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Mentzer E. Tilbury


Mentzer Tilbury

Mentzer E. "M.E." Tilbury was born on April 10, 1851 most likely near Dixon, Van Wert County, OH, bordering the Indiana state line, the son of Elihu and Amy (Minerd) Tilbury


His father died when Mentzer was age 2, and his mother remarried to Jacob Thorne. 


Mentzer with his
brother Corwin (at left). 

At about age 15, he moved with his mother and step-father and siblings to Chicago. The federal census of 1870 shows that Mentzer lived with his parents in Chicago's Fifth Ward, where he was employed as a store clerk.

Mentzer married Clothide Victoria Rainville (1853-1920), a native of Montpelier, Vermont, in about 1876. He was age 25, and she 23, at the time. Her parents, Sylvester and Louise (Choquette) Rainville, were natives of Montreal, Canada.

They had seven children -- Ethel James, Edith V. Lingo Horn, Harry Mentzer Tilbury, George Corwin Tilbury, Dorothy Alma "Dot" Allen Eckelberger, May Eva Tilbury and Mrs. H.W. James. (It's possible that Ethel and Mrs. H.W. James are the same person.)

The Tilburys resided in Chicago in the late 1870s and early '80s, where their eldest children were born. During that time, according to Illinois State Board of Health records, they lived at 323 23rd Street, and Mentzer worked as a "ground clerk."

They were in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, OH in 1886 at the time of the birth of their son George, and in Georgia in 1888 when daughter Alma was born. The 1890-1891 Cincinnati, Ohio Directory lists Mentzer as living at 23 Lingo in the 25th Ward. At that time, he was employed as a "stereotyper," an outdated term meaning he made metal plates for use in the printing process. He most likely worked for American Press Association, where his brother Corwin was a factory superintendent. They also were in Cincinnati in 1892 at the birth of their daughter May Eva.


Sprawling Pittsburgh to which the Tilburys moved



South Side Cemetery

The Tilburys relocated again, to Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, PA, in about August 1898. Mentzer's brother Corwin also relocated to the Steel City around that time. They found a home on Greenbush Street in the city's 32nd Ward.

Heartache rocked the family in the winter of 1899. Daughter May Eva died on Jan. 24, 1899, at the age of six years, eight months and 21 days. On her entry in the Pittsburgh Registry of Deaths, family physician Dr. Leon Thurston wrote that her demise was caused by "Heart failure due to chronic endocarditis and mitral insufficiency following Rheumatism." She was buried in the South Side Cemetery in Pittsburgh, in the "single-grave" section of the grounds.


Mentzer (left) with his beloved
James Minerd, in Indiana

The federal census of 1900 shows the Tilburys living on Gaskell Street in Pittsburgh, with Mentzer employed as a "stereotyper." By 1910, they had moved to Poplar Street in Carrick, on the southeastern edge of the city of Pittsburgh. Mentzer was marked as retired, with sons Harry working as an office clerk and George in a machine shop.

Having been raised to adulthood in the home of his uncle and aunt, James and Martha Jane (Sheehan) Minerd, on a farm on the Indiana-Ohio state line near Dixon, OH, he maintained an emotional closeness with them for many years. Mentzer's brother Corwin had lived and worked on the Minerd farm as a teenager, and it's possible that Mentzer had also. Seen here, Mentzer (at left) poses with his beloved Uncle James at a date sometime before 1929, when the older man died. 

During the 1910s and early '20s, the Tilburys resided in Carrick, making their home at 129 Merritt Avenue. Writing to cousin Goldie Minerd in Indiana in October 1925, Mentzer jokingly said: "I guess that you have your corn put a way. I wish that I could of been there to help you . That is the  way it goes with these summer bums. They allways on hand when there is nothing to do, then sneak off when the work begins." 


1925 Pirates' star
"Pie" Traynor

Mentzer was an avid baseball fan and rooted for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In a letter in the fall of 1925, after the Pirates had beaten the Washington Senators to win the World Series, he wrote: "Your Pa tells me that you was with me hurrahing for Pittsburghers against the Washingtons. That a boy. We won of corse but it was a hard battle. I tell you we have a base ball team here can't be beat. While the world's series was going on I sat at the radio from first to last until the last man was put out in the last inning of the last game, then up went my hat if there had of been a hold in the floor above the old hat would of went to the roof." 

One of daughter Dot's sons (Frank) was especially hardworking and faithful in earning wages. In 1927, reported Corwin in a letter to Indiana relatives, "One of [the sons] works at a wholesale hardware store down town. He carries his pay envelope home every week unopened and gives it to his mother. She says he won't take a cent out until she opens the envelope. He is certainly an exception for these times." 


South Side Cemetery

Sadly, Clothide endured cancer of the ascending colon, and died at home in Carrick on May 7, 1920, at age 66. A brief and incorrect obituary in the Pittsburgh Press noted that her passing had occurred at 1:10 a.m. when she was "in her fifty-first year." Friends of the family were invited to attend the funeral, with private interment. 

She was laid to rest in South Side Cemetery, in Section E, Range 9. Later that year, in November, the remains of daughter May Eva, who had been dead some 31 years, were removed to the newly created family plot to rest beside the mother.

Mentzer resided with his son Harry and daughter Dot, but when Harry got married in April 1928, it threw the living arrangements into uncertainty. Corwin Tilbury wrote that "[Dot] was renting some rooms  and she and her boys and M.E. will live together while George wants to leave Pgh. for awhile -- that breaks up the home and leaves poor Mentzer up in the air." That year, Dot worked during the Christmas season at one of the largest department stores in Pittsburgh -- possibly Joseph Horne's or Kaufmann's.


West View Park, circa 1914, a top attraction in Pittsburgh near Harry Tilbury's home


In 1933, he took a bus from Pittsburgh to Indiana to visit the Minerd cousins on the old family farm in Monroeville, making stops in Lima and Mansfield along the way back. He always seemed eager to travel to the old farm, and in April 1936, when his brother Corwin read him a letter from the Minerds, Mentzer exclaimed that "he wanted to start at once!", Corwin wrote. "I think he could stand the trip very well. He will be 85 next Friday, April 10th. He is still with George." 


South Side Cemetery 

By January 1929, wrote Corwin, "Harry and George have sold the home and Mentzer will go to live with Harry... M.E. does not like to leave Carrick and I can't blame him because he knows nearly everybody there."

Later in life, circa 1935, Mentzer resided with his son Harry on Perry Lane in the North Hills section of Pittsburgh. A May 1935 letter, written by brother Corwin, reported that "Mentzer is staying at Harry's in West View + Dot is going to be married..." 


Pittsburgh Press, Jan. 20, 1938

Mentzer outlived Clothide by 18 years. He died in his 88th year on Jan. 19, 1938. Viewing was held at the John H. Slater and Son Chapel on Brownsville Road on Mt. Oliver, followed by burial beside his wife and daughter May Eva in South Side Cemetery. A brief death notice was published in the Pittsburgh Press.

A letter written by brother Corwin, in early September 1938, shows how close the brothers were in spirit: "While I saw but little of Mentzer the last couple of years I miss him very much." 

Several other Minerd branches have offspring who rest for eternity in South Side Cemetery -- among them Hester Minerd (1887); John H. Inks (1926) and his wife Alice (1954); and Frank F. Gribble (1943), who actually lived nearby.


~ Daughter Ethel Louise (Tilbury) James ~

Daughter Ethel Louise Tilbury (1877-1952) was born in 1877 in Chicago. After migrating to Pittsburgh, the census of 1900 shows that she lived with her parents and at age 22 worked as a saleslady in a store in the Steel City. 

At about the age of 22, Ethel married Herbert William James (1880- ? ), a native of either Ohio or Virginia. (Sources differ.) Herbert earned a living for decades in the printing trade. He was tall and of medium build, with grey eyes and brown hair. 

When he was required to register for the military draft during World War I, Herbert marked his occupation as "stereotyper" and named Ethel as his next of kin. In 1920, he was marked in the census record as a "workman" for a "printer." Their dwelling in 1920 was on Darragh Street in Pittsburgh.

The 1930 federal census shows the couple residing on Hornaday Road in Pittsburgh, where Herbert worked as a stereotyper for a printing company. As this followed the Tilbury family custom, he may have received his job through his in-laws' influence.

In 1938, Ethel was mentioned in the Pittsburgh Press obituary of her father. 

When the federal census was taken in 1940, Ethel and Herbert made their home in Carrick, Pittsburgh. Their address was 2129 Brownsville Road. Herbert's employment continued to be "stereotypist."

Ethel passed away at the age of 74 on July 5, 1952. The Pittsburgh Press printed a death notice.


~ Daughter Edith Victoria (Tilbury) Lingo Horn ~

Daughter Edith Victoria Tilbury (1880-1963) was born on July 30, 1880 in Chicago. She moved to Cincinnati with her parents and siblings and thence to Pittsburgh in about 1888, when she was age eight. She ended up in Cincinnati and eventually in British Columbia, Canada.

At the age of 19, on Nov. 27, 1899, she wed 23-year-old Hayes Parkhurst Lingo (1876-1923), the son of Joseph and Kate (Bowen) Lingo. Hayes was a native of Cincinnati, and was living there at the time, working as a clerk. The ceremony was performed in Pittsburgh by Rev. P.F. DeLancey. 

Records suggest that Hayes suffered from epilepsy. When the federal census enumeration was made in 1900, the newlyweds made their home in Springfield, Hamilton County, OH. Hayes' employment was shown as "railroad clerk." The marriage ended between 1900 and 1910. There is no evidence that the couple reproduced.


Fountain Square in Springfield, Ohio, early 1900s


Edith eventually made her way as far from Ohio as she could get, migrating to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. On Sept. 9, 1918, at the age of 38, she married again, to Henry Lewis Horn ( ? -1929?), in Vancouver. Evidence suggests that she remained there for the rest of her years.

Some records indicate that Henry died on Dec. 2, 1929, location unknown.

Edith made her home in Vancouver circa March 1934. In 1938, when her father died, the obituary in the Pittsburgh Press gave her name as "Mrs. H.L. Horn" and nothing more. At the time of her brother Harry's death on Sept. 10, 1963, she was referred to in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette obituary as "Mrs. Edith Horn" with no further information. 

She died in Vancouver on Sept. 18, 1963, at the age of 82, just eight days after the passing of her brother Harry. Her final resting place is not known. An unsuccessful search has been made for her obituary in her old hometown newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Divorced by 1910, Edith's former husband Hayes had returned to his parents' residence in Cincinnati's 23rd Ward. That year's census-taker marked him as "widowed" at age 32, and continuing to work as a railroad clerk. He married again during the 1910s, to Josephine (?) (1875- ? ), who was a year older than he. She was a native of Ohio whose parents were from Germany. In 1920, he worked as a clerk, shipping building equipment. Hayes lived at 211 Calhoun Street in 1923 and was general office manager for Lingo Sales Company. He was stricken with heart failure in July 1923, and added to his epilepsy, his health declined rapidly. After enduring the illnesses for six months, he died on Dec. 29, 1923, at the age of 46. He was laid to rest in Evergreen Cemetery. Josephine is thought to have outlived her husband by almost 30 years. Living in Cincinnati in 1930, and later in Kenton, KY, she died on Jan. 9, 1952, at the age of 76.


Harry, early 1900s

~ Son Harry Mentzer Tilbury ~

Son Harry Mentzer Tilbury (1882-1963 ) was born in December 1882 in Chicago. He was short and of slender build, with brown eyes and brown hair. 

He married Ethel Brown (1894-1973 ) in April 1928. Ethel was a native of Pennsylvania whose parents had come from Scotland. They were about a decade apart in age.

They produced no children. 

A photograph of son Harry is seen here, apparently working at a desk with a Red Cross or safety manual on display. The location and date of the photo are a mystery.


Allegheny County Memorial Park

Before marriage, Harry lived on Mount Oliver in Pittsburgh. When he registered for the military draft during World War I, he stated that he was a chief clerk of the Equipment Division of the Central District Telephone Company. 

The Tilburys resided at 6 Perry Lane in West View, with a post office address of Perrysville. His employment in 1930 was as a clerk in a telephone company. 

Harry died on Sept. 10, 1963, and was buried at Allegheny County Memorial Park in the North Hills suburb of Pittsburgh.

Ethel survived him by a decade, and passed away in 1973. Their bronze grave marker at the memorial park is seen here.


~ Son George Corwin Tilbury ~

Son George Corwin Tilbury (1885-1974) was born in September 1885 in Cincinnati. He was of medium build, with blue eyes and brown hair. 

During World War I, when he registered for the military draft, he worked "laboring" for Albert Klein in Baldwin Township. He later became a typewriter repairman, and resided at 6200 Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh, possibly in the East Liberty neighborhood. One of his customers was his uncle Corwin D. Tilbury, who wrote many letters with a typewriter over the years. 

 In March 1929, George was out of work "and has been for over a month but he does not seem to be worrying any," wrote Corwin. "He does not want to go back to his regular business that of repairing typewriters; I think he is making a mistake." By June 1929, George had established a typewriter business in East Liberty, buying, selling and repairing the machines. Wrote Corwin: 

He has an office and shop in one of the office buildings here all fitted up conveniently and neatly as is his fashion. He also has a new kind of bed contrivance which he can fold up and stand in a corner. You are able to pick it up without much effort and place it wherever you want it. He has cooking utensils so eats, sleeps and works in the two rooms he has fitted up.

At the age of 48, on July 8, 1935, George married 47-year-old Dr. Marie (Yorty) Kuhns (1888-1974). Marie was born in New Florence, PA, and the daughter of Jacob and Camelia (Shepard) Yorty. Marie brought a son, Leonard L. Kuhns, to the marriage. The following month, Mentzer's half-sister Leona Thorne wrote this to a cousin:

One of Mentzer's sons - (George) was married a few weeks ago - and it promises to be a very excellent selection. The bride is a physician with an office in the same building George is in. Corwin attended the wedding and was loud in his praises of the lady. George is a mighty nice boy, too.


Menoher Memorial Cemetery, Ligonier

George and Marie resided at 7040 Bennett Street in Homewood, near Pittsburgh, from 1936 to 1942, the year he retired. In September 1942, they moved to Ligonier, Westmoreland County, PA. There, they belonged to the Fort Palmer United Presbyterian Church. Ironically, their new home was just 30 miles from the Laurel Hill region where George's great-grandfather, John Minerd Jr., had been born, and left in 1817 to migrate to Ohio.

 In 1948, when George's uncle Corwin Tilbury died, George was named in the will and received close to $1,500 in payment. Writing in December 1941, a few weeks after World War II had broken out, Leona Thorne wrote: "One of Mentzer's grandsons is now in camp, in the south - and the other one many have to go soon. Both are well equipped to render splendid service to the government."

George died in Ligonier in February 1974. Just three months later, in May, Marie followed him to the grave, passing away at Indiana (PA) Hospital. They are buried in Menoher Memorial Cemetery, along Route 271, about five miles north of Ligonier's famed Diamond Square.


~ Daughter Dorothy Alma "Dot" (Tilbury) Allen Eckelberger ~

Daughter Dorothy Alma "Dot" Tilbury (1888-1968) was born on May 11, 1888 in Atlanta, DeKalb County, GA. She was brought to Pittsburgh with her parents and siblings when she was an infant.


Brentwood's history

She was married twice. In 1908, when she was about 20, she wed her first husband, Albert Allen ( ? - ? ).

They produced two sons -- Albert Lynn Allen and Frank Allen.

Sadly, Allen died sometime during the 1910s, leaving Dot a widow at a young age. She and her sons moved back in with her parents in Carrick, near Pittsburgh, and were there in 1920 when the federal census was taken. She supported herself by working as a telephone operator.

In 1927, her Uncle Corwin wrote this to Indiana relatives, "One of [Dot's sons] works at a wholesale hardware store down town. He carries his pay envelope home every week unopened and gives it to his mother. She says he won't take a cent out until she opens the envelope. He is certainly an exception for these times." 

After her brother and housemate Harry got married in April 1928, it threw the living arrangements into uncertainty. Uncle Corwin wrote that "[Dot] was renting some rooms  and she and her boys and M.E. will live together while George wants to leave Pgh. for awhile -- that breaks up the home and leaves poor Mentzer up in the air." That year, Dot worked during the Christmas season at one of the largest department stores in Pittsburgh -- possibly Joseph Horne's or Kaufmann's. 

By 1930, Dot and her sons made their home together on Brentwood Avenue in the Brentwood section of Pittsburgh. She had no occupation, but son Albert worked there as a hardware store clerk.

At age 47, in 1935, Dot married her second husband, widower Ira Earl Eckelberger (Sept. 26, 1887-1967). He was a native of West Home near Emlenton and the son of John and Elizabeth (Vaughn) Eckelberger.

Ira had been married once before, to Pearl Coast ( ? -1934). He and his first wife had lived in Venango County, PA and Monongahela, Washington County, PA (circa 1930), where he was a railroad supervisor. Ira brought at least three adult children to the marriage -- Eleanor Eckelberger, Gerald Eckelberger and Ronald Eckelberger. 


Bird's-eye view of Emlenton, Venango County, PA, beside the Allegheny River, where Dot lived with her 2nd husband, Ira Earl Eckelberger.


Ira stood 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighed 215 lbs. He had blue eyes and gray hair. For 42 years, until retirement in 1953, he was employed by the Pennsylvania Railroad. They were members of Fretigs Gospel Tabernacle.

The 1940 federal census shows Dot and Ira living in Emlenton, Venango County. Residing in the household were Ira's sons Gerald (age 24)0 and Ronald (age 21). Ira's employment that year was as a track foreman on the railroad, while the sons labored as automobile mechanics. When registering for the military draft during World War II, Ira stated he lived in Emlenton and was employed by the Pennsylvania Railroad of Kittanning.

Ira suffered a massive heart attack and died at the age of 80 in 1967.

Dot survived her husband by a year. She was admitted to the Valley Nursing Home in Dorseyville, Allegheny County, PA. There, she died on Nov. 8, 1868 at the age of 79. Her remains were returned to Emlenton for burial beside her husband. Rev. Harvey Boocks officiated at the funeral service, and an obituary was printed in the Franklin (PA) News-Herald. [Find-a-Grave]

Son Albert "Lynn" Allen (1910-  ) was born in 1910 in or near Pittsburgh. He lived in Pittsburgh in 1967.

Son Frank T. Allen (1914- ? ) was born in 1914 in or near Pittsburgh. His home in 1967 was in Pittsburgh.

Stepdaughter Eleanor Eckelberger married James Hynds. Their home in the 1960s was in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Stepson Gerald L. "Jerry" Eckelberger 1916- ? ) was born in about 1916. He married Alice B. ( ? - ? ). They produced two daughters -- Judy Brocato and Cathy Kuhl. By 1963, they relocated to Atlanta, where Gerald was employed as a warehouse manager. Their address was 2354 Drew Valley Road Northeast. Gerald died on July 9, 1978 at the age of 62. Interment was in Laurelwood Cemetery, and an obituary was printed in the Atlanta Constitution.

Stepson Ronald Eckelberger ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). On Aug. 5, 1940, in the Baptist Church parsonage in Clarion, Clarion County, PA, he married Ruth Murray ( ? - ? ). Rev. George Freeman Haines performed the nuptaisl. They dwelled in Emlenton and had a son, Dennis Eckelberger.


Copyright 2002-2005, 2008-2009, 2012, 2018-2019 Mark A. Miner

Mentzer E. Tilbury obituary courtesy of Google News.