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William A. Devan


Arthilla Devan

William A. Devan was born in April 1846 (or 1848) in or near Hopwood, Fayette County, the son of John and Mary Ann (Minerd) Devan

In about 1873, when he was age 27, William married 20-year-old Arthella (or "Arthilla") Fell (1853-1925), daughter of Mahlon Fell. They were considered "pioneer settlers of Hopwood," said the Uniontown Morning Herald.

The Devans lived in the Hopwood area and had four known children -- John William Devan, Lydia Ann Ashby, Mahlon Devan and Mary Ann "Mollie" West.


Arthilla and brother in law Toby 
Devan feeding their cow "Old Bess"

William was a coal miner for decades. Census records show that in 1880-1900, he earned a living laboring in this trade. In 1900, residing in Hopwood, his sons John and Mahlon also worked in the mines. 

Over the years, Arthella was very active with the Hopwood Methodist Protestant Church. Her husband's cousin Rev. David Ewing Minerd -- the "Blacksmith Preacher" -- served there as pastor circa 1924-1926, and another of her husband's cousins Priscilla (Barnes) White was one of her fellow volunteer leaders. Arthella joined the church as a charter member in about 1870, at the age of 18, and grew in her influence to become the president of the Ladies Aid Society, volunteer with Christian Endeavor and as a steward of the congregation. Said the Uniontown Morning Herald, she "has often been referred to as the 'Mother of the Church', a title which she considered the highest honor and which she bore with modest pride."

William passed away at the age of 53 on Jan. 23, 1901. The cause of his death is not yet known. He was interred in the Hopwood Cemetery.

Arthella outlived her husband by nearly a quarter of a century, and remained in Hopwood. The federal census of 1910 shows her heading a household on the Coolspring Road with her son John, brother in law Tobias Sutton Devan and sister in law Hester Logston


Hopwood Cemetery

In April 1918, she provided sworn testimony to a special examiner of the U.S. Board of Pensions in connection with her husband's uncle and aunt, Reuben and Catharine Lane, and their disabled son Sylvester, who was seeking a pension award. In the interview, she said the following:

I am the widow of William A. Devan; my late husband was a nephew by marriage of Reuben Lane. I well remember of Reuben Lane moving to Hopwood with his family, years ago, and at that time I resided here and know that there were in the family living with the parents, three girls and one boy.... We lived about a city block apart. I was often at their house especially while the child Hester was sick and died.... There is a John Devan, a cousin of my husband, who does not have any home, just stays anywhere. I reckon he is over sixty (60) years of age. He is the only John Devan I know of who was living four years ago and is over fifty (50) years of age.


Hopwood Cemetery

Also testifying in the Lane matter over the years were Arthella's uncle by marriage, Andrew Minerd, cousin Rev. David Ewing Minerd, and a distant cousin, Rev. Isaac Herschel Minerd.

She endured a variety of ailments in older age and died at home at age 73 on May 11, 1925. Said the Morning Herald, "She will be sadly missed not only by those who are related through ties of blood but by a much larger family of friends and neighbors by whom her kindly influence has been strongly felt."

Following a funeral led by Rev. T.W. Colhouer of the Second Methodist Protestant Church, assisted by Rev. Minerd, she was buried at Hopwood Cemetery. As a memorial tribute, her church renamed her former Sunday School in her honor -- the "Arthella Devan Class."


~ Son John William Devan ~

John William Devan (1874-1945) was born in February 1874 (or 1873) in Hopwood. 

He apparently never married. At age 26 in 1900, he lived at home and earned a living as a coal miner. Later, he resided by himself in a dwelling along the Hopwood-Coolspring Road. 


Hopwood Cemetery

He died at home age the age of 71 on July 5, 1945. Friends were received in the home of his aunt Ella (Ingles) Devan (widow of George), with funeral arrangements handled by the Minerd Funeral Home. Rev. J.H. Lambertson of the Hopwood Methodist Church preached the funeral sermon, followed by burial in Devan Cemetery. 

In an obituary, the Uniontown Morning Herald noted that he "was the son of... pioneer settlers of Hopwood" and that he was survived by his sister Mary Ann "Mollie" West and aunts Bessie Logston and Marjorie Roby.


~ Daughter Lydia Ann "Liddy" (Devan) Ashby ~

Lydia Ann "Liddy" Devan (1876- ? ) was born in 1876. 

On Christmas Eve 1898, when she was age 22, Lydia wed 22-year-old Harry Ashby (1876-1930), son of Harry and Ida May Ashby Jr. The nuptials were held in Dunbar, officiated by here father's cousin Rev. David Ewing Minerd. At the time of marriage, Harry lived in the coal mine patch town of Oliver, where he earned a living as a driver. 

The couple had the following eight children -- Hazel Ashby, Mary Yauger, Helen Nicklow, Harry John Ashby, Marjorie Schroyer, Charles Earl Ashby, Elsie Crawford and George Ashby. The family was rocked with heartache on Nov. 1, 1908, when 20-month-old daughter Hazel contracted whooping cough and pneumonia and died. The little girl's funeral was held in the family home, reported the Hopwood Chronicle, led by Rev. Elliott of the Methodist Protestant church. A small choir who sang at the funeral included Bertha (Ingles) Stone, Winnie Stone and Julia Martin, while the pallbearers at the Hopwood Cemetery were Helen Nesmith, cousin Caroline "Carrie" Devan, Lydia Provance, Mollie Crawford, Eula Hayden, Edith Fell, Olive Lowe and Myrtle Hebb. 

Tragedy compounded again on Feb. 8, 1917 when seven-year-old son Charles was "accidentally crushed by being struck by automobile," wrote a physician. Burial of both children was in Hopwood Cemetery. 

Circa 1920, the family lived in Hopwood, where Harry continued his labors as a coal miner.

As was her mother, Lydia was active in volunteer work with the Ladies Aid Society of the Hopwood Methodist Protestant Church, and in 1921 was elected assistant secretary. In 1925, their home was in Hopwood. 

Harry was afflicted with an enlarged goiter, and he underwent surgery in May 1930 Uniontown Hospital. In convalescing there, pneumonia set in, and his health quickly went downhill. He died at age 54 on May 23, 1930. Burial was in Hopwood Cemetery. 

Lydia lived for another dozen years after her husband's death. In 1940, the census shows her in Hopwood, with her newly married daughter Elsie and son in law Robert living under her roof. She passed away at age 66 in Uniontown Hospital on April 7, 1942. The Morning Herald noted that her survivors included 17 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Funeral services were held in the Minerd Funeral Home in Uniontown.

Daughter Mary G. Ashby (1899-1978) was born on Dec. 5, 1899. When she was 20 years of age, she was employed as a telegraph operator. She wed George Henry Yauger (1898-1937), son of Frank E. and Clara (Wolfe) Yauger of Franklin Township, Fayette County. They resided in Hopwood in the 1930s and had 10 children -- Dorothy Yauger, Dale George Yauger, Frank Yauger, Shirley Gayle Bogdanovich, Robert K. Yauger, Ronald Duane Hauger, Harry J. Yauger, Elsie Ann Yauger, Vivian Yauger, Jerry Lee Yauger and Mary Josephine "Jo" Nutter. George was a coal miner in Little Brownfield and a member of the Crossland local of the United Mine Workers of American. In August 1928, George was employed at the Maxwell Mine of H.C. Frick Coke Company. A vehicle in which he was a passenger was struck by a moving train of the Monongahela Railroad at Maxwell Crossing. George and his two companions were placed aboard the train and taken to Brownsville General Hospital, where he was treated for an injury to his right leg. Later, he successfully sued the railroad for damages including an injury to his neck. In June 1931, son Frank was shot in the right thigh by a supposedly unloaded gun when playing "cowboys" with friends near their home at Hopwood Works. It was only a flesh wound, reported the Uniontown Morning Herald, and the injury was bandaged and the boy sent home. The Grim Reaper visited the family on Aug. 9, 1931 when 10-year-old daughter Vivian suffered a ruptured appendix and died after an acute peritonitis infection. Further heartache shook the Yaugers on April 11, 1937. After visiting Uniontown the evening before, the 39-year-old George was heading home and made a stop at the Speedway Inn where he napped for two hours in the clubhouse. He then left there at about 2:30 a.m. and shortly after was run over by moving hit-and-run vehicle along Route 40. Several other automobiles ran over him as he lay in agony on the road. He suffered a fractured skull, lower jaw and right leg. One Charles Gaskill found him and rushed the dying man to the Uniontown Hospital, where he succumbed a short time afterward. Funeral services were held in the Minerd Funeral Home, officiated by Rev. J.D. Stillwagon, followed by interment in Hopwood Cemetery. Mary's residence was in Akron, Ohio in 1942, where she apparently spent the remaining decades of life as a widow. She died there on July 2, 1978, at the age of 78. Her remains were returned to Hopwood to be placed into repose beside her son Harry.

  • Granddaughter Dorothy Yauger ( ? - ? ) is unknown to us.
  • Grandson Dale George Yauger (1924- ? ) was born in about 1924. He moved to Ohio and obtained work as a laborer. In Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, on March 1, 1951, the 27-year-old Dale married 24-year-old waitress Jacqueline Mary Chicoine ( ? - ? ). She was the daughter of Romeo and Fernande Chicoine.
  • Granddaughter Vivian Yauger (1921-1931) was born in about 1921. At the age of 10, on Aug. 9, 1931 the 10-year-old girl was stricken by a ruptured appendix which led to a fatal infection of peritonitis and paralysis.
  • Grandson Frank Yauger (1925-1959) was born in 1925 in Hopwood.  In June 1931, at the age of six, Frank was shot in the right thigh by a friend carrying supposedly unloaded gun when they were playing "cowboys" near their home at Hopwood Works. It was only a flesh wound, reported the Uniontown Morning Herald, and the injury was bandaged and the boy sent home. He died in 1959 in Akron, Summit County, OH. His body was shipped back to Hopwood for burial beside his brother Robert.
  • Grandson Harry J. Yauger (1926-1964) was born in 1926 in Hopwood. He died in 1964 and was buried in Hopwood Cemetery, later to be joined there by his brother Harry.
  • Grandson Robert K. Yauger (1929-1963) was born in 1928 in Hopwood. He passed away in 1963 and rests in Hopwood Cemetery beside his brother Frank.
  • Grandson Ronald Duane Hauger (1930-1983) was born in 1930. He relocated to Akron, and in 1951 worked at a local warehouse. On Jan. 26, 1951, at age 20, he wed 16-year-old Addie Christine Galloway (1935- ? ). She was a native of Tennessee but a resident of Summit County at the time, and was the daughter of Guy D. and Lula May (Darrow) Galloway. Ronald passed into eternity in 1983 at the age of 53. He was interred in Tison Road Cemetery in Akron.
  • Granddaughter Shirley Gayle Yauger (1931- ? ) was born in about 1931 in Hopwood. At the age of 18, living in Summit County, she was united in marriage with 22-year-old Charles Bogdanovich, son of Steven and Bessie (Hubick) Bogdanovich. The wedding took place on Oct. 8, 1949.
  • Grandson Jerry Lee Yauger (-1934-) was born on Oct. 17, 1934 and died just three days later, on Oct. 21, 1934. An obituary in the Uniontown Evening Standard noted that his death was due to pneumonia. Rev. Budd officiated at the funeral.
  • Granddaughter Elsie Ann Yauger ( ? - ? )
  • Granddaughter Mary Josephine "Jo" Yauger (1935-2002) was born on June 4, 1935 in Hopwood. She married (?) Nutter and resided in Akron. Later, she dwelled in Doylestown, Wayne County, OH. She died there on July 3, 2002.

Daughter Helen M. Ashby (1902- ? ) was born in about 1902. On June 1, 1926, at age 24, she married Clarence R. Nicklow (1906- ? ) of Mt. Braddock. He was four years younger than his bride. The couple apparently did not reproduce. They lived in Hopwood, where Helen worked as a maid for a private family, and Clarence was a coal miner and "snapper" at the Atlas Works, also known as the Crossland Works. In July 1946, citing cruelty, Helen separated from Clarence, who then placed a classified advertisement in the Uniontown Morning Herald saying that he would not be responsible for any debts that she might contract. They may have briefly reconciled, but on Sept. 13, 1947, Helen left for good and filed for divorce in March 1948, after 21 years of marriage. The Morning Herald reported that she charged her husband with "cruelties and indignities" and that he had "beat her on numerous occasions, knocked her down, cut off her hair, hit her with a poker and threatened to kill her." Helen moved to Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, OH. There, she met and married World War II Army Air Corps veteran Chester E. Phillips (1913-1977), formerly of Dubois, PA. The service was officiated in the parsonage of Rev. William Zoul, on July 28, 1949, and the couple honeymooned at Cedar Point along Lake Erie. Their address was Euclid Avenue in East Cleveland. In reporting on the "quiet" wedding, the Morning Herald noted that Chester was employed with Thompson jet airplane factory. After retirement, the Phillipses moved to Gainesville, FL. Chester died there in the Veterans Hospital, at the age of 64, on Sept. 27, 1977. His remains were returned to Dubois for interment.

Son Harry " John" Ashby (1903- ? ) was born in about 1903. He is believed to have married Josephine Carnes, daughter of Charles and Louise (Stiner) Carnes of Oliver No. 1 mine. They lived in Detroit in 1937-1942 and in Clair Shores, MI in 1962. During August 1962, they traveled back to Hopwood for a visit with family and friends, also taking in  "points of interest" in Maryland, reported a newspaper.

Daughter Marjorie Ashby (1905- ? ) was born in about 1905. She married Walter Schroyer (1903-1971). They had three known children -- Roy Schroyer, Marie Schroyer and Norma Schroyer. In October 1927, they dwelled in Morgantown, WV and by May 1930, their home was in Friendsville, MD. In the 1940s, they apparently returned to Hopwood, where they remained for several decades on Coolspring Road. Marjorie was a member of the Arthella Devan Class of the Hopwood Methodist Church, a Sunday School group named for her aunt. They are known to have spent time in Cleveland visiting Marjorie's sister Helen Phillips and her husband Chester. Circa 1971, the family resided in Vineland, NJ. Walter died in Vineland at the age of 68 on Feb. 23, 1971, and was buried there.

Daughter Elsie A. Ashby (1910- ? ) was born in about 1910. She was a member of the "Anti-Can't Class" of the Hopwood Methodist Protestant Church. She earned a living as a presser in a local laundry. In about 1939, when she was age 29, she married 30-year-old Robert D. Crawford (1909- ? ), a truck driver for a local ice cream company. When the federal census enumeration was made in 1940, the newlyweds lived with Elsie's widowed mother in Hopwood.

Son George Ashby (1914- ? ) was born in about 1914. He made his home in Uniontown. In October 1937, he and his wife were feted with a shower held in their honor, and hosted by his sister Helen Nicklow, at the fireman's club in Hopwood. 



Mahlon and Mary

~ Son Mahlon Francis Devan ~

Mahlon Francis Devan (1877-1941) was born on Oct. 11 1877 in Hopwood. He resided with his parents at age 22 in 1900 and spent his adult life working as a coal miner. 

On Sept. 4, 1902, at age 25, Mahlon wed 18-year-old Mary Ella Beeson (1884-1952), daughter of Jacob E. and Mary Margaret (Ogle) Beeson of Hopwood. Rev. David Ewing Minerd oversaw their nuptials at Dunbar, Fayette County. Neither the groom nor his father in law could read or write, and both signed the marriage license application with an "X." 

Circa 1925, at the death of his mother, they lived in Hopwood. 


Hopwood Cemetery

Mahlon and Mary had eight known children -- William Devan, Belda Devan, Donald B. Devan, John Devan, Frank Devan, Fred W. Devan, Mary Margaret Miller and Muriel Bell. Sadly, son William died of diphtheria at age nine months on Nov. 5, 1903, and daughter Belda succumbed at age 10 months of an attack of cholera on Aug. 21, 1915. 

Mahlon kept a garden at their home along Coolspring Road. In September 1933, the garden produced a carrot which the Morning Herald called "a freak vegetable. From the parent carrot sprouts 10 children ranging from thimble to normal size. The body is unusually large." He took it into town where it was displayed in the front window of the Uniontown Genius Herald offices. 

Heartache shook the family on the first day of the new year 1937 when son Donald was serving in the U.S. military as a corporal, stationed at Fort Howard, Maryland. While a vehicle passenger on the road near West Friendship, MD, he was killed when the car "left the road ..., over turned and crashed into a  tree and culvert," said the Daily News Standard


Hopwood Cemetery

Mahlon died at home in Hopwood on June 11, 1941, having suffered from hypertension and a cerebral hemorrhage, having been ill for two years. He was buried in the Devan family section of Hopwood Cemetery. 

Mary outlived him by 11 years. After being felled with a cerebral hemorrhage, she passed on June 24, 1952, at the age of 67. Son John signed her death certificate.

Daughter Mary "Margaret" Devan (1906- ? ) was born in about 1906. At the age of 32, on June 27, 1938, she and Alvin Miller ( ? - ? ) eloped to Oakland, Garrett County, MD. Alvin was the son of Albert Miller of Brownfield near Uniontown. The couple made its home in Hopwood.

Daughter Muriel Devan (1908-1986?) was born in about 1908 She married Harold Bell ( ? - ? ) and lived on Brownfield Road in Brownfield, Fayette County in 1937-1961. She is believed to have passed away in July 1986 in Uniontown.


Mahlon Devan home along Coolspring Road, Hopwood


Son Frank C. Devan (1910-1961) was born in about 1910. He wed Ruth McKinney ( ? - ? ), daughter of S.J. McKinney of Uniontown. Their nuptials took place on Jan. 24, 1934, led by Fayette County Orphans Court Clerk George C. Brown. They had two daughters -- Janet E. Brasuk and Frances A. Devan. Their home was on Bennington Road. For two decades, Frank was employed as a salesman by I.N. Hagan Ice Cream Company and was a member of the teamsters union. He also was active with the Calvary United Methodist Church and its Sunday School Class. Sadly, stricken with kidney disease and cancer of the Lymph nodes and lungs, Frank died at age 51 in Uniontown Hospital on May 27, 1961. Burial was in Sylvan Heights Cemetery.

Son Fred W. Devan (1912-2002) was born on Oct. 23, 1912 in Hopwood. He married Mary Florence Geho ( ? - ? ) , daughter of William Carl Geho of Hopwood. The ceremony was held on Feb. 10, 1939, with Rev. J.D. Stillwagon Jr. officiating from the home church, and they remained together for 63 years. They lived in the old Devan house in Hopwood and had three children -- William Mahlon Devan, Fred Devan and Karen Love. Sadly, son William died in infancy. Fred spent many years working for the Hankin-Paulson Construction Company. They also were members of the Grace Brethren Church of Uniontown. Fred passed away on Nov. 19, 2002 at the age of 90. He was laid to rest in Sylvan Heights Cemetery, with his son in law, Pastor Kenneth Love, officiating at the funeral, assisted by Rev. Nicholas Philposian and Rev. Darrel Taylor.

  • Grandson Fred Devan wed Margie and lived in Virginia Beach, VA.
  • Granddaughter Karen Devan married Pastor Kenneth Love and resided in Roanoke, VA.


Sunoco station in Hopwood, where John Devan worked before moving to New York




Donald Devan's obituary and grave

Son John William Devan (1915-1977) was born on or about Nov. 30, 1915 in Hopwood. He apparently was named for an uncle. At a young age John worked at the Sunoco gasoline filling station in Hopwood. He also served in World War II as a tech sergeant in the U.S. Army. He married Lillian Emmaline Rambo (1919-2003). They had two children -- John William Devan Jr. and Debbie Bendix. John built a small home on Bennington Road in Hopwood. In 1957, with Lillian's sisters and retired parents already living there, the family migrated to New York State, settling in North Chili, Monroe County. Even though they remained in North Chili for the remainder of their lives, the Devans often returned to Hopwood for visits. John died at the age of 61 on Oct. 3, 1977. Lillian survived him by almost a quarter of a century. She passed into eternity on Feb. 24, 2003, at 84 years of age. They rest in North Chili Rural Cemetery.

Son Donald B. Devan ( ? -1937) served in the U.S. military. In 1932, he was assigned to Fort Clayton, Panama. Then circa 1936-1937, he was a corporal in the 12th United States Infantry, 8th Division, and was stationed at Fort Howard, MD. Tragically, on New Year's Day 1937, he and another soldier were killed in West Friendship, MD "when their automobile left the road near here, overturned and crashed into a tree and a culvert," reported the Uniontown Morning Herald. His remains were returned home for burial in Hopwood, with members of the American Legion post attending the funeral service.


Devan brothers Frank, John & Fred in Hopwood, ca. 1930


~ Daughter Mary Ann "Mollie" (Devan) West ~

Mary Ann "Mollie" Devan (1883-1963) was born in December 1883. 

She married George West (1889-1949), son of John and Larene (Jaynes) West of Wheeler near Connellsville, Fayette County. 

They had five children: Bessie McMillen, Charles West, Edwin West, George West and Mary Alice Hurley. 

They resided in Hopwood and were members of the Hopwood Methodist Church. George earned a living over the years with the H.C. Frick Coke Company and was a member of the Kyle local of the United Mine Workers of America. Their home is said to have contained "a big kitchen sink with a hand pump for water."

Sadly, George passed away on March 29, 1949 at the age of 69. The Uniontown Morning Herald noted in an obituary that he had endured "an extended illness" and that he was a "member of a pioneer Fayette county family." Rev. John Lambertson, their former pastor at the Hopwood Methodist Church, led the funeral service. 

Mollie outlived him by 14 years. During her final illness, she made her home with her married daughter Mary Alice Hurley in Washington, Washington County, PA. She died in the Hurley home at the age of 79 on Oct. 16, 1963. Her remains were sent to Uniontown's Minerd Funeral Home, with Rev. Seth Bower officiating at the funeral. Burial was in Hopwood Cemetery.

Daughter Bessie West ( ? -1971) was born in Hopwood. She married Leo McMillen ( ? -1965). They had three children -- Nellie Bonnis, Gail Raffle and Glenn McMillen. They relocated in 1950 to Tucson, AZ, where they spent the rest of their lives. George died in 1965 in Tucson, and Bessie followed him to the grave on Feb. 27, 1971 at the home of her daughter Nellie Bonnis in Bagdad, AZ. The funeral was held in Tucson.

Son Charles Laclair West (1905-1974) was born in about 1905 in Hopwood. For a quarter of a century, he labored as a coal miner in the Hopwood area and at one time owned his own mine. He also was a construction inspector for the Pennsylvania State School Board. He married Viola Rebecca White ( ?-1973) and they had two children -- Ward Lee West and Betty Claire Allen. The Wests were members of the Hopwood United Methodist Church, and their home was along the National Pike East in Hopwood. Sadly, Viola died on Nov. 29, 1973. Charles survived her by just a few months, and succumbed on March 7, 1974. Following a funeral service in the Minerd Funeral Home, with Rev. Robert E. Miller officiating, he was interred in Hopwood Cemetery.

Son Edwin Wilfred West resided in Uniontown in 1963 and by 1971 was in Perryopolis, Fayette County.

Son George Allen West dwelled in 1963 in Johnstown, Cambria County, PA and in 1971 in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, PA.

Daughter Mary Alice West married Jack Hurley. In the early 1960s, she lived in Washington, PA. By 1971, the Hurleys relocated to Harrisburg, Dauphin County, PA.


Copyright 2014-2015, 2018 Mark A. Miner