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A Sense of Wonder
Honoring Hundreds of Cousins Who Have Served 
in Our Nation's Public Education Field

"This complex age demands ever-better training because civilization has always been a race between education and catastrophe." --Jacob Wellington Wyandt


Eliza (Hess) Minerd and fellow
teachers, Fayette County, PA

The education field has attracted an extraordinary number of people in our family all across the nation.  Over many generations, they and their work have touched thousands of lives and conveyed a sense of wonder.  They have opened young minds to the vast universe of words, numbers, athletics and arts.

Hundreds of extended Minerd-Miner-Minor cousins and their spouses have served in the field since the mid-1800s. They have worked as administrators, teachers, coaches, aides, secretaries, bus drivers and custodians, at places ranging from one-room country schoolhouses to prestigious large universities. Hundreds more exist but have not yet been identified. We have only scratched the surface.


Nannie (Snyder) Brown, Oklahoma, 1895

Our booklet, A Sense of Wonder, was published for the 1997 Minerd-Miner-Minor Reunion -- a first step to measure this enormous contribution by identifying as many educators as could be found. 

All are direct descendants (or their spouses) of German immigrants Friedrich and Eva Maria (Weber) Meinert Sr. of Berks County, PA and of their son and daughter in law, Jacob and Maria (Nein) Minerd Sr., pioneer settlers of Fayette/Somerset Counties, PA in 1791.

The booklet is intended to be the beginning rather than the end of a discovery process, because there is so much more to be found.  Hopefully it has created awareness, stimulated interest and encouraged the magic of discovery.

The facts in the report were gathered primarily through publicly available sources such as newspapers, county teacher institute annual reports, courthouse records, university archives and Internet websites.  Many other cousins added significantly to our body of knowledge through their letters and emails.  In some instances we relied on cousins' information and did not cross-check their data elsewhere for accuracy.


~ Interesting Statistics from the Original 1997 Study ~

We chronicled 223 cousin-educators. Only 39 have carried some form of the family name as adults.  The remainder changed or were different due to marriage.

158 are blood-related, and 65 are spouses.
115 are women, and 108 are men.
Educators have worked in 28 states.
The first known male educator in the family was James R. Brown, husband of Lydia A. Miner of Cardington, Morrow County, OH. (The Browns later were pioneer settlers of Oklahoma.)
The first known male educator in Fayette County, PA was Charles Minerd, a Stewart Township School Director in 1869.  At least 19 of his direct descendants and spouses have worked in the field.  The earliest known male educator in Somerset County, PA was John R. Jennings, husband of Martha J. Knight, who taught prior to serving in the Civil War in 1862.
The first known woman educator in Fayette County, PA was Laura Jane "Jennie" (Minerd) Williams at Egypt School in 1892. The first known woman teacher in Somerset County, PA was Ruby (Harbaugh) Peck Miller at Middlecreek School in 1915.
The earliest known male educator to receive a college education was Joseph M. Luckey, husband of Sarah "Sadie" Minerd, in 1889 at what is now California University of PA.  At least 13 of their direct descendants have been educators.
The earliest known woman educator to receive a college degree was Nell (Penn) Minerd, wife of Dr. Roy Sheppard Minerd, in 1909 from California University of PA.  Five of their descendants and spouses have worked in the field.
The earliest known educator to teach at the college level was Albert "Ross" Minor at Waynesburg (PA) College in the early 1920s.
California University of PA has produced the most educators in the family (43), followed by the University of Pittsburgh (12), Penn State University (10) and Indiana University of PA (9).
Family educators have taught at such faraway places as Alaska, Australia and Poland.



One-room school taught by
Phoebe (Thorpe) Workman

Several hundred more cousin-educators have been identified since publication in 1997, and are in the process of being added to this report. 

This list will expand even further as additional research is completed and newfound cousins share their own stories.

A Sense of Wonder is divided into three sections: School Board Directors, Administrators and Teachers; and Support Services. Each entry contains each educator's name, higher education, career information and lineage. 

The booklet is part of an ongoing effort to publish meaningful results of the national research about our family underway since the 1980s.

Thank you to all who shared a little of themselves through their stories, career information and precious photographs documenting this important aspect of Americana.


See also:

School Board Directors - click 
Administrators/Teachers - A-L ~ M-M-M ~ N-Z 
Support Staff - click 


Copyright 1997, 2001, 2007, 2010, 2013 Mark A. Miner