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Rachel Ruamy (Long) Pritts
(1860-1942)

 

John and Rachel

Rachel Ruamy (Long) Pritts was born on April 11, 1860 in Confluence, Somerset County, PA, the daughter of George and Elizabeth (Minerd) Long.

When Rachel was 12, her father died, and she became the legal ward of her grandparents, Jacob and Rachel (Ansell) Minerd III. They would care and provide for Rachel for many loving years, and she and her husband later would purchase the Minerd house at Normalville, Fayette County, PA.

On July 18, 1886, at her grandparents’ home, the 26-year-old Rachel married 24-year-old John B. Pritts (1862-1939), the son of James and Hannah (Bungard) Pritts. Rev. James A. Martin, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, officiated, while Rachel’s second cousin Lawson Minerd "stood up for them" at the wedding ceremony.

 

Rachel and John's marriage
certificate, 1886. Enlarge>>>

Their ornate marriage license is seen at right. Click for an enlarged view.

The Prittses produced eight children between the years 1887 to 1906 – William "Clyde" Pritts, Ida Grace Prinkey, Bessie M. Sleasman, Elizabeth Sleasman, Hannah A. Prinkey, Esther M. Flydell, Blanche Brooks and Homer Randall Pritts.

In 1889, John and Rachel moved with their young family to Stonerville, a small community near Ohiopyle, Fayette County. But they did not stay long, and later returned to Normalville.

Farming did not produce a substantial income for the family, and over the years the Connellsville Courier reported a number of their losses. In July 1896, John "had a lot of sheep killed … by dogs." In November 1901, he complained "that hunters killed at least six of his turkeys, taking them home and palming them off for wild ones. If the habit of shooting poultry by hunters is not stopped, somebody will get into trouble, and it won’t be the farmers, either." In September 1906, John "lost a valuable horse by lung fever. [He earlier had] refused $200 for the animal."

 

Pritts farm house

To generate additional income via higher-paying employment, in the spring of 1902, the Prittses moved to "the new coke works at Victoria, near West Newton," where John took a job as stable boss, said the Courier. They remained there for four or five years, renting out their Normalville farm to tenants, and then moved back to Normalville.

The Prittses later purchased the old Minerd home at Normalville, seen here. Standing on the porch, left to right, are: John and Rachel (Long) Pritts, Homer Pritts, Susan Anna (Long) Kooser, Blanche Brooks, Hannah Prinkey, Elizabeth Kooser, Mary Kooser, Elizabeth Sleasman and Bessie Sleasman. To see an enlarged version, visit our March 2006 "Photo of the Month."

The house was covered with weather board that covered the original logs on all sides except in the back, where the logs could be seen. The first floor contained a family room, dining room and kitchen, with four bedrooms on the second floor. A daughter remembered that it took seven yards of carpet to cover the entire living room floor.

A 1906 article in the Courier observed that John was "adding a new porch to the front of his house and making many other improvements, which will add very much to the appearance…"

Rachel and John's 50th anniversary, 1936. Photo by Jack Pletcher.

 

 

Rachel and her birthday cake

Rachel always told her children that the family was Pennsylvania Dutch. But only on rare occasions would she speak German words. She would say, "Learning one language is tough enough, let alone two!"

Among their neighbors in Normalville were Rachel's cousins once removed, Martin and Amanda (Williams) Miner. Amanda would pass by the Pritts home while walking to town to shop, and often stopped by to rest and visit. 

In July 1910, the Prittses received a penny postcard from a church friend, announcing that "Dr. Ross will preach and hold our last quarterly conference Sunday morning, July 24."

Rachel is believed to have attended Minerd-Miner Reunions in 1914 (at Killarney Park in Mill Run) and 1920 (at Ferncliff Hotel at Ohio Pyle), as printed ribbons from those events were found in her personal effects many years later. 

In 1926, when Rachel and John celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, all eight of their children and all 12 grandchildren attended a party at their home. The Daily Courier reported that "The children all took well-filled baskets and the table was laid for 29. Albert and Alvie Sleasman played violin and guitar numbers. Albert Sleasman played the organ, while the rest joined in with singing."

She is seen at right, holding a birthday cake laden with candles, date unknown. Conceivably this image could have been taken at the 1926 event.

John and Rachel celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on July 18, 1936. More than 125 friends and neighbors came to a party in their honor. In a lengthy feature article, the Daily Courier said that the "Celebration was in the form of a basket picnic and was featured by a golden wedding ceremony performed at noon by Rev. Jacob Kooser of Scottdale beneath a golden arch decorated with roses and ferns." The couple "were presented with a lovely bride and bridegroom wedding ring set, a gift from their children. A group picture was then taken, after which dinner was served. the table was centered, with a huge five-tier wedding cake topped with a miniature bride and bridegroom standing beneath a golden arch... The honor guests were presented with a large and beautiful collection of gifts."

Afflicted with stomach cancer, John's health began to decline rapidly when he was stricken with pneumonia in August 1939. He lost a great deal of weight ("cachexia") and passed away at the age of 77 on Aug. 17, 1939. He was laid to rest at the Normalville Cemetery. 

 

Normalville Cemetery

Rachel died of heart disease followed by a cerebral hemorrhage at age 81 on Feb. 22, 1942. She was buried beside her husband. At the time of her passing, she had 23 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Her son Homer was the informant for her Pennsylvania certificate of death.

Many of their offspring played a role in the rise of Western Pennsylvania's role as a dominant industrial and agricultural center. Their stories are told here, and will be expanded when new material becomes available.

 

Clyde Pritts

~ Son William "Clyde" Pritts ~

Son William "Clyde" Pritts (1887-1978) was born on Feb. 7, 1887 in or near Normalville, Fayette County. He was tall and slender, with blue eyes and dark brown hair.

He married Nora Bell Prinkey (1886-1954), the daughter of George W.J. and Agnes (Brooks) Prinkey, and stepdaughter of Missouri (White) Prinkey. The ceremony was held in Normalville on June 14, 1910, when both were age 23, and officiated by Rev. G.E. Letchworth.

They had four children -- Albert Pritts, George E. Pritts, Rev. Melvin J. Pritts and Blanche M. Pritts. 

In June 1917, with the United States engaged in World War I, Clyde registered for the military draft. He disclosed that he was employed by the West Penn Railways Company as a laborer, and lived with his wife and at-that-time only child on Freeman Street in Connellsville.

Clyde also was a teamster and a longtime farmer of the Normalville area. He also was employed by the Fayette County Stock Yard for more than 35 years. They were members of the Normalville Evangelical United Brethren Church. 

 

Book naming the Prittses

Sadly, Nora died at her home after an extended illness on June 25, 1954, at the age of 68.

Clyde outlived her by nearly a quarter of a century. In December 1966, while on his way to work at the stock yards, his automobile struck a parked truck, causing "contusions and abrasions of the nose," said the Daily Courier

Three years before Clyde's death, he and Nora were listed in the 1975 paperback book, Brooks Family History. An original copy of the book is preserved today in the Minerd-Minard-Miner-Minor Archives.

He passed away on Feb. 26, 1978, at the age of 91. 

 

Albert and Dolora, 1936

Son Albert R. Pritts (1911-1967) was born on Sept. 23, 1911 in Connellsville, Fayette County. He married Dolora Ruth Herman (June 19, 1918-2013), a native of Mill Run, Fayette County and the daughter of Frederick William and Dora A. (Whetsel) Herman. They produced a family of six children -- Esther Coffman, Gladys Williams, Roxie Tinkey, Connie Walker, Bonnie Pritts and Ronald Albert Pritts. Albert and Dolora resided for decades in Normalville, where Albert was employed in maintenance with Connellsville State General Hospital and drove a bus for Normalville Elementary School. They belonged to the Normalville United Methoidst Church and the Normalville Volunteer Fire Department and Auxiliary. The family was overwhelmed with grief when, at the age of 56, Albert suffered from a perforated ulcer of the stomach area and was underwent massive internal hemorrhaging. He was admitted to Connellsville State General Hospital where he passed into eternity a few hours later on Oct. 24, 1967 at the age of 56. Burial of his remains was held in Normalville Cemetery. Dolora outlived her husband by more than four decades, remaining in Normalville, and reaching her 95th birthday. She liked to raise her garden, can homegrown food and create quilts. Her spirit was swept away by the Grim Reaper of Death, at the age of 95, on Nov. 28, 2013 as a resident of the Harmon House in Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County. A newspaper obituary stated that she was the last surviving member of her family and was survived by six grandchildren, four step-grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild and two great-great grandchild. She rests beside Albert in Normalville.

 

  • Granddaughter Esther Pritts married Ronald Coffman. They dwelled in 2013 in Normalville.
  • Granddaughter Gladys Pritts wedded Robert Williams. They made a home in Mill Run, Fayette County.
  • Granddaughter Roxie Pritts was united in matrimony with Elmer "Wayne" Tinkey in June 1967. Their wedding ceremony was performed by her uncle, Rev. Melvin Pritts, who traveled from Arizona to be part of the event. In 2013, the couple lived in Indian Head, Fayette County.
  • Granddaughter Connie Pritts was joined in the bonds of holy wedlock with Gerald Walker. They were in Friedens, Somerset County, PA in 2013.
  • Granddaughter Bonnie Pritts resided in Normalville.
  • Grandson Ronald Albert Pritts married Kerina. Their residence in 2013 was in Normalville.

Son Rev. Melvin J. "Mel" Pritts (1927-2013) was born on July 3, 1927 in Normalville, Fayette County. He joined the U.S. Army in September 1945 after World War II had concluded. As a 19-year-old, he was sent to the Panama Canal Zone and worked with the Detachment Medical Department at Fort Kobbe. Following his discharge from the military, he received his bachelor's degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College and became an ordained minister. In July 1950, reported the Daily Courier, he returned home to preach at the Normalville Evangelical United Brethren Church. On Sept. 4, 1951, the 24-year-old Melvin married 19-year-old Betty Ann Noon ( ? - ? ), daughter of Michael and Odessa Sue (Tuggle) Noon of Taplin, Logan County, WV. The ceremony was held at the home of Betty Ann's uncle and aunt, Robert E. Tuggle of Taplin, led by Rev. Claude R. Collins of the Bruce McConald Memorial Methodist Church. At the time of marriage, Melvin worked for the Veterans Administration Hospital in Clarksburg, Harrison County, WV and served as pastor of the Sardis Methodist Church. Betty Ann studied at West Virginia Wesleyan College. The couple went on to produce three children -- Robert Wayne Pritts, Sheryl Ann "Sherry" Pritts and Susan Bryson. In 1954, Melvin lived in Pittsburgh, where he studied at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, obtaining his masters of divinity degree in 1959. Circa 1955-1956, he served as minister of Clover Hill Church in a rural area near Bentleyville, PA. Later in 1956, the Prittses made their home in Pittsburgh's South Side. By 1967, Melvin and Betty had relocated to Phoenix, AZ, where he accepted the position of associated pastor of First Methodist Church of Phoenix.  At the age of 86, he died in Tucson on Sept. 22, 2013. His remains were cremated, and a memorial service was held at Catalina United Methodist Church.

  • Grandson Robert Wayne Pritts married Paula.
  • Granddaughter Sheryl Ann "Sherry" Pritts married (?) Campbell. They were the parents of Leah Danielle Campbell and Patrick Brian Campbell. Later, Sheryl Ann was a companion of Barbara Direnfeld.
  • Granddaughter Susan Pritts wedded Gregory Bryson. The children born to this marriage were Matthew Allen Bryson, Katherine Victoria Bryson and Abigail Elizabeth Bryson.

 

~ Daughter Ida Grace (Pritts) Prinkey ~

 

Ida and Elmer Prinkey

Daughter Ida Grace Pritts (1888-1988) was born in 1888. 

On June 6, 1911, when she was age 23 and he 22, Ida and Elmer Clarence Prinkey (1889-1964) united themselves in marriage. W.C. Pritts and C.O. Schroyer witnessed the nuptials. Elmer was of medium build and height, with brown hair and blue eyes.

Elmer was a native of Normalville and the son of George W. and Rebecca Prinkey, and stepson of Missouri (White) Prinkey. The Prittses and Prinkeys were close clans, and two of Ida's siblings -- Clyde and Hannah -- married two of Elmer's siblings or half-siblings

They established a home of their own in Normalville and went on to bear four children -- John E. Prinkey, George V. Prinkey, Kenneth W. Prinkey and Mary Helen Prinkey.

Elmer was a lifelong farmer in the Normalville area. With World War I raging in Europe, he was required to register for the military draft in June 1917. At that time, he told the registration officer that he was a farmer for the Indian Creek Coal & Coke Company in Springfield Township. He also claimed he had "bad eyes" and had a wife and family to support.

The family was plunged into heartache when their only daughter, Mary Helen, contracted acute bronchitis and died from bronchial pneumonia at the age of seven months on June 16, 1926. Her tender remains were laid to rest in Normalville Cemetery.

The Prinkeys were members of the Normalville United Methodist Church. In May 1932, Elmer was elected to the board of education of the Springfield Township schools. His election became somewhat controversial that year over the issue of the enormous cost needed to bring their school buildings back into good condition, and whether Elmer had the standing to vote on that issue. 

The Prinkeys enjoyed attending the annual Prinkey and Murray family reunions. In August 1961, at the 30th annual affair, held at the Henry Fulton Grove near Normalville, Elmer was named oldest man in attendance. 

They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on June 6, 1961. 

Elmer died at age 74 on Jan. 7, 1964. 

Ida survived her husband by nearly a quarter of a century. She died at the age of 100 on Christmas Eve 1988. At the time of her passing, she had five grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and seven great-great grandchildren.

Son John E. Prinkey (1912-1994) was born on March 8, 1912. He was joined in the bonds of matrimony with Georgianna Christner (March 18, 1915-1980). One known daughter was born into the family, Myrna Lee Truxel Baughman. When their daughter was in a bad marriage in the early 1950s, Georgianna filed a claim for divorce on her daughter's behalf. Sadly, Georgianna passed away at the age of 65 on June 13, 1980. John lived for another 14 years. He joined her in death on March 3, 1994. They rest for all time in Normalville Cemetery.

  • Granddaughter Myrna Lee Prinkey (1933-2011) was born in 1933 in Connellsville. She was married twice. On June 23, 1949, she wedded her first spouse, Lawrence B. Truxel ( ? - ? ). They were the parents of John Truxel. Within two years, alleging cruelty, she filed for divorce, and he did likewise. Her petition was granted in Fayette County Court in August 1953. Later, she wed Ronald L. Baughman (July 13, 1932-2005), a native of Morrell, Fayette County and the son of Edward A. and Matilda Baughman. Their union lasted for 52 years. The Baughmans produced six more offspring, among them Scott Baughman, Sharon Baughman, Harold Baughman, Richard "Rick" Baughman, Ronald L. "Ronnie" Baughman and Marcy Clark. The family grieved at the death of infant son Ronnie in 1953. Myrna Lee earned a living through her work as a seamstress for Connellsville Sportswear Company, where she was elected president of the local union. In her free time, she like to camp, play bingo and shop. Myrna Lee was a member of St. John's Lutheran Church and belonged to its Katharina Von Bora Circle. She also was a trustee of the local Ladies Auxiliary of the Fraternal Order of Eagles. A U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War, Ronald spent 45 years working as an electrician for Anchor Hocking Cap Enclosure Corporation, where he was amember of the electrician's union. At the age of 73, Ronald passed away at the age of 73 on Aug. 30, 2005. As her health declined, she was admitted to Westmoreland Regional Hospital. She passed away there on July 31, 2011. Rev. Dennis M. Rosser officiated at the funeral service, with interment beside her second spouse in Normalville Cemetery. She left behind 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, according to an obituary in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Great-grandson John L. Truxel wedded Christine and has lived in Connellsville.

Great-grandson Scott Baughman relocated to South Dakota.

Great-granddaughter Sharon Baughman married John Quarrick and has made a home in Uniontown, Fayette County.

Great-grandson Harold Baughman was joined in marriage with Susan. They have resided in Pleasant Hills south of Pittsburgh.

Great-grandson Richard "Rick" Baughman has dwelled in Belle Vernon, PA.

Great-granddaughter Marcy Baughman was united in holy wedlock with Darwin Clark. They live in Connellsville.

 

Normalville Cemetery

Son Kenneth W. Prinkey (1915-1980) was born in 1915. He was married to a distant cousin, Kathryn Snyder (1914-1989), the daughter of Norman and Jennie (Enos) Snyder. Kathryn was church clerk and pianist for the Poplar Run Church of God.  She also was a Sunday School teacher and missionary band leader, said the Connellsville Daily Courier. Kenneth died while operating his automobile in October 1980, when he “drove off the road after suffering an apparent heart attack and struck a tractor trailer parked in the Mastowski and Fullem Lumber Company driveway, near Normalville,” reported the Courier. Kathryn survived her husband by nine years, and passed away in 1989. They rest for eternity in Normalville Cemetery.

Son George V. Prinkey (1923-1980) was born on March 5, 1923. He was united in marriage with Dolly I. Fulton (Oct. 24, 1924-2006), a native of White, Fayette County and the daughter of George and Louella (Sanner) Fulton. The couple bore two children, Roy Vernon Prinkey and Shirley Nicholson. Over the years, Dolly worked at Seven Springs Mountain Resort and then for 14 years for Specht Plastic in Somerset, PA. They belonged to the Normalville United Methodist Church. George succumbed to the Angel of Death on the next to last day of 1989. Interment was in Normalville Cemetery. Dolly lived as a widow for another 16-plus years. She attended the Critchfield Missionary and Alliance Church in later years. She was admitted as a patient to Highland Hospital in Connellsville, and there she died at the age of 81 on April 28, 2006. They rest together under a red barre granite stone in Normalville Cemetery. An obituary said she was survived by four great-grandchildren.

  • Grandson Roy Vernon Prinkey ( ? - ? ) was born on Sept. 23, 1943. Little is known of his life. He passed away at the age of only 39 on May 24, 1983. Burial was in Normalville Cemetery.
  • Granddaughter Shirley Prinkey married (?) Nicholson ( ? - ? ). Their two sons were Vernon Nicholson and Rocky Nicholson. They made a residence in Normalville.

 

~ Daughter Hannah (Pritts) Prinkey ~

 

Hannah and Marshall Prinkey. Courtesy Daniel Prinkey.

Daughter Hannah Pritts (1896-1936) was born in 1896. 

She married Marshall Earl Prinkey Sr. (1893-1958) on Oct. 18, 1916, when she was age 20 and he was 23. He was of medium build and height, with brown eyes and dark brown hair. He was the son of George W. and Agnes (Brooks) Prinkey of Normalville, and stepson of Missouri (White) Prinkey. (His mother's name also has been given as "Rebecca Shaffer.")

The Prittses and Prinkeys were close clans, and two of Hannah's siblings -- Clyde and Ida Grace -- married two of Marshall's siblings.

The Prinkeys had three children -- Violet Eutsey, Elizabeth Prinkey and Marshall Earl Prinkey Jr. 

Hannah was close to her cousin Katherine Long (daughter of William Jacob Long), and received a number of penny postcards from Katherine in the 1915-1917 timeframe. When Hannah married Marshall in 1916, Katherine sent a congratulatory postcard, saying: 

You pulled some surprise, didn't you? Well, congratulations, anyhow. Think I'll be compelled to do the same thing soon, Dad's away so much. He got home Tuesday night and left this A.M. at 3:50, and goes to Harrisburg Mon. Don't forget to write since you are married.

At the age of 24, in 1917, Marshall and Hannah lived at 508 Francis Street in Connellsville. There, he was employed as a teamster by the Perry & Henderson firm in Connellsville. With America plunged into World War I, Marshall registered for the military draft in June 1917.

In mid-October 1936, Marshall was injured in a freak accident at the age of 43. As reported in the Connellsville Daily Courier, while moving a barrel of vinegar down a flight of steps, the barrel rolled onto his left ankle, causing a fracture.

Sadly, Hannah suffered from a debilitating illness in her late 30s and as she reached 40. She spent time in a hospital in Pittsburgh, and even though returning home, was unable to attend her parents' 50th wedding anniversary celebration in July 1936. 

She died just a few months later, on Nov. 22, 1936, at the age of 40. 

Daughter Elizabeth endured an unusual injury in January 1937, at the age of 14, when a sewing needle became lodged in her arm. She was rushed to Connellsville State Hospital, where the object was removed. "She was then permitted to go to her home," reported the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Marshall Sr. lived another 22 years after his wife's death, and worked as a farmer in rural Mt. Pleasant. he suffered a heart attack and died instantly on June 30, 1958. Burial was in Normalville Cemetery.

Son Marshall Earl Prinkey Jr. (1934-2015) was born on May 28, 1934 in Normalville. He was joined in wedlock with Delores J. Miller (1941-2015), daughter of Earl and Evelyn (Wilson) Miller of Mt. Pleasant, Westmoreland County. They lived in Connellsville at 253 East Fairview Avenue and later in Mount Pleasant Township. They had these known children: J'nice Wiltrout, Ann Prinkey, Daniel Prinkey, Marshall Clay Prinkey and Amy Miner. Marshall served in the U.S. Army and then went on to a career in the shipping department of L.E. Smith Glass in Mount Pleasant. The Prinkeys were members of the Mt. Joy Church of the Brethren, with Marshall volunteering as a church trustee and cemetery board director, and Delores employed there as a secretary. Sadly, Delores died at the age of 73 at home on June 6, 2015. Pastor Lee Smith oversaw her funeral service, followed by burial in Normalville Cemetery. Marshall never recovered from his wife's passing, and their children thought he had borne a broken heart. Just a little more than a month later, at the age of 81, he too was carried away by the Angel of Death on July 13, 2015, as a patient at Excela Health Frick Hospital. Rev. Smith again preached the funeral.

  • Granddaughter J'nice Prinkey married David Wiltrout and lived in Mt. Pleasant.
  • Granddaughter Ann Prinkey lived in Mt. Pleasant.
  • Grandson Daniel Prinkey made his home in West Hollywood, CA. 
  • Grandson Marshall Clay Prinkey resided in Mt. Pleasant.
  • Granddaughter Amy Prinkey wed Gary Miner of Mt. Pleasant.

Daughter Violet V. Prinkey (1919-2014) was born on Dec. 21, 1919 in Normalville. She married Harold H. Eutsey (1916-2004). They did not reproduce. Said the Connellsville Daily Courier, Violet "worked for the U.S. Postal Service at the Normalville Post Office from 1940-1968. She then worked at George and Cunningham Hardware in Mt. Pleasant from 1969-1984. She was a member of the Mt. Joy Church of the Brethren. Violet's favorite pastime was reading the Bible and making quilts." They resided in Bullskin Township, near Mt. Pleasant, Westmoreland County, PA. Harold passed away at the age of 87 on Aug. 19, 2004. Violet survived him by a decade. She was gathered in by the Grim Reaper on Dec. 29, 2014, at the age of 95. Interment was in the Normalville Cemetery, with Pastor Lee Smith preaching the funeral service.

Daughter Elizabeth H. Prinkey (1923-2015) was born on Oct. 20, 1923 in Normalville. She never married but maintained a home in Mt. Pleasant, Westmoreland County. Elizabeth was a talented seamstress and was employed for 47 years by Connellsville Sportswear. She also attended the Mt. Joy Church of the Brethren. Over the years, she kept company with a dear friend, Ralph H. Beal. Elizabeth died at the age of 91, at Mt. View Specialty Care in Greensburg, on July 17, 2015, just four days after the passing of her brother Marshall Jr. Her remains were placed into eternal rest in Greenlick Cemetery, Bullskin Township, with an obituary appearing in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

 

Bessie and Alvie

~ Daughter Bessie (Pritts) Sleasman ~

Daughter Bessie Pritts (1890-1955) was born in 1890 near Normalville, Fayette County. 

She married Alva "Alvie" Sleasman (1897-1984), the son of John and Mariah (Reese) Sleasman of Bakersville, Somerset County, PA.

He was short and of medium build, with grey eyes and dark brown hair. The Pritts and Sleasman families were close, and Bessie's sister Elizabeth married Alvie's brother Albert.) 

They had three sons -- Raymond F. Sleasman, Gerald Sleasman and Homer Ray Sleasman.

During World War I, prior to marriage, Alvie lived in Somerset, Somerset County and worked for the West Penn Power Company plant in Connellsville. He registered for the military draft in June 1918 and stated that his father was his nearest relative.

On Aug. 23, 1921, Bessie sent a penny postcard to her mother, stating: "I arrived in town O.K. Marea got the 9:10 car and I came over on the 9:30. Am going to work this after noon. Mrs. Mayfield has her 2 rooms rented."

The Sleasmans resided in Normalville, Connellsville and Indian Head, Fayette County. Grief swept through their lives at the death of 13-month-old son Homer on Feb. 7, 1926, who had suffered an intestinal blockage known as "intussusception." The baby's tender remains were lowered into repose in Normalville Cemetery.

 

U.S. Steel's National Tube Works, McKeesport

 

In about 1943, the Sleasmans moved to Elizabeth, Allegheny County, PA, in Pittsburgh's Mon Valley. Alvie was an overhead crane operator for the U.S. Steel's National Tube Division at McKeesport, Allegheny County, PA, where he was employed for 23 years. He also was a coal miner for the Indian Head Coal Company and a veteran of World War I.

Bessie passed away at home at age 64 on Jan. 24, 1955, after a five-year illness, said the Daily Courier

Alvie remarried to Gladys Laymon, and was a member of the Pennsville Baptist Church. 

He died in Connellsville on Nov. 28, 1984.

Son Raymond F. Sleasman (1923-2011) was born on July 8, 1923 in Indian Head, Fayette County. During World War II, he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and was deployed in the China-Burma-India Theatre of War. He was joined in wedlock with Evelyn Lazar (1926-2003). They were the parents of an only daughter, Cheryl Cindric. Following in his father's footsteps, Raymond was employed for 44 years by U.S. Steel Corporation at its National Tube Works, laboring as a machine operator. He was a member of St. Park's Parish and the White Oak American Legion and served a term as commander of the CBI Roof Garden Basha. The family underwent unspeakable grief at the untimely death of their daughter in June 1990. Evelyn passed into eternity on Sept, 1, 2003. Raymond outlived her by almost eight years and made his home in Elizabeth Township. He died in Jefferson Regional Medical Center at the age of 87 on April 25, 2011. Burial was in Twin Valley Memorial Park's mausoleum in Delmont, PA.

  • Granddaughter Cheryl Sleasman (1947-1990) was born on June 25, 1947. She married Charles R. Cindric (1945- ? ). The couple did not reproduce. They resided in Jeannette, Westmoreland County until the mid-1980s. Sadly, Cheryl died on June 11 or 15, 1990, at the untimely age of 42. Her remains were placed into rest in the mausoleum of Twin Valley Memorial Park. Charles outlived his bride by many years and was in Lincoln, PA in 2011.

Son Gerald Dale Sleasman (1927-2002) was born in 1927. He married Dolores Duval (March 2, 1929-2015), daughter of Theodore and Rose (Figola) Duval of Boston, PA. The couple bore two daughters, Valerie D. Pope and Geraldine D. Kalko. Gerald was a longtime "craneman from the National plant, U.S. Steel Corp., [and] was a U.S. Army Air Corps veteran of World War II and member of Central Highlands Community United Methodist Church in Elizabeth Twp.," said the McKeesport Daily News. Dolores earned a living working for Zayre Department Store in Versailles. They belonged to the Central Highlands Community United Methodist Church in Elizabeth Township. Gerald succumbed to death on July 2, 2002. Dolores outlived him by a baker's dozen years and lived in Belle Vernon. She passed away at age 86 on June 24, 2015. They rest in Round Hill Cemetery in Elizabeth Township. An obituary was published for Dolores in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

  • Granddaughter Valerie D. Sleasman married William Pope. They resided in Elizabeth Township.
  • Granddaughter Geraldine D. Sleasman was joined in wedlock with Russell Kalko. They dwelled in Belle Vernon.

 

Elizabeth Sleasman

~ Daughter Elizabeth (Pritts) Sleasman ~

Daughter Elizabeth Pritts (1893-1954) was born on Feb. 20, 1893 near Normalville, Fayette County.

In May 1923, when she was age 30, she married the younger 25-year-old Albert R. Sleasman (1898-1970), the son of John and Mariah (Reese) Sleasman of Somerset County, PA. He was tall, and of medium build, with brown hair and blue eyes. (The Pritts and Sleasman families were close, and Elizabeth's sister Bessie married Albert's brother Alvie.) 

They produced one daughter, Rachel B. Meyers. 

Prior to marriage, during World War I, in September 1918, Albert registered for the military draft. At the time, he resided at Indian Head, Fayette County, and worked for the Indian Creek Coal and Coke Company. He disclosed that his mother, now living at Indian Head, relied on him for support.

The Sleasmans established their home in Indian Head and were members of the Indian Head Church of God. Albert was a coal miner of the Eastern Gas and Fuel Associates, retiring in 1958 after three decades of work. He also was employed by the Pennsylvania Department of Highways for two years. In August 1929, the family traveled to Cleveland, OH to visit with Elizabeth's great-aunt, Annie (Long) Kooser.

Elizabeth was diagnosed with cancer of the colon and bladder. After enduring the illness for eight months, she passed away on Aug. 3, 1954, at the age of 61. Her remains were lowered into repose in Normalville Cemetery.

Albert outlived his bride by almost 16 years. He died on May 3, 1970, at age 72.

 

Anchor Hocking glass plant in Connellsville

Daughter Rachel Sleasman (1923-2003) was born on Nov. 21, 1923. On June 27, 1947, at the age of 23, she was united in holy matrimony with Cyrus M. Meyers (March 5, 1927-2020), son of Clayton and Milla (White) Meyers of White near Normalville. The couple's marriage endured for 55 years until cleaved apart by death. They produced two daughters -- Jeanne Meyers and Sharon Grimm. The Meyerses attended the Millertown Community Church, which Cyrus helped to found. Cyrus was employed as a construction superintendent for many years with Graziano Construction Company of Pittsburgh, and was a member of the Carpenters/Building and Trade Union in Penn Hills for 50 years. Rachel earned income through her work with Connellsville Sportswear and the Anchor Hocking Glass Plant in South Connellsville. In 1981, Rachel and Cyrus began spending their winters in Orange City, FL. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on June 27, 1997, and were pictured in a feature in the Daily Courier. Sadly, Rachel died on Feb. 10, 2003 at the age of 79. Her widower lived for another 16-plus years. He was admtitted to Excela Health Frick Hospital in Mount Pleasant and succumbed there at the age of 92 on Jan. 27, 2020. Rev. Gordon Nelson led the funeral service, with interment in Normalville Cemetery.

  • Granddaughter Jeanne Meyers made her home in Indian Head, Fayette County.
  • Granddaughter Sharon Meyers wedded Rick Grimm. They dwell in Normalville.

 

Esther Flydell

~ Daughter Esther Mary (Pritts) Flydell ~

Daughter Esther Mary Pritts (1898-1989) was born in 1898 near Normalville, Fayette County. 

She married George Henry Flydell (1891-1976), son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Geisler) Flydell and a native of Dunbar Township, Fayette County. They were wed on June 22, 1921, when she was age 23 and he 30. He was tall and slender, with light hair and brown eyes.

They went on to reside in the Vanderbilt and Connellsville areas of Fayette County. Their address in 1971 was 803 Meason Street on the West Side of Connellsville.

The Flydells bore three daughters -- Rachel Pierce, Verna M. Shipley and Catherine Leonard. 

In the years before he was married, George secured employment as a laborer for the H.C. Frick Coal & Coke Co.'s Leisenring No. 1 Mine, and continued in this occupation for decades, retiring in 1955. He was a longtime member of Local 1901 of the United Mine Workers of America. He also was a veteran of World War I, after registering for the military draft in June 1917. 

Esther was employed for many years by Connellsville Sportswear, where she was a talented seamstress. They were members of the First Baptist Church of Connellsville. 

On June 22, 1971, the couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary and were pictured in the Daily Courier a few days beforehand. An open house reception was held at their home. 

George died on Aug. 24, 1976, at the age of 85.

Esther outlived her husband by 13 years. She passed away on July 16, 1989. At the time of her death, Esther had nine grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. They are buried at Green Ridge Memorial Park. 

Daughter Rachel Flydell ( ? - ? ) married Lysle E. "Bud" Pierce ( ? - ? ). He was a U.S. Marines veteran of World War II, serving from 1942 until 1949. He returned to Connellsville and was employed as an agent with the Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company. In 1968-1971, they lived in South Connellsville at 1407 Vine Street. They had at least three daughters, Leila Edwinna Dale, Dorothy M. Pierce and Diana Marie Pierce. Rachel and Lysle were deceased by 2019.

  • Granddaughter Leila Edwinna Pierce was born in (?). She was a graduate of the Maison Frederic System School of Beauty Culture in Uniontown and of the Automation Training Inc., of St. Louis. In September 1968, she was united in matrimony with Richard Michael Dale, son of Rev. and Mrs. Charles M. Dale. The wedding ceremony took place at the Calvary Assembly of God Church. Richard was a veteran of the Vietnam War and in 1968 was stationed at the Balling Air Force Base in Washington, DC.
  • Granddaughter Dorothy M. Pierce completed three years of nursing education at Washington Hospital School of Nursing and in 1968 was employed at the hospital as a general duty nurse in the intensive care unit.
  • Granddaughter Diana Marie Pierce studied at the Uniontown Hospital School of Nursing and in 1968 worked as a general duty staff nurse at Connellsville State General Hospital. She married Richard Wayne Shea, son of Clarence Shea of Hibbs, PA. At the time, he was an orderly at Uniontown Hospital, and had served in the U.S. Navy for two years.

Daughter Verna M. Flydell (1925-2019) was born on Jan. 26, 1925 in Connellsville. She was a 1943 graduate of Dunbar Township High School. She was united in holy matrimony with Elmer Shipley ( ? - ? ). Their marriage endured for 65 years until death cleaved them apart. The couple bore an only son, Barry Shipley. They resided in Connellsville and were members of the First Baptist Church. Verna, said the Connellsville Daily Courier, was an "amazing gardener and farmer. Her flowers, fruits, vegetables and Christmas trees were appreciated by not only friends & family, but also those who traveled many miles to get them. She enjoyed cooking, baking and quilting and she loved animals. Most of all, she was content when others were happy... [and] devoted her life to showing love and kindness to everyone she met." Verna died at the age of 94 on June 26, 2019. Distant cousin Lee Maley, of the family of Martha Ellen (Mayle) Mayle, officiated at the funeral service. Interment followed at Green Ridge Memorial Park.

  • Grandson Barry Shipley wedded Cookie. Their children are Mianna Tamburri and Tashara Tucholski. The family makes a home in Connellsville.

Daughter Catherine E. Flydell ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). As a young woman, she was employed by Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation in South Connellsville. In early April 1951, she was wedded to Donald Leonard ( ? - ? ), son of James F. and Martha E. Leonard. The nuptials were celebrated at the home of the bride on 803 Meason Street, with Rev. J.E. Ellenberger performing the ceremony. Reported the Daily Courier, "The bride was attired in a poudre blue gabardine suit with navy blue accessories and wore a corsage of red rosebuds. For 'luck' she tucked a coin in the toe of her shoe." Mrs. Kenneth Nicholson served as matron of honor. He earned a living with U.S. Steel Corporation at its Homestead Works. Their home in the early 1970s was in Springville, NY and in 2019 in Buffalo, NY.

 

Blanche and Curtis Brooks

~ Daughter Blanche (Pritts) Brooks ~

Daughter Blanche Pritts (1902-2000) was born on March 3, 1902 near Normalville, Fayette County.

At the age of 24, on April 14, 1926, she married William " Curtis" Brooks (March 27, 1899-1959), the 27-year-old son of Charles B. and Della May (Gallentine) Brooks of Normalville.

Curtis was a longtime coal miner, employed by United States Steel Corporation at its Leisenring No. 3 Mine. He was a member of the United Mine Workers of America.

The couple made a home in the 1930s and early '40s in Star Junction, Fayette County. They relocated in about 1943 to the Wooddale section of Connellsville.

The family of six children born to this union were Lillian R. Doppelheuer, Hilda Beal DeWitt, John "Howard" Brooks, Donald David Brooks, James Robert Brooks and Glenn Dale Brooks.

The Brookses celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in April 1956. A gala event highlighted by a chicken dinner was held at their daughter Lillian's residence, attended by their six children and eight grandchildren as well as Blanche's sister Ida Grace Prinkey. The house was decorated with spring flowers and azalea plants, and a three-tiered wedding cake was prepared, with the news covered in the gossip columns of the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Grief cascaded into the family when their 20-year-old son James Robert,, stricken with uremia and chronic kidney problems, passed away in July 1957.

 

Leisenring No. 3 mine shaft

Tragedy shook the family when Curtis was stricken by a massive heart attack and died instantly at the age of 60 on April 6, 1959. His remains were placed into repose in Normalville Cemetery, following funeral services held in the Normalville Methodist Church, led by Rev. Gerald L. Pardoe.

Blanche outlived her husband by 41 years. In 1975, when the Brooks Family History was published, she and Curtis were mentioned.

Blanche was interviewed several times in her home in the late 1980s and early '90s by the founder of Minerd.com. Her insights and recollections -- including specific memories of her great-grandfather Jacob Minerd III -- have been invaluable for our understanding of this branch of the family. 

She died on Nov. 9, 2000, at the age of 98, as a patient in Frick Hospital in Mount Pleasant. An obituary noted that her survivors included 16 grandchildren, six step-grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, 16 step great-grandchildren, and several great-great-grandchildren. Burial was in Normalville Cemetery, with the funeral preached by Rev. Wade Kuhlewind.

Daughter Lillian R. Brooks (1926-2010) was born on Oct. 4, 1926, in Normalville. She married George Doppelheuer ( ? - ? ). They resided in Poplar Grove near Connellsville in the 1950s. Later, they relocated to Somerset, KY. The Doppelheuers had two children -- Robert "Bobby" Doppelheuer and Kathleen Doppelheuer. Said the Daily Courier, "Lillian worked as a cook for the Central Kentucky Vocational School. Lillian loved gardening, traveling and cooking for her family." She passed away at age 84 in the Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset on Oct. 18, 2010. Her remains were returned to her home community for burial in the Normalville Cemetery.

  • Grandson Robert "Bobby" Doppelheuer ( ? - ? ) married Susie. Their home in 2010 was in Somerset, KY.
  • Granddaughter Kathleen Doppelheuer ( ? - ? ) also dwelled in Somerset, KY.

Daughter Hilda Brooks (1929-2001) was born on May 1, 1929 in Normalville. She married Clair G. Beal (Dec. 13, 1922-1999), son of Ernest Beal. They were the parents of Gary Brooks Beal and Connie Nevins. The family dwelled in Bridgeport near Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County. Hilda earned a living working for Volkswagen's plant at New Stanton and at Moreland Sportswear in Youngwood. She was a member of Paraside United Methodist Church. Sadness blanketed the family when Clair was swept away by the Angel of Death on May 21, 1999, at the age of 76. Hilda later wedded her second spouse, Walter "Lee" DeWitt ( ? May 8, 1927-2009), the son of Clyde and Anna (Henry) DeWitt of West Virginia. The DeWitts made their home in Bullskin Township near Mount Pleasant. He had been married previously and brought these adult children to the second union -- Beverly DeWitt, Kathy Wolfe, Connie Williams and Cindy Teets. Lee had worked for Ruth Lumbrer Company and Allied Mills until retirement in 1989. He liked to garden, work with wood, fish, camp, play guitar, sing country music and ride his bicycle. During the summer of 1977, he achieved a goal by cycling for 1,000 miles. Sadly, at the age of 72, Hilda died at home on Oct. 2, 2001. Lee outlived her by seven-and-a-half years and succumbed to death at age 81 on St. Patrick's Day 2009. Burial was in Green Ridge Memorial Park, officiated by Rev. Keith Solomon.

  • Grandson Gary Brooks Beal ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). As a young man, he worked for Latrobe Plastic Company in Latrobe, PA. His first wife was Linda Patterson ( ? - ? ), daughter of William Patterson of Greensburg, Westmoreland County. They were wed on July 29, 1967 at the First Presbyterian Church of Greensburg, officiated by Rev. Ray B. Brugler. The couple became the parents of Clint Jason Beal. He joined the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and trained in San Diego. He was stationed in a personnel office in Hawaii and was pictured in an October 1968 article in the Connellsville Daily Courier. Later, he married Susan "Sue" ( ? - ? ). Circa 2009, they dwelled in Arizona.
  • Granddaughter Connie Rae Beal ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). After high school graduation, she worked for Westland Manufacturing Company in Greensburg. She wedded James Nevins ( ? - ? ). Their home in 2009 was in Georgia.

Son John "Howard" Brooks (1931-2004) was born on Oct. 25, 1931 in Star Junction, Fayette County. He lived in Connellsville and was married. The couple produced two daughters, Roxanne Hatter and Wanda Everly Burkholder. Two stepchildren were part of the family -- Edward Osborne and Thomas Osborne. During the Korean War, Howard served in the U.S. Army as a military police officer. After the war, he was employed as a construction laborer with two companies, Garlick and Shallenberger Construction. In retirement, Howard continued to make a home in Connellsville. He was admitted to Highland Hospital in Connellsville at the age of 72 and died there on Jan. 12, 2004. Rev. Father Terry Hercik officiated at the funeral, with burial in Normalville Cemetery. The Connellsville Daily Courier printed an obituary.

  • Granddaughter Roxanne Brooks married Kenneth "Kenny" Hatter. Their home in 2004 was in Connellsville.
  • Granddaughter Wanda Brooks was wedded twice. Her first spouse was Wendell Everly. Her second husband was Mark Burkholder. They dwelled in Connellsville.

Son Donald David Brooks (1935- ? ) was born in about 1935 in Star Junction, Fayette County. He dwelled in Connellsville in 1959. He was deceased by 2000.

Son James Robert Brooks (1937-1957) was born on June 11, 1937 in Star Junction, Fayette County. At the age of 20, he worked for Penn Line Service. But in January 1957, he contracted life-threatening kidney disease which led to uremia. That summer, he was admitted to Connellsville State Hospital where he died just two-and-a-half hours later on July 10, 1957. Funeral services were held in his parents' home in Woodale, with additional services in the Normalville Evangelical United Brethren Church, led by Rev. G.L. Pardoe. Interment was in Normalville Cemetery, with an obituary appearing in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Son Glenn Dale Brooks (1940- ? ) was born in early 1940 in Star Junction, Fayette County. He was joined in wedlock with Karen. Their home in 2004-2010 was in Connellsville.

 

Homer and his ill-fated 1st wife Dorothy

~ Son Homer Randall Pritts ~

Son Homer Randall Pritts (1906-1945) was born in 1906, the youngest of eight children.

He is not to be confused with another, infamous Homer Pritts (1899-1967) of Rockwood, Somerset County, PA who was widely known for his moonshining expertise and regular run-ins with law enforcement officers as part of the notorious "Pritts Gang."

At the age of 23, our Homer married his first wife, 17-year-old Dorothy Esther Lehman (or "Layman") (1912-1937) on May 27, 1929. She was the daughter of D.A. Lehman of Hooversville, Somerset County.

They had one son, William David Pritts. 

 

Homer (right) with one of his brothers

Circa 1931, the family made their home in Hooversville, but soonafter relocated to Normalville. 

In July 1936, they attended the golden wedding anniversary of Homer's parents, and were photographed among the large group of attendees that day.

Tragedy rocked the young family when Dorothy, who had suffered from "a lingering illness," died at age 25 on Aug. 27, 1937. The Connellsville Daily Courier reported that she died at home in Normalville and that her place of interment was the Normalville Cemetery, known at that time as the "United Brethren Cemetery at Normalville." They only had eight years of married life together before her passing.

After Dorothy's death, Homer returned home to live with his parents, until he met and married his second wife.

Homer wed Virginia Densmore ( ? - ? ), and they had two daughters, Constance Ann Klink and Nancy Lee Pritts. 

As a young man, Homer received a number of penny postcards from his siblings and from his uncle William Jacob Long. He worked for the railroad division of the Pittsburgh Steel Company. They moved to Limestone Hill, near Connellsville, Fayette County in April 1945.

Above: Dorothy (Layman) Pritts with son William, age 7, shortly before her death in 1937.  Below: William (right) with his offspring, 2008.

 

Sadly, just three months later, on July 7, 1945, Homer died at age 38 at St. Joseph's Hospital in Pittsburgh, after an illness of four months. The funeral was held at the Normalville United Brethren Church, with burial at the adjacent cemetery. 

 

William D. and Margaret Pritts

Virginia's fate is unknown. 

Son William David Pritts (1930-2012) was born on Jan. 5, 1930 in Normalville. Said the Connellsville Daily Courier, he "was employed as a construction worker and had also worked for Skalecki's Window and Wall Washing Co. and he was the owner of Bill's Tropical Fish and Pets in Connellsville. He was also an avid railroad enthusiast." He married Margaret Elizabeth "Peg" Roadman (1938-1989), the daughter of James G. and Helen Ruth (Grimm) Roadman of Dickerson Run, near Vanderbilt, Fayette County. The ceremony was held on Sept. 17, year not known.They had eight children -- William Randall Pritts, Nancy Ruth Pritts, Lisa Denise Kerr, Lori Renee Yanuck, Randall Pritts, David Allen Pritts, Peggy Diane Jansen and Michael Kenneth Pritts. Sadly, they endured the deaths of son William (1958-1989) and daughter Nancy at young ages. Peg was employed at Anchor Hocking Company in South Connellsville. She was a member of Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witness in Connellsville, and of the East Huntingdon Twirlettes Mother's Club. Sadly, she died of cancer at the age of 50 in 1989. William outlived his wife by 23 years. He passed away in UPMC Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh at the age of 82 on June 26, 2012. Following a funeral led by Pastor Craig Culbertson, he was laid to rest in Green Ridge Memorial Park near Connellsville. At the time, a newspaper said he was survived by 18 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. 

  • William Randall Pritts

    Grandson William Randall Pritts (1958-1989) married Robin Geyer. He served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Tragically, he died in 1989, at the age of 31. Today his legacy survives in the lives of their children and eight grandchildren.
  • Granddaughter Lisa Denise Kerr
  • Granddaughter Lori Renee Yanuck
  • Grandson Randall Pritts
  • Grandson David Allen Pritts
  • Granddaughter Peggy Diane Jansen
  • Grandson Michael Kenneth Pritts

 

 

Margaret with daughters Lori and Lisa, left, and with daughter Peggy

 

 

Copyright © 2001-2003, 2006, 2009, 2012-2013, 2015, 2018-2020 Mark A. Miner

Many thanks to Harry J. Ansell for his sharing his research.