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Luzetta (McKnight) Cottom


The Cottoms' grave at Bryan
Methodist Church Cemetery in Dawson

Luzetta "Zetta" (McKnight) Cottom was born on Sept. 9, 1890 near Dawson, Fayette County, PA, the daughter of Charles and Keziah (Stimmell) McKnight. Her husband was a prominent public figure in Fayette County.

At the age of 18, in a ceremony held in Dawson on March 10, 1909, Luzetta married 22-year-old farmer William Henry Cottom (1887-1974), the son of Alsinus and Jennie (Hough) Cottom. Justice of the peace R.H. Wright officiated.

They resided on a farm in the Vanderbilt area of Fayette County.

The Cottoms had eight children -- Clara Nelson, Ethel Pearl Thomas, Olive Gordon, Curtis Cottom, Donald Cottom, Charles I. Cottom, Mary Edith Linderman and a son who died at the age of 10 days in 1916.

When the 1910 census was taken, the Cottoms made their home near Dawson, Fayette County, as next-door neighbors to Luzetta's parents. Living under their roof was Luzetta's 80-year-old, widowed grandfather Henry "Foxy" McKnight. That year, William was employed as a salesman in a coal company store.


Obituary, 1974

In 1920, the Cottoms lived on a farm along Juniata Road in Franklin Township.

Said the Uniontown Morning Herald, William "was a member of the Bryan Methodist Church, Dawson, served on the Franklin Township School Board, was a member of the Curfew Grange, Flatwoods, and resided in the Vanderbilt area for fifty-six years" prior to his death.

William died at home on Aug. 4, 1974, at the age of 87. He was laid to rest in the Bryan Methodist Church Cemetery. An obituary was published in the Connellsville Daily Courier. At the time, they had produced 17 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren.


Obituary, 1981

Luzetta outlived her husband by seven years.

She passed away at the age of 91, in Vanderbilt, Fayette County, on Sept. 9, 1981. In the years the Cottoms were separated by death, the number of their offspring had swelled.

The Uniontown Herald Standard reported in Luzetta's obituary that she was survived by 17 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and 11 great-great grandchildren.


~ Son Charles I. Cottom ~

Son Charles I. Cottom (1909-1997) was born on Sept. 28, 1909 in Luzerne Township, Fayette County.

When a young man, he was employied by City View Dairy Company in Masontown, Fayette County.

On July 3, 1937, when he was about age 28, Charles married 22-year-old Ada Elisabeth Salisbury (1915-2002), daughter of William and Ada May Salisbury. The ceremony took place at the First Methodist Episcopal Church of California, Washington County, PA, officiated by Rev. W.F. Seitter, onetime pastor of the Chcoran Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church of Dawson.

They had three children -- William G. Cottom, Sarah Jane Sheets and Luzetta M. Booth. 

They lived at Fayette City (1974) and Newell, Fayette County, where Charles was a longtime laborer for the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad. Ada was a trustee of the Newell Methodist Church and its Women's Society. At one time, Charles was a member of the Swissvale Fire Department.

Charles died in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA on June 8, 1987, at the age of 88. Ada outlived her husband by five years, and passed away in Westmoreland Manor in Greensburg at the age of 86 on March 18, 2002. Burial was at Plum Creek Cemetery.

Ada Elizabeth's fate is not yet known.


Bird's eye view of old Dawson

Son William G. Cottom ( ? - ? ) married Betty ( ? - ? ). Circa 2000, the Cottoms resided in Monroeville, a suburb of Pittsburgh. They had one son, Charles H. Cottom, who appears to have been deceased by 1997.


Daughter Sarah Jane Cottom (1940-2000) was born on Valentine's Day 1940 in Brownsville, Fayette County. She was united in matrimony with (?) Sheets ( ? - ? ). They had one daughter, Beverly Ann Shevlin. Sara lived in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, and was "employed by the J.C. Penney Store in Greensburg and in Ross Park Mall," near Pittsburgh, said the Greensburg Tribune-Review. In 1997, she dwelled in Ocala, FL. She died in her daughter's home in Douglasville, GA on July 31, 2000, with her remains returned to Pennsylvania for burial at Westmoreland County Memorial Park. Rev. Richard Carner officiated at the funeral service. In an obituary, the family requested that any memorial donations be made to the American Cancer Society in Greensburg.

  • Granddaughter Beverly Ann Sheets wedded Michael Shevlin. Their home in 2000 was in Douglasville, GA. They were the parents of Lindsay Shevlin, Jennifer Shevlin and ryan Shevlin.

Daughter Luzetta May Cottom (1945-2011) was born on May 8, 1945. She was married twice. She and her first husband, Charles Gale Billy ( ? - ? ), had two children -- Constance Kay Smith Kuhns and Charles Billy II. Luzetta married again, to Air Force veteran Albert E. Booth (Feb. 28, 1934-2013), son of Albert H. and Catherine Mary Corcoran) Booth of Greensburg. The couple bore one son of their own, Sean Patrick Booth. Albert earned a living over the years as an insurance adjuster with State Farm and belonged to the Elks, Eagles and Moose lodges as well as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Amvets of United and the American Legion post of South Greensburg. He also enjoyed body work with vehicles. The couple appears to have divorced, with Albert marrying again to Julia Santo ( ? - ? ). Luzetta made her home in Greensburg, Westmoreland County in 1997. She passed away on Dec. 28, 2011, at the age of 66. Former husband Albert Booth spent his final years in Greensburg and Florida and died on Sept. 11, 2013.

  • Granddaughter Constance Kay "Connie" Billy married Billy Smith and had two children -- Nathaniel James Smith and Angela Mae Smith. She re-married to Robert Kuhns.
  • Grandson Charles Billy II married Kathryn Robertson. They have one son, Zane Billy.
  • Grandson Sean Patrick Booth was married and had two children -- Shayne Nathaniel Booth and Kayla Michele Stahl.


~ Son Curtis Earl Cottom ~

Son Curtis Earl Cottom (1910-1984) was born in 1910 and grew up in Franklin Township near Dawson. He grew to adulthood assisting his father with farm labor.

He was married to Hazel Franks ( ? - ? ).

They made their home in Juniata and later in Vanderbilt, Fayette County. They produced one daughter, Clara Frances Jones. 

Curtis was a coal miner and farmer, and was a member of the Juniata Sportsmen's Club. 

He passed away in Connellsville State Hospital at the age of 74 on Feb. 15, 1984.


~ Daughter Clara M. (Cottom) Nelson ~

Daughter Clara M. Cottom (1911-1999) was born in 1911 near Dawson.

She wedded (?) Nelson ( ? - ? ).

In 1974-1981, she lived in St. Petersburg, FL.


~ Daughter Ethel Pearl (Cottom) Thomas ~

Daughter Ethel Pearl Cottom ( ? - ? ) was born in (?).

She was joined in wedlock with John Oran Thomas ( ? - ? ) and resided in Vanderbilt circa 1939-1974.

Their children were John Richard Thomas, Oran Thomas, Larry E. Thomas, Katheryn Jones, Curtis Thomas, David Thomas and Raymond Thomas.

Son John Richard Thomas (1939-2009) married Darlene Marsh and had three sons. They resided at Grindstone, Fayette County. He worked at Anchor Hocking Glass Company in South Connellsville for three decades, from 1965 to 1995. He was an elder with the Church of Jesus Christ in Vanderbilt and, said the Uniontown Herald Standard, "As an Elder, he performed wedding ceremonies for a few relatives. he also played he piano on occasion during church services." John passed away on Jan. 8, 2009 at the age of 69, "after battling a long and debilitating illness," reported the Herald-Standard.

Son Larry E. Thomas (1953-2005) resided in Shrewsbury, south of York, York County, PA. Said the Connellsville Daily Courier, he was "employed at Becton-Dickson for the past 21 years," up to the time of his death. He died at home at the age of 52 on Dec. 2, 2005.


~ Son Donald H. Cottom Sr. ~

Son Donald H. Cottom Sr. (1918-2000) was born in 1918.

On April 19, 1947, when he was about 29 years of age, Donald married Naomi B. Edwards Aug. 21, 1927-1997), daughter of and John Margaret Edwards of Bitner, Fayette County. The nuptials were held in a "quiet ceremony" in the home of Rev. Oran Thomas of Vanderbilt, noted the Connellsville Daily Courier.

At the time of marriage, Naomi had formerly been employed by Connellsville Sportswear Company. The couple went on to operate a farm near Vanderbilt for half of a century. In addition, circa 1972, Donald worked for United Dairy of Pittsburgh.

The Cottoms bore three children -- Donald H. Cottom Jr., John Cottom and Brenda Joyce Cottom. The trio was pictured in the Nov. 16, 1960 edition of the Daily Courier.

Naomi passed away just four days after her 70th birthday on Aug. 25, 1997. 

Donald died in Uniontown Hospital on July 28, 2000, at the age of 82. Following the funeral at the Ralph E. Galley Funeral Home in Dawson, he was buried at Green Ridge Memorial Park in nearby Connellsville.

Son Donald H. Cottom Jr. ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). On April 19, 1969 -- the same anniversary date as his parents and sister Brenda -- he wedded Linda K. Sheaffer ( ? - ? ), daughter of Charles Richard and Ethel (Colbert) Sheaffer of Dickerson Run near Vanderbilt. The ceremony was held at the Church of Christ in Vanderbilt, with Rev. John Barchey officiating. The family dwelled on the outskirts of Dunbar, Fayette County and in Flatwoods circa 1977. Their one known daughter was Traci Lee Cottom.

Son John Cottom ( ? - ? ) married Mary ( ? - ? ).

Daughter Brenda Cottom ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). On April 19, 1970, the same anniversary date as her parents and brother Donald, she married George E. Soverns Sr. ( ? - ? ), son of Frank Soverns of Youngstown, OH. Pastor Joseph Shazer led the nuptials held at the Vanderbilt Church of Jesus Christ. They were the parents of George E. Soverns Jr. and Bryan C. Soverns and perhaps others. In 1975, their home was near Vanderbilt.


Bryan Methodist Church Cemetery

~ Daughter Jane (Cottom) South ~


Daughter Jane Cottom (1921-2008) was born on Nov. 10, 1921.

She was joined in holy matrimony with William H. South (1912-1993). 

They bore one daughter, Janet R. South. 

Their home in the 1975-2005 era was in Verona near Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, PA. 

William passed away in 1993, at the age of 81. His remains were laid to rest in the Bryan Methodist Church Cemetery. Their grave marker is seen here.

Jane survived her husband by 15 years and spent her final time in Penn Hills, near Verona. She succumbed at the age of 87 on Dec. 4, 2008. A death notice was printed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in which the family asked that any memorial donations be made to the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf.


~ Daughter Olive (Cottom) Gordon ~

Daughter Olive Cottom (1924- ? ) was born in about 1924 near Dawson in Franklin Township, Fayette County.

She married William Gordon ( ? - ? ).

The couple lived on Oglevee Lane in Connellsville, Fayette County.


~ Daughter Mary Edith (Cottom) Linderman ~


Anchor Hocking plant in Connellsville

Daughter Mary Edith Cottom (1931-2005) was born on June 23, 1931.

She married Harold Linderman ( ? - ? ). They did not reproduce.

They resided in the Flatwoods area near Vanderbilt and were members of Bryan United Methodist Church of Dawson.

Mary Edith was "employed at the former Anchor Hocking Glass Plant No. 5 in South Connellsville as a selector-packer for many years," said the Uniontown Herald Standard. "But she and her husband, Harold, are best remembered by many school children because of their employment at the Franklin Elementary School where they worked as custodians for many years."

Reported the Connellsville Daily Courier, "Mary enjoyed gardening, taking care of her home (from the foundation to the roof), having a well-manicured lawn as well as having pristine-kept vehicles."

Suffering for years with emphysema, she died at the age of 74 on Nov. 23, 2005.


Copyright 2008-2009, 2012, 2018 Mark A. Miner