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Mary (Ream) Flanigan


Mary (Ream) Flanigan was born on Jan. 15, 1812 in Draketown, Somerset County, PA, the daughter of Thomas and Barbara (Haines) Ream Sr. Her middle name may have been "Elizabeth."


She married farmer Job Flanigan (1806-1887). Job was six years older than his bride. It's thought that Mary did not wed until after the death of her father in 1840, meaning she would have been no younger than age 28 at the time of matrimony.

The Flanagans produced five known children -- Annabelle Burnworth, Mary "Missouri" McNear ("McNair"), Thomas Flanigan, Marcellus Flanigan and Howard Flanigan.

When the federal census was enumerated in 1850, the family dwelled in or near Johnson Chapel in Henry Clay Township, Fayette County. That year, other Flanigan families living next door were John and Margaret Flanigan and Andrew and Isabella Flanigan. They remained in Henry Clay through the decade of the 1850s and are shown there in the 1860 census, receiving their postal mail at Somerfield, Somerset County.


Johnson Chapel Methodist Church near Confluence


Mary died on Nov. 19, 1867 at the age of about 55, reputedly in Fayette City, Fayette County.

The census of 1870 shows the 63-year-old Job heading a household with his youngest three children between the ages of 15 and 23. That year, their mail was delivered at Fayette Springs, Fayette County.

In 1880, at age 76, Job dwelled with his married daughter Mary and her husband Thomas McNear in the Grant District of Preston County, WV. He died in 1887.

The couple sleeps for all time in Johnson Chapel Cemetery. A modern marker stands at their gravesite.


~ Daughter Annabelle (Flanigan) Burnworth ~


Annabelle and Ziba Burnworth. Courtesy L. George


Daughter Annabelle Flanigan (1845-1926) was born on Feb. 21, 1845 in the Johnson Chapel community in rural Confluence, Henry Clay Township, Fayette County. As a young girl, she joined the Methodist Episcopal Church.

In about 1864, at the age of 19, Annabelle was joined in marriage with 35-year-old Ziba Libee Burnworth (July 1, 1828-1909), son of John and Hannah (Hinebaugh) Burnworth. Ziba was 16 years her senior.

He had been married previously to Susanna Lenhart ( ? -1860) and brought at least three young children to the marriage, Alverda Burnworth, Marcellus Burnworth and Orville Burnworth.

Ziba and Annabelle resided on his farm near Johnson Chapel.

They went on to produce six more children of their own -- Chelsea Wilson, Harry Palmer Burnworth, Herbert Burnworth, Jonathan L. Burnworth, William Albert Burnworth and Norman Burnworth.

Some years earlier, in 1849, Ziba hired his brother in law Julius Kemp of Somerfield to erect a barn with lumber timbered in his woods, costing $80.00 to complete, with the barn remaining in place for some 70 years.


Burnworth graves, Johnson Chapel



Johnson Chapel memorial window
for the Burnworths, presented by
Jonathan, Eugene and Geraldine

The Burnworths were longtime members of the Johnson Chapel Methodist Church, founded circa 1825 by Ziba's father. The congregation was part of the Somerset Circuit and then Smithfield Circuit of the Methodist church, and in 1853 a building was constructed, known then as the Fairview Methodist Episcopal Church. Ziba was a trustee of the 1853 church, along with Jacob Show, John R. Burnworth, Clark Flanigan, Christopher Burnworth, Charles Tissue and Patterson Burnworth.

When the church building was destroyed by fire late in 1883, Ziba and other trustees met at the local schoolhouse to plan for the future and raise money for new construction. At that meeting, Ziba's brother in law Thomas Flanigan was elected president of the organization, Ziba as secretary, Tissue Show treasurer, and A.B. Flanigan, C.N. Flanigan, Tissue Show, Alvin Burnworth and Grant Show as a committee to seek pledges. The new church took two years to build, and was dedicated on Nov. 15, 1885, costing $717.66 and measuring 30 ft. x 45 ft. x 14 ft. high.

Over the years, Ziba was highly regarded in the community, and the Meyersdale Republican once cited his "honesty, industry, perseverance and true Christian piety, ... filled with years and honors, whose pure and honest life was an inspiration for good in the community where he spent his long and useful life.."

In 1900, the federal census shows that Ziba's 84-year-old unmarried sister Keziah Burnworth lived under their roof. In October 1909, gathered for the last time, Ziba and Annabelle held a family reunion at their home. Noted the Republican, "The day was delightful and will ever be remembered by all present. A bounteouis dinner was served at 12 o'clock." Among the attendees were Mr. and Mrs. John Burnworth, Mr. and Mrs. Orville Burnworth, Mr. and Mrs. James Wilson, Thomas Butler, Isaiah Shipley, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Burnworth and sons Fred and Wade, Mr. and Mrs. William Burnworth and daughters Ruth and Lucille, Mrs. John Butler and daughter Katharine, Kissiah Burnworth, Nona Burnworth and Alverda Burnworth.

Sadly, at the age of 81, Ziba died at home of heart weakness on Nov. 5, 1909. Burial was at Johnson Chapel. Among those traveling to attend the funeral was Mrs. N.B. Critchfield of Johnstown, PA.

In 1919 or 1921, in February, Annabelle's younger brother Marcellus traveled from his home in Iowa for a two-month's visit. At her 75th birthday in 1920, while staying with her son William in Confluence, Annabelle was "treated with a genuine surprise on Saturday," reported the Republican.

Mrs. W.A. Burnworth perfected the arrangements without even letting the members of her own family know, thereby showing the fallacy of the old saying that a woman cannot keep a secret. Chief of the arrangements was the baking of a magnificent birthday cake, having 75 candles on it, in remembrance of Grandma Burnworth's 75th year. In the evening J.L. Burnworth and family, who reside on the next street, Norman R. Burnworth and daughter, Bella May, and granddaughter, Agnes O'Hara, of Uniontown, who were visiting the former's brother here, Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Reiber, Mr. and Mrs. John I. Davis and Mrs. Margaret Burgess were present and spent a pleasant evening, after which they were invited to the dining-room where the table was beautifully spread with choice delicacies having the birthday cake for a center-piece. This was where Grandma Burnworth got her surprise. On Sunday she and Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Burnworth and daughters, Ruth and Louise, and Norman R. Burnworth and daughter, Bella May, and granddaughter, Agnes O'Hara were dinner guests of Mr. and Mrs. J.L. Burnworth where the latter had a magnificent birthday dinner prepared, with Grandma Burnworth as guest of honor. This venerable lady is the widow of the late Ziba Burnworth, one of the prominent residents of Henry Clay Township who died in November, 1909.


Ziba named in this history

Despite her advanced age, Annabelle was able to travel, and in July 1922 went to Dunbar to see her daughter and son in law, Chelsea and James Wilson. The sands of time ran out for her at the age of 81 on Sept. 17, 1926, having been senile and then suffering a cerebral hemorrhage while at the home of her son Harry at Johnson Chapel. In an obituary, the Republican said she was survived by 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Rev. L.H. Powell officiated at the funeral service, with her four sons serving as pallbearers as well as nephews Wilbert McNeer and Dilworth McNeer. Later that her, her obituary was reprinted in the B. and O. Magazine, Vol. 14.

Stepson Marcellus Burnworth (1849-1927) was born on Sept. 22, 1849 on his father's farm near Johnson Chapel. When he reached his 16th year, Marcellus joined the Methodist Episcopal Church and was a member for the rest of his long life. On Dec. 9, 1875, when he was 26 years of age, Marcellus married Hester Ann "Esther" Flanigan ( ? - ? ), daughter of Thomas and Catherine Flanigan. The were the parents of four children -- Charles O. Burnworth, Mary Catherine Silbaugh, Thomas Z. Burnworth and Julius Franklin "Frank" Burnworth. They made their home next to his parents at Johnson Chapel, and Marcellus was said to be "an honest and conscientious man and respected by all who knew him.... He was a sincere Christian." On June 2, 1907, the Pittsburgh Daily Post published a four generations photo of Marcellus, his father, son Charles and grandson Preston. For his 66th birthday, in 1915, friends at Johnson Chapel threw him a surprise birthday party attended by about 50 guests. In an unfortunate accident in September 1916, Marcellus lost a valuable horse when it "fell and broke its right front leg when it wheeled against a steep hillside, as Frank Burnworth tried to halter it," said the Meyersdale Republican. "Dr. J.F. Colflesh, V.S., of Confluence, was immediately summoned, but as the bone was so badly splintered and cracked he could do nothing with it, and the horse had to be shot." Marcellus was featured in a July 1919 Republican story which reported that he had "made a number of fine improvements around his comfortable home. He put in an acetylene gas plant to furnish light for his home and surroundings, and also laid a number of concrete walks around his ground." In September 1920, he and his brother Harry and nephews Wade and Fred drove to Piedmont, WV, where they visited peach orchards and returned home with several bushels of peaches. Suffering from kidney failure, he was felled by a stroke and died at the age of 78 just two days after Christmas 1927. Burial was at Johnson Chapel, with services led by Rev. L.H. Powell, and pallbearers included his three sons, one son-in-law and grandsons George M. Burnworth and Charles Benjamin Burnworth. In a lengthy obituary, the Republican said "While he was in delicate health, owing to injuries, for several years, he had not been confined to his bed very long." He was survived by 16 grandchildren.

  • Johnson Chapel Cemetery
    Step-grandson Charles O. Burnworth (1876-1943) was born on Oct. 15, 1876 in rural Confluence, Henry Clay Township, Fayette County, and spent his entire life in the community. On Dec. 11, 1901, he was joined in holy matrimony with Nellie Butler (July 3, 1881-1974), daughter of George C. and Isabelle (Lancaster) Butler of Confluence. The Burnworths spent their lives as farmers. The nine children born to this couple were Charles "Benjamin" Burnworth, Frances Silbaugh, Nelle Hansler, twins Paul T. Burnworth and Carl Burnworth, Wilma Ream, Evelyn Ferrell, Nina Parker and Rev. George Burnworth. They also raised a foster daugher, Florence Shaw. Charles and Nellie produced wheat on their farm among other crops. Circa 1932, Charles presided over the governance of the Tax-Payers Association of Henry Clay Township. He served as local justice of the peace in 1932 as well as superintendent of the Sunday School of the Johnson Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church. During his final years, he suffered from what physicians called "a very serious heart condition." He suffered a massive heart attack and died at the age of 67 on Dec. 5, 1943. Interment was in Johnson Chapel Cemetery. Nellie outlived her husband by many decades. She is known to have traveled out of state in 1950 to visit her adult children in Nebraska and Colorado. At her 90th birthday, on July 3, 1971, her family gathered to celebrate, with a related story printed in the Meyersdale Republican. She succumbed to death at age 93 on Jan. 7, 1974.

Great-grandson Charles "Benjamin" Burnworth (1910-1977) was born on March 15, 1910 in the Johnson Chapel area. He wedded Mona Kelly (June 9, 1909-1981) of Belle Vernon, PA, the daughter of Phillip E. and Jemima A. (Lewin) Kelly. Their only known son was Edward Burnworth. Mona is known to have taught at the Marclay School for a number of years. They were members of the Johnson Chapel Methodist Church. Sadly, at the age of 67, Benjamin passed away at home on April 30, 1977. Rev. John R. Hickson officiated at the funeral service with burial in the family church cemetery. Mona was admitted to the Spear Nursing Home in Markleysburg toward the end of her life and succumbed to death there on Aug. 19, 1981. Her obituary appeared in the Meyersdale Republican.

Great-granddaughter Frances Burnworth married (?) Silbaugh. Her home in 1971 was Johnson Chapel.

Great-grandson Paul Burnworth dwelled in the Johnson Chapel area.

Great-granddaughter Nelle Burnworth wedded E.J. Hansler. In 1950-1971, she resided in Omaha, NE.

Great-grandson Paul T. Burnworth (1920-1996) was born on Feb. 7, 1920, a twin with his brother Carl. He married Helen L. Butler (July 26, 1924- ? ). They lived in Confluence and were farmers, with Paul also employed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Paul served in the Army during World War II with deployment in the Pacific Theater. The children born to this union were Donna Meyers and Thomas W. Burnworth. The family belonged to the Johnson Chapel United Methodist Church. Paul died at the age of 76, in Somerset Hospital, on March 22, 1996. Burial was in Johnson Chapel Cemetery, with Rev. Thomas Charles leading the service.

Great-grandson Carl F. Burnworth (1920-2001) was born on Feb. 7, 1920, a twin with his brother Paul. He wedded Eleanor Alden (June 4, 1923-2014), daughter of George Raymond and Sarah Keziah (Donald) Alden of Wilkinsburg near Pittsburgh. The couple's marriage endured for 56 years until cleaved apart by death. They made a residence in Farmington, Fayette County. The couple produced these offspring -- Carol Bartlett Carder, Douglas James Burnworth and Denise B. Simon. For 26 years, Carl was employed by Rockwell International in Uniontown. With an entrepreneur's spirit, he also owned and operated Burnworth Coal Company. He also had a heart for his community and, among other activities, provided hayrides for area church groups and young people, was a Melvin Jones Fellow for Humanitarians Services of the Fort Necessity Lions Club, a forest fire warden, member of Fayette County zoning board and the Fayette County Blind Association board and was a Farmington justice of the peace. The Burnworths belonged to the Farmington Bethel Church of the Brethren. For a decade, from 1971 to 1981, Eleanor was employed by the A.J. McMullen Middle School as a secretary. Said a newspaper, "She was the recording secretary for the Mountain Citizen's Action Group and Senior Times and was instrumental in compiling the Group's cookbook, 'It was Country.' She enjoyed her work as a geneaologist for the Burnworth and Alden families." Carl died as a patient in Uniontown Hospital on Feb. 23, 2001, at the age of 81. Pastors A. Harrison Smith and Larry Walker co-officiated at his funeral service, and the Somerset Daily American published an obituary. Eleanor outlived him by a baker's dozen years. The Angel of Death swept her away at age 90 on March 7, 2014. Pastor Sam McClintock led the funeral service. Their remains rest together in Johnson Chapel Cemetery. Should the family wish to share Eleanor's family history research findings, please contact the founder of this website via email.

Great-granddaughter Wilma Lillian Burnworth (1921-2006) was born in 1921. She was joined in matrimony with a distant double cousin, Eugene Arthur Ream (1919-2006), son of Cyril "Edgar" and Nora Pearl (Harbaugh) Ream. See the Ream biography for more.

Great-granddaughter Evelyn Burnworth (1926-1971) was born on Oct. 20, 1926 in Confluence. She was united in wedlock with Harold F. Ferrell ( ? - ? ). They relocated to Lima, OH and bore two children, Harold F. Ferrell Jr. and Janice Ferrell. The family belonged to the Lima United Methodist Church. Sadly, at the age of 44, Evelyn was hospitalized in Lima Memorial and died there on Aug. 11, 1971. Funeral services were held in Lima, with the remains transported to Confluence for burial in Johnson Chapel Cemetery, led by Rev. John R. Hixson. The Meyersdale Republican printed an obituary.

Great-granddaughter Nina Burnworth ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). As a young woman, she was employed in Uniontown with Miss Miller's Beauty Salon for five years. On Dec. 27, 1941, in nuptials held in Louisville, KY at the Warren Memorial Presbyterian Church, she married U.S. Army Pvt. James Parker Jr. ( ? - ? ), a native of the Continental No. 2 coal mining community. Reported the Meyersdale Republican, she "chose a dress of midnight blue velvet, with poudre blue accessories and a corsage of American beauty roses." She was deceased by 1971.


Emblem on George's grave, and the Smeltzer book

Great-grandson Rev. George M. Burnworth (1907-1968) was born in 1907. He was united in wedlock with Janet H. (1903-1972). They were the parents of Martha J. Burnworth, Janet C. Burnworth and John Charles Burnworth. George graduated from Mount Union College of Alliance, OH in 1931. Then feeling God's call into Christian ministry, he enrolled in the Boston University School of Theology. He is known to have preached in January 1932 in the Methodist Episcopal Church of East Dedham, MA. Janet was a well known vocalist of sacred music and contracted with a Boston church to perform during the winter of 1933-1934. Returning to Pennsylvania after graduation, George became ordained as a minister in the United Methodist Church and was admitted on trial to the Pittsburgh Conference in 1934, with full membership granted in 1936. Among the churches where he was posted were Greenock-Buena Vista in McKeesport (1934-1937), Braddock Fourth Street (1937-1940) and the West Brownsville coke mission in Hutchison, Lake Lynn and Lambert (1940-1945). He was transferred to the California Conference in 1945 and served there with several churches. By 1950, they were in Colorado when George's mother came for a visit. Their final years were spent in Walsh, CO, with him pastoring a congregation in Steamboat Springs. George passed away in Walsh on Dec. 3, 1968 at the age of 61. The body was shipped back to Johnson Chapel to rest in the church burying ground, and an obituary was printed in the Uniontown, Connellsville, Somerset and Meyersdale newspapers. Janet followed him into death in 1972. George's career is outlined in Wallace Guy Smeltzer's 1969 book, Methodism in Western Pennsylvania.

Foster-great-granddaughter Florence Shaw lived in Richeyville, PA in 1971.

  • Step-granddaughter Mary Catherine Burnworth (1881-1967) was born in 1881. She married Russell Silbaugh (July 4, 1881-1968), son of Mathias and Barbara (Hall) Silbaugh. The couple did not reproduce. Their home was in rural Confluence. In later years, Mary Catherine suffered from arthritis of the spine and a cataract of the right eye as well as hardening of the arteries and rheumatic heart disease. The couple went to live as residents of the Spear Nursing Home in Markleysburg. Mary passed away first, just three days before Christmas 1967, at the age of 86. Russell followed her into death four months later on April 24, 1968. Burial was in Johnson Chapel Cemetery, with the funeral service led by Rev. John Rodehaver. His survivors included a sister Hattie Bryner and brothers Kim Silbaugh and George Silbaugh. The Meyersdale Republican stated that "The community of Confluence was saddened by the loss of a sincere and loyal citizen [who] will also be sadly missed at the Johnson Chapel Church which he served and where he worshipped for many years."
  • Step-grandson Thomas Ziba Burnworth (1895-1967) was born on March 7, 1895 in Confluence. He was wedded to Melissa Show (Oct. 2, 1891-1966). She brought a son to the union, Donald Show. The Burnworths resided in Henry Clay Township and Lower Turkeyfoot Township near Confluence and produced these known offspring -- Thomas "Glenn" Burnworth, Clyde Burnworth, Leah Kamp and Irene Hostetler. In 1918, when required to register for the military draft during World War I, he was employed as a laborer with the Pennsylvania Highway Department, working on a project in nearby Wharton Township, Fayette County. He was of medium height and build, with dark brown hair and eyes. Thomas is known to have served as Henry Clay Township tax collector in 1940 and to have run for re-election over the decades. During World War II, son Glenn joined the U.S. Army Air Forces and trained in Miami Beach and flexible gunnery school in Laredo, TX. He then was deployed to the South Pacific as a sergeant in the 868th Bomb Squadron. While on a combat mission on Aug. 7, 1945, just eight days before the Japanese surrender, his B-24 bomber -- a four-engine Liberator known as the "Lady Luck 11" -- was en route home from a night mission. The airplane with its 11-man crew attacked what appeared to be a Japanese fishing fleet. But anti-aircraft fire tore into the fuselage, and the craft spun out of control over South Korea. The Lady Luck 11 crashed and exploded against the Mangwood Peak mountain near the village of Manhae. All were killed instantly. A local druggist, Hyung Duk Kim, gathered and buried the bodies and kept their identification materials. Some years later, he erected a monument measuring 11.5 feet high at the site. At the time of the crash, the family was notified but was not told for seven months that their son had finally been declared dead. At some point, the remains were dis-interred and shipped to Johnson Chapel for burial in the church cemetery. In July 1965, the Air Force's Airman Magazine printed a story about Glenn and his crewmen, written by MSgt. James A. George and A1C Chris Stauder. Melissa died on Jan. 5, 1966, at age 74, in the West Virginia University Hospital in Morgantown. Having suffered from hardening of the arteries for several years, Thomas suffered an acute heart attack at the age of 72. He was rushed to Meyersdale Community Hospital, where he passed into eternity on Oct. 7, 1967. Interment was in Johnson Chapel Cemetery, with Rev. John R. Hickson preaching the funeral sermon. An obituary appeared in the Connellsville Weekly Courier.
  • Step-grandson Julius Franklin "Frank" Burnworth (1896- ? ) was born on Oct. 24, 1896 near Confluence. He grew up on the home farm and was employed as a laborer by his father. He was tall and slender, with brown eyes and brown hair. At the age of 20, circa 1917, he was joined in wedlock with 18-year-old Anice (1898- ? ). They initially dwelled near Johnson Chapel and bore a family of children -- Freda Burnworth, Dewey Burnworth, Lula Burnworth, Ralph Burnworth, Fay Burnworth, Dale Burnworth and Wayne Burnworth. Circa 1923, after the birth of their second child, they migrated cross-country to New Mexico, where they put down roots in Boswell, Chaves County. There, federal census records for 1930 show that Frank labored as a "tinner" in a tin shop. The census of 1940 lists his occupation as tinner in a sheet metal shop. They occasionally returned to Confluence in the 1930s, '40s and early '50s to visit with relatives. They also hosted Frank's married sister and brother in law, Russell and Mary Catherine Silbaugh, for a winter-long stay in 1951-1952. Circa 1979, Anice hosted meetings of the Home Garden Club.


Graves of Orville and his wives Lottie and Edna, Johnson Chapel



Johnson Chapel Methodist
Church near Confluence, 1991

Stepson Orville Burnworth (1854-1927) was born on March 6, 1854 in or near Johnson Chapel. At the age of 26, in 1880, he was single and lived on the home farm, earning a living as a teacher. Orville was twice married. His first bride was Charlotte "Lottie" Williams ( ? -1885) of Ohio Pyle, Fayette County. They are believed to have had at least two offspring, Paul  Burnworth and Lottie M. Burnworth. Sadly, Lottie died an untimely death following childbirth at the age of 25 on April 21, 1885. Her remains were lowered into eternal repose in the cemetery at Johnson Chapel. Grief compounded later that year when infant daughter Lottie succumbed at the age of 10 months 8 days on Dec. 9, 1885. On her grave marker is inscribed "Our Baby." Circa 1898, when he was 44 years of age, Orville was joined in wedlock with his second spouse, a cousin, 25-year-old Edna Flanigan (March 26, 1873-1946), daughter of Andrew Boyle and Caroline (Butler) Flanigan of Johnson Chapel. The Burnworths dwelled for many years as farmers near Johnson Chapel, livign next to Orville's parents. In February 1919, he and his brother Marcellus and kinsman Thomas Ziba Burnworth were named in a Meyersdale Republican article, which said that "Among the many good families at Johnson Chapel who have always taken a forward place in church, Sunday school, temperance and other work for the uplift of man, the Burnworth family has been in the first ranks."

On the fateful day of May 25, 1927, while riding with his wife toward home, near the residence of William Bowman, near Confluence, the 73-year-old Orville "dropped dead," said the Republican. "It was found that he died instantaneously." A physician gave the cause of death as "valvular heart disease." Burial was in the Chapel cemetery, with Rev. L.H. Powell preaching the funeral sermon. A lengthy obituary in the Republican said that he "was a man of deep religious convictions, upright and honest in all his dealings, and during his long life never wronged any person but honestly and consistently lived up to the Golden Rule. His sudden death was a shock to his many friends. For a number of years Mr. and Mrs. Burnworth spent the winters in a house they owned in Confluence, and early in April of each year moved back to their farm in Henry Clay Township. but this year, owing to Mr. Burnworth's health being poor, they did not move until about two weeks before his death. After moving to their farm Mr. Burnworth's health appeared to be slightly improved, and he was able to come to Confluence about every day." Edna lived for another nearly two decades as a widow. She suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was admitted to the Westmoreland County Home in Greensburg, PA, where she passed away on New Year's Eve 1946. Her remains were brought back to Johnson Chapel for burial. W.L. Hendricks of Greensburg was the informant for her death certificate.

  • Step-grandson Paul  Burnworth ( ? - ? )


Johnson Chapel Cemetery

Stepdaughter Alverda Burnworth (1856-1913) was born on Feb. 21, 1856. She was but a girl of four when her mother died, and was age eight when her father married Annabel Flanagan. Alverda never married but spent her life in the Johnson Chapel area, staying active as a "house girl on farm." At the age of 13, in 1869, she joined the membership rolls of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which at the time was led by Rev. Freshwater. She "remained a consistent Christian until death," reported the Meyersdale Republican. In about 1912, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and in June 1913 was admitted to Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, but not able to be cured, she was sent home. She succumbed to her malady on July 26, 1913 at the age of 57. Burial was in the chapel's burying ground, then known as "Fairview Cemetery." Reported the Republican, "The funeral took place at 2 o'clock,... Rev. C.W. Hoover, officiating. The pall-bearers were five brothers and one brother-in-law. Those who attended the funeral from a distance were: Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Wilson, Elmer [sic] Grove; Mrs. T.M. Bowmer, Cheat Haven; Mrs. Chelsea Slicer, Meyersdale; N.R. Burnworth and four children, Uniontown, and Mrs. Jas. O'Hara, Scottdale."


Norman and Sarah Burnworth
Courtesy L. George

Son Norman Ross Burnworth (1865-1933) was born on March 28, 1865 at Johnson Chapel, Fayette County. In about 1891, when he would have been 26 years of age, he was joined in the bonds of wedlock with 22-year-old Sarah Jane Frazier (Jan. 13, 1869-1947), a Pittsburgh native and the daughter of John and Nancy (McKnight) Frazier. The Burnworths resided in Uniontown in 1908-1921 at 11 Mifflin Avenue. They are believed to have borne these children -- Ada M.G. O'Hara, Harold Burnworth, Grace Dowler, Ross Burnworth, Nora "Gene"/"Jean" Burnworth and Bella May Burnworth. Grief wracked the family on Christmas Eve 1921 when 14-year-old daughter Bella May, stricken with cerebral epilepsy, succumbed to her illness. Interment of her remains was in Oak Grove Cemetery in Uniontown. Then at the death of their relative Mrs. George Dennis at Flatwoods, near Uniontown, Norman drove to the funeral, also attended by his brothers John and Harry and families. Stricken with cancer of the rectum, Norman passed away at the age of 68 on July 9, 1933 in the Richeyville Hospital in Centerville, Washington County. Said the Meyersdale Republican, "His illness had only recently became serious, and he gradually weakened until the end came." Burial of the remains was at Johnson Chapel. Daughter Ada, of Richeyville, signed the official Pennsylvania death certificate. Now widowed, Sarah Jane relocated to the home of her daughter Jean George in Beaver Falls, Beaver County, PA, at 3800 Second Avenue. Burdened with heart problems and diabetes, she suffered a heart attack and died at home on Aug. 31, 1947. Her remains were transported back to Fayette County for interment. The Connellsville Daily Courier carried a one-paragraph obituary.

  • Granddaughter Ada M.G. Burnworth (1891- ? ) was born on Dec. 17, 1891 in Confluence. When she was age 21, on June 17, 1913, she was united in matrimony with millhand James O'Hara (May 4, 1882- ? ) of Scottdale, Fayette County and a native of Dunbar, Fayette County. Fr. M.A. Lambing officiated at the wedding. The marriage ended sometime before 1930, and Grace took back her maiden name. The federal census enumeration of 1930 shows her living by herself in East Bethlehem Township, Washington County, and marked as "widowed." That year, she supported herself through work as a registered industrial nurse at the Dressing [?] Station. Circa 1946-1954, she worked as a night supervisor in Monongahela Memorial Hospital and received a 10-year pin for service in August 1956.
  • Grandson Harold Frazier Burnworth Sr. (1896-1978) was born on Oct. 26, 1896 in Uniontown. He was enrolled in law school in Pittsburgh circa 1916. He wedded Ella Ottenback ( ? - ? ). Their only son was Harold Frazier Burnworth Jr. The family lived in Pittsburgh, where Harold was president of the North Side Real Estate Company and chaired the Pittsburgh Housing Authority in the 1950s and early '60s. Among the authority's ambitious programs was construction 84 buildings in a low-rent public housing development in North View Heights on the North Side. Circa the early 1960s, he held a seat on the Pittsburgh Sinking Fund Commission, succeeded by banker Guy W. Lewis. Once they retired, the Burnworths returned to Confluence. They established a "self-sufficient, organize homestead ... planting a small orchard of fruit trees, several kinds of nut trees, berries, and several hives of bees," Ella said in a newspaper article. During the summer of 1977, the plantings produced 500 lbs. of chestnuts and myriad gallons of blueberries. At the age of 81, Harold died at home in Confluence on April 7, 1978. Burial was in Johnson Chapel Cemetery, with Rev. John R. Hickson officiating at the funeral service. An obituary was published in the Somerset Daily American and a death notice in the Pittsburgh Press. As a widow, Ella remained in Confluence and ran a small business selling chestnuts and honey and was profiled by columnist Gilbert Love in the Pittsburgh Press.


Norman and Sarah Burnworth with young Ada and Harold. Courtesy L. George


  • Granddaughter Grace Burnworth (1899-1977) was born in about 1899. She married H. Logan Dowler Sr. ( ? - ? ) and relocated to Richeyville, Centerville, Washington County, PA. Their children were Henrietta Barnes, Jane Dowler and H. Logan Dowler Jr. She was known to be in Richeyville in 1933 and in West Brownsville, Washington County in 1941. Eventually she migrated into Pittsburgh and made her home in the mid-1970s at 218 Pennsylvania Boulevard. In July 1977, she attended the 60th Uniontown High School class of 1917 reunion at a restaurant in Hopwood, near Uniontown. A few months later, death overtook her at age 79 on Oct. 24, 1977. A death notice appeared in the Pittsburgh Press.
  • Grandson Ross Burnworth (1901- ? ) was born on June 7, 1901. He relocated as a young man to Washington State. There, he married Martha (1909- ? ). They were the parents of Norman Burnworth and Franz Burnworth. The 1940 federal census enumeration shows that Ross earned a living as bus driver for a transportation company. He resided in Tacoma in 1978 and died in Spanaway, Pierce County, WA in May 1983.
  • Clair E. George Sr.
    Courtesy L. George

    Granddaughter Nora "Gene"/"Jean" Burnworth (1903-1999?) was born in about 1903. She was joined in wedlock with Clair Elroy George Sr. (July 22, 1890-1947), son of Oliver R. and Jessie (Aumend) George of Delta and Toledo, OH. Clair stood 5 feet, 5 inches tall, weighed 170 lbs. and had light blue eyes and light hair. Their only known children were Clair Elroy George Jr. and Gail Marshall. Clair was a graduate of Ohio State University and at the age of 26 was employed as a state dairy inspector in Ohio. When required to register for the military draft during World War I, he disclosed that his eyes were weak and that he was deaf in one ear. The couple lived in Uniontown circa 1935 before relocating in 1939 to Beaver Falls, Beaver County, PA. There, Clair was employed as a chemist and rehabilitation agent for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and their address was 3800 Second Avenue. His title circa 1939 was supervisor of the Farm Security Administration, working with farmers in Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence Counties. He was in the news in the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph on New Year's Eve 1939 when encouraging farmers seeking rehabilitation loans to make their applications as soon as possible. Early applications for farmers became especially important when GIs returning from World War II were given special eligibility. Circa 1947, Gene's widowed mother lived in their home and died there on Aug. 31, 1947. Heartache compounded the grief when, just 15 days later, Clair Sr. suffered a massive heart attack at the age of 57 and died instantly on Sept. 15, 1947. Burial was in Beaver Falls Cemetery. The widowed Gene/Jean then went to work to support herself as a clerk in the Beaver County Courthouse. In August 1966, she is known to have attended her Uniontown High School Class's 45th reunion, held at Uniontown Country Club, and was pictured among the group in the Uniontown Morning Herald. She was still in Beaver Falls in 1978. Evidence suggests that her final years were spent in Bethesda, MD. She passed into eternity in State College, Centre County, PA on Jan. 4, 1999.


Left: bird's-eye view of Beaver Falls. Right: Beaver County (PA) Courthouse


Great-granddaughter Gail B. George (1941- ? ) was born circa 1941. She married (?) Marshall ( ? - ? ).

Arlington National Cemetery
Great-grandson Clair Elroy George Jr. (1930-2011) was born on Aug. 3, 1930 in Pittsburgh and spent his early years in Uniontown, Fayette County. As a boy of nine, he relocated with his parents to Beaver Falls, Beaver County, PA, where he grew to manhood and graduated from Beaver Falls High School in 1948. Upon graduation in 1952 from Penn State University, during the Korean War, he served in Army Intelligence in Korea and Japan. He then joined the Central Intelligence Agency. At the age of 30, on Dec. 17, 1960, he married CIA secretary Mary Carlton Atkinson ( ? -2008), daughter of Charles Dessau Atkinson of Wilmington, DE. The nuptials were held at Christ Church in Christiana Hundred, DE. News of the wedding was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, which said that the bride "wore a white silk taffeta gown made with a fitted bodice and full skirt. The scoop neckline bordered with Alencon lace was traced with seed pearls. A crown of leaves held her fingertip-length veil, and she carried white orchids, holly and mistletoe." Their union endured for 45 years amidst moves to dangerous places around the globe. They were the parents of two children, Leslie Miranda and Ann Davies, both of whom were born in Paris while he was away in Bamako, Mali on assignment. A native of Charlottesville, VA, Mary was a graduate of Tower Hill School and Centenary Junior College in New Jersey and liked to dance as well as play bridge and tennis. She was once described by the Washington Post as having " lived the life of a diplomat's wife during the Cold War era and who was known for her entertaining and ability to cope under difficult circumstances." The Post added that she "knew how to establish households in dangerous circumstances, which made her a valued resource to other State Department and CIA families."

During a three-decade career, Clair rose through the ranks to eventually oversee all clandestine global espionage activities for the CIA in the mid-1980s. His work included highly risky assignments in Cold War hot spots ranging from Hong Kong and New Delhi to Beirut and Athens, where assassinations were not uncommon. The New York Times once called him "a consummate spymaster who moved the chess pieces in the CIA’s clandestine games of intrigue." In a 1992 profile, the Washington Post Magazine quoted a CIA official saying George was “a top-notch street man” who operated in what the intelligence community refers to as the “night soil circuit” -- the less desirable posts around the globe. For three years, from 1984 to 1987, he was deputy director of operations in the Reagan Administration as the third-ranking CIA official under William Casey. For his role in the infamous Iran-Contra matter -- where the profits from weapons sold to Iran were shifted to conservative Nicaraguan rebels -- he was prosecuted and found guilty of lying to congressional investigators. Two weeks after his conviction, on Christmas Eve 1992, he and former U.S. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger received pardons from President George H.W. Bush. Legendary Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward authored a 1987 book, Veil: The Secret Wars of CIA 1981-1987, which referred to Clair as "an old warhorse symbol of the CIA at its best and proudest." In retirement, he served on the boards of directors of Halliburton and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. He also volunteered for a suicide hotline. Sadly, Mary passed away at the age of 71, in Sibley Memorial Hospital, on May 31, 2008. Clair survived his wife by three years. He died in Bethesda, MD, a week after his 81st birthday, on Aug. 11, 2011. Burial was in Arlington National Cemetery, and obituaries were printed in the Times and the Post.


~ For More Reading About Clair E. George Jr. ~


"An Imperfect Spy," by Benjamin Weiser, Washington Post Magazine, May 17, 1992

Final Report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matters, Vol. 1-2, by Lawrence E. Walsh

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, by Tim Weiner

"Shadowy Ex-Spy May Hold Key to Iran-Contra Riddle: Intelligence" - by Michael Ross, Los Angeles Times, July 15, 1991

The Central Intelligence Agency: Security Under Scrutiny - by Richard H. Immerman

Veil: The Secret Wars of CIA 1981-1987, by Bob Woodward


Daughter Chelsea Burnworth (1869-1948) was born on the Fourth of July 1869 at Johnson Chapel. She bore a daughter in 1900, Winona B. "Nona" Krepps, but the identity of the girl's father is not known. In 1900, when she was age 30 and unmarried, Chelsea lived with her parents at Johnson Chapel. Then on July 17, 1907, at age 38, she married 34-year-old carpenter James W. Wilson (1873-1963), the son of Alphus Evans and Nancy Margaret (Ellis) Wilson. Rev. Thomas Charlesworth, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, led the nuptials held at Johnson Chapel. Census records for 1910 show the couple living under the roof of James' widowed father in Dunbar, Fayette County, PA. At some point daughter Winona adopted the "Burnworth" surname. They relocated to Selinsgrove/Elm Grove, Snyder County, PA where they lived in 1913. Later, they returned to Dunbar, where the family belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ. Chelsea suffered from hardening of the arteries and hypertension and died at home on Aug. 28, 1948, at the age of 79. Following funeral services held at the home of her sister in law Eva McMillen at Little Summit, near Dunbar, her remains were lowered into repose in Laurel Hill Cemetery. James survived his wife by 15 years. He died in Connellsville State General Hospital at the age of 89 on Oct. 30, 1963.

  • Granddaughter Winona B. "Nona" Burnworth (1900-1979) was born on Sept. 22, 1900 in Fayette County to parents who were not married. She was united in holy wedlock with Leroy Albert "Roy" Krepps (Dec. 5, 1896-1978), a native of Vanderbilt, Fayette County and the son of Jacob C. and Margaret (Franks) Krepps. Leroy was tall and of medium build, with grey eyes and light brown hair. During World War I, Leroy was required to register for the military draft. At that time, he revealed to officials that he was employed by Wyley Coal Company of Vanderbilt and that his father was his nearest relative. Known children in this family were Ernest L. Krepps, Ralph Krepps, William Krepps, Dorothy Krepps and Esther Marlene Culver. The family dwelled in 1963 in Findlay, Hancock County, OH. Sadly, Leroy died on Feb. 25, 1978, with burial in Arlington Cemetery in Hancock. Winona only outlived him by a year and a half and was carried away by the Angel of Death on Aug. 15, 1979.

Great-grandson Ernest L. Krepps (1922-1969) was born on Nov. 28, 1922. He served in the U.S. Army during both World War II and the Korean War. He was joined in marital union in 1960 with Joyce Ellen Hinchey (1929-2009). Sadly, he passed away on Nov. 16, 1969, after just nine years of marriage. Joyce lived for another four decades. She died in Avon, Hendricks County, IN on Aug. 24, 2009.

Great-grandson Ralph Krepps

Great-grandson William Krepps

Great-granddaughter Dorothy Krepps

Great-granddaughter Esther Marlene Krepps (1938-2015) was born on July 11, 1938 in Dunbar, Fayette County. On March 13, 1961, she wedded Ronald Dale Culver (July 17, 1937-2015), son of Clark E. and Velma E. (Hillard) Culver and a native of North Baltimore, Wood County, OH. Their three children were Bonnie Sue Culver, Lisa McRill and Timothy Culver. The family dwelled for years in Findlay, Hancock County, OH. Both husband and wife died in the same year. At the age of 76, she passed away first in Hilty Memorial Home in Pandora, Putnam County, OH on March 21, 2015. He followed her into death less than two weeks later on April 3, 2015. Their remains are at rest in Arlington Cemetery in Findlay.


The Burnworth graves in Confluence


Son William Albert Burnworth (1872-1943) was born on Sept. 26, 1872 near Johnson Chapel on the outskirts of Confluence. He spent 46 of his 70 years in the area. On Christmas Day 1896, he married Bertha Reiber (Dec. 10, 1874-1953), daughter of William and Louise (Deal) Burnworth. They went on to produce three daughters -- Ruth Burnworth, Louise Beck and Edna "Lucille" Burnworth. The family enjoyed visiting with cousins Annabel and Ziba Burnworth at Johnson Chapel. In about 1913, their teenage daughter Lucille suffered from an abscessed ear but recovered. Then in the summer of 1914, the family took an extended vacation of five weeks to the west, from the plains of Iowa to the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast. Reporting on the trip, the Meyersdale Republican said the family was:

...favorably impressed with their visit and speak in glowing terms of the former residents of Somerset County whom they met, and the whole-souled hospitality with which they were entertained. The first of those whom they visited were Mr. and Mrs. Warren Ream of Defiance, Iowa. Mr. Ream, although born in this vicinity, has been in the West since he was two years old. They also visited his brother, Elmer Ream, who was born in the West but does not forget those who come from Somerset County. they were also the guests of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Loach, of Nederland, Colorado. Mrs. Loach is well and favorably known all over Henry Clay Township, her maiden name being Truey Tissue. Mr. and Mrs. Loach are in very prosperous circumstances and their hospitality is unbounded. Their ultimate destination was San Bernardino, Cal., where Mrs. Burnworth's brother, Art Reiber, lives. Mr. Reiber is well known in Somerset County, having been fo rmany years travelling salesman for J.M. Cook & Son of Meyersdale, and later for Love, Sunshine & Co. of Johnstown. he is now employed in a lucrative position with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad in the machine shops at San Bernardino and owns a fine property in that growing city, the county seat of the county of the same name, the largest county in the United States.

Sadly, in December 1914, daughter Lucille was stricken with scarlet fever and rheumatism and eventually became an invalid, confined to her room. Over the next two years, she slowly recovered and by 1917 was "now almost fully restored to health," reported the Republican. On her 15th birthday, in March 1917, her parents threw her a birthday dinner party and she received flowers from many friends. Among the attendees were teacher C.E. Koontz, Louise Augustine, June Fern Bird, Etha Younkin, and Mr. and Mrs. John I. Davis and daughter Mary Kate. Then in July 1917 she suffered a relapse, and finally succumbed on Aug. 1, 1917. An obituary in the Republican said she was "one of the brightest pupils of her age in the public schools until ill health compelled her to give up her studies. During all of her long illness she maintained her cheerful disposition and never complained but tried by cheerfulness and kindness to cheer and comfort her parents and sisters. She was a faithful attendant at Sunday school and joined the Lutheran Church, March 23, 1913, and also the junior choir of the same church and was a constant attendant when her health permitted. She was always courteous to old and young and her early demise is felt and mourned by all." For three decades, William was employed as a clerk and agent by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, retiring in 1937. He was prominent in community activity, and was secretary of the Odd Fellows Lodge, where he was a member for 42 years, and belonged to the Maccabees Lodge. Having joined the Methodist Episcopal Church at Johnson Chapel at a young age, he later transferred his membership to, and was president and a board member of, the Confluence Methodist Church, where he belonged to the men's Bible class. Bertha was an active member of the Lutheran Church and its Ladies Bible Class and Willing Workers group. He died on Aug. 5, 1943, with burial in what today is the Turkeyfoot Valley Baptist Cemetery in Confluence. Pallbearers included Grant Pyle, Sam Downs, Sam Firestone, Elliot Beggs, Ray Hyatt and Scott Smith. In an obituary, the Republican reported that the honorary pallbearers were Tom Reynolds, Dr. George Hopwood, Dr. Milton Brooke, Robert Black, Homer Rush and Ralph Van Sickle. As a widow, Bertha, resided at 521 Sterner Street in Confluence. Having outlived her husband by a decade, she was burdened with hardening of the arteries and heart valve disease. She succumbed to a heart attack and died at the age of 78 on June 5, 1953. She rests with William and their daughters in the Baptist cemetery in Confluence.

  • Granddaughter Ruth Reiber Burnworth (Dec. 10, 1898-1962) was employed as a sales lady in the A.G. Black's Sons department store in Confluence. She relocated to Cumberland, MD in September 1953 to reside with her sister and brother in law, Louise and Carl Beck. Her address was on Bedford Road in the early 1960s. As her health plummeted in early July 1962, she was admitted to Sacred Heart Hospital in Cumberland. She died there, at age 64, on Sept. 26, 1962. Her remains were transported back to Confluence for funeral services held in St. Luke's Lutheran Church, led by Rev. Vernon I. Naugle, and burial in the Confluence Baptist Church Cemetery. An obituary was printed in the Cumberland Evening Times.
  • Granddaughter Louise Burnworth ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She wedded Carl Lewis Beck (Dec. 9, 1897-1959), son of Charles and Anna (Wolfe) Beck of Cumberland. The pair's five offspring were Charles William Beck, Henrietta L. Fagan, Ruth Ann Loy, Nancy Louise Alt and Carlene McCullough. Carl owned a hauling business and in the late 1950s was a garbage hauling contractor for the city of Cumberland despite not having the lowest bids. They made a residence on Bedford Road in Cumberland in the early 1960s and were members of St. Luke's Lutheran Church. Grief cascaded over the family on July 27, 1959 when Carl died suddenly at home at the age of 61. Rev. John F. Sammel, their pastor, led funeral services followed by burial in Hillcrest Burial Park. Louise survived him as a widow. Then on Feb. 13, 1971, Louise was joined in matrimony with Carl F. Reith ( ? - ? ), a local meat market operator. Their wedding was held at her church, presided by Rev. Vernon I. Naugle. Reported the Cumberland Evening Times, the bride "was attired in a street-length pink crepe de chene dress with matching accessories. She wore a corsage of pink camellias." Circa 1975, Louise was active with planning the progressive dinner at St. Luke's.
  • Granddaughter Edna "Lucille" Burnworth


Flanigan District of Henry Clay Township, showing the Flanigan, Burnworth and McNeer farms in and around Johnson Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church ("M.E.Ch.") and cemetery ("Gr. Yd."). Atlas of Fayette County, 1872


Son Harry Palmer Burnworth (1875-1931) was born three days before Christmas in 1875 on the old family farm in Henry Clay Township. He received higher education at California State Teachers College and Lock Haven State Normal School, and taught school locally for several years. He then went on to a better-paying career as a farmer and in the lumber business. In about 1901, he married Anna Butler ( ? - ? ), daughter of Thomas L. Butler. They produced two sons, Wade Burnworth and Fred Burnworth. The family lived at Humbert in 1913 and later purchased his father's farm in Johnson Chapel, about two miles from Confluence. In July 1919, Harry enlisted the help of others to raise a new barn on the farm, replacing the original one which his father had erected in 1849. Reported the Meyersdale Republican, "About 50 of his neighbors and friends gathered on the farm early in the morning and under the foremanship of Joseph Welsh of Markleysburg, with Prof. John Workman and Clyde Welsh as assistant carpenters, started on the work. The new barn is erected on the site of the old log barn that he recently dismantled to make room for the new structure. The new barn is 48x72 feet, and will be modern in every particular. Mr. Burnworth runs a sawmill and carefully selected the lumber for this special object. There will be in connection with the main building, sheds with cemented floors... About 75 workers and visitors were present during the day and all were served with a bountiful dinner." Having suffered a nervous breakdown, Harry died at the age of 55 in April 1931. An obituary was published in the Republican. Circa 1935, son Wade served on the historical committee of Johnson Chapel Methodist Church along with Robert Flanigan and Rev. F.M. Kees.

Son Jonathan L. "John" Burnworth (1886- ? ) was born in May 1886. He was thrice married. His first spouse was Florence Butler (Oct. 3, 1879-1909), daughter of Thomas L. and Letitia (Boyd) Butler. He was seven years younger than his bride, and the couple appears not to have reproduced. In early November 1909, at the age of 30, Florence was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and died just four days later on Nov. 8, 1909. Her remains were lowered into repose in Johnson Chapel Cemetery. The 22-year-old Jonathan then spent the next few years living under his mother's roof in Johnson Chapel. Later, he married a cousin, Florence A. "Flora" Gerhard (1889-1925), daughter of Francis S. and Bertha Ann (Ream) Gerhard of the family of Thomas and Adaline (Shaulis) Ream Jr. They resided in Humbert in 1913 and in Confluence in the 1920s and '40s, where he was employed as a laborer by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The couple had two known sons -- Eugene F. Burnworth (born 1914) and Kenneth J. Burnworth (1915). Flora suffered from anemia over the years. When she was stricken with a hemorrhage of her uterus at the age of 36, there was nothing that could be done, and she died the same day on June 17, 1925. Burial was at Johnson Chapel. Her brother Russell traveled from his home in Ellwood City, PA to attend the funeral. John spent about two years as a widow and then wed a third time to Kathryn Elizabeth Breakiron (April 20, 1892-1973) of Independence, Preston County, WV. They remained together for more than four decades. He passed away in Confluence on Dec. 12, 1968. Kathryn moved to St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, FL where she died on Dec. 1, 1973.


~ Daughter Mary "Missouri" (Flanagan) McNair ~


McNair grave, Johnson Chapel

Daughter Mary "Missouri" Flanagan (1847-1913) -- also spelled "Flannigan" -- was born on April 24, 1847 near Johnson Chapel in Somerset County. Her name also has been spelled "Masonia."

She married Thomas McNair (1846-1882), also spelled "McNear" and "McNeer," a native of West Virginia.

Their six children were Mary McNear, Francis W. "Frank" McNear, Lloyd McNear, Dillworth McNear and Orval/Orvil/Orville Ross McNear and one other who died young.

Between 1878 and 1880, the couple relocated to a farm in Bruceton Mills in the Grant District of Preston County, WV. In 1880, Mary's aged father resided under their roof.

Sadly, Thomas died in 1882, at the age of 36, and his remains were brought to Johnson Chapel for burial. The location and cause of his passing are not known and may be lost to history. After his death, said the Meyersdale Republican, Mary "moved from West Virginia to Ursina, Pa., and by hard and persevering industry kept her children together. After living in the latter place a few years, she moved to Confluence where she made her home for many years. After her sons grew up and secured employment, the family located at Dickerson Run, where the sons secured lucrative positions." All four sons were employed at one time or another by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.


Johnson Chapel

Stricken with chronic bronchitis, and an invalid, Mary made her home in her final years in her son Lloyd's home in East Liberty near Dickerson Run. The Republican noted that "Mrs. McNear enjoyed good health until about two years ago she suffered a severe injury from falling down stairs, from which she never recovered fully. She was a sufferer for many years from bronchial trouble. About ten days before her death she commenced to fail rapidly, until Friday morning April 25 when her mild and gentle spirit passed to the Great Beyond."

She succumbed a day after her 66th birthday on April 25, 1913. A one-paragraph obituary in the Connellsville Daily Courier noted that the funeral was held at the home of her son Lloyd in East Liberty, with Rev. H.A. Baum, of the Cochran Memorial Church, preaching the service. A lengthier obituary in the Republic reported that she "belonged to one of the old and well known pioneer families of Henry Clay township" and that she "was a true and consistent christian lady, having joined the Methodist church in early life and remained a faithful member." The first of two funeral services was held in the McNair home in East Liberty. Then her remains were shipped by rail on Train No. 48 for additional services at Johnson Chapel, led by Rev. C.W. Hoover. Burial was beside her husband and two children in the chapel cemetery.

Son Lloyd, residing at Dickerson Run, signed the official Pennsylvania death certificate. Those traveling a distance to attend the funeral were Frank and Clara and three children of Russelton, Lloyd and his wife and two children of East Liberty, Dilworth McNear and his wife and four children of Bessemer, Mr. and Mrs. N.R. Burnworth and daughter Ada of Uniontown, Mr. and Mrs. James Wilson of Elm Grove, PA, and H.P. Burnworth and Robert Huston of Humbert. [Find-a-Grave]


Bruceton Mills, WV, where the McNairs lived in the 1880s


Daughter Mary McNear (1868- ? ) was born in 1868 in Pennsylvania

Son Francis Wilbert "Frank" McNair (1873-1945) was born on Aug. 7, 1873 in Pennsylvania or West Virginia. His name also has been spelled "McNear." At the age of 22, he wed Clara W. (?) (1877- ? ), a native of Maryland. As newlyweds, they lived with Francis' mother in Dunbar, Fayette County and he earned a living as a railroad laborer. Circa 1913, Frank was employed as yardmaster for the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad at Russellton, Allegheny County, PA. He and his brother Dilworth traveled to Confluence in September 1926 to serve as pallbearers at the funeral of their aged aunt, Annabel Burnworth. In retirement, Frank resided in Russelton, Allegheny County. He suffered a heart attack at the age of 72 and died in Allegheny Valley Hospital on Sept. 3, 1945. His remains were placed into repose in East Union Cemetery in Allegheny County. Hazel Gisey of Russelton was the informant for the death certificate.


150th anniversary souvenir

Son Lloyd H. McNear (1875-1943), also spelled "McNair," was born on Jan. 2, 1875 in Confluence. At age 25 in 1900, unmarried, he lived at home in Dunbar and worked as a brakeman for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Circa 1902, Lloyd wedded Annie M. Neasham ( ? - ? ) of Coal Center, PA. News of their engagement was printed in the Monongahela (PA) Daily Republican. The pair bore two known offspring, Freeda McNear and Lloyd W. McNear. In about 1908, they relocated to West Newton, Westmoreland County, PA, where they stayed for good. In 1913, he was employed as a conductor for the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad at Dickerson Run, Fayette County. Sadly, Lloyd's wife is thought to have died prior to 1920. More details need to be learned. The United States Census of 1920 shows Lloyd and the two children residing with his sister-in-law and family, Elizabeth Neasham, in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County. Having contracted pancreatic cancer, he suffered for six months and died in Rostraver Township at the age of 68 on Oct. 19, 1943. Interment was in the Dickerson Run Union Cemetery. T.G. Kemper of McKeesport signed the death certificate.

  • Granddaughter Freeda Eldora McNear (1904-1986) was born in about 1904. She wedded (?) Kemper ( ? - ? ). The only child born to this union was Patricia Tacik. Freeda graduated in 1926 from the McKeesport Hospital School of Nursing. For 33 years, she was employed as a nurse at the hospital, retiring in 1959. She was a member of St. Pius V Church, the McKeesport Turners and American Association of Retired Persons. Toward the end, she went to live with her daughter in Dravosburg. She passed away at the age of 82 on Sept. 30, 1986. Her remains were taken to Vanderbilt for burial in the Dickerson Run Union Cemetery. An obituary appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Great-granddaughter Patricia Kemper married Eugene F. Tacik Sr. The family dwelled Glassport, near McKeesport. They were the parents of Eugene F. "Skip" Tacik Jr., Kimberly Jane Tacik and Jill Anne Tacik. Tragically, on the Fourth of July 1980, while swimming with friends, 20-year-old son Skip drowned at a pool in Perry Township. A funeral mass was held at the St. Cecilia Church in Glassport. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published an obituary.

  • Grandson Lloyd McNear (1912- ? ) was born in about 1912. On Oct. 10, 1940, he eloped to Grantsville, MD to marry Anita Matilda Klein ( ? - ? ), daughter of Henry Klein of Morgantown Road in Uniontown. Rev. D.R. Carder presided over the ceremony, with no attendants present. Anita Matilda was prominently pictured in a Uniontown Morning Herald story about the wedding, which noted that she selected "a brown tailored suit with matching accessories, and wore a shoulder corsage of tailsman roses and yellow pom-pons." At the time of marriage, Lloyd worked for City Service Refining Company in McKees Rocks, near Pittsburgh, and she for her father's business. The couple's home in 1944 was in McKeesport.

Son Dilworth McNair (1877-1964) was born in November 1877 in Fayette County. Single at age 22, he resided at home and earned income as a railroad brakeman in Dunbar. By 1902, he had relocated to Dickerson Run, Fayette County. On May 21, 1902, when he was 26 years old, Dilworth was united in holy matrimony with 22-year-old Anna McCune (1884- ? ). The ceremony was officiated by Rev. F.J. Coyle in Dawson, Fayette County. Anna was the daughter of Thomas and Mary McCune. The couple produced these known children -- Irene M. Wygant, Sarah "Sadie" Clegg, Bernadeth McNair, William McNair and Ruth M. Rendine. They dwelled in North Bessemer, Penn Township, Allegheny County, PA, in 1904-1920, with Dilworth continuing his career as a railroad brakeman and as a conductor with the Union Railroad at North Bessemer. In 1920, Dilworth's unmarried, 25-year-old sister in law (?) McCune dwelled under their roof in Penn Hills. Dilworth and his brother Frank traveled to Confluence in September 1926 to attend the funeral of their aunt Annabel Burnworth and serve as pallbearers. Dilworth eventually retired from the railroad. The McNairs' address in the 1960s was 90 Talbot Avenue in Braddock. As his health failed due to bronchial pneumonia, added to congestive heart failure and hardening of the arteries, Dilworth became a patient at John J. Kane Hospital in Pittsburgh. He died there at the age of 87 on Aug. 8, 1964. Interment was in St. Joseph Cemetery in Connellsville.

  • Granddaughter Irene M. McNair (1903-1979) is believed to have been born in 1903. On Sept. 20, 1922, she was united in matrimony with Plumer Gerald Wygant (Jan. 8, 1894-1964), son of Adelbert and Effie (Duncan) Wygant of Oakland Township near Oil City, PA. They were the parents of Eileen Freeman. Plumber had begun employment in 1917 with the Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad in Albion, near Erie, PA. His career with the B&LE spanned 45 years. During World War I, he spent a year of military service with the U.S. Army. Their address in 1964 was 211 East State Street. The couple belonged to the Albion Methodist Church. He also was a member of the local Mason slodge, the American Legion post of Albion and the Bessemer Veterans Association. After suffering a lengthy illness, Plumer died in the Veterans Administration Hospital in Erie at the age of 64 on Aug. 26, 1964. The Franklin (PA) News-Herald printed an obituary. Irene outlived her husband by 15 years. She succumbed to death in 1979.
  • Granddaughter Sadie D. McNair (1904-1960) was born on Jan. 13, 1904 in North Bessemer, PA. She was twice married. Her first spouse was (?) Heim ( ? - ? ). They bore two daughters, Gloria Kemmerling and Elaine Lovett. The Heim marriage ended sometime between 1926 and 1929. She wedded again to (?) Clegg ( ? - ? ). Their known offspring were Violet Greenwalt, Anna Marie Geffel, Grace Englert and Gladys Sabol. The couple appears to have separated by 1940, when census records show Sadie as "married" but heading the household. She earned a living as a waitress in Verona near Pittsburgh. Their address was 302 South Avenue. Sadie underwent an unusual experience at Christmas 1955 when she sat on a chair where an errant needle had been lost. It stuck in her hip and broke during an attempt at removal. Five months later, she "complained of a sharp pain in her foot," said the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph. "With a pair of tweezers and a healthy yank ... a half-inch piece of a sewing needle was taken from the bottom of her right foot." Having contracted a deadly case of bacterial infection of the heart, she developed a staph infection and died at the age of 55 on Jan. 11, 1960. A requiem high mass was sung at St. Joseph Church, with her remains interred in the church cemetery in Verona. She was survived by 20 grandchildren, reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Daughter Gloria dwelled in Glen Hazel Heights circa 1956.
  • Granddaughter Bernadeth McNair ( ? - ? ) was joined in wedlock with (?) Irwin. They established a home in Connellsville and were there in 1993.
  • Grandson William McNair ( ? - ? ) was deceased by 1993.
  • Granddaughter Ruth M. McNair (1921-1993) was born on March 12, 1921 in Vanderbilt, Fayette County. Circa 1942, she wedded Clarence Rendine ( ? - ? ). Their marital union endured for 51 years. Three daughters were born to the couple -- Mary Ann Capezzuto, Susan Alesantrino and Sharon Rendine. They resided in Connellsville and were members of the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church. Ruth was employed as a sales clerk for Robb Shoe Store. At the age of 72, as a patient in Frick Community Hospital and Health Center in nearby Mount Pleasant, Ruth died on April 24, 1993. A mass of Christian burial was sung at the family church, led by Fr. Michael Sciberras, with burial following in the St. Joseph Cemetery of Connellsville. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette printed an obituary.

Son Orval/Orvil/Orville Ross McNear (1879- ? ) was born on Nov. 7, 1879 in the Grant District of Preston County, WV. He was only three years old when his father died. When he was age 21, in 1900, Orval dwelled with his mother and siblings in Dunbar, Fayette County, PA and labored as a railroad brakeman with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. He stood 5 feet, 10½ inches tall, weighed 145 lbs. and had blue eyes and brown hair. Evidence suggests that on Christmas Eve 1901, in a ceremony held in Adelaide, Fayette County, he married Clara B. ( ? - ? ). Clara sought a divorce in July 1907, saying Orval had deserted her on June 19, 1905 and that had no idea of his whereabouts. Again in October 1909, she filed for divorce. By 1913, he had obtained employment in Canton, Stark County, OH. He married a second time, in Ohio, to Eliza ( ? - ? ). Their address in 1917 was 65 Burns Avenue in Dayton, Montgomery County, OH. There, he earned a living at the age of 38 as a painter employed by George H. Murphy in Dayton. But the marriage was troubled, and Eliza too filed a claim for divorce in 1917, citing "gross neglect of duty and extreme cruelty." Right around Thanksgiving 1917, Orval was charged with resisting arrest and disturbing the peace. Reported the Dayton (OH) Daily News, he was fined $25 plus costs and sentenced to 10 dys in the workhouse." When required to register for the military draft during World War I, in Sept. 1918, he listed Eliza as his nearest relative. The registration clerk noted that Orval's "thumb & first finger of left hand off at second joint - Badly set broken leg." His name again was in the news in Dayton in October 1940. At that time, he was employed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and living at 44 Simpson Street, and reported that his $29 paycheck had been stolen. He fades from view after that.


~ Son Thomas Flanigan ~

Son Thomas "Tom" Flanigan (1849-1908) was born on Feb. 11, 1849 in Henry Clay Township, also spelled "Flannigan" and "Flanagan."

He was twice married. He and his first bride produced two known offspring -- Mary Flanigan and William Flanigan. The first marriage ended between 1874 and 1878, presumably by death.

Then in about 1878, at the age of 29, Thomas married again to 17-year-old Sabina/Savina Tissue (or "Burnsworth") (April 1861- ? ).

They were the parents of four children -- Annie A. Smith Deneen, Elizabeth B. "Lizzie" Flanigan, Maud Vanorsdale and Ernest B. Flanigan.

Thomas was a member of the Fairview Methodist Church at what became Johnson Chapel. When the church building was destroyed by fire late in 1883, Thomas and other trustees met at the local schoolhouse to plan for the future and raise money for new construction. At that meeting, Thomas was elected president of the organization, his brother in law Ziba Burnworth as secretary, Tissue Show treasurer, and A.B. Flanigan, C.N. Flanigan, Tissue Show, Alvin Burnworth and Grant Show as a committee to seek pledges. The new church took two years to build, and was dedicated on Nov. 15, 1885, costing $717.66 and measuring 30 ft. x 45 ft. x 14 ft. high.

Later, the Flanigans moved into Confluence, where Thomas owned a lumber sawmill business north of Confluence and served for a time on town council. He continued to invest in and expand the business, and in October 1905 purchased a large well-timbered tract of land in West Virginia along the Morgantown and Kingwood Railroad line. "It is thought that there will be at least 10,000,000 feet of lumber sawed," reported the Connellsville Courier.

When he was age 58, in August 1907, he gave a deposition on behalf of his first cousin, Sarah (Jennings) Bookman, in her effort to secure her late husband's Civil War pension. Tragically, Thomas died the following year, at the age of 59, when struck by a moving locomotive while walking along railroad tracks in Confluence. The horrific accident occurred on April 11, 1908. Reported the Meyersdale Republican, he was "run down and instantly killed by the Duquesne Limited train, on Saturday morning, at Huston Station, near Confluence.... The fast train, being over two hours late, was running on the east-bound instead of the west-bound track, and was unseen by Flannigan, whose back was burned." His broken remains were placed at rest in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery near Ursina.


Crowds gather on a Confluence bridge to watch swirling floodwaters, 1909


Daughter Mary Flanigan (1872- ? ) was born in about 1872.

Son William Flanigan (1874-1946) was born in on Feb. 7, 1874 in Confluence. He was a longtime lumberman by occupation. He married Elizabeth March (Dec. 17, 1875-1960), daughter of Henry March. The couple produced five known offspring -- Violet Flanigan, Ernest Flanigan, Harry Flanigan, Charles Flanigan and Thomas Flanigan. By 1909, they established a home in Morgantown, Monongalia County, WV, at the address of 2589 University Avenue. Eventually they migrated across the state line to Kirby, Greene County, PA. Their residence in the mid-1940s was along the Waynesburg-Mt. Morris Road. William was without work in the summer of 1946, so traveled to Preston County, WV to seek employment, and found lodging in Newburg. His aim was to secure a job at nearby Arthurdale. The town of Arthurdale was an experiment of the federal government during the Great Depression, the first "New Deal" community created under the vision of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, to provide ready made homes for unemployed workers. While walking in the Preston County woods on Aug. 26, 1946, William was stricken by a heart attack and dropped dead at the age of 72. His remains were brought back to Morgantown to rest in East Oak Grove Cemetery. An obituary appeared in the Connellsville Daily Courier, which said that he was survived by a half sister Mrs. Deneen. The widowed Elizabeth survived for another 14 years ande owned the County Club Market. She relocated circa 1959 to Charleston, Kanawha County, WV to live with or near her daughter Violet at 1314 B Quarrier Street. After a stay in Charleston of about one year, burdened with congestive heart failure, she was stricken with bleeding in the brain and died at Charleston General on April 11, 1960, at the age of 84. The body was shipped to Morgantown to rest beside her husband.

  • Granddaughter Violet Flanigan (1896-1975) was born in about 1896 in Pennsylvania. She appears not to have married. Violet relocated by 1946 to Charleston, Kanawha County, WV. She died in 1975. Her remains are at rest in East Oak Grove Cemetery in Morgantown.
  • Grandson Ernest Flanigan (1898-1980) was born on Jan. 14, 1898 in Pennsylvania. Circa 1921, he was joined in wedlock with Anna Virginia Jeffers (1897-1954), daughter of John Franklin and Margaret D. (Wells) Jeffers. Sadly, she was cut away by the Grim Reaper in 1954. Ernest's final years were spent in Florida. He died in Dade City, Pasco County on Sept. 27, 1980, at the age of 82. His remains were shipped to Morgantown for burial in East Oak Grove Cemetery.
  • Grandson Harry Flanigan (1901- ? ) was born in about 1901 in Pennsylvania. He made a home in the mid-1940s in Baltimore, MD.
  • Grandson Thomas Flanigan (1903- ? ) was born in about 1903 in Pennsylvania. He later dwelled in Lorain, OH.
  • Grandson Charles Flanigan (1909- ? ) was born in about 1909 in Morgantown, Monongalia County, WV. He migrated to Charleston, Kanawha County, WV.

Daughter Annie A. Flanigan (1880-1950) was born on Aug. 26, 1880 in Confluence. She appears to have been wedded twice, first to (?) Smith. Their three known offspring were Sabina Erwin, Hazel I. Smith and Earl A. Smith. Later, she was united in wedlock with John Thomas Deneen ( ? -1943), son of Harry Thomas and Martha (Mullard) Deneen, the mother an immigrant from England. Their known children were Mary Elizabeth Lopes, Rev. Thomas Edison Deneen and Virginia Clare (?). Sadly, little Virginia Clare passed away in infancy. In about 1909, John obtained employment with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and in 1912 they moved to Connellsville, where he became a conductor for the B&O. They were members of the Central Methodist Shurch, with John belonging to the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen and Annie to the ladies' auxiliary. The Deneens moved in about 1938 to a new address of 502 East Murphy Avenue. Sadly, stricken with heart problems of two years' duration, John was felled by a heart attack and passed away at the age of 55 on June 6, 1943. Rev. Howard W. Jamison led the funeral services, with additional rites provided by his fellow Trainmen. Annie survived her husband by seven years. Burdened with heart disease, she died on Jan. 23, 1950 at age 69. An obituary in the Connellsville Daily Courier noted that burial was in Green Ridge Memorial Park following funeral services led by Rev. William C. Marquis.

  • Granddaughter Sabina G. Smith (1897-1963) was born in about 1897. She married Harry E. Erwin ( ? - ? ) and lived in Connellsville. They produced four children -- Robert Erwin, Harry E. Erwin Jr., Jay Erwin and Jacqueline Micher. Later in life, the Erwins relocated to Florida, where they made a home at 361 Woodlawn Avenue in Daytona Beach. Sabina died in Daytona at the age of 66 on Sept. 1, 1963. Her remains were brought back to Connellsville for burial at Hill Grove Cemetery. An obituary in the Connellsville Daily Courier stated that she was survived by 10 grandchildren.
  • Granddaughter Hazel I. Smith was deceased by 1976.
  • Grandson Earl A. Smith dwelled in Charleroi, Washington County, PA in 1950.
  • Granddaughter Mary Elizabeth Deneen (1912-1976) was born on April 27, 1912 in Connellsville. She was wedded to Vernon D. Lopes (Feb. 13, 1929-1977), son of Jerry and Viola Pearl (Aller) Lopes of Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County. PA. The Lopes family lived in Connellsville at 289 East Fairview Avenue. Their children were Beverly K. Lopes, Kim Robert Lopes and David Doral Lopes. Vernon was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II. He earned a living over the years assembling cabinets for Rack Engineering Company. The family belonged to the Central Methodist Church in Connellsville. Sadly, at the age of 64, Hazel died at Connellsville State General Hospital on May 20, 1976. The Connellsville Daily Courier noted in an obituary that burial was in Green Ridge Memorial Park, following funeral services officiated by Rev. William Keys. The heartbreak was compounded when Vernon died just a year after his wife, at age 48, on April 18, 1977, as a patient in Frick Community Hospital in Mount Pleasant. Rev. Keys again led funeral services. Son David (1952-2003) married Shirley Lopes and bore two sons, Curt Lopes and Brian Lopes. He was a member of the American Legion post and Elks Club of Mount Pleasant and died at home at the age of 51 on Sept. 14, 2003. Son Kim Robert Lopes made a home in Mount Pleasant.
  • Grandson Rev. Thomas Edison Deneen ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). On Christmas Day 1938, he was united in holy matrimony with Olive Ruth Hixon, daughter of Clyde W. Hixon of 819 Jefferson Street in Connellsville. They were the parents of Margaret Ann Deneen and perhaps others. They eventually moved to Waynesburg, Greene County. In 1948, their 17-year-old daughter Margaret had four eye surgeries at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh. Circa 1950, he was in charge of the Morrisville Circuit of the Methodist Church. He was deceased by 1976.

Daughter Elizabeth B. "Lizzie" Flanigan (1883-1962) was born on Sept. 12, 1883 in Confluence. She did not marry and in 1950 resided in Connellsville with her sister Maude Vanorsdale at the address of 227 South Prospect Street. At some point she became blind. Then after the sister's death, she established a home in Adelaide in the rural outskirts of Connellsville. As her health failed in 1962, from the effects of a decade of hardening of the arteries, she was admitted to Uniontown Hospital. The Angel of Death carried her away at the age of 78 on June 11, 1962. An obituary was printed in the Connellsville Daily Courier. The remains were lowered into interment in Hill Grove Cemetery in Connellsville or in Oak Grove Cemetery in Uniontown. Rev. H. Morris Shields preached the funeral sermon.

Daughter Maude Flanigan (1887-1958) was born on Nov. 22, 1887. At the age of 20, in 1907, Maud relocated to Connellsville. She was twice married. Her first spouse was Ralph McFarland ( ? - ? ). The pair bore a son, Ralph T. McFarland. Later, Maude was joined in matrimony with Charles Cleveland "Happy" Vanorsdale (March 16, 1886-1968). He was the son of Isaac and Mary Vanorsdale of Great Cacapon, Morgantown County, WV but spent most of his life in Connellsville. Charles was tall and of medium build, with grey eyes and dark brown hair. Their five children were Charles E. Vanorsdale, Evelyn Vanorsdale, Paul Vanorsdale, Harold Joseph Vanorsdale and Wendel Vanorsdale. Charles was required to register for the military draft during World War I. At that time, he declared that their address was 514 North Pittsburgh Street in Connellsville and that Maud was his next of kin. He was employed in 1918 as a machinist helper with the Sligo Iron and Steel Company in Connellsville. Later, he became employed as a railroad car repairman for the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad shops in Dickerson Run, Fayette County. He belonged to the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen. They were longtime members of the Central Methodist Church in Connellsville. Circa 1950, they resided with her unmarried sister Elizabeth at 227 South Prospect Street in Connellsville. Toward the end of her life, Maud suffered from a gastric ulcer and it began to hemorrhage. She died at the age of 70 in Connellsville State Hospital on July 26, 1958. Rev. H. Carl Buterbaugh officiated at the funeral and burial in Green Ridge Memorial Park. The widowed Charles moved into the home of married son Paul in Adelaide near Connellsville. He died at the age of 82, on Sept. 21, 1968, after what the Connellsville Daily Courier referred to as "a lingering illness." Rev. R.A. Nelson officiated at the funeral.


Dickerson Run railyards, Charles Cleveland Vanorsdale's place of employment


  • Grandson Ralph T. McFarland (1912-1961) was born on July 23, 1912 in Connellsville. He never married and is known to have lived at home with his parents in 1958. Burdened with congestive heart failure and bleeding of his gastric system, Ralph succumbed to death in Somerset State Hospital on Aug. 28, 1961. Rev. H. Morris Shields led the funeral service with burial in Green Ridge Memorial Park and an obituary in the Connellsville Daily Courier.
  • Grandson Charles E. Vanorsdale (1915-1993) was born on Aug. 12, 1915. He was joined in wedlock with Catherine E. Korpman ( ? - ? ). The couple produced two children, Leroy N. Vanorsdale ande Ann C. Ragula. The family relocated to Baltimore, MD and remained for decades. Charles passed into eternity on Feb. 18, 1993. A short death notice appeared in the Baltimore Sun.
  • Grandson Wendell T. "Van" Vanorsdale (1916-2007) was born on Oct. 10, 1916. In about February 1939, he married Thelma Martin (1916-1982), daughter of Cambridge Martin of Uniontown. They bore one known daughter, Connie Rae Linderman. They made their home for years in Connellsville with an address of 214 Morton Avenue in Connellsville. Wendell was employed as a clerk by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and eventually retired from the company. He was a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard, 28th Division, and of the Wesley United Methodist Church of Connellsville. He served on the Democratic Committee in Connellsville in the 1960s. When the couple marked their 15th wedding anniversary in February 1954, the Connellsville Daily Courier printed a feature article. Sadly, Thelma died in 1982. Burial was in Green Ridge Memorial Park north of Connellsville. Wendell survived as her widower for a quarter of a century. He married again to Ora Elizabeth (Hamilton) Cropper ( ? - ? ). She brought two offspring into the second union, Thomas Cropper and Martha "Marty" Cropper. The couple relocated to Niantic, IL, where they were members of the Niantic Christian Church. While in Lakeland, FL, visiting his married daughter and son in law Connie Rae and Flay Linderman, Wendell passed into eternity at the age of 90 on July 5, 2007. His remains were shipped back to Connellsville to join Thelma's at rest in Green Ridge Memorial Park, with Rev. Craig Forsythe officiating. The Daily Courier ran an obituary.
  • Granddaughter Evelyn Vanorsdale (1918- ? ) was born in about 1918 in Connellsville. Nothing more is known.
  • Grandson Paul C. Vanorsdale (1919-1966) was born on Feb. 8, 1919 in Connellsville. He was married to Esther Reynolds ( ? - ? ), daughter of Meltina Reynolds. They were the parents of Paul Richard Vanorsdale, Charles R. Vanorsdale, Wendell "Tommy" Vanorsdale, Robert Vanorsdale, Randall Lee Vanorsdale, Maxine Vanorsdale and Mary Jane Vanorsdale. During World War II, Paul served in the U.S. Army's 81st Infantry "Wildcat" Division commanded by Maj. Gen. Paul J. Mueller, which occupied Aomori Prefecture in Northern Honshu. They lived in Connellsville at 19 Gibson Terrace. The family worried gravely in February 1958 when son Paul, age 15, went missing after school. He was found more than a week later, hitchhiking in Arizona. He was taken into the custory of police in Tucson who made arrangements to send him home. Charles was unemployed at the age of 47 in 1966. On July 11, 1966, he was felled and died from an acute heart attack. His remains were placed into eternal rest in Hill Grove Cemetery in Connellsville.
  • Grandson Harold Joseph Vanorsdale (1924- ? ) was born in about 1924. He shared a home with his parents in Connellsville. On June 21, 1957, he was joined in wedlock with Gloria Fay Hensel ( ? - ? ), granddaughter of George Hensel of 602 South Arch Street. Their nuptials were led by Rev. R.A. Nelson, in the parsonage of the Albright Evangelical United Brethren, without any other attendants present. Observed the Connellsville Daily Courier, the bride "was attired for her wedding in a delph blue Chantilly lace dress. She wore a tiara of blue flowers on her hair and carried a white Bible topped with yellow roses and stephanotis, tied with white streamers. Completing her outfit were white mitts." The couple's known daughters were Cynthia Carol Vanorsdale, Dorothy Laverne Vanorsdale and Regina K. Vanorsdale. Their address was 227 South Prospect Street.

Son Ernest B. Flanigan (1890-1948) was born on Feb. 16, 1890. In 1913, at the age of 23, he relocated to Connellsville, Fayette County, PA, where he became a bicycle repairman at 125 North Meadow Lane. When the federal census enumeration was made in 1930, he dwelled with his unmarried sister Elizabeth in the 227 South Prospect Street home of their married sister Maude Vanorsdale. He was a member of the Central Methodist Church and the local Moose lodge. Later in life, he became blind. Suffering from cancer of the sigmoid, he passed away in Connellsville just four days before Christmas 1948, at the age of 58. An obituary in the Connellsville Daily Courier noted that burial was in Hill Grove Cemetery. Wendell Vanorsdale signed the Pennsylvania certificate of death.


~ Son Marcellus Flanagan ~

Son Marcellus Flanagan (1851-1927) -- also spelled "Flannigan" and "Flanigan" -- was born on Jan. 3, 1851 in Henry Clay Township.

Unmarried at the age of 18, in 1870, he lived on his widowed father's farm in Henry Clay Township.

He later was married but later divorced.

Marcellus obtained work as a railroad laborer. In about 1871, feeling the need for a change, he migrated westward to Iowa, putting down roots near Manila in Nishnabotny Township, Crawford County.

When the federal census was taken in 1910, the 59-year-old Marcellus boarded in the home of Shelby and Della Londenstricker in Nishnabotny. He migrated again and was in Nebraska circa 1913 but relocated back to Manila.

Between 1871 and 1916, he only returned home to Somerset County three times, including trips in 1909 and then at Christmas 1916 to spend with his nephew William A. Burnworth, with the news reported in the Meyersdale Republican. He returned to Confluence for a two months' visit in February 1919 and then again in December 1920 and stayed for several weeks. The 1919 and 1920 visits were fodder for the gossip columns of the Connellsville Daily Courier.

When an atlas of Nishabotny Township was published in 1920, Marcellus does not appear as a landowner. At the death of his sister Annabel Burnworth in September 1926, he was named in the Republican obituary. He died at the age of 75 in Nishnabotny on Feb. 2, 1927.


~ Son Howard Flanigan ~

Son Howard Flanigan (1852-1918?) -- also alternatively spelled over the  years "Flannigan" and "Flanagan" -- was born on Jan. 13, 1852 (or 1855 or 1857) in Henry Clay Township, Fayette County, PA.

He relocated to Iowa by the age of 28 in 1880, establishing a new life and home nearthe town of Albia, Monroe County.

On Oct. 31, 1881, in a ceremony held in Monroe County, the 29-year-old Howard married 23-year-old Martha A. Evans (1858-1895), the daughter of Thomas J. and Martha (Hughes) Evans.

The couple went on to produce two children -- Grace Barnett and Irvin T. Flanagan.


Albia, Iowa, looking northeast, where Howard Flanigan moved prior to 1880.


After 14 years of marriage, heartache enveloped the family when Martha died on Jan. 21, 1895, at the age of 37, and was laid to rest in Oakview Cemetery in Albia.

Howard survived his wife by some 23 years. His and the children's home in 1900, as shown in the United States Census, was on a farm in Guilford Township, Monroe County, IA, southeast of the county seat of Albia. He was named in the obituary of his sister Missouri McNear in 1913 and was reported as living in Albia.


W.B. Cousins Drug Store, Albia, Iowa

Howard's world again came crashing down in March 1903 -- but in a different way -- when his 18-year-old daughter accused him of incest. The Ottumwa (IA) Daily Courier reported that she alleged that her father "has borne illicit relations with her for some time, but through fear it is stated that she has been compelled to keep silent." He was arrested and indicted by a grand jury and jailed in Monroe County. "News of criminal accusations came to the many friends of Mr. Flanagan with a great shock," said the Daily Courier, "as he has always been highly steemed by all who knew him." Another of the newspapers reporting the story was the Davenport Daily Leader. The outcome of the trial is unknown.

In the late 1910s, he lived alone in Albia and was considered "one of Albia's oldest residents." At the age of about 66, on Jan. 22, 1918, Howard died in his sleep from heart problems. Funeral services were held in the local United Presbyterian Church, officiated by Rev. C.C. Crawford of the Christian Church. An obituary was printed in the Ottumwa (IA) Semi-Weekly Courier. [Find-a-Grave]

Daughter Grace E. Flanigan (1885-1932) was born in March 1885 in Iowa. On June 19, 1911, when she was 26 years of age, Grace was joined in wedlock with 36-year-old Charles E. Barnett (1875- ? ), son of Hannibal and Perni (Kelly) Barnett. The ceremony took place in Albia, and the bride was about a decade younger than the groom. The Barnetts produced six known offspring, born in rapid fire succession between 1914 and 1923 -- Charles Barnett, Edward Barnett, Byron Cecil Barnett, Francis L. Barnett, Nellie M. Barnett and William Barnett, likely all born in Monroe County. In 1918, she dwelledin Oskaloosa, Mahaska County. IA. By 1920, according to federal census enumeration records, the family was back in Albia with a home on Third Avenue. In 1930, now residing in Troy, Monroe County, Charles and his son Charles earned a living working as laborers in odd jobs. Grace passed into eternity in 1932 at the age of 47. She was laid to rest in the Oakview Cemetery in Albia. Charles only lived for another three years and joined her in death in 1935. [Find-a-Grave]

  • Grandson Charles Barnett (1914- ? ) was born in about 1914.
  • Grandson Edward H. Barnett (1915- ? ) was born in about 1915.
  • Grandson Byron Cecil Barnett (1916- ? ) was born in about 1916.
  • Grandson Francis L. Barnett (1917- ? ) was born in about 1917.
  • Granddaughter Nellie M. Barnett (1918- ? ) was born in about 1918.
  • Grandson William Barnett (1923- ? ) was born in about 1923.

Son Irvin Thomas Flanigan (1890-1985) was born in June 1890 in Foster, IA. When he was 23 years of age, on Oct. 7, 1913, Irvin was united in matrimony with 18-year-old Laurena Lane "Rena" Landin (1895-1950), daughter of Frank A. and Selma Charlotta (Aborg) Landin. They made their home in Albia and produced one known son, Robert Irvin Flanigan. Rena died in 1950, with burial in Oakview Cemetery in Albia. Irvin survived her by 35 years. He passed in 1985. [Find-a-Grave]

  • Grandson Robert Irvin Flanigan (1914-1984) was born on Nov. 12, 1914. He served as a major in the U.S. Army during World War II, including service in the Army Air Corps. He was wedded to Dorothy Love (March 31, 1921-1990).

Copyright 2014-2017, 2020 Mark A. Miner

Beaver County Courthouse photo courtesy Beaver Area Heritage Foundation