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Mary 'Agnes' 
(Younkin) Crabtree

(1870-1910)

Mary "Agnes" (Younkin) Crabtree was born on Jan. 15, 1870 (or 1871) in Casselman, Somerset County, PA, the daughter of Josiah and Rachel (Phillippi) Younkin.

Agnes' father died when she was about six years old, and she grew up in Casselman with a stepfather John Wilkins for a period of time, and later had a "significant other" step-father figure, Jack Hobson.

On Nov. 11, 1888, at the age of 18, Agnes married 24-year-old laborer James M. Crabtree (1864-1940 ), a native of Maryland and the son of Thomas and Hannah (Twigg) Crabtree. The ceremony took place at Hogg, Westmoreland County, PA, officiated by Rev. W.W. Elrick. Because Agnes was underage, her mother "Rachel Wilkins" signed her consent on the marriage license application. On that license document, Alice disclosed her father's first name as "Joseph" rather than "Josiah."

They had eight children, of whom seven lived to adulthood -- Minnie M. Bittner, Nathan R. Crabtree, Jacob Clarence Crabtree, Charles D. Crabtree, Ivy Beatrice "Betty" Ulery Echard, Rachel Goldie Craig and James E. Crabtree. 

Heartache rocked this family when son Thomas C. Crabtree died in a diphtheria epidemic at age one on May 14, 1893. The child's remains were buried at the Church of God Cemetery in Kingwood, Somerset County, PA. (His grave marker is said to be broken into two pieces.)

Agnes with sons Charles, Nathan, Jacob

Seen here, Agnes holds Charles with sons Nathan and Jacob standing alongside.

In 1902, the Crabtrees were living in Casselman at the time daughter Rachel was born. 

In 1910, when the federal census again was enumerated, they resided in or near Hammondville, Westmoreland County, PA, where James worked as a "laborer - odd jobs." He also was a longtime farmer. Their children attended Jones Mills School, taught by Francis S. Murray.

Agnes became plagued with what physicians of the time called "puerperal fever," or otherwise known as an infection of her reproductive organs usually associated with childbirth. She died of its effect on Nov. 28, 1910, at the untimely age of 39. She is buried at Walnut Hill Cemetery near Donegal. 

After three years as a widower, James married again, to widow Emma (Smith) Davis. They performed a "self marriage" in the clerk of orphans court office in Greensburg, Westmoreland County on Sept. 1, 1913. She  brought a daughter to the marriage, Mrs. Howard Garrity.

They lived in Indian Creek Township near Donegal. The census of 1920 shows him laboring as a farmer on his own farm. Daughter Beatrice (age 19) and son James (14) were still living under their roof that year. 

When the 1930 census was taken, James and Emma made their home near Donegal, with 10-year-old grandson Clarence Ulery in their residence. Their son James Jr. and his wife and family lived next door. James Sr. worked as a farmer that year, while James Jr. labored for a coal company. 

James spent his final years suffering from heart disease, and endured Emma's death at age 64 on March 30, 1936. 

He passed away at age 76 on Aug. 28, 1940 and was buried at Walnut Hill Cemetery following a funeral services at Jones Mill Methodist Church. In an obituary, the Connellsville Daily Courier said he was "a retired farmer the past 10 years" and had "spent nearly 50 years of his life in and around Jones Mill."

~ Daughter Minnie M. (Crabtree) Bittner ~

Daughter Minnie M. Crabtree (1890- ? ) was born in about 1890. 

At the age of 18, on Sept. 3, 1907, she wed 26-year-old Emerson C. Bittner (1881-1966). They had four known children -- Oran Eugene Bittner, Agnes Jones, Harvey Bittner and Anna Jane Bittner.

The federal census of 1910 shows the Bittners living next to Minnie's parents in the Indian Creek District of Donegal, Westmoreland County. As with his father in law, Emerson made a living as a laborer performing odd jobs. 

Controversy and tragedy blanketed this family in the winter of 1911, when they lived in Connellsville. While employed by the Fayette County Gas Company, Emerson removed a gas meter from the basement of the McCrory Five and Ten Cent Store in Connellsville. Soonafter, the building exploded, and five lives were lost. Emerson was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter. He was released on bail and later the case was dropped when he agreed to pay court costs. 

Front page of an extra edition of the Connellsville Daily Courier, Jan. 20, 1911

After this awful accident, the Bittners realized they had no future in the region. Sometime between 1914 and 1918, the family relocated to Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, OH. The 1920 census shows Minnie and Emerson and children living on Fulton Road, with Emerson laboring as a carpenter in a factory. In 1921, they lived at 1977 West 58th Street. 

Sadly, daughter Anna Jane died at the age of three on Aug. 25, 1921. Cause of death was "exhaustion" from hydrocephalus -- "swelling of the brain" -- a disability she had endured since childbirth. Her tired little remains were laid to rest in the West Park Cemetery in Cleveland.

In 1930, the family remained in Cleveland on Broadview, with grown sons Eugene and Harvey and divorced daughter Agnes Jones in their household. Emerson's occupation in 1930 was carpenter for a construction company. 

During the 1960s, the Bittners lived in Galion, Crawford County, OH. Minnie died there at the age of 68 on Oct. 8, 1957. Funeral services were held in Galion.

Emerson died in November 1966, at the age of 85, in Galion. His obituary in the Daily Courier said he was survived by eight grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

Grandson Oran Eugene Bittner (1908- ? ) was born in about 1908, and as a young boy moved with his parents to Cleveland.. In 1930, at the age of 21 or 22, he was employed as a laborer with a construction company. He married Mary Agnes and had two children -- Mae Loraine Bowshier and James Jones. In 1957, he lived at home with his parents in Galion, Crawford County, OH.

Granddaughter Agnes Bittner (1911- ? ) was born in about 1911. She married Guy Phelps. They resided in Galion, Crawford County, OH in the 1950s and '60s.

Grandson James "Harvey" Bittner (1914- ? ) was born in about 1914. He lived in Galion, Crawford County, OH circa 1957 and died in November 1976.

Granddaughter Anna Jane Bittner (1918- ? ) was born in 1918 in Cleveland. She married (?) Jones ( ? - ? ). Their only known child was Mary L. Jones. When the 1930 federal census was taken, Agnes at age 19 apparently was divorced, and lived with her young daughter under her parents' roof in Cleveland.

~ Son Nathan R. Crabtree ~

Son Nathan R. Crabtree (1893- ? ) was born in 1893. His life story and whereabouts as an adult are unknown.

~ Son Jacob Clarence Crabtree ~

Son Jacob Clarence Crabtree (1897- 1961) was born in 1897 in Hammondsville, Westmoreland County, PA.

Jacob Crabtree at far right

During the decade of the 1910s, Jacob found employment in Ohio as a railroad brakeman and moved to Minerva, Carroll County, OH. The federal census of 1910 shows him boarding in the residence of  Jennie Weston on Main Street in Minerva. 

He served in World War I with the 329th Field Hospital and 308th Sanitary Train. 

After the war, he returned to Minerva and rejoined the railroad, where he was promoted to conductor for the New York Central Railroad. The photograph seen here shows Jacob at far right, standing with co-workers at the Minerva Roundhouse. In all, he served for 44 years with the railroad.

Jacob married Loraine Vick (1902-1963), a native of Minerva and the daughter of Frank and Jennie (Perdue) Vick. The wedding took place on Nov. 12, 1920, in Canton, Stark County, OH. Jacob was age 23 at the time, and Loraine was 18.

They had three children -- James Howard Crabtree, Dorothy Florence Elliott Baxter and Jean Yoder Mantho Kennedy. 

They made their home at 803 Elizabeth Street in Minerva. Jacob was a member of the Methodist Church in Minerva, and Loraine belonged to the First Christian Church. He was a member of the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen and the local order of Eagles. Loraine was active with the Ladies Auxiliary of the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen.

Having suffered a heart attack in about 1960, Jacob suffered another attack at the railroad office, and died at the age of 65, "shortly after completing the day's run," said the Minerva Leader. His passing occurred on Dec. 21, 1961. Rev. Arthur Poll officiated at the funeral service, followed by interment in East Lawn Cemetery. His obituary also was published in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Reader's Digest article in which James Howard Crabtree is quoted by name

Lorain outlived her husband by almost two years. She passed away at the age of 61, at home, on Aug. 27, 1963, and joined James in eternal repose at East Lawn Cemetery. At her death, reported the Alliance Review, she was survived by 10 grandchildren.

James H. Crabtree

Grandson James Howard Crabtree (1921-1967) was born on Nov. 1, 1921 in Minerva. He was a seaman first class in the US Navy during World War II. James was quoted in an article in the November 1942 Reader's Digest, "Convoy to Murmansk," authored by Edwin Miller. The story was billed as "a grim but heartening story of American youth pitted against merciless odds." The article was condensed from the original version published in the October 1942 issue of The Nautical Gazette. After the war, he was employed as a heater for Ford Motor Company in Canton, OH. On Oct. 26, 1950, he married Josephine June Rogers (1927-2003). They had three children -- Jacob James Crabtree, Lora Lee Crabtree and Sandra Sue Humerickhouse. Tragedy struck in the summer of 1967 when James fell at home and struck his head, fracturing his skull, and he passed away of his injuries on Aug. 13, 1967, at the age of 46. He was buried in East Lawn Cemetery. Josephine supported herself by working as a data file clerk with Hoover Electric Sweeper Company in Canton. She also was a member of the Eastern Star and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary. At the age of 48, Josephine married again to Albert Changet ( ? - ? ) in September 1975. They lived in North Canton. Josephine died at the age of 75 on  May 14, 2003, in Aultman Hospital in Canton. Burial was in East Lawn Cemetery. 

Granddaughter Dorothy Florence Crabtree (1927- ? ) was born on Feb. 21, 1927. She was twice married. Her first spouse was Arthur Elliott of Minerva. They had three daughters -- Deborah Kay Tinlin, Kim J. Elliott and Vicky Lynn Elliott. In the early 1960s, Dorothy married again to Donald Baxter ( ? -1968). Donald passed away in September 1968.

Hoover Electric Sweeper Company in Canton

Granddaughter Jean Mae Crabtree (1929- ? ) was born on Sept. 1, 1929. She was thrice married -- to John "Jake" Yoder, Henry "Hank" Mantho and William Kennedy. She and Jake Yoder had no children, and divorced in 1953. She and Hank Mantho were married on Sept. 1, 1953, and had one daughter, Susan Loraine Jenkins Schmachenberger. In 1961, Jean's home was in Minerva. On July 24, 1971, Jean married William Kennedy (1935- ? ).

~ Son Charles D. Crabtree ~

Son Charles D. Crabtree (1899-1979) was born in about 1899 in Champion, Fayette County, PA.

He married Sarah Coffman ( ? -1989) on Oct. 4, 1919, in Westmoreland County. They had a son Charles Crabtree and a daughter Ann Orris Wright. 

Charles and Sarah first lived in Acme, Westmoreland County, and were in Jones Mills in 1940-1942. They later moved to West Mifflin, near Pittsburgh, in 1961 where he was employed as a custodian for the West Mifflin School District. Eventually, he relocated to Aliquippa, Beaver County, PA and made his home at 4114 West Shaffer Drive. He was a member of the Raccoon United Presbyterian Church. 

While in Daytona Beach in the winter of 1979, Charles died at the age of 80 on Feb. 8, 1979. His remains were returned to Pittsburgh for burial in Jefferson Memorial Park in Pleasant Hills. His obituary was published in the Beaver County Times.

Sarah outlived her husband by a decade. She passed away on June 25, 1989. Her funeral service was held at Whitaker United Methodist Church, followed by interment in Jefferson Memorial Park. 

Grandson Charles Crabtree Jr. served in an armored division during World War II, receiving training at Fort Ord, CA and Camp Chaffee, AR.

Granddaughter Anne R. Crabtree (1920- ? ) was born on March 7, 1920. At the age of 22, she married Chester W. Orris Jr. (1918- ? ), a store manager living in Homestead near Pittsburgh. He was the son of Chester W. and Edna Orris. The ceremony took place in Homestead Park on June 11, 1942, officiated by Rev. William E. Sims. Later, she wed (?) Wright.

~ Daughter Ivy Beatrice (Crabtree) Ulery Echard ~

Daughter Ivy Beatrice "Betty" Crabtree (1900-1982) was born on Dec. 21, 1900. 

As a young woman, she married (?) Ulery and in about 1920 had one known son, Clarence Ulery. 

She married again on March 26, 1924 -- at the age of 24 -- to Jacob Webster "Webb" Echard. 

They established a home in Scottdale, Westmoreland County and had three children -- Carl E. Echard. James W. Echard and Lois E. Forbes.

Scottdale community Fourth of July outing in Loucks Park, early 1900s

Betty died as she neared her 82nd birthday on Nov. 11, 1982. Following a funeral led by Rev. G. Smith Hixson, she was laid to rest in Alverton Cemetery. 

Grandson Clarence Ulery (1920- ? ) lived with his grandparents as a 10-year-old in 1930. He died prior to 1992. More will be added here when learned. 

Grandson James W. Echard ( ? - ? ) 

Granddaughter Lois E. Echard was born on Feb. 27, 1927 in Scottdale. She married Carl A. Forbes, and they had no children. Lois worked for many years as a telephone operator with Bell Telephone Company, and was a member of Christ United Methodist Church of Scottdale. Their home was at 316 Market Street in Scottdale. Lois died at the age of 65 in Frick Community Health Center on March 29, 1992. She was buried in Scottdale Cemetery.

~ Daughter Rachel Goldean "Goldie" (Crabtree) Craig ~

Daughter Rachel Goldean "Goldie" Crabtree (1902-1989) was born on Oct. 25, 1902 at Casselman, Somerset County. 

She married Frank K. Craig ( ? -1979) on April 26, 1922. They had six children -- Kenneth G. Craig, Bernice Molek, Kathleen Massey, Betty Ann Warnick, William G. Craig and Ronald H. Craig. 

Their home circa 1961-1989 was in Scottdale, Westmoreland County, at 212 Delaware Avenue. They were longtime members of the First Assembly of God Church of Scottdale and was a teacher in the junior girls Sunday School class. 

Frank was employed for 48 years by U.S. Steel Corporation and retired in 1968. He then worked as a locker room attendant for two years at the Pleasant Valley Golf Club, and then for Umbel Gulf Service Station in New Stanton.

Heartache rocked the family in 1972 when son Kenneth passed away. Details are not yet known. In April 1972, the Craigs celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a family dinner at Meidel's Dining Room in Poplar Grove. Their photograph and an article were published in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Goldie died at the age of 87 in Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg on Nov. 28, 1989. She was laid to rest in Mt. Nebo Cemetery. At the time, she was survived by a dozen grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren. 

Granddaughter Bernice Craig married (?) Swink and (?) Molek. She lived in Monessen, Washington County, PA in 1972 and in Dawson, Fayette County circa 1989. 

Granddaughter Kathleen Craig wed Leo C. Massey. They made their home in Baltimore, MD in 1972-1989. 

Granddaughter Betty Ann Craig married Charles Brown and Robert Warnick. Her residence circa 1972-1989 was in Scottdale. 

Grandson William G. Craig lived in Mt. Pleasant, Westmoreland County, Pa in 1972 and later in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Grandson Ronald H. Craig resided in 1972 in Trenton, MI and in 1989 in Greenville, SC.

~ Son James E. Crabtree ~

Son James E. Crabtree (1905-1974) was born in about 1905. 

He married Mary G. Harkcom  (1909-1976) on Jan. 29 1927, when he was age 22 and she 18. Her parents were Willis and Nancy (Singo) Harkcom.

They had one son, James W. Crabtree.

Two years into the marriage, in 1930, they lived next to James' father and step-mother near Donegal. He worked that year as a coal company laborer. They continued to live in Jones Mill circa 1940, when James' father died in their home.

Circa 1956, James and Mary moved to Orlando, FL. He died at the age of 69 on June 1, 1974, at a hospital in Winter Park, FL. The funeral was conducted in Orlando. 

As a widow, Mary returned to Western Pennsylvania to live at Jones Mill. She passed away in Latrobe Area Hospital in Westmoreland County on Nov. 25, 1976. Her remains were returned to Florida for interment in Orlando, and her obituary was published in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Grandson James W. Crabtree lived in Chuluopa, FL circa 1974.

Copyright 2000, 2002, 2005, 2012, 2014 Mark A. Miner