one of many speakers at a mass meeting along the city's Pius Street, attended by 350 spectators who "stood for nearly two hours and listened to speeches against 'ring rule'," reported the Pittsburgh Dispatch. His comments that day focused on people's rights [and] the Crawford county system of nominating candidates and the doing away with 'ring' rule." In about 1898, he relocated to Confluence, likely assigned to preach in the Methodist church. The Connellsville Daily Courier once said that he "had a license as a local minister and made trips to many parts of Western Pennsylvania to conduct evangelistic services. He was regarded as very successful."
In June 1905, Alice's brother in law Silas Younkin, a local carpenter, constructed a new front porch at their home, with the news reported in the gossip columns of the Daily Courier.
William is known to have preached in other local communities, among them Humbert in November 1906 and again in August 1913. He ran for election as a school director on the Prohibition ticket in January 1910 but only garnered 15 votes out of the 332 cast. In March 1917, he spent a month in Homestead near Pittsburgh hold a series of revival meetings. In reporting on the upcoming Homestead evangelism, the Meyersdale Republic said that "Although Rev. Grantz is handicapped by total blindness, he is a forcible and fluent preacher and exhorter and a hard worker. He has done much good work for the cause of religion and the uplift of humanity, the many years he has been here and never wearies of working in the Lord's vineyard." He also engaged in rug-weaving to generate additional income.
Then in June 1917, he visited with his mentor Rev. L.W. LePage in Webster, Washington County, PA and afterward said that he "heard more noise of automobiles and heavy trucks than he heard in all his life before," reported the Republic. "While visiting with Rev. LePage, he conducted a week's evangelistic services at East Donora, a suburb of Webster, in which he reports a deep interest was manifested on the part of the people, and believes much good has been accomplished. The Republican is pleased when any of the citizens of Confluence, and especially Rev. Grantz who is deprived of his sight, is signally honored. Despite his infirmity Rev. Grantz has accomplished more good in the service of God and the uplift of humanity than can be ever realized or appreciated by most of his fellow townsmen. All would be glad to know of other communities calling him for evangelistic work."
He died at the age of 66 on May 19, 1928. An obituary in the Daily Courier noted that he had passed "after an illness of several months." Following funeral services held in the Grantz's home, led by Rev. Frank L. Stuck, the remains were transported to Pittsburgh to rest in the South Side Cemetery, with additional graveside services led by his mentor Rev. LePage.
As a widow, Alice survived her husband by a baker's dozen years. In 1940, she and her unmarried daughter Myrtle relocated to Massachusetts to live with son Samuel in Everett. Sadly, Alice died in Everett in October 1941 at the age of 61. Her remains were returned to Pittsburgh for burial in South Side Cemetery, with an obituary appearing in the Daily Courier and a death notice in the Pittsburgh Press.
Son Samuel B. Grantz (1896-1976) was born on Dec. 21, 1896 in Pittsburgh. He was joined in matrimony with Harriett M. Markey ( ? -1977). The couple had two daughters, Nancy L. Bourque and Faith P. Cook. Samuel was employed as a young man with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. He made his home in Ellerslie, MD in 1915 -- in Smithfield, Fayette County, PA in 1916 -- Pittsburgh in 1921 -- and in Washington, Washington County, PA in 1927. For 42 years, noted the Somerset Daily American, he was "head of the electrical division of Eastern Gas and Fuel," based in Everett, MA. Samuel died at the age of 79 on Feb. 26, 1976 in Everett. A funeral service was held in the Confluence United Methodist Church, with Rev. Arthur Gotjen officiating, with the remains returned to Massachusetts to rest in Puritan Lawn Cemetery in Peabody. An obituary was printed in the Daily American. Harriet only lived for another year as a widow. She passed away on June 8, 1977, with an obituary appearing in the Boston Globe. Funeral services were held in the First Baptist Church of Everett.
Daughter Myrtle Grantz (1893-1951) was born in 1893. She was unmarried and lived at home in 1928-1937. In 1940, she and her widowed mother relocated to Massachusetts to live with Myrtle's brother Samuel in Everett, MA. On May 15, 1943, when she was age 50, Myrtle married Roy J. Seward (1902-1952) and established a dwelling in Roy's hometown of Lockport, Niagara County, NY. She died in 1951 at the age of 57 or 58. Burial was in Cold Springs Cemetery in Lockport. A short notice of her passing was published in the Meyersdale Republican.
~ Daughter Ida Amelia (Ream) Porterfield ~
Daughter Ida Amelia Ream (1866-1941) was born on Nov. 21, 1866.
Circa 1884, when she would have been 18 years of age, she was joined in marriage with 24-year-old James Porterfield (Aug. 23, 1860-1919), son of Henry and Kate (Snyder) Porterfield.
Among the couple's known offspring were Harry Walter Porterfield, Adaline "Addie" Porterfield, Rose "Rosy" Porterfield, Margaret Porterfield, Susan Rederick, Sarah "Sadie" Porterfield, Albert J. Porterfield, John Porterfield and Lloyd Porterfield.
They made their residence near the public schoolhouse in Draketown near Confluence. When the federal census enumeration was made in 1900, James earned a living as a day laborer.
The 1910 census shows that James continued to support his family through his work laboring on odd jobs. At that time, the Porterfields lived next door to Ida's younger brother Irvin Scott Ream and his wife and children.
In October 1911, when two of the children contracted scarlet fever, the county health officer shut down the schoolhouse and "placed the affected family under quanrantine and suspended school while the building was being completely fumigated," reported the Meyersdale Republican.
The family was plunged into grief when the 49-year-old James, burdened with heart valve disease, died on March 1, 1919. Burial was in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery.
Ida outlived her husband by 22 years. Less than a few weeks before her 75th birthday, she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died on Nov. 8, 1941. She was laid to rest in the Jersey Church Cemetery.
Son Harry Walter Porterfield (1886-1950) was born on April 23, 1886. At the age of 24, in 1910, he lived with his parents and, as did his father, worked at odd jobs. In time he married. The Porterfields were farmers in the Confluence area. Sadly, at the age of 64, he was stricken with a cerebral hemorrhage and succumbed to death on July 9, 1950. The remains were laid to rest in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery near Ursina.
Daughter Adaline "Addie" Porterfield (1888-1969) was born in June 1888. She was united in matrimony with Charles Z. Conn (July 29, 1887-1954), the son of Silas and Sarah (Bowers) Conn. Ten children were born into this family -- Walter "Scott" Conn, Olive Schultz, James Conn, Fred Conn, Richard Conn, Charles Conn Jr., Hillery Conn, William Conn, Frances Irene Kregar, Verna Kreger and one other. The Conns made a home on a farm in rural Confluence. Circa 1920, census records show that Charles labored as a coal miner. By 1930, with the nation in the grip of the Great Depression, he found work as a laborer with the Works Progress Administration. The WPA is widely considered one of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's largest and most ambitious undertakings of his "New Deal" to get the nation back on sound economic footing. Over the years, the WPA hired millions of out-of-work individuals to build public works projects, such as roads, bridges, retaining walls and buildings. Many of these structures still exist today and continue to benefit society.. In September 1947, having neglected to pay their township taxes, the Conns' farm possessions were offered for public sale. The items included a shorthorn cow, Jersey bull, Jersey heifer and two steers. Then in 1949, they sold their real estate in Lower Turkeyfoot to their son Hillery Conn for a dollar. In his last years, Charles lived under the roof of his married daughter Mrs. Charles Kregar. Sadly, while dining at the supper table, Charles suffered a massive heart attack at the age of 67 on Dec. 19, 1954 and was dead within 10 minutes. Rev. Harry Cadamore led the funeral service, with an obituary appearing in the Somerset Daily American. Addie lived for another 15 years and remained in Confluence. Death carried her away in 1969. They are in eternal sleep together in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery.
Great-grandson Walter Ray "Jack" Conn (1937-1995) was born on April 14, 1937 in Confluence. He was a U.S. Army veteran. Walter relocated to Killbuck, NY. He died at home at the age of 58 on Nov. 30, 1995, less than two months after his mother's demise. The remains were shipped to Somerset County, and an obituary in the Somerset Daily American said that interment was in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery, with funeral services led by Rev. David Lee.
Great-grandson Robert Dale Conn (1939-1999) was born on Jan. 25 1939 in Draketown. He was united in holy wedlock with Eileen Heinbaugh ( ? - ? ). The Conns lived at 120 Huston Lane in Confluence and were the parents of Dale Scott Conn, Jeffrey Keith Conn and Eric Lynn Conn. Robert was a veteran of both the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. He earned a living through the Union Local 66 of the Operating Engineers, and in his free time belonged to the Confluence post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. As Robert's health declined, he was admitted to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in nearby Johnstown, Cambria County. There, he died at the age of 60 on April 21, 1999. His obituary was published in the Somerset Daily American. Pastor Nevin Umbel led the funeral service, with burial in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery.
Great-granddaughter Patricia Conn ( ? -2009) was born in (?). She was an alumna of Turkeyfoot High School. She married James Shaffer Lewis ( ? - ? ). Their marital union endured for half a century. The couple's children were Tammy Kozlovac, James S. Lewis and Wesley L. Lewis. They were in Friedens, Somerset County in 1968-2009. Patricia earned a living working for Somerset County Day Care for 25 years. She belonged to the Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church. In her spare time, she liked to collect angels. At the age of 68, residing in the Somerset Hospice House, she succumbed to death on Oct. 27, 2009. Rev. Arthur L. Black led the funeral service, with burial following in Somerset County Memorial Park.
Great-granddaughter Shirley Conn wedded Larry Holliday. The family has dwelled in Confluence.
Great-granddaughter Linda Sue Conn (1945-2021) was born on Feb. 8, 1945 in Confluence. She was joined in matrimony with Jack Margroff ( ? - ? ). Three sons born to their union were Timothy Conn, Neal Conn and Jubal Conn. The family relocated to Cleveland, OH but in time returned to Confluence. Linda's influence on her family was to work hard, never give up and persevere in all things. She died at the age of 76 in Uniontown Hospital on June 16, 2021. An obituary appeared in the Somerset Daily American.
Great-granddaughter Kay Conn entered into marriage with Terry Bowlin. The couple's home in 1999-2021 was in Confluence.
Great-grandson Ronald Conn resided in Confluence.
Great-granddaughter Debra Conn has lived for decades in Confluence.
Great-grandson James E. Conn enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1959 and trained at Fort Jackson, SC. He lived in Confluence in 1991.
Great-grandson Carl L. Conn joined the U.S. Army in January 1956. He received training as a Jeep driver, and was assigned to Company D of the 11th Airborne Division, 370th Armored Infantry Battalion. He was sent to Germany in 1956. After his service ended, he put down roots in Mentor, OH.
Great-grandson Hillery Conn Jr. (1937-1966) was born on Nov. 23, 1937 in Confluence. He married Irene Caler ( ? - ? ). The couple is not known to have reproduced. Hillery joined the U.S. Army in January 1956 and trained as a gunner. In August 1956, he was deployed to Germany as a member of Company H, 13th Regiment, 8th Infantry Division. The family grieved when he died in Frankfurt, Germany at the age of 28 on April 2, 1966. The body was shipped home to repose in Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery. Rev. Donald Hursh preached the funeral sermon, and the Meyersdale Republican printed an obituary.
Great-granddaughter Dixie Loraine Conn (1938-2012) was born on Sept. 30, 1938 in Confluence. She married Donald Paul Hyatt ( ? - ? ). Their union endured for a remarkable 55 years. They lived in Confluence and were the parents of Cindy Humbert Smith and Terry Hyatt. The family attended the Confluence Baptist Church. Dixie graciously entertained a visit in the 1990s from the founder of this website, but at the time could not establish a family connection. She was employed for years as tax collector and secretary for Lower Turkeyfoot Township. She also was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and local historical societies. At some point she served on the Younkin Reunion Planning Committee. Dixie died in Somerset Hospice House on May 3, 2012, at the age of 73. Rev. Paul Werner led the funeral service, with burial among generation after generation of her ancestors in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery.
Great-grandson Ronald Kreger lived in Confluence in 1997.
Great-grandson Park Kreger relocated to Willowick, OH.
Great-grandaughter Dolores Kreger wedded (?) Romesburg and dwelled in Farmington, Fayette County.
Great-granddaughter Molly Kreger married (?) Rosenberger. Her home in 1997 was in Farmington, Fayette County.
Great-granddaughter Collene Conn married Wilbert Kemp. The couple put down roots in Confluence and were the parents of Charles Alan Kemp, Kimberly Jo Kemp, Andrea Kemp and Michelle Kemp.
Great-grandson Larry Conn settled in nearby Fort Hill, Somerset County.
Great-grandson Kenneth Conn moved to Verona, PA.
Great-grandson Walter Conn remained in the Confluence area.
Daughter Rose Ann "Rosy" Porterfield (1892-1966) was born on March 11, 1892. She was joined in wedlock with Arnold George Pletcher (Feb. 4, 1890-1959), son of Noah and Cordelia "Delia" (Kuhlman/Coleman) Pletcher of Scullton, Somerset County. In an interesting twist, Rose's distant cousin John Andrew Miner married Arnold's sister Susan Pletcher. The Pletchers lived in the Confluence area and in about 1929 relocated to nearby Mill Run, Fayette County. They produced a family of three children -- James H. Pletcher, David Russell Pletcher and Mrs. Ray Foster. Arnold worked to earn income over the years as a laborer. On the fateful day of Oct. 26, 1959, he was felled by a heart attack and died suddenly at the age of 69. Rose only outlived him by seven years. As she aged, Rose's mind descended into the confusion of dementia and paranoia. She was admitted to Torrance State Hospital in Derry Township, Westmoreland County. She died as a patient at Torrance from the effects of heart disease at the age of 74 on May 16, 1966. The body was brought to Ursina to rest for all time in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery.
Great-grandson David Russell Pletcher Jr. married Deborah. They established a home in Parker, TX.
Great-grandson James D. Pletcher wedded Patti. They have lived in Burnham, PA.
Great-granddaughter Susan B. Pletcher was joined in marriage with Donald Cherry. They put down roots in Lewistown, PA.
Daughter Margaret "Maggie" Porterfield (1893-1959) was born on Aug. 23, 1893. She never married and suffered from "chronic brain syndrome." She spent her life in rural Confluence. At the age of 65, she contracted an ulcer which developed into septicemia. She passed into eternity on Oct. 14, 1959. Interment of the remains was in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery.
Daughter Susan "Sue" Porterfield (1895- ? ) was born in October 1895. She was wedded to Ralph Ray Rederick Sr. ( ? -2002). They lived in Confluence and produced these known children -- Ralph Ray Rederick Jr., Ronald R. Rederick, Charles Rederick, Eugene Rederick, James Redereick and Phyllis Jane Conn. During the 1930s, Ralph is believed to have been employed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a federal program designed to put unemployed laborers back to work. During that experience, evidence suggests that he was part of an archaeological team excavating pre-historic sites in Somerset County. Sue lived in California in 1959 and in Confluence circa 1987. Susan passed away on Dec. 2, 1990. She rests in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery.
Daughter Sarah C. "Sadie" Porterfield (1899- ? ) was born in October 1899.
Son John G. Porterfield (1902-1987) was born on March 5, 1902 near Confluence. He married Clara J. Nickelson ( ? - ? ) and lived in Confluence. They resided in rural Confluence and did not reproduce. John died on April 17, 1987, at the age of 85 in Somerset Community Hospital. He was placed into eternal repose in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery with Rev. Thomas Charles and Rev. Vernon Witt co-officiating. The Daily American printed an obituary.
Son Albert J. Porterfield (1905-1977) was born on Sept. 16, 1905 near Confluence in Lower Turkeyfoot Township. A bachelor at the age of 23, in 1930, Albert was employed as a sawmill laborer and dwelled with his unmarried siblings Harvey, Margaret and Lloyd in Lower Turkeyfoot, with 10-year-old niece Melva M. Silbaugh in their household that year. On Nov. 3, 1934, he and Dolly Lytle (1915-2001) traveled to Oakland, MD to become married. She was a resident of mountainous Sugarloaf located between Ohiopyle and Confluence and the daughter of Isiah Lytle. Together, the couple produced a family of five children -- Nancy Bigam, Shelva Jean Porterfield, Betty Harford, Nettie Sue Sloan and James Porterfield. The newlyweds' first house was rented from Frank Whaley in the Sugarloaf section. When the federal census enumeration was made in 1940, the Porterfields dwelled in the outskirts of Confluence in Henry Clay Township, Fayette County. At that time, Albert had no occupation. On the tragic day of Dec. 3, 1977, the 72-year-old Albert was very badly injured when his International station wagon skidded on an icy road near Confluence, PA and plunged down an embankment, colliding with a tree. He died later that day in Somerset Community Hospital. Rev. John Rodahaver and Rev. Donald Dehaven jointly conducted the funeral service. Interment was in Sugar Loaf Cemetery near Ohiopyle, and the Meyersdale Republic published an obituary. Dolly outlived her spouse by 24 years, remaining in the Confluence area. Toward the end, she was admitted to Meyersdale Medical Center, where she surrendered to death at the age of 85 on June 18, 2001. An obituary in the Somerset Daily American noted that her survivors included six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Rev. Terry Collins led the funeral.
Son Lloyd C. Porterfield (1908-1984) was born on Sept. 26, 1903 near Confluence. In 1930, when he was age 20, he worked as a sawmill laborer. Lloyd married Grace (Nickelson) Watkins ( ? - ? ). She brought these children to the marriage -- Alden Watkins, Donald Watkins, Wanda Cameron and Jacob Conn. The Porterfields resided in Confluence, where Lloyd was a longtime section hand with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. During World War II, he served with the U.S. Armed Forces. In retirement, with all of the children living in Lorain, OH, the Porterfields relocated there to spend their final years. Lloyd passed away in Lorain at age 76 in St. Joseph Hospital on Oct. 20, 1984. His remains were returned to Somerset County for interment in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery. Rev. Raymond Schermerhorn preached the funeral service, with an obituary appearing in the Daily American.
~ Daughter Bertha Ann (Ream) Gerhard ~
Daughter Bertha Ann Ream (1869-1938) was born on Oct. 21, 1868 in Draketown. Bertha as a small girl joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in Draketown.
In about 1884, when she was 15 years of age, she married 18-year-old Francis S. "F.S." Gerhard (April 10, 1866- ? ), the son of Sarah Gerhard and a native of Upper Turkeyfoot Township. Francis operated a store in Draketown, and then in 1903 they came to Confluence, where Francis earned a living as a lumberman.
Their 11 known children were Harry J. Gerhard, Florence A. "Flora" Burnworth, Sarah F. Schell, Russell M. Gerhard, Mayme Ellen Kurtz, Roy Nelson Gerhard, Lloyd Gerhard, Roy Gerhard, Lloyd Gerhard, Clarence Gerhard, Charles E. Gerhard, Esther M. Rinehart and Reba Catherine Johnson Firestone.
Circa 1917, when named in the Meyersdale Republican obituary of her brother John, Bertha and her family dwelled in Confluence.
At Francis' 54th birthday, his daughters Mayme Kurtz and Florence Burnworth, with help from daughter in law Alma Gerhard, planned a surprise party. Reported the Meyersdale Republican, "The evening was spent very pleasantly. A bountiful supper was served, the center-piece on the table being a birthday cake with 54 candles.... He is one of the most substantial citizens of Confluence and is held in high respect."
Bertha was afflicted with heart and kidney failure and died at age 70 on Nov. 1, 1938. Interment was in the Jersey Church Cemetery, with Rev. J.O. Martin preaching the funeral service. Said the Republican, "She was a faithful wife, devoted mother, and good neighbor, and will be missed by many. She was a descendant of one of the oldest families in this section. Her ancestor, Andrew Ream, came to the village of Ursina during its early days."
Son Harry J. Gerhard (1886-1935) was born in about 1886. He earned a living as a laborer as a young adult. On Sept. 15, 1905, at the age of 19, he was married to Alma G. Ash (Sept. 16, 1885-1934), age 20, daughter of Jacob and Martha M. (Hay) Ash of Somerset Township. Rev. John W. Wilson led the nuptials in Somerset. The couple produced seven known offspring -- Nelson Gerhard, William Gerhard, Theodore Gerhard, Kenneth Gerhard, Harry Gerhard Jr., Ula May Gerhard and Ruby Gerhard. Federal census records for 1920 show the family in Addison Township, Somerset County. He is believed to be the same "Harry Gerhard," employed in the coal mine of H.L. Sellers, who in April 1920 "ran a mining pick into his foot," said the Meyersdale Republican, "making a very painful wound. He is able to be around with the aid of a crutch." By the 1930s, the family had moved into the Borough of Confluence, with Harry performing odd jobs to generate income. In her late 40s, Alma began to show signs of what doctors called "general paralysis of the insane." She was admitted to the Somerset County Home and Hospital, and died there at the age of 48 on May 10, 1934. Yet more tragedy enveloped the family one night in late January 1935, when Harry's clothing caught fire while he was smoking a cigarette. He "was found on the back porch of his home in Confluence last Friday, his clothing burned off and his entire body badly seared," said the Republican. "He was unconscious when taken to the hospital. Reports are to the effect Gerhard spilled alcohol on his clothing and ignited it with a cigaret." In shock from third degree heat burns, he died on Jan. 30, 1935 at the age of 50. His charred remains were lowered into repose in the cemetery of the Baptist Church in Confluence.
Daughter Florence A. "Flora" Gerhard (1889-1925) was born in on Feb. 8, 1889. She married a cousin, Jonathan L. "John" Burnworth (1886-1968), son of Ziba and Annabel (Flanigan) Burnworth of the family of Job and Mary (Ream) Flanigan. See the Burnworth biography for more.
Daughter Sarah F. Gerhard (1891-1926) was born on Jan. 2, 1891 in Draketown. She was wedded to (?) Schell ( ? - ? ). They were the parents of Kathleen Schell and Andrew Schell. The couple dwelled in Cumberland, Allegany County, MD circa 1923. Then following the pattern set by some of her brothers, Sarah relocated to Ellwood City, Beaver County, PA.She was ill for the final year of her life, even as she was expecting another baby. Tragedy ensued when she went into labor in the seventh month of her pregnancy. She died during the birth on Dec. 17, 1926, at the age of only 35. The Meyersdale Republican reported that "She was ill but a short time.... She was universally respected by a large circle of friends." Funeral services were officiated by Rev. L.H. Powell, and burial of the remains followed in West Side Baptist Cemetery in Confluence. The grief was compounded when the baby boy died 22 days later in Ellwood City on Jan. 8, 1927. The infant's remains were lowered into eternal repose in Locust Grove Cemetery.
Son Russell M. Gerhard (1893-1972) was born on Sept. 27, 1893 in or near Confluence. When he was about 20 years of age, in 1913, he married Amber Clark (Aug. 27, 1894-1972), the daughter of Richard and Lois (Bock) of Pulaski Township, Beaver County near Ellwood City, PA. They had four known children, Joe Max Gerhard, Betty Gerhard, Shirley Clark and Russell E. Gerhard. In about November 1915, the Gerhards relocated to Ellwood City, Beaver County, PA along with friends Mr. and Mrs. Edward Clark and family and Mr. and Mrs. Milton Clark. They remained there at least until 1940 but often spent weekends visiting family in Confluence. The family grieved on May 10, 1917 when four-month-old son Joe Max succumbed to death after contracting whooping cough and pneumonia. The baby's remains were placed into rest in Pulaski Township, Beaver County. Russell became employed in 1926 in the Ellwood City plant of United States Steel Corporation, spending 32 years there until retiring from the cold finish department in 1958. Circa October 1940, Russell and his brother Clarence were in Philadelphia, perhaps on assignment for the company. He eventually returned to Ellwood, where they belonged to the First United Methodist Church. Their address in 1941 was on Haig Street in Ewing Park and in later years was at 545 Nicholson Avenue. As his health declined over an extended time, he went to live with his married daughter Shirley Clark. He died in the Clark residence at the age of 78 on May 27, 1972. Interment of the remains was in Sylvania Hills Memorial Park following funeral services conducted by Rev. Ralph W. Martin Jr. An obituary was published in the New Castle News. Amber only outlived her spouse by less than three months. She passed, also in the Clark home, on Aug. 19, 1972.
Daughter Mayme Ellen "Mamie" Gerhard (1895-1940) was born on or about Jan. 1, 1895 in Draketown. Two days before Christmas 1915, the 20-year-old Mayme was united in wedlock with 25-year-old carpenter and foreman Benjamin Francis "Frank" Kurtz (Oct. 20, 1891-1935), son of Henry and Rebecca (Miller) Kurtz of Confluence. Rev. Lu W. LePage officiated at the ceremony. The couple did not reproduce. At the time of marriage, Mayme was employed as a clerk in Confluence. The Kurtzes made their home in Confluence. Anguish filled the family when Frank suffered a stroke or other type of paralysis in early 1933. He was admitted to the Somerset County Home and Hospital and died there, after a stay of two years and four months, on May 14, 1935. Mayme was a member of the Daughters of Rebecca Sunday School Class at the Confluence Methodist Church. She is known to have spent Thanksgiving 1938 with her brothers in Ellwood City. Mayme contracted cysts in her bowels and then suffered with a partial bowel obstruction. She was taken to Somerset Community Hospital, and underwent surgery. Afterward, she contracted pneumonia. Reported the Meyersdale Republican, she "helped the physicians in every way in the fight for her life, and never gave up hope until almost the last." Her health plummeted from there when she developed pneumonia, and she succumbed at the age of 45 on Oct. 17, 1940. Funeral services were held in her father's home, led by Rev. J.O. Martin, across the street from the Confluence Baptist Church Cemetery where interment took place. Said the Republican, "Her Sunday school class attended the services in a body."
Son Roy Nelson Gerhard (1899-1973) was born on Jan. 12, 1899. He made his home in Confluence in 1935 and later in Uniontown. He wedded Dorothy David (Dec. 24, 1899-1963), daughter of Joseph and Bell David. They resided at 2 Lucille Avenue in Uniontown and bore these known children -- Geraldine Yarbrough, Richard Gerhard and Francis Gerhard. The family were members of Christ Methodist Church of Uniontown. Sadly, having borne emphysema, Dorothy died at home at the age of 62 on Sept. 12, 1963. Rev. O.G. Shindledecker preached the funeral sermon, followed by burial in Oak Lawn Cemetery. Roy survived as a widower for another nine years and was a member of the Edgewood Aerie of the Eagles lodge in Somerset. In 1964, he bore the horror of learning that his married daughter had been killed in a senseless automobile crash in Indiana. His final years were spent in Markleysburg, Fayette County. He succumbed to the Grim Reaper at the age of 75 on Jan. 27, 1973.
Son Lloyd Gerhard (1900-1964) was born on April 12, 1900 in Draketown, Somerset County. He served in World War I with the 80th Base Hospital. As with his brothers Russell and Charles, he migrated to Ellwood City, Beaver/Lawrence County, PA. Circa 1920, evidence suggests that he married Helen M. McKim ( ? - ? ) of Ellwood City, Beaver County. Their offspring are believed to have been Joseph Gerhard, Donald Gerhard, Barbara Santillo and Celia Nobbs. The couple also lost a two-day-old baby son on Feb. 4, 1920, from the effects of a hole in his heart, with the child interred in Locust Grove Cemetery. Lloyd married a second time to Hannah M. ( ? - ? ). She brought these children to the union --J. Thomas Cummings, Lola Kuntz, Jean Quick and Joanne Riggs. They eventually retired to Florida and made a home in Orlando. He died in Bay Pines, FL on April 5, 1964. The remains were transported back to Western Pennsylvania to be interred in Twin Valley Memorial Park and Mausoleum in Delmont, Westmoreland County. Rev. Robert Jansen officiated. An obituary was printed in the Indiana (PA) Gazette, giving the count of his survivors as 22 grandchildren.
Son Clarence Gerhard (1903- ? ) was born on Sept. 24, 1902 in Lower Turkeyfoot. He and his brother Russell relocated to Philadelphia circa 1940. He served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II and later belonged to the Confluence Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He married Mary Ruth Rinehart ( ? - ? ). They did not reproduce. They dwelled in Confluence in 1973. Clarence died at the age of 78 in Somerset Community Hospital on July 21, 1981. Burial was in the Confluence Baptist Cemetery with Rev. Allen Kinsey officiating. An obituary was printed in the Meyersdale Republic.
Son Charles E. Gerhard (1906- ? ) was born in about 1906. As with his brothers Russell and Lloyd, he moved to Ellwood City, Lawrence County, PA, arriving in 1925. Charles married Jessie ( ? - ? ), a native of Cumberland, Allegany County, MD. They were the parents of an only daughter, Beverly Evans. He spent 36 years delivering postal mail in the Third Ward and in the Ellwood City business district among other routes. Their address was 511 Ninth Street. Charles retired in September 1961 and was featured in a related article in the New Castle News. The story stated that "Gerhard is ready to face the hardships of retirement. He is only 55 years old and says he has a tough time already trying to decide on what he wants to do. Walking is probably on the schedule somewhere."
Daughter Esther Marie Gerhard (1908-1989) was born on Dec. 5, 1908. In 1932, at the age of 23, she married Donald Stoddard Rinehart (1900-1979), son of Freedley and Nellie (Stoddard) Rinehart of Conshohocken, PA. The couple did not reproduce. In 1935, they dwelled in Philadelphia. During World War II, Esther served in the Nursing Corps of the U.S. Army. Later, they returned to Confluence where they spent the balance of their years. Bertha was a member of the Ursina post of the American Legion and the Confluence post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and they belonged to the Confluence United Methodist Church. The couple appears to have had a second home in Largo and Holiday, FL. As Donald's health failed, he was admitted to Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol, PA, where he died at the age of 79 on Sept. 25, 1979. The body was brought back to Somerset County to rest in the Confluence Baptist Church Cemetery. Rev. Arthur Gotjen led the funeral service, and the Meyersdale Republican printed an obituary. Esther outlived her husband by a decade. As a patient in Somerset Hospital, she slipped away into eternity at the age of 80 on Nov. 27, 1989. Rev. Daryl Harclerode officiated at her funeral.
Daughter Reba Catherine Gerhard (1912-1995) was born on May 13, 1912 in Confluence. When in her early 20s, she worked as a telephone operator in Confluence. At the age of 23, on Nov. 28, 1935, she was wedded to 30-year-old school teacher Frank A. Johnson ( ? - ? ). He was a native of Ohiopyle, Fayette County, and the son of attorney William R. and Addie L. (Cunningham) Johnson. Rev. Francis M. Kees officiated. The couple produced two children -- Harry Johnson and Barbara Conn. Reba was a member of the Ursina American Legion Auxiliary and the Confluence United Methodist Church. Later, she married again to Stanton A. Firestone (1892-1972), son of Jacob "Isaac" and Mahala Jane (Growall) Firestone. He brought a daughter to the marriage, Pauline Bowers. They resided in Ursina and in 1940 in Ellwood City, Lawrence County, PA. Stanton died at age 79 in Somerset Community Hospital on Jan. 27, 1972. Rev. Arthur Gotjen preached the funeral service followed by burial in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery. Reba survived him by 23 years. In 1981, her home was in Confluence. She passed away at age 83, in the Meyersdale Medical Center, on Nov. 21, 1995. Her remains were lowered to eternal repose in the Jersey Cemetery, with Rev. David Lee leading the service. The Daily American published an obituary. In 1995, stepdaughter Pauline Bowers was in Lancaster, OH.
~ Son Irvin Scott Ream ~
Son Irvin Scott Ream (1871-1926) was born on Nov. 16, 1871 (or 1873) in Draketown, Somerset County.
At the age of 26, in about 1897, he married 23-year-old Lyda S. "Eliza" Weyant (1874-1912), daughter of Simon and Sarah (Yates) Weyant.
Their six known children were Harry S. Ream, Edna M. Ream, Adda E. "Addie" Ream, Willis C. Ream, Russell T. Ream and Helen G. Ream.
Irwin was a tannery worker in Confluence in 1910 and later a railroad laborer and coal miner.
Heartache rocked the family on Sept. 14, 1912 when 38-year-old Lyda died suddenly from an infection following childbirth ("puerperal"). Interment was in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery.
The federal census enumeration of 1920 shows Irvin and his children and grandson Robert Moon living in Confluence. Among their near neighbors that year were his nephew Cyril "Edgar" and Nora Pearl (Harbaugh) Ream as well as widow Phoebe Ann (Burkholder) Younkin of the George A. and Charlotta (Younkin) Younkin family.
He married again to Mayme Harper ( ? - ? ). They relocated to Eldora, Washington County, PA. Then in the mid-1920s, they moved again to Highhouse, Fayette County, where he worked at a mine in Fairchance, Georges Township, Fayette County.
At the age of 55, he suffered a stroke at work and was rushed home, where he died after a short time on Dec. 7, 1926. Burial was in the Jersey Cemetery, with Rev. George O. Ritter officiating. An obituary appeared in the Meyersdale Republican.
Daughter Edna M. Ream (1896-1972) was born on Oct. 26, 1896. At the age of 23, unmarried, she lived at home with her widowed father and siblings near Confluence. She was united in wedlock with John H. Hecker (1881- ? ), who was 17 years her senior. They made their home for decades in New Kensington, Westmoreland County. Their known children were Robert M. Hecker, Elvie V. Hecker, Rebecca I. Hecker, David T. Hecker, Genevieve L. Hecker, Virgil R. Hecker, Donald L. Hecker and William E. Hecker. When the federal census enumeration was made in 1940s, the Heckers were listed in New Kensington, with John employed as a machinist for a window glass company, and 25-year-old son Robert working as a machinist for an aluminum manufacturer. Edna passed away at the age of 75 in August 1972.
Son Harry S. Ream (1899-1969) was born in about 1899. When he was age 20, he was employed as a laborer for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in Confluence and later transferred to the B&O's operations in Connellsville, where he was a brakeman. He resided at 132 West Peach Street in Connellsville in 1926. He married Grace (Myers) Hartman (1897-1942), the daughter of David and Barbara (Maust) Hughes of Fayette County. Grace had been married once before and brought three sons to the marriage -- James Hartman, Douglas Hartman and Fred Hartman. In 1926, they dwelled in High House near Smithfield, Fayette County. Near tragedy occurred on the morning of March 28, 1941 at their home in Fairchance. Grace, age 44, had been ill with cancer of the uterus for about a year and was considered a "semi invalid." With Harry already having gone to work, she awoke early that morning to allow Bell Telephone workmen into the house to make repairs. "As she reached across the stove for a coffee pot the sleeve of her kimono caught fire," reported the Connellsville Daily Courier. "She tore it off and stomped it with her bedroom slippers. In the meantime the flames scorched the nightgown. To counteract the flames as they communicated to her sleeping garment, Mrs. Ream effectively used a heavy towel. Neighbors later came to her aid." The Courier said she only suffered some singed hair and that her flannel nightgown helped her avoid serious brns. Sadly, Grace died the year following her accident, at the age of 45, on Nov. 29, 1942. She was interred in Smithfield Cemetery. At the time of her death, sons James lived in Cleveland, Douglas in Smithfield, Fayette County and Fred in Morgantown, WV. Harry married again to Eleanor Myers ( ? - ? ). In all, six children were involved with the second marriage -- Ralph Ream, Harry Ream, Albert S. Ream, Judy Ream, Michael Ream and Dale Ream. Harry died at the age of 70 on Aug. 4, 1969 with burial in Mt. Moriah Baptist Cemetery in nearby Smithfield.
Daughter Adda E. "Addie" Ream (1902- ? ) was born in about 1902. She married (?) Walkins ( ? - ? ).
Son Willis C. Ream (1904-1972?) was born in about 1904. He relocated to Kittanning, Armstrong County and was there in 1926. In time he resided in Fairchance in 1969. He is believed to be the same Willis Ream who died in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA in May 1972. If so, he rests in the mausoleum of Greenwood Memorial Park in Lower Burrell, Westmoreland County alongisde his sister Helen.
Son Russell T. Ream (1908- ? ) was born in about 1908. At the age of 19, on May 4, 1927, he was united in matrimony with Catherine H. Dougall ( ? - ? ). The ceremony took place in Westmoreland County, PA. He dwelled in Kittanning, Armstrong County, PA in 1926 and in New Kensington, PA in 1969.
Daughter Helen G. Ream (1910-2002) was born on March 21, 1910 in Draketown. She would have been age 16 when her father died, leaving her an orphan. She was wedded to Chester J. Vosnak (1922-1980). She was a dozen years older than her husband. They resided in the Allegheny River Valley community of Arnold near New Kensington, Westmoreland County. The couple had one daughter, Betty Goldsboro. Sadly, Chester passed away at the age of 57 or 58 in 1980. Helen spent her final years in Columbiana, OH, where she resided in the St. Mary Alzheimer's Center. She died there at the age of 92 on Dec. 16, 2002. An obituary was printed in the Valley News Dispatch of Tarentum. Interment was in Greenwood Memorial Park in Lower Burrell, Westmoreland County, alongside her brother Willis.