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Thomas Irvin 'T.I.' Miner


Thomas Irvin "T.I." Miner was born on Nov. 12, 1847 in Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe), Carbon County, PA, the son of Levi and Catherine (Kiefer) Miner. His birthplace also has been given as Wisconsin, as his brother and sister later moved there, but his origins in Carbon County are almost certain. Both he and his father served in the U.S. Army during the Civil War. As a young man, he stood five feet, 10 inches tall, with a fair complexion, black hair and brown eyes. 

During the war, Thomas and his father both joined Company H of the the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. His age at enlistment was 15, well under the Army's minimum age. He was a private and a drummer, while his father was elected sergeant. Thomas' term lasted for nearly five months, from Oct. 15, 1861 to March 5, 1862. He went by the first name of "Irvin" at enlistment. 

The 11th Pennsylvania moved to Annapolis, MD, where Thomas helped guard the Navy Yard. As the cold weather advanced, he began to suffer from chills and fever. Officers with the regiment found him "Small, very delicate & too young for the duties of a soldier," and he was discharged on March 5, 1862 at Annapolis, MD. He returned home to Mauch Chunk, biding his time until he could re-enter the conflict.

At the close of the war, on April 3, 1865 at the age of 17, he rejoined the Army at Pottsville, Schuylkill County, PA. He was assigned as a private with the 201st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Company H. He remained in this role for two months, 18 days, until his honorable discharge on June 21, 1865.

A year after the end of the war, Thomas settled in Pittston, Luzerne County, PA, working as a carpenter. In 1870, the census shows that he boarded there with Ellen (Crowell) Mercer and her young children Elizabeth and Charles Mercer. He moved to Oxford, NJ, residing there until 1878.

In 1871, at the age of 24, Thomas married 17-year-old Ellen Caroline "Ella" Axford (1854-1918), a resident of New Jersey and the daughter of Mark J. and Mary (Pierson?) Axford. They were wed on Oct. 23, 1872 at a church parsonage in Broadway, Warren County, NJ, officiated by Rev. T.T. Campfield.

They had eight children -- among them Janet Ruth "Nettie" Miner, Edward Miner, Mark J. "Axford" Minor, William J. Miner, Laura Helen Miner, Harry E. Miner, Charles Beidelman Minor and Benwood Miner.

Thomas and family relocated circa 1878 to White Haven, Luzerne County, where he continued to earn a living as a carpenter and contractor. White Haven was a northern gateway to the Lehigh Gorge via the Lehigh River and the upper grand section of the Lehigh Canal and today is home to Hickory Run State Park.

In about 1870, Thomas lost sight in his right eye, and in 1888 fell from a roof, breaking his wrist and dislocating his right elbow. His left arm bore a tattoo.

He appears on the special census of Civil War veterans enumerated in 1890, and was in White Haven at the time. His divorced mother came to live under his roof, and died there, on Feb. 28, 1891, with burial in the Laurel Cemetery in White Haven. 

Circa 1896, writing from White Haven, Thomas provided an affidavit for his father's claim for a military pension. The family was enumerated in White Haven in the 1900 census.

The family moved in 1901 to Allentown, Lehigh County, PA, residing at 803 Chew Street. When the federal census was taken in 1910, Thomas had no occupation, and five of their adult children resided in the household -- Jeanette, William, Laura, Charles and Benwood.


Allentown's railroad terminal station, early 1900s


Suffering from wartime debilities, Thomas was awarded a federal pension in July 1904 [App. #1322022, Cert. #1119485]. He received $6 per month and claimed he was wholly disabled from performing labor.

He underwent period physical examinations as a pension requirement. During his exam in March 1905, he weighed 180 pounds, but by May 1906, had gained quite a bit of weight and and now measured in at 215 pounds. With his other eye beginning to fail, he wore glasses. The examining surgeons reported "No evidence of vicious habits." 

In May 1910, J.E. Frederick, chairman of the Democratic County Standing Committee of Lehigh County, wrote a letter to Congressman John H. Rothermel on Thomas' behalf. In the letter, he said: 

I ... take the liberty to ask you to do a favor for a certain gentleman in our district who is more than justified in asking for said favor; that is, to have a special Act passed in his behalf as an old soldier.... He is blind in one eye and the other eye is almost gone. He is unable to do any work. Now, anything you can do in his behalf will be greatly appreciated by me and more so by Mr. Miner. I personally feel that he is justified in asking this favor and I feel confident that you will do all you possibly can. I can say for Mr. Miner that he is a Democrat of the Jacksonian kind.

He spent his final years at 140 South 12th Street in Allentown. He suffered a debilitating stroke of apoplexy, and died in Allentown at age 67 on Oct. 15, 1915. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Allentown. [Find-A-Grave link] 

Ella began to receive her late husband's pension in December 1915 [App. #1056820, Cert #806014]. Testifying on her behalf was her sister in law Mary (Miner) Beidleman. She spent her final years living at 446 East Northampton Street in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

She endured organic heart disease for several years and died on May 8, 1918 at the age of 64. She joined her husband in eternal rest in Greenwood Cemetery. Son William was the informant for her death certificate.


~ Daughter Janet Ruth "Nettie" Miner ~

Daughter Janet Ruth "Nettie" Miner (1874-1952) was born on Jan. 15, 1874 in Oxford, NJ. Her name also has been spelled "Jeanette."

Circa 1910, at the age of 34, she was unmarried and resided with her parents in Allentown, Lehigh County, PA. That year, she was employed as a sales lady in a dry goods store, and remained in this type of work, in a department store, for many years.

She never married. Toward the end of her life, she lived at 106 East Mountain Road in Allentown.

Stricken with kidney and heart disease, Nettie was admitted to Allentown Hospital in June 1952. She died in the hospital at the age of 78 on June 25, 1952. Her brother Charles was the informant for her death certificate. Burial was in Greenwood Cemetery in Allentown.


~ Son Edward Miner ~

Son Edward Miner (1876- ? ) was born on Feb. 24, 1876. 

He was deceased by 1915.


~ Son Mark J. "Axford" Minor ~

Son Mark J. "Axford" Minor (1879-1918) was born on May 1, 1879 in Oxford, NJ and was named after his maternal grandfather. 

He was tall and of medium build, with brown eyes and hair.

In 1900, he resided at home with his parents and worked as a day laborer in a brick yard. 

Axford married Nina Kreitler ( ? - ? ) in about 1902, when he would have been age 22 or 23. They had at least two children, Clyde F. Minor and Charlotte K. Wehrle. 


Allentown's Center Square

The federal census of 1910 shows Axford and Nina and their children in Allentown, with him employed as a bartender in a saloon. He remained in this occupation for as long as he was able to work. Their home was at 220 North Law Street.

Sadly, Axford began to suffer from mental illness -- possibly Parkinson's Disease added to deep depression -- and was admitted in the 1910s to the Homeopathic State Hospital in Hanover, Lehigh County. The facility also has been known as the State Hospital for the Insane.

He died there on Oct. 20, 1918 at the age of 39. A physician ruled that the cause of death was "general paralysis of the insane." His remains were placed into eternal repose in the Greenwood Cemetery in Allentown.

When the federal census was taken in 1920, the widowed, 38-year-old Nina and the children made their home in Allentown. She was employed as a cook in the local high school, and took in roomers to help pay bills. Son Clyde, age 17, worked as a clerk for the National Motor Car Company, and Charlotte (15) as a packer in the Nooely Works. 

By 1930, living with her married daughter Charlotte in Allentown, Nina worked as an inspector in a silk mill.

Nina survived her husband by an astonishing 45 years, and apparently never remarried. She died in 1973 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Allentown.

Son Clyde F. Minor (1902-1960) was born on March 14, 1902 in Allentown. In 1930, at the age of 28, he made his home with his married sister Charlotte Wehrle in Allentown. Clyde's occupation over the years was as an auditor. He never married. Suffering from Parkinson's Disease, Clyde tried more than once to take his own life. Toward the end of his life, he resided at 3605 Hanover Acres, a federally funded, public housing development built during the Great Depression in east Allentown, with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt providing political support. Having endured acute bilateral bronchial pneumonia, dehydration and malnutrition, Clyde passed away in Sacred Heart Hospital on Feb. 11, 1960 at the age of 57. His sister Charlotte provided key details for his Pennsylvania certificate of death. Interment was in Allentown's Greenwood Cemetery.

Daughter Charlotte K. Minor (1905- ? ) was born in 1905 in Allentown. At the age of 19, on April 2, 1924, she wed 20-year-old local clerk Paul F. Wehrle (1904- ? ) in Easton, with Rev. Frankilin K. Fretz officiating. Paul was the son of William Wehrle and Minnie (Adams) Wehrle Stout. Because Charlotte was underage, her mother had to sign her consent to the marital union. They had an only son, Charles T. Wehrle, and because of difficulties in childbirth, Charlotte was unable to have any more babies. Paul was a bookkeeper for an electric light company in Allentown. The 1930 census of Allentown shows the Wehrle family living on South 10th Street in Allentown, with Charlotte's widowed mother and unmarried 28-year-old brother Clyde in the household.

  • Grandson Charles T. Wehrle ( ? - ? ) 


~ Son William J. Miner ~

Son William J. Miner (1881-1931) was born on Oct. 22, 1881 in White Haven.

He lived with his parents on Chew Street in Allentown, Lehigh County. In 1900, he was a  day laborer in a brick yard and in 1910, he worked as a solicitor for a real estate company. Later, he became an insurance agent for Metropolitan Insurance Company in Allentown. 

Circa 1918, William made his home at 446 Northampton and was the informant for his mother's Pennsylvania death certificate. 

When he was age 29, in about 1910, William was united in wedlock with 23-year-old Anna A. Kuehner (1887-1938), the daughter of James E. and Alice (Bartholomew) Kuehner of Unionville, Carbon County, PA. The couple is not known to have reproduced.

They made their home in the early 1930s at 339 Calvert Street in Fullerton, Whitehall Township, Lehigh County.

Suffering from heart valve disease, William died on July 28, 1931, at the age of 49. His remains were interred in Greenwood Cemetery in Allentown. His brother Charles gave vital details for the Pennsylvania death certificate.

Helen survived her spouse by seven years, and lived at 252 East Fairview Street in Allentown. Burdened with rheumatic heart disease, she passed away at age 51 on Aug. 17, 1938. 


~ Daughter Laura Helen Miner ~

Daughter Laura Helen Miner (1884-1973) was born on Oct. 6, 1884. 

She never married. 

Laura made her home with her parents in Allentown, Lehigh County circa 1910, and made her living as a stenographer for a dental office. Her address circa 1915 was 140 South 12th Street in Allentown. That year, she served as the informant for her father's death certificate.

Laura died in 1973 at the age of 89, with burial in Allentown's Greenwood Cemetery.


~ Son Harry E. Miner ~

Son Harry E. Miner (1886- ? ) was born on June 19, 1886 (or 1887). 

He was deceased by 1915.


~ Son Charles Beidelman Minor ~

Son Charles Beidelman Minor (1889-1965) was born on Dec. 10, 1889 (or 1888) in White Haven. 

As an adult, he was short and stout, with brown eyes and hair. 

He worked as a plumber's helper in 1910, and lived with his parents on Chew Street in Allentown. 

In about 1918, when he was age 30, Charles wed his first wife, Callia A. "Callie" (?) (1891-1930). He was employed that year as a chauffeur for James K. Bower of 941 Maple Street in Allentown, and made his home at 524 Chew Street in Allentown.

About that same time, as World War I was in eruption in Europe, he joined the U.S. Army with the rank of private. 

When the censuses were taken in 1920 and 1930, the Minors resided on Tilghman Street in Allentown. Charles was employed as a "chauffeur," driving a truck for a baking company. He moved to 1327 Turner Street in Allentown and lived there circa 1936, working as a salesman. 

Sadly, after a dozen years of marriage, and apparently no children, Callie died on Nov. 16, 1930, at the age of 39. She was laid to rest in the Cedar Church Cemetery, also known as Cedar Union Cemetery, in Allentown. [Find-A-Grave]

Charles married again, at the age of 45, to 32-year-old Allentown bookkeeper Verna C. Bernhard (1904-1981). She was the daughter of Daniel and Louise (Zottlemoyer) Bernhard. The nuptials were performed on Nov. 26, 1936, in Allentown, led by Rev. Sydney Buxton. Circa 1952, their address was 2107 West Livingston Street in Allentown.

Charles passed away at the age of 76 in 1965. His remains were lowered into eternal rest in Greenwood Cemetery in Allentown. [Find-a-Grave]

Verna lived for another 16 years after her husband's death. She joined him in eternity in 1981.


~ Son Benwood Miner ~

Son Benwood Miner (1892-1939), also known as "Bentwood" and "Minor," was born on March 26, 1892 in White Haven, Luzerne County. He was tall and of medium build, with brown eyes and dark brown hair. 

He married Marie Ritchie (1897- ? ) in Allentown on May 7, 1913, when he was age 21, and she 15. (She fibbed about her age on the marriage license, saying it was 17.) She was a resident of Philadelphia, and the daughter of William J. and Annie Ritchie. The ceremony took place in the rectory of the Immaculate Conception Church, officiated by Rev. John G. Fitzgerald. At the time of marriage, Benwood's occupation was as an electrician.

They first lived in Allentown in 1916 and shortly afterward settled in Philadelphia. The couple had four known children -- Charles Miner, Leonard Minor, William Minor and Marie Minor. 

In June 1917, with the United States' entry into World War I, Benwood registered for the military draft. He disclosed to the registration officer that he was married with three children -- living at 928 St. John Street in Allentown -- and was employed by S.W. Traylor as a machinist.

Heartache shook the family in September 1918 when their son Charles was born prematurely. The infant "could not take nourishment," wrote a physician, and died at the tender age of 12 days on Sept. 11, 1918. Burial was in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Sun Ship Building's docks along the Delaware River in Chester County


In 1918, their home was at 1401 North 18th Street, and by 1920-1930, they lived on 53rd Street. The 1920 census shows Benwood and Marie in the home of 51-year-old widow Lillian M. Hous, who may have been Marie's step-mother. That year, Benwood worked in a shipyard as a pipe-fitter.


Benwood and Marie resided at 5016 Baltimore Avenue in Philadelphia's 46th Ward in the late 1930s. At that time, Marie w as a waitress in a restaurant, and Benwood was employed as a foreman with the Sun Ship Building and Dry Dock Company, an occupation which had consumed 18 years of his life. Sun Shipbuilding was a major shipbuilder based 15 miles from Philadelphia in Chester, PA, along the Delaware River. It produced many vessels during World War I, primarily oil tankers.

Stricken with a malignant tumor of the bladder, which led to uremia, Benwood endured the disease for a decade, but stopped working in early August 1939. He underwent surgery for a partial resection of the tumor. Sadly, he died a month and a half later at the age of 46 on Oct. 1, 1939. Burial was in Greenwood Cemetery in Allentown, and William H. Derr, of 46 East Susquehanna Street in Allentown, was the informant for the death certificate.

Son Leonard B. Minor (1914- ? ) 

Son William Minor (1916- ? ) 

Daughter Marie Minor (1917- ? ) 


Copyright 2012-2013, 2016 Mark A. Miner