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Norman Firestone


Norman Firestone was born in about 1855 in Somerset County, PA, the son of George and Catherine "Katie" (Younkin) Firestone.

He married Mary Ellen Gates (1860-1902), a native of Maryland and the daughter of Jacob S. and Adaline Gates.

They produced four children -- Simon Firestone, Sabina Firestone, George Ross Firestone and one unknown.

When the 1880 federal census enumeration was made, the young family lived next door to Norman's parents in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County, with Norman earning a living as a farm hand.

Norman and Mary Ellen were named in the last will of Norman's father, written in the summer of 1886. The father's exact words were: "I give and bequeath after my death to Mary Firestone and her hears so long as she is the wife of Norman Firestone and keeps his name and if he Norman Firestone dies before his wife Mary then the property one half of the Glade Farm the south end with the buildings there on...." Norman also was paid $5 from the estate.

Tragedy shook the Firestone family when Norman succumbed on Dec. 16, 1889, at the age of 34, just nine days shy of Christmas. The cause, and his burial site, are unknown. As a young widow, Mary Ellen continued to resided in Lower Turkeyfoot. She applied to the County of Somerset for "out-door relief," stating that she had four young mouths to feed, and she received a payment of $32 for support, with a notice published in the Somerset Herald.

On March 12, 1893, at the age of 33, Mary Ellen married again to 22-year-old laborer Thomas William Hartzell (Jan. 1871-1949), son of Melciah and Anna (Johnston) Hartzell of Somerset County. The groom was 11 years younger than the bride. Performing the nuptials at the residence of Edward Lingenfield was justice of the peace Z.L. Tannehill. (Coincidentally, Mary Ellen's brother in law James Wesley Burkholder was wedded to Thomas' sister Jennie Hartzell.)

They resided in Moyer, Fayette County, PA and produced two more children -- Estella G. "Stella" Cole and James Henry Hartzell. Later, they moved to Lemont Furnace near Uniontown. Thomas worked as a brickmaker.

Sadly, Mary Ellen passed away just four days before Christmas 1902, at the age of 42. The cause of her passing is not known and may be lost to history. The widowed Thomas found work in the lumbering business and made his home in Humbert, Somerset County in the early 1900s.


Percy Church, where Thomas Hartzell rests

On May 26, 1904, at the age of 33, Thomas married again to 27-year-old Elizabeth "Lizzie" Ayers (1877- ? ), daughter of Lewis and Emma Ayers. The ceremony was held in Ursina, Somerset County by the hand of justice of the peace H.D. Altfather. Lizzie brought these children to the marriage -- Mary Esther (Ayers) Butler (born 1894), Oran "Ornie" Hartzell (1900) and Charles W. Hartzell (1902-1949). The couple went on to produce these additional five children -- Bessie Bell (born 1904), Myrtle Hart Herring (1906), Anna Morrow Rizer (1908), Margaret Dumbauld (1911) and Maxwell R. Hartzell (1918).

The combined family lived in 1910 in the coal patch town of Mt. Braddock, near Uniontown, where Thomas labored as a coke drawer at the coke works. By 1920, now in Dunbar, Fayette County, Thomas worked in a local coal mine with his sons James, Oran (machinist) and Charles.

He endured heart disease and hardening of the arteries and died in Lemont Furnace just a few weeks before his 79th birthday on Dec. 19, 1949. Daughter Stella Cole, living in Lemont Furnace, signed the certificate of death. In an ironic twist, less than 12 hours after Thomas' passing, his son Charles W. Hartzell also died, of a heart attack, at the age of 47. The father's funeral service was held at Burhans Funeral Home in Dunbar, with burial in Percy Cemetery, while the son's was at the family residence, followed by interment in Sylvan Heights Cemetery in Uniontown.

~ Son Simon Firestone II ~

Son Simon Firestone (1878-1926) was born on May 23, 1878 (or 1880) in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County. More then likely he was named for an uncle who lost his life in the Civil War.

Simon II was a farm laborer over the years.

He married Flora K. (?). They lived in Normalville, Fayette County.

Stricken with typhoid fever at the age of 47, he was admitted to Connellsville State Hospital, where he died on March 26, 1928. Interment was in Normalville Cemetery. A one-paragraph obituary in the Connellsville Weekly Courier noted that "A Widow and one daughter survive."


~ Daughter Sabina Firestone ~

Daughter Sabina Firestone (1880- ? ) was born in May 1880 in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County.

Her paper trail has gone cold.


~ Son George "Ross" Firestone ~

Son George Ross Firestone (1882-1951) was born on April 2, 1882 in Somerset County. He could not write and earned a living as a lumberman when a young man.

He was wedded twice. His first bride was Emma Cramer ( ? -1903), the daughter of Messmore and Nancy Cramer. They were wed on April 28, 1901, when he was age 20 and she 21, with the news of their engagement published in the Meyersdale Republican. Justice of the peace H.D. Moore officiated, with the wedding held in Metzler, PA.

During their brief marriage, they produced twin sons -- Oscar Firestone and Orville Firestone.

Sadly, Emma passed away in 1903. The details of her untimely passing are not known.

After about three years of widowerhood, George married again, on Feb. 21, 1906, to Emma Nedrow ( ? - ? ). She was the daughter of John and Annie Nedrow, and at the time of their nuptials lived in Jones Mills, Westmoreland County. Rev. J.C. Cunningham led the wedding service, at Ursina, Somerset County.

They were dairy farmers and resided in rural Jefferson Township near Somerset, Somerset County.

The couple bore another 10 offspring -- Donald Firestone, Merle Firestone, Paul L. Firestone, Hillard Firestone, Leo Firestone, Lloyd Firestone, Gertrude Bittner, Dorothy Gardner, Golden Mayne Walthoun and Gayla Boley.

Suffering from a heart blockage, George died at the age of 69 on May 29, 1951. Interment was in Somerset County Memorial Park, with Rev. M.J. Brougher and Rev. W.F. Berkebile officiating at the funeral held at the Somerset Church of the Brethren. An obituary appeared in the Somerset Daily American.

Emma spent the rest of her life in Berlin and endured the death of her stepson Orville in 1970.

Son Oscar Firestone (1901- ? ) was born on March 15, 1901 in Glade, Somerset County, a twin with his brother Orville. He resided in Scottdale, Fayette County, PA in 1951-1970. He was deceased by 1977.


Orville Firestone

Son Orville Firestone (1901-1970) was born on March 15, 1901 in Glade, Somerset County, a twin with his brother Oscar. He was about age two when his moher died. Orville was united in holy matrimony with a cousin, Dessie R. Burkholder (1903-1998), daughter of Charles R. and Ida (Steyer) Burkholder of Mill Run, of the family of James Wesley and Harriet (Firestone) Burkholder. They bore a family of five children, among them Kenneth E. Firestone, Charles R. Firestone, Dwight L. Firestone, Gerald N. "Jerry" Firestone and Emma Lou Pletcher. In about 1925, the Firestones relocated to Mill Run, Fayette County and remained for the rest of their lives. Orville spent 23 years working in local coal mines and was a longtime member of the United Mine Workers of America.


Infant son's obituary, 1930

Heartache cascaded over the family in 1930 when four-month-old son Kenneth died, with funeral services held at the United Brethren Church and burial in Indian Creek Baptist Church Cemetery. When ill health forced him to quit work, Orville found other ways to make a living, including serving as a custodian at the Mill Run School house and driving a school bus for Springfield Township. They were members of the Mill Run United Methodist Church and members of the Gleaners Sunday School Class. In the spring of 1970, while at home, the 69-year-old Orville suffered a major stroke. He was admitted to Connellsville State General Hospital, but no recovery was possible. He succumbed to death there the next day, April 29, 1970. Dessie survived her spouse by more than a quarter of a century. The Grim Reaper carried her away in 1998.

  • Grandson Charles R. Firestone (1928-2008) was born on Jan. 31, 1908. He married Geraldine Faye Pritts (1928-2015). They were the parents of Charles Denver Firestone and Vicki Jean Firestone. The family lived in Connellsville in 1970. He died as a patient in Excela Health Frick Hospital in Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County, PA at the age of 80 on March 31, 2008. Rev. Thomas Bonomo led the funeral service, with burial at Normalville Cemetery.
  • Grandson Dwight L. "D.L." Firestone (1932-2012) was born on Jly 31, 1932 in Mill Run. He never married and resided in Mill Run. Dwight served in the U.S. Armed Forces during the Korean War and was deployed for a time in Germany. Later, he belonged to the U.S. Army Reserves and was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion. In the 1980s, Dwight was employed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. For 24 years, he was self-employed as a trucking company owner and operator, afiliated with Aero Trucking in Murrysville. He also earned a living working for Mastowski Lumber in Normalville and for Columbia - Northwest - A Liner in Kecksburg. At times, he delivered camping trailers across the country, and retired in 2009 at the age of 77. Active in the community, he was president and member of the Springfield Township Volunteer Fire Company, a member of the Indian Creek Valley Lions Club, board chair of the Mill Run United Methodist Church and central committeeman for the Republican Party. At the age of 80, Dwight passed away in Pittsburgh on Aug. 8, 2012. He rests for all time in the Indian Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in Mill Run. An obituary was published in the Uniontown Herald Standard.
  • Grandson Gerald N. "Jerry" Firestone established a home in Scottdale. He was there circa 2020.
  • Granddaughter Emma Lou Firestone (1926-2020) was born on May 16, 1926 in Mill Run, Fayette County. She was united in the bonds of matrimony with Calvin "Alec" Pletcher ( ? -1993). The couple produced three sons -- Roger Pletcher, William Pletcher and Scott Pletcher. Reported the Connellsville Daily Courier, "After graduating from school, Emmalou worked at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Later, she worked for Fox’s Paint and Glass Store in Connellsville. Emmalou retired from the Connellsville Area School District, where she worked in the administrative office. Emmalou was a member of the Mill Run United Methodist Church. She had a variety of interests, which included making afghans for her family members and doing puzzles in the winter months. Emmalou loved to sit and watch the birds and deer that visited her yard." Circa 1970, they dwelled in Normalville. She was carried away by the Angel of Death at the age of 94 on Aug. 21, 2020. Pastor Randy Newell officiated at the funeral service, with interment of the remains in the Indian Creek Baptist Church Cemetery. In an obituary, the family asked that any memorial donations be made to the Mill Run United Methodist Church or to Meals on Wheels.


Son Donald C. Firestone (1909-1977) was born on July 18, 1909 in Somerset County. He resided in Somerset and was joined in holy wedlock with Grace E. Custer ( ? - ? ). The couple produced these children -- Donald G. Firestone, Robert R. Firestone, Eileen Alexander and one who died young. They were longtime members of the Somerset Church of the Nazarene. Circa 1970, they made a home in Geneva, OH, but by the mid-1970s moved back to Somerset and dwelled on West Fairview Street. Donald was involved in a two-vehicle automobile crash on April 8, 1977, when his vehicle was rear-ended by a truck, two miles south of Somerset. He seemed to be un-injured. Just a few hours later, however, while walking with Grace in front of the Knepper Insurance Agency, he collapsed and was rushed to Somerset Community Hospital. He succumbed there at the age of 67. Rev. Warren MacEachern led the funeral service, with burial in Somerset County Memorial Park. An obituary was published in the Somerset Daily American.

  • Grandson Donald G. Firestone lived in Geneva, OH in 1977.
  • Grandson Robert R. Firestone dwelled in the mid-1970s in Geneva, OH.
  • Granddaughter Eileen Firestone wedded (?) Alexander. Circa 1977, they resided in Geneva, OH.


Son Merle Firestone ( ? -1977) dwelled in Scottdale, Westmoreland County, PA in 1951-1970. He died in 1977.


Obituary, 1978
Son Paul L. Firestone (1915-1978) was born on Sept. 10, 1915 in Somerset County. He married Sara Pletcher ( ? - ? ). Their offspring were Sally Kay Firestone, Terry T. Firestone, William R. Firestone. They made their home on Green Street in southwest Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA. For 36 years, until retirement, Paul was employed at the Robertshaw Company plant in Youngwood, Westmoreland County. He was a member of the Church of the Brethren and of its Thilathea Sunday School class. Sadness enveloped the family in 1967 at the death of their daughter Sally Kay. Paul passed away at the age of 62 in Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg on June 9, 1978. Following funeral services at the Church of the Brethren in Greensburg, led by Rev. James V. D'Amico, his remains were lowered into eternal repose in the St. Clair Cemetery.


Son Hillard "Hill" Firestone ( ? - ? ) dwelled in Meyersdale, Somerset County in 1951, Charleroi, Washington County, PA in 1970 and in Berlin, Somerset County in 1978.


Son Leo F. Firestone ( ? - ? ) made his home in 1951-1978 in Youngwood, Westmoreland County.


Son Lloyd Firestone ( ? - ? ) resided for decades in Somerset, Somerset County.


Daughter Gertrude Firestone ( ? - ? ) was twice married. Her first spouse was (?) Pyle, and they made their residence in Somerset. Later, she wed again to Emerson "Emert" Bittner ( ? - ? ) and in 1970-1978 lived in Rockwood, Somerset County.


Daughter Dorothy Firestone ( ? - ? ) was joined in wedlock with George Gardner ( ? - ? ). In 1951-1978, they dwelled near Somerset, Somerset County.


Daughter Golden "Mayme" Firestone ( ? - ? ) was wedded to Kenneth Walthour (or "Walthrom") ( ? - ? ) and in 1970-1978 resided in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA.


Daughter Gayla Firestone ( ? - ? ) was united in matrimony with William Boley ( ? - ? ). They made their residence in Jeannette, Westmoreland County in 1951 and in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA in 1970-1978.



Lemont Furnace plant of H.C. Frick Coke


~ Mary Ann's Daughter Estella G. (Hartzell) Cole ~

Mary Ann's daughter Estella G. "Stella" Hartzell (1894-1983) was born on April 9, 1894, likely in Fayette County.


Coke oven laborer at the Lemont Furnace

She married Albert Franklin Cole (1885-1966), a native of Shady Grove near Uniontown.

The couple did not reproduce.

For decades, they lived in Lemont Furnace near Uniontown, where he labored as a coal miner for the H.C. Frick Coke Company.

At the age of 81, Albert died following "a prolonged illness," said the Uniontown Morning Herald. Burial was in Percy Cemetery, following funeral serviced officiated by Rev. Samuel P. Show and Rev. Elmer LaRew. An obituary in the Morning Herald noted that he was survived by half-brothers Ortho Livingston of Mt. Braddock, PA and Elzie Livingston of Bentleyville, PA.

Now widowed, Stella spent her final years in Markleysburg, Fayette County. She joined her husband in death in April 1983, at the age of about 89.


~ Mary Ann's Son James Henry Hartzell ~

Mary Ann's son James Henry Hartzell (1896-1961) was born on March 24, 1896 in Moyer, Fayette County.

He married Daisy Mae Vance ( ? - ? ).

They moved in about 1924 to Grindstone, Fayette County, where James earned a living as a coal miner and electrician at the Colonial No. 3 and 4 mines of the H.C. Frick Coke Company. Theirs' was house 211 at the Colonial No. 4 mine. They belonged to the Grindstone First Christian Church, and he was a member of the United Mine Workers of America.

Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for two decades, added to pneumonia and heart disease, James died at the age of 65 on April 21, 1961. Interment was in Lafayette Memorial Park in Brier Hill, west of Uniontown. An obituary in the Uniontown Morning Herald confirmed that his parents were "Thomas and Mary Hartzell."


Copyright 2015-2017, 2020 Mark A. Miner

Research for this page graciously shared by the late Olive Duff, the late Donna (Younkin) Logan and the late Joseph Warren Thomas III.