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William G. Miner
a.k.a. G. Wilbur Miner  -  (1878-1969)

See "Lessons from the Hobo Express" and "The Raspberry Patch"



Will and Hattie Miner

G. Wilbur Miner, better known as "William G. Miner," was born on May 24, 1878 in Bearfield Township, Perry County, OH, the son of Thomas M. and Maletha (Ogburn) Miner.

At a young age, Will moved with his parents to nearby McLuney Station in Harrison Township, Perry County. Then, in about 1899, when he was age 21, Will and his parents and brothers Fred and Charles relocated eastward to Gallitzin Township, Cambria County, PA, where his sister Lizzie and her family were already living. Will settled in the town of Coupon, and worked there as a coal miner.


Will Miner

Seen here is a photograph of Will as a young, bearded man, wearing a stylish derby hat and enjoying a favorite stogie cigar.

On Oct. 31, 1899, the same year that he migrated to Pennsylvania, Will married Hattie F. Gaines (1880-1970), the daughter of John and Catherine (Shomo) Gaines, and a native of Page County, VA. The ceremony took place in Coupon or Delaney, Gallitzin Township, Cambria County. 

They had seven children -- Lillian M. Streton Richards, John W. Miner, Thomas M. Miner II, Esther K. Erb, Mabel Ann O'Donnell Hewitt, Elizabeth Mansell and Ruth Plank. 

When the federal census was taken in June 1900, the newlywed Miners lived in Gallitzin Township. Will's occupation was listed as "coal miner." Later, they resided in Bakers, Cambria County. 

In 1910, Will and his family resided in Altoona, Blair County.

Will later became a conductor with the Pittsburgh Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, a position which he held for many years.


Will, seated, with brother Charles, year unknown



Obituary, 1969

By 1920, the Miners were living on a farm in nearby Logan Township.


Asbury Church Cemetery

Said an Altoona newspaper, Will "retired in 1942 as a conductor with the Pittsburgh Division of the PRR. He was a member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen."

In March 1945, when his brother Fred died, the Johnstown (PA) Tribune said Will was living in Altoona. 

Will and Hattie celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with their large family of offspring on Oct. 31, 1949. In all, they were married for 69 years, until the separation of death. 

In 1956, Will enjoyed a family reunion with his sister Lizzie and brother Charles, of New York. Sadly, Charles passed away the following year.


Above, Will (left) with sister Lizzie Lytle and brother Charles, 1956. Below: Will and Hattie, circa 1966, just three years before his death



Obituary, 1970

Will passed away on May 28, 1969 at Altoona Hospital, "after a brief illness" at the age of 90. He was laid to rest at the Asbury United Methodist Church cemetery in Logan Township, Blair County, PA. At the time, he and Hattie had 26 grandchildren and 61 great-grandchildren.

Hattie died a year later, and was buried beside Will. A newspaper headline trumpeted that she was a "Matriarch of a Large Family." The article reported that she had been residing in Homers Gap and that her "descendants number more than 100..." 

She was buried beside her husband at her longtime church, Asbury United Methodist.


~ Daughter Lillian (Miner) Stratton Richards ~


Obituary, 1974

Daughter Lillian Miner (1900-1974) was born in 1900 in Cambria County, PA. 

She was married twice, first to Charles C. Stratton ( ? - ? ).

She bore one daughter, Doris Miller.

In time she wedded a second time to William H. Richards (March 27, 1891-1962), a Baltimore native and the son of Charles H. and Mary (Herple) Richards. The couple's address in the early 1960s was 2061 Cobbs Creek Parkway in Philadelphia. He was said to have been a "leading man" for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Circa 1970, Lillian resided in the Masonic Home in Elizabethtown, PA. She "was a member of the Order of Eastern Star, Philadelphia," said an Altoona newspaper.

Sadly, suffering from heart disease and bacterial pneumonia, William was further strucken by kidney problems and admitted to Misericordia Hospital in Philadelphia. He died there at age 71 on Aug. 1, 1962. His remains were lowered into eternal repose in Philadelphia's Mt. Moriah Cemetery.

She passed away on Aug. 6, 1974, at the age of 74.

Daughter Doris married (?) Miller. Her home in 1974 was in Chester, Delaware County, PA.


Will and Hattie and children, 1956. Front, l-r: Ruth Hawbecker Plank, Elizabeth Mansel, Lillian Stratton Richards, Hattie Miner. Middle: Mabel O'Donnell Hewitt, Esther Erb. Back: Will Miner, Thomas Miner, John Miner, cousin Earnest Alger. The old hen house is in the background.


~ Son John Wesley Miner ~


Obituary, 1973

Son John Wesley Miner (1902-1973) was born in 1902.

He married Esther G. Sell (1904-1999), daughter of D. Elmer Sell of West Plan Road near Altoona.

They produced a family of five children -- David Edward Miner, William E. Miner, E. Juanita Lee, Richard Miner and Mary Catherine Bickel.

John loved to hunt for deer and small game. He made news in December 1940 when he shot a large buck "within calling distance of his home on his own place," reported the Altoona Tribune.

Tragedy struck in 1952 when 20-year-old son David Edward Miner (1932-1952), working in Buffalo, NY, was killed in an automobile accident, just days before he was to be inducted ito the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

John was employed for many years as a welder in the Pennsylvania Railroad Company's erecting shop in Juniata and boiler shop in Altoona. He retired in 1967.

Esther "was a homemaker who enjoyed cooking and sewing." They resided at Homers Gap, PA, and were members of the Asbury United Methodist Church, where Esther was treasurer of the Women's Society. 


Pennsylvania Railroad yard and shops in Altoona


John died on July 18, 1973, after suffering a heart attack.

Esther outlived her husband by 26 years. She succumbed to death in 1999.

Son David Edward Miner (1932-1952) was born on May 27, 1932 in Logan Township. He belonged to the Asbury Methodist church. In late 1952, he was employed in Buffalo, NY by Ford Motor Company. Expecting to be inducted into the U.S. Army, during the Korean War, he drove to Altoona to start the process. Grief swept over the family when he and a companion were killed "in a collision of two automobiles on route 36, a short distance south of the main entrance to the Hollidaysburg State Hospital," said the Altoona Mirror. He was only 20 years of age.

Son William E. Miner (1925-2002) was born on Dec. 4, 1925 in Altoona. He was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II. On Dec. 29, 1945, at the age of 20, William married V. Irene Halbritter ( ? -2014), daughter of Frank K. and Madge Catherine (Purgitt) Halbritter of Fuoss Mills, Antis Township, near Altoona. They had three children -- Linda L. Bryan, William E. Bryan and Donna L. Brunner. Circa 1952, the family lived in Asbury, Logan Township. William was a longtime letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service in Tyrone, PA, while Irene worked at the local Sears store. Irene was a life member of the Asbury United Methodist Church and also attended the Tipton United Methodist Church. She "enjoyed gardening and reading," said the Altoona Mirror, and was active with the United Methodist Women. He died on Oct. 24, 2002, at the age of 77, as a patient in Altoona Hospital. Irene survived her husband by nearly a dozen years and spent her final time in her home on Graystone Court in Bellemead. She died at the age of 86 on July 24, 2014 in UPMC Altoona. She was laid to rest in Logan Valley Cemetery in Bellwood following a funeral led by Rev. Robert Stump.



Linda Miner Bryan and her story in Hospital News


  • Granddaughter Linda Lou (Miner) Bryan ( ? -living) married Gilbert "Gib" Bryan ( ? - ? ). After being widowed at a young age, she built a career as an executive assistant to the chief operating officer with the DuBois Regional Medical Center -- later renamed Penn Highlands Healthcare -- in DuBois, Clearfield County, PA. A creative writer and poet, Linda authored a literary poem, "The Raspberry Patch," published in Pennsylvania English, inspired by her Miner ancestors. She also is the author of "Lessons from the Hobo Express." In February 2011, Linda was pictured on the front page of Western Pennsylvania Hospital News & More under a headline reading "Artists Among Us -- Linda Bryan Translates Life and Family into Poetry." [link]  She also authored "Turning a Bad Time in My Life into a Positive," in Pittsburgh Better Times, describing how she coped as a young widow and single mother. [link]
  • Grandson William E. Miner lived in Hughesville, MD in 2002.
  • Grandaughter Donna Miner wedded (?) Brunner. Circa 2002, she was in Bellwood, PA.

Daughter E. Juanita Miner married (?) Lee. They dwelled in 2002 in Grandview (Altoona), PA.

Son Richard E. Miner ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). In 1952, he was in Buffalo, NY, possibly working with his older brother David at the Fort Motor Company. He was married, put down roots in Bainbridge, PA and was there in 2002. The couple are believed to be the parents of Rebecca E. Bouchard.

Daughter Mary Catherine Miner ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She grew up in Homer's Gap, PA and was employed as a young woman at the Puritan Knitting Mills. On May 13, 1952, she was joined in matrimony with Merle Gene Bickel ( ? - ? ), son of George Bickel of Tyrone, PA. Their nuptials were held in the First Methodist Church of Bellwood, with Rev. E.Z. Utts officiating. The marriage was announced in the Tyrone Daily Herald, which noted that she "wore a ballerena length gown of white eyelet embroidered organdy, with a white nylon picture hat and long white gloves. She carried a bridal bouquet of white roses." At the time of marriage, Merle had recently returned from U.S. Army service in Korea. The newlyweds first resided in Juniata, PA. Later, they resided in Charlottesville, VA.


~ Son Thomas M. Miner, II ~


Altoona newspaper

Son Thomas M. Miner, II (1907-1980) was born in 1907.

He married Edna L. Biser (1914-1991), daughter of Louise E. (Biser) McGarvey.

They resided at Homers Gap, and bore four children -- Charles Marion Biser "Charlie" Miner, Gladys Stengel, Grace Burns and Thomas Walter Miner.

Circa 1930, they shared an apartment with Edna's grandmother McGarvey, and dwelled in the rear of 878 17th Street.

Said an Altoona newspaper, "Known as Col. Sanders, Mr. Miner retired from the E&M shops of the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1959, after 30 years' service." Edna worked for 19 years as head seamstress at Altoona Hospital, retiring in February 1978. 

He died on Aug. 5, 1980. A newspaper said that he and Edna were survived 16 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. 

Edna outlived him by 11 years, and passed away on Aug. 25, 1991.

Son Charles Marion Biser Miner (1930-1984) was born on Nov. 14, 1930, weighing 7 lbs. at birth. He married Joan T. Moser ( ? - ? ) in Bellwood, PA, in 1950. They had six children -- Charles M. "Chuck" Miner Jr., Joni T. Reismeier, Mark T. Miner, Andrew D. Miner, Yvonne L. Miner and Pamela L. Miner. In the early 1950s, he was employed with Sky Brothers. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War era, with the specialty as a pipefitter fireman. In late 1953 or early 1954, he was aboard the USS Furse, a radar picket destroyer, when ht "guarded the flight line for President Dwight Eisenhoer on his return to New York city from Bermuda," reported the Altoona Tribune. Said a newspaper, he "retired as a tractor operator from Conrail in November 1983, after 33 years' service." They resided in Riggles Gap, PA,and were members of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Bellwood. He died on Nov. 6, 1984. 

  • Grandson Charles Marion Biser "Chuck" Miner Jr. ( ? - ? ) married Janet Marie Greene (1954-2014), daughter of William C. and Cora (Williamson) Greene of Altoona. They made their home in Bellwood. Sadly, Janet died at the age of 60, on Nov. 1, 2014, in UPMC Shadyside. An obituary was printed in the Altoona Mirror.
  • Granddaughter Joni T. Reismeier
  • Grandson Mark T. Miner
  • Grandson Andrew D. Miner
  • Granddaughter Yvonne L. Miner
  • Granddaughter Pamela L. Miner

Son Thomas Walter Miner (1932-1997) was born in 1932. On New Year's Eve 1950, when he was about age 18, Thomas married Kay L. Miller ( ? - ? ). The wedding was held at the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in Altoona, presided over by Tev. T.J. Evans. Five offspring were born to this union -- Stephen Kent "Steve" Miner, Carl Miner, T. Craig Miner, Penelope Mae "Penny" Freidenbloom and Sharon Kay Goodman. They were members of the Trinity Assembly of God Church in Huntingdon, PA. Said a newspaper, "He retired from J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital, Huntingdon, in 1978. He had previously worked as a painter for Robert Leidy Painting, Alexandria." Their addresses in Alexandria were Main Street and Shelton Avenue. The Miners celebrated their silver wedding anniversary with a gatherine on Jan. 3, 1976 and were pictured in a related story in the Huntingdon Daily News. He died at home on July 31, 1997, at the age of 65. An obituary appeared in the Daily News.

  • Grandson Stephen Kent "Steve" Miner ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). Circa 1972, he served as a member of the Howitzer Battery of the First Squadron, 104th Armored Cavalry at Huntingdon. He married Debbie Everhart ( ? - ? ), daughter of Robert and Martha Everhart of Alexandria, PA. They made a home on Shelton Avenue in Alexandria, near Huntingdon, PA in the late 1970s. They produced two known sons, Bradley Kent Miner and Wayne Thomas Miner.
  • Grandson Carl Miner ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). He wedded Sharon, daughter of James Muller of Schenevus/Sharon Springs, NY. They bore two known daughters, Karen Elizabeth Miner and Sheri Marie Miner. In 1975, they dwelled on Shelton Avenue in Alexandria and by 1977 had relocated to Nazareth, PA.
  • Grandson T. Craig Miner ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). He was employed in 1975 by G & G Tresco in Petersburg, PA. On Valentine's Day 1976, he was united in the bonds of matrimony with Diane Marie Thompson ( ? - ? ) of Huntingdon and the daughter of George C. Thompson. Rev. Edward J. Hatchner officiated at the ceremony held in the Trinity Assembly of God Church in Huntingdon. In reporting on the wedding, the Huntingdon Daily News said that she "wore a white floor-length, princess seamed gown of polyester crepe, fashioned with a high neckline trimmed in lace, an empire waistline with a V of wide lance in the front and a double layer of wide lace at the hemline, puffed sleeves with small cuffs, trimmed in lace. Adding to her ensemble were the traditional something old, new, borrowed and blue. She also wore a handmade beaded necklace accented by a cross, a gift from the bridegroom's grandmother." At the time, Diane earned a living through her work at Arrow Shirt Company in Huntingdon.
  • Granddaughter Penelope Mae "Penny" Miner ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was the mother of Timothy Brent "Timmy" Miner. In the early 1980s, she supported herself working as a waitress at Diner 22. On March 28, 1981, in nuptials held in the United Presbyterian Church of Alexandria, Penny married Robert Earle Freidenbloom of Martinsburg, PA. Rev. John Dean led the ceremony. Penny wore a "pink chiffon floor-length gown with a sheer pink lace cape," reported the Huntingdon Daily News. "She wore a white floppy hat and carried a bouquet of pink and white carnations." Robert was employed at the time as a truck driver for R.J. Glass.
  • Granddaughter Sharon Kay Miner ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was joined in marriage on New Year's Eve 1977, in Mount Union, PA, with Calvin Bruce Goodman, son of Harry Goodman Sr. of Alexandria, PA. A son born to this marriage was Calvin Bruce Goodman Jr. The couple lived in Petersburg, PA but divorced in August 1981, with the news printed in the Huntingdon Daily News.


Adam and Esther Erb

~ Daughter Esther (Miner) Erb ~

Daughter Esther Miner (1910-2001) was born in 1910.

She married Adam John "Buck" Erb (1910-1993). 

Esther and Adam were the parents of four -- Richard E. Erb, Joann Imler, Nancy Schreiner and Judith Seltzer. 

Esther was "a homemaker ... [who] enjoyed spending time with her family, reading the Bible and gardening." 

Adam, said a newspaper, "retired as a pipefitter from Pennsylvania Railroad in 1962, after 32 years' service."

After his retirement, Adam was employed at Imler's Poultry for 23 years. They were members of Grace Brethren Church, Juniata, PA. They resided in Greenwood, PA in 1970 and in Florida in 1973. 

Adam died at age 83 on June 4, 1993. 

Esther outlived her husband by 18 years. She passed away on July 30, 2001, at age 91. At her death, she and Adam had produced 15 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren.

Son Richard E. Erb ( ? - ? )

Daughter Joanna R. Erb (1933-2014) was born on Oct. 9, 1933 in Altoona. She wedded Fred Imler ( ? - ? ) of the Imler Poultry Farm in Hollidaysburg, Blair County. Joann died at home, surrounded by her family, at the age of 81 on Oct. 26, 2014. An obituary was printed in the Altoona Mirror.

Daughter Nancy Erb married (?) Schreiner.

Daughter Judith Erb was united in marriage with (?) Seltzer.


The famed 'Horseshoe Curve" of the Pennsylvania Railroad, a landmark which the family of railroaders would have known well.


~ Daughter Mabel (Miner) O'Connell Hewitt ~


Mabel Miner

Daughter Mabel Miner (1913-2004) was born in 1913.

She was joined in the bonds of wedlock with Eugene O'Donnell ( ? - ? ).

The family resided in Altoona and produced three children -- Dolores Oppel, David "Rusty" O'Donnell and James E. O'Donnell. 

Said a newspaper, she "was a licensed practical nurse at the former Hollidaysburg State Hospital psychiatric ward. She attended Calvary Baptist Church. She enjoyed making fudge and giving it away, planting flowers and crocheting." 


Obituary, 2004

In time, she married again to Samuel Hewitt ( ? - ? ).

Mabel passed away on Nov. 6, 2004, and is buried in Grandview Cemetery.

Daughter Dolores O'Donnell ( ? - ? ) married (?) Oppel.

Son David "Rusty" O'Donnell ( ? - ? )

Son James E. O'Donnell ( ? - ? )


~ Daughter Ruth (Miner) Hawbecker Plank ~

Daughter Ruth Miner (1919-2012) was born on Aug. 2, 1919 in Altoona.

She was twice married, first to Alton L. Hawbecker ( ? - ? ) and then to James D. Plank II ( ? - ? ). 

The Altoona Mirror said she "had the honor of being a Navy wife for 30 years."

Ruth was the mother of five children -- Gwendolyn H. Stace, Catherine C. Hayslett, James D. Plank III, Cathy Sartor and Moletha Plank. 

During World War II, Ruth served as a junior mechanic at Fort Indiantown Gap. 

Ruth lived in Hawaii circa 1969, and resided for more than two decades in Ocean View, VA. She enjoyed traveling. In 2010-2012, she made her home in Clare Bridge, VA. 

Ruth passed away on Feb. 16, 2012, the last of her siblings. She was survived by 13 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren. 


Will and Hattie's adult children, 1956


~ Daughter Elizabeth (Miner) Mansell ~

Daughter Elizabeth Miner (1915-1994) was born in 1915.

She was united in matrimony with (?) Mansell. 

She resided in the Bronx, New York City in 1969. 

She passed away in 1994.


Copyright © 2002-2005, 2011-2012, 2014, 2020 Mark A. Miner and Craig Adams

Donna (Miner) Brunner has provided valuable content for this biography.