Home

What's New

Photo of the Month

Minerd.com Blog

Biographies

National Reunion

Interconnectedness

Cousin Voices

Honor Roll

In Lasting Memory

In the News

Our Mission and Values

Annual Review

Favorite Links

Contact Us

 

Sarah Jane (Rankin) Addis
(1866-1949)

 

Brown Cemetery, Elliottsville

Sarah Jane (Rankin) Addis was born in Wharton Township, Fayette County, PA on July 11, 1866, the daughter of Robert and Hester Ann (Minerd) Rankin.

On Nov. 27, 1890, at the age of 24, Sarah married 21-year-old Charles J. Addis (1869-1927), a butcher and day laborer, the son of Henry (or Herman) and Martha Addis. Justice of the peace John R. Willson performed the ceremony. 

Charles could not read or write, and signed his marriage license application with an "X."

They had six children – Raymond Earl Addis, Sarah "Pearl" Chisnell, Robert Brownfield Addis, Charles Roy "Doe" Addis, Nora May "Skinny" Huey and Anna Mae Ritchie.

Circa 1919, Charles worked as a butcher. That year, the family resided in Wharton Township.

Sarah and Charles separated sometime after 1919 but before 1927. After their separation, she resided at High Point, Wharton Township. He roomed at the home of C.H. Shields on Railroad Street in Uniontown.

 

Daily News Standard, 1927

Tragedy struck on Jan. 27, 1927 when Charles was age 45. He was struck and killed by a Baltimore & Ohio Railroad train bound from Pittsburgh to Clarksburg, WV. The Uniontown Daily News Standard reported that Charles “was said to have been walking along the tracks picking up pieces of coal at the time of the accident. The engineer saw the man and after blowing the whistle in an attempt to warn the victim, tried to bring the fast train to a stop. Death was instant." His mangled remains were buried at Park Place Cemetery in Uniontown. An inquest by the Coroner of Fayette County exonerated the B&O from any blame, ruling that "Charles Addis was a trespasser" on the railroad tracks. 

Sarah outlived Charles by 22 years. 

She passed away on July 12, 1949, at the age of 83. She is buried near her parents and siblings at Brown Cemetery near Elliottsville.

 

~ Son Raymond Earl Addis ~

Son Raymond Earl Addis (1893-1964) was born in 1893.

He married Clara Elizabeth McCartney ( ? - ? ). They had two daughters, Betty Rhodes and Karen Lee Addis.

He was a World War I veteran and a popular fire and forest ranger in the mountains near Uniontown.

 

Booklet mentioning Ray Addis

During World War I, Ray served as a private in Company E of the 320th Infantry, 80th Division. 

Ray was a forest fire warden and district forest ranger, and lived along Summit Golf Club Road, two miles south of the famed Laurel Caverns (formerly known as Delaney’s Cave) near Uniontown. 

On Jan. 2-3, 1932, in his role as fire warden, he gave tours of two local caves to Ralph W. Stone, Assistant State Geologist of Pennsylvania. The first cave, Delaney's (spelled "Dulany" here), was seven miles south of Uniontown and three miles southeast of Fairchance. 

Stone devoted more than five pages to this cave in his report, Pennsylvania Caves, published as Bulletin G3 of the Topographic and Geologic Survey of 1932. "The writer saw the inner recesses of this cave ... when it was explored by a party of 10 which was guided by R.C. Bossart and Claude Hollar and included Mr. and Mrs. Landis Shaw Smith and three others from Rochester, New York, and R.E. Addis, the warden," he wrote. "This exploration occupied five hours." The next day, they toured Barton Cave, which was 4.5 miles west of Elliottsville, "on the head of Quebec Run, and close under the crest of Chestnut Ridge, ... on the W.R. Barton heirs farm," wrote Stone. "The entrance to the cave is in a draw in the vertical face of a low ledge, and just above a spring. [The] passage is wider than it is high, and most of its length of about 400 feet one can walk upright." A copy of Pennsylvania Caves is in the Minerd-Minard-Miner-Minor Archives. Ray passed away at the age of 71 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Oakland, near Pittsburgh, PA, on Sept. 24, 1964. 

Local newspapers found Ray a ready, willing and able provider of content for readers on the dangers of forest fires but also on the spectacular beauty of the mountains. In September 1932, Ray published a short letter to the editor of the Uniontown Morning Herald, reading: 

In my yard I have an apple tree which, although producing a nice crop of fruit, is now trying to come out in bloom again. This is rather unusual and evidently the tree is trying to get out of the slump. This is not a snake story and if any one cares to see it, come on up. Several blooms are out and more coming. Ray E. Addis, State Forest Fire Warden.

 

Clara and Ray Addis

In October 1932, Ray advised readers of the Morning Herald of the dangers of forest fires, given dry conditions in the woods. He was quoted saying, "It has been my experience that hunters are usually careful and that motorists are the chief offenders in throwing flammable materials about that start forest fires."

Ray's wife Clara (McCartney) Addis made headline news of her own i n1936. That year, on April 6, 1936, a TWA airliner named the Sunracer crashed in the mountains above Uniontown. Everyone was killed except the flight attendant and two passengers. The attendant, Nellie Granger, escaped the wreckage and somehow stumbled to a nearby home – that of Ray and Clara's on Chestnut Ridge Road.  Granger made an emergency telephone call and then went back to the crash site with George Rankin, Alfred Rankin and Alfred's sons Robert and Harold. Clara and Ray, seen here, later testified before authorities on what they witnessed. 

The heroic rescue later was featured, and Ray mentioned, in the book, Uniontown, by Walter "Buzz" Storey, retired editor of the Uniontown Herald-Standard newspaper. 

The Addises were members of the Sansom Chapel Methodist Church in Farmington. They were involved a serious automobile accident in December 1938, while driving west on Route 40. Their vehicle was struck from the rear, with Ray suffering "severe lacerations of the head" and Clara "fractured ribs and injuries of the face and legs," said the Morning Herald.

Ray and Stella and family took a driving tour of the Sky Line Drive in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley in August 1938. Upon returning, he told Morning Herald reporter that the scenery there was "fine but it won't have anything on our skyline from the Summit into West Virginia." 

He was appointed as a state fire inspector in March 1940, taking over for the late John C. Beatty. He used the opportunity to invite the public to visit and tour all of the forest fire towers in the mountains of the county. To underscore his point about educating citizens, he authored a lengthy guest column in the Morning Herald on May 20, 1940, entitled "'Hitler' in Fayette County: Spreads Death and Destruction in Mountainous Sections." 

In mid-October 1949, Ray was pictured in the Morning Herald, shown beside a large chestnut tree in a forest that the state had recently acquired. It was the largest tree he had ever seen, measuring 18 feet in circumference and 80 feet in height. He was quoted in the caption saying that his duties included "everything from fighting fires to rushing maternity cases to the hospital... [and] in between times, we string telephone wires, make repairs to cables, blaze fire trails and pacify irritated property owners." 

In mid-July 1951, he again was pictured in the Morning Herald, with a group of business and community leaders who were making plans to convert Lick Hollow into a picnic area.

Ray passed away at the age of 71, on Sept. 24, 1964, in the Veterans Administration Hospital in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. Following a funeral service at the Harold S. Gleason Funeral Home, led by Rev. Virgil R. Gillum, he was laid to rest in Sansom Chapel Cemetery.

In widowhood, Clara lived in Uniontown rented their former two-story, five-room home in the mountains to outside families. After one tenant departed in October 1966, she lit candles to fumigate the rooms. The building caught fire, and Ray's sister and neighbor Nora Huey discovered the blaze, calling firemen to the scene. Unfortunately, fire consumed the building, and it was destroyed.

 

~ Daughter Sarah "Pearl" (Addis) Ravenscroft Chisnell ~

Daughter Sarah "Pearl" Addis (1897-1966) was born in 1897 in Wharton Township, Fayette County. She was married twice. 

Her first husband, Jesse Ravenscroft (1893-1940), was the son of Stephen and Lydia (Wright) Ravenscroft of Farmington. At the time of marriage, Pearl was age 18 and Jesse 23. Rev. J.S. Bromley united the couple in marriage at Uniontown on April 6, 1915.

Pearl and Jesse produced six children -- Delbert L. "Bert" Ravenscroft, Jesse "Carl" Ravenscroft, Irene Gall, James Walter Ravenscroft, Betty Ravenscroft and Charles R. Ravenscraft.  

Jesse worked as a fireman when he was in his early 20s. Later, he was a "well known sawmill worker." The Uniontown Morning Herald once said that he "was experienced in sawmill work, cutting timber and blasting." The 1940 federal census shows him employed as a laborer with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the federal government.

 

Summit Hotel and golf club in the mountains along the National Road (U.S. Route 40), 2,700 feet above sea level

 

Mt. Washington Presbyterian
Church Cemetery

Tragically, Jesse was killed on July 3, 1940 when, while walking along Route 40 about a quarter-mile from home. An automobile driven by an insurance executive, while passing another vehicle, in a heavy fog, "clipped" Jesse and "knocked [him] approximately 100 feet by the impact with the car," said the Uniontown Morning Herald. "He was returning home from the VanSickle service station where he had been spending the evening." He was killed instantly. 

Pearl later married Albert M. Chisnell (Sept. 5, 1896-1948), son of John and Viola (Van Sickle) Chisnell of Farmington. Albert was a veteran of World War I, having served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army. He was a self-employed carpenter who worked circa 1944 as an engineer (custodian) at the Fayette County Home near Uniontown.

Sadly, stricken with cirrhosis of the liver, leading to gall bladder and swelling in his limbs, Albert died at the age of 51 on May 27, 1948. His remains were placed into eternal repose in Mt. Washington Presbyterian Church Cemetery.

Pearl survived her second husband by 18 years. She passed away at the age of 68, in Farmington, on Aug. 7, 1966. She was laid to rest in the cemetery of Mt. Washington Presbyterian Church in Farmington. At her passing, she had 16 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, reported the Morning Herald.

 

Fort Necessity, site of George Washington's
first military battle, a disaster

Son Delbert L. "Bert" Ravenscroft Sr. (1916-2010) was born on Oct. 15, 1916, in Farmington. He is one of many cousins to have connections with historic French & Indian War sites in Fayette County. As a young single man, he lived at home and earned income by cutting timber. He married Jaretta Leadbetter (1943-1974), daughter of Jesse and Myrtle (Huey) Ledbetter. They had two children -- Denise Louise Mailey and Delbert L. Ravenscroft Jr. Said the Uniontown Herald-Standard, Delbert Sr. "was retired from Fort Necessity with 33 years of service and was a veteran of the U.S. Army serving during World War II." In March 1969, he and Jaretta attended a retirement party for Melvin J. Thorpe, who was retiring as park superintendent. Then in November 1970, they attended a 70th birthday party for Delbert's uncle Robert Addis in Farmington. Sadly, Jaretta died at the age of 31 on June 19, 1974, leaving behind her husband and two young children at home. She was laid to rest in Sunset Cemetery, following a funeral led by Rev. Larry McKinney. Delbert Sr. outlived his wife by more than a quarter of a century. He died at the age of 93 on Aug. 23, 2010, with burial in Sunset View Cemetery in Chalk Hill, near Uniontown. 

Son Jesse "Carl" Ravenscroft (1918- ? ) was born in about 1918 in Farmington. He resided circa 1966 in Farmington. 

Daughter Irene Ravenscroft (1921-1981) was born on April 20, 1921 in Farmington. She married Geza Gall (July 23, 1918-2003). He was a veteran of the U.S. Army during World War II. The Galls lived in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, OH circa 1966 and in Streetsboro, Portage County, OH. They produced two daughters -- Margaret Marotta and Debra Kusinko. Geza was a volunteer with the Maple Heights Volunteer Fire Department Post 3290. Sadly, at the age of 60, Irene died on June 5, 1981. Burial was in All Saints Cemetery in Northfield, Summit County, OH. At some point, he is believed to have married again to Rosella (Nagy) Herrage who brought eight stepchildren to the union. They dwelled in Rocky River, Cuyahoga County. Geza died at the age of 84 on July 11, 2003. Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Joan of Arc Church, with interment in All Saints Cemetery.

Son Walter E. "Jim" Ravenscraft (1923-1988) was born in about 1923 in Farmington. He made his home in Continental No. 3 near Uniontown. He married Esther F. Merryman (May 28, 1925-2004), daughter of Robert Earl Merryman of Farmington. Their children were Esther Ravenscraft, Roy E. Ravenscraft Sr. and Thomas Ravenscraft. In August 1956, the children went to a birthday party for their cousin Peggy Addis, daughter of Robert and Opal Addis. Walter died in 1988 with burial in Sunset View Cemetery in Chalk Hill. Esther survived him by 16 years and went to live in Smithfield, Fayette County. She passed away on April 27, 2004.Rev. Roger Howard officiated at the funeral. Inscribed on their grave marker is the phrase "Nearer my God to thee."

  • Grandson Roy E. Ravenscroft Sr. married Connie Armel, daughter of Merrill A. Armel of Columbus, OH. They had two children -- Janine Renee Ravenscroft and Roy E. Ravenscroft Jr. In August 1971, Janine and Roy Jr. were pictured in the Morning Herald newspaper for their birthdays.

Daughter Betty Ravenscroft (1931- ? ) was born in about 1931 in Farmington. She did not marry and lived at home with her mother in 1966. She may have passed away in 1996.

Son Charles R. Ravenscraft (1939-2016) was born on May 11, 1939 in Farmington. He spelled the family name with the "a" and not the "o.". He married Flora Mae (Smith) Morrison (July 20, 1935-2018), daughter of William A. and Retha Mae (Jefferies) Smith of Hopwood. She apparently had been married previously and brought these children to the second union -- Michael Smith, Rodney Mirroson and Richard Morrison. The Ravenscrofts lived in Farmington and produced two more offspring of their own -- Steven Charles "Bo" Ravenscraft and Rita Swaney. The family lived in the mid-1960s in Oliver No. 3 near Uniontown. Charles was a plumber with Whitby Plumbing for more than four decades and belonged to the local union of plumbers and pipefitters. Flora enjoyed playing bingo. Sadly, they endured the untimely death of their son Steve. Charles died in Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh on Sept. 9, 2016 at the age of 77. Burial was in Sunset View Cemetery in Chalk Hill. Toward the end of Flora's life, she was admitted to Mt. Macrina Manor in Uniontown. She succumbed there at the ae of 82 on April 24, 2018. Rev. Jim Teets officiated at her funeral service.

  • Step-grandson Michael Smith wedded Vicki and lives in Biloxi, MS.
  • Step-grandson Rodney Morrison married Virginia and they make their home in Farmington.
  • Step-grandson Richard "Rick" Morrison was joined in matrimony with Barbara. In 2016-2018, they dwelled in Virginia Beach, VA.
  • Grandson Steven Charles "Bo" Ravenscraft (1962-2016) was born on April 14, 1962 in Uniontown. He produced a son, Robert Ravenscraft and circa 2016 he was engaged to Cherlyn Richardel. Steven resided in Biloxi, MI, as did his son. At the age of 54, Steven died at home on July 22, 2016.
  • Granddaughter Rita Ravenscraft was united in wedlock with (?) Swaney. Her home in 2018 was in Farmington.

 

Brown Cemetery, Elliottsville

~ Son Robert Brownfield Addis ~

Son Robert Brownfield Addis (1900-1986) was born on Oct. 24, 1900. 

He married Opal Clair Donges (1912-1989), a native of Jefferson City, MO, who grew up in Hardin, MT but was a resident of Clifton Mills, WV at the time of marriage. She had been brought to the region as a teenage girl after her mother died in 1929, to be cared for by aunts and uncles. 

 

Brown Cemetery

They produced three daughters -- Stella "Eileen" Addis, Peggy Thomas and Doris Lorraine Rhodes. 

Sadly, infant daughter Eileen died at the age of seven months on Christmas Eve 1934. Her grave marker, at Brown Cemetery, is seen here.

The family lived at one time in Farmington, where Robert was a laborer. Circa 1966, they were in Markleysburg, Fayette County. 

On Oct. 24, 1970, Robert celebrated his 70th birthday, and his family threw a party. Said the Morning Herald, "The occasion was marked by an oldtime square dance held at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Thomas -- with the music furnished by the honoree and his wife, Opal. The evening was topped by refreshments and a birthday cake, along with many gifts and cards." 

Opal "received the thrill of her life" in November 1973 when she was reunited with her brother, Walter Donges, after a separation of 44 years. The Morning Herald published a photo of the brother with Opal and Robert along with a lengthy feature article. 

On Feb. 28, 1977, the Addises celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.

Robert passed away at the age of 85 on Oct. 17, 1986 in the Uniontown Hospital. He was laid to rest in the Brown Cemetery in Elliottsville. 

Opal outlived her husband by three years. She died at age 77 in Westmoreland Hospital on Feb. 10, 1989. 

Daughter Doris Lorraine Addis married Richard Glenn Rhodes on Aug. 16, 1952. They made their home in Revere near Uniontown in 1970 and in Farmington in 1977.

Daughter Peggy Addis wed Charles (or "Ray") Thomas. They lived in Farmington. Their children were Joseph Thomas, Betty Thomas, Charles Thomas, Martha Thomas, Paul Thomas, Dorothy Thomas, John Thomas, Loretta Thomas and Wilbur Thomas.

 

Brown Cemetery

~ Son Charles Roy "Doe" Addis ~

Son Charles Roy "Doe" Addis (1903-1984) was born in 1903. 

He married Evelyn "Fern" Liston (1918-1954), the daughter of Lloyd Liston of Valley Point, Preston County, WV. They made their home in Mt. Summit, Fayette County, and had one child, Walter Franklin Addis. 

 

Brown Cemetery

Sadly, their son died in 1937, at the age of one year, and was laid to rest in Brown Cemetery in Elliottsville. The lad's mother was just 19 at the time.

Doe and his relatives Harold Rankin, Thomas Rankin and Glen Rankin, along with family pastor Rev. Earl P. Confer, went hunting together in December 1946 with Uniontown Police Chief A.W. Davis and former Uniontown treasurer (and distant cousin) John D. Kerfoot, staying for an extended time at the Kerfoot cabin in Rock Spring. The Uniontown Morning Herald said the group "was witness to one of the best exhibitions of shooting to come off in this district in many years when Chief Davis bagged a beautiful 175-pound, four-point buck."

A hunter in her own right, Fern outdid Chief Davis a few years later. She was pictured in the Uniontown Morning Herald on Dec. 5, 1951, for bringing down a nine-point, 175-lb. buck while hunting in the Fayette County mountains. The story reported that she was "the only hunter in a party of nearly 20 that returned with a buck." Among those who were along but failed to bag a deer were her husband Doe, family pastor Rev. Earl P. Confer, Harold Rankin and others. 

Tragedy rocked the family when Fern passed away at age 36, while residing at High Point, Fayette County on Sept. 29, 1954. 

Doe outlived her by three decades, and lived at Masontown, Fayette County. He died at the age of 80, at the West Virginia University Medical Center, on Feb. 27, 1984. He was laid to rest at Brown Cemetery in Elliotsville. 

Circa 1995, when the founder of this website photographed the Addis graves, he found that red and white floral bouquets spelling out "Mom" and "Dad" were placed in front of the marker.

 

~ Daughter Nora Mae "Skinny" (Addis) Huey ~

Daughter Nora Mae "Skinny" Addis (1905- ? ) was born in 1905. 

She married Andrew "Red" Huey (1901- ? ), a coal miner from Fairchance who was the son of James and Rebecca (Kennison) Huey. 

They lived in Baltimore, MD circa July 1941. That year, their niece Betty Addis came to spend two weeks at their home.

Circa 1964, they lived in Chalk Hill, near Uniontown, making their home near the Summit Golf Club Road. 

On the morning of Oct. 13, 1966, smelling smoke, Andrew and Nora discovered that a neighboring house was on fire, and called firemen to the scene. The two-story, five-room building once had been the residence of their brother Raymond Earl Addis, and was still owned by Ray's widow Clara, and was rented out. Unfortunately, fire consumed the building, and it was destroyed.

 

Anna Mae and James, 1980

~ Daughter Anna Mae (Addis) Ritchey ~

Daughter Anna Mae Addis (1911-1985) was born on May 20, 1911. 

She married James Edward Ritchey Sr. (1907-1990), a laborer of Hopwood, Fayette County, and the son of Albert and Lucretia R. (Jackson) Ritchey. They met at a boarding house where Anna worked and James was staying. They were wed on June 17, 1930, when Anna Mae was age 19 and James 23.

The Ritcheys had five children -- Dorothy Swenglish, Paul Ritchey, Margaret " Peggy" Moyers, James Edward Ritchey Jr. and Betty Spock. 

The family resided in Somerfield and had to move because the dam was being built in the early 1940s. They finally settled in 1943 in Haddenville, Fayette County, PA about five miles west of Uniontown along the National Road/U.S. Route 40. There, they owned a 43 acre farm.

James worked as a laborer on the roads, strip mines, roofing and other odd jobs. They farmed with big gardens, various grains, cows, pigs, sometimes goats and sheep, chickens, and always a couple of horses. In 1976 they traveled with the Bicentennial Wagon train.

 

Haddenville, near Uniontown, featuring an Amoco gasoline station and furnished cabins for tourists

 

 

The Ritchey family celebrating Anna Mae
and James' 50th wedding anniversary, 1980

The Ritcheys attended Third Presbyterian Church in Uniontown from 1945 to 1962. Then they joined The Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, where Anna belonged to its Crusaders Sunday School class. Sundays were reserved for worship and visiting family and friends. In 1980, they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

Anna died at the age of 73, in the Spear Nursing Home in Markleysburg, PA, on Feb. 28, 1985. Burial was in LaFayette Memorial Park. 

James outlived his wife by five years. He passed away in 1990.

Daughter Dorothy Ritchey (1931-1986) was born on Dec. 19, 1931. She married Paul Swenglish. They had four children -- Paul Swenglish, Mary Frances Swenglish, David Swenglish and Matthew Swenglish. She died on March 8, 1986.

Son Paul Ritchey (1933-2002) was born on June 9, 1933. He resided in Topeka, Shawnee County, KS. Paul passed away in Topeka on April 6, 2002.

Daughter Margaret "Peggy" Ritchey (1935-2010) was born on June 17, 1935. She wed Roland Moyers and helped raise his children from a previous marriage -- Sandra Moyers, Kenneth Moyers, Samuel Moyers and Suzie Moyers. Their home was in Broadway, Rockingham County, VA. She died on May 27, 2010.

Son James Edward Ritchey Jr. (1939-1995) was born on June 9, 1939. He married Patricia Ziots. They had three children -- James Ritchey, John Ritchey and Suzanne Ritchey. He passed away on Jan. 27, 1995.

Daughter Betty Ritchey (1941- ? ) was born on March 28, 1941. She wed Edward Spock and had two children: Debbie Spock and Beth Spock.

 

Copyright © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009-2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 Mark A. Miner