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Jesse Gomer
Also spelled "Gaumer" (1835-1925)


Gomers' grave, Temple/St. John's Methodist Church

Jesse Gomer -- originally spelled "Gaumer" -- was born on Feb. 2 or Feb. 6, 1835 in Southampton Township, Somerset County, PA, the son of Charles and Sarah "Sally" (Shoemaker) Gaumer. He was a veteran of the Civil War whose six months of wartime service caused more than six decades of pain and suffering.

As a young man, Jesse was a farmer. He stood 5 feet, 7 inches tall, weighed 130 lbs, and had a fair complexion, light hair and brown eyes. His name also was spelled "Jessie."

Jesse married Malinda Kendall (April 1850-1929).

Their children, born between 1870 and 1889, were Wilson Gomer, Sarah Anne Keefer Kindall, Ezra Mannassa Gomer, Rachel Missouri Shoemaker, Charles Edward Gaumer, Ida Belle Atchison, Cora Alice Shoemaker, James G. Gaumer, Earl Gaumer and Mary P. Gaumer. (These names are taken directly from a handwritten list made during Malinda's lifetime, but with spellings used by each individual in adulthood.)

During the Civil War, on Oct. 24, 1862, Jesse was drafted to serve in the 171st Pennsylvania Drafted Militia. He was assigned to Company H, and joined the regiment in Cumberland, MD. Also serving in this regiment, in Company K, were distant cousins Henry A. Miner and Charles Rose, also of Somerset County.

On April 20, 1863, while the regiment was in North Carolina, he contracted typhoid fever and "cerebro spinal meningitis," breaking out in "fever sores." His right arm became partially paralyzed. He was treated in Stanley General Hospital in New Berne, NC. He was so ill that he was discharged from the Army two months later, on June 20.

Back home in July 1863, Jesse contacted Dr. John P. Cover for a consultation. Dr. Cover found him "suffering greatly" and followed his case for many years. Other physicians who examined him said his "brain seems sluggish ... he is slow to answer [questions]."


Cumberland, MD during the Civil War -- Harper's Weekly, Oct. 20, 1866


Jesse returned home to Somerset County and resumed farming. He and Malinda were married several years later, but sources differ on the actual date. Various papers provide four different dates -- June 1867, March 1868, Nov. 13, 1868 or June 1870. Jesse was 15 years older than his bride. Justice of the peace James Devore performed the ceremony, held at Kennells Mill, near Hyndman, Bedford County, PA. Recalling this event later in life, she said, "At the time of ... marriage in Pa, no marriage license was required, therefore no public record of [the] marriage exists."

The federal census enumerations of 1870 and 1880 show the couple living on a farm in Southampton Township, Somerset County, near the post office of Wellersburg in 1870. They were longtime and faithful members of the White Oak Evangelical Church.

Circa 1888-1890, they resided in Wittenberg, Somerset County. Jesse was counted among Civil War veterans in special census of 1890 and disclosed that he had "paralysis in right arm."

Malinda lost her eyesight as she aged. Jesse once wrote, "My wife is blind and can't see to do no work." They needed to pay someone to help with housework, baking and cooking. A friend said she "is blind and uneducated. Can not read or rite."

Circa 1909-1921, Jesse resided along Rody Road in rural Sand Patch, Larimer Township, Somerset County. He suffered from impaired vision and hearing, stiff knees, deformed right hand and incontinence. After examining Jesse in 1921, a surgeon wrote: "I have known Jesse Gaumer for about 40 years and he has been an invalid all this time. He has all appearance of one who was grossly neglected after if not during a severe illness... He cannot descend the steps from the house for daily purposes."


The Sand Patch community, near where the Gomers lived in the early 1900s


Alzheimers apparently set in. Another neighbor, justice of the peace J.L. Kendall, observed that Jesse "frequently wanders from his home, necessitating search for him... It is unsafe for him to be alone at any time."

Family friend Benjamin F. Pogue is known to have lived under the Gomers' roof for many years. The Gomers "held him in the highest esteem," said the Meyersdale Republican, and "was well liked by all who knew him..." Pogue died there on Christmas Day 1904, at the age of 50, having suffered from pneumonia.

By 1915, Jesse noted that his eldest son Wilson and youngest daughter Mary were dead, but dates are not known.

Jesse and Malinda were sued in May 1915, along with their daughter Alice Shoemaker and sons James and Earl and their spouses, by merchant John Thomas. Reported the Republican, "Counsellor John M. Smith represented the plaintiff and Squire J.L. Kendall of Larimer in the defendants. The forensic context between these two eminent barristers was spectacular and fierce, at times, and the trial as interesting as a vaudeville show. Thomas sued for the price of goods he alleged the Gomer family had bought and neglected to pay for, and got judgment."

At the Memorial Day holiday in 1916, Jesse was one of four local Civil War veterans to take part in services held at the Lutheran and Evangelical churches and veterans' graves decoration in the adjacent cemeteries. About 350 people attended, with music furnished by the Wittenburg Band.

Jesse finally passed away at home near Glencoe, Somerset County, at the age of 90, on Nov. 4, 1925. He was just three months shy of his 91st birthday. Funeral services were held in the Gomers' church, led by Rev. M.V.B. DeVaux and Dr. H.C. McKinley. DeVaux's sermon featured commentary about "Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, and the great debate between Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas," reported the Meyersdale Republican, "and of the early manhood, bravery, courage and faithfulness of Jesse Gomer as a soldier of the Civil War from 1861 to 1865." McKinley, who "sat back of the pulpit with Rev. DeVaux," made remarks "which tuched the hearts of all present. He told of Jesse Gaumer's soldier life, after which he read the solemn touching ritual of the Grand Army of the Republic as used at the funerals of old soldiers." The Republican added that he was survived by four sons and two daughters and that a son and three daughters had "preceded him to the grave." His remains were buried at Temple Cemetery, also known as White Oak Evangelical Church and St. John's Methodist Church, about four miles from Meyersdale, Somerset County.  [Find-a-Grave]

After his death, Malinda had no source of support, and decided to apply to the government for her late husband's pension. This task was quite difficult, said friend Kendall, because "all papers relative to pensions were strayed, lost or stolen, she can not say." Fortunately, her application was approved, and she began receiving $40 a month, later increased to $50.

By March 1926, Malinda had moved into the home farm of son Earl near Frostburg, Allegany County, MD. A friend wrote, "She does not live in the town of Frostburg but a little ways outside of the town limits, and not on any R.F.D. Route." She apparently suffered a stroke, as she was paralyzed for about a year prior to death.

Malinda passed away on May 13, 1929. She rests in eternal sleep next to her husband.


Above: Temple/White Oak Evangelical/St. John's Methodist Church and cemetery where the Gomers sleep. Below: detail of the church building dating to 1877.


~ Son Wilson Gomer ~

Son Wilson Gomer (1867- ? ) was born in about 1867 in Somerset County, PA.

In about 1888, when he would have been about 21 years old, Wilson was united in the bonds of matrimony with 18-or-19-year-old Ida Albright (Oct. 5, 1867-1940), daughter of Jonathan and Julia Ann (Hutzell) Albright of Meyersdale.

The couple bore 11 children. In what must have been a never ending parade of heartache and grief, four died by 1900, and eight by 1910. The known names were J. James Gomer, Rose Marie Gomer, Malinda "Linnie" Gomer and Zura Shumaker.


Wittenburg village, where Wilson Gomer moved in about 1909

Wilson earned a living over the years as a farmer and coal miner. In 1907-1908, while making a home in the small community of Berkeley Mills, he was employed in the Goodtown coal mine. One day at work in January 1908, he "narrowly escaped death" in the mine, reported the Meyersdale Republican. "He had just finished loading a car and was in the act of pushing it to the heading when several tons of roof fell down, and but for having sufficient presence of mind to crouch close beneath the sloping sides of the car, thus breaking the force of the fall, it is said he might not have escaped with his life. As it was he received some ugly cuts and bruises on the back of his head."

As Wilson recovered from his injuries, he felt that a change of scenery might be good. He told a newspaper reporter that he was considering selling out and moving to the eastern shore of Maryland, so as to "avoid this dangerous occupation" of mining. And in fact, in February 1909, he sold his home at Berkeley Mills to George Tedrow, and relocated not to Maryland but rather to a farm near Wittenberg in Larimer Township on the outskirts of Meyersdale, Somerset County. The Republican said their new home was "in the land of their nativity."

The family is shown in Larimer in the 1910 U.S. Census, and a gossip column item about Ida, Rose and Malinda in the Republican in 1911 states their home location as "Plum Bottom."


Ida's grave, Temple/St. John's Methodist

Wilson is believed to have died by 1915, as per notes of his father's. There is some discrepancy, as circa 1925, a "Wilson Gomer" of Somerset County is known to have secured more substantial employment in an automobile factory in Detroit. After he had become settled there, his wife joined him in about July 1925. Who was he?

The widowed Ida dwelled with her newlywed son James in Masontown, Fayette County in 1920, and in Keystone Junction in 1923, and then by 1930 was back in Meyersdale, living by herself.

In her later years, Ida boarded in the home of her sister Mrs. Joseph Beal at 235 North Street in or around Meyersdale. Suffering from hypertension and heart disease, she died there on May 23, 1940. Preaching the funeral sermon was Rev. H.K. Hilner of the Zion Lutheran Church, with interment of the remains in Temple Cemetery near White Oak. An obituary was published in the Republican.

Son J. James Gomer (1891- ? ) was born in about 1891. As of 1910, when he was 19, he labored on his father's farm. He married Florence (1895- ? ). The couple migrated to Masontown, Fayette County, PA, where James mined coal as of 1920. That year, his widowed mother and sisters Rose Marie, Malinda and Zura lived in their household. He is believed to have lived in Akron, OH in 1940.

Daughter Rose Marie Gomer (1903-1923) was born on April 6, 1903. Rose Marie was "badly burned when 6 yrs. old," wrote a physician, Henry S. Kimmell, MD, "losing her nose, sight of one eye & greatly disfugured." At the age of 20, in 1923, she shared a home with her parents and was burdened with heart valve problems. On the fateful early morning hours of Nov. 5, 1923, she was found dead in bed. Funeral services were held in the Gomer home, led by Rev. A.F. Richards of the Meyersdale Evangelical Church. She was laid to eternal rest in Temple Cemetery, with an obituary published in the Meyersdale Republican.


Gomer graves at Temple/St. John's -- L-R: Bertha (1900), Jessie (1899), Erwin (1902), Unknown. To which sets of parents do they belong?


Daughter Malinda Gomer (1906-1929) was born on March 31, 1906 or March 30, 1906 in Somerset County, the 11th of her parents' children. Dr. H.C. McKinley assisted in the birth. Malinda contracted epilepsy and never married. In early adulthood, she was admitted to the Somerset County Home and Hospital for treatment, under the care of Dr. Henry Wilson of Somerset. She died there on Feb. 26, 1929, at the age of 20 (or 23) years, 10 months and 28 days. Interment of the remains was in White Oak Cemetery.

Daughter Zura Gomer (1913-1980) was born in about 1913 in Wittenburg, Somerset County. She married Harvey William Shumaker Sr. ( ? -1995), a native of Rockwood, Somerset County and the son of L.R. and Jane (Landis) Shumaker. In about 1935, they relocated to Akron, Summit County, OH, where he obtained employment with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The couple bore two known children -- Harvey W. Shumaker Jr. and Roberta Rodenbucher. The Shumakers remained in Akron/Portage for 45 years and belonged to the Cathedral of Tomorrow. During the Korean War, when their son Harvey was in the U.S. Marines, he wrote that his feet had been frostbitten and that he might have to undergo amputation. Their address in 1980 was 1267 Woodland Drive. She passed into eternity at the age of 67 on April 15, 1980. Rev. John P. Seskes presided at the funeral service, with the remains lowered under the sod at Hillside Memorial Park. An obituary was published in the Akron Beacon Journal. Harvey outlived his bride by 15 years. Death cut him away at the age of 85 on Aug. 29, 1995. His funeral was led by Rev. Howard D. Powell. In a Beacon Journal obituary, the family asked that any memorial donations be made to Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders of Akron.

  • Grandson Harvey William Shumaker Jr. (1931-2012) was born on Oct. 1, 1931 in Meyersdale, Somerset County. He migrated with his parents to Akron as a boy. Upon graduation from high school, he received a bachelor's degree from Kent State University. During the Korean War, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1950 to 1953 as a member of Company H of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Regiment, 1st Division. He was in combat at Inchon, Seoul and Chosen Reservoir. His feet became frostbitten, and there was some talk of the potential for amputation. He wrote to his parents in March 1951, published in the Meyersdale Republican, stating that "I am one of three men left out of my squad that isn't wounded. The dirty Chinese left us walk into a valley and then about 9 o'clock, when we were in our sleeping bags, and thought we were in a safe place, they attacked us. I spent the whole night without any shoes, but luckily I had four pairs of socks on and I wasn't harmed too seriously." After the war, he became an educator, teaching history and English at Coventry and Hudson High Schools. Over time, he was involved with Marine combat veteran organizations and enjoyed attending reunions. Harvey loved to read and was a supporter of the Kent Free Library. He also was a history and genealogy buff and belonged to several historical societies. Sadly, at the age of 80, Harvey died on March 19, 2012. He received burial with military rites at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman. An obituary was published in the Akron Beacon Journal.
  • Granddaughter Roberta Shumaker married (?) Rodenbucher. They were the parents of Steve Rodenbucher, Joe Rodenbucher, Jackie Rodenbucher and Sheri Combs. In 1980, she resided in Suffield, OH. By 1995, having gone back to her maiden name, she was in Mogadore, and in 2012 in Akron.


~ Daughter Sarah Anne "Sadie" (Gomer) Keefer Kindall ~

Daughter Sarah Anne "Sadie" Gomer (1869-1918) was born on April 25, 1869 in Somerset County, PA.

She was twice-wed. Her first spouse was David Keefer (Sept. 1863- ? ).

The known children born to this union were Wilson Keefer, Jesse Ezra Keefer, Anna Logan, Bertha Keefer, Goldie Stockton, George Keefer, Daisy Keefer and Elmer Keefer.

David earned a living as a day laborer.

The Keefers separated by 1900, with the children remaining in David's custory. Circa 1900, he and the offspring lived together near Sand Patch, Larimer Township, Somerset County, with 19-year-old house keeper Maggie Waller in the household.

Sarah's second husband was Lemuel B. Kindall (1868- ? ), also spelled "Kendall."

The second marriage appears to have been troubled. Sarah moved out in early 1907 and began to share a home with Lewis Martin in Fairchance, Fayette County. Lemuel then placed a notice in the Uniontown Morning Herald, saying she had "left my bed and board, without cause, [and] I hereby notify the public not to harbor or trust her on my account." Sarah and Martin were arrested and charged with adultery, and assessed court costs of more than $50. A friend of the pair, living in Dunbar, came forward and paid the costs on their behalf.

Federal census records for 1910 show the 42-year-old Lemuel boarding in the home of William and Sarah Swearingen in Dunbar, Fayette County, and earning a living as a coal mine laborer.

In the late 1910s, she resided in Mount Braddock near Uniontown.

Sadly, she was burdened with fibroids in her uterus which led to cystitis and kidney infection. After suffering for more than three months, she succumbed to death in Mount Braddock on July 13, 1918 at the age of 49. Funeral services were held in their home, led by a distant cousin, Rev. David Ewing Minerd, the famed "Blacksmith Preacher" of Fayette County. Her remains were shipped to Connellsville and thence to the home of her parents for additional services. Interment was in Temple Cemetery in Meyersdale, Somerset County. An obituary was printed in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Son Wilson Keefer (1887- ? ) was born in Aug. 1887. He lived in Marietta, Washington County, OH in 1918.

Son Jesse Ezra Keefer (1887-1945) was born on Sept. 3, 1887 in Connellsville. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I as a member of the 145th Regular Infantry. He was united in matrimony with Rose Drenner (1899-1963). They were the parents of Raymond Edward Keefer, William James Keefer, Genevieve Moore, Evelyn Dolores "Tiny" Fincham, Mary Boykin Curran, Robert Keefer and Charles David Keefer. Jesse made a living as a coal miner for Castle Coal Company. In the mid-1949s, his address was House 243, Coverdale, near Pittsburgh. Grief blanketed the family when he suffered a fatal heart attack and collapsed at the corner of Maple and Main Streets in Bethel Township on June 1, 1945 at the age of only 48. His remains were interred in Chartiers Cemetery in Carnegie, near Pittsburgh. His year of birth as marked on his gravestone is 1896, off by nine years. Perhaps reflecting his parents' separation, Rose was unable to name the mother on Jesse's death certificate. Rose outlived her husband by 18 years, with her final address 2822 Pine Street in the Bethel Park suburb of Pittsburgh. She died on Feb. 17, 1963, with a death notice printed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

  • Grandson Raymond Edward Keefer was deceased by 2003.
  • Grandson William "James" Keefer was deceased by 2003.
  • Granddaughter Genevieve Keefer wedded (?) Moore. She was deceased by 2003.
  • Granddaughter Evelyn Dolores Keefer (1926-2003) was born on Aug. 30, 1926. She married Robert E. Fincham Sr. ( ? - ? ). The couple bore a son, Robert E. Fincham Jr. The family made a home in Bethel Park near Pittsburgh. Evelyn died at the age of 76 on Feb. 5, 2003. Interment was in Jefferson Memorial Park Mausoleum, and a death notice appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • Granddaughter Mary Keefer was joined in wedlock with (?) Boykin and later to (?) Curran..
  • Grandson Robert Keefer was deceased by 2003.
  • Grandson Charles David Keefer was alive and named in his sister Evelyn's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette death notice in 2003.

Daughter M. Bertha Keefer (1889-1980) was born in Aug. 1889. She dwelled in 1918 in Layton, PA. She was joined in the bonds of marriage with William H. Whiffen (1892-1970). The couple made their home in Mesa, Maricopa County, AZ. William died on June 29, 1970. Bertha survived for another decade-plus. She joined in him in death on Dec. 9, 1980. They are buried in the City of Mesa Cemetery.

Daughter Anna Mae Keefer (1890-1959) was born on May 15, 1890 in Somerset County. She was married twice. She first wedded (?) Logan/Logue. The couple produced one known son, James Logue. Their home in 1918 was in Garrett, Somerset County. Later, she was joined in wedlock with Norman Boden ( ? - ? ). Children of the second union were Mrs. John Boden, Clifford Boden and Arthur Boden, among others. The couple lived in Bobtown, Greene County, PA at 164 Larimer Avenue. Sadly, at the age of 68, Anna Mae was stricken with pancreatitis. She was admitted to Greene County Memorial Hospital, where she succumbed on Feb. 16, 1959. Interment was in Greene County Memorial Park, with an obituary published in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

  • Grandson James Logue lived in Point Marion, Fayette County in 1959.
  • Granddaughter (?) wedded John Boden. Their home was in Bobtown, Greene County in 1959.
  • Grandson Clifford Boden resided in 1959 in Bobtown.
  • Grandson Arthur Boden dwelled circa 1959 in Greensboro, Greene County.

Daughter Goldie Keefer married (?) Stockton. They made a residence in Mount Braddock in 1918 and in Uniontown in 1959-1965.

Son George Keefer ( ? - ? )

Daughter Daisy Belle Keefer ( ? -1965) was born on Sept. 22, 1908. She wedded James Reggie Harrison Twigg Sr. (1897-1973), son of William H. and Eliza (Leasure) Twigg of Bedford County, PA. Eight offspring were born to this union -- William Harrison Twigg, Irene Clites, Catherine Clites, Delores Juanita Welsh, Marion Kahl, Mrs. Gerald Steadman and James R. Twigg Jr. The couple lived in Cumberland, Allegany County, MD with their home along Hazel Road. James earned a living through his work at Welsh Flower Shop. They were members of the Elliott Methodist Church. Daisy Belle died at the age of 57, in a hospital in Baltimore, MD, on March 21, 1965. Funeral services were held in the family church, led by Rev. Joseph R. Gardiner, and burial was in the Centenary United Methodist Church Cemetery in Cumberland. A short obituary appeared in the Connellsville Daily Courier. James outlived his bride by eight-plus years. He passed into eternity in Sacred Heart Hospital in Cumberland on Oct. 30, 1973. He left behind 27 grandchildren and 35 great-grandchildren.

  • Grandson William Harrison Twigg (1928-1949) was born on Jan. 14, 1928. During World War II, he served as a private with the 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion. He died at the age of 21 on Feb. 16, 1949.
  • Granddaughter Irene Twigg married Clarence Clites. They lived in Hellan, PA in 1965.
  • Granddaughter Catherine Twigg wedded Woodrow Clites. They made a home in Hyndman, Bedford County, PA and in York, York County, PA.
  • Granddaughter Delores Juanita Twigg (1930-1980) was born in 1930. She was joined in matrimony with Ralph Leo Welsh (1921-1987). They dwelled in Valley Road, MD in 1965. The couple rests for all time in Sunset Memorial Park in Cumberland, MD.
  • Granddaughter Marion Twigg was united in wedlock with Edward Kahl. The couple established a residence in Richmond, VA.
  • Granddaughter Clara Twigg resided as a young woman in Powhatah, VA. She was joined in marital union with Gerald Steadman. The pair relocated to Richmond, VA.
  • Grandson James Reggie Twigg Jr. (1935-1981) was born on Feb. 22, 1935. He was in Richmond, VA in 1965. He passed into eternity on Aug. 14, 1981. His remains are interred in Washington Memorial Park in Sandston, Henrico County, VA.

Son Elmer Keefer ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). His story is lost to history for now.

~ Son Ezra Mannassa Gomer ~

Son Ezra Mannassa Gomer (1871-1958) was born in about 1871 in Southampton Township, Somerset County, PA. His name also has been spelled "Manezra."

On July 1, 1895, in a wedding held in the Presbyterian Church of Cumberland, Allegany County, MD, Ezra married Isabella Wilhelm (Jan. 12, 1879-1956), a native of Mt. Savage, MD.

The offspring born to this union were Walter James Gomer, Verda Hill, Leona Stevens Gallagher and Ivy Leidy.

Bird's eye view of Altoona, Pennsylvania

The Gomers are known to have resided in Everson, Fayette County circa 1903. Later, they moved to Juniata Township near Altoona, Blair County, PA. Ezra earned a living for 33 years as a conductor with the Pennsylvania Railroad and was a member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen lodge in Altoona. They belonged to the Methodist Church, and their address from 1911 to 1946 was 413 Sixth Street, Juniata.

After retirement from the Pennsy, Ezra worked as a caretaker for the First National Bank's Juniata branch.

In 1945, the couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary by hosting a dinner in their home followed by an open house. The event received publicity in the Altoona Tribune.

In about 1946, the Gomers relocated to Randolph, Portage County, OH, and remained for the duration of Isabell's life.

Sadly, after enduring a lingering illness, Isabell passed away in the home of her daughter Ivy Leidy in Suffield, OH on March 28, 1956. Her remains were returned to Altoona to rest in Grandview Cemetery.

Ezra outlived his wife by only two years. At the age of 86, he joined her in death on Jan. 17, 1958. Rev. Fenton of St. John Church preached the funeral sermon, which the family thought was kind and comforting. A short death notice was printed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Akron Beacon Journal. Later that week, the family took out an advertisement of thanks in the Beacon Journal to all who had shown support.

Son Walter James "Walt" Gomer ( ? -1989) was born on (?) in Scottdale, Fayette County, PA. Walter in young manhood lived and worked in Juniata, PA. On Sept. 10, 1924, in Cumberland, Allegany County, MD, he eloped to marry Martha Nearhoof ( ? -1985). The ceremony was officiated by Methodist pastor Rev. Schlinke, with a notice printed in the Altoona Tribune. Their marital union endured for six decades. The couple produced one daughter, Margie Wood. The Gomers spent their married lives in Akron, where he was employed in research and development by Goodyear Aereospace. Walter retired in 1968. He was a member of Zepplin Old Timers and the Winnebago Travelers. When the couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 1984, they were pictured in a story printed in the Akron Beacon Journal. Martha passed into eternity in 1985. Walter lived for another four years. Sadly, while on vacation in Nebraska, Walter died suddenly in the town of York at the age of 84 on Aug. 7, 1989. He was pictured in an obituary in the Beacon Journal, and the remains were interred in Hillside Memorial Park, following funeral services preached by Rev. Glenn Rogers.

  • Granddaughter Margie Gomer ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She wedded Wally Wood and made a home in 1989 in Springfield Township near Akron, OH. The children born to this union were Laura deForest and James Wood.

Daughter Verda May Gomer ( ? -1985) was born in (?). She was the mother of William Gomer. On Aug. 21, 1918, she was united in matrimony with Alvey H. Hill ( ? - ? ). The nuptials were held in the parsonage of the Hollidaysburg Methodist Episcopal Church, led by Rev. E.E. Harter. News of their marriage appeared in the Altoona (PA) Times, which said she was "well-fitted for her new life." The Hills first lived at 500 Second Street in Altoona, with Alvey employed by the Pittsburgh Division of a railroad. By 1956, they had relocated to Cleveland. After Alvey's death, the widowed Verda dwelled in Akron. She died in Lady Lake, FL in June 1985. An obituary was published in the Akron Beacon Journal.

  • Grandson William Gomer ( ? - ? )

Daughter Leona Gomer ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She first married D.R. Stevens. They established a home in Atwater, OH and are believed to have been the parents of Ray Stevens. In time, she married again to (?) Gallagher ( ? - ? ) and were in Mt. Dora, FL.

  • Grandson Ray Stevens married Barbara. They were in Florida in 2003.

Daughter Ivy Gomer (1903-2005) was born on Sept. 16, 1903 in Everson, Fayette County, PA. She was joined in marriage with Myrl Leidy (1905-1961). The couple bore a son, Charles Leidy, who sadly died in infancy. Circa 1956, the Leidys were in Suffield, OH. Sadly, Myrl died at the age of 56 on Nov. 18, 1961. Ivy survived him by more than four decades and dwelled in Akron, Summit County, OH. She also enjoyed spending time in Florida in the town of Lady Lake. She reached her 100th birthday in 2003 and lived for another year-and-a-half. She succumbed to death on St. Patrick's Day 2005 at the age of 101. The Akron Beacon Journal carried an obituary. They repose in eternal sleep in Grandview Cemetery in Altoona, Blair Count, PA.


~ Daughter Rachel "Missouri" (Gomer) Shoemaker ~


Temple/St. John's Methodist Church

Daughter Rachel "Missouri" Gomer (1873-1939) was born on May 12, 1873 in Southampton Township, Somerset County, PA.

She wedded Sylvester Shoemaker (Jan. 1, 1869-1950), son of Daniel and Catherine (Zufall) Shoemaker of Somerset County. His surname also has been spelled "Shumaker" in older records.

They were the parents of John Shoemaker, Bessie Mae Shumaker and Mrs. Nelson Bowman. Three others died young, with the identity of two thought to have been Jessie Shoemaker (Jan. 8, 1896-June 9, 1896) -- Artie Shoemaker (died at age one day, March 30, 1902) -- and one unknown.

Sylvester was employed for many years as a section worker for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The Shoemakers maintained a home in Glencoe, Somerset County in 1900 and later in Glade City. Evidence hints that he owned a tract of timber and hired J.H. Shoemaker [his brother?] to haul the logs away.

The Shoemakers were members of the White Oak Reformed Church.

Missouri was burdened with stomach problems in early October 1939 and rushed via the Reich ambulance to Memorial Hospital in Cumberland, Allegany County, MD. The Angel of Death carried her away there at the age of 66 on Oct. 7, 1939. Burial was in Temple/St. John's Methodist church Cemetery several miles from Meyersdale, following funeral services held in the White Oak Evangelical Church, co-officiated by Rev. W.M. West and Rev. O.A. Lorenz. An obituary was printed in the Meyersdale Republican.


Temple/St. John's Methodist

Sylvester outlived his wife by 11 years. He passed away on March 18, 1950 at the age of 81.

Son John Shoemaker lived in Accident, MD in 1939-1950. He was deceased by 1970.

Daughter Bessie Mae Shumaker (1905-1931) was born on Dec. 23, 1905. She contracted infantile paralysis as a five-year-old and was a lifetime invalid. She never married. In her mid-20s, she resided in Glade City, Summit Township, Somerset County and suffered from stomach problems. The family grieved at her death -- caused by organic heart disease -- at the age of 25 on Jan. 28, 1931. Interment of the remains was in Temple/St. John's Cemetery.

Daughter Mary M. Shoemaker/Shumaker (1909-1970) was born on Jan. 27, 1909 in Glencoe, Somerset County, PA. She was married twice. Her first husband was Nelson S. Bowman (1900-1944), son of John W. and Anna (Shultz) Bowman. They bore a son, Roger Bowman. In the 1930s, their home was in the rural outskirts of Meyersdale, where Nelson earned a living as a marble cutter and designer. They belonged to the Meyersdale Church of the Brethren. The Bowmans were socially active, and their comings and goings often reported in the gossip columns of the Meyersdale Republican. Nelson was diagnosed in the summer of 1943 with chronic kidney disease. He suffered for four-and-a-half months and, as he was dying, was admitted to Hazel McGilvery Hospital in Meyersdale. The Angel of Death swept him away there, on Jan. 15, 1944, just a few weeks before his 44th birthday. Burial was in Meyersdale's Union Cemetery. Mary eventually wed her second spouse, William C. "Bud" Garlitz ( ? -1975), a veteran employee of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the son of Thomas and Stella (Malvina) Garlitz. They lived in rural Meyersdale. Grief blanketed the family when Mary died at home at the age of 61 on Nov. 10, 1970. Rev. Robert Burns preached the funeral sermon, with interment in Union Cemetery in Meyersdale. William lived for another five years and succumbed on Aug. 29, 1975 at home.

  • Grandson Roger Dale Bowman (1932-2020) was born on April 20, 1932. He was married twice. His first wife was Alice June Kesecker ( ? -1985). They bore several children -- Dale Bowman, Lee Bowman, Ronald Bowman and Connie Sue Bowman. The family resided for many years in Cresaptown, MD and were members of Rawlings United Methodist Church. Sadness swept over the family when Alice June died in 1985. Roger wedded again to Lois Jean (Sellers) Hamilton ( ? -2014). Roger spent his final years in Tennessee, where two of his adult children dwelled. He died at the age of 88, on Aug. 8, 2020, at the Garden Plaza in Cleveland, TN. The remains were transported to Cumberland to rest in Sunset Memorial Park.

Great-grandson Dale Bowman married Angie. They live in Eureka Springs AR.

Great-grandson Lee Bowman wedded Lori. They have dwelled in Cleveland, TN.

Great-grandson Ronald Bowman was joined in wedlock with Cindy. They are in Kingsport, TN.

Great-granddaughter Connie Sue Bowman resides in Cumberland, MD.


~ Son Charles "Edward" Gaumer ~

Son Charles "Edward" Gaumer (1876-1953) was born on March 12, 1876 in Southampton Township, Somerset County, PA.

Unmarried in 1920, when he was 44 years old, Edward dwelled with his parents and worked on their farm in the rural outskirts of Sand Patch, Larimer Township, Somerset County. He continued this occupation for the rest of his life. His home was in White Oak in 1939.

Circa 1941, he was diagnosed with senile psychosis. Then in about 1950, he was admittd to the Somerset State Hospital. He spent the final three years in the institution and, after developing pneumonia, succumbed to death there at the age of 77 on Oct. 11, 1953. Mary Garlitz of Meyersdale signed the Pennsylvania certificate of death. Burial was in the Temple Church Cemetery, with Rev. D.J. Joiner officiating at the funeral service. An obituary appeared in the Somerset Daily American.


~ Daughter Ida Belle (Gaumer) Atchison ~

Daughter Ida Belle Gaumer (1879- ? ) was born in about 1879 in Southampton Township, Somerset County, PA.

She was joined in holy wedlock with (?) Atchison ( ? - ? ).

Her home in 1925 was in Frostburg, MD.

Nothing more is known.


~ Daughter Cora "Alice" (Gaumer) Shoemaker~

Daughter Cora "Alice" Gaumer (1880- ? ) was born in Oct. 1880 in Southampton Township, Somerset County, PA.

Unmarried at the age of 19, in 1900, she lived at home and worked as a servant.

Alice married Henry Shoemaker/Shumaker (1873- ? ) in about 1904, when she was age 24 and he 31. They were nine years apart in age.

The couple made a home with Alice's parents in 1910 as shown on U.S. Census returns. But the marriage was troubled, and they separated, with Alice accusing Henry of infidelity. After some legal maneuvering, she sued him for non-support in late February 1914, and then pursued a divorce. The story was reported in the Meyersdale Republican.


~ Son James Garfield Gomer ~

Son James Garfield Gomer (1881-1957) was born in Aug. 1881 in Somerset County, PA. He appears to have been named for the then-current President James A. Garfield, who at the time was lingering from an assassin's bullet wound and would die the following month.

He grew up in farming and also learned the trade of carpentry.

On Nov. 18, 1906, at the age of 23, he wedded 20-year-old Nora B. Meyers (1886- ? ), daughter of George and Sarah (or Ida Crissinger) Meyers of near Sand Patch, Larimer Township, Somerset County. The wedding service was held at the home of Rev. J.H. Wise, who officiated.

They produced these known offspring -- Jesse George Gomer, Ethel Johnson, Harvey J. Gomer, Harry Gomer, Mary Gomer, Walter Ezra "Bud" Gomer and Edward L. Gomer.

The federal census enumeration of 1910 lists the family on a farm in Larimer Township, Somerset County.

During the 1920s, they relocated to Frostburg, MD, and were there as of 1930. Their residence in the mid-1950s was the Borden Mines community of Frostbug.

James died at home at the age of 75 on the Fourth of July 1957. Rev. Joseph Byers officiated at the funeral, held in the Church of the Nazarene, with burial in the grounds of Temple Cemetery. An obituary appeared in the Cumberland News.

Son Jesse George Gomer (1907-1915) was born on July 27, 1907. Just after turning six years of age, he was diagnosed with diabetes. He suffered with the illness for 18 months, lapsing into a coma at the end, until death cut him away on April 5, 1915, at the age of seven years, nine months. Burial was in Temple/St. John's Cemetery, also known as the St. John's Evangelical Association Church in Larimer, with the funeral led by Rev. A.G. Mead. Eulogized the Meyersdale Republican:

He was a bright little fellow loved by all who knew him. Although young in years, he was continually talking about Heaven and Jesis and was very fond of the hymns "I've been washed in the blood of the Lamb," and "Set me in Thy Kingdom, Lord." He had been ailing for about a year and had been taken to different physicians, but to no avail and a few days before death came to relive him ot his suffering, he was unable to talk until about two hours before the end came when he rallied and told his parents that he was going to his happy home.

Daughter Ethel Gomer (1909- ? ) was born in 1909. At the age of 19, circa 1928, she married (?) Johnson. They bore one known daughter, Katherine Johnson. By 1930, Ethel and her daughter were back in her parents' home. She remarried by 1944 to (?) Winebrenner and resided in Borden Mines. Ethel is known to have thrown a surprise party for her sister Mary Imes in Frostburg in August 1963, generating a gossip item in the Cumberland News. Evidence suggests that she died in 1983.

  • Granddaughter Katherine Johnson

Son Harvey Nelson Gomer (1912-1969) was born on Oct. 25, 1912 in Meyersdale, Somerset County, PA. He lived in young manhood in Borden Mines near Frostburg, Allegany County, MD. Harvey was frequently in trouble with the law. In June 1939, he was found guilty of motor vehicle violations and sentenced to a year in the Maryland House of Correction. After his release, he moved to Baltimore, MD. Law enforcement officials considered him a rogue and a vagabond. Nicknamed "Two Gun," he committed robbery on the eve of World War II in the Forest Park and West Arlington neighborhoods of Baltimore and was arrested in 1945. He appears to have turned his life around, becoming an aluminum siding contractor in about 1945, and remaining in the business for the 24 remaining years of his life. Harvey married Billie Jean Hall ( ? - ? ). They were the parents of Oral L. Gomer, Harvey J. Gomer and Donna D. Gomer. Their address in 1969 was 819 Bradford Avenue in Arnold, MD. Harvey liked to sing and perform on the organ and guitar. Sadly, at the age of 57, he was found dead in his truck in Bel Air, MD, where he had driven on business. Funeral services were held at the Pasadena Church of God on Tick Neck Road, and an obituary appearing in the Baltimore Sun. The remains were lowered into repose in Glen Haven Memorial Park.

  • Grandson Oral Lee Gomer dwelled in Arnold, MD in 1969.
  • Grandson Harvey J. Gomer established a home in Baltimore.
  • Granddaughter Donna Darlene Gomer lived in Arnold, MD in the late 1960s.

Son Harry Sylvester Gomer (1914-1979) was born on Aug. 29, 1914 in Deal, Somerset County, PA. He relocated to Baltimore, MD and is known to have been there in 1969. He succumbed to death in 1979.

Son Earl Garfield Gomer (1916-1993) was born on Oct. 31, 1916 in Frostburg, Allegany County, MD. He worked in 1940 as a railroad track laborer. After the outbreak of World War II, he joined the Armed Forces, earning the rank of staff sergeant. Then during the Korean War, he served again. He wedded Ruth E. (Aug. 2, 1921- ? ). Their three offspring were Joseph L. "Jo-Jo" Gomer, Sherry G. Hess and Edward Gomer. Later, he lived in the Washington, DC area, residing in Blackstone, VA in 1969. Earl died at the age of 77 on Dec. 19, 1993. He rests for all time in Buckingham Community Cemetery in Buckingham County, VA.

  • Grandson Joseph L. "Jo-Jo" Gomer (1947-2010) was born on April 13, 1947. He was twice married. He and his first wife Donna ( ? - ? ) bore two daughters, Jennifer Vass and Tammy Jo Gomer. Later, after a divorce, he married Sandy ( ? - ? ). Joseph owned J.L. Gomer Equipment Company of Mechanicsville, VA. Said the Richmond Times-Dispatch, he "was well respected and known for his word and as a man of honor. Joe had a long history of community service, donating from his heart, his time, money and equipment to many causes, especially those involving children." He remained friends with his former wife. Stricken with cancer, he passed into eternity on June 22, 2010. An obituary appeared in the Times-Dispatch.
  • Granddaughter Sherry G. Gomer ( ? - ? ) married (?) Hess ( ? - ? ). She was deceased by 2010.
  • Grandson Edward Gomer ( ? - ? )

Daughter Mary Isabel Gomer (1919-2003) was born on Aug. 14, 1919 in Somerset County, PA. She was twice-wed. her first spouse was (?) Winebrenner ( ? - ? ). Using the name "Winebrenner" at age 20, in 1940, she lived with her parents in Allegany County, MD. Her home circa 1951 was in Frostburg. Then circa September 1951, she was united in marital union with Douglas Allen Imes (Jan. 29, 1912-1971) of Mount Savage, MD, and the son of William and Rebecca (Winfield) Imes. An announcement of their marriage license appeared in the Cumberland News. A year earlier, Douglas had been awarded a divorce from Blanche L. ( ? - ? ). They were the parents/stepparents of James A. Imes, Douglas A. Burton, Deanna Andrews, Carol Schweiger and Sandra Wheeler. In 1969, Mary dwelled in Borden Mines in Frostburg, Allegany County, MD. Douglas was admitted to Sacred Heart Hospital on May 31, 1971 and died there after a stay of about three weeks, at the age of 59, on June 22, 1971. An obituary in the Cumberland News noted that he "had been in ill health a number of years." Rev. Arthur Evans officiated at the funeral, with burial in Porter Cemetery in Eckhart, Allegany County.

  • Grandson James A. Imes resided with his parents in 1971.
  • Grandson Douglas A. Burton dwelled in Dundalk.
  • Granddaughter Deanna Imes wedded (?) Andrews. Her home in 1971 was in Dundalk, Baltimore County, MD.
  • Granddaughter Carol Imes married (?) Schweiger. Circa 1971, she lived in Dundalk, Baltimore County, MD.
  • Granddaughter Sandra Imes was joined in matrimony with (?) Wheeler. She was in Dundalk, Baltimore County, MD in 1971.

Son Walter Ezra "Bud" Gomer (1920-2013) was born on Sept. 1, 1920 in Wellersburg, Somerset County. When he was 19 years of age, and living at home, he earned a living as a drill runner working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA). He joined the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II on Jan. 8, 1942. He was deployed in France and Italy, serving as an engineer-gunner on a B-24 Liberator bomber and completing 50 combat aerial missions over Europe. He told his family later that his crew, "to the best of his knowledge," was the only one where all the members received a Silver Star. Walter was joined in the bonds of wedlock with Pauline E. (1922-2007). They produced a family of three children -- Judy Walker, Robert Gomer and Linda Kenney. Walter learned the trade of carpentry which he used during his long life. He was employed in the carpentry department of Frostburg State University and, in his free time, constructed the homes for each of his adult children. The Gomers made their home in Klondike, Allegany County, MD in 1957 with evidence suggesting that they remained there for good. They were members of the Carlos United Methodist Church. He belonged to the Farrady American Legion post in Frostburg and the Queens Point Memorial post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of McCoole, MD. Sadly, Pauline passed away in 2007. Walter outlived her by six years. As a resident of the Egle Nursing and Rehab Center in Lonaconing, he succumbed to the Angel of Death at the age of 92 on May 11, 2013. The funeral service was preached by Rev. George Harpold. His remains are at rest next to Pauline's in Frostburg Memorial Park. An obituary said that he was the last surviving member of his family.

  • Granddaughter Judy Gomer married Charles Walker.
  • Grandson Robert Gomer wedded Mary. She was deceased by 2013.
  • Granddaughter Linda Gomer was united in matrimony with Paul Kenney


Edward's grave, Liège, Belgium
Courtesy Des Philippet, The Netherlands

Son Edward Laten Gomer (1923-1944) was born on Feb. 9, 1923 in Allegany County, MD. He did not marry. Edward worked as a young adult at the Brokenheart coal mine in Frostburg, Allegany County, MD. On March 9, 1943, at the age of about 19, he enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was placed in the 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division and deployed overseas. Edward was seriously wounded in action in France on July 10, 1944. He appears to have recovered and was shipped to England to convalesce and recover. But he was not fated to survive. Tragically, he returned to his regiment and was killed in combat in Germany on Oct. 9, 1944, at the age of 21. Word of his death was sent to his parents, and the news was published in the Cumberland Sunday Times. His remains were placed into eternal rest in Liège, Belgium in the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial, Plot B, Row 6, Grave 37. [Find-a-Grave]

Daughter Dorothy Viola Gomer (1925-1999) was born on Feb. 11, 1925 in Frostburg, Allegany County, MD and grew up in the nearby Borden Mines community. She was thrice married. Dorothy's first spouse was (?) Johnson ( ? - ? ). They produced a son, Raymond Johnson. Later, she united in marriage with her second mate, (?) Stott ( ? - ? ). The second marriage resulted in a son, Earl Stott. Dorothy is known to have lived in 1957 in College Park, MD and later circa 1969 in Riverdale, Prince George's County, MD, a suburb of Washington, DC. On June 11, 1976, in Okaloosa, FL, when she was 51 years of age, she was joined in the bonds of wedlock with her third husband, 50-year-old carpenter Robert Phillip Buckley (Aug. 19, 1927-2001), a native of Alloy, Fayette County, WV, and the son of Hattie Buckley. Then in 1980, the Buckleys relocated to Pace, Santa Rosa County, FL, where they remained for the balance of their lives. They were members of the Pace Assembly of God. Sadly, at the age of 74, Viola died on March 27, 1999. Her obituary was printed in the Pensacola (FL) News-Journal, and Rev. Glyn Lowery and Rev. Ron Carnley co-officiated at the funeral service. Robert outlived his bride by two years, making a home in Milton, Santa Rosa County. He passed away in Milton on Feb. 24, 2001. The Buckleys sleep in everlasting repose in Milton Cemetery.

  • Grandson Raymond Johnson dwelled in Pace, Santa Rosa County, FL in 1999.
  • Grandson Earl Stott made a home in 1999 in Milton, Santa Rosa County.


~ Son Earl Gomer ~

Son Earl Gomer (1887- ? ) was born in Feb. 1887 in Southampton Township, Somerset County, PA.

As a bachelor in 1910, at the age of 24, he resided at home in Sand Patch, Larimer Township, Somerset County, and labored on his parents' farm.

Two days after Christmas 1911, Earl eloped with Edith Ernst (1895-1947), daughter of George and Lydia (Lazer) Ernst of Philson, PA. She was eight years younger than he. The couple traveled to marry in Cumberland, Allegany County, MD, with the news reported in the Meyersdale Republican.

The couple bore two known sons -- Irvin L. Gomer and Clarence Edward Gomer.

Their home in 1920 was in rural Sand Patch, where he was employed as a railroad trackman. Then by 1939, they had moved into Maryland and settled in Frostburg. Census records for 1940 show the Gomers in Mount Savage, Allegany County, with Earl laboring as a railroad trackman.

Their residence in 1947 was in the community of Zihlman, a mile-and-a-half from Frostburg. The Gomers were members of the Church of the Nazarene.

Edith was hospitalized in Miners Hospital on Nov. 25, 1947 and remained almost a month, until her death on Dec. 20, 1947. An obituary was printed in the Cumberland News.

At his death (date unknown), Earl is believed to have been interred in White Oak Cemetery in Wittenburg, Somerset County.

Son Irvin L. Gomer (1913-1991) was born on April 3, 1913 in Somerset County. He was joined in marriage with Jeanette M. Sperry (1915-2008), daughter of Palmer and Melinda (Carder) Sperry. The United States Census enumeration of 1940 shows the couple living with Irwin's parents in Mount Savage, Allegany County, MD. His occupation that year was as a brick wheeler in a local brickyard. Circa 1947, they lived in Zihlman near Frostburg. The Angel of Death cut Irvin away on July 17, 1991. Jeanette lived on as a widow for 17 more years, and stayed in the Frostburg area. She passed on Dec. 13, 2008. The couple sleeps for all time beside each other in Frostburg memorial Park.

Son Clarence Edward "Turkey" Gomer (1916-2001) was born on Oct. 8, 1916 in Somerset County.He was united in wedlock with Mildred V. Lashbaugh (Dec. 22, 1919-2005). They resided in 1947 near Frostburg, in the Zihlman community. At the age of 59, in November 1975, he injured his back and left ankle when falling from a roof where he had been working. Death carried him away at the age of 84 on Feb. 25, 2001. Mildred survived another four years. She died eight days before what would have been her 86th birthday on Dec. 14, 2005.


Mary's grave, 1891,
Temple/St. John's

~ Daughter Mary P. Gaumer ~

Daughter Mary P. Gaumer (1889-1891) was born in about 1889.

She did not outlive her early childhood.

Sadly, Mary passed into eternity on Jan. 22, 1891. Her age at death was one year, nine months and 16 days.

Interment of her tender remains was in the Temple Cemetery, also known as White Oak Evangelical Church and St. John's Methodist Church, about four miles from Meyersdale, Somerset County

Her father's notes, preserved in the National Archives in Washington, DC, confirm that she was deceased by 1915.


Copyright 2003, 2014, 2020 Mark A. Miner