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Sadie 'Pearl' (Firestone) Calhoun


Sarah "Pearl" (Firestone) Calhoun, also known as "Sadie," was born in June 1884 in Fayette County, PA, the daughter of Lewis and Sarah Ann (Rose) Firestone.

At age 20, on Jan. 23, 1905, Pearl entered into wedlock with 26-year-old laborer Andrew Calhoun (1879?-1968), the son of William and Lucinda "Cindy" (Easter) Calhoun of Bullskin Township near Connellsville, Fayette County. At the time of marriage, Andrew lived in Bullskin. Pearl, who never learned how to read or write, signed her marriage license with an "X." 

The couple was childless.

In 1910, the federal census shows the Calhouns making their home in Connellsville Borough, with Andrew employed as a railroad brakeman. Residing just a few doors away was Pearl's distant cousin Charles Arthur Younkin and his wife and young family. 

Their whereabouts in 1920 have not yet been located.

The Calhouns resided in Pittsburgh's North Side circa 1929-1930. Andrew's work in 1930, as shown by the census record, was factory laborer.

When Pearl's mother died in 1929, the widowed father was left alone in his home, "physically incapacitated and receiving little or no attention," Andrew wrote. The father allegedly asked Andrew to provide for his well-being and gave assurance that he would receive "ample compensation." Andrew quit his job building fences on a nearby farm, and together with Pearl spent a significant amount of time at the Firestone home handling the elderly man's "physical requirements." 

They remained for two months, from May 10, 1929 to July 10, 1929. But Andrew frequently was drunk, and the father-in-law did not want him there, and at one point a grandchild was instructed to take him away.

Sadie's father died on Jan. 18, 1930, at age 96, in Connellsville State Hospital. Not yet having received the promised compensation, Andrew presented a $200 bill to the estate, which was being administered by Sadie's brothers Austin Firestone and Grant Firestone, as "wages for work and nursing." The brothers objected, and the matter was taken to court. The matter was settled on April 30, 1931, when the Orphans Court rejected the claim.

Sadie eventually received a payment of $115.09 as a bequest from her father's estate.

By 1941, Sadie was back in Connellsville, and remained there at least until 1958. 

More heartache shook the couple in 1950, when Sadie filed charges of assault and battery with intent to rape against Elgie Geary of Vanderbilt, Fayette County. Geary was freed from the charges in a grand jury ruling in Fayette County in May 1950. In March 1955, her right wrist was severely lacerated by a broken milk bottle, requiring emergency treatment at Connellsville State Hospital.

The couple's address in the late 1960s was at 1216 Howard Street, Pittsburgh.

Andrew suffered toward the end of his life with blockages of the heart. He was admitted to Allegheny General Hospital, and died there on Oct. 25, 1968. Interment of the remains was in Allegheny Cemetery. A brief obituary was printed in the Pittsburgh Press.

Pearl appears to have outlived her spouse by eight years. Death swept her away at age 91 on Nov. 22, 1976.


Copyright 2004, 2013, 2020 Mark A. Miner