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Pearl (McKnight) Kerfoot


John Davis Kerfoot

Pearl (McKnight) Kerfoot was born on June 25, 1891 in Fayette County, PA, the daughter of John Henry and Frances (Wood) McKnight. As a student, she is said to have won a state spelling bee.

Pearl wed John Davis Kerfoot (1891-1967), the son of Jefferson D. and Jennie (Grindle) Kerfoot of Uniontown, Fayette County. 

They were the parents of one daughter, Frances Collier.

The Kerfoots resided on Nutt Avenue in Uniontown. 

At one time, Pearl was a teacher at the Oliver and Gallatin schools in the Uniontown area, having obtained her education at Bethany College and the California State Teachers college.

John was inducted into the U.S. Army in May 1918, during World War I. He was a member of the 60th Infantry, 5th Division. After training at Fort Lee, Petersburg, VA, he was shipped overseas. While in action in France, he was wounded in the horrific fighting in the Argonne Forest. The extent of his injuries is unknown, but he was discharged and returned stateside in January 1919. Later that summer, in June, he was still undergoing treatment at an Army hospital. He is pictured and profiled in the book, Uniontown's Part in the World War.


Wasteland of fighting in the Argonne Forest, on the left American lines


Upon recovering and then returning to Uniontown after the war, John founded Kerfoot Brothers, a transportation company. 

Pearl was a longtime member of Central Christian Church in Uniontown and a member and president of the Women's Missionary Society. She and other church members were pictured in the Uniontown Morning Herald edition of June 17, 1965 for their work to support missionaries. She also taught Sunday School for the church's Bethany Class for 35 years. She was a member of the Travel Club of Uniontown, the Shakespeare Club and the Col. Andrew Lynn Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).


Book naming
the Kerfoots

In 1932, John was elected as Uniontown City Treasurer and then reelected in 1936. In a biographical profile in Walkinshaw's 1939 book, Annals of Southwestern Pennsylvania, John was said to have "steadily and faithfully served the people of this community..., and he is regarded as a public official of unquestioned ability and integrity."

John played host to several of Pearl's distant cousins Robert "Doe" Addis, Harold Rankin, Thomas Rankin and Glen Rankin, who all went hunting together in December 1946 with Police Chief A.W. Davis, staying for an extended time at the Kerfoot cabin in Rock Spring. The Uniontown Morning Herald said the group "was witness to one of the best exhibitions of shooting to come off in this district in many years when Chief Davis bagged a beautiful 175-pound, four-point buck.

John died in June 1967.

Pearl passed away in Uniontown on Sept. 24, 1973. Burial was in Sylvan Heights Cemetery following funeral services officiated by Dr. Earl P. Confer.


~ Daughter Frances (Kerfoot) Collier ~

Daughter Frances Kerfoot (1925-2016) was born on April 26, 1925, an only child.

She married Thomas S. "Jiggs" Collier Jr. ( ? - ? ), son of Thomas S. Collier Sr.

They resided in Uniontown and produced three sons -- John Samuel "Sammy" Collier, Thomas S. Collier III and Jeffrey Collier. 

Frances received her degree in psychology from Bethany College. She became employed by a child welfare organization known as Children and Youth Services (CYS) and spent a career there of about a quarter of a century. Often, said the Uniontown Herald-Standard, she spent "her own money to see that the needs of her foster children were being met." She belonged to the Central Christian Church and the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Thomas owned and operated his own business, Collier's Trucking Service. They are named in the 1948 book Kerfoot, Kearfott and Allied Families in America, by Robert R. Kearfott (privately published). 

Thomas passed away in (?). 

Frances survived him by many years. She died in Golden Living Center in Uniontown at the age of 90 on March 1, 2016. Said an obituary in the Herald-Standard, "Franny will always be remembered for her kind heart, quick wit and excitable temperament." Rev. Heather Simpson led the funeral service.

Son John Samuel "Sammy" Collier (1956-1978) was born in about 1956. He is believed to have died in 1978, at the age of 22, and to rest for eternity in Walnut Hill Methodist Church Cemetery.

Son Thomas S. Collier III (1951-2011) was born on Dec. 13, 1951 in Uniontown. After graduation from high school in 1969, he went to work in his father's family-owned trucking business, Collier's Truck Service and became a foreman. Upon his father's death, Thomas then acquired his own trucking vehicle and operated his own independent hauling business. He married (?). They had three children -- Brian Wiles, Thomas S. Collier IV and Katelyn Collier. Sadly, Thomas died at the age of 59 on May 12, 2011. Rev. Art Mace officiated at the funeral service followed by burial in the Walnut Hill Cemetery.

Son Jefferson K. "Jeffrey" Collier ( ? - ? ) was a longtime teacher in the Laurel Highlands School District in a career spanning 41 years. He retired in the early 2010s. 


Copyright 2004-2005, 2012 Mark A. Miner

Argonne Forest photograph courtesy of the of the American Memory Project of the Library of Congress.