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Kathryn (Miner) Burkholder


Kathryn and Daniel Burkholder

Kathryn (Miner) Burkholder was born on Feb. 18, 1895 in her parents’ home in Wilmerding, Allegheny County, PA, the daughter of William Henry "Squire" and Sara Jane (Basinger) Minerd. At a young age, she returned with her family to Mill Run, where she grew to adulthood.

As a young women, Kathryn was employed as a school teacher “in the former Springfield Township schools for five years,” said the Connellsville (PA) Daily Courier. Among these was the Indian Creek school, where she appears to have boarded with a local family. On weekends, she returned to Mill Run to see her parents, a fact recorded in the gossip columns of the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Another building where she taught was the Fairmont School where at least five of her brothers were her students.

On Jan. 11, 1920, at the age of 24, Kathryn married 19-year-old Daniel McKinley Burkholder (1900-1988) of Cranberry Glade, Somerset County. he was the son of James Wesley and Jenny (Hartzell) Burkholder of the family of Michael Ansell Firestone. Kate was five years older than her husband.

The Minerd-Miner and Burkholder families were close. Daniel's sister, Rebecca Burkholder, was married to Kathryn's cousin Otis "Freed" Minerd, and another sister, Ida Alpharetta Burkholder, was joined in wedlock with a double-cousin James "Franklin" Younkin.

The Burkholders went on to produce three children – Helen Marie Ohler, Mildred Irene Herbert and Vivian Joan Burkholder.


Above: Kathryn's class in Mill Run. Below: Standing 3rd row, far left, with her class at the Fairmont School which included her sister and brothers.


The couple and their children are known to have attended the fourth annual reunion of the Basinger family, held in Normalville in early September 1923. A story in the Daily Courier noted that "Lunch was served at noon after which a business meeting was held and ... officers elected."

When the federal census enumeration was made in 1930, the Burkholders lived two houses away from her married brother Raymond Miner and family. Over the years, he labored as a coal miner as well as a farmer.

Kathryn and Daniel belonged to the Mill Run Evangelical United Brethren Church, which eventually evolved into the Methodist congregation. Circa 1931, Daniel served as president of the Senior Christian Endeavor Society of the church. Later, they became charter members of the Church of the Open Door in Connellsville.


Kathryn in young adulthood



Daniel and Kathryn

In the late 1930s, Daniel and their son in law Lewis Cecil Ohler also were laborers in the construction of Fallingwater®, the house over a waterfall designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh that is widely considered America’s “most famous modern house.” Daniel was a general worker on the project, and Lewis helped to quarry stone from nearby sites, also handling stonework and plumbing services.

Interested in preserving their family legacy, Daniel and his brother in law James "Franklin" Younkin, along with Roy Schmuch and Kathryn's distant cousins Daniel Garfield Younkin (son of James "Dempsey" Younkin) and Kenneth Shroyer (son of Laura Belle [Younkin] Shroyer), incorporated the Imel Cemetery Association in Springfield Township, Fayette County, to provide ongoing care for the old family cemetery. Appearing in court in November 1945 to support their application, they told a judge that "The purpose of the corporation is to improve the burying ground in which these men have relatives buried."

Daniel was employed in the fall of 1946 at the Colonial Mine of the H.C. Frick Coke Company. He was injured on Nov. 11 of that year, when an axe he was swinging, intending to split a post, glanced away and cut his left foot. He was taken to Brownsville General Hospital for treatment.

Daniel's final years of work were spent at U.S. Steel Corporation’s Robena Mine, located in Carmichaels, Greene County, PA. Operated by the H.C. Frick Coke Co., it was the largest coal mine in the world at that time, and considered to be one of the most modern in the industry. He eventually retired from U.S. Steel.


Above: the Imel Cemetery which Daniel helped to maintain. Below: belt lines distribute coal into blending bins at U.S. Steel's Robena Mine in Carmichaels, PA



Book picturing Kathryn

The Burkholders' address in the 1950s was 1405 Hawthorne Street in Connellsville. Grief shrouded the family in April 1957 when their 19-year-old daughter Vivian Joan passed away after suffering for years with diabetes and hypertension.

Kathryn passed away on Oct. 12, 1985, at age 90.

Daniel outlived her by just three years, and died at age 88 on Dec. 14, 1988. 

In 1994, a photograph of Kathryn among a group of teachers at the 1912 Normal Institute was published in the book, Yesteryear in Ohiopyle and Surrounding Communities, Vol. II, compiled by author Marci Lynn McGuinness.

In 1997,she was honored at our national Minerd-Miner-Minor Reunion for her work as an educator. She is mentioned and pictured in the year’s reunion booklet, A Sense of Wonder.

In 2004, Daniel and Lewis were honored among many family members for their longtime work at Fallingwater, at our reunion in Kingwood and Mill Run, PA. Click here to view our special reunion booklet.


The Burkholders' grave at Indian Creek Baptist Cemetery


~ Daughter Helen Marie (Burkholder) Ohler ~

Daughter Helen Marie Burkholder (1921-2010) was born on Feb. 8, 1921 in Indian Head, Fayette County.

In 1940, at the age of about 19, she married Lewis Cecil Ohler (Sept. 5, 1918-1993). More than 100 relatives and friends threw a "miscellaneous shower" for the couple at Kaufmann's camp, including games and lunch. The Daily Courier reported that "Mr. and Mrs. Ohler were the recipients of many beautiful and useful gifts... Mr. Ohler is employed by E.J. Kaufmann of Pittsburgh. They have gone to housekeeping in the house of Mrs. Lucinda Ohler."

The couple produced six children -- Helen "Lorraine" Ohler, Richard Lewis Ohler, Kathleen Rae Pratt, Kenneth Daniel Ohler and twin sons who died at birth on March 30, 1962.

Lewis and his father-in-law were actively involved in the construction of Fallingwater, owned by the Kaufmanns. He helped to quarry stone from nearby sites and provided stonework and plumbing services

The Ohlers resided in Shanksville, Somerset County in 1940. Then in 1942, they had relocated to Coudersport, Potter County, PA, where their eldest daughter was born. By 1945, they had moved again to Pittsburgh. Returning to Connellsville, Lewis operated a plumbing and heating business at 207 West Blake Avenue. Circa 1961, he placed advertising in the Daily Courier promoting Lawson Rocket Automatic Water Heaters, furnishing rust-free hot water for the laundry, kitchen and bath.

They were longtime members of the Church of the Open Door, with Helen serving as pianist for many years. Their address circa 1976 was 207 West Blake Avenue.

Lewis passed into eternity on Jan. 2, 1993.

Helen outlived him by 17 years. Toward the end, she became a resident of LaFayette Manor in Uniontown. She succumbed there at age 89 on April 26, 2010, with interment in Normalville Cemetery. An obituary was printed in the Daily Courier.

Daughter Helen "Lorraine" Ohler (1942- ? ) was born in 1925 in Coudersport, Potter County, PA. She came back to her parents' home region when a young girl. As an adult, she resided in Connellsville.

Son Richard Lewis Ohler (1945- ? ) was born in 1945 in Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County, PA. On June 4, 1966, when he was 21 years of age, he was united in holy wedlock with Arlene M. Moore (1946- ? ). The couple bore two children, Tamera Rae Rusnik and Richard Lewis Ohler Jr. They dwelled in West Mifflin in 1976 and in Uniontown in 2010. Later in life, he may have wedded Carol.

  • Granddaughter Tamera Rae Ohlere (1967- ? ) was born in 1967. On July 16, 1988, she married Sean Richard Rusnik (1966- ? )
  • Grandson Richard Lewis Ohler Jr. (1971- ? ) was born in 1971.

Daughter Kathleen Rae Ohler (1953-2013) was born on St. Patrick's Day 1953 in Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County. As a young woman, she worked in sales for Montgomery Ward in the Laurel Mall in Uniontown and remained there for three decades. On Nov. 27, 1976, in nuptials held at the Church of the Open Door in Connellsville, she wedded Walter Findley Pratt (1952- ? ), son of William C. Pratt of Uniontown. Rev. Samuel N. Harper officiated, and the wedding reception was held in the Carnegie Free Library of Connellsville. News of the wedding was printed in the Connellsville Daily Courier. The couple lived in Connellsville. A graduate of the Fayette Institute of Commerce and Technology, Walter was employed by Goodwill Industries of Fayette County. They were the parents of William Pratt. Over the years, the Pratts were members of the church in which they were wed. Sadly, Kathleen died at the age of 60 in Highland Hospital on May 14, 2013, with an obituary printed in the Daily Courier.

  • Grandson William Lewis Pratt (1982- ? ) was born in 1982. He resided with his parents in Connellsville in 2013.

Son Kenneth Daniel Ohler (1958- ? ) was born in 1958 in Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County, PA. When he was age 21, on Dec. 19, 1979, he was joined in wedlock with Brenda Sue Snyder (1961- ? ). They relocated from Connellsville to Greenville, SC. The three sons born to this marriage were Michael Travis Ohler, Jared Ray Ohler and Phillip Daniel Ohler.

  • Grandson Michael Travis Ohler (1980- ? )
  • Grandson Jared Ray Ohler (1982- ? )
  • Grandson Phillip Daniel Ohler (1990- ? )


~ Daughter Mildred Irene (Burkholder) Herbert ~

Daughter Mildred Irene Burkholder (1923-2011) was born on Jan. 21, 1923 in Mill Run.

On Nov. 10, 1948, when she was 25 years of age, she married Raymond H. Herbert (July 24, 1905-1981), a native of Connellsville. They were 18 years apart in age.


Anchor Hocking plant, South Connellsville

They resided in East Connellsville and bore one daughter, Doris Rae Keefer.

Said the Daily Courier, Raymond "retired in 1970 as a tool and die maker for Anchor Hocking Corp. following 29 years service. More recently, he had been employed as a meter reader for the Pleasant Valley Water Authority.” 

Raymond passed away on June 23 1981, at the age of 76. 

Mildred outlived her husband by three decades. She was a member of the Church of the Open Door and dwelled in Bullskin Township

She died at her home in Bullskin Township near Connellsville on Nov. 5, 2011, at the age of 88. After a funeral service led by Pastor Harry Powell, she was laid to rest beside her spouse in the Normalville Cemetery. An obituary was printed in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Daughter Doris Rae Herbert (1953-2024) was born on Sept. 16, 1953. On July 21, 1972, she was united in matrimony with Daniel Irvin Keefer (Sept. 5, 1952-2006) of Connellsville. Their three children were Darcy Mae Keefer, Devin Daniel Keefer and Derek David Keefer. At one time they lived in Connellsville. Doris served as matron of honor for the 1976 wedding of her cousin Kathleen Rae Ohler to Walter F. Pratt. At one time she was employed as a clerk and typist for the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare office in Uniontown. She retired from the welfare department. She held memberships in the Fayette County Horse Owners Association, and Appalachian Wagon Train. Grief blanketed the family when Daniel passed away on Aug. 10, 2006. As a widow, Doris appears to have relocated to Normalville, PA. She died on Jan. 15, 2024 at the age of 70. Pastor Brian Swan led the funeral rites, with interment in Normalville Cemetery. An obituary was published in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

  • Grandson Devin Daniel Keefer (1974- ? ) was born in 1974 in Greensburg, Westmoreland County. He married Krista ( ? - ? ). He once worked as a gas attendant at Graft Oil Company of Connellsville. Circa 2024, their dwelling-place was in Leisenring, PA.
  • Granddaughter Darcy Mae Keefer (1977- ? ) was born in 1977 in Greensburg, Westmoreland County. As a young woman, she was employed as a nurse's aide at the Pleasant Valley Personal Care Home in Connellsville. She wedded Adam May ( ? - ? ). The pair was in Normalville in 2024.
  • Grandson Derek David Keefer (1979- ? ) was born in 1979 in Greensburg, Westmoreland County. He was joined in wedlock with Christina (?). Circa 2024, they made a home in Connellsville.


Normalville Cemetery

~ Daughter Vivian "Joan" Burkholder ~

Daughter Vivian "Joan" Burkholder (1937-1957) was born on May 25, 1937.

She never married. For years, she was afflicted with diabetes and hypertension.


Daily Courier, 1957

At the age of 19, Joan was employed by Alderman J.W. Prinkey as a secretary, and lived under her parents' roof at 1405 Hawthorne Street in the Poplar Grove section of Connellsville.

She was a member of the Mill Run Evangelical United Brethren Church.

Sadly, she passed away at the age of 19, on April 8, 1957, at Magee Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, after a stay of six weeks. Funeral services were held in the family church, officiated by Rev. Robert Blank who was assisted by Rev. G. Edward Kelly. The remains were interred in the Normalville Cemetery, and an obituary was published in the Connellsville Daily Courier.


Copyright © 2004, 2007, 2011, 2019-2020 Mark A. Miner