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Franklin Miner

See Fallingwater Today, Images of Bear Run, 2004 reunion 
and our booklet, Fallingwater: A Long Family Affair

Franklin Miner was born on Jan. 17, 1893 at Wilmerding, Allegheny County, PA, the son of William Henry ‘Squire’ and Sara Jane (Basinger) Minerd. He was a carpenter and a longtime employee at Fallingwater®, the house over a waterfall designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that is considered America’s “most famous modern house.”

As a young man, Frank and his family moved back to Mill Run, Fayette County, PA, in the vicinity of where his father had grown up. Frank played a bass drum in the Mill Run Concert Band, and is mentioned and pictured in the 1970 book, A History of Mill Run.

During World War I, Frank served in the U.S. Army. When he registered for the military draft, he stated that he was employed by his father as a farm laborer in Mill Run. He was recorded as being of medium height, and stout build, with gray eyes and black hair.

On Christmas Day 1919, Frank married his first wife, Ida B. Grimm (1900-1971), the daughter of Henry and Ellen Grimm. Frank was age 26 at the time, and Ida 19, at the time of their wedding.


Frank (far left) with the Mill Run Band, 1910s

They had eight children: Harold Henry Miner, Hilda Cole, Howard K. Miner, Homer Miner, Eleanor Provance, Carroll "Wayne" Miner, Arla Borghi and Warren Miner. Sadly, Warren died at age three months, passing away at Connellsville State Hospital on July 25, 1941. 

Frank and Ida

Immediately after their marriage, Frank and Ida began living with Ida's parents in Springfield Township, where Frank secured employment as a laborer in a local coal mine. When the federal census was taken in 1920, a year after marriage, the Miners and Grims are shown together under one roof.

The Miners later lived in Mill Run, Normalville and Indian Head, all nearby communities in the mountains of Fayette County. By 1920, remaining in Springfield Township, they had six children at home, along with brother in law Weldon Nicholson. Both Frank and Weldon were laborers for the Grimm Mine. Residing just a few households away were Frank's sister and brother in law, Irene and James Welsh and children, and their brother Clyde Miner and his wife Jane and family.

Frank and Bertha

Frank and Ida later divorced. She remarried, to Orville W. Imel (1904- ? ), the son of Charles Grant and Ida (Whipkey) Imel. Ida and Orville resided in Normalville, Fayette County. 

Frank's second wife was Bertha Basinger (1902-1963). 

Frank and Bertha had five children -- Donnie Franklin Miner, Betty Lou Rugg, Ruth Shawley, Lenora Blanchard-Reese-Cox and Marvin Miner.

Frank was employed at Fallingwater by the owners, Edgar J. and Liliane Kaufmann, from the 1930s until his untimely death in 1956. His brothers Lester and Ralph also worked at Fallingwater for many years. The projects Frank was involved in are described in papers found in the Fallingwater archives during research in 2004. Among the projects were were: 

... Steps at Fallingwater, painting the swimming pool pipe, working on driveways and the dam, and tearing down the Watson house (Sept. 12, 1955); a pipeline from the greenhouse to the garden (Nov. 8, 1955); working at the barn near Ethel Clinton Appel's house (Jan. 23, 1956); sanding floors and removing a door of the Merle Taylor house (April 17, 1956).

In 1954, Frank’s large family gathered for the first official reunion, held at the home of son Harold in Point Marion, PA. The reunions continue to be held today, still drawing large crowds of family.

First reunion of the Frank Miner family, 1954, Point Marion, PA

During World War II, sons Harold, Homer and Howard served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Taking a breather

Sadly, Frank passed away suddenly on June 4, 1956, after working a full day. He was shopping for a new television at a store in Normalville when he collapsed and died of a stroke.

He was laid to rest in the Normalville Cemetery. His obituary in the Connellsville Daily Courier noted that Frank “died suddenly at 6 o’clock Monday evening in a Normalville store after suffering a stroke… He had been employed at the E.J. Kaufman estate, and was a veteran of World War One.”

In her report to Mr. Kaufmann of June 4, Mrs. Appel wrote: “We were all shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death of Ralph Miner’s brother Frank, one of our workmen…  Flowers were sent [from] Mr. Kaufmann.” Two men were hired to replace Frank.

Bertha outlived her husband by seven years. She died in 1963, and was laid to rest beside Frank at the Normalville Cemetery. 

Former wife Ida passed away on Oct. 2, 1971, in Connellsville.

In June 2004, Frank’s family gathered for their 50th annual reunion at the Indian Creek Community Center. A special booklet with photos was published by loving granddaughters as a handout.

Just a few weeks later, on July 10-11, 2004, Frank was honored among several of his brothers and cousins, for their longtime work at Fallingwater, at the national Minerd-Miner-Minor Reunion in Kingwood and Mill Run, PA. Click here to view our special reunion booklet. The event received statewide news media coverage by the Associated Press. 

2004 reunion of Frank's descendants in Fayette County

~ Son Harold Henry Miner ~

Son Harold Henry Miner (1920-2007) was a machinist with the U.S. Navy during World War II. On Aug. 29, 1944, he married Emma E. Blosser. 

They resided in Point Marion, Greene County, PA, where they raised their seven children -- Sharon Hawthorne, Judy Sandor, Joyce Miner, Keith Miner, Nita Rhodes, Don Miner and Carol Kezmarsky. 

Harold worked for Houze Glass Corporation of Point Marion. On Aug. 28, 1994, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Seen at left, an article and photograph about their celebration were published in the Uniontown Herald-Standard

Harold was "an electrician by trade [and] retired from the now former Houze Glass Corporation in Point Marion after over 30 years employment and was a member of the American Flint Glass Workers Union Local 547," said the Herald-Standard

Harold and Emma were married for 62 years, and both passed away in 2007. She died on Jan. 30, 2007, and he only survived her by three and a half months, passing on May 4, 2007. They rest for eternity at Jacobs Lutheran Cemetery in Masontown, Fayette County.

~ Daughter Hilda (Miner) Cole ~

Daughter Hilda Miner (1922-1981) moved in about 1941 to Monaca, Beaver County, PA. 

She married Charles Cole and had four children, and was a member of the United Methodist Church in Freedom and of the American Croatian Club in Monaca, said the Beaver County Times. Circa 1979, she provided a few details about her family to neighbor Marlene (Shires) Bluemling, who in turn forwarded the material to the founder of this website.

She passed away in 1981.

Great-grandson Ted Cole starred for the Monaca (PA) High School basketball team during a championship season in 1995, and often was pictured and mentioned in newspapers in Pittsburgh and Beaver County. 

~ Son Howard K. Miner ~

Son Howard Miner married Ruth E. Bryner on April 8, 1943. 

He was employed by Lenox in Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County, PA. They had three children. 

On April 8, 1993, they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with a reception at the Indian Creek Valley Community Church in Indian Head, with 200 well-wishers in attendance. An article about the anniversary celebration, seen here, was printed in the Daily Courier

Grandson Howard Miner Jr., of the Pittsburgh suburb of Monroeville, and daughter Joyce A. Miner passed away at young ages.

~ Son Homer Miner ~

Son Homer Miner (1925-2004) was  born in 1925. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. 

On Sept. 1, 1947, at the age of 22, he married 25-year-old Emma Workman (1922-2013). She was the daughter of Oliver and Helen Workman.

They had two children -- Robert Miner and Marsha Garlick.

The Daily Courier said that Homer "was a self-employed painter for many years, and also worked for many years as a custodian for the Connellsville Area School District. After retirement, he continued his work as a painter for family and friends.” 

Emma Jean, said the Courier, was a member of Otterbein Unived Methodist Church, where she sang in the choir and was secretary and treasurer of her Sunday School class. She also served in leadership roles with the Rebekah Lodge.

In 1997, the Miners celebrated their golden anniversary in 1997, with a reception in the Poplar Run area of Normalville, and with their photograph (then and now, seen here) appearing in the Courier. 

Their son Robert D. Miner, an announcer for the WCVI and WPQR radio stations in Uniontown, Fayette County, died at age 31 in 1981. 

Homer passed away in 2004. 

Emma Jean outlived her husband by nine years, and spent her final years in the home of her married daughter in Greensboro, NC. She died at the age of 90 in Greensboro on July 22, 2013. Her remains were returned to Western Pennsylvania for interment in Green Ridge Memorial Park in Connellsville. 

Granddaughter Marsha Miner married Charles Garlick.

~ Daughter Eleanor (Miner) Provance ~

Daughter Eleanor Miner (1927-1991) was born in 1927. 

She moved to Monaca, Beaver County, PA, in about 1951, where she married Howard Provance and had one daughter. 

She was “a retired manager of the snack bar at The Medical Center, Beaver, [and] a member of Freedom United Methodist Church,” said the Beaver County Times

Eleanor died in 1991 at the age of 64.

~ Daughter Betty Lou (Miner) Rugg ~

Daughter Betty Lou Miner married Army veteran Clayton R. Rugg (1931-2009), the son of Eli and Helen (Augustine) Rugg. They made their home in Mill Run. 

Said the Uniontown Herald Standard, Clayton was employed at Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation (seen here) and also a self-employed farmer. 

They had six children -- Russell Rugg, Clayton Eli Rugg, Larry Rugg, Kathy Rugg and Nancy Rugg. 

Grandson Russell Rugg was born with spina bifida and died at the age of three weeks in January 1951 in Connellsville. Clayton passed away at the age of 78 in Highlands Hospital, Connellsville, on Aug. 29, 2009. 

During World War II, military updates about sons Harold, Howard and Homer were published in a hometown newsletter, The Messenger, edited by a distant cousin, Ferne (Minerd) Work. A Messenger article in October 1944 disclosed that "On a furlough several weeks ago Harold Miner of the Navy was married to a girl from Point Marion. Congratulations and wish you happiness." In February 1946, the Messenger said that "Howard Miner was expecting to leave Europe the first of the year, but at this time have heard nothing else from him." In March 1946, the newsletter reported that:

Since the last publication more boys have been discharged. They include, ... Howard Miner... Homer Miner thinks he will be a civilian about this month. Boys we really hope it won't be long until you will all be back and going about in your usual way.

~ Son Donnie Franklin Miner ~

Son Donnie Franklin Miner (1932-2010) was born in 1932. 

He married Helen Hutchinson. They had nine children -- Pamela Treacher, Donnie Miner, Edward Miner, Robert Miner, Ronald Miner, Mark Miner, Elizabeth Hall, Christopher Miner and Rose Miner. 

Donnie was "employed as a logger all of his life and he worked for the Gerald King Lumber Co.," said the Daily Courier. "He was a member of the Hampton Church of God." Suffering from Alzheimer's disease, Donnie passed away on Valentine's Day 2010, at home, at the age of 77. In his Daily Courier obituary, 33 grandchildren, 11 step-grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren were named, for a total of 75 offspring.

Grandson Christopher Miner and his wife Lynn were pictured in the Greensburg (PA) Tribune Review in 1991, following his return from U.S. Navy duty during the Persian Gulf War. 

Ida and Orville Imel are mentioned in the 1975 book, Immel and Imel Families in America, authored by Velma (Byrum) Keller. Ida's children are mentioned in the book, but mistakenly are named "Imel" rather than "Miner."

Copyright © 2004-2007, 2009-2010 Mark A. Miner