What's New

Photo of the Month

Minerd.com Blog


National Reunion


Cousin Voices

Honor Roll

In Lasting Memory

In the News

Our Mission and Values

Annual Review

Favorite Links

Contact Us


Barbara Jean (Younkin) Swarner


Rockwood IOOF Cemetery

Barbara Jean (Younkin) Swarner was born on July 15, 1846, near Kingwood, Somerset County, PA, the daughter of Frederick F. and Sarah (Faidley) Younkin. She grew up on her parents' farm and is known to have "often played together" with her sister Salome Liston.

At the age of 19, on May 10, 1868, she was united in holy matrimony with Civil War veteran Henry S. Swarner (1848-1911), son of Adam and Polly (Marker) Swarner. Officiating was Rev. J. Zimmerman of the Lutheran Church. Among the witnesses were the bride's brother William "Henry" Younkin, sister Salome Liston and Noah and Isabella (Tressler) Phillippi.

Their six children were Cora Etta Younkin, Salome Snyder, Minnie B. Swarner, Sarah J. "Sadie" Blubaugh, Susan "Susie" Wiltrout, Mary A. Swarner, John H. Swarner and Martha Ella Vought (Vough).

Sadly, daughters Minnie (born 1873) and Mary (1877) may have died young but this needs to be confirmed.

Henry stood 5 feet, 7 inches tall, and weighed 160 lbs. In June 1863, responding to President Lincoln's call for troops, he went to New Centerville to join the Union Army, recruited by Barbara's step-cousin, Capt. William Meyers Schrock. The Somerset Daily American said that "It was the only occasion during the course of the Civil War that any unit was mustered within the area of Somerset County." The new infantrymen were assembled in the flat field at what today are the grounds of the annual Farmers and Threshermens Jubilee. Four other Younkin cousins and spouses joined the company as well. Friend Robert Nickelsen once noted that at the time of enlistment, Henry was "a man of good health and seemingly very rugged."

Initially known as Capt. Schrock's Independent Company of Volunteer Infantry, it later became part of Company H of Ramsey's Battalion, Pennsylvania Infantry. The soldiers remained in New Centerville, The regiment had no weapons, so it remained in camp until July 6, 1863, when it moved to Berlin, Somerset County and drilled there, quartering in a vacant house on East Diamond Street. After a few days there, the company was sent to Huntingdon, PA, and served on provost duty during a military draft. In early September 1863, recounted the History of Bedford and Somerset Counties, Pennsylvania, the company marched to Harrisburg and thence to Gettysburg, where "they guarded the field hospital on the battlefield until it was dispensed with in the latter part of October. This company was also in active service at Lewisburg, Sunbury and Selins Grove."


Union soldiers digging trenches and breastworks at Petersburg
Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War


Rockwood Odd Fellows Cemetery

Henry received his discharge from that unit in October 1863. Then, in February 1864, he enlisted again, in the 61st Pennsylvania Infantry, Company B. Capt. Casper Koffman was commander of the company. Henry's messmates were henry Lape and Peter Lanning. While on duty in Petersburg, VA on March 13, 1865, he sprained his back badly while digging and moving earth to build a breastwork at night. Fellow soldier Robert Nickelsen (also spelled "Nicholson") was present and recalled:

I know that one night one picket he got hurt in the back. This was in front of Petersburg sometime in March just before we started in pursuit of Lee. Our whole picket line was captured that night but how he escaped capture I don't know. I saw Swarner as soon as he got to camp, and he said that when the enemy shot into the picket line he let himself fall and he hurt his back but he did not know what he fell on.

Henry was not treated in a hospital -- in fact he wrote that he "Did not want to go into a hospital" -- but received care from the regiment's surgeon.


Barbara's obituary, 1920

He remained in the 61st Pennsylvania until his honorable discharge in July 1865 following the war's completion. He returned home to Rockwood. His mother gave him garden teas for his back and applied homemade linament for relief. Once they married, Barbara took over his treatments.

In about 1875, Barbara and Henry migrated to Clay County, Kansas, following other family and friends who had ventured there as pioneers. He is known to have labored with Henry W. Bartell and C.L. Parker, both of Milford, Davis/Geary County. Bartell, married to Barbara's cousin Barbara Ellen Faidley, once noted that he had known Henry "to be confined to the house for 3 or 4 days and sometimes a week after he had exerted himself at farming." At one point circa 1876-1878 they made their home in Milford, where Henry received medical care from Dr. W.R. Bard. Double cousins Ross and Emma (Rush) Younkin, also from Somerset County, lived as near neighbor to the Swarners in Milford, and in Ross's recollection often was called to help to turn Henry in bed while infirm. During their baker's dozen years in Kansas, they visited back home every so often.

While in Kansas, Henry applied for an invalid soldier's pension from the federal government. It was awarded on Nov. 14, 1887. [Invalid App. #629015 - Cert. #582.458]

In about 1888, the Swarners made the decision to return to their old home of Rockwood, where Henry resumed farming, and eventually retired from the occupation. Circa 1890, when a special census of Civil War veterans was taken, they received their mail at Casselman. Circa 1894, Henry served as a supervisor of Black Township. 

Henry never recovered from his wartime maladies. His former Milford physician, Dr. Bard, noted in 1905 that Henry's stomach, kidneys and liver were so bad that "for weeks at a time" he was "unable to move about at all and causing him to be bedfast." He also claimed to be in pain in his rectum and heart, and wrote that he could not "walk up a grade, except creep along."


Bird's eye view of bustling Rockwood


Monument to Capt. Schrock's company, New Centerville, PA. Courtesy Linda Marker

His Rockwood physician, Dr. George B. Masters, wrote this in 1905:

I have known [Henry] for the last 15 years  and during that time he has consulted me about one half dozen times for his stomack + liver trouble and back, for which I prescribed. I pronounced his trouble chronic congestion of stomach + liver and his back trouble as lumbago. I have this day Jan. 19th 1905 made a physican examination of him and find him again suffering from his complaints of stomach liver + lumbago.

He applied for an increase of his pension and received testimony of support from other fellow soldiers Jacob C. Miller of Somerfield, PA and Sebastian Tissue of Markleysburg, PA. Other neighbors and friends gave comments in writing, among them Simon S. Snyder of Rockwood and John Romesburg of Ursina, PA. All of them attested to the fact that he frequently complained of severe pain in his back, limiting his ability to perform manual labor.

He suffered a stroke of paralysis and passed away at the age of 63 at 2 a.m. on April 19, 1911. He was laid to rest in the IOOF Cemetery in Rockwood, and Jacob Marker of Rockwood was the informant for his death certificate.

Barbara survived her husband by nine years. She began receiving Henry's pension on April 28, 1911. [Widow App. #963.884 - Ceret. #726.817] At the end of her life, her monthly payments were $25.00.

She was felled by a stroke and died at her residence in South Rockwood at the age of 73 on May 14, 1920. Interment was in the Rockwood Odd Fellows Cemetery. A local newspaper noted that "The family resided in Black township for many years, and also spent several years in the west.... There are also several daughters living in the west."

Many years later, on Oct. 2, 1966, the Somerset County Historical and Genealogical Society dedicated a monument to honor the company, inscribed with Henry's name and placed on the site of the mustering ground. Local attorney Robert Keim served as master of ceremonies and Rev. Gene Abel gave the invocation, Judge Thomas F. Lansberry the principal address and Rev. Henry B. Reiley Jr. the dedication prayer. Lansberry remarked in his comments that the local recruits "had ears to hear the call of Father Abraham," said the Daily American. "This was not hearing in the ordinary sense but it was that 'inner ear' through which they heard the call that challenged them to answer the call to colors. He said that they had real courage, not the false type which causes some beatnik to throw a molotov cocktail into a store window, or causes a riot in Watts or Cleveland, but that kind of courage which sends a man through the valley of the shadow of death for the sake of a cause which he considers to be bigger than himself." Also present at the event was George Hoburn, who designed and built the monument, and Bradley Cramer, grandson of Charles Cramer who first developed the monument idea.


~ Daughter Salome (Swarner) Snyder ~

Daughter Salome Swarner (1871-1955) was born on Feb. 13, 1871 in Black Township near Rockwood, Somerset County.

She married David W. Snyder (Aug. 5, 1863-1950), son of Peter and Julia (Hechler) Snyder. They made their residence in rural Black Township and Milford Township near Rockwood, where David earned a living as a farmer..

They produced at least two children, Edna Speicher and Lloyd M. Snyder.


Old covered bridge in Rockwood dating to the 1840s

In 1950, the Snyders resided at 411 West Main Street in Rockwood.

David fell and fractured his ribs on May 22, 1950 and was admitted to Somerset Community Hospital. He suffered a massive heart attack and died there at the age of 86 on June 13, 1950. Burial  was in the International Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery in Rockwood.

Salome suffered from hardening of the cerebral arteries for the last five years of her life. Having fallen and fractured her left hip, she was admitted for treatment to Somerset Community Hospital in mid-August 1955. Sadly, at the age of 84, and after two weeks in the hospital, she suffered a heart attack and died on Aug. 28, 1955. Interment was in the Rockwood Odd Fellows Cemetery.

Daughter Edna G. Snyder (1893-1974) was born on April 23, 1893 in Black Township. In about 1919, she married Clyde E. Speicher (1897-1982), a native of Lincoln Township and the son of Morris W. and Cora (Hemminger) Speicher. Clyde was a veteran of World War I and went on to a lifetime of farming. Edna was a member of the World War I Auxiliary, Milford Grange, Kingwood Rebekah Lodge and Messiah Lutheran Church in New Centerville, where she was active with the Faithful Bible Class. Clyde was a Milford Township Republican Committeeman and a member of the American Legion, World War I Veterans of Somerset County, the Kingwood Odd Fellows Lodge and the Eagles Lodge. They had three children -- Dorothy Stahl, Mary Jane Reiman and a son who died in infancy. In her final years, Edna made her home with her married daughter Dorothy Stahl in Somerset. She died at their home at the ae of 81 on Nov. 23, 1974. In an obituary, the Meyersdale Republic noted that "Her passing ends a marriage union of 55 years." Burial was in the Rockwood Odd Fellows Cemetery, with Rev. Herbert G. Hohman leading the funeral service. Clyde survived for another eight years as a widower. He died on Feb. 9, 1982 in Altoona Veterans Hospital. Rev. Herbert Schimpf preached the funeral sermon, followed by burial in the Rockwood IOOF Cemetery.

  • Granddaughter Dorothy Speicher married William Stahl. In 1974, their home was in Somerset.
  • Brotherton Pike Cemetery

    Granddaughter Mary Jane Speicher (1930- ? ) was born on Jan. 30, 1930. In about 1952, the 32-year-old was wedded to Clair M. Reiman (1927-1996), son of Clarence E. and Blanche (Knepper) Reiman of Somerset. They remained together for 44 years and dwelled for decades in Berlin, Somerset County. Their children were Gerald Reiman, Marsha Grossman and Dennis Reiman. Sadly, son Gerald died at birth on May 2, 1968. The Reimans were longtime farmers in Stonycreek Township. They were members of the Brothersvalley Church of the Brethren, with Clair volunteering as a deacon. He also was chairman of the Pike Cemetery board of directors, member of the National and State Holstein Association for four decades, a member of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and a board director of Farm Credit. Mary Jane was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Clair passed into eternity at the age of 68 on Feb. 5, 1996 at Somerset Hospital. His remains were placed into repose in Brotherton Pike Cemetery near Berlin, following funeral services led by Rev. Timothy E. Resh and Rev. Owen Preston. An obituary was published in the Somerset Daily American.

Son Lloyd M. Snyder (1899-1984) was born on May 2, 1899 in Black Township near Rockwood. He was twice joined in holy matrimony. His first bride was Eva Edna Weimer ( ? -1937), daughter of William Weimer of Black Township in the outskirts of Rockwood. They made a home in Black Township and together produced these 11 known children -- Marie Gross, Harold Snyder, Homer Snyder, Myrna Landis Keyes, Lester Snyder, Lloyd M. Snyder Jr., Cleda Brant, Blanche Sanner, Elaine Brugh, Nelda Fox and Shirley Shultz. Heartbreak shook the family when Eva Edna became seriously ill and was admitted to Allegany Hospital in nearby Cumberland, MD. There, at the age of 35, she died on May 21, 1937. Short obituaries were published in the Somerset Daily American. After six years alone, Lloyd in 1943 wed a second time to Edna Mosholder ( ? - ? ). Their marriage lasted for 41 years. Lloyd and Edna were longtime farmers in Black Township and were members of St. Luke's Lutheran Church. Lloyd was a longtime member of the Tri-County Horse and Mule Association. Sadness again swept over the family at the death of their son Homer in 1980. Lloyd succumbed to death on Nov. 23, 1984 in Somerset Community Hospital at the age of 85. Burial was in the Rockwood IOOF Cemetery, with Rev. James Roth leading the service.

  • Granddaughter Marie Snyder (1920-1987) was born on Feb. 3, 1920 in Black Township. She was united in holy wedlock with Philip K. Gross ( ? - ? ). Their only son was Philip R. Gross. They resided in Somerset and were members of the Messiah Lutheran Church in New Centerville. Marie was admitted to Lee Hospital in Johnstown, Cambria County, PA where she died at the age of 67 on March 20, 1987. An obituary in the Somerset Daily American noted that Pastor Greg Pile would officiate at the funeral in the family church, with burial in the adjoining cemetery.
  • Grandson Harold Snyder (1921-1996) was born on April 17, 1921 in Black Township. During World War II, he served with the U.S. Army. At the age of 28, in about 1949, he was wedded to Pauline Smith ( ? - ? ). Their only known son was Ronald Snyder. The family dwelled in Rockwood and were members of  St. Luke's Lutheran Church. Harold was a member of the Disabled American Veterans Association, Rockwood American Legion and Pittsburgh Piledriver's Union, where he belonged for three decades. Harold entered eternity at the age of 75 on Nov. 3, 1996. Following funeral services held at the family church, he was laid to rest in Rockwood IOOF Cemetery, with Rev. George Mason officiating. An obituary appeared in the Somerset Daily American.
  • Grandson Homer Snyder (1924-1980) was born on Nov. 26, 1924 in Black Township. He was age 13 when his mother died. Homer apparently never married. He lived in outside of Rockwood and attended the Grace United Methodist Church in Somerset. Homer died in Somerset Community Hospital at the age of 55 on Jan. 25, 1980. Rev. Clarence C. Moore officiated at the funeral, followed by burial in the Rockwood IOOF Cemetery. An obituary was printed in the Meyersdale Republic.
  • Granddaughter Myrna Snyder (1926-2001) was born on Sept. 19, 1926 in Rockwood. She was twice married. Her first spouse was Ernest Landis ( ? - ? ). Their children were Charles David Landis, Terry Landis and Roseanna Petty. Her second husband was Charles "Muff" Keyes. She moved to Ohio and in the 1970s lived in Franklin Furnace, OH. Myrna died at the age of 74 on Valentine's Day 2001 in Woodland Oaks Nursing Home in Ashland, KY. burial was in Woodland Cemetery in Ironton, OH. An obituary was printed in her hometown newspaper, the Somerset Daily American.
  • Grandson Lester Snyder ( ? - ? ) lived in Somerset.
  • Grandson Lloyd M. Snyder Jr. ( ? - ? ) made his home in Rockwood.
  • Granddaughter Cleda Snyder ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was joined in wedlock with (?) Brant. They dwelled in 1984 in Saxonburg, PA. Nothing more is known.
  • Granddaughter Blanche Snyder ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). Circa 1947, she was united in matrimony with Robert Truman Sanner (Nov. 20, 1928-2020). Their marriage endured for an extraordinary 72 years. The couple bore five children -- Judith Pletcher, Roberta Wyant, Larry Sanner, Pamela Moore and Douglas Sanner. They made their home for years in Meyersdale, Somerset County. At the age of 16, with an entrepreneurial spirit, Robert went to work for a lumber company and then with his brothers in a coal operation. At one time he was a partner/co-owner of Meyersdale Automotive Center. The family belonged to St. Luke's Lutheran Church. In his spare time, Robert was a member of the Elks Club in Meyersdale and liked to dance, golf, hunt and travel, visiting 45 of the 50 states. The Sanners purchased a second home in Naples, FL and spent their winters there for 35 years, from 1982 to 2017. Later in life, the couple dwelled in Berlin, Somerset County. Sadly, Robert died as a patient in In Touich Hospice House at the age of 91 on March 22, 2020. Pastor Doug Burns officiated at the funeral service, which was open only for immediate family in the wake of the coronavirus quarantine. Interment of the remains was in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Rockwood.

Great-granddaughter Judith Sanner married Terry Pletcher and lived in Rockwood.

Great-granddaughter Roberta Sanner was joined in wedlock with David Wyant. The couple dwelled in Berlin.

Great-grandson Larry Sanner wedded Kate and resided in Rockwood.

Great-granddaughter Pamela Sanner was united in matrimony with Jeff Moore. In 2020, they were in Berlin.

Great-grandson Douglas Sanner married Roxanne. They made a home in Rockwood.

  • Granddaughter Elaine Snyder ( ? - ? ) was born in (?).. She married Lynn Brugh. The couple lived in Rockwood.
  • Granddaughter Nelda Jean Snyder (1933-2021) was born on Sept. 12, 1933. In about 1953, she was wedded to Kenneth Fox (1934-1999), son of Homer E. and Lena Elizabeth (Mosholder) Fox. They lived along Fox Road in Rockwood with their marriage lasting for 46 years. Their five known offspring were Nancy Sanner, Barbara DeVore, Carol Flannery, John H. Fox and Teresa Faidley. Kenneth made a living as a farmer and then, after retirement, was a consultant in the timber industry. Nelda is said to have been "a strong and hardworking farmer's wife" known for her homemade bread and cinnamon rolls. She also liked to work puzzles and play rummy and bingo. Active in the community, they were members of the Victory Bible Church in Meyersdale. Kenneth was a Black Township Supervisor, member of the National Rifle Association, Rockwood School Board director and Republican Committeeman. Kenneth also enjoyed hunting and fishing. He died at home at the age of 65 on Aug. 4, 1999. Funeral services were held in a local funeral home, followed by interment in the Rockwood Odd Fellows Cemetery, with Pastor Gary Morris officiating. An obituary in the Somerset Daily American noted that his survivors included nine grandchildren. Nelda outlived her spouse by 22 years. She died in the home of her daughter Teresa Faidley, at age 88, on Nov. 3, 2021.

Great-granddaughter Nancy Fox wed Charles Sanner.

Great-granddaughter Barbara Fox married Gregory Devore.

Great-granddaughter Carol Fox was united in matrimony with Thomas Flannerey.

Great-grandson John H. Fox was joined in wedlock with Jill.

Great-granddaughter Teresa Fox entered into marriage with Bearl Faidley.

  • Granddaughter Shirley Snyder ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She married Harold Shultz. They made their residence in Rockwood. Nothing more about their lives is known.

~ Daughter Sarah "Sadie" (Swarner) Blubaugh ~

Daughter Sarah Jane "Sadie" Swarner (1875-1949) was born on June 5, 1875, a twin with her sister Susan. 

Sarah resided with her grandfather, Frederick F. Younkin, at age six, when the federal census was taken in 1880. 

She married Harvey L. Blubaugh (1867-1953), son of Alexander and Susan (Brougher) Blubaugh of Rockwood, Somerset County. They made their home near Kingwood, Somerset County. Their one known daughter was Minnie (Eppley) Lape.

The marriage apparently did not work out. In 1920 and again in 1940, federal census records show Harvey living with his widowed sister Amanda Cramer and her single daughter Sadie, while in 1920 Sarah lived and worked in the residence of 53-year-old bachelor Wilson Witmier as a housekeeper. Circa 1940, she dwelled with their daughter and son in law, Minnie and Freeman Lape.

Just 11 days after her 75th birthday, Sarah succumbed of a cerebral hemorrhage on June 16, 1949. Her remains were interred in the Rockwood IOOF Cemetery. Freeman Lape of Somerset was the informant on her death certificate.

At the age of 86, having endured hardening of the arteries for a decade, Harvey was felled by a heart attack and died on Sept. 15, 1953 at home in Upper Turkeyfoot Township. Burial was in the Lutheran Cemetery in Kingwood. A few weeks before his passing, the Somerset Daily American reported that "Harvey Blubaugh, of Kingwood, who has been quite ill remains in a serious condition."

Daughter Minnie Eppley (1916-1982) was born on Dec. 3, 1916 at Hooversville, Somerset County, the daughter of Elmer and Myrtle (Wirick) Eppley. How she came into the lives of Sarah Jane Swarner and Harvey Blubaugh is a mystery. She was joined in matrimony with Freeman "Sammy" Lape (1914- ? ). They made their home in Somerset, where Freeman in 1940 was a laborer on the construction of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. They produced at least four children -- Dorothy Lape, Shirley Lape, Robert F. Lape and Jean Young. Minnie appears to have remained in Somerset for the rest of her years and was a member of the First Christian Church. She also was employed as governess of the girls' floor of the Seay Memorial Home. She died at St. Francis Hospital in Pittsburgh at age 65 on May 3, 1982. Her remains were returned to Somerset County for burial in St. John's Cemetery. An obituary in the Daily American reported that she left behind 17 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

  • Granddaughter Dorothy Lape (1936- ? ) was born in about 1936. She married Thomas L. Baer and resided in Somerset.
  • Granddaughter Shirley Lape (1938- ? ) was born in about 1938. she was wedded to Garth Burghard. In 1987, their home was in Tyrone, PA.
  • Grandson Robert Lape (1939-1987) was born on March 29, 1939 in Rockwood. He married Virginia Hernley and produced these children -- Robert Scott Lape, Teresa Peiffer, Gary Lee Lape, Amy Lynn Lape and Melissa Ann Lape. He earned a living as a welder for Delta Mining Company. The Lapes were members of the First Christian Church in Somerset and made their home alone Stepping Stones Road in rural Somerset. Sadly, Robert died at the age of 48 at home on Dec. 7, 1987. Rev. Roy Worsham officiated at the funeral service, with burial in St. John's Cemetery, and an obituary printed in the Somerset Daily American.
  • Granddaughter Jean Lape married Max Young and lived in Somerset.

~ Daughter Susan "Susie" (Swarner) Wiltrout Knowles ~

Daughter Susan "Susie" Swarner (1875- ? ) was born on June 5, 1875, a twin with her sister Sarah "Sadie." 

In about 1890, when she would have been age 15 or 16, she wed 17-year-old Carl Wiltrout (May 1873- ? ). 

They together became the parents of these known children -- Annie M. Wiltrout, Hannah A. Wiltrout, Jacob Wiltrout and Henry Wiltrout.

When the federal census was enumerated in 1900, the Wiltrouts lived in Casselman, Somerset County, where Carl was employed as a railroad brakeman.

He may be the same "Carl Wiltrout" who died on Oct. 2, 1901 at the age of 28 and was buried in Mt. Union Cemetery near Kingwood. [Find-a-Grave]

The widowed Susan traveled to Kansas to live in or near Junction City, Geary County, where her sister Cora Etta Younkin made her home. 

In later April 1905, at the Geary County Courthouse, Susan was united in marriage for a second time to John F. Knowles ( ? - ? ). At the time, bride and groom both lived in Fort Riley, and they were wed by the hand of Probate Judge J.F. Brown.

When the U.S. Census was taken in 1910, the couple made their home in Kansas City, Wyandotte County, KS. John held a job as a foreman in a packing house. They did not have any of their own children by that time, but 14-year-old nephew Roy Wiltrout lived under their roof and worked as a cash boy at a department store.

More will be added here when discovered.

Daughter Annie M. Wiltrout (1891- ? ) was born in Aug. 1891.

Daughter Hannah A. Wiltrout (1893- ? ) was born in July 1893.

Son Jacob Wiltrout (1895- ? ) was born in June 1895.

Son Henry R. Wiltrout (1897- ? ) was born in Feb. 1897.


~ Son John H. Swarner ~

Son John H. Swarner (1880-1968) was born on Feb. 6 or 8, 1880 in Kansas. 

He returned to Rockwood and married Bertha Mae Cramer (1882-1953), the daughter of Henry Clay and Amanda J. (Bluebaugh) Cramer. In an ironic twist, her father in 1914 shot and killed John's cousin William H. Trimpey. 

The five children borne by this union were Wilbur H. "Sammy" Swarner, Ferne Heinbaugh, Blanche Hazel Gorsuch Pyle, Melda A. Schrock and Yvonne Narad. 

In the 1930s and early '40s, their postal address was Rockwood R.F.D. John apparently was ornery, and one of his grand-nephews recalled this: 

John H. Swarner was my mother's uncle and lived next door to us in Black Twp. (south of Rockwood, on the hill across the Casselman River bridge). In my, and my parents' opinion, he was not a nice man. He planted a hedge row, with pricket like spikes, on the property line so we could not get in his yard. If a ball or other toy went into his yard I and probably my older brothers, had to wait until night when he went to bed before we could retrieve it. If he saw the object he would take it into his house and keep it. I do not remember him being in our home or any of us going into his house. I asked my mother why he was so mean. She said he had always been that way and she did not know why. She also said I was to ignore and stay away from him.

John died at the age of 88 on March 4, 1968, with burial in the Rockwood IOOF Cemetery. He was survived by 14 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

When an estate auction was held at their home in April 1968, Somerset Daily American reporter David R. Hay wrote that "From up on the hill at the stable ou looked down the gradually sloping yard during the sale to the well kept white frame dwelling which was built by Mr. Swarner many years ago.. If you would have been at the sale you would have seen lots of people sitting and standing around the porch waiting for Col. Jim Johnson, the auctioneer, to work his way down to the house from the stable and garage... From the backyard you could see an aerial view of Rockwood."

John and Bertha's great-granddaughter Diane (Hostetler) Summers has researched this family's genealogy.


Wilbur's and Julia's grave, Rockwood

Son Wilbur H. "Sammy" Swarner (1907-1987) was born on Sept. 18, 1907 in Black Township near Rockwood. In 1928, when he was about 20 years of age, he was united in the holy bonds of matrimony with Julia A. Benford (1910-1983), daughter of Archie and Annie (Barclay) Benford. They lived in Rockwood and were members of the Rockwood Church of the Brethren. They had four daughters and one foster son -- Lois Jean Shaffer, Anna Mae Snyder, Wanda June Kalp, Karen Walker and Melvin Lasure. In early manhood Wilbur earned a living as a coal miner, believed to have been working in Melcroft, PA. But in time he switched to full-time farming. The family made news in May 1955 when a photograph of their homeplace, widely known as the Albert Young farm, was featured as a "mystery farm" on the pages of the Somerset Daily American. The article reported that the farm:

...has a reputation for saving many a parched mouth in the dry season, for it is the only farm in its vicinity which has provided water year-round without fail. Principall dairy and poultry farmers, the Swarners have 43 head of Holstein and Guernsey cattle. They raise oats, corn and wheat, tilling 139 acres of their 207-acre farm. Their favorite livestock is cattle and their favorite crop, corn. Progressive farmers, the Swarners have mechanical help for practically all their farm chores... The farm building program on the farm has made possible a milk house and chicken house in recent years and when Mrs. Swarner came into the Ameerican office Monday morning, she left workmen in the milkhouse installing new sinks.

The family belonged to the Church of the Brethren in Rockwood. In her free time, Julia liked to sew and watch over the young chicks on her farm. Julia died in Somerset Community Hospital at the age of 72 on May 6, 1983. Said the Daily American, "Her death terminates a marriage union of 55 years." She was entombed in the Rockwood IOOF Cemetery. Wilbur survived his wife by four years. He passed into eternity at age 79 on Feb. 15, 1987. His funeral service was led by Rev. Jay Christner, a distant Younkin cousin of the family of Daniel H. and Julia Ann (Ringler) May.

  • Granddaughter Lois Jean Swarner (1928-1998) was born on Nov. 22, 1928 in Rockwood. She was an alumna of Rockwood High School and in young womanhood worked for Meyersdale Shirt Factory. On May 23, 1951, she was united in wedlock with Walter Shaffer Jr. ( ? - ? ), son of Walter Shaffer Sr. of Berlin, PA. The nuptials were held at the Reformed Church in Cumberland, by the hand of Rev. C.L. Clapp. In announcing the marriage, the Somerset Daily American noted that she "wore a light brown suit with straw accessories and a corsage of white carnations." Their union endured for 46 years. At the time, a graduate of Berlin-Brothersvalley High School, Walter was with the U.S. Army and in training to deploy to Korea. Three children born to this couple were Kenneth W. Shaffer, Stephen W. Shaffer and Robin Shaffer. In 1955, the Shaffers lived in Dallastown, York County, PA. Later, the couple relocated to Rockwood, living on Bridge Street. Lois Jean earned a living as a custodian in the Rockwood Area Schools. They held a membership in the Rockwood Church of the Brethren. At the age of 70, Lois Jean passed away on Christmas Eve 1998. As he had for Lois Jean's father, distant cousin Jay Christner led the funeral service. Interment of the remains was in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery in Rockwood, with an obituary appearing in the Somerset Daily American.
  • Granddaughter Anna Mae Swarner (1931-2022) was born on Aug. 3, 1931 in Black Township near Rockwood. She was a graduate of Rockwood High School. At the age of 21, unmarried, she attended a medical secretarial school in Hagerstown, MD in 1952. She then  made her residence in 1955 in Harrisburg, PA. She wed Walter Baker Snyder ( ? -2005). The couple did not reproduce. For many years, she was employed by Musser & Jacobs Associates as a medical secretary. Anna Mae attended Laurel Mountain Chapel Church and liked to can home-grown produce, work in her garden and sew. Sadly, Walter died on June 26, 2005. She survived him by nearly 17 years, making her home in Rockwood. Death enveloped her at the age of 90, as a patient in UPMC Somerset Hospital, on April 13, 2022. Rev. Donald Judy led the funeral service, with burial following in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Rockwood. In an obituary in the Somerset Daily American, the family asked that any memorial contributions be made to St. Jude Hospital in Memphis.
  • Granddaughter Wanda June Swarner ( ? - ? ) graduated in 1952 from Rockwood High School. She then secured work with the General Telephone Company of Pennsylvania in Somerset. On Jan. 29,, 1955, she was joined in marriage with Jack O'Neil Kalp ( ? - ? ). The ceremony was led by Rev. Walter F. Berkebile at the Rockwood Church of the Brethren. Said the Somerset Daily American, "Wearing a two-piece light blue wool gabardine dress, with black velvet trim, and black and white accessories, the bride carried a white Bible, topped with a corsage of white roses, complete with satin streamers in white." Jack was employed at the time by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Their address circa 1955 was on North Center Avenue in Somerset.
  • Granddaughter Karen Swarner ( ? - ) was a graduate of Rockwood Joint High School. She married Donald Walker ( ? -  ). The pair was in Rockwood in 1998.
  • Foster grandson Melvin L. Lasure ( ? - ) dwelled in Quakertown, PA in 1998.

Daughter Leora "Ferne" Swarner (1899-1981) was born in 1899. She married Ray Austin Heinbaugh (1895- ? ), son of David and Alice (Marker) Heinbaugh. (Ray's brother Lloyd Jacob Heinbaugh wed one of Ferne's cousins, Olga Vought.) They resided in Rockwood and produced four children -- Donald Bernell Heinbaugh, Leo Heinbaugh, M.J. Heinbaugh and Virginia Dosch. Sadly, Ferne passed away in 1981.

  • Grandson Donald Bernell Heinbaugh (1923-2016) was born on Jan. 29, 1923 in Rockwood. After graduation from Somerset High School, Donald joined the U.S. Army and served in World War II. On March 20, 1946, he eloped to Cumberland, MD to marry Lorene J. Bittner ( ? -2004). They remained together for 58 years until separation by death. The Heinbaughs produced three daughters -- Sandra Mironik, Barbara Lydzinski and Michele Mihaljevic. Reported the Somerset Daily American, he and the family "followed the heavy construction trade in various locations around the country. He was a 60 year member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66. Faithfully he attended Palm Bay United Methodist Church, Palm Bay, Fl. Don enjoyed playing golf, gardening, woodworking and whittling 'friendship baskets' from peach seeds, along with spending time with his family." Their final years were spent in Palm Bay. Lorene died in 2004. Donald survived her by a dozen years and passed into eternity on April 25, 2016. His remains were returned to Pennsylvania for interment in Somerset County Memorial Park, with Rev. Shelby McCoy leading the funeral service. An obituary was printed in the Daily American

Booklet naming
Leonard Schrock

Daughter Blanche Hazel Swarner (1901-1991) was born in 1901. She entered into marriage with a distant Younkin cousin, Richard A. Gorsuch (June 17, 1894-1954). See the Gorsuch biography for more.


Daughter Melda Swarner (1910-1988) was born on April 24, 1910 in Rockwood. At the age of 15, in about 1925, she married Leonard Schrock (June 3, 1904-1993), a native of Rockwood and the son of Lawrence J. and Elizabeth (Long) Schrock. Their marriage lasted for 63 years until the separation of death. They produced one daughter, Lenadelle Ream, and two sons. The family were members of the Church of the Brethren. In the years before World War II, Leonard is believed to have owned the East End Garage in Rockwood, purchased from Corbett Miller, with the building later transferred just prior to World War II to Ray Pletcher. Leonard and the garage are cited in the commemorative booklet, Rockwood Centennial: 1857-1957. Sadly, the Schrocks outlived both of their sons. At some point prior to 1968, they relocated to South Carolina, where their married daughter resided in the community of Sumter. There, Leonard was employed with several Chrysler Plymouth dealerships as a parts manager. Melda died in Sumter, SC on Feb. 23, 1988. Her remains were brought back to Somerset County for burial in the Rockwood IOOF Cemetery. Rev. Roger Forry officiated at the burial, with an obituary appearing in the Somerset Daily American. Leonard outlived his wife by five years. Admitted to the Tuomey Regional Medical Center as his health declined, Leonard passed away at the age of 89 on June 23, 1993. As with Melda, Leonard's body was returned to Rockwood for interment, with Rev. Tim Resh leading the funeral service.

  • Granddaughter Lenadelle Schrock married Clyde Ream. They lived for many years in Sumter, SC and had one son, Jeffrey L. Ream.

Daughter Yvonne J. Swarner (1923-2024) was born on Nov. 20, 1923 in Rockwood. She was an alumna of Somerset Area High School and then graduated from the University of Maryland School of Nursing. Yvonne was twice-wed. She first entered into marriage in Baltimore, MD on March 11, 1945 with Major Kenneth Orlo Felton (Dec. 30, 1920-1953), son of Mata Felton. Three daughters produced by the pair were Linda Narad Smith, Marsha Ellis and Katie Klink. Kenneth had grown up with an interest in aviation and was a 1940 graduate of Somerset High School. He joined the U.S. Army upon graduation and was at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack of Dec. 7, 1941. Said the Somerset Daily American, "He was asleep in his barracks at the time of the Japanese attack. With machine gun bullets raining through the windows from Jap planes, the raisers set the building afire. Fleeing the burning structure, Felton with other soldiers faced the attack out in the open." He served during the balance of World War II and held the rank of major with the 747th Tank Battalion, 29th Division. Then in 1949 he was stationed in Germany. His final assignment was at Fort Sill, OK. Tragically, Kenneth was killed in an airplane crash in Louisiana on Nov. 29, 1953. Later, she was united in holy matrimony with Van Narad ( ? - ? ). The Narads dwelled in Somerset, where Yvonne was employed as a registered nurse from 1967 to 1980 at Somerset Community Hospital. In March 1971, she took part in the Tag Day benefit for Somerset Community Hospital, and was pictured in the Somerset Daily American with board chair Mrs. James Walker and board president Luther Shaulis. Again in March 1975, she was included in a Daily American photograph presenting a $500 check from the Somerset Registered Nurses' Association to help the hospital acquire a Puritan Bennett Volumn Ventilator to use for respiratory therapy. Then in 1980, she joined the staff of Siemon's Nursing Facility in Somerset and remained there until retirement. She held memberships in the Somerset Church of the Brethren and the Somerset Registered Nurses Association. Yvonne spent her final years in Fayetteville, PA and reached her 100th birthday in 2023. She passed away on Feb. 7, 2024. An obituary in the Somerset Daily American said she was survived by six grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren. The remains were returned to her native region for interment in the sacred soil of Somerset County Memorial Park. 

Wedding announcement for Yvonne and Kenneth Felton
Courtesy Janet (Gary) Orawiec
  • Granddaughter Linda Felton (1949-2014) was born on Nov. 29, 1949 in Giessen, Germany. She later took the "Narad" surname of her stepfather. Linda was an alumna of Somerset High School and then went on to study at Robert Morris College. She was joined in wedlock with William H. Smith ( ? -2006). The pair of offspring of this marriage were Allison Christine Zuefle and Jason Hunter Smith. The couple dwelled in Hummelstown, PA. Linda was employed as office manager for more than two decades with Folk & Garber Inc. in Hummelstown. In their spare time, the couple liked to ride Harley Davidson motorcycles together and attend NASCAR auto races. Sadly, William died on Jan. 3, 2006. Linda survived him by eight years. She passed away at the age of 64 on Feb. 24, 2014. Her photograph accompanied her obituary in the Daily American.

    Great-granddaughter Allison Christine Smith married Werner Zuefle. They established a home in Middletown, DE. Their only son was Tyler Felton Zuefle.

    Great-grandson Jason Hunter Smith wed Michele. They have dwelled in Hummelstown, PA. Two offspring in this family were Hunter William Smith and Haley Regan Smith.

  • Granddaughter Marsha Felton tied the knot with D. Michael Ellis and settled in Niles, MI. They were the parents of Matthew Ellis (1973-2008).
  • Granddaughter Katie Felton was united in matrimony with Roger Klink. Circa 2014-2024, they lived in Blue Ridge Summit, PA. 


~ Daughter Martha Ellen (Swarner) Vought ~



John and Ellen (Swarner) Vought Jr.

Daughter Martha Ellen "Ella" Swarner (1882-1915) was born on Sept. 7, 1882 in Kansas. She married a triple cousin, John Vought Jr. (1879-1932), son of Missouri Younkin and grandson of William "Shedrick" and Caroline (Cupp) Younkin of near Rockwood, Somerset County. (While the "t" at the end of the "Vough" name dropped away during the 20th century, the family name generally is still pronounced in Somerset County as "Vote.") 

Early in their married life, they relocated to Kansas, although they too eventually returned to Rockwood. Read more about the Voughts.


Copyright 2013, 2016-2017, 2020, 2024 Mark A. Miner

Research for this page graciously shared by the late Olive (Rowan) Duff and the late Donna (Younkin) Logan