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Mary 'Polly' (Younkin) Knable


John and Mary rest in the Knable plot, Union Cemetery, Somerset, PA


Mary "Polly" (Younkin) Weimer was born on March 12, 1821 in Somerset County, PA, the daughter of Henry and Elizabeth "Betsy" (Weimer) Younkin.

On July 28, 1840, at the age of 19, she married 26-year-old Major John Knable (Feb. 6, 1814-1895), son of Leonard Knable and a native of Burnt Cabins/McConnellsburg, Fulton County. As a boy, John relocated to Somerset County where his father ran a hotel on the Mud Pike in New Centerville. 

Polly and John produced five offspring -- Martha A. Knable, Walter W. Knable, Mary E. Colborn, John Parker Knable and Ida Belle Hoblitzel. 

Two years into the marriage, John acquired a mercantile firm owned by Simon Gebhart in Gebhartsburg. He sold his share of the firm to a business partner in 1854 and moved into Somerset. There, he along with Michael A. Sanner bought out Cyrus Benford, co-owner of the Sanner & Benford store.

John was politically active and in 1846 was appointed with John Bell and Simon Gebhart to meet with other political delegates in Fayette and Greene Counties "to put in nomination a suitable person for Congress, and that they have power to fill vacancies," reported the Somerset Herald

With an eye toward even more growth, he sold his interest in the Sanner & Benford store and relocated to Pittsburgh in 1866, at a time of national promise following the end of the Civil War. He joined a partnership with Capt. John H. Boyts and William Ogden to sell queensware, a type of fine Wedgwood pottery that was cream in coloring.

After three years, however, John sold his interest to William N. Ogden and the Knables moved back to Somerset County. For a few years, John operated a railroad supply store in Ursina. In 1871, he bought out the assets of Michael A. Sanner of the Sanner & Patton business and operated it for a year until destroyed by the Great Fire of 1872.


Pittsburgh, as sketched in Gleason's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, 1853, about a decade before the Knables relocated to the city to sell Wedgwood pottery.



Somerset Herald, 1895
Library of Congress

Not to be laid low by the fire damage, John constructed a new residence "on the site of his old home, [which] is far handsomer and more beautiful than the old one," reported the Herald in October 1872. "In a few days it will be reading for plastering.... On all sides and on every hand can be heard the busy click of the stone dresser's chisel, the ringing sound of the bricklayer's trowel, and the busy rap-rap of the carpenter's hatchet. Our town, as if by magic, is on all sides becoming more elegant, more beautiful in appearance." 


They were members of the Reformed Church. In November 1876, at the Fourth Annual Fair of the Somerset County Agricultural Society, Polly was honored for her knit stockings, grape jelly and tomato jelly, while daughter Martha was cited for her siberian crab jelly and pickles, and daughter Ida for her apple jelly. 

John retired after the 1872 fire and became a partner in the Somerset Foundry Company, which went out of business when a fire again struck Somerset in 1876. After retiring for two years, John in 1878 went back into business as a partner in the mercantile firm of A.J. Casebeer & Co., and was in operation until Casebeer's death in 1883, at which time he retired for good. 

John passed away in Somerset in August 1895, with the Herald saying that "In his long  business career and residence in this place, Major Knable won and retained the confidence and respect of all of our people." 

Polly joined him in death seven months later on March 2, 1876. [Find-a-Grave]

Nearly seven decades later, in October 1945, several of Mary's paisley and black shawls, dating to 1840, were placed on exhibit in the picture window of the J.C. Penney Company store in town. The fashions were lent to the display by her granddaughters Louise Mason and Eleanor DeLong.


Skyline of Somerset, PA, circa 1884


~ Daughter Martha A. Knable ~


Daughter Martha A. Knable (1842-1917) was born on Feb. 17, 1842.

As with her brother Walter, she never married, and spent her life as a  housekeeper. 

When she was age 27, in 1870, she lived at home with her parents in Somerset.

She is believed to have assisted her bachelor brother Walter in his insurance business in Somerset in the 1890s. 

Stricken with cancer of the bowels and stomach, she died at age 74 on Jan. 19, 1917. Her brother in law L.C. Colborn was the informant for the official Pennsylvania certificate of death. she was placed into eternal rest in the Union Cemetery.


Unmarried siblings Walter and Martha Knable sleep in Union Cemetery



~ Son Walter William Knable ~

Son Walter William Knable (1846-1916) was born on Dec. 7, 1846 in Gebharts, Somerset County.

As with his sister Martha, he never married. 

In 1894, residing in Johnstown, Cambria County, he was employed as a mail agent on the Somerset and Cambria Railroad, part of the larger Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. 

At the age of 50, in May 1895, Walter announced his resignation from the B&O so he could relocate back to Somerset and launch a fire insurance agency. In announcing this move, the Pittsburgh Daily Post said he was "one of the oldest mail agents" on the B&O. He then acquired the "pretty cottage home" of P.A. Schell on the corner of South and East Streets in Somerset, which was "fitted up with hot water heat and sanitary plumbing and is one of the most conveniently arranged residences in town," said the Somerset Herald

Five days after his 70th birthday, on Dec. 12, 1916, he died of heart valve problems. Interment was in Union Cemetery in Somerset, in the family plot, and next to his sister Martha.


Louis Colborn, Esq.

~ Daughter Mary (Knable) Colborn ~

Daughter Mary K. Knable (1849-1916) was born on Oct. 21, 1849 in Milford Township, Somerset County. 

On March 4, 1875, when she would have been 25 years of age, Mary was wedded to 25-year-old Louis C. Colborn (Feb. 20, 1850-1930) -- also commonly spelled "Lewis" -- a native of Harnedsville, Somerset County and the son of Andrew Jackson and Susan (Hartzell) Colborn and grandson of George Hartzell of Stoystown, Somerset County.

Their wedding was officiated by Elder L.F. Bittle of the Disciples of Christ Church and held in her parents' home, where the "youth, beauty and fashion of our town assembled," reported the Somerset Herald. "The company assembled all vie in their priase of the appearance of the bride and groom. The array of presents was very imposing and all were exceedingly appropriate. After congratulations dancing and various other amusements were indulged in for a few hours, when the guests were led into the dining room, where the refreshments such as we are unable to describe, both from their great variety and abundance were set before them.... All hands about the office hope that their lives may be prosperous and happy and are unanimous in their praises of the good things kindly sent them."

The couple went on to produce a family of four children, John Andrew Colborn, Louise Mason, Martha Colborn and Eleanor J. DeLong. Grief blanketed the family when daughter Martha succumbed to diphtheria in December 1884.

The Colborns dwelled for decades in Somerset, where Louis primarily practiced as an attorney.


Louis' profile in the 1906 History of Bedford and Somerset Counties


As a young boy, Louis relocated with his parents from Harnedsville to Somerset in 1854. Then after graduation from the public schools of Somerset as a youth, he attended West Chester and Millersville state normal schools in preparation for a career as an educator. He is known to have taught in Somerset and surrounding rural schools during the late 1860s and early 1870s, and from 1870 to 1873 was principal of the Somerset school. He also served as United States Commissioner from 1872 to 1882.

Starting in May 1872, when he was admitted to the legal profession, he trained for a career as a lawyer with his father, A.J. Colborn, who once had served on the Pennsylvania Legislature and earned the nickname "Bald Eagle of the Alleghenies." The two practiced together under the name Colborn & Colborn until the father's death on Aug. 6, 1901. During the early years in the practice of law, he was elected as Burgess of Somerset (Mayor) in 1884 and 1885. Then from 1888 to 1891 he held a three-year term as District Attorney. As D.A., he presided over the high profile execution of the Nicely brothers murders and conviction of the "Moonshine murderers." His involvement also included the Roddy and Meyers murder cases.

Following in his father's path, Louis learned the practices of surveying and engineering. This allowed him to plot and run the boundaries of many tracts of acreage which added value to his expertise in cases involving real estate.


Louis (circled, left) and his father (lower right) with members of the Somerset County Bar on the Fourth of July 1895.



Union Cemetery, Somerset

Early in his career, circa April 1875, Louis also was named a Somerset agent for the Travelers Life and Accident Insurance Company of Hartford, CT, a firm said by the Somerset Herald to be a "sterling old company in our midst."

When the federal census was enumerated in 1880, the young family dwelled in Somerset, and 22-year-old servant Fannie Thomas resided in their household.

Louis held a variety of professional and community posts over the years. Among them were several terms as counsel to the board of directors of the Somerset County Poor House. He also was active for 43 years in the State Board of Charities, also known as the Pennsylvania Association of Directors of the Poor, which Somerset Daily American said "manifested a deep interest." As such, he visited nearly every instutition in Pennsylvania serving the poor.

For 49 years, he was treasurer of the Somerset lodge of the Masons, an organization of which his father had been the first worshipful master in 1865 and where Louis' son and grandson also were active, in Somerset and the District of Columbia.

The census of 1900 again shows the Colborns in Somerset, with Louis continuing his law practice. At that time, Jennie Menser, age 16, was living under their roof and earning her keep as a servant.


Union Cemetery, Somerset

With a deep interest in public education, Louis was a Somerset school board director in 1887 and 1890, and was appointed to the board in 1903 and elected in 1904. Louis and five others took seats on the board in September 190, vacating a slate of previous directors that had included John A. Lambert, the owner of the Somerset Standard newspaper and a Younkin step-cousin of the family of William Meyers and Mary (Foy) Schrock. The 1906 book History of Bedford and Somerset Counties, Pennsylvania, Vol. 3, states that "Through the energies of Mr. Colborn there is erected one of the handsomest school buildings in western Pennsylvania, and through his efforts the schools of the borough are equal to any in the state. The high school established is equal to any."

The Colborns' residence was on East Patriot Street. Louis' name often was in the newspapers in connection with his work.

In 1910, census records show that 22-year-old daughter Eleanor was living at home, and that 26-year-old Minnie Humbert was living and working there as a servant.

Sadly, at the age of 66, Mary contracted the "grippe" and angina pectoris and died on Jan. 14, 1916. She was laid to eternal repose in Union Cemetery. Louis outlived her by 14 years. When he reached his 80th birthday, in February 1930, an open house was held in his home, hosted by his daughters and son. In reporting on the affair, the Daily American said that he "was as radient as the sunshiny weather outdoors and laughed and chatted with the enthusiasm and abandon of a schoolboy. He declared he would 'live for at least 10 more years'."

Sadly, Louis passed into eternity on Sept. 1, 1930, just a little more than six months after his landmark birthday and party.

During her lifetime, as had been her mother, Mary was a fashionable dresser, especially at social and community events. Many years later, during World War II, one of her dresses was diaplayed in the picture window of the J.C. Penney Company store in town. It was a cream-colored dress which she had worn in 1872 as a maid of honor for her friend Kate Cromwell. Another of her gowns, worn as a bridesmaid for Margaret (Sanner) Harrison, also was preserved by the family.

Some 49 years after Louis' death, a classified advertisement was placed in the Daily American, stating an interest in buying his personal papers and diaries.


Family marker in Union Cemetery, Somerset, PA


Son John Andrew Colborn (1877-1953) was born on April 19, 1877 in Somerset.  On Sept. 27/28, 1899, he was joined in wedlock with Eva Bauman (1879-1948), daughter of Amos W. and Mary Alice (Bittner) Bauman of Larimer Township, Somerset Coiunty. Rev. John Daly of the First Christian Church of Somerset, led the nuptials. The couple were the parents of Martha Gallienne, Eleanore Louise Colborn, John A. Colborn II, Harold B. Colborn, Dorothy Carr, Walter K. Colborn and Sue Ellen Doherty. John was employed circa 1898-1923 in the War Department in Washington, DC, holding the rank of captain for war ordnance. In August 1923, he received a telegram that his cousin Walter K. Hoblitzell had died in Somerset, and he took a train there for the funeral. While in Somerset, he then went to Meyersdale "to see the Harding funeral train pass through," said the Meyersdale Republican. Then during World War II, he received a commendation for meritorious civilian service by the War Department, signed by Gen. Brehon Summervell. The Somerset Daily American reported that the commendation was for "meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as chief of supply branch, office chief of ordnance, army service forces, and as chief clerk for the ordnance department for the periof of May, 1939 to September 1945, demonstrating exceptional ability and foresight as a planner, organizer and leader by providing for and equipping the vast influx of new personnel, during the national emergency, an expansion of force from 189 to 5,000 employees. All this he accomplished under adverse conditions and with large savings to his government." Eva was a talented artist in her own right. Said the Daily American, "Her paintings have been exhibited in many art centers. For many years she was a student at the Corcoran art school. She was a member of the Pen Women of Washington and the Presbyterian church." For more than three decades, he served as secretary to the Dawson lodge of the Masons in Washington. Grief blanketed the family when Eva was stricken by a cerebral hemorrhage and died in George Washington Hospital on June 18, 1948. John outlived his wife by five years. He passed away in June 1953. His sisters Louise and Eleanor traveled from Somerset to attend the funeral. Interment of the remains was in National Memorial Park in West Falls Church, Fairfax County, VA.

  • Granddaughter Martha Colborn (1901- ? ) was born in about 1901 in the District of Columbia. She wedded Jean H. Gallenne ( ? - ? ). The couple were in Washington, DC in the 1950s.
  • Granddaughter Eleanore Louise Colborn (1902-1984) was born on Nov. 7, 1902 in the District of Columbia. She never married. At the age of 81, she passed away on June 12, 1984. Her remains are interred in National Memorial Park in West Falls Church, Fairfax County, VA.
  • Grandson John Andrew Colborn II (1905- ? ) was born on March 2, 1905 in the District of Columbia. He married Allegra Truitt (June 17, 1908-2004). Their only son was John Andrew "Jay" Colborn III. The couple made a home in Almeda County, CA in the 1930s and in the District in 1954. John died at the age of 73 on Nov. 15, 1978. At the age of 95, Allegra succumbed to death on April 26, 2004.

Great-grandson John Andrew "Jay" Colborn III (1933-2013) was born on April 8, 1933 in Albany, Alameda County, CA. In young manhood he received a bachelor of arts degree in economics from American University. He was a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War, specializing in cryptography with the Central Intelligence Agency. In June 1954, he married Nancy Hopkins ( ? - ? ), a resident of Clinton, MD but a native of Peterborough, Hillsborough County, NH. Their children were Janet Foryan, Lynn Andrews and William H. Colborn. After marriage, the couple relocated to New Hampshire, where they lived in Antrim and John was employed by Sylvania Electronic Products in Hillsborough and by N.H. Ball Bearings in Peterborough. The family relocated in 1963 to Lancaster, NH, where John earned a living with Groveton Paper Company, part of Diamond Internatinoal of James River. His final employment was as a safety engineer with the New Hampshire Department of Labor, from which he retired in 1988. Passionate about the out-of-doors, John was active as a park ranger in Grand Teton National Park, a ski patrol volunteer with the Wilderness Ski Club, hiked and was a scuba diver, and served as president of the Mt. Prospect Ski Club. At one time, he "joined his son Bill and the rest of the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Icebreaker Glacier WAGB-4 on its voyage home from Antarctica, sailing with them from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to San Diego," said an obituary. "He was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in South Portland, Maine." The family belonged to the Lancaster Congregational Church, where he held seats on the finance and property committees and board of deacons. John died in Whitefield, Coos County, NH at the age of 79 on St. Patrick's Day 2013. He lies in repose in Summer Street Cemetery in Lancaster, Coos County. Nancy survived him by five years and passed on May 14, 2018.

  • Grandson Harold B. Colborn (1908- ? ) was born in about 1908 in the District of Columbia.
  • Granddaughter Dorothy Colborn (1909- ? ) was born in about 1909 in the District of Columbia. She wedded J. Franklin "Frank" Carr ( ? - ? ). Her home in 1954 was in Washington, DC.
  • Grandson Walter K. Colborn (1912- ? ) was born in about 1912 in the District of Columbia. He dwelled in Washington, DC. He and Alice V. Wilkinson ( ? - ? ) are believed to have tied the knot in Washington in November 1933.
  • Granddaughter Sue Ellen Colborn (1916- ? ) -- sometimes known as "Helen" -- was born on Sept. 27, 1916 in the District of Columbia. She was joined in wedlock with James S. Doherty (May 24, 1896-1981). Sadly, James was carried away by the Angel of Death in 1981. She survived as a widow for 16 years and passed away at the age of 80 on April 21, 1997. They rest in eternal sleep in National Memorial Park in West Falls Church, Fairfax County, VA.

Daughter Mary "Louise" Colborn (1880-1963) was born on Jan. 18, 1880. At the age of 21, on Oct. 2, 1901, she married 21-year-old Guy Milton Mason (Sept. 19, 1880-1930), a native of Mansfield, OH but resident of Norfolk, VA and the son of Milton Warren and Anna (Runkle) Mason. Rev. E.P. Wise officiated. Guy was of medium height and build, with blue eyes and brown hair. As a young man, he received an A.B. degree at Bethany College in West Virginia, which is where the two probably met. In September 1900, while visiting in Somerset, he is known to have attended the high profile wedding of President William McKinley's niece Mabel McKinley to Dr. Hermanus Ludwig Baer. After their wedding, they honeymooned at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, with a reception held at his parents' home in Norfolk later that month. In reporting on the reception at the Mason residence, the Norfolk (VA) Landmark said that it was:

...most beautiful in all its details. Seldom have more exquisite decorations been seen here, for the house was transformed into a real conservatory of palms and flowers. Gold and white were the prevailing colors. The floors were covered with white linen, and chrysanthemums were used in great profusion. Mr. and Mrs. Mason welcomed their guests in front of an immense bank of ferns and palms which completely filled the bay window of the drawing room. Two tall, white columns, filled with huge white and yellow chrysanthemums, stood on each side of the andirons by the fireplace. The library was made a Turkish room with oriental lamps and hangings, and here the fruit punch was served. Elegant refreshments were spread in the dining room. The table was lovely with its center piece of chrysanthemums, white and yellow, and tall candle sticks with yellow shades.... Mrs. Warren Mason's gown was a white satin, trimmed with Duchesse lace, while her daughter, Mrs. G.M. Mason, wore her wedding dress of ivory satin. An orchestra, stationed on the balcony over the stairs, added additional charm and made the evening one long to be remembered.

The couple resided in Philadelphia in 1905 and Chicago in 1906-1910. The federal census enumeration of 1910 shows them living in rented rooms on Madison Avenue in Chicago, having been married for eight years and with Guy employed as a salesman of drugs and sundries. Still living in Chicago, Louise was saved from near tragedy in February 1912 while aboard a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad train four miles west of Rockwood. The train was traveling at 40 miles per hour and collided with an extra freight train, with 24 people injured. She did receive an injury, as did Henry Weyand of Berlin, Somerset County, of the family of John and Catharine (Brant) Weyand. Reported the Baltimore (MD) Sun:

The coaches on the passenger train were filled, and it was due to the construction of the cars -- steel -- that more were not injured. The collision came without a minute's warning to the passengers and the force of the impact threw them from their seats. For several minutes all was confusion. As soon as those who escaped unhurt were able to gather their wits they went to the assistance of the injured. A message was sent to Connellsville and wrecking trains were made up and dispatched to the scene. Physicians were summoned and taken on a special train to the wreck. In the meantime the injured had been carried from the battered cars and first aid rendered..

Fortunately Louise survived the accident. By 1918, however, the Masons divorced. Louise returned to Somerset, where she supported herself over many years as a nurse. She retired from this work. Circa 1951, she served as president of the Women's Missionary Society of the First Christian Church, and that year presided over the organization's 75th anniversary. In her later years she shared a home with her sister Eleanor DeLong at 166 East Patriot Street in Somerset. She was felled by a stroke or brain bleed of some sort and passed away at age 83 on Sept. 22, 1963. Her remains were placed into rest in Union Cemetery. No obituary is known to have been printed in the Somerset newspaper. Her former husband married again to Jessie Sharpe (1884-1952), moved to Dallas, TX and produced a son, Harold Trowbridge Mason (1909-1978). Guy died at the age of 49 on Sept. 18, 1930, with burial of the remains in Elmwood Memorial Gardens in Columbia, SC.


The DeLongs' grave, Union Cemetery, Somerset


Daughter Eleanor Colborn (1887-1975) was born on Jan. 23, 1887. In young womanhood she attended Wilson College and Mt. Pleasant Institute in the study of music and took lessons from Mabel (McKinley) Baer, a niece of President William McKinley. She was wedded to Howard H. DeLong (1879-1958), son of Adam and Caroline (Hoch) DeLong of Berks County, PA. The couple did not reproduce. They lived in Somerset for decades at 166 East Patriot Street. Howard was principle of Somerset High School Circa 1935, she corresponded with Charles Arthur "Charleroi Charley" Younkin, organizer of the Younkin National Home-coming Reunion to share information about her branch of the family. Writing to a cousin in Johnstown, PA, Charley said: "Have you ever heard of Mary Younkin? Who was married to Maj. John Knable from near Somerset. Have just come in contact with a granddaughter Mrs. H.H. DeLong of Somerset, and who happens to be regent of D.A.R. Forbes Road Chapter. I am very sure she will be a valuable asset to our association but she is unable to give me any information as to which branch her grandmother is from." Circa March 1932, she was active with the Thursday Afternoon Club and, at a luncheon at their home on East Patriot Street, displayed a pink and white damask table cloth which once had belonged to her grandmother Knable. She also was active in the First Christian Church of Somerset, the Fortnightly Club and as regent of the Forbes Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. For 16 years, she was the choir director and organist at St. Paul's Reformed Church for 24½ years as organist at her own church. She also taught private piano lessons in her home. Suffering at age 79 from cancer of his digestive system, which spread throughout his body, Howard succumbed on June 19, 1958. Interment was in Union Cemetery in Somerset. Eleanor lived for another 17 years as a widow and remained in her residence on East Patriot. She died in Somerset Community Hospital at the age of 87 on June 28, 1975. Rev. Paul Weber officiated at her funeral service, with burial following in Union Cemetery. Today, Somerset Area High School bestows an annual Eleanor C. DeLong Senior Piano Award to a deserving student.


~ Son John Parker Knable ~


John P.'s father in law and 
investor, Col. G.W. Elkins
Courtesy Google Books

Son John Parker Knable (1858-1931) was born on April 22, 1858 in Somerset, Somerset County. He would have been a boy of eight when he and his parents and siblings moved in 1866 into the "Iron City" of Pittsburgh, where his father established a prominent business selling creamware. 

In about 1888, when John was age 28, he married 23-year-old Suzanne E. "Susan" Elkins (1865-1934), daughter of Col. George Washington and Elizabeth Victoreen (Hogerbets) Elkins and a native of Philadelphia. 

Susan's parents resided on 44th Street in Pittsburgh, and then on North Highland Avenue, where her father was president of the Consolidated Traction Company of Pittsburgh and a director of Freehold Bank. Susan was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (No. 36480) based upon the service of her ancestor Silas Herkes of the Montgomery County (PA) Militia. 

They had one son, George "Elkins" Knable, born in August 1889. 

In the early 1890s, their home was in Pittsburgh, where, following in his father's footsteps, he was a partner with Frank B. Cooper in the dry goods store of Knable & Cooper at 35 Fifth Avenue. They formed the business when buying out the assets of Folwell Bros. & Co. Firm advertising in the Pittsburgh Daily Post shows that they sold imported clothing, including all sorts of fabric dresses and suits. 

The entrepreneurs' timing was not good as in 1893 the nation entered one its worst economic depressions which caused many shoppers to severely cut back their buying. The firm foundered on hard times in 1894 and in February was shuttered with debt in the amount of $30,000, much of it lent by John's father in law. 


Pittsburg Dispatch, 1892
Library of Congress

Reported the Somerset Herald, "The failure, it was stated, was due to the business depression. Large rents were to pay and heavy expenses, with no customers coming in. The result was they could not meet their liabilities." They worked through the bankruptcy and remained in Pittsburgh, with John pursuing a career in advertising. 

The 1900 and 1910 federal censuses show the family residing on Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside, with John employed as an advertising agent. To escape the hot summer heat of August, the Knables enjoyed getting out of the city and relaxing at the Bedford Springs Hotel or the Thousand Lakes of Alexandria Bay, NY, where they enjoyed watching hydroplane races. They often attended performances of the Pittsburgh Opera, in the private box of Susan's father, and it would not have been unusual to see among the other attendees the likes of industrialists George Westinghouse, Henry W. Oliver and the Thaws. 

When traveling to New York, he made it a point to stay at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. In 1910, Susan received a bequest of $25,000 -- "for her kindness and attention to me" -- from the $2 million estate of her late aunt, Louisa B. Elkins, widow of William L. Elkins, magnate of the Philadelphia Traction Company. 

Susan is known to have been against the movement to give women the right to vote and was a member of the Pittsburgh Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage. In fact, she attended a rally in Somerset in July 1916 and made a speech along with Mrs. John Brown Heron, Mrs. James Hay Reed and Mrs. Mary McCullough. Reported the Pittsburgh Gazette Times, "Both the suffragists and their opponents will canvass the country fairs throughout the state during this year." 

Circa 1919, they and their son were named in the Summer Social Register of Pittsburgh. Over the years, the couple summered in Spring Lake, NJ and New London, CT, staying at the Griswold Hotel. In their final years, the couple spent the balance of their year in Pittsburgh in their home in the Schenley Apartments. 

At his death at the age of 73, on Sept. 20, 1931, due to kidney and heart affliction, John was considered a "prominent Pittsburg business man." Burial was in Homewood Cemetery, with son Elkins serving as the informant for the death certificate. 


Schenley Apartments - Minerd.com Archives

Susan passed away three years later on Feb. 27, 1934, having suffered a fatal stroke while at home. She joined her husband in eternal repose in Homewood Cemetery.

The Knables are named in Josiah Granville Leach's rare 1898 book of only 200 copies, Genealogical and Biographical Memorials of the Reading, Howell, Yerkes, Watts, Latham, and Elkins Families, where the maiden name of John's mother was spelled "Yuncan." Susan also is named in a chapter about her father in George Thornton Fleming's History of Pittsburgh and Environs.

Son Col. George "Elkins" Knable (1889-1970) was born on Aug. 31, 1889 in Pittsburgh. He attended preparatory school at St. Paul's in Concord, NH and later received his undergraduate degree in 1912 from Yale University. Upon returning to Pittsburgh, he lived at 124 Prospect Street. He began employment in 1912 as a metallurgist with Carnegie Illinois Steel -- a division of United States Steel -- and eventually became a personal services coordinator with the company. During World War I, he served as a captain with the U.S. Army's American Expeditionary Force (AEF), attaining the rank of captain, remaining there until retirement in 1954. He was married at least twice. His first wife was Elizabeth Burdick ( ? - ? ), daughter of Joel Wakeman and Ella (Bartlett) Burdick of Pittsburgh. Their engagement was announced in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and in an October 1921 issue of Gossip, the international journal of society. On Oct. 21, 1922, they were wed in the chapel of Calvary Protestant Episcopal Church, where they were members. Bridesmaids included Margaret Ralston Crabbe, Frances B. Burdick and Ada Campbell Simpson, and groomsmen were Col. Charles M. Steese, Frederick G. Blackburn, Joseph Buffington Jr.,  James Sidney Hammond and Charles Edward Magrane. For their honeymoon, the couple traveled around the world, reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The couple produced three known children -- Elizabeth Winsor Knable, John Parker Knable II and George "Elkins" Knable Jr. The Knables were listed in the Pittsburgh Blue Book and occasionally named in newspaper articles about society doings. Elkins belonged to the Duquesne Club, Longue Vue Country Club Army and Navy Club, Yale Club of Pittsburgh and was a trustee of Homewood Cemetery. Also active in the community, Elizabeth belonged to the Twentieth Century Club and served as general chair of the annual fundraising bazaar of St. Anne's Guild of the Calvary Church and was active with the Women's Auxiliary Board of the Kingsley Association. Within a few weeks of the Pearl Harbor attack and the nation's entry into World War II, Elkins took a leave of absence from U.S. Steel to serve with the Pittsburgh Ordnance District Office. He then was called to Washington DC where he received the rank of colonel and worked with the Ordnance Department Ferrous Metallurgical Advisory Board. Sadly, Elizabeth passed away on July 21, 1965. Elkins only remained a widower for four months. On Nov. 17, 1965, in the Circuit Court in Harrisville, Ritchie County, WV, and at the age of 76, he married again, to 67-year-old Mary Ellen Egan (1896- ? ), daughter of Daniel F. and Kathryn (Callan) Egan of Whitingsville, MA. Judge Max DeBerry officiated the civil ceremony. At the time of marriage, Mary Ellen lived at 5700 Central Avenue in Pittsburgh. They were together for five years. He died at the age of 80 on June 5, 1970 with burial in Homewood Cemetery. Newspapers reported that he had left an estate valued at $2.2 million, mostly in stocks, including shares of Standard Oil Company.

  • Granddaughter Elizabeth Winsor Knable (1936-2006) was born on Oct. 17, 1936. She never married. Elizabeth resided in her parents' home at 614 Amberson. She passed away on Nov. 14, 2006, at the age of 70, with funeral services held in Trinity Episcopal Church, and a short death notice in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • Grandson John Parker "Jack" Knable II ( ? -2015) was born in (?). He studied at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh before attending Yale. He resided in Detroit in 1965 and later in Potomac, MD and married Cynthia B. (?). The couple produced three children -- John Parker Knable III, Geoffrey L. Knable and Eliza K. Jamison. Sadly, John died suddenly on May 3, 2015 in Frederick, MD. His remains were returned to Pittsburgh for interment in Homewood Cemetery, and a death notice was printed in the Washington Post.
  • Grandson George "Elkins" Knable Jr. ( ? - ? ) made his home in 1970 in Moorehead City, NC.


~ Daughter Ida Belle (Knable) Hoblitzell ~


The Hoblitzells' graves, Union Cemetery, Somerset


Daughter Ida Belle Knable (1862-1931) was born on July 25, 1862 in Somerset County.


Somerset Herald, 1882. Library of Congress

On Oct. 12, 1882, at the age of 20, Ida Belle was united in marriage with 20-year-old George McClelland Hoblitzell (Oct. 2, 1862-1904) of Hyndman, Bedford County and the son of James Jacob and Julia K. (Hartzell) Hoblitzell. He appears to have been named for the popular Civil War General George B. McClellan, who commanded the Union Army at one time.

The ceremony, held at the home of Ida's parents on Main Street in Somerset, was "performed in the presence of a large number of friends and relatives of the high contracting parties by Rev. C.A. Kleeberger of Johnstown," said the Herald. "After the ceremony the assembled guests sat down to a 'feast fit for Kings' and joined in the merry festivities of the occasion until five o'clock, when the happy young couple were escorted to the depot by a party of their most intimate friends where they took passage on the west bound train for an extended wedding tour. The bride is one of the fairest of Somerset's many fair daughters and is universally loved and esteemed. The groom is a thriving young business man and a most estimable gentleman." 

They produced one son, Walter Knable Hoblitzell.

George had begun working for his father'sbrick and mercantile firms as a teenager. In early adulthood he completed his education at the Dickinson Seminary in Williamsport, PA and then returned to the family business to manage the coal mines and store of the Baltimore & Cumberland Coal Company at Salisbury, Somereset County.


First Christian Church, Somerset

The newlyweds first resided in Hyndman, where George owned and operated a general mercantile store, J.J. Hoblitzell & Sons. Reported the Meyersdale Republican, "Few men of the age of George Hoblitzell enjoyed so wide-spread an acquaintance as he did." The Bedford Gazette said that he "was one of the best known business men of southwestern Pennsylvania."

In the community, he served on the Hyndman school board, was a director of the Hoblitzell National Bank of Hyndman and the Leatherbury Shoe Company of Clarksburg, WV.

He held memberships in the Hyndman Blue Lodge, Syria Shrine, Cumberland lodge of the Elks, Hyndman lodge of the Knights of Pythias. As well, he was a member of the Knights and Elks in Pittsburgh. When traveling to the steel city on business, he typically stayed at the Monongahela House.

He and his father and brother also had investment interests in the Savage Fire-Brick Company of Johnstown, as did Senator J.S. Weller, comprised of three brick plants, a large network of clay mines and some 3,000 acres of land. 

In March 1897, George and 26 other local business men and judges traveled by Pullman car to Washington DC to witness the inauguration of President William McKinley. In 1902, the Savage Fire Brick business was sold to investors from Pittsburgh and Johnstown for the reported price of $250,000.

George served a term as mayor of Hyndman. Circa 1903-1904, he was part owner and general manager of stores at the Hyndman, Williams and Keystone Junction.

He belonged to the Hyndman Methodist Episcopal Church, where he served as a steward and on the board of trustees, "being a liberal contributor to the support of the gospel," said the Bedford Gazette.

Heartache rocked the family when George was felled by a stroke of paralysis and died on Jan. 24, 1904 at the age of only 41. The Meyersdale Republican, Bedford Gazette, Pittsburgh Press and Pittsburgh Daily Post each ran obituaries. The Republican reported that "About a year ago the deceased had a breaking down in his usual good health, but he had apparently recovered from this and was feeling a great deal better. The day he was stricken with paralysis he had been exceptionally well. After receiving the fatal stroke on last Tuesday night, he never regained consciousness but peacefully passed the great divide to the unknown beyond." The Gazette said that he was:

...noted for his amiable disposition and liberality to the poor; he was always ready to help those who were in distress. "None knew him but to love him." He had many excellent traits that endeared him to a multitude of friends. Among railroad officials and employees he was exceedingly popular and was probably better known among this class of people than any other person in southern Pennsylvania.... His departure was calm and peaceful and when God's white-winged messengers approached he passed from this world "like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams."

Funeral services in the Hoblitzell residence were led by his pastor Rev. C. Thomas Coombs, who preached his sermon from John 14 and on the theme of "Going to the Father." A choir from the church sang "Saved By Grace," "No, Not One" and "Some Day We'll Understand." The Bedford Gazette reported that an "immense concourse of friends" then followed the casket to the railroad station for transport to Somerset. Burial was in Union Cemetery in Somerset, with the Hyndman lodge of the Masons conducting graveside services. The Gazette added in its obituary that "His earthly tabernacle rests beneath the sod in God's acre, at the edge of the beautiful mountain village he loved. there his mortal body will return to its original dust, but the immortal soul that left it has soared beyond the starry skies and taken its place 'in that home not made with hands, eternal is in the heavens'." The Gazette obituary concluded with a poem:


Such is man's history -- born, living, dying,

Leaving the still shore for the troubled wave,

Struggling 'gainst storm-clouds, o'er shipwrecks flying,

And casting anchor in the quiet grave.


As a widow, Ida and her son relocated to Meyersdale, making their home on East Street and later to Somerset's South Kimberly Avenue, and remained for good. She joined the board of the First Christian Church. Remaining socially active, she is known to have held house parties over entire weekends

Ida suffered from diabetes in her final years and died at age 69 just two days after Christmas 1931. Reported the Meyersdale Republican, "Her health had been impaired for several years and her death was not unexpected." H.H. DeLong of Somerset signed her death certificate. Burial was in Union Cemetery following funeral services officiated by Rev. J.F. Messenger. In its own obituary, the Somerset Daily American opined that she "was a lovely character, greatly admired by all who entered into her wide circle of friends. Her death brought sorrow to many Somerset family hearthstones."


Union Cemetery, Somerset

Son Walter Knable Hoblitzell (1885-1923) was born on Feb. 15, 1885. He was married to Marjorie Tierney (1895-1974), daughter of George and Helen (Routzahn) Tierney of Hagerstown, MD. Their two children were Ida Belle Hoblitzell and George D. Hoblitzell Sr. After his father's death in 1904, he lived in Hyndman and purchased property on East Second Street in New York City. Evidence suggests that he resided in Baltimore in 1910 and in Cumberland, MD at other times. Circa May 1910, he served as a pallbearer at the funeral of his grandfather J.J. Hoblitzell. He was in poor health for the last few years of his life. He was admitted to a hospital in Baltimore, MD, where he died at the age of 38 on Aug. 2, 1923. His remains were brought back to Somerset County for funeral services in his mother's home and to be placed into rest in the family plot in Union Cemetery. Rev. J.C. Crowe officiated. His cousins John P. Colborn and Howard and Eleanor DeLong traveled to attend the funeral. An obituary was printed in the Cumberland Evening News and the Meyersdale Republican. The widowed Marjorie and the children were taken in by a loving, widowed aunt, Lydia Buzzard, who lived in Cumberland. The family is shown in the Buzzard household in Cumberland in the 1930 federal census enumeration. They were members of SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Marjorie earned a living as manager of the Toll House Apartment Building in Washington, DC and worked for the Amceile plant of Celenese Fibers Company. Marjorie's address in 1941-1974 was 421 Beall Street in Cumberland. She passed away at the age of 83 in October 1974. A funeral mass was sung at the SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church, with interment in the parish burying ground. A short obituary appeared in the Cumberland News.

  • Granddaughter Ida Belle Hoblitzell (1920-2007) was born on march 31, 1920 and was named for her maternal grandmother. She was only three years of age when her father died. She grew up in the home of her mother's aunt in Cumberland. In Sept. 1941, at the age of 21, she graduated from Providence School of Nursing in Washington, DC. She eventually was united in wedlock with Dr. Abraham Burton Mincosky (1917-1994). The couple made a home in the 1990s in Jacksonville, Duval County, FL. Sadly, Abraham died on Sept. 19, 1994 in Jacksonville. Ida Belle remained in Jacksonville in her widowed years, making a home in the Carriage Club. She succumbed to death on March 22, 2007. Her burial was held at Temple Cemetery, presided over by Rabbi Michael Matuson. Her obituary was printed in the Florida Times-Union.
  • Grandson George Denton Hoblitzell Sr. (1921-1996) was born on May 16, 1921. He grew to manhood in Cumberland, Allegany County, MD and, in 1952, was employed as a fire truck driver and pipe man at the city's South End Station. George married Louise Frances Realbuta (July 14, 1920- ? ). The couple bore a son, George D. "Hobby" Hoblitzell Jr. Circa 1972, the family shared a home with an aunt, his mother's unmarried half-sister, Mary J. Routzahn. He is believed to have died on Jan. 14, 1996. Burial was in Cumberland's Sunset Memorial Park.

Great-grandson George Denton "Hobby" Hoblitzell Jr. (1944-2015) was born on Nov. 30, 1944 in Cumberland. As a young man, he worked for the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Cumberland. He then was employed by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, laboring for 25 years as an electrician. George was joined in wedlock with Victoria Mae Koegel ( ? - ? ). Their union endured for five decades. Their children were Jeffrey S. Hoblitzell, Lisa L. Kegley and Tracey L. Hoblitzell. George held a membership in the Our Lady of the Mountains Shrine of SS Peter and Paul Church. Socially, he belonged to the local Moose lodge. He died at the age of 71 on Dec. 7, 2015 as a patient in Western Maryland Regional Medical Center. A funeral mass was sung at the family church, led by Rev. Eric Gauchat. His remains were interred in Sunset Memorial Park in Cumbeland.


Copyright 2016, 2019-2020 Mark A. Miner

Research for this page graciously shared by the late Donna (Younkin) Logan.