James William Minerd was born on March 14, 1878 at Dunbar, Fayette County, PA, the son of James Valentine and Nancy (Warman) Fuller Minerd.
A coal miner and furnace laborer, he spent virtually his entire life in Dunbar. He was tall and slender with brown eyes and light-colored hair.
On July 3, 1899, at the age of 21, James was united in the bonds of matrimony with 19-year-old Minerva J. Bodkin (1880-1966), daughter of George W. and Catherine (Williams) Bodkin, an old family of Dunbar. The wedding ceremony was performed by James' first cousin, the famed "Blacksmith-Preacher" of Fayette County, Rev. David Ewing Minerd.
At the time of marriage, James earned a living as a local laborer.
Together, the couple went on to produce a family of five children -- Edith Yutzy, George Theodore Minerd, James Albert Minerd. Eleanor Smith and David Edwin Minerd.
James is known to have spent many years working as a laborer at an industrial furnace in Dunbar. When the federal census was made in 1910, the family made its home in Dunbar and the census-taker -- spelling the name "Minard" -- recorded James as working at the "Furnace." That same year, Minerva's younger sibling Emma Bodkin, age 16, lived under their roof as a servant helping tend to the four children born by that time.
When the United States entered World War I, the 40-year-old James was required to register for the military draft, and he did so on Sept. 12, 1918. He disclosed to the registration officer that he was employed as a fireman with the West Penn Power Company at Connellsville and that Minerva was his next of kind.
In 1920, census records show the family living on Second Street in an area known as "Speers Hill," with James employed as a "carrier" at the furnace. For reasons not yet known, the census-taker wrote down Minerva's name as "Carrie." James' younger brother John "Albert" Minerd and wife Bessie lived two doors away, although the census-taker wrote John's name as "James."
During the decade of the 1920s, as the nation entered the Great Depression, James apparently lost or left his job at Dunbar Furnace. The 1930 census shows his occupation as "junking" with his son James laboring at the local glass factory (Anchor Hocking). Their home remained on Second Street in Speer's Hill. In 1937, at the age of 59, James lived and worked at the Leisenring #1 Mine near Uniontown although they kept their residence in Dunbar.
Later in the 1930s and into the '40s, James earned extra money painting houses and churches throughout the Dunbar community. He is said to have been a heavy drinker.
As with many American families during World War II, the Minerds worried when their son David was away serving in the U.S. Armed Forces with a tank destroyer battalion.
Suffering from hardening of the arteries and a skin disease known as "dermatosis," James was stricken with bleeding in his brain and died at the age of 74 on Feb. 3, 1953, and is buried in the newer section of Mount Auburn Cemetery in Dunbar. At the time of his death, he and Minerva had produced 16 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Minerva outlived her husband by 13 years and maintained her membership in the Dunbar Baptist Church.
At some point in time, the local Ladies Aid Society in Dunbar sold "name petals" for 10 cents each to the people of Dunbar in order to raise needed funds. Minerva was one of the purchasers, among others including her sister in law Emma (Fuller) Robbins and several of her Robbins nieces and nephews.
Each donor's name was stitched with red threads onto white fabric petals which eventually formed the shape of flowers superimposed on top of squares. The squares were sewn together into an attractive red and white banner, in the collection of resident Mae Hardy, who passed it down to her niece Doris (Porter) Rockwell. Years later, in September 2002, the banner was placed on display at the Dunbar-Fest Community event, and has continued to be shown at the annual "fests." Seen at right is the flower pattern as well as Minerva's individual name petal. Click here to see the quilt at a larger size in our "Online Quilt Museum."
Minerva spent the rest of her life at their home at 43 Railroad Street in Dunbar, and was a member of the Dunbar Baptist Church. Sadly, she passed away at age 85 on Jan. 15, 1966 and is buried with James. Rev. H.L. Davis of the Harbor of Light Chapel in Uniontown conducted the funeral service. At the time of Minerva's death, the number of their great-grandchildren had risen to 31, and she even had one great-great grandchild. Her obituary was not only printed in Connellsville but also in the Cumberland (MD) Times News.
~ Daughter Edith F. (Minerd) Yutzy ~
Daughter Edith F. Minerd (1902-1995) was born on July 2, 1902 in Dunbar, Fayette County, and grew up there.
When she was about 17 years of age, in 1919, Edith married 19-year-old Henry Yutzy (1900-1986), son of William and Louise (Romesburg) Yutzy of Garrett, Somerset County, PA. His name also has been misspelled as "Yutzey" over the years. Henry is believed to have been a veteran of World War I, but this needs to be confirmed.
They first resided in Garrett before settling for good in the late 1920s in Cumberland, Allegany County, MD.
They had three known children -- James Henry Yutzy, Betty M. Wheeler and Peggy Jane Grimes.
Henry was well known as a boxer in Cumberland in his young adult years, "remembered by boxing fans as 'the best slambang fighter' Cumberland ever had," according to an article in the Cumberland News. Henry was nicknamed "K.O." and began his career at age 14 as a circus boxer in Garrett, Somerset County, PA. Shortly afterward, his contract was purchased by a boxing promoter. Said the News, Henry was:
...active in the ring from 1926 to 1936 and his best fighting weight was 143 pounds. He liked to fight so much that he never asked, nor concerned himself about the win-loss record or little else about his opponent. He was game to the core and the rougher the fight got the better he seemed to like it.... His most prized triumph was scored here in the National Guard armory the night he knocked out Johnny Carey of Erie, Pa.,... The knockout came in the first round.
Over the years, Henry supported the family as an employee of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. In 1930, with the family making their residence on Virginia Avenue in Cumberland, Henry's occupation as recorded by a federal census taker was a "boiler maker helper" in the B&O shops.
During the 1930s, the Yutzys moved to a new home at 100 Laing Avenue in Cumberland, as shown on the 1940 census. Henry continued his labors as a boiler-maker with the railroad. By 1951, they dwelled at 39 Oak Street. He was a member of the Brotherhood of Boilermakers of America.
In addition to raising her children, Edith in the 1940s through the '70s was an officer and secretary with the Swanson Memorial Bible Class of Second Baptist Church in Cumberland. She occasionally hosted meetings in her home, and her name often was published in the Cumberland Evening Times in connection with her volunteer activities at the church.
Henry also was a volunteer with the church, chairing the deacons and supervising the intermediate grades of the annual Vacation Bible School. He also was a pallbearer at many funerals in the city over the years. He was a member of Post 1125 of World War I Veterans in Cumberland. During his retirement years, he was a member of the Has Beens, Inc.
In February 1967, Edith received a visit from her cousin Olive (Ellis) Quairiere, of Dunbar, who had been vacationing in Virginia. The stopover was noted in the gossip column of her former hometown newspaper, the Connellsville Daily Courier.
Henry died at home at the age of 83 on March 10, 1986. An obituary in the Meyersdale (PA) Republic reported that he was "a former world-ranked welterweight boxer." Interment was in the Davis Memorial Cemetery with Rev. Frank Trozzo leading the funeral service. Pallbearers included Emmett Bittner, Donald Deiser, Bobby Goss, Gene Kelly, Randy Shreves and Edgar Tucker. Honorary pallbearers were his fellow members of Has Beens, Inc., among them Howard "Red" Bush, Presley "Red" Mauk and Robert "Bob" Shrout.
Edith passed away in Cumberland on Aug. 8, 1995 at the age of 93. Her remains were placed beside her husband's in eternal repose in Davis Memorial Cemetery in Cumberland. [Find-a-Grave]
Son James "Henry" Yutzy (1921-2004) was born in 1921 in or around Garrett. He grew up in Cumberland. In March 1951, when James was age 30, he was united in marriage with Lucy Jean Clark ( ? - ? ), daughter of John Henry Clark Sr. of Bedford Road in Cumberland. The ceremony was held at the First Baptist Church of Cumberland, with Earl Turner serving as best man and Norma Trussell as maid of honor. A photo of the wedding party was printed in the Cumberland Evening Times. They had two sons -- James C. Yutzy and David H. Yutzy. As a 19-year-old, James lived at home and obtained work as a glass cutter in a local glass factory in Cumberland. He later was a longtime machinist for the CSX Railroad and served in the U.S. Army Railroad Corps during World War II, with training at Fort Belvoir, VA, and deployment in Iran. Said the Cumberland Times, he was "a faithful member of the Second Baptist Church, served as a deacon, Sunday School Teacher, choir member and nursing home ministry. He was dedicated to neighborhood clean up and helping his neighbors. For many years, Henry participated in the city gardening program. He always had a smile on his face and a song in his heart. He was an inspiration to everyone who knew him." Tragedy rocked the family in July 1951 when Lucy Jean's father, a lineman with Potomac Edison Company, was electrocuted and died while working on a high tension wire in Bedford, PA. Circa 1957, the family dwelled in Connellsville, PA but by the 1960s were back in Cumberland. Lucy was active with the Women's Missionary Union of the Second Baptist Church. James passed away at his residence, at the age of 83, on May 19, 2004. He was laid to rest in Sunset Memorial Park.
Daughter Betty M. Yutzy (1923- ? ) was born in about 1923 in or around Garrett, Somerset County. She was but a young girl when the family relocated to Cumberland, where she grew into womanhood. On Feb. 21, 1941, at the age of 18, Betty married Frederick R. Wheeler ( ? - ? ), a resident of Weber Street in Cumberland. The ceremony was held at the Yutzy home, with Rev. Edgar S. Price, of the Second Baptist Church, officiating. Reported the Cumberland Evening Times, "The bride wore a white satin gown, with a halo of rose buds and purple orchids in her hair." At the time of their nuptials, Betty was employed at Memorial Hospital in Cumberland, and Frederick with Celanese Corporation. Their first home was at 724 Frederick Street. During World War II, Fred was a private in the U.S. Army, specializing in aviation, with training at Camp Lee, VA, Miami Beach, FL and Cumberland University in Lebanon, TN. Then, from about 1956 to 1959, the couple lived in Frankfort and Wiesbaden, Germany, where Frederick was stationed with the U.S. Air Force. Circa 1986, at the time Betty's father died, she made her home in Frederick, MD.
Daughter Peggy Jane Yutzy (1929- ? ) was born in about 1929 in Cumberland. She obtained employment as a young women in Rosenbaum Brothers Store in Cumberland. At the age of 21, on Nov. 15, 1950, in a ceremony in the clerk of court of Portsmouth, VA, she was wedded to George Clair Grimes ( ? - ? ), son of Carl A. Grimes of Cumberland. She was attired in a Navy blue suit for the wedding. Peggy's photograph and an article about the wedding were printed in the Cumberland Sunday Times. At the time, George was serving with the U.S. Navy aboard the U.S.S. Newport News. They produced at least two daughters, Peggy Jo Grimes and Bonnie Ackerman. Peggy was a volunteer with the Second Baptist Church in Cumberland and in December 1950 was elected president of the Ruth Class. By 1952, the family made its home in Philadelphia, where George continued his military service in the Navy, and spent the Christmas holidays visiting with the Yutzys in Cumberland. Following George's discharge, they returned to Cumberland and remained there for decades.
~ Son George Theodore Minerd Sr. ~
Son George Theodore Minerd Sr. (1905-1969) was born on July 18, 1905.
He was twice-wed. His first bride was Mary L. Boyd (1910-1997), of Confluence, Somerset County, PA, and the daughter of John D. and Fannie (Tressler) Boyd.
The Minerds had five children -- Edith Eleanor "Cookie" Loudermilk Allen, Mary Katherine "Kate" Jackson, George Theodore "Ted" Minerd Jr., Richard Minerd and Ronald Cornel Minerd.
In 1930, their home was in
Somerfield, Somerset County. PA. By 1933, George had accepted employment as a
driver for Seven Baker Brothers. They resided in 1940 along U.S. Route 40 in
Redstone Township, Fayette County, where George earned a living as a coal miner.
Their address in 1947 was 97 Devan Avenue in Uniontown.
The couple eventually divorced. George maintained a home in 1968 at 97 Devan Avenue in Uniontown.
On Nov. 14, 1968, in nuptials held at the Braddock Street United Methodist Church in Winechester, VA, the 63-year-old George wed 56-year-old Nellie Augusta (Fullem) Lerch (April 3, 1912-1995), the widow of Samuel W. Lerch and the daughter of Charles and Myrtle (McLean) Fullem of Uniontown, Fayette County. The pair had met when Nellie's daughter Marlene Lerch wed George's son Ted. Adding to the twists, Nellie's first cousin Sarah Elizabeth Farr married George's cousin Wade Minerd (of the family of Thomas Minerd).
George was a representative for the Dunlap Tire & Rubber Co. at his retirement in 1968. Nellie was the organist for 36 years at Mount Braddock (PA) Methodist Church, and worked in the cafeteria of Kennedy School in the Laurel Highlands School District.
George passed away in July 1969. He was laid to rest at Sylvan Heights Cemetery, with Rev. Ray Snair preaching the funeral sermon.
Nellie spent her final years in Voorhees, NJ. She passed away at the age of 83, on Dec. 15, 1995, in West Jersey Marlton Hospital. Her remains were returned to Uniontown for burial at Sylvan Heights Cemetery.
Although divorced from George, Mary kept in touch with her former Minerd in-laws, and came to our national family reunion circa 1995. Over the years she made her home in Collier and Chalk Hill, Fayette County. She died at the age of 86 on March 21, 1997, with burial at Sylvan Heights Cemetery in Uniontown.
Daughter Mary Katherine "Mary Kate" Minerd (1930-2005) was born in 1930. She married Marshall Jackson ( ? -living). They had three children -- Marsha "Kim" Harned Noonan, Richard Dawson Jackson and Scott William Jackson. They resided in Uniontown in the 1950s. Sadly, Mary Kate passed away in Uniontown at age 74 on March 15, 2005. Marshall survived her by many years and has made his home in Wisconsin.
Son George Theodore "Ted" Minerd Jr. (1933-2014) was born on June 13, 1933 in Somerfield, Somerset County. In March 1951, during the Korean War, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 350th Infantry in Austria. He was pictured in uniform in the Nov. 7, 1951 edition of the Uniontown Morning Herald. After the war, he returned home and obtained employment with Rockwell Meters Inc. in Uniontown. In about 1955, when he was age 22, he married Marlene E. Lerch (Feb. 3, 1938-2021), daughter of Samuel and Nellie (Fullem) Lerch of Mount Braddock, Fayette County. By 1963, the Minerds had relocated to New Jersey, where they made their home in Riverton. Their six children were Mark Minerd, Jeffrey Minerd, Keith Minerd, Susan Marie Minerd, Wendy Minerd and Brad Minerd. Marlene was said to have been "a warm, kind and generous soul and lover of all pets." Sadly, Ted died in Orlando, FL at the age of 80 on June 17, 2014. A brief death notice was printed in the Orlando Sentinel. Marlene outlived her spouse by nearly seven years and dwelled in Mantua Township, NJ. She was gathered away by the angel of death on Feb. 22, 2021 at the age of 83.