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William 'Henry'
Harrison Fawcett
(1855-1929)

  

Henry and Lizzie

William "Henry" Harrison Fawcett was born on July 28, 1854 (or 1855) in Independence, Preston County, WV, the son of William and Naomi (Fortney) Fawcett.

In 1880, when the federal census of Preston County was taken, William was age 25 and resided in his parents' home in the Lyon District. That year, he was employed locally as a coal miner.

At the age of 28, Henry married 21-year-old Elizabeth A. "Lizzie" Woodfill (1863-1942), the daughter of William and Laura Woodfill of Preston County. They were wed on Sept. 3, 1884, "on road near Evansville," by Rev. D.M. Simonton.

They had two daughters and one son -- Jessie Vivian Shaw, Grace Fay Robinson and Dorsey Lazelle Fawcett, plus one child who died young.

Morgantown's University Hill

A dry goods merchant, Henry lived and worked in Grafton, Taylor County, WV when the federal censuses were taken in 1900 and 1910, likely in partnership with his brother David A. Fawcett. As residents of Grafton, their homes were in close proximity to the residence of their cousin John Overfield.

Later, after the business apparently ended, Henry moved to Morgantown, Monongalia County, WV, where he operated another dry goods store. While in Morgantown, they made their home "in the Flatts," said the Morgantown Dominion News. A rare old bird's eye view of Morgantown's steep University Hill is seen at right.

Henry suffered from prostate cancer in his early 70s. After battling the illness for two years, he passed away from its effects on Aug. 20, 1929, just three weeks after his 74th birthday.

Henry, date unknown

After a funeral conducted by Rev. Frank L. Shaffer, pastor of the Methodist Protestant Church, his remains were laid to rest in the Bluemont Cemetery in Grafton, Taylor County, WV, "the former home of the deceased," said the Dominion News

Elizabeth outlived her husband by 13 years. The United States Census of 1930 shows her residing alone in the family home in Morgantown, in the Flatts section.

As she aged, Elizabeth later went to live with her married daughter and son in law, Jessie and Charles Shaw, in the town of Gamboa in the Panama Canal Zone. 

Morgantown Dominion News

She suffered from senility, and apparently fell down some steps at her home in June 1942, fracturing her left femur. She went for treatment to the Gorgas Hospital, but did not recover from the shock, and died 16 days later at the age of 79 on June 28, 1942. 

Her remains initially may have been interred at Corazal Cemetery in Panama, as the United States was in the midst of World War II at the time. Some time later, her casket was shipped home for burial beside her husband at Bluemont. She and Henry rest in the vicinity of his parents, as well as cousins Charles Francis Wayne Hanshaw and Robert Moses Henshaw, and also Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother's Day. 

Ironically, Elizabeth's sister in law Carrie (Freeburn) Fawcett, wife of David A. Fawcett, died just 36 days after Elizabeth, on Aug. 3, 1942, with burial also in Bluemont.

The Fawcett grave marker in Bluemont Cemetery

~ Daughter Jessie Vivian (Fawcett) Shaw ~

Daughter Jessie Vivian Fawcett (1886- ? ) was born in 1886 in Preston County.

At the age of 21, Jessie married 21-year-old Charles Crawford Shaw (1885- ? ), a native of Taylor County. The ceremony was held in Grafton on July 26, 1906, officiated by Crofford Queen.

Charles was tall and slender, with brown hair and brown eyes.

They apparently had no children. 

When Charles registered for the military draft during World War I, he disclosed that he and Jessie lived in Morgantown, Monongalia County, WV. At that time, he was employed as a tin worker with American Sheet and Tin Plate Company in the nearby community of Sabraton.

In 1920, the census shows them residing near Morgantown, where Charles was a cabinet maker in a general woodworking business.

Ancon, Panama

Sometime during the 1920s, they made a major change in life and moved to the Panama Canal Zone. In 1929-1930, they made their home in Ancon, Panama, where the 44-year-old Charles worked as a carpentry foreman in the district quartermaster department. (In an interesting twist, several other cousins have resided or seen military service in Panama over the decades, including Clyde E. Pring who was pictured during construction of the canal with President Theodore Roosevelt.) 

The Shaws remained in Panama at least through the early 1940s, and Jessie's widowed mother came to live there with them, in the town of Gamboa. She suffered from senility, and apparently fell down some steps in June 1942, fracturing her left femur. She went for treatment to the Gorgas Hospital, but did not recover from the shock, and died 16 days later at the age of 79 on June 28, 1942. 

~ Daughter Grace Fay (Fawcett) Robinson ~

Harold Robinson Jr.

Grace

Daughter Grace Fay Fawcett (1893-1974) was born on July 19, 1893 in or near Grafton, Taylor County.

She married World War I veteran Harold Lee Robinson Jr. (1893-1951), seen here, the son of Harold Lee and Laverna Rebecca (Smith) Robinson II. They were wed on Aug. 20, 1917, by the hand of Rev. Charles N. Jarrett of the Christian Church in Morgantown. At the time of marriage, she lived in Morgantown and he in Uniontown.

Harold was of medium height and build, with brown hair and brown eyes. Harold was a member of what was considered "a pioneer district family" of Uniontown, Fayette County, PA, and his father was a local attorney in the county seat. 

During World War I, Harold registered for the military draft, and at the time was living on Prospect Street in Uniontown. He later entered military service in August 1917, assigned to Camp Jackson, and was honorably discharged as a second lieutenant in March 1919. (He is pictured in the book, Uniontown's Part in the World War.

They had five children -- Harold Lee Robinson, III, Allan Fawcett Robinson, Elizabeth Rebecca Lincoln, Agnes Fay Aponyi and Mary Katherine Heathscott. 

The young family moved around frequently, to Ohio (1921); West Virginia (1922-1925); Pennsylvania (1926); and in 1929-1930 in Sutton, Braxton County, WV, where Harold was employed as a civil engineer. They made their final home in Parkersburg, Wood County, WV, where Harold's engineering expertise was utilized for the State Road Commission. He was a member of the Methodist church and Masons, the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Grace and Harold

Sadly, at the age of 58, he died of cancer of the tongue, on Oct. 21, 1951. His remains were sent to Uniontown, Fayette County, PA, for burial in the Robinson Cemetery. In his obituary, the Uniontown Morning Herald said: 

A graduate of Uniontown High school and West Virginia university, [he] was engaged as a civil engineer in West Virginia for the last 20 years. He was associated in the engineering business here and was identified with the Monongahela Railroad. He also engaged in the coal business in Braxton county, West Virginia, and had been with the State Road Commission at Parkersburg.

Grace died in October 1974 at the age of 81. 

Grandson Harold Lee Robinson III was stationed at Dayton (OH) Field during the Korean War. His descendants graciously have shared information for this webpage.

Grandson  Sgt. Allen Robinson served with the U.S. Army at Fort Meade during the Korean War.

~ Son Dorsey L. Fawcett ~

Son Dorsey Lazelle Fawcett (1895- ? ) was born on Oct. 19, 1895 in Grafton.

He married Mary A. (1896- ? ), and had at least two sons -- William Fawcett and Robert Fawcett. 

Prior to marriage, at the age of 21, Dorsey lived at 35 Jones Avenue in Morgantown, and was employed as a glassware selector for Crystal Glass company. He was tall and of medium build, with blue eyes and light brown hair.

H.J. Heinz Company plant on Pittsburgh's North Side

The Fawcetts resided in Latrobe, Westmoreland County, PA in 1929-1930. When the federal census of Latrobe was taken in 1930, Dorsey worked as a grocery and food products salesman for the H.J. Heinz Company of Pittsburgh. They made their home that year on Spring Street. 

The fates of the family are not yet known.

Copyright 2006, 2008, 2013, 2015 Mark A. Miner

Select Fawcett/Robinson photos courtesy of the Harold L. Robinson III Family