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Mamie (Halfpenny) Averill


Mary "Mamie" (Halfpenny) Averill was born on Dec. 28, 1872 in or near Rohrsburg, Columbia County, PA, the daughter of Calvin and Caroline (Minerd) Halfpenny, born perhaps shortly after her parents migrated from Fayette County, PA. 

At the age of 23, on Dec. 1, 1895, Mamie wed 20-year-old Archer Bradley Averill (Dec. 26, 1875-1941), son of Archer and Margaret (Smith) Averill of Berwick, Columbia County. Rev. James Montger performed the nuptials, held in Orangeville. Archer made a living at the time as an "ice man." He was of medium height and build, with brown hair and eyes.

They together produced a family of three known children -- Florence Nagle, Laura E. Lynch and Edward James Averill. Two others died in infancy or early childhood.

Corner of 7th and Market Streets, Berwick, PA, early 1900s 

Five years into their marriage, the Averills lived with Archer's parents on Market Street in Berwick. Archer Jr. and his father both worked that year as ice dealers. 

Archer's father died during the decade between 1900 and 1910. When the federal census was enumerated in 1910, Archer and Mamie and their three children continued to live with Archer's widowed mother in a home on Market Street. Archer was employed that year as a "drayman" providing general hauling. In 1917, their address was 224 West Third Street in Berwick.

Mamie became afflicted with heart trouble -- "pulmonary tuberculosis" --  in the spring of 1917. She succumbed to the illness at the age of 44 on April 24, 1917. Interment was in Pine Grove Cemetery.

Archer registered for the military draft the following year, and named his mother as his next of kin. At the time, he lived with his mother at 232 West Third Street in Berwick, and he was employed as a foreman with A.C. & F. Company, and named her as his "nearest relative."

After 17 months alone, Archer entered again into marriage on Sept. 21, 1918 with Susan Marr Fritz ( ? - ? ). Their union endured for 23 years until cleaved apart by death.

In 1941, their address was 373 East Fifth Street in Bloomsburg. 

Archer was an invalid at the end of his years. On the dark and fateful day of Aug. 29, 1941, reputedly having been diagnosed with cancer, Archer took his own life by hanging in their home residence. On the official Pennsylvania certificate of death, the examining coroner wrote "Strangulation -- Self Destruction."

Susan outlived her husband by 15 years. She surrendered to the angel of death in 1956. Her remains were lowered into eternal repose beside Archer in Roselawn Cemetery in Berwick.


~ Daughter Florence (Averill) Nagle ~

Daughter Florence Averill (1898-1960) was born on Aug. 23, 1898 in Berwick, Columbia County, PA.

On Oct. 25, 1919, she tied the marital cord with Jay Donald Nagle (June 25, 1898-1960), son of Ellen Nagle. 

The only offspring of this couple was Oscar Emory Nagle. They also raised twin granddaughters Lynne Henderson Biango and Lea Eldred. 

When the federal census enumeration was made in 1920, the Nagles sharea a home with Jay's mother in Shickshinny, Luzerne County, PA. Jay's occupation that year was as a wholesale confectionary merchant.

The family pulled up stakes and relocated by 1930 to Binghamton, Broome County, NY, with Jay employed as assistant superintendent of what's believed to have been Prudential Insurance Company. 

Endicott, NY alongside the Susquehanna River 

Circa 1940 and 1950, their dwelling-place was in Endicott, Union Township, Broome County, with an address in 1944 of 414 West Main Street. Jay continued to work as an insurance firm executive and salesman. After retiring in 1962, he stayed active in the community, and joined the board of Endicott Ideal Hospital, serving there for a total of 15 years. In time he was elected president of the hospital's board of managers and held the post for eight years. He stepped down in 1969. He also was a longtime member of the Rotary Club of Endicott and the Union Presbyterian Church.

A month before her death, Florence returned to her hometown for a visit. Sadly, she passed away at the age of 62, in Ideal Hospital of Union, NY, on Oct. 28, 1960. An obituary appeared in the Bloomsburg Morning Press. Her remains sleep for the ages in Riverside Cemetery in Endicott.

The widowed Jay survived for another baker's dozen years and remained in Endicott at 414 Main. Death swept him away at the age of 74 on Feb. 19, 1973, as a resident of Willow Point Nursing Home. Leading the funeral rites was his pastor, Rev. Gerald Hertzog.

Son Oscar Emory Nagle (1920-1956) was born on Oct. 18, 1920 in Berwick, PA. A record of his birthdate was kept in a ledger of the First Presbyterian Church of Shickshinny, PA. He was an alumnus of Union Endicott High School and then graduated from Wyoming Seminary in Kingston and attended Washington and Lee University in Virginia. In 1942, at the age of about 22, he lived at 56 Pierrepoint Street in Brooklyn, NY and worked for Gibbs & Cox Inc. in New York City, a firm specializing in design of surface warships for the U.S. Navy. In a short time he moved to 414 West Main Street in Union, NY. He tied the knot with Ruth Henken (July 25, 1921-1976), also spelled "Reincken," of Brooklyn, NY. They became the parents of twin daughters -- Lynne Henderson and Lea Eldred. During World War II, on Aug. 1, 1942, he joined the U.S. Army Air Forces and was assigned to the 390th Bomber Group. He attained the rank of sergeant. Ruth is known to have joined the Endicott Newcomers Club and was active in the year 1947. For reasons not yet known -- but a divorce is suspected -- the daughters were taken in and raised by Oscar's parents by 1950. Oscar's address as of 1956 was 150 East 56th Street in New York City. Grief cascaded over the family when Oscar died at the age of 35 on June 16, 1956. Rev. Wilbur J. Kerr led the funeral rites. Burial was in Riverside Cemetery in Endicott, NY. Obituaries appeared in the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin and Berwick Enterprise. Former wife Ruth reputedly died in 1976.

Daughter Lynne C. Nagle (1945- ? ) was born in about 1945 in or near Endicott, Broome County, NY, a twin with her sister Lea. She grew up in the home of her father's parents. On Aug. 26, 1967, Lynne married James John Henderson Jr. (Nov. 15, 1943-2005), son of James J. and Estelle Dorothy (Hagerman) Henderson Sr. of Pleasantville. The ceremony was held in Union Presbyterian Church in Endicott, by the hand of Rev. Gerald Hertzog. In announcing the marriage, the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin said the bride "wore a long-sleeved gown of taffeta, fashioned with a lace cage, rounded neckline and Empire bodice. A flower headpiece with seed pearls adorned her head. She carried white roes and carnations." James at some point served in the U.S. Air Force and was employed for 29 years at Hughes. As of 1973, they lived in Windsor, NY. Two children borne of this union were Jay Henderson and Julie Angarone. The marriage appears to have ended in divorce. Lynne again tied the marital cord with (?) Biango ( ? - ? ) and was in Oswego/Endicott in 1988-1991. James married again on June 11, 1984 to Bonnie J. ( ? - ? ). He died in Binghamton on Oct. 4, 2005.

  • Grandson Jay A. Henderson ( ? - ? ) was born on (?). He was a graduate of Windsor High School and then joined the U.S. Air Force. On Feb. 4, 1989, he was joined in matrimony with Stacy Ann Cortese ( ? - ? ), daughter of Nathan and Joan Cortese of Binghamton. Their nuptials were conducted in Binghamton at St. Andrews Catholic Church,officiated by Rev. Gerald Buckley. They were pictured in a wedding portrait in the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin. Stacy was an alumna of Seton Catholic Central High School and Broome Community College and at the time of marriage was employed as an assistant manager at Cortese Restaurant. The newlyweds' first home was in Anchorage, AK, and in 1991 he attained the rank of senior airman and was posted to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska. He dwelled in 2005 in Endwell, NY.
  • Granddaughter Julie A. Henderson ( ? - ? ) was united in wedlock with Phillip Angarone. They made a home in 2005 in New Jersey.  

Daughter Lea Nagle (1945- ? ) was born in about 1945 in or near Endicott, Broome County, NY, a twin with her sister Lynne. She was a graduate of Union-Endicott High School and the State University of New York's Agricultural and Technical Institute of Delhi, NY. In late 1964, she entered into marriage with Lynn C. Eldred ( ? - ? ), son of Carl Eldred of Umadilla. Rev. G.R. Hertzog led the nuptials, held at the Presbyterian Church of Union, NY. The Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin published their wedding portrait and reported that the bride "chose a floor-length gown of bombazine and lace which featured a detachable Watteau chapel train. Her veil of silk illusion was held by a sunburst shell cap of pearls, lace and orange blossoms and she carried a cascade bouquet of white Fuji mums and roses." Lynn was a graduate of Gilbertsville Central High School and the Delhi institute and employed by the National Bank and Trust Company of Norwich. The couple first made a home in Margaretsville and later put down roots in Glen Aubrey, NY.


~ Daughter Laura E. (Averill) Lynch ~

Daughter Laura E. Averill (1899-1968) was born on Oct. 3, 1899. 

She is said to have had long red hair and carried a "wild reputation in the family," said a nephew. 

In 1920, she lived with her brother Edward and grandmother Margaret Averill in Berwick, but had no occupation.

By 1930, she relocated to Brooklyn, NY and secured a position as an operator with a telephone company.

Within the next two decades she was married and then divorced. Census records for 1950 show her continuing to dwell in Brooklyn, having no occupation but providing lodging for 46-year-old boarder Harry Johnson, a paper handler for a newspaper.

She again was joined in wedlock by 1960 with James Lynch ( ? - ? ). At the death of her sister Florence in 1960, Laura was named in the newspaper obituary and remained in Brooklyn. She made a habit of calling her grand-nephew William Archer Averill every Christmas Eve.

Laura may have made a move to California, but the hints are wispy. Her final home was in Endicott/Binghamton. She died on April 7, 1968. Burial was in Riverside Cemetery, Endicott.


~ Son Edward James Averill ~

Edward J. and Gladys (Goldsmith) Averill - Courtesy Edward Eugene Averill

Son Edward James Averill (1904-1936) was born on June 2, 1901 (or 1904) in Berwick, Columbia County. (Sources differ.)

In 1920, he lived with his sister Laura and grandmother Margaret Averill in Berwick, working as a crane runner at a steel plant. 

Edward was employed as a state highway patrol officer in the late 1920s. When he became injured in a traffic accident, and hospitalized in Chambersburg, PA, he met his future wife, nurse Gladys Goldsmith ( ? - ? ), a native of Parkersburg, WV and the daughter of John W. and Rosalie Estelle (Wagaman) Goldsmith. She was a 1927 graduate of Camden Clark Memorial Hospital in her hometown.

They fell in love and made plans to marry in his hometown of Berwick on Sept. 3, 1929. The day before the wedding, however, he again was hurt in an accident, but the nuptials went forward as planned, in the Berwick hospital, presided by Rev. Fr. Reardon.

The Averills became the parents of an only son, William Archer Averill. 

Edward in the early 1930s was named chief of police for the town of Shickshinny, Luzerne County, PA. Then by 1936, during the depths of the Great Depression, Edward worked as an investigator with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Their home was at 1203 Spring and Avenue in Berwick. 

At the age of 34, with massive chronic liver problems, he was stricken with lobar pneumonia leading to acute heart failure. He died on Jan. 13, 1936. Burial was in Rose Lawn Cemetery in Berwick.

Gladys never remarried. She and her son returned to her hometown of Chambersburg. 

She supported herself as a widow working as a nurse at Mercersburg Academy. She retired in 1966. Over the years, she held memberships in the United Brethren Church and the auxiliary of the Charles Nitterhouse Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars


William and Nancy Averill
Courtesy Edward Eugene Averill

As she aged and with her health in decline, Gladys was admitted to reside in the Franklin County Nursing Home. Sadly, on Jan. 11, 1976, Gladys passed away there at the age of 74. Rev. Paul B. Baker led the funeral service. The remains were interred in Lincoln Cemetery.

Son William Archer Averill (1931-2008) was born on Oct. 10, 1931. He was four-and-a-half years old when his father died, and spent the rest of his childhood in his mother's hometown of Chambersburg, PA. He was a 1949 graduate of Chambersburg High School. During the Korean War, he joined the U.S. Army and was deployed in-country, attaining the rank of corporal. In 1954, following his return home, he wed Nancy Lee Peters (July 17, 1932-2009), daughter of Eugene V. and MaryBelle (Biesecker) Peters. They stayed together through the ebbs and flows of a remarkable 53 years. Their trio of offspring were Edward Eugene Averill, Thomas Averill and Suzanne West. William continued his military service with the U.S. National Guard and spent many years with TB Wood's, a designer and manufacturer of industrial couplings and drive belt products for the power transmission industry. Then after retirement, he worked for Plasterer's Florist. William held a life membership with the Charles Nitterhouse Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He served a term as president of Local 695 of the United Auto Workers union, was a co-founder of the Ancient Order Hibernians in Adams County, a board director of the Chambersburg Cardinals and belonged to the Knights of Columbus and Burt J. Asper Post of the American Legion. The family held a membership in the Corpus Christi Catholic Church of Chambersburg. They lived for many years on Elm Avenue in Chambersburg, and made their final residence together in the Village of Laurel Run in Fayetteville. William was spirited away by the angel of death on June 23, 2008. Burial was in Corpus Christi Cemetery in Chambersburg, with Rev. Rodrigo A. Arrazola leading the funeral rites in the family church. Nancy only survived her spouse by 14 months. Sadly, as a patient of Chambersburg Hospital, she died at the age of 77 in Chambersburg on Aug. 4, 2009. Her mass of Christian burial was held in the family church, and she was laid to rest beside her husband. An obituary in the Public Opinion said she was survived by seven grandchildren, two great-grandsons and one step great-granddaughter.

  • Grandson Edward Eugene Averill (1955-living) was born in 1955. He entered into marriage with Gretchen. They dwell in Chambersburg. He is the family genealogist and graciously has provided valuable content for this biography.
  • Grandson Thomas Averill (1959-living) was born in 1959. He resides in Hagerstown, MD.
  • Granddaughter Suzanne Averill (1961-living) was born in 1961. She was joined in wedlock with Richard West. They maintain a residence in Chambersburg.


Copyright 2013-2014, 2018, 2024 Mark A. Miner