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Ira M. Halfpenny
(1876-1924)

 

Ira's badly faded grave, right, 
and Myrtle's in shadow at left

Ira M. Halfpenny was born on Aug. 1, 1876, likely in Fayette County, PA, the son of Calvin and Caroline (Minerd) Halfpenny. He grew up on his parents' farm in Rohrsburg, Columbia County, PA. As an adult, he was tall and slender, with brown eyes and brown hair.

At the age of 21, on April 25, 1898, Ira married 16-year-old Myrtle Redline (1882-1973), daughter of Benjamin Franklin Redline. The wedding, led by Rev. W.R. Mather, was held at Rohrsburg. On her marriage license, she fibbed that her age was "18," but her father provided his consent.

They had at least 11 known children -- Benjamin F. Halfpenny, Anna M. Alt, Laura I. McHugh, Lena A. Halfpenny, Hazel Stephenson, Bernice Jennings, Audrey Madeline Majka, Margaret E. Halfpenny, Guy R. Halfpenny, Ruth Catherine Pasavage and Glenn I. Halfpenny. 

 Sadly, daughter Lena died at the age of 15 months on Dec. 28, 1909, caused by "bowel congestion." She is buried in Rohrsburg Cemetery, with an obituary printed in the Democratic Sentinel (issues of Dec. 31, 1909 and Jan. 4, 1910).

 

Bloomsburg Morning Press

For many years, the Halfpennys resided on a farm in Greenwood Township, Columbia County. For the sum of $1,200, they purchased land in the township in March 1905 from Myrtle's father. The father was a prominent business man in Rohrsburg, and is said to have owned four corners of the town. He also owned a sawmill that tragically exploded in 1904, killing four men, including his own son (and Myrtle's brother) William Redline.

In addition, Ira was paid $59.35 in fees in 1908 for producing wood planks and attaching them to an iron bridge in Orange Township. 

During World War I, Ira was required to register for the military draft. He noted that he was self-employed as a farmer and huckster (selling his own produce) and that his farm was in Benton, Columbia County.

When the federal census was taken in 1920, Ira held employment in "street work," and he continued working in state highway capacities for the rest of his life. 

A local newspaper said Ira was "well known."

 

Rohrsburg Cemetery

Ira suffered for some time with cancer of the kidneys, which spread to his entire lumbar region. He was admitted to Bloomsburg Hospital "in a desperate condition," said the Bloomsburg Morning Press. Complicating the matter was that his wife Myrtle had just given birth to a baby boy, Glenn. "He became homesick and returned home on July 5, returning to the hospital on July 10.

He died a month later, at the age of 48, on Aug. 10, 1924. His obituary was printed in the Morning Press and in the Aug. 14, 1924 edition of the Benton Argus. His remains were laid to rest in the Rohrsburg Cemetery. His grave marker is fading badly, as evidenced in this photograph taken during an April 2013 visit.

Myrtle was left with a six-week-old baby and nine other children, one as old as age 22. She outlived her husband by a remarkable 49 years. 

She died on Sept. 15, 1973, at the age of 91, and is buried beside Ira and their baby daughter Lena in Rohrsburg Cemetery. Efforts by the founder of this website, to locate an obituary for her in the Bloomsburg Press, on microfilm at Bloomsburg University, were unsuccessful.

 

~ Son Benjamin Franklin Halfpenny ~

Son Benjamin Franklin Halfpenny (1902- ? ) was born on July 25, 1902, and was named for his grandfather B.F. Redline.

Nothing more is known.

 

~ Daughter Anna M. (Halfpenny) Alt ~

Daughter Anna M. Halfpenny (1904-1992) was born on July 10, 1904 in Greenwood Township, Columbia County. 

She was twice married, her first union ending in divorce on Aug. 5, 1936. Single again, she resided in Kaska, Schuylkill County, PA. At the age of 35, on Dec. 23, 1939, she married her second spouse, 35-year-old Grant R. Alt (1904-1981). Their marriage ceremony took place in Schuylkill County. Grant was the son of David and Virginia (Kimber) Alt, and was a native of Petersburg, Grant County, WV. At the time of their wedding, Grant worked as a mechanic and lived at 50 Stirdevamt Street in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County. 

Circa 1941, she was a member of the Woman's Republican Club of Dallas Township, near Wilkes-Barre, and was mentioned in a related news article. 

Grant passed away in or near Dallas, Luzerne County, PA in June 1981. 

Anna survived him by 11 years. She died Nov. 30, 1992 at the age of 88.

 

~ Daughter Laura I. (Halfpenny) McHugh ~

Daughter Laura I. Halfpenny (1906-1993) was born on March 13, 1906 in Rohrsburg. 

As a 23-year-old, she lived at home with her parents. On Feb. 27, 1930, at age 23, she married 25-year-old Joseph J. McHugh ( ? - ? ), son of Manus and Anna (Sherlock) McHugh. Joseph was a native of Plymouth, Luzerne County, and at the time of married worked as a laborer and lived at 50 Fiddlers Green in Plymouth. 

Laura died in or near Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County in February 1993, at the age of 86.

 

~ Daughter Hazel I. ( Halfpenny) Stephenson ~

 

Rohrsburg Cemetery

Daughter Hazel I. Halfpenny (1907-1977) was born on April 5, 1907. 

She married William Benson Stephenson of Dagus Mines, PA. They lived in Bloomsburg, and on Oct. 7, 1931 lost a baby son who was born prematurely. (The child was buried in Old Rosemont Cemetery.) 

Hazel resided for many years in Berwick, Columbia County. She died in March 1977, at the age of 70. She was laid to rest beside her parents and siblings in the Rohrsburg Cemetery. 

The whereabouts of her husband are lost to us for now.

 

~ Daughter Bernice A. ( Halfpenny) Jennings ~

 

Rohrsburg Cemetery

Daughter Bernice Halfpenny (1910-2004) was born on March 11, 1910.

She wed John A. Jennings (1904-1953), a native of Virginia. 

They resided in Mt. Carmel, Northumberland County and Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, PA, and had five children -- Robert John Jennings, Donald Jennings, Doris Jennings, Marjorie Gorenty and Charlotte Simanavage. 

By 1949, they had relocated to Kaska, Schuylkill County, PA, where John found employment as a shovel operator. 

John died in 1953, at the age of 49. He was interred in Rohrsburg Cemetery. 

Bernice survived him by more than half of a century. She passed away in Kaska on Dec. 18, 2004, at the age of 96. She rests beside her husband, under a red Barre granite grave marker near her parents and siblings.

Grandson Robert John Jennings (1935-2012) was born on May 1, 1935 in Mt. Carmel, Northumberland County County. During his lifetime, he resided in Kaska and Middleport, Schuylkill County, PA, and worked for Bazley Manufacturing as an operator of heavy equipment. He also was employed with Reading Anthracite Company, from which position he retired. He was a lifetime member of the Kaska Fire Company, and belonged to the United Methodist Church in New Philadelphia. He died at the age of 77 on Aug. 2, 2012, followed by burial in Rohrsburg Cemetery. His obituary was published in the Pottsville Republican & Herald newspaper.

 

Rohrsburg Cemetery

 

~ Daughter Audrey Madeline ( Halfpenny) Majka ~

Daughter Audrey Madeline Halfpenny (1912- ? ) was born on Jan. 27, 1912 in Rohrsburg.

She migrated to Plymouth, Luzerne County, PA, where she lived at 65 Mechanics Lane.

At the age of 28, on May 6, 1940, she married Edward Majka (1915- ? ), a company hand living in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County. he was the son of Joseph and Stella (Koschinski) Majka, the father born in Poland and the mother in Nanticoke, PA.

 

~ Daughter Margaret E. Halfpenny ~

Daughter Margaret E. Halfpenny (1916- ? ) was born on Nov. 23, 1916. 

 

~ Son Guy R. Halfpenny ~

Son Guy R. Halfpenny (1919-1983) was born on March 12 or 19, 1919. 

He resided in Wellsboro, Tioga County, PA.

He died there in April 1983, at the age of 64. 

 

~ Daughter Ruth Catherine ( Halfpenny) Pasavage ~

Daughter Ruth Catherine Halfpenny (1921-2011) was born on May 17, 1921 in or near Greenwood, Columbia County. As a young woman, she migrated to Plymouth, Luzerne County, PA, where she found employment as a machine operator. 

At the age of 28, on Nov. 26, 1949, Ruth wed 29-year-old Roy J. Pasavage (1921-1993), a native of Newark, NJ and the son of Frank and Anna (Jasdonch) Pasavage. At the time, Roy lived in Exeter, Luzerne County, and worked as a laborer. 

The couple lived in Pittston and Exeter, Luzerne County, PA, and had three children -- Ruth M. Pasavage, Raymond J. Pasavage and Richard J. Pasavage. 

Ruth "was employed in the garment industry," said the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, and "was a member of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union." She also belonged to the American Legion Women's Auxiliary organization of Plains Township, Luzerne County. 

Roy died on Dec. 14, 1993 at the age of 72. Ruth outlived him by 17 years. 

She passed away at the age of 89, in Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, on March 9, 2011. Following a funeral led by Rev. Paul Metzloff of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church of Kingston, she was laid to rest in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Calverton, Luzerne County, with an obituary in the Times Leader.

 

~ Son Glenn I. Halfpenny ~

Son Glenn I. Halfpenny (1924-1981) was born on June 29, 1924. He was but 42 days old when his father died of cancer.

He served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. He was wounded in France n Nov. 9, 1944 and received a Purple Heart medal 20 days later.

On July 16, 1949, at age 25, he married 30-year-old Helen Steminski (1918-2000), born Aug. 19, 1918. She was the daughter of Frank and Eva (Zeedock) Steminski, her father having emigrated from Austria-Poland. At the time the wedding took place, Glenn was an auto body and fender repair expert, and made his residence at 65 Mechanics Lane in Plymouth, Luzerne County. She was a factory worker, and a native of Nanticoke, Luzerne County, PA. 

The couple had two daughters. 

After they married, they relocated to Horseheads, Chemung County, NY, where Glenn was employed as a welder with American Bridge Works, a division of United States Steel Corporation. In about 1960, Glenn and Helen separated, with him moving to Montana, and she taking the young daughters to her home town in Pennsylvania. 

Glenn is believed to have spent his adult years in Lolo, Missoula County, MT. He died there in July 1981. 

Helen lived in Nanticoke for another almost two decades. She died on Aug. 2, 2000.

 

Copyright 2013-2014, 2018 Mark A. Miner