Lydia (Sturtz) Boyer (1814-1901) was born on May 21, 1814 in Southampton Township, Somerset County, PA, the daughter of John "Adam" and Maria "Catherine" (Gaumer) Sturtz Sr
At the age of 18, on Dec. 15, 1832, she married 26-year-old Samuel Boyer Sr. (Nov. 30, 1805-1878), son of Peter and Susanna (Troutman) Boyer.
Samuel's grandfather, Joseph Boyer, is an acknowledged patriot of the American Revolution, having been born in Frederick County, MD in about 1750 and eventually relocating to Southampton Township, where he passed away after 1800. The grandfather's service is published in the Maryland Historical Magazine, Vol. II, pages 163-175, and he was considered a patriot in capacity with his work on a "Committee of Observation" in Frederick County.
Neither Lydia nor Samuel knew how to read or write. When it was required, she is known to have signed her name with an "X" in legal documents.
Together, the couple produced a family of 10 children, of whom these names have been identified -- Benjamin Boyer, Samuel Boyer Jr., Lydia Muhlenberg, John Boyer and Mary "Ellen" Shaffer.
When the federal census was taken in 1860, the Boyers dwelled on a farm in Allegheny Township, Somerset County, receiving their mail at the Berlin post office.
By 1870, the census shows that their nest was empty.
Sometime during the 1870s, the aging couple migrated to Fayette County, PA to reside with her married daughter Lydia Muhlenberg on a farm in Upper Tyrone Township.
Interestingly, the family of their nephew Dennis and Magdalena "Lena" (Boyer) Comp -- of the family of Solomon and Hannah (Sturtz) Comp -- also moved from Southampton Township to Upper Tyrone during this era.
Sadly, Samuel passed away at the age of about 73 on Feb. 18, 1878. Named as administrators of his estate were Emanuel Korns and William Emerick. An inventory was made of the couple's household and farm possessions on the old home farm in Southampton, with an auction held in September 1888.
The inventory items were comprised of a wide range of old iron, hammers, sleds and barrels, hogsheads, hive of bees, horses, horse wagons, heifers and bulls, harrow, plow and log chain. They also included a wheelbarrow, halter, old harness, garden hoes, rifle, cook and heating stoves, cradle, bedstead and bedding, spinning wheels and a meat grinder. The gross proceeds from the sale were $202.28.
Lydia outlived her husband by 21-plus years.
The widowed Lydia remained in the Muhlenberg household for years, including when they all moved into the town of Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County.
She died on Feb. 23 or 25, 1901. Interment of the remains was in the burying ground of the Mount Zion Lutheran and Reformed Church in Mayfield, Westmoreland County, about 1.3 miles west of the town of Alverton.
~ Son Benjamin Boyer ~
Son Benjamin Boyer (1834-1909) was born on Sept. 21, 1834 in Somerset County, PA.
He married Christina Ranker (July 28, 1834-1906), an immigrant from Germany and the daughter of Christopher and Barbara (Dell) Ranker, also spelled "Reinker."
Together, the pair bore a brood of these offspring -- Nelson Boyer, Elizabeth McFarland, Emma Wright, Elizabeth McFarland, Sarah Boyer, Jacob R. Boyer, Abraham Boyer, Lydia Boyer and Nancy Dickey.
By 1867, the couple migrated to a farm in Bullskin Township, Fayette County. Their son Jacob is known to have been born in Bullskin in 1869. The federal census of 1880 shows the family in Bullskin, with a number of boarders living in their home -- Franklin Burkhart (age 20), John Emrick (22), Samuel W. Diveley (21), Christopher Stroub (28) and Charles F.R. Miller, all coke oven drawers but one.
Circa January 1890, they hosted a visit from C. Swartzendouber and his wife of Wooddale, Fayette County, an event covered in the gossip columns of the Connellsville Weekly Courier.
The couple sold a one-acre tract in Bullskin to their son-in-law David Wright for $530 in March 1892.
Census records for 1900 show the Boyers in Bullskin, with four of their adult children in the home as well as their nine-year-old granddaughter Mabel Boyer. Their married son Nelson was next-door.
Christina was afflicted with chronic kidney disease toward the end of her life. When her heart failed, she was gathered away by the angels at the age of 72 on Sept. 13, 1906. An obituary in the Connellsville Weekly Courier said that her husband was "one of the best known farmers in this locality" and that she had died at home. Rev. B.F. Hankey, of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Scottdale, preached the funeral sermon. She was survived by her husband, three sons and five daughters.
Benjamin's final years were spent as a widower in Bullskin Township, Fayette County. On the fateful day of Feb. 12, 1909, at the age of 74, he was found lifeless. An examining physician wrote: "Mr. Boyer was dead when I first saw him from the history I believe cerebral hemorrhage to have caused death." Providing vital details for the death certificate was Mrs. David Wright of rural Connellsville. Interment of the remains was in Scottdale Cemetery.
Benjamin's estate was administered by their son Nelson. He held a public sale of their property and real estate, at Rier's Schoolhouse near Hemminger's Mill, on July 6, 1909.
Son Nelson Boyer (1862-1928) was born on Nov. 30, 1862 in Somerset County. In about 1888, he married Louise Thompson ( ? -1942). They were the parents of an only son, Clarence W. Boyer. Circa 1909, when he was executor of his late father's estate, Nelson lived along the Star Route in Scottdale. He earned a living as a laborer with the U.S. Cast Iron Pipe and Foundry. For years, they belonged to St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Scottdale, and Louise was a charter member of its Deborah Sunday School Class. In the spring of 1928, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage which led to what a physician wrote as "softening of the brain." He died on June 30, 1928, at the age of 65. Burial of the remains was in Scottdale Cemetery, with Rev. W.J. Seiberling overseeing the funeral service. Louise survived for another 14 years as a widow. Her home during that period was on Homestead Avenue in Scottdale. She died in the morning hours of April 25, 1942. Her pastor Rev. George M. Kunkle preached the funeral sermon, with an obituary appearing in the Connellsville Daily Courier.
Daughter Elizabeth Boyer (1864-1938) was born on March 26/27, 1864 in Scottdale. Did she also go by the name "Malissa?" She was united in matrimony with Willis McFarland (Dec. 13, 1860-1949), son of William Robert McFarland of Jefferson County, OH. The couple first dwelled in Smithfield, Jefferson County and later put down roots in Roscoe, Coshocton County. They belonged to the Coshocton Presbyterian Church. Three children born to this family were William "Robert" McFarland, Benjamin McFarland and Lena McFarland. She endured hardening of the arteries in her later years. On Aug. 1, 1928, when she was 74 years of age, she suffered the third of three cerebral hemorrhages. She lingered for a month and a half until death carried her away on Aug. 14, 1938. Interment was in Fairmount Memorial Park in Alliance, OH. Word was sent to her sister Sarah Overholt in Mount Pleasant, PA and published in the Connellsville Weekly Courier. Lena McFarland of Roscoe signed the official Ohio certificate of death, stating the maiden name of Elizabeth's mother as "Conrad" instead of "Ranker." William lived for another nine years in his home at 514 South Seventh Street. Death claimed him at the age of 86, at home, on Nov. 3, 1947. His obituary was printed in the Coshocton Tribune and said he was survived by three half-sisters, two grandchildren, four step-grandchildren and one step-great-grandchild. Rev. Roy M. Kiskaddon, of the family church, led the funeral service.
Great-grandson Francis McFarland was married and moved to Phoenix, AZ as of 1950. They were the parents of Kathy McFarland. Francis resided at 1011 Adams Street in Coshocton in 1972.
Great-grandson Raymond R. McFarland made a home on Route 2, Coshocton, in the early 1970s.
Step-great-grandson Thomas William Bryan Sr. ( ? -1947) was born in (?) in Coshocton. He was in Wadsworth, OH in 1940 and in Pittsburgh's Orchard Heights in 1943-1947. He married Annabelle Lightell ( ? - ? ). The couple together produced a son, Thomas William Bryan Jr. Interested in aviation, Thomas became a pilot and first worked for McKinley Air Transport Company in Canton, OH. He underwent training in combat flying in about early 1942 at Butler, Butler County, PA. He then became employed for about five years in the mid-1940s, carrying postal mail to routes in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. He escaped death in late October 1943 when his mail plane failed and "crashed in the mountains near Chambersburg, Pa.," reported the Coshocton Tribune. He was treated in a Pennsylvania hospital and released. But good fortune did not follow him always. On the tragic day of Dec. 6, 1947, while flying a plane owned by All-American Aviation Company, the 32-year-old Thomas and co-pilot Berger Bechtol were killed in a crash about five miles west of Wellsburg, WV. Annabelle survived her husband by decades. She returned to Coshocton and was there in 2001.
Step-grandson Edward Bryan ( ? - ? ) was in Pittsburgh in 1947.
Step-great-grandson Max Bryan (1926-2017) was born on April 10, 1926 in Coshocton. After graduation from high school, he attended DeVry Technical Institute in Chicago and then served in the U.S. Navy from September 1945 to October 1946. After returning home, he earned a living at the Pope-Gosser China Company. On Sept. 17, 1949, when he was 23 years of age, he was joined in wedlock with Fanny Ellen Weatherwax ( ? - ? ), daughter of Harry Weatherwax of Spring Mountain. The wedding was held in Grace Methodist Church, led by Rev. Charles Frederick Jones. The Coshocton Tribune reported on the nuptials, including a photograph of the couple, stating that Fanny "chose a navy blue suit with matching accessories. She wore a shoulder corsage of red roses." The only daughter born to this union was Cheri Corder. He was employed for 54 years as a bailiff with the Court of Common Pleas of Coshocton County and the State of Ohio's Office of the Attorney General. Their longtime residence was in West Lafayette, OH. In his spare time, he liked to build and fly model airplanes and scuba dive. Sadly, he died at the age of 91 on Nov. 5, 2017. His obituary was published in the Tribune.
Step-great-grandson Stanford Bryan (1921-2001) was born on Dec. 9, 1921 in Coshocton. He received his bachelor's degree from Kent State University. He also jonied the U.S. Navy during World War II, serving on the USS Bennington. Stanford eventually relocated to California and settled in San Luis Obispo, CA. There, he was self-employed. Stanford married Doris Bryan. They became the parents of Stephanie Miller, Patrick Bryan, Jeffrey Bryan and Gregory Bryan. After a divorce, he wed again to Helen ( ? - ? ). He died at the age of 79, in San Luis Obispo, on Aug. 5, 2001. Burial was in California, and an obituary appeared in his hometown newspaper, the Coshocton Tribune.
Step-great-granddaughter Winifred Bryan ( -1976) was born in (?). She wedded Milton Friedman ( ? - ? ). The one daughter produced in this marriage was Gwen Jacobs. The Friedmans' home in the 1970s was at 3019 Fair Avenue in Columbus, Franklin County, OH. The family was plunged into mourning when Winifred passed away in Mt. Carmel Hospital at the age of 68 on July 18, 1976. The Coshocton Tribune ran an obituary. Interment of the remains was in Forest Cemetery in Circleville, Pickaway County, OH.
Daughter Emma Boyer (1866- ? ) was born in about 1866 in Westmoreland County, PA. Unmarried in March 1882, she gave birth to a daughter, whom she named Minnie Boyer. Then on April 12, 1888, at the age of 22, she married 24-year-old David R. Wright (Jan. 1864- ? ), a resident of Pennsville, near Connellsville, and the son of John J. and Hannah Wright. Rev. John Conner officiated at the ceremony held in Scottdale. David was a stock dealer at the time of marriage. The pair dwelled in Bullskin Township, Fayette County. The produced three more children of their own -- Homer Wright, John Wright and Pearl Wright. David was employed circa 1900 at an iron works near Connellsville, while Emma generated additional income as a dressmaker. Their dwelling in 1918 was Prittstown. Emma migrated cross-country at some point and in 1939 was in Glendora, CA.
Daughter Sarah "Sallie" Boyer (1867-1951) was born on Sept. 9, 1867 in Fayette County. At the age of 23, circa 1890, she gave birth to a daughter, whom she named Mabel Boyer. Sarah did not marry the child's father. She remained unmarried for years and dwelled in Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County, PA. Federal census records for 1900 show her at the age of 32 working as a servant in the household of adult siblings Maria, Jacob and Isaac Overholt. In May 1918, she is known to have hosted a Sunday dinner in her home for her brother and sisters in honor of her nephew Clarence Boyer who had been drafted into the Army. In time she was joined in wedlock with her employer's brother Jacob Webster "J.W." Overholt (Sept. 30, 1853-1938), son of Jacob Stauffer and Mary (Fox) Overholt and a native of West Overton, Westmoreland County. Jacob was a cousin of famed Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Clay Frick, founder of a large network of coke ovens in the Connellsville coal seam and president of Carnegie Steel Company which became part of United States Steel Corporation. Jacob's father was closely affiliated with the Overholt family's well-known distillery at Broad Ford. Jacob himself owned a coke manufacturing business among " various coal enterprises," said the Connellsville Daily Courier. His firm is believed to have been named "J.W. Overholt & Co." and to have operated the Emma Coke Works. Over three decades of operation, the Emma Works produced more than 16 million bushels of coal, paid out $500,000 in wages and never had more than 30 men on the payroll at any one time. The works finally closed in February 1902, with a detailed history published in the Feb. 21, 1902 edition of the Connellsville Weekly Courier. Sarah and Jacob did not reproduce. In 1929-1938, the Overholts lived on North Church Street in Mount Pleasant. She was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church and the Braddock Trail Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (member #371097). They enjoyed traveling, and in 1904 ventured to St. Louis to attend the Democratic national convention and see the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Jacob and friends took a lengthy holiday over the winter of 1904-1905 to the West Coast, making stops in Colorado, Salt Lake City, Southern California, San Francisco and Florida. He also was a supporter of the Boy Scouts. Burdened with chronic heart disease added to a case of bronchial pneumonia, Jacob died at the age of 84 on Feb. 28, 1938. The body was lowered beneath the sod of Mount Pleasant Cemetery. His obituary in the Daily Courier was comprised of only three paragraphs. In mourning, the Boy Scouts of Mount Pleasant sent a sympathy note to the widow. Sarah's final residence was at 231 South First Street in Scottdale. She suffered a massive heart attack and died at home at the age of 83 on Feb. 10, 1951. Co-officiating her funeral were Rev. Russell L. McCullough and Rev. Henry N. Haglund. Jacob is named in the 1903 book by Rev. Abraham James Fretz, entitled A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Jacob Beidler. Many years later, when their grandson Lytle Raymond Parks Jr. applied for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution, he fibbed on his application and said that Sarah and Jacob had been married at the time of their daughter's birth.
Great-grandson Dr. Lytle Raymond Parks Jr. (1920- ? ) was born on May 16, 1920 in State College, Centre County, PA. He received a bachelor's degree from Penn State University. At the age of 23, on June 26, 1943, he wedded Marjorie Chambers ( ? - ? ). One known child borne to this marriage was Harold Raymond Parks. Lytle served as an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War II, rising to the rank of lieutenant and assigned to inactive duty in April 1948. They dwelled in Wilmington, DE in the late 1940s. Lytle was accepted in 1948 into membership of the Sons of the American Revolution based on the service of his ancestor Joseph Boyer. His sources for the SAR application were his grandmother's family Bible as well as an examination of tombstones in Zion Lutheran and Reformed Church in East Huntington Township, Westmoreland County and Reformed Church Records and Lutheran Church Records of Wellersburg. Sadly, at the age of 88, he died in Lemont, PA. An obituary was printed in the Centre Daily Times. Their son Harold received a bachelor's degree in 1971 from Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. in 1974 from Princeton University. He went on to a career as a mathematician and taught at Brown University (1974-1977), Oregn State University (1977-1989) and as a visiting professor at Indiana University in Bloomington (1982-1983). He was elected a Fellow of the National Science Foundation from 1971 to 1974.
Great-granddaughter Mabel Overholt Parks ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She received her undergraduate degree from Penn State University and her medical degree from Temple University in Philadelphia. Her internship was spent at Philadelphia's Episcopal Hospital. On July 20, 1951, in nuptials held at the State College Presbyterian Church, she was united in holy matrimony with John Davis Paul Jr. ( ? - ? ), son of Dr. and Mrs. John Davis Paul Sr. of Philadelphia. Rev. William L. Mudge officiated. The marriage was announced in the West Schuylkill Press and Pine Grove Herald. The article said that the bride "wore a full-length gown of chantilly lace and nylon tulle fashioned with a slight train, wrist length sleeves ending in points, bateau neckline, full circular skirt done in tiers and pailette, with seed pearl trim accenting the fitted bodice and sleeves. Her four-tier veil of nylon tulle was gathered by a lace bonnet with the same pailette and seed pearl trim, and she carried a cascade bouquet of white orchids and stephanotis." At the time, John was president of North Broad Clinical Laboratory Inc. in Philadelphia, having attended St. Joseph's College and Temple. Mabel also joined the Daughters of the American Revolution (member #371099).
Son Jacob R. Boyer (1869-1929) was born on July 21, 1869. He remained a bachelor throughout his life. He resided with his parents in Bullskin Township in 1900 and later in Scottdale, Fayette County, and earned a living as a farm laborer. Stricken with hemiplegia (paralysis on one side) at the age of 60, he died after four days of suffering on Aug. 2, 1929. His remains were lowered into eternal repose in Scottdale Cemetery. An obituary in the Connellsville Daily Courier said his affliction was "believed to have been caused by heat..."
Son Abram C. Boyer (1871-1928) -- sometimes spelled as "Abraham" -- was born on the Fourth of July 1871 in Fayette County. A bachelor in 1900, at the age of 28, he shared a home with his parents in Bullskin Township, and worked as a farm laborer. When he was 35 years of age, on Oct. 18, 1906, he was joined in wedlock with Carrie "Abbie" Loucks (Jan. 16, 1872- ? ), a native of Westmoreland County. B.F. Hankey officiated. In June 1916, the couple is known to have hosted a dinner in their Scottdale residence for his siblings and spouses. Their address was 604 Mulberry Street in Scottdale. Abbie was a member of the Deborah Bible Class of St. Paul's Lutheran Church. He was trained as a plumber and in the 1920s worked in pipefitting for the Scottdale contractor J.I. Dick Company. Abram made news in November 1927 when his right leg was fractured when "a piece of cement fell on the leg," reported the Connellsville Daily Courier. He was treated at H.C. Frick Memorial Hospital in Mount Pleasant. The following June, however, suffering from hypertension, the 56-year-old Abram was felled by a cerebral hemorrhage and died on June 2, 1928. His remains were lowered into eternal sleep in Scottdale Cemetery.
Daughter Lydia Boyer (1873-1939) was born in June 1873. She never married during her 86 years of life. She spent her early years in Scottdale. Then in about 1909, she relocated to Roscoe, Coshocton County to share a home with her sister Elizabeth McFarland. She was a talented seamstress. Circa 1934, she made a move into the town of Coshocton, at 422 Main Street, and belonged to the Presbyterian Church. She died at the age of 66 at home in Coshocton on June 21, 1939. The remains were shipped back to Pennsylvania for a funeral co-led by Rev. George Kunkle, of St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Scottdale, and Rev. George C. Wolfe of the Trinity Lutheran Church of Mount Pleasant. An obituary appeared in the Connellsville Daily Courier and Coschoton Tribune.
Daughter Nancy J. Boyer (1876-1966) was born on July 5, 1876 (or 1873) in Scottdale. When she was about 35 years of age, she entered into marriage in 1911 with John F. Dickey ( ? -1919). He was previously divorced. Nancy and John became the parents of an only son, Eugene "Gene" Dickey, born in about 1913. They dwelled on a farm near Branch Church, Coshocton County. In about Feb. 1914, the couple appears to have sold a 36.28-acre tract in Jackson Township and granted a mortgage loan with interest. Sadly, budened with heart problems, John succumbed to death at home at the age of 67 on May 2, 1919. His death brought to a close their eight years of married life. An obituary in the Coshocton Tribune said that he "had been in his usual health[with] his death coming very suddenly." The funeral service was held at Branch Church, led by Rev. J.J. Adams of Trinway, with burial in the church cemetery. Nancy lived on as a widow for decades. In Sept. 1919, she petitioned the county probate court to allow her to sell the 36.28-acres of land as it stilll carried $374.50 in unpaid mortgage, but was forced to sue her young son as a protocol for gaining full rights to do so. She held a membership in the Coshocton Presbyterian Church. Her address was 521 Locust Street. Toward the end, she was admitted to the Nursing Home Division of Coshocton County Memorial Hospital. She died there at the age of 93 on July 25, 1966. The Coshocton Tribune published an obituary. Rev. Harold W. Kaser preached the funeral sermon in the Custer Memorial Chapel of her church, with burial in South Lawn Cemetery.
~ Son Samuel Boyer Jr. ~
Son Samuel Boyer Jr. (1838- ? ) was born in about 1838.
When he was 22 years of age in 1860, and not yet married, he lived at home in Allegheny Township and earned a living as a farm laborer.
~ Daughter Lydia (Boyer) Muhlenberg ~
Daughter Lydia Boyer (1842-1925) was born on March 19, 1842.
The 1870 federal census enumeration shows Lydia, single at the age of 28, working as a servant in the Allegheny Township household of farmers John and Rebecca Fair.
At the age of 32, circa 1874, Lydia was joined in matrimony with immigrant Charles Muhlenberg (Sept. 30, 1838-1912), son of Henry and Sophia (Sphurlettr) Muhlenberg of Hanover, Germany. He had migrated to America in 1850 and became naturalized as a citizen.
Evidence suggests that Charles served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was assigned to the 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company F. He enlisted on Aug. 20, 1862 and served until discharge on May 29, 1865.
The couple were farmers, making their residence in 1880 in Upper Tyrone Township, Fayette County. That year, Lydia's widowed mother dwelled in their household.
By 1890, the couple moved into the town of Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County, and remained for good.
Charles in June 1890 filed to receive a military pension as compensation for wartime injuries/ailments. [Invalid App. #780.707 - Ceret. #532.501]
The U.S. Census listing for 1900 shows the Muhlenbergs in Mount Pleasant, and Lydia's mother continuing to live under their roof. Charles had no occupation at that time.
Henry suffered a cerebral and pulmonary embolism in late June. His bowels became paralyzed, and he could not produce urine. He succumbed to his illnesses a week later, at the age of 73, on July 2, 1912.
Lydia remained in Mount Pleasant during her years of widowhood. She immediately applied for and was awarded her late husband's Civil War pension, which she received for the balance of her life. [Widow App. #990.158 - Cert. #748.866]
She took the opportunity to travel. In July 1922, the Connellsville Daily Courier's Mount Pleasant column reported that she "has gone to visit friends at Canton, Ohio."
Stricken with pneumonia and pleurisy, she died at the age of 85 on May 15, 1925. Interment took place in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. N.R. Suter of Mount Pleasant provided details for the official Pennsylvania certificate of death.
~ Son John Boyer ~
Son John Boyer (1845- ? ) was born in about 1845. He grew up on the family farm in Allegheny Township, Somerset County, PA.
~ Daughter Mary "Ellen" (Boyer) Shafer ~
Daughter Mary "Ellen" Boyer (1846-1920) was born on April 5, 1846 (or 1844).
At the age of about 18, circa 1864, she married James H. Shafer (April 6, 1843-1929), son of Josiah H. and Eva (Barrick) Shaffer of Allegheny Township, Somerset County.
A dozen children were produced by this union. The known names were Eva Shafer, Lucy "Della" Shafer, Lydia "Ida" Crouse, John Shafer, Lottie Shafer, Arlington H. Shafer, Ruby Kathleen Shafer and Georgia Rigdon. Five died young, prior to the year 1900.
James trained in carpentry as a young man. He first came to Somerset County to act as deputy when the father was named high sheriff of the county.
Circa 1866, the family may have tried their hand at a new life in Iowa. Evidence suggests that they migrated cross-country, and their eldest daughter Lydia reputedly was born in Iowa. But this needs to be confirmed. If true, the arrangement apparently did not last, as they were back in Somerset within two years, at the time of birth of their daughter Lucy.
James continued over time to earn a living as a carpenter. He made news in August 1893 when at a jobsite in Moxham near Johnstown, Cambria County. Reported the Somerset Herald, "He was assisting in removing a tree from the grove in Moxham when the tree fell on his left foot crushing it at the ankle."
The couple's home in the 1890s was on Main Cross Street and in the 1920s at 433 South Center Avenue in Somerset. Reported the Somerset Daily American, he "was a good citizen in every sense and enjoyed the confidence and respect of all his fellow townsmen."
Afflicted with kidney and heart disease at the age of 76, Mary Ellen died on Sept. 9, 1920 in Somerset. She was entombed in Somerset's Union Cemetery, with James Shafer of Somerset serving as informant for the death certificate.
James outlived his bride by nine years. In his later years he endured chronic heart disease. Sadly, on July 14, 1929, at the age of 87, he passed into the arms of the angels. Daughter Ruby K. Shafer of Somerset was the informant for the Pennsylvania certificate of death. An obituary in the Somerset Daily American said he was "one of the oldest residents of the city... Mr. Shafer's health had been impaired for several weeks, but he was bedfast for only a short time preceeding his death, which was due the infirmities of age."
Daughter Eva Shafer (1863- ? ) was born in about 1863 in Pennsylvania.
Daughter Lydia "Ida" Shafer (1866-1915) was born on Dec. 9, 1866, reputedly in Iowa. In young girlhood she moved with her parents back to their home region of Somerset County, PA. On April 6, 1898, she was united in the bonds of matrimony with Captain Samuel Soyster Crouse (Feb. 28, 1864-1918), son of Jacob and Elizabeth A. (Helsel) Crouse of Bedford County. Lutheran Church pastor Rev. Hoover officiated, with the nuptials held at 6 p.m. in the home of Ida's parents. At the time, Samuel earned income as a lineman for the Western Union Telegraph Company. In reporting on the wedding, the Somerset Herald said that "Shortly after the ceremony Mr. and Mrs. Crouse repaired to the pretty new home the groom had previously furnished for the reception of his bride. Mr. Crouse is a genial gentleman, who has made many warm friends since he became a resident of this place, while his bride is an amiable and popular young lady." They were the parents of Edgar L. Crouse, Mrs. C.H. Voils and Fred J. Crouse. Just a month into their marriage, during the Spanish American War, Samuel helped form a military company for a new state guard unit, and was elected captain. He also was elected to the Town Council of Somerset in the early 1900s during the mayoral term of Burgess Swank. Heartbreak enveloped the family when Lydia was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and stomach cancer. She suffered for several months and passed away on Dec. 7, 1915. Her remains were laid to rest in the Husband Cemetery in Somerset. Within two years, at the outbreak of World War I, the widowed Samuel and their son Edgar both joined the 110th U.S. Infantry, Company C. Samuel enlisted on July 15, 1917, and both men were shipped overseas. While in the Battle of the Marne, in the village of St. Agnan, Samuel was killed in action on July 15, 1918, in a counter-attack repulsing the German advance. Burial was in Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in Belleau, France. At his death, Samuel received the postumous distinction of having the Somerset post of the American Legion renamed for him. A memorial stone eventually was placed in the Husband Cemetery, although his body remained overseas. Circa 1967, his grave at Husband receive a visit from Legion members and their wives, comprising a motorcade of 17 automobiles.
Daughter Lucy "Della" Shafer (1868-1888) was born on March 7, 1868 in Pennsylvania. One source, the U.S. Census, has her birth year as about 1865. She grew to womanhood in Somerset, but was not destined to enjoy a long life. Sadly, she died at the age of 19 years, 10 months and eight days on Sept. 15, 1888. Interment of the mortal remains was in Union Cemetery in Somerset. Details of her demise seem to be lost to the fog of the past.
Son John Shafer (1870- ? ) was born in about 1870 in Somerset, Somerset County, PA.
Daughter Lottie Shafer (1879- ? ) was born in about 1879 in Somerset, Somerset County, PA.
Son Arlington H. Shafer (1880-1946) was born on March 26, 1880 in Somerset, Somerset County, PA. During the Spanish-American War, he served as a private in the U.S. Marine Corps and was stationed at Mare Island, CA. He is believed to have been employed directly or indirectly in 1911 by the county commissioners of Somerset County, and to have assisted in removing a traction engine from a county-owned bridge at the Landstreet coal mining village. He was joined in matrimony with Grace Foust (1892-1924), daughter of John and Hettie (Kelley) Foust. Together, they were the parents of five children -- Ernest Shafer, Beatrice Migot, Joseph Shafer, Melvin Shafer and Lynn Shafer. Tragedy struck the family in the spring of 1924. Pregnant again with their sixth child, at the age of 32, Grace attempted an abortion. The procedure failed, and she began to bleed from a uterus wound. Shock set in, and she died the next day on May 30, 1924. Burial was in St. John's Cemetery in Somerset. Arlington lived as a widower for two more decades. His residence in later years was with his son Ernest and daughter Beatrice in Somerset at 267 East Fairview Street. For the last five years of his life, he earned a living working as a janitor at the Somerset County Courthouse. Having become addicted to narcotics, Arlington suffered a massive heart attack and died at the age of 66, two days before Christmas 1946. Interment was in St. John's Cemetery. An obituary appeared in the Connellsville (PA) Daily Courier and Cumberland (MD) Evening Times.
Great-grandson Richard Migot established a home in Fort Worth, TX and was there in 2010.
Great-granddaughter Sheryl Migot married (?) Dietrich. They dwelled in York, York County, PA.
Great-granddaughter Karen Shafer married Jess Laird. Circa 1985, their home was at 6203 Grindstone Hill Road in Chambersburg.
Great-granddaughter Kathy Ann Shafer wedded (?) Manzon. She resided in the mid-1980s in Greenbelt, MD.
Great-grandson Kenneth Shafer put down roots in Damascus, Montgomery County, MD.
Great-grandson Dean Shafer lived in Rockville, MD.
Great-grandson Kirk Shafer dwelled in Rockville, MD.
Daughter Ruby Kathleen Shafer ( ? -1963) was born in (?) in Somerset, Somerset County. She never married. Circa 1929, she was employed by the Economy Telephone Company as chief operator of the local exchange in Somerset. She relocated at some point in time to Rhode Island, making a home in the town of Barrington. Then in 1955, she migrated to Florida, joining her sister Georgia Rigdon who was residing in Clearwater, Pinellas County. Her address in Clearwater was 1216 Norwood Avenue. Ruby died on June 7, 1963 at the age of 75. An obituary was published in the Tampa Bay Times.
Daughter Georgia E. Shaffer (1890-1977) was born on Aug. 27, 1890 in Somerset, Somerset County, PA. At the age of 21, circa 1911, she wedded 22-year-old Melvin W. Rigdon (1888- ? ). One known son produced by the couple was Lynn Rigdon. Circa 1929-1930, they lived in Brooklyn, NY, where Melvin was employed as a clerk for a steel company. By 1933, they had migrated back to southwestern Pennsylvania and dwelled in Wilkinsburg near Pittsburgh. In retirement, in or before 1955, they moved to Clearwater, FL. Death swept her away in Pinellas County, FL on June 29, 1977.
~ More ~
We are grateful for records provided by Gilbert R. Gaumer of Glendale, MO (compiled 1973-1980), Paul K. Gaumer and Mary L. Shirer in the preparation of this biography.
The Gaumer and Hoyman clans are profiled in the 486-page book Some Notes, Quotes, and Quips of the Hoyman Clan and Related Lines, authored by David LeRoy Baldwin and published by Gateway Press in 1993.