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Huston D. Minerd


Huston D. Minerd was born on June 21, 1862 at Hopwood, Fayette County, PA, the son of Andrew and Sarah (Devan) Minerd.  He likely was named for an uncle, Lt. Huston Devan, a Civil War soldier who died of typhoid fever in Washington, DC less than three weeks before our Huston was born.

At the age of 20, in 1882, Huston married 19-year-old Mary "Mollie" Kissinger (or "Kessinger") (1863-1916). She was the daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Cass or "Goss") Kessenger.

Together, the pair bore two known daughters – Pearl Millward and Julia Minerd. 

Huston was active in the community as a young man, and in 1879-1880 served as treasurer and sentinel of the Dunbar Lodge, No. 1236, IOGT (International Order of Good Templars).

A skilled blacksmith, Huston set himself up in business at “the blacksmith shop opposite the Brant hotel [in Hopwood], and will be assisted by the veteran blacksmith, Andrew Minerd, his father,” said the Uniontown Genius of Liberty. In the early 1890s, Huston worked as a blacksmith at the New Atlas Coke Works in Uniontown, and owned a town lot in nearby Dunbar.  

Later, they moved to Pittsburgh, and made their home at 1858 Second Avenue in the 23rd Ward.


Fairbank post office

Death struck the family on March 24, 1897, when 14-year-old daughter Julia died of typhoid fever, and cerebral and spinal meningitis.  Her body was sent from Pittsburgh to Hopwood "on the 10:25 train over the B.&O." railroad for burial in the family plot at Hopwood Cemetery.

In 1900, the federal census shows that they lived on Wiley Avenue in Pittsburgh, where Huston was employed as a day laborer, and 14-year-old daughter Pearl as a tailoress.

At some point the Minerds moved back to Fayette County and circa 1916 lived in the coal mining patch town of Fairbank.

Mollie suffered from diabetes which led to deathly infections of gangrene. Unable to recover her health, she died at the age of 51 on Nov. 7, 1916. Burial was at Hopwood. Their son in law Harry O. Millward was the informant for her official state death certificate.

In the 1920 census, Huston is shown living by himself in South Union Township, Fayette County, working as a blacksmith for a coal plant.

When the 1930 census was enumerated, Huston made his home with his married daughter Pearl Millward and family in German Township, Fayette County. At age 67 that year, he had no occupation. He is said by a grand-niece to have attended family gatherings well inebriated in his later years.

Huston suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on June 1, 1938. He lingered in declining health for 25 days, reaching his 76th birthday on June 21. He died in the Millwards' home on June 26, 1938. He was buried at Hopwood Cemetery. His grave is unmarked.


Copyright © 2000, 2008, 2018, 2022 Mark A. Miner