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Viola Ray (Younkin) Mountain


Viola Ray (Younkin) Mountain was born on May 23, 1884 at Clay Run near Mill run, Fayette County, PA, the daughter of William "Dayton" and Lucinda (Harbaugh) Younkin.


Bert Mountain

Three days before Christmas in 1901, at the age of 17, Viola married 25-year-old teacher Joseph E. "Bert" Mountain (1876-1966) at her parents’ home near Clay Run. At the ceremony, said the Connellsville Courier, “Quite a number of guests were present.” Justice of the peace Costen Cunningham performed the ceremony. The bride was eight years younger than her husband. He was the son of Jasper and Lucartha (Ream) Mountain.

Viola and Bert resided for many years in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA. When a book was published in 1912, Genealogical and Personal History of Fayette County, Viola and Bert were mentioned in a chapter about the Younkin clan (page 177).

They had at least four children - Theodore "Ted" Mountain, Olive Silvis, Mildred Lucartha Pifer and Margaret P. Mountain. 


Viola (right) and children, 
posed with flowers in a field

Bert was well known in the community, and as a young man was sufficiently prominent that he made news in the Courier for trying to grow a mustache. Said the story, "Bert Mountain’s mustache is on the move. It is all right in its way, but it doesn’t weigh enough."

A niece once recalled that Bert "was a professional man and always well-dressed." 

In 1926, the Mountains traveled to attend the 94th birthday picnic for Viola's grandmother, Mary Magdalene (Whipkey) Harbaugh. The event was well-attended and was considered the first annual Harbaugh Reunion. Son in law Jacob R. Silvis was elected treasurer of the next year's reunion, along with the following other officers: President, Warren Dempsey Younkin (Viola's brother) and secretary, Lena Younkin (Viola's sister). In August 1939, when the reunion was held at the Odd Fellows Grove in Kingwood, Somerset County, Bert made an address.

When the federal census was taken in 1930, the Mountains made their home in South Greensburg. That year, Bert was employed as a ticket express agent for the railroad, with son Ted working as a printer in a local printing plant, daughter Mildred as a teacher and daughter Margaret as a stenographer in a hardware store. Married daughter Olive and her husband Jacob Silvis made their home under the Mountains' roof that year, with Jacob in his dental practice and Olive as a bookkeeper in a printing plant. 


Younkin-Mountain group at the Harbaugh reunion of 1926. Bert is in the back row, 2nd from left. Viola's 94-year-old grandmother is seated, with bonnet, and Viola's mother is seated 2nd from right, with the necklace.


In its "News of the Day at Paradise" column on Aug. 24, 1939, the Courier reported that Bert had attended the Harbaugh Reunion in Kingwood and had given an address. The story added that "Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Harbaugh, daughters Marion and Sara and son Donald, and Miss Mary Hoke, attended the Harbaugh reunion in Kingwood Park August 20.... Miss Helen Riley of Somerfield gave a reading, "Betsy and I Are Out," and Miss Helen Sayers of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, performed acrobatic stunts on platform and trapeze. The Mill Run Band furnished the music."

The 1940 census shows Bert employed with the Pennsy as a freight agent.


A Town Grows Up Bridges to Tomorrow

Bert is pictured in the 1941 book, A Town Grows Up: South Greensburg, PA, 1891-1941, in connection with his service on the board of trustees of the South Greensburg Methodist Episcopal Church. He also was superintendent of the church's Sunday School for more than two decades, with help from Fred Grossman and Thomas Ridsdale. He also served as secretary of the Board of Health from 1913 to 1919. When South Greensburg marked its centennial anniversary in 1991, Bert again was pictured on one page and mentioned in several other pages in the book, Bridges to Tomorrow: South Greensburg, 1891-1991.

Circa 194-19471, the Mountains and their unmarried daughter Mildred resided at 1239 Ashland. 

Viola died of pneumonia and heart disease at the age of 63 on Aug. 10, 1947, in Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg after an illness of two weeks. She was laid to rest in the Hillview Cemetery in Greensburg, and an obituary was published in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

The same month that Viola died, son "Ted" Mountain of Jeannette, Westmoreland County, attended the annual Harbaugh Reunion. It was held on Aug. 10, 1947, and he was elected secretary-treasurer. He continued serving in this role each year until 1964. A copy of the minutes of the reunion meetings, in his handwriting, is in the Minerd-Miner-Minor Archives.

Bert outlived Viola for nearly two decades, and died on Oct. 17, 1966. He was buried in Hillview Cemetery in Greensburg. 


Greensburg's West Pittsburgh Street.  Note the courthouse dome in the distance.



Olive Silvis

~ Daughter Olive (Mountain) Silvis ~

Daughter Olive Mountain (1902-1993) was born on June 5, 1902. 


Olive, date unknown

At the age of 22, on July 17, 1924, Olive married 24-year-old Dr. Jacob R. Silvis Jr. (July 15, 1900-1981), the son of Jacob R. and Lide E. (Moore) Silvis Sr. of Greensburg. 

Jacob was a well-known dentist of Scottdale, Westmoreland County, PA. They resided in Scottdale for many years, in a home on Walnut Street.

They did not reproduce

Jacob was active in the Masons and Tall Cedars of Lebanon organizations, and helped sponsor events in connection with funding research to find the cause of muscular dystrophy. He also was active with the Westmoreland County Dental Society and an honorary member of the medical staff of Henry Clay Frick Community Hospital.

Jacob is named in the book A Town That Grew at the Crossroad: Borough of Mount Pleasant 1828-1978 Sesquicentennial.

Olive was employed circa 1940 as a secretary for a printing company. In the community, she was a member of the Christ United Methodist Church in Scottdale and was involved with the Woman's Society of Christian Service. In 1952, she served on the advisory board of the Order of the Rainbow for Girls. In 1971, she hosted meetings of the Rebekah Circle of the church in their home.


Book naming Jacob

Jacob died on May 17, 1981 at the age of 81.

Olive survived her husband by a dozen years.

She passed away on New Year's Eve 1993 in Dunedin, Pinellas County, FL, at the age of 91.

Her remains were returned to Pennsylvania to rest beside her husband's in Hillview Cemetery in Greensburg. [Find-a-Grave]


~ Daughter Mildred Lucartha (Mountain) Pifer ~

Daughter Mildred Lucartha Mountain (1908- ? ) was born on Jan. 12, 1908 in Fayette County. 

She was a public school teacher in 1930, and graduated from the State Teachers College of Indiana, PA in 1935. (Today the school is known as Indiana University of Pennsylvania.) She is listed in the college's Alumni Directory for 1940, which gave her address as 1239 Ashland Street in South Greensburg, and her occupation as "teacher." In 1934, she began her employment with the South Greensburg School District, continuing there for more than 15 years,until the time of her marriage.


City of Greensburg: A History, published 1949

When the town of South Greensburg celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1941, she helped underwrite the events held on June 10, 1941, and is mentioned in the book, A Town Grows Up: South Greensburg, PA, 1891-1941. Again in 1949, when the City of Greensburg commemorated its sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary, she was mentioned in a list of teachers in the horizontally formatted book City of Greensburg: A History, published by the Greensburg Sesqui-Centennial Corporation.

After many years of single life, Mildred wed at the age of 42, on Aug. 31, 1950, to Floyd T. Pifer (1902- ? ). The ceremony took place at Summerville, Jefferson County, PA, by the hand of Mildred's uncle, Rev. James V. Mountain.

Floyd was the son of John and Laura (Williams) Pifer and had worked as a foreman in Pittsburgh, living at 216 Alice Street. He had been married once before, and was divorced in October 1946. At the time of marriage, Mildred was a teacher and lived with her widowed father at 1239 Ashland in Greensburg. She is believed to have moved to Pittsburgh and to have secured a teaching position there.


1947 Harbaugh Reunion minutes, 
in Ted Mountain's handwriting

~ Son Theodore "Ted" Mountain ~

Son Theodore "Ted" Mountain (1905-1999) was  born on July 31, 1905. 

When the federal census was enumerated in 1930, Ted at age 25 resided with his parents in South Greensburg. That year, he was employed as a printer in a local printing plant.

Circa 1946, at the age of 40, he resided in Scottdale, Westmoreland County, and helped to organize the annual Harbaugh Reunion. The following year, shortly after his mother's death, he attended the reunion and was elected secretary. He continued serving in this role each year for 17 years, until 1964. A copy of the minutes of the reunion meetings, in his handwriting, is preserved today in the Minerd.com Archives.

He later moved to San Diego, CA. 

He passed away in San Diego on Feb. 3, 1999, at the age of 93.


~ Daughter Margaret P. Mountain ~

The fate of daughter Margaret P. Mountain (1912- ? ) is unknown.


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