Anna Belle (Van Dyke) Breegle was born on April 11, 1903 in Udell, a coal mining town in Westmoreland County, PA, the daughter of Samuel Aaron and Bertha Mae (Minerd) Van Dyke. As a young girl, she moved with her parents and family to the town of Strickler and then, in abouit 1909, into a home that the parents built in Foxtown.
On Sept. 1, 1920, when she was 17 years old, Anna Belle married 17-year-old John Wilkinson Breegle Jr. (Feb. 15, 1903-1962), the son of John Wilkinson and Mary Melissa (Berg) Wilkinson Sr. He was the youngest of eight children from three different marriages.
Anna Belle and John produced a family of seven children -- Samuel John Breegle, Doris Lee VanArsdale Hodgkiss, Mary Lou DeArmint Katic, Bertha Mae Hodgkiss Robich Lane, John William "Skip" Breegle Sr., Audrey JoAnn Shaffer and Barbara Ellen Green, born over a sweep of 24 years.
For the first two years of their marriage, the Breegles dwelled under the roof of Anna Belle's parents, where their eldest two offspring were born. They built their own house circa 1923, where the balance of the five children were born.
Said the Tribune Review, Anna Belle "was a charter member of the Christian Missionary Alliance Church of Youngwood (now in New Stanton)." She occasionally traveled to Ohio to visit her elderly grand-uncle, George Henry Minerd.
The Breegles moved in 1957 to Niles, Trumbull County, OH, where John obtained employment with Copperweld Steel. They attended the Northmar Christian Missionary Alliance Church in Warren, Trumbull County.
Sadly, after five years in Niles, the 59-year-old John Sr. suffered a massive heart attack and died on Oct. 10, 1962.
Anna Belle remained in Niles for the balance of her life.
In 1988, when she was in her 85th year, Anna Belle published a booklet, The Breegle Family Tree, which has been an important source of information. In the preface, she wrote:
I have written this book because I am certain that next to faith and belief in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, family is the most important thing that we have in this world. It is my prayer that the family John and I began will continue to be a family, in fellowship and love until the Lord returns.
The founder of this website spoke with Anna Belle twice by telephone on Dec. 28, 1993 and Feb. 13, 1994, and then again later in 1994 in preparation for the national Minerd-Miner Reunion honoring Civil War soldiers in the clan, including Anna Belle's grandfather.
While a patient in Austinwood Rehabilitation Center in Austintown, OH, Anna Belle passed into eternity at the age of 95 on Aug. 14, 1998. An obituary in her old hometown newspaper, the Greensburg Tribune-Review, noted that her survivors included 19 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and "a number of" great-great grandchildren. Her remains were transported to Greensburg for burial in Westmoreland County Memorial Park, with Rev. Harold Grimm officiating.
Son Samuel John Breegle (1921-2015) was born on June 16, 1921 in Foxtown. At the age of 20, on July 22, 1941, he married Ruth Magill (Sept. 3, 1923-1992), daughter of John K. and Emma (Sauer) McGill of Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County. Her maiden name at times also has been spelled as "Magill." He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and as a helmsman for LST 40 craft was involved with the Marianna, Phillippine and Okinawa Island campaigns. After his return from military service, they dwelled in Hunker near Foxtown, Westmoreland County, and produced three children -- Judy Ann Oplinger, Scott Wilkinson Breegle Sr. and Mark Alan Breegle. For 41 years, Samuel was employed as a shipper with Robertshaw Controls in Youngwood.He enjoyed hunting and was a charter member of the Greensburg Antler Club. The family attended the Armbrust Wesleyan Church. After retirement, Samuel volunteered his time for 19 years with Excela Westmoreland Hospital. Ruth died at home at the age of 68 on June 11, 1992. Burial was in Youngwood Cemetery, with Rev. Dr. Daniel A. Berry officiating, and an obituary appearing in the Greensburg Tribune-Review. Samuel outlived his wife by 23 years. He succumbed as a resident of Hempfield Manor on May 26, 2015. His Tribune-Review obituary noted that Rev. Dan Barchert preached the funeral sermon with burial in Youngwood Cemetery with military rites provided by the Armbrust Veterans Association.
Daughter Doris Lee Breegle (1923-1988) was born on July 1, 1923. On her 18th birthday, in 1941, she was joined in wedlock with Robert Newton VanArsdale (1919-1967). They produced four children -- Robert Lee VanArsdale, Bonnie Lou Cernuto Kauffman Hover, Keith VanArsdale and Susan Sponseller. Sadness enveloped the family when Robert passed away in 1967, at the age of 48. Later, on June 1, 1974, Doris married her divorced former brother-in-law, William "Bill" Hodgkiss (Sept. 22, 1923-2011). William was a World War II veteran of the Army. In his working career, he was a mechanic for Penn Transit Bus Company in Pittsburgh followed by three decades as a millwright for Copperweld Steel. Doris died on May 14, 1988, at the age of 65. William outlived his second wife by 23 years and made his home in Bradenton, FL. He was admitted to Woodlands Village Assisted Living where he passed into eternity at the age of 87 on May 9, 2011. Burial was in Hillside Cemetery in Cortland, OH.
Daughter Mary Lou Breegle (1927-1991) was born on April 2, 1927 in Foxtown, Westmoreland County. She first married Arthur DeArmint (June 6, 1926-2003), son of Samuel J. and Ida Mae (Altman) DeArmint of Youngwood. Their two children were Sammy Lee DeArmint and Mary Ellen Herrle Pageant Colorusso. Arthur served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He earned a living over the years working for Nabisco. After a divorce, Mary Lou wedded her second spouse, Daniel "Dan" Katic ( ? - ? ) on Christmas Eve 1959. Their children are believed to have been Mary Ellen Katic, Danny Ray Katic and Samuel Katic. Mary Lou attended the Christian Missionary and Alliance Church in New Stanton. Mary Lou passed into eternity while a patient in Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg on Nov. 28, 1991. Burial was in Youngwood Cemetery, with Rev. James E. Haddon leading the service. Former husband Arthur DeArmint died at the age of 76 in Greensburg on Feb. 10, 2003.
Daughter Bertha Mae Breegle (1929- ? ) was born on Oct. 10, 1929. She was born without hands but learned to paint, cook and drive. On Oct. 27, 1948, when she was 19 years of age, she was joined in matrimony with her first husband, William "Bill" Hodgkiss (Sept. 22, 1923-2011), the son of Raymond and Sibbit (Baird) Hodgkiss of Tarrs, Westmoreland County. They were the parents of Cynthia Lynn Hartzell Joseph Mix Pozega, William Russell "Rusty" Hodgkiss Sr. and Michael John "Mike" Hodgkiss. Then at the age of 45, on June 30, 1974, she wedded her second spouse John Robich ( ? - ? ). Her third husband was Lawrence "Larry" Lane ( ? - ? ), with their nuptials taking place on June 28, 1980, when she was age 61. In the early 1990s, the Lanes lived in Southington, Trumbull County, OH and spent their winters in Ocean City, FL.
Son John William "Skip" Breegle Sr. (1935- ? ) was born on Feb. 15, 1935. He married Eleanor Rosky ( ? - ? ). They produced two sons -- John William "Skippy" Breegle Jr. and Timothy Jay Breegle. Their residence in 1994 was in Niles, Trumbull County, OH.
Daughter Audrey "JoAnn" Breegle (1936- ? ) was born on Sept. 30, 1936. At the age of 20, on June 8, 1957, she was joined in marital union with Gerald Raymond "Jerry" Shaffer ( ? - ? ). They are the parents of three children -- Gerald Allan Shaffer, John W. Shaffer and Luanne B. Shaffer. The Shaffers lived in Niles, Trumbull County, OH in 1991.
Daughter Barbara Ellen Breegle (1945- ? ) was born on April 26, 1945. On Sept. 3, 1966, when she was 21 years old, she wedded Raymond Allen Green ( ? - ? ). Their only daughter is Stephanie Marie "Sunshine" Green. The Greens' residence in 1991 was in McDonald, OH.