Elizabeth "Lizzie" (Harbaugh) Anderson Bilby was born on Sept. 12, 1854 in or near Nicolay on the mountainous border of Fayette and Somerset Counties, PA, the daughter of Joseph and Jane (Williams) Harbaugh.
In 1880, federal census enumeration records show her unmarried at the age of 26, living at home with her widowed mother in Maple Summit, Stewart Township, Fayette County. At that time, five younger siblings also were in the household, and they were next-door neighbors to their uncle and aunt Charles and Adaline (Harbaugh) Minerd.
Elizabeth is known to have married twice. Her first husband was William Anderson ( ? - ? ).
In 1947, Elizabeth and William were mentioned in the landmark book, Harbaugh History (Evansville, IN), authored by Cora Bell and J.L. Cooprider.
~ Clues Hinting at Elizabeth's Fate ~
Evidence uncovered by research suggests that William Anderson died on April 17, 1888, and that Elizabeth resided as a widow in Connellsville.
Further clues hint that, at the age of 32, on Oct. 10, 1889, using the name "Lizzie Anderson," she wed again to 37-year-old widower M. Lemoyne Bilby (March 18, 1845-1922), also of Connellsville, and the son of Christopher and Sarah Bilby. Their wedding was conducted in her home by the hand of Rev. Thoams Cameron. Their marriage license was announced in the Connellsville Weekly Courier, a document in which she gave her father's name as "Joseph Harbaugh."
A native of nearby Waynesburg, Greene County, Lemoyne had lost his first wife on March 5, 1888. At the time of the second marriage, he worked as a painter.
The Bilbys went on to bear four offspring -- Albin C. Bilby, Arkedelphia "Arkey Delphia" Bilby, Ethel L. Henderson and one who died young.
The United States Census of 1900 shows this family together in Connellsville, with Lemoyne continuing his labors as a house painter. Their whereabouts were unknown to Lemoyne's father in November 1903 when he wrote his will in Waynesburg.
The family in 1910 resided along Route 27 near Vanderbilt, Franklin Township, Fayette County. In the U.S. Census of 1910, Lemoyne's occupation was given as "painter - job work." He made news that year when, reported the Uniontown Morning Herald, he claimed "the champion pumpkin vine in the country, and challenges all comers to bring forth one that can beat it. He has a pumpkin vine 155 feet in length, the main vine being more than 55 feet long. There are 15 pumpkins on the vine, and five of them weigh more than 15 pounds each, and are still growing." The article added that he was a longtime subscriber to the Uniontown Genius of Liberty.
Elizabeth is thought to be the same "Lizzie Bilby" who was diagnosed with "general paralysis of the insane" and in about 1912 was admitted to the Somerset County Home and Hospital. She appears to have spent the rest of her life there.
The United States Census of 1920 shows Lemoyne at age 74 as a single parent in Franklin Township, with bachelor son Alvin and married daughter Ethel Henderson and family under his roof. That year, Lemoyne's occupation was as a stable boss at a coal mine.
Lemoyne died of kidney failure in Uniontown Hospital at the age of 77 on July 14, 1922, with his first name spelled "Lemon" on the Pennsylvania death certificate (signed by A.D. Bilby of Hopwood) and as "Lemain" in press obituaries. Burial was in Chestnut Hill Cemetery.
There, after 11 years, she surrendered to the angel of death on Sept. 6, 1923. Her body wad donated to the Anatomical Society of Philadelphia, and her death certificate contained no details of her parents' names or locations of birth.
~ Son Albin Chase Bilby ~
Son Albin Chase Bilby (1891- ? ) was born on April 17, 1891 in Flatwoods, Fayette County. He himself thought his birth year was 1889, and as an adult used the spelling "Alvin."
He never married. During his adult years, he dwelled near Vanderbilt (1920) and Dunbar (1930), boarding with Edward and Bertha Ludwig), toiling as a farm laborer.
For the last decade of his life, Albin endured hardening of the arteries. He then developed cancer of the face in about 1953.
As his health failed, Albin was admitted as a resident of the Fayette County Home near Uniontown. After a stay of nine weeks, he died on June 16, 1954. Interment of the remains was in the county home cemetery.
~ Son Arkedelphia Davis "Arkey" Bilby ~
Son Arkedelphia Davis Bilby (1892-1976) was born on Aug. 16, 1892 in Connellsville.
In adulthood, he used the more easily pronounced "Arkey" and "Archie" and later "Arthur." He was of medium height and build, with grey eyes and brown hair.
Arkey was required to register for the military draft during World War I. As of 1917, he lived near Vanderbilt, Fayette County, and was a farm laborer employed by David Cooper.
He made a residence in Bittner, PA in 1918 and eventually was inducted into the U.S. Army at Republic, Fayette County on March 31, 1918. He was assigned to Company E of the 319th Infantry. He was deployed overseas in mid-May 1918 and took part in the battles of the Argonne, Antois Sector and St. Mihiel. He remained in Europe until June 1919, when he sailed on the Graf Waldersee from Brest, France to the port of Hoboken, NJ. Upon his return to the United States, he returned to the Cooper residence in Vanderbilt.
By January, 1920, when the federal census enumeration was made, he was in the Cooper household and was working as a coal mine laborer, possibly at the Allison coal mine and coke works.
Later that same year, on Dec. 23, 1920, in Uniontown, Arkey was united in matrimony with Helen ( ? - ? ). They established their dwelling in Braznell. But the union was quickly troubled, and he "treated her so badly that she was forced to leave him April 1, 1921, and no joke," commented the Uniontown Evening Standard. Added the Uniontown Morning Herald, "Mrs. Bilby alleges that her husband became angry when she suggested that he go to work. He abused her, she said. She charged that when it came to drinking Bilby liked his liquor far more than coffee for breakfast." She sued for divorce in July 1927 on grounds of abuse and "technical desertion on the husband's part." Her petition was granted just before Christmas 1927.
Arkey later resided in Brownsville, Fayette County, in the 1950-1958 timeframe. Census records for 1950 show him boarding in the home of 69-year-old widow Belle Smith. His work that year was as a miner for a coal company.
Under the name "Arthur Bilby," he is believed to have wed again on June 14, 1961 to Gertrude (Beatty) Hughes ( ? - ? ). Their wedding was held in Cumberland, MD, in the parsonage of the Methodist Church, and announced in the Evening Standard. They made a home at 119 North Gallatin Avenue, Uniontown.
Gertrude died at the age of 67 on Nov. 8, 1971. Her funeral service was conducted by Rev. Dr. Earl P. Confer, with burial in LaFayette Memorial Park. An obituary in the Evening Standard identified her stepchildren from an earlier marriage as Margaret Barcli of Detroit, Donald F. Hughes of Detroit, Harold Hughes of California and Thomas Hughes of Mexico City.
Arkey outlived his wife by almost five years. He died on June 5, 1976. The remains were lowered into repose in LaFayette Memorial Park. At that time, some of his personal affairs were managed by his niece, Isabel (Henderson) Grimes.
~ Daughter Ethel L. (Bilby) Henderson ~
Daughter Ethel L. Bilby (1893-1958) was born on Nov. 9, 1893 in South Connellsville.
When she was 24 years of age, in about 1917, she wed Braden Henderson (1897- ? ).
Together they produced a family of seven -- Albert E. Henderson, Isabel Grimes, Donald A. Henderson, Melvin M. Henderson, Erla "Marie" Wingard, Laurel Lou Mace and Margaret Louise Ferens.
Braden earned a living in 1920 as a hauler in a coal mine near Vanderbilt, Fayette County. He and Ethel and their infant son Albert made a home with her father at that time.
By 1930, when the census again was taken, they had moved to Dunbar, Fayette County, with Braden earning a living as a farm laborer.
The couple dwelled in Morrell near Connellsville in 1937-1944, with Braden continuing his labors as a farm hand. Their home was in Connellsville in the 1950s at the address of 210 Oglevee Lane. They held a membership in the Flatwoods Baptist Church.
Ethel endured diabetes, hardening of the arteries and heart disease in her final years. She died in Connellsville State Hospital on Sept. 24, 1958. While her age as written on her death certificate was 58, in reality she would have been closer to age 65 at death. Interment of the remains was in Green Ridge Memorial Park north of Connellsville, with Rev. Orville Mellquist leading the services. An obituary was published in the Connellsville Daily Courier.
The widowed Braden remained in their home on Ogletree Lane and outlived his wife by many years. He passed away in January 1982.
Daughter Isabella Lee "Isabel" Henderson (1921-2011) was born on Dec. 5, 1921 in Rogerstown near Leisenring, Dunbar Township, Fayette County. She was a 1939 graduate of Dunbar Township High School and then attended Connellsville's Franklin Business School. married Harold J. Grimes ( ? -1990). The couple did not reproduce. Isabel, said the Connellsville Daily Courier, "worked as a window trimmer and ad writer for the former G.C. Murphy Co., a bookkeeper for Sunningdale Dairy, and also ran her own company, Grimes Distributing, along with her husband." Over many decades, they lived in Connellsville and were members of the First Baptist Church. Isabel also belonged to the Connellsville Mozart Club. The angel of death claimed her at the age of 89 on Nov. 12, 2011. Rev. William Hough officiated the funeral service, and burial followed in Sylvan Heights Cemetery. Her obituary appeared in the Daily Courier.
Son Donald Allen Henderson (1923-1977) was born on June 23, 1923 in Trotter near Connellsville. He was a graduate of Dunbar Township High School and served during World War II in the Merchant Marines, posted to Hoffman Island in New York in 1942. He stood 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighed 140 lbs., with blue eyes and brown hair. Donald wed Betty Daberko ( ? - ? ). The pair did not reproduce and put down roots in his town of birth. He earned a living over the years as a traffic engineer. Donald held memberships in the local lodge of the Elks and attended the First Christian Church. Circa 1977, he resided at 215 Lincoln Avenue. He was stricken at age 53 and rushed to Connellsville State General Hospital on May 18, 1977, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. An obituary appeared in the Connellsville Daily Courier. Burial took place in Green Ridge Memorial Park.
Son Melvin Milton Henderson (1927-1981) was born on Dec. 29, 1927 in Dunbar Township near Connellsville. He was a 1945 graduate of Dunbar Township High School. Melvin stood 5 feet, 8½ inches tall and weighed 140 lbs. At the end of 1945, he was in Connellsville, working for the florist Oglevee and Sons on South Pittsburgh Street. He joined the U.S. Army in January 1946 and served a two-plus year term in a transportation corps, receiving his honorable discharge in April 1948. Melvin entered into the state of marriage with Dorothy Shuckhart (1934- ? ). Four offspring produced by the couple were Mark E. Henderson, Barry Henderson, Daniel Henderson and Donna Wingrove. The family migrated to North Braddock, near Pittsburgh. By 1977, he had moved to the coal mining patch town of Monarch, Fayette County while Dorothy maintained her dwelling-place in Connellsville. Melvin died on Oct. 8, 1981. His remains were lowered under the sod of Green Ridge Memorial Park.
Daughter Erla "Marie" Henderson (1929-1979) was born in 1929. She wed George Wingard (1926-1996), son of Mary Wingard. The federal census enumeration of 1950 shows Marie and George living with his divorced mother Mary, who in turn was the live-in housekeeper for coal miner William Papke of Dunbar Township. George had no occupation as of 1950. The Wingards dwelled in Monarch, Fayette County in the 1950s-1970s. The family grieved when Marie passed away at the age of about 50 in 1979. George outlived her by about 17 years. He is believed to have married again to Betty B. (King) Cole (Sept. 28, 1925-2010), daughter of Joseph R. and Marguerite (Roush) King of Gates, PA. Her first husband Robert had died in 1974, and she brought four stepsons into the second union -- Robert Cole, John Cole, Paul Cole and Jeffrey Cole. George died on Nov. 6, 1996 and his remains rest aside Marie's for all time in Green Ridge Memorial Park north of Connellsville. Betty spent her final years in Dunbar and passed away on July 20, 2010.
Daughter Laurel Lou Henderson (1931-1998) was born on June 2, 1931 in Connellsville. She was a 1949 graduate of Dunbar Township High School. Laurel entered into marriage with Jack "Jackie" Mace ( ? - ? ), son of Detmer and Ruth (Hyer) Mullins of Morgan Station near Connellsville. Together, they produced five children -- Linda Mace, Judy Mace, Jeffrey Mace, Jack N. Mace and Ronald A. Mace. They moved to Beaver County, PA and in 1958 were in Ambridge. By 1960, they had returned to Lemont Furnace but in 1976 were back in the Ambridge/Clinton area and remained there for the final 22 years of their lives together. As a patient in UPMC Pittsburgh, at the age of 66, she died on April 5, 1998. An obituary in the Beaver County Times noted that was survived by nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Her memorial service was held in the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church of Oakdale, by the hand of Rev. James Yearsley.
Daughter Margaret Louise Henderson (1937-2018) was born on Nov. 8, 1937. She was a 1954 graduate of Dunbar Township High School, "with twelve years of perfect attendance," said an obituary. She was joined in wedlock with her high school boyfriend Albert Ferens ( ? - ? ), son of Frank Ferens of West Leisenring. Their union held fast over an extraordinary 60 years. They were the parents of three -- Patricia Ann "Patty" Holchin, Pamela Jo "Pam" Wolfe and Michael Ferens. Their home was in West Leisenring, Fayette County circa 1958-2011. In 1964, Albert was named the outstanding young farmer in Fayette County, and the couple jointly owned Ferens Farm LLC. They held a membership in St. Stephen's Byzantine Catholic Church of Leisenring. At the age of 80, Margaret succumbed to the spectre of death at home on June 14, 2018. "Panachida" and "parastas" memorial services of the Byzantine rite were held, followed by a divine liturgy of Christian burial at the family church, led by Rev. Ronald Larko. An obituary said of her that she "was a very loving and giving person. She was always there for her family.."
Copyright © 2007, 2019, 2023 Mark A. Miner