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Katharyn (Purinton)
Haller Tower


Katharyn "Kate" (Purinton) Haller Tower was born in 1873 in or near Independence, Preston County, WV, the daughter of Thomas and Matilda "Tillie" (Hanshaw) Purinton.

As a young girl, Kate and her sisters were introduced to their father's cousin, Dr. Daniel Boardman Purinton, who went on to a prominent career as president of Denison University and later West Virginia University. As an old man, many years later, he wrote to Kate's sister, saying: "I should like to know more about yourself and family, and your sisters as well. I remember you as nice, bright, promising children, and would much enjoy renewing our acquaintance." 

Circa September 1890, she resided in Courtland, NY, but traveled home to Kingwood to spend a visit with her young, widowed sister Helen Menear. The vacation was noted in an edition of the Preston County Journal.

Kate's first husband was Charles William Haller (1873- ? ). They were married in 1894, when both bride and groom were age 21. 

Together, they bore at least one son, Karl W. Haller, who was born in 1894 in Wheeling, Ohio County, WV.

When the federal census was taken in 1900, Charles and Kate and young son Carl were counted as living at West 102nd Street in Manhattan, New York County, NY. They boarded with cousin Frank Hanshaw Sr. and his wife Mary Gertrude and young son George. Living next door were Kate's cousin Asher and Nettie (Hanshaw) Wright and their tenants Harry Hanshaw and his wife Bertie and their son Lansdale.

Circa 1902 and 1908, the Hallers resided in New York City. Kate's sister and brother in law, Helen and Michael H. Liady, also lived in New York in that era. One of their addresses is believed to have been 1253 Amsterdam Avenue.

In 1908, at the death of her uncle Dr. Guy Hanshaw, Kate was entitled to a 1/32 share of the estate, which included lucrative oil and gas wells. She received an immediate payout from the estate of $57.81 in 1909. At intervals over the years, through 1942, she received royalty payments from the wells. The high point was in 1918, when she received $24.54. In total, Kate received $267.18 in inheritance.


Manhattan as seen from the Singer Building, 1910s


The federal census of 1910 shows the Hallers living on West 124th Street in Manhattan. Charles was employed with an advertising agency. 

Kate's second husband was John Bawden Tower (1882-1952), whom she married sometime before 1918. She was nine years older than her husband. He was a native of the District of Columbia.

John apparently brought no children to the marriage, and they had none together.

Their entries have not yet been found on the U.S. censuses for 1920 and 1930. 

By law, John registered for the military draft when our nation entered World War I, in 1918. On the card, he listed his employment as manager of export tire sales for U.S. Rubber Export Co., Ltd., located at 1790 Broadway. He had brown eyes and dark brown hair, as marked n the card.

In September 1927, at the age of 54, Kate traveled back to her home state to attend the funeral of her sister Helen Menear Liady White. Kate was mentioned in both of her sister's obituaries in the Webster (WV) Echo newspaper. At the time, she was residing in Pleasantville, Westchester County, NY. Their address in 1939 was 7 Withington Road in Scarsdale.

Kate died in at the age of 66 on April 26, 1939. In a brief death notice published in the New York Times, she was said to be the "beloved wife of John B. Tower, mother of Karl W. Haller, grandmother of June and Betty Tower. Service at her late residence, 7 Withington road, Scarsdale, N.Y., Friday, April 28, at 1:30 P.M." She was laid to rest in a crypt at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Scarsdale, Westchester County. In 1942, son Karl received the final Hanshaw oil and gas royalty payment as her "sole heir."

At her death, Kate left behind property appraised at $24,265 including real estate and financial accounts. She bequeathed two-thirds to her son and one-third to her husband.

John outlived Kate by 13 years. When the federal census enumeration was made in 1940, John was in Greenburgh, Westchester County, NY, sharing a residence with his stepson Karl Haller and Karl's daughters June and Ruth. He disclosed his occupation as a rubber executive.

Sadly, John died "suddenly" on May 5, 1952, said the New York Times, at the age of 70. In a brief death notice, the Times added that he was the "brother of W. Warren, uncle of Eugene C and David B. Tower, granduncle of June A. Gardner and Ruth E. Bousman." His remains were placed beside his wife's at the Ferncliff Cemetery mausoleum. 


~ Son Karl W. Haller ~

Son Karl William Haller (1894-1950) was born in 1894.

He served in World War I, and when he registered for the military draft, he was single and worked as an office clerk in New York City.


Charleston (WV) Gazette, 1950

Karl was united in matrimony with Ruth E. (?) (1897- ? ). After marriage, they lived on Haven Avenue in New York City in 1920, as shown on the U.S. census. 

Theyproduced two daughters together -- June A. Gardner and Ruth E. Bousman.

Daughter Ruth appears to have been born in Mexico in 1923.

Karl apparently later married Frances (?).

By 1945, Karl returned to West Virginia and resided at 4068 Venable Avenue in Charleston, Kanawha County. There, he was employed as a general accountant for U.S. Rubber Company. He maintained his membership in the St. James Episcopal Church of Wheeling. 

Karl suffered from many blood clots which ultimately led to his death. Tragically, while golfing one October day in 1950 (Oct. 21), at the age of 56, he suffered a massive heart attack on the ninth green at Meadowbrook Country Club in Charleston,. He was dead before medical help could arrive.

In an obituary, The Charleston Gazette noted that he "was a Mason and Shriner and member of the Scottish Rites Bodies. He was affiliated with the Wilson Lodge No. 30, A.F. and A.M., Wheeling, West Virginia Consistory and Scottish Rite, Osiris Shrine, Elks Lodge No. 28, all of Wheeling, and American Legion Post No. 52 at Scarsdale..." His remains were shipped back to Scarsdale for a final funeral service and burial in the Ferncliff Cemetery Mausoleum. Today he reposes there alone.


National Gallery of Art, where June Gardner was a librarian for a decade


Daughter June Haller (1921-2000) was born in about 1921 in New York City. Single at the age of 19, in 1940, she lived with her father and step-grandfather John Tower in Scarsdale, Westchester County, NY. She received a bachelor's degree from Bernard M. Baruch College in New York, and went on to earn her master's degree in library science from Columbia University. She married Marshall C. Gardner ( ? -2001), a native of Logansport, IN. Two children born to the couple were David Gardner and Debra June Gardner. Their home was in Silver Spring, Montgomery County, MD in about 1945 and later, for 35 years, in Bowie, Prince Georges County, MD. June made a career as a librarian. For a decade, she was employed as a librarian with the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Later, she earned a living for about 15 years with the Anne Arundel County public library system. She retired in the early 1980s. June was active with the Masons auxiliary groups such as the Ladies of the Oriental Shrine and Daughters of the Nile. During World War II, and then again in the Korean War, he served the nation with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Theatre. He received a master's degree in biology and a law degree, both from George Washington University. In the 1940s, he worked as a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Then during the 1950s and 1960s, he was a lawyer with the U.S. Department of Justice. He then joined the Social Security Administration, where in the 1970s and 1980s was an administrative appeals judge in Northern Virginia. He was a member of the GWU law school alumni association and served a term as president of the Federal Bar Association. Socially, he belonged to the Masons. Sadly, burdened with congestive heart failure, June died in Prince George's Hospital Center at the age of 79 on Jan. 18, 2000. Marshall only outlived his wife by a little more than a year. Further heartbreak enveloped his life when he barely escaped a housefire in October 2000 which killed his daughter. He succumbed to death on April 3, 2001 as a patient in Anne Arundel Medical Center. Both of their obituaries were published in the Washington Post.

  • Grandson David Marshall Gardner dwelled in Annapolis, MD in 2000.
  • Granddaughter Debra June Gardner (1955-2000) was born in about 1955. She resided circa 2000 in Bowie, MD. Evidence suggests that she shared a residence with her elderly father at that time. Tragically, she died in a housefire on Oct. 27, 2000, discovered on the second floor of their home on Long Ridge Lane. Her father "was rescued without injury," reported the Washington Post.

Daughter Ruth Haller (1923- ? ) was born in about 1923 in Mexico. She grew up in Scarsdale, Westchester County, NY. Ruth wedded William Bausman ( ? - ? ). The couple dwelled in Danville, VA in the mid-1940s.


Copyright 2004, 2006, 2008, 2021 Mark A. Miner