Iva Lucretia (Conn) Henry was born on Oct. 31, 1899 in Jersey Hollow near Confluence, Somerset County, PA, the daughter of Alexander Wilson and Susannah (Harbaugh) Conn.
Twice suffering workplace fire accidents, her husband died a painful death at an early age, leaving her as a young widow who went on to spend more than 30 years alone.
On May 20, 1916, the 16-year-old Iva was united in matrimony with 18-year-old Edward "Jesse" Henry (1898-1931), the son of Charles Ross and Lydia (Ansell) Henry of Scullton, Somerset County. The ceremony was held at Scullton, officiated by Rev. S.W. Bryan.
At the time of their marriage, Jesse gave his occupation as "professor," suggesting that he was a local school teacher. He listed his father's type of work as "traveler."
Circa 1917, the family resided in New Lexington, Somerset County.
When the federal census of 1920 was enumerated, he worked as a cashier at a local railroad station. At some point, they moved to the nearby village of Kingwood. They were members of the Wesley Chapel Methodist Church.
Jesse went on to operate a small restaurant in the nearby bustling railroad town of Rockwood, Somerset County.
In a June 1917 postcard sent to her aunt Letitia Stoner, Iva wrote the following note:
I will send you our picture of my self, man and baby and Nora man and little boy. I am in my new home. I live 8 miles from home. Was at home the other day. They are all well. My baby can creep, go up stars and walk around chairs. He is 9 mo old.
In 1924, while earning a living at the restaurant, Jesse suffered the first of two serious burn-accidents. Said the Somerset Herald, "while lighting a gasoline burner on a coffee urn, he was badly burned when it became enveloped in flames and he carried it outside." Fortunately, Jesse recovered, though he would not be so fortunate a second time, some seven years later.
Iva and Jesse are known to have attended the first Harbaugh Reunion in August 1926. They and likely their children are among a throng of cousins and friends pictured in the large reunion photo.
The second wave of tragedy struck in July 1931, when 33-year-old Jesse again was engulfed with fire at work and suffered fatal injuries. While "filling the tank of the gasoline engine of his electric plant" in his store, a gallon measure "exploded and set fire to his clothing." According to the Herald:
Mr. Henry accompanied by George Leer of Kingwood, went into the cellar to refuel
his electric power plant. He had a gallon measure filled with gasoline and as he
opened the tank to pour it in, there was an explosion and the gasoline in the
measure was ignited. Mr. Henry carried the flaming container about 15 feet to
the foot of the cellar steps and called for help.
Just a day after the accident, on July 20, 1931, Jesse succumbed to the angel of death at the hospital. The Herald said that "It is thought that his former burns had weakened the tissues so that when exposed to the second fire, his resistance was lower and he could not throw off the effects."
After a funeral at the Wesley Chapel Methodist Church, Jesse's charred remains were buried at the Scullton Cemetery along Route 653 (Springfield Pike).
The Scullton Road, framed against the picturesque backdrop of the mountains, was affectionately known as the "Little Alps of America."
Iva then sought employment to support her and her children. One July in the late 1940s or early '50s, in a letter to a relative, Iva's mother wrote: "Gertrude and Iva has not bin here for some time. They don't get home often as they both work."
In an October 1955 letter from Iva's mother to a relative, she wrote this update on family visits:
yesterday Clint and his wife and family was
here for dinner. Iva still lives at Kingwood and Gertrude
still lives at Confluence and Lester still at bible school and Jess
still at McKeesport.
The emotional toll extracted by the years was heavy. Iva's son-in-law Sylvester L. Everhart Sr. was killed in action during World War II, when his aircraft was shot down during a bombing run over Formosa. Further ache rocked Iva's heart again in November 1956, when her son Frank passed away after a tragic accident at work.
Iva's final home was in Addison, Somerset County, likely under the roof of her married daughter Wilma Everhart Wright. She contracted pancreatic cancer early in 1965 and suffered for three months until death mercifully carried her away.
~ Son Franklin Bernard "Frank" Henry ~
He relocated to Ohio as a young man, where he obtained work in Akron with B.F. Goodrich Company. With the onset of World War II, his work at Goodrich focused on production of defense materials.
During World War II, on Aug. 31, 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy's Construction Battalion, nicknamed the "Seabees." He trained as a machinist's mate at Camp Peary, VA and Camp Endicott, RI and then was transferred to California. By May 1944 he was deployed to the South Pacific Theatre. Later he served in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
He was joined in wedlock with Rubye Lou McVicker (Dec. 12, 1912-1979), daughter of Austin and Vina (Brown) McVicker. They made a home on Main Street in Rockwood.
The couple bore one known daughter, Vivian Loebig.
The family residence circa 1950 was in Pittsburgh at 710 West North Avenue. Frank earned a living as a steam shovel operator, employed by Allegheny Contracting Industries Inc. Circa 1955, he worked away from home on a state highway construction project at Quehanna, Clearfield County, PA, at the site of the erection of a new Curtiss Wright aircraft testing plant.
The body was tranported back to Rockwood to rest for all time in the Odd Fellows Cemetery.
Rubye outlived her spouse by 24 years. She married a second time to Anthony Thomas Seiler (Nov. 11, 1909-1977). He died on April 12, 1977, with interment in Twin Valley Memorial Park in Delmont, Westmoreland County.
At the end, she was admitted to Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh. She was gathered in by the Angel of Death at the age of 67 on Aug. 8, 1979. Rev. Donald Krestar preached the funeral service, with interment beside her first husband in Rockwood. An obituary was printed in the Meyersdale Republican.
Daughter Vivian Louise Henry (1935-2000) was born on June 26, 1935 in Rockwood. On Dec. 2, 1950, when she was 15 years of age, she married 20-year-old Robert William Loebig (Oct. 24, 1930-2004), employed at the time as a clerk, and the son of Robert and Mildred (Eisenberg) Loebig. Their marriage endured for nearly half a century. The three children born to this union were Valerie Dobies, Kimberly Casale and Robert F. Loebig. They made their residence in the Scott Township suburb of Pittsburgh. Robert was a longtime coach and president in the Scott Township Baseball Association. Sadly, Vivian died at the age of 65 on July 11, 2000. Her remains were lowered into eternal repose in Saint Barbara Roman Catholic Cemetery in Collier Township near Pittsburgh. Robert endured for another three-and-a-half years and passed into eternity on Jan. 25, 2004. Inscribed on the face of their grave marker is this epitaph: "A truer love did not exist."
~ Son Robert Bernard Henry Sr. ~
Son Robert Bernard Henry Sr. (1918- ? ) was born in 1918 under the name "Delmar Warren Henry."
He changed his name to Robert between 1930 and 1940, when he would have been of an age ranging from 12 to 22.
Robert was joined in marriage with Wilma Marie Panik/Panich (Aug. 30, 1918-2000), a native of Casselman and the daughter of Julius Michael and Mary Elizabeth (Prochnavy) Panik.
The couple produced five known offspring -- Robert Bernard Henry Jr., James William Henry, Joseph Henry, Jack Harvey Henry and Stephanie Robin Snyder.
Sometime in the 1948 to 1951 timeframe, he left his family and relocated to the Pacific Northwest. There, he set up a home in Salem, Marion County, OR and worked as an automobile mechanic. His name was printed in Salem newspapers when he filed an assumed business name for his auto repair business in January 1951 and then again when charged with obtaining money on false pretenses in April 1952.
His whereabouts after that are shrouded by the mists of the past.
Wilma remained in Rockwood for decades and resided at 221 West Main Street. Evidence suggests that by 1972, she married again to James Dunbar ( ? - ? ).
Son James William Henry (1942-2021) was born on Sept. 25, 1942 in Somerset. He attended Rockwood Area High School and then may have relocated to Detroit. During the Vietnam War, from Aug. 3, 1964 to July 21, 1966, he served in the U.S. Army. During that term of service, on May 1, 1965, he wed Sandra "Sandy" Grevis ( ? - ? ), daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Grevis of 8878 Lauder Street, Detroit. The pair stayed together for a remarkable 56 years until cleaved apart by death. They resided in the Detroit suburbs of Carleton and Monroe over the years. A trio of daughters born into this brood were Christine DeBacker, Andrea Metzger and Katherine Robinson. James was considered an "accomplished entrepreneur" and was self-employed in a number of businesses. When time allowed, he liked to play poker, golfed and hunted. They belonged to the Zion Lutheran Church. At the age of 79, James passed away on Oct. 28, 2021. An obituary called him "extraordinarily kind, giving and generous."
Son Joseph J. Henry ( ? - ? ) was employed as a young man by E. Arthur James Inc. in Pittsburgh. He joined the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and trained in Pershing missile operations at Fort Sill, OK. Joseph was united in matrimony with Marlene ( ? - ? ). They dwelled in Meyersdale as of 2009. Joseph was deceased by 2021.
Son Jack Harvey Henry ( ? - ? ) was born on (?). He graduated from Rockwood Area High School and in young manhood earned a living as a bookkeeper. On Aug. 12, 1972, he was joined in wedlock with Daisy Ohler ( ? - ? ), daughter of George Franklin "Bud" and Blanche C. (Emerick) Ohler of Berlin, PA. Their wedding ceremony was held in St. Philip and James Roman Catholic Church in Meyersdale, by the hand of Rev. George Clark. Daisy was pictured in a marriage announcement in the Somerset Daily American. She was an alumna of Berlin-Brothersvalley High School and, at the time of marriage, was employed with Howard Johnsons Restaurant. They put down roots in Garrett, Somerset County and by 2009 had moved to Somerset.
Daughter Stephanie "Robin" Henry ( ? - ? ) married Charles Snyder ( ? - ? ). Circa 2000, their home was in Bedford, Bedford County, PA.
~ Son Chester Allen Henry ~
Chester and Betty Henry
Chester and Betty Henry
On March 16, 1940 when he was age 20, and she 21, Chester married Betty Marie Patton (Aug. 22, 1918-2008), daughter of Norman Lewis and Orpha (Miller) Patton. Their marital union endured for 58 years.
Betty appears to have lived in young womanhood in Grantsville, Garrett County, MD. She brought a daughter into the marriage, Sonya Clair Patton.
They relocated to the
Detroit area, where they made their residence in
the communities of Allen Park and Manistee.
There, Chester owned Dayton Television in Lincoln Park, and later owned and operated Woodland Acres Cottages. They were members of the First Congregational Church in Onekama, MI. Chester also was an avid woodworker and hunter, and belonged to the Masons lodge in Lincoln Park.
Chester died at home at the age of 77 on April 17, 1998. Funeral services were held in the First Congregational Church, led by Rev. John Peterson. An obituary was published in the Somerset Daily American.
Betty outlived her husband by a decade and remained in Manistee. The Angel of Death carried her away at the age of 89 on May 13, 2008.
Daughter Norma Henry was united in matrimony with Robert Montgomery and in 2009 resided in Manistee, MI.
Son Jess Henry wedded Wendy and lived in Manistee, MI.
Son Clifford Henry married Elizabeth and made their residence in 1998 in Hilton Head, SC.
~ Son Edward James "E.J." Henry ~
Son Edward James "E.J." Henry (1922-2009) was born on June 4, 1922 in Middlecreek Township, Somerset County.
He relocated as a young man to Ambridge, Beaver County, PA, where he found employment as a carpenter.
Then during World War II, E.J. enlisted in September 1942 in the U.S. Marine Corps. He trained at Parris Island, SC and then was moved to a new post at Camp Lejeune, NC. At some point he was shipped overseas to the Pacific Theatre of War and took part in what is referred to as "the island hopping campaign."
He married Dorothy Hoffman (Sept. 4, 1923-2000), daughter of Dr. Sherman and Edith (Workman) Hoffman of Duquesne, PA near Pittsburgh.
Circa 1955-1965, they lived in Elizabeth, Allegheny County, PA. The couple did not reproduce.
Said the Daily American, Jim "was a member of the American Legion and the Carpenter's Union. He was a member of the Kingwood Church of God and loved to play golf with his friends."
Dorothy was a longtime legal secretary for the law firm of Munnell and Norton in McKeesport, near Pittsburgh. She belonged to the Order of Eastern Star in Aliquippa and later in White Oak.
By 1998, apparently after retirement the Henrys returned to New Lexington.
Dorothy passed away at the age of 76 on June 29, 2000, as a patient in Somerset Hospital. Rev. James Monticue preached her funeral sermon at the Kingwood Church of God, with an obituary appearing in the Daily American.
Jim outlived his wife by eight-and-a-half years.
Toward the end, he was admitted to Pittsburgh's West Penn Hospital. He died there at the age of 86 on Jan. 14, 2009. Following funeral services again led by Rev. Monticue, he was laid to rest at Scullton Cemetery. The Somerset County Honor Guard furnished military rites at the service. The Daily American printed an obituary, in which the family asked that any memorial donations be made to the family church.
~ Daughter Wilma Lois "Sis" (Henry) Everhart Wright ~
Daughter Wilma Lois "Sis" Henry (1924-living) was born on Nov. 19, 1924 in New Lexington, Somerset County.
In young womanhood she relocated to Akron, OH where she earned a living as a waitress at Kestler's Restaurant. She then enrolled as a student nurse at Memorial Hospital in Cumberland, MD.
Wilma was married twice. In 1944, in a ceremony held in Baton Rouge, LA, she was united in matrimony with her first spouse, Rockwood serviceman Sylvester Leo "Bess" Everhart Sr. (May 2, 1921-1945), son of Samuel Nathan and Goldie Beatrice (Johnson) Everhart and a native of Cherry Run, Morgan County, WV. A story in the Somerset County Leader that she "was attired in a powder blue street length dress with white accessories, offset by a corsage of pink rose buds." Rev. G.A. Gatzhe led the ceremony in the local Lutheran Church.
The couple produced an only son, Sylvester Leo "Sam" Everhart Jr.
Prior to marriage, as World War II was raging, Sylvester had joined the U.S. Army Air Force on Oct. 20, 1943. He trained at Moore Field, TX and qualified on May 23, 1944 as a fighter pilot. After their wedding in Louisiana, the couple had some time together at Peterson Field in Colorado Springs, CO, where he was receiving final training.
The 24-year-old flier was then deployed to the China-Burma-India Theatre of war. He flew missions over Formosa, today known as Taiwan, as a member of the 72nd Fighter Group of the 2nd Squadron.
While Sylvester was away, Wilma made a home with his parents in Rockwood. She learned that she was expecting their baby.
Grief and anxiety cascaded through the family when Sylvester's aircraft was shot down. It happened on his 10th combat mission during a bombing run over Formosa on Feb. 25, 1945. He initially was declared missing in action. No announcement was made, however, until his mother was notified in Rockwood on April 2, 1945. Wilma received a letter from Major Edward F. Witsell, Adjutant General of the Army, of the War Department, dated Feb. 14, 1946:
Sylvester finally was declared dead in March 1946, with the news published in the local newspapers as well as in the Pittsburgh Press. In the years that followed, his name was inscribed on a tablet at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, and on a bronze marker in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Rockwood.
After three years as a widow, in 1948, Wilma wed again to Jack
Thomas Wright (Nov. 20, 1918-1997), son of Franklin Cleveland "Frank" and Edith Margaret (Wass) Wright of Confluence.
Jack also was a veteran of World War II, having served as a bombardier in B-17 aircraft in Europe with the 332nd Bomber Squadron, 94th Bomber Group, 8th Air Force. They resided in Addison, where Jack worked for Dennis Lumber Company and Yezbak Lumber, and at one point was a self-employed carpenter.
They were members of the
Addison United Methodist Church. Jack belonged to the Pennsylvania Chapter of
the 8th Air Force Historical Society and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Wilma served as secretary of the inaugural reunion of the Rockwood High School class of 1942.
Jack passed away at the age of 78 at home in Addison on Oct. 15, 1997. Burial was in the Addison Cemetery.
Leo Everhart Jr. (1945-living) was born in 1945, five months after his father was shot down during World War II. He attended Indiana (PA) State College for a year or two. Then, during the Vietnam War, he joined the U.S. Air Force and trained as a communications specialistat Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado. On Oct. 17, 1964, in nuptials held in Trinity Lutheran Church in Confluence, he was joined in the bonds of wedlock with Sandra Lee Koontz ( ? - ? ), daughter of Scott Ivan Koontz of Confluence of the family of Samuel G. and Mary Ann (Younkin) Phillippi. Co-officiating the nuptials were Rev. Lester E. Rudisill and Rev. John R. Hickson. In reporting on the wedding, the Uniontown Evening Standard said that Sandra "wore a floor-length gown of white taffeta, fashioned with a fitted empire waistline, portrait neckline, long tapered sleeves and controlled skirt ending in a watteau train. Her four-tiered veil of silk illusion was attached to a pillbox headpiece of silk and she carried a cascade of white pompons centered with a white orchid." The newlyweds' first home was in South Carolina, where Sylvester was posted at Shaw Air Force Base. Sandra was an alumna of Robert Morris Junion College. They made a home in 1997 in Oakton, VA and Pinehurst, NC in 2009. Sylvester graciously has shared photograph images for this and other Conn family biographies on this website.
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