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Sarah (Younkin) Esch


Sarah and Joseph Esch

Sarah (Younkin) Esch was born in 1808, the daughter of Henry and Anna Mariah (Overpeck) Younkin Jr.

On Aug. 13, 1826, at the age of 18, she married Joseph Esch (1808- ? ). The ceremony was held in Easton, Northampton County, PA.

The couple produced 10 children together who are known to have reached adulthood – Salina Klinesman, Adam Esch, Rebecca Campbell, Levi Esch, Joseph Esch, Edward Esch, Henrietta Overdorff, Rev. John Esch, Maria Overdorff and William Esch. Evidence suggests that they also bore two children who died young, for a total of 12 in the family.

Joseph was trained in the manufacturer of guns. Circa 1850, when the federal census enumeration was made, the family lived in Brush Valley, Indiana County, PA, and his occupation was recorded as "gunsmith."

Heartbreak overwhelmed the family in about 1854 when their married daughter Rebecca Campbell died at the age of only 22, leaving behind a widower and newborn daughter Sarah. The baby was brought into the Esch's residence and raised there to adulthood.

The 1860 census shows the family continuing to dwell in Brush Valley, with Joseph principally earning a living as a farmer. In both 1850 and 1860, the census-takers spelled the family name "Ash."

By 1870, all of their children had left home with the exception of 16-year-old granddaughter Sarah Campbell.

Sadly, Sarah died in 1892 in Brush Valley. Burial was in the community's Dutch Bethel Cemetery.


~ Daughter Salina (Esch) Klinesman ~

Daughter Salina Esch (1827-? ) was born in 1827.

She reputedly married William Klinesman (1822- ? ).

This couple needs to be confirmed.


~ Son Adam Esch ~

Son Adam Esch (1828-1899) was born on Aug. 28, 1828.

His first wife was Julia Catherine Walters (May 11, 1831-1860).

The couple's four known children were Sarah Katherine Esch, Susan M. Esch, George W. Esch and Rebecca E. Esch.

The United States Census of 1860 shows Adam and Julia and their four children living in White, Cambria County, PA. Living under their roof in 1860 were Adam's younger siblings Joseph and Henrietta.

Grief blanketed the family later that same year when Julia died at age 29 on Dec. 14, 1860.

After a little more than two years of grieving, on New Year's Day, 1863, Adam wed a second time to Hannah Glass (March 6, 1838-1926), daughter of Joseph and Margaret "Peggy" (Troxell) Glass. Rev. J.Q.A. Weller officiated. News of their marriage was announced on the pages of the Indiana Messenger.

Together, they bore six more offspring -- Margaret C. Esch, Joseph Isaac Esch, Ida A. Esch, Laura J. Esch, John B. Esch and Perry A. Esch.

Adam died at the age of 71, in Flinton, Cambria County, on Sept. 25, 1899. Burial was in Beaver Valley Cemetery, with an obituary appearing in the Cambria Freeman of Ebensburg, PA.

Daughter Sarah Katherine Esch (1853-1927) was born in Dec. 1853.

Daughter Susan M. Esch (1855-1928) was born on March 21, 1855.

Son George W. Esch (1857-1935) was born on Sept. 9, 1857.

Daughter Rebecca E. Esch (1859-1932) was born on Aug. 29, 1859.

Daughter Margaret C. Esch (1863-1956).

Son Joseph Isaac Esch (1865-1946) was born on March 26, 1865.

Daughter Ida A. Esch (1867-1951) was born on Jan. 3, 1867.

Daughter Laura J. Esch (1869- ? ) was born in about 1869.

Son John B. Esch (1871-1954) was born on Aug. 7, 1875.

Son Perry Adam Esch (1879-1964) was born in 1879 and was 26 years younger than his eldest half-sibling.


~ Daughter Rebecca (Esch) Campbell ~

Daughter Rebecca Esch (1832-1854) was born on April 20, 1832 in Brush Valley, Indiana County.

She was joined in matrimony with Oliver Campbell (Nov. 1832-1869), son of William and Rebecca (St. Clair) Campbell.

The newlyweds immediately relocated to Minnesota, where they must have had exciting dreams of establishing their future. An only daughter born to the pair was Sarah Campbell in May 1854, and the future appeared to be bright.

But unspeakable grief descended upon the young family later that same year, on Oct. 22, when death cut away the young wife at age 22.

Their infant daughter was taken into the home of Rebecca's parents back in Brush Valley.

Oliver only outlived his first bride by 11 years. In 1860, he wed again to Mary Frances Nelson (1840-1906). The Campbells were listed in the federal census enumeration of 1860 on a farm in Farmington, Polk County, WI.

He surrendered to death at age 36, in Polk County, on April 14, 1869.

Daughter Sarah Campbell (1854-1941) was born on May 14, 1854 in Minnesota. She was taken into the home of her mother's parents in Brush Valley, and is shown in the Esch household in the 1860 census. She was united in the bonds of holy wedlock with Christopher D. Campbell ( ? -1929), son of John and Mary (Herron) Campbell. The couple put down roots in Brush Valley and led their lives as farmers. The eight children produced together by the pair were J. Milton Campbell, Joseph E. Campbell, William O. Campbell, Clark Campbell, Harry C. Campbell, Stewart Campbell, Mrs. V. Burl Clevenger and Mrs. Clarence Clevenger. Sadly, having contracted influenza and pneumonia, Christopher passed away at age 82 on Jan. 3, 1929. An obituary was published in the Indiana Gazette. Toward the end of her life, Sarah suffered from senility as well as an infection of the cervical lymph nodes. The spectre of death whisked her away at age 87 on July 20, 1941. Stewart Campbell of Brush Valley signed the official Pennsylvania certificate of death. An obituary in the Gazette said it was the "third time within a week [that] death entered a prominent Indiana County family...," with her brother-in-law William H. Campbell and niece Mary K. Campbell having preceeded her to the grave. The Gazette added that "With the exception of a year in the western state [of Minnesota], she had always lived in Indiana County, most of the time in Brushvalley Township." Her survivors were counted as 27 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. Burial was in Bethel United Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Clyde, Indiana County, led by Rev. George W. Sprinkle of the Brush Valley Evangelical Church.


~ Son Levi Esch ~

Son Levi Esch (1834-1892) was born in 1834 in Brush Valley, Indiana County.

On March 14, 1861, he was united in wedlock with Elizabeth Lowman ( ? - ? ). Their wedding ceremony was held at the home of David Lowman in Brush Valley, by the hand of Rev. I.L. Kephart, as reported in the Indiana Weekly Messenger.

The couple's

children were Ida Esch, Agnes Elizabeth "Aggie" Esch, Margaret Lewelda Esch, Mary Alice Wisegarver, John W.A. Esch, Anna Armenta Esch and Clara Inez Griffith.

During the Civil War, Levi joined the Union Army. He was placed in the ranks of the 67th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company B. The Indiana (PA) Gazette once reported that he "served three enlistments ... and was held a prisoner at the famous Libby Prison for some time."

Three years after the war's end, he applied for and was awarded a military pension as compensation for his wounds/injuries. [Invalid App. #137.264 - Cert. 142.789]

The federal census enumeration of 1870 shows the family living on a farm in Brush Valley. Then in 1880, when the census count again was made, the Esches were in Centerville, Indiana County, where he had been hired as a railroad laborer.

Sadly, at the age of 58, Levi's health began to plummet seriously. The Indiana County Gazette issue of Sept. 14, 1892 reported that he was "seriously ill" and that his "mind is troubled and it is feared that he may lose it." He surrendered to death in 1892.

The widowed Elizabeth was granted her husband's pension and received monthly payments for the balance of her life. [Widow App. #563.653 - Cert. #367.410] She died in about 1901.

Daughter Ida E. Esch (1857-1944) was born in about 1857. She wed (?) Steele ( ? - ? ). Circa 1937, she was in New Florence, PA.

Daughter Agnes Elizabeth "Aggie" Esch (1862-1944).

Daughter Margaret Lewelda "Lou" Esch (1865- ? ) was born in about 1865. She was deceased by 1937.


Johnstown Flood damage, 1889

Son John W.A. Esch (1866-1937) was born on Dec. 23, 1866 in Centerville, Indiana County. As a 12-year-old, he was put to work as a laborer for local farmers in the area of Centerville. For a number of years, reported the Indiana (PA) Gazette, he "was foreman of the wrecking crew on the Gallitzin Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad between Gallitzin and Derry. After the flood of 1889 he took his crew to Johnstown to help rehabilitate the city and it was then that he met Mary Haggerty." Seven months after the flood, on Dec. 21, 1889, he was joined in wedlock with Mary Haggerty ( ? -1936). Their wedding ceremony was held in the parish of St. Columbua's Church, with Rev. Fr. Farron as officiant. Four children were born into this union, including Eugene W. Esch, Frank Esch, John Esch and a daughter who died as a baby. For the first 11 years of their marriage, the couple lived in New Florence, PA, where he was elected as burgess (mayor) of the town. Then in 1900, they relocated to Johnstown, PA, where he became employed by Cambria Steel Company as yardmaster for the Ten Acre Bridge. Cambria Steel was acquired in 1923 by Bethlehem Steel Corporation. John was promoted n Jan. 11, 1902 as foreman of all motive power of the company's entire transportation department and continued in this position until retirement in 1934. Their final address was 240 Barrow Avenue in the Morrellville section of Johnstown. Mary contracted pneumonia and passed away in a Johnstown hospital on Dec. 15, 1937. John only outlived her by less than a month. Stricken with cancer of the larynx, diabetes and urinary tract problems, he traveled to Philadelphia to undergo throat surgery at Jefferson Hospital. Sadly, he died there at the age of 70 on Jan. 10, 1937. John Esch, of the McAlpin Hotel in Philadelphia, signed the death certificate. Funeral services were conducted by Rev. Paul Lindbereg of the Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church. Burial was in West Fairfield Cemetery in Westmoreland County, PA.

  • Grandson Eugene W. Esch dwelled in 1937 in Johnstown.
  • Grandson Frank Esch established his home in Johnstown.
  • Grandson John Esch was in Norfolk, VA in 1937.

Daughter Mary "Alice" Esch (1868- ? ) was born in about 1868. She married (?) Wisegarver ( ? - ? ). The family relocated to Ohio and in 1937 was in Lorain, Cuyahoga County, OH.

Daughter Anna Armenta Esch (1869- ? ) was born in about 1869. She was deceased by 1937.

Daughter Clara Inez Esch (1871- ? ) was born in 1871 in Indiana County, PA and grew up in New Florence. On Sept. 24, 1892, she entered into marriage with railroader Andrew Griffith (1864- ? ). Her parents signed their consent to the union. Clara made her residence in 1936-1937 in Wheeling, WV.


~ Son Joseph Esch ~

Son Joseph Esch (1836- ? ) was born in 1836 in Brush Valley, Indiana County.

He and Laura ( ? - ? ) tied the knot. 

Together, they produced two children -- Elizabeth Esch and William W. Esch. Sadly, daughter Elizabeth is believed to have died in infancy in 1868.

Son William W. Esch (1870- ? ).


~ Son Edward Esch ~

Son Edward Esch (1838-1892) was born on Nov. 28, 1838 in Brush Valley, Indiana County. He grew up on the family farm in Brush Valley and, as a bachelor of age 22 in 1860, lived at home and provide farm labor.

He joined the Union Army during the Civil War and was assigned to the 211th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company I.

He entered into marriage with Angeline Comfort (1845-1929), daughter of David and Eliza (Overdorff) Comfort.

Their large brood of offspring included Eliza Esch, Graham Esch, Miles M. Esch, Frances Esch, Clark Esch, Walter Esch, Leonard Esch, Lavina Esch, Carlisle Esch, Earl C. Esch and Pearl Esch.

Just two years before his death, on July 15, 1890, Edward was awarded a military pension as compensation for wartime service. [Invalid App. #876.354 - Cert. #780.750].

Sadly, Edward died at age 53 on Aug. 7, 1892.

Angeline survived him by 37 years. She successfully applied to the government to receive her late husband's pension. [Widow App. #557.883 - Cert. #411.679] Her final years were spent in Blairsville, Indiana County, at an address of Burrell Street.

Just two days before Christmas 1929, suffering from enlargement of the heart, Angeline passed away at the age of 84. Burial of the remains was in Blairsville Cemetery, with Rev. H.E. Lloyd, of the First Methodist Church, officiating. Daughter Lavina, residing in Blairsville, was the informant for the Pennsylvania certificate of death. An obituary was published in the Indiana Gazette.

Daughter Eliza Esch (1863-1864).

Son Graham Esch (1864-1940).

Son Miles M. Esch (1867-1938).

Daughter Frances Esch (1869-1871).

Son Clark Esch (1872-1891).

Son Walter Esch (1874-1971).

Son Leonard Esch (1875-1938).

Daughter Lavina Esch (1880-1941)

Son Carlisle Esch (1884-1885).

Son Earl C. Esch (1886-1967).

Daughter Pearl Esch (1886-1978).


~ Daughter Henrietta (Esch) Overdorff ~

Daughter Henrietta Esch (1842-1924) was born in 1842 in Brush Valley, Indiana County, where she spent the entirety of her years. As a teenager, she joined the Evangelical Church, and remained a member for nearly seven decades.

In 1866, she wed her husband, Jacob S. Overdorff (April 14, 1846-1921), son of Samuel and Diana (Sense) Overdorff.

Their only known son was William Lorenzo Overdorff.


Farms of J. Overdorff (top left) immediately west of Mechanicsburg, and near the farm of Aaron Younkin.Atlas of Indiana Co., Pennsylvania, 1871.


The Overdorffs remained for good in Brush Valley, where they made a living as farmers. For 55 years, Jacob too was a member of the United Evangelical Church where, said the Indiana Weekly Messenger, he "was active in all church circles and served as class leader for 17 years."

Burdened with heart valve disease and weakness, Jacob died at age 74 on Feb. 21, 1921. His funeral was led by Rev. G.W. Sprinkle, with burial in the United Presbyterian Cemetery in Mechanicsburg, PA.

Henrietta passed into the eternal beyond at age 82 on June 5, 1924. Her remains were interred in Fry Cemetery in Brush Valley. An obituary appeared in the Weekly Messenger.

Son William Lorenzo Overdorff (1868-1934) was the father of eight. He lived in Brush Valley in 1921.


~ Son Rev. John Esch ~

Son Rev. John Esch (1845-1930) was born in 1845 in Brush Valley, Indiana County.

During the Civil War, on March 3, 1864, he married Maria Pittman (Dec. 6, 1845-1928), a native of of Indiana County and one of 15 children of Joseph and Eva (Eberhart) Pitman. Officiating was Rev. Samuel Crowther.

The couple bore four children and adopted a fourth -- Eva Mark, Etta Weber, Mrs. Andrew W. Wyant and Dr. Jospeh I. "J.I." Esch, plus one son who died in infancy.


Civil War excavations at the Devereux Station of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad line, where the men of the 6th Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery provided guard duty. Library of Congress


As the war raged, John on Sept. 3, 1864 enlisted in the Union Army and was assigned to the 6th Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, Battery I or L, also known as the 212th Pennsylvania Volunteers. His brother-in-law Michael A. Overdorff and first cousins Francis "Frank" Herlinger and Uriah Younkin also were members of the regiment. The 6th Artillery primarily performed guard duty in the District of Columbia and northern Virginia.

In September 1864, the men were posted in protection of the capital, and later in the month transferred to guard the Orange and Alexandria Railroad line between Alexandria and Manassas. Their base of operations at that time was at the Fairfax County Court House.


John's church in Dempseytown, PA

After the war's end, John returned home. He went on to obtain his license to preach in 1869 and thence to a long career as a pastor of the Evangelical Church denomination in Western Pennsylvania. During his career, he "filled pulpits at Somerset, Indiana, Fairview, Cambria, Stoyestown, Cherrytree, Indiana county, Clearfield, Dempseytown, Oil City, Lickingville and Venango," said the Franklin (PA) News-Herald.

They transferred to the Venango charge in April 1891 and put down permanent roots in Dempseytown, where they spent the remaining 47 years of their lives together. The News-Herald once said of Maria that she was "a member of the Evangelical church since girlhood. She was a kind and loving mother and held in high esteem by all who knew her."

In 1890, a quarter century after the close of the war, he applied for and was awarded a military veterans' pension. [Invalid App. #978.824 - Cert. #884.412].

Sadly, in mid-August 1928, Maria was stricken by a cerebral hemorrhage and then on Sept. 10 a paralyzing stroke. She lingered for another month, with her daughter Etta and son J.I. traveling to be at her bedside. The angel of death spirited her away, at age 82, on Oct. 5, 1928. Burial of the remains was in the Lutheran Cemetery in Dempseytown. Mrs. Andrew Wygant, of rural Franklin, PA was the informant for the official Pennsylvania certificate of death. An obituary in the News-Herald reported that she was survived by 14 grandchikldren and 16 great-grandchildren.

John only outlived his wife by two years. During that time he joined the Hayes Post of the Grand Army of the Republic of Oil City, a veterans organization. In doing so, the News-Herald said he was "the last surviving Civil War veteran of Oakland township."

He died at age 85 in Dempseytown on June 23, 1930. A brief obituary in the Somerset Daily American said that "Rev. Esch at one time in his active career served the Somerset charge." The funeral service, held in the Esch home, was "impressive and largely attended," said the News-Herald, led by the Oil City Post of the Sons of Veterans. Among the hymns sung by friends in the ministry were "Asleep in Jesus" and "How Precious Is the Song." His honorary pallbearers were fellow GAR members J.C. Weaver, A.M. Breckenridge, John R. Steele and S.A. Delo as well as fellow pastors Rev. Paul R. Servey of Rocky Grove, Rev. C.E. Servey of Franklin, Rev. S.V. Carmany of Oil City, Rev. C.F. Miller of Dempseytown and Rev. F.N. Boyer of Venus. Active pallbearers were six grandsons -- Olin E. Mark, Frank L. Mark. Harold M. Mark, Marshall V. Mark, LeVern Weber and Morton J. Carter. A Sons of Veterans squad fired a salute, involving W.H. Shaner, Richard Moyer, Grand Hobaugh, Elmer Duncan and H.K. Mohr. Color bearer was James Borland, the color guads were John J. Duffy and H.J. Miller, and bugler, who played "Taps," was F.W. Collins.

Daughter Eva Esch (1865-1954) was born on Feb. 8, 1865 in Indiana County, PA. On Sept. 30, 1885, when she was 20 years of age, she married William "Alfred" Mark (Oct. 25, 1859-1933), with the nuptials held in Dempseytown, Venango County. He was the son of S.T. and Isabel (Ketner) Mark of Cherry Tree, PA. The Marks resided for many years on a farm in Dempseytown, along the Gresham-Dempseytown Road, one mile south of Hamilton Corners. The children they bore together were Olin E. Mark, Frank Leo Mark, Harold M. Mark, Marshall Mark and Olive Carter. Then in 1929, they relocated to Oakland Township near Titusville, PA. Their address in the early 1930s was 512 West Elm Street. They held a membership in tht Titusville Methodist Church. Grief cascaded over the family when 74-year-old Alfred, already burdened with chronic heart valve disease, died instantly following a coronary embolism on Dec. 2, 1933. Burial was in Woodlawn Cemetery. She endured the untimely death of her son Frank in 1947 following a series of strokes. As her health ebbed, she was admitted in December 1953 as a resident of the Fieldmore Springs Rest Home in Titusville. She died there at age 89 on Feb. 12, 1954. An obituary appeared in the Franklin News-Herald. Her pastor Rev. Ralph Findlay officiated the funeral service.

  • Grandson Olin E. Mark ( ? - ? ) made his residence in the mid-1950s in Titusville.
  • Grandson Frank Leo Mark (1886-1947) was born on Sept. 19, 1886 in a homeplace along the Gresham-Dempseytown Road in Oakland Township, Venango County, about one mile south of Hamilton Corners. Upon completion of his public school education, he studied at Welch's Business College in Oil City. From there he obtained work with Adams Express Company in Oil City, later moving to Titisville. On June 11, 1913, at the age of 26, he married Millie Miles, ( ? - ? ), daughter of Hutchinson Miles. The wedding was held in the home of Millie's father, by the hand of Frank's grandfather, Rev. John Esch. They became the parents of three -- Marguerite Mark, Miles Mark and Virginia Mark. For 31 years, Frank and Millie dwelled along McKinney Road, one mile south of Titusville, Venango County, PA. They belonged to the Cherry Tree Grange and attended Breedtown Baptist Church. Sadness blanketed the family at the death of daughter Virginia in infancy in about 1922. Frank was employed over the years with Kerr Hill Mill, City Feed Store and Frank P. Allen's hardware store. His final employment was with S.S. Bryan Store as a delivery truck driver. He endured a stroke in the summer of 1946 and never fully recovered. Then, in the summer of 1947, while in Titusville one day, he was hit by an automobile and suffered a broken arm. He was felled by a second stroke on Aug. 2, 1947, and within four hours was dead. An obituary in the Frankln News-Herald said that Frank "was a helpful and generous neighbor, being especially liked by the children." Interment was in Fairview Cemetery.
  • Grandson Harold M. Mark ( ? - ? ) established a home in New Castle, PA and was there in 1954. He was deceased by 1965.
  • Grandson Marshall Mark ( ? - ? ) dwelled in East Titusville in 1954.
  • Granddaughter Olive Bell Mark (1894-1965) was born on Nov. 21, 1894 in Oakland Township, Venango County. On Nov. 26, 1914, at age 20, she was united in wedlock with Morton J. Carter ( ? - ? ), with the wedding held in her parents' home. Together, the couple produced a son, Gerald Carter. The family were members of the Titusville Free Methodist Church. In the 1960s, the Carters lived along Petroleum Center Road in Titusville. Sadly, the 70-year-old Olive died without warning at home on May 4, 1965. The funeral was led by her pastor, J.W. Grant, followed by interment of the remains in Jameson Corners Cemetery. Her obituary was printed in the Franklin News-Herald.

Daughter Etta Esch wed Judd Weber. They relocated to Oklahoma, settling in Tulsa as of 1928. By 1954, the couple migrated to Martinsville, IL.

Adopted daughter Martha (?) was joined in wedlock with Andrew W. Wyant. She lived in Dempseytown circa 1928-1954.

Son Dr. Joseph I. "J.I." Esch (1869- ? ) was born in May 1869. He received his medical degree and by 1900 relocated to South Dakota, where he opened a practice in Lead City, Lawrence County. He lodged in 1900 with two other men in the residence of E. Bugbee. Then during the decade between 1900-1910, he moved his practice to Wisconsin, settling in the town of La Farge, Vernon County. By 1906, he advertised in the LaFarge Enterprise that his office was located above the E.E. Potts hardware store and that night calls were taken at the Hotel Ward. The federal census enumeration of 1910 shows him a 40-year-old bachelor in La Farge, boarding in the home of Charles and Josephine Edwards. During the early 1910s, he wed Sarah Harris (1866-1953). They bore a son, Leon Esch. Joseph placed advertisements in 1916 that he was an authorized dealer for the "Overland" automobile brand produced by the Willys-Overland Company of Toledo, OH. Circa 1919, he accidentally ran over his five-year-old son Leon and did not recognize him until wiping the blood frm his face. The Marshfield News said that the injuries were painful but were not serious. Despite his foray into motor vehicle sales, his primary source of income was his medical practice. The family's home in 1940 remained in La Farge, at a time when newspapers reported that he was suffering from a heart ailment. Sarah passed away in December 1953 at the age of 79, with a brief obituary appearing in the Wisconsin State Journal of Madison.

  • Grandson Leon Esch (1913- ? ) was born in about 1913 in Wisconsin. A bachelor at age 27, in 1940, he lived with his parents and had no occupation. He died in La Farge at the age of 43 in December 1955.


~ Daughter Maria A. (Esch) Overdorff ~

Daughter Maria A. Esch (1847-1927) was born on May 27, 1847 in Brush Valley, Indiana County.

In 1864, she wed Michael A. Overdorff (March 1945-1916), son of Samuel and Diana (Sentz) Overdorf, also of Brush Valley.

They were the parents of Sarah "Sallie" Devinney, Nola May Cover and Margaret Belle "Maggie" Overdorff.


Orange and Alexandria Railroad bridge repairs during the Civil War, crossing Cedar Run, along which the men of the 6th Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery provided guard duty. Library of Congress


During the Civil War, Michael served in the Union Army. He was a member of the 6th Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, Battery L. The 6th Artillery primarily performed guard duty in the District of Columbia and northern Virginia. In September 1864, the men were posted in protection of the capital, and later in the month transferred to guard the Orange and Alexandria Railroad line between Alexandria and Manassas. Their base of operations at that time was at the Fairfax County Court House.

In the postwar years, he was employed as a laborer with the Pennsylvania Railroad. He held a longtime membership in the local lodge of the Odd Fellows. The family belonged to the Evangelical Church.

On Sept. 15, 1890, Michael was awarded a military pension as compensation for his wartime service and debilities. [Invalid App. #912.523 - Cert. #877.266] News of the pension was printed in the Indiana Progress. He retired in about 1906.

For the last decade of his life, Michael was burdened with chronic heart disease. Just five days before his 71st birthday, he succumbed to the spectre of death on March 19, 1916. Mrs. William Devinney of Blairsville signed the death certificate. An obituary in the Indiana Progress called him "a well-known resident of Blairsville."

Maria outlived him by nine years, continuing to reside at 27 East Ranson Avenue in Blairsville, PA. She successfully petitioned the government to receive her husband's pension. [Widow App. #1.063.271 - Cert. #808.002] Having endured hardening of the arteries and heart valve disease for 20 years, she was stricken by a stroke of apoplexy, with death sweeping her away at age 80 on March 8, 1927. She sleeps for all eternity in Blairsville Cemetery.

Daughter Sarah "Sallie" Overdorff ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was joined in matrimony with William C. Devinney ( ? - ? ). The Devinneys were in Blairsville in 1916.The couple's two known sons were Ralph W. Devinney and George Dewey Devinney.

Daughter Nola May Overdorff (1880- ? ) was born in Aug. 1880. She was united in wedlock with Charles Cover ( ? - ? ). The couple dwelled in Blairsville. Four offspring born to this union were Wilbert S. Cover Sr., Harry Cover, Edna Risinger and Dorothy Libengood. Son Wilbert relocated to New Brighton, PA and son Harry to nearby Beaver Falls, while daughter Edna lived in Homer City, PA and daughter Dorothy in Blairsville.


Pennsylvania Railroad station, Blairsville, PA


Daughter Margaret Belle "Maggie" Overdorff (1886-1957) was born on Jan. 7, 1886 in Burrell Township, PA. On Oct. 11, 1900, when she would have been 14 years of age, she entered into marriage with 24-year-old Albert Oscar Devinney (Nov. 4, 1875-1930), also of Blairsville and the son of Francis "Frank" and Sarah (Clawson) Devinney. Justice of the peace Robert T. Thompson presided, with the event held in Blairsville and the news announced in the Indiana Progress. The couple's two offspring were Christina Fern Patterson and Carl Devinney in addition to an infant son who died of pneumonia on Feb. 7, 1902. Albert stood 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighed 138 lbs. and had brown hair and blue eyes. Prior to marriage, Albert spent 30 days at lard labor January-February 1898 in the Allegheny County Workhouse in Pittsburgh. After his discharge, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps under the alias "James Nolan" and served in the Spanish-American War. During the war, he was posted aboard the USS Yale in Cuban waters and then aboard the USS Yankee which sailed to New Orleans. Albert was honorably discharged in Brooklyn, NY on June 15, 1899. The Devinneys' marriage was troubled, and in about 1902 Albert was convicted of larceny, but was not sentenced to punishment, having promised good behavior in the future. They separated in about 1904, after the birth of their son Carl, with Margaret moving back into her father's home. On June 18, 1904, Albert went to his in-laws' house and demanded to see his wife. Reported the Indiana Democrat, "Being refused he battered down the door, but when he attempted to enter, Mr. Overdorff struck him over the head with a bottle. He was finally ejected, and arrested. Later in the evening as he was being taken to the 'Squires' office for a hearing, he wrenched loose from Policeman McCracken and would have escaped had not the policeman shot him." The would was not considered serious, and he was held in the county jail in Indiana. The couple eventually reconciled. Albert found employment with the Pennsylvania Railroad, and by 1918 the pair relocated to a home at 223 Morse Street in the Knoxville section of Pittsburgh. When registering for the military draft during World War I, Albert disclosed that he was a railroad brakeman and that Margaret was living at the same address as his wife. He eventually was promoted to conductor. For the last four years of his life, he was burdened with chronic kidney disease and hypertension. He died at the age of 55, on Christmas Eve 1930, in Blairsville. Interment was in Blairsville Cemetery, with an obituary printed in the Indiana Weekly Messenger. As a widow, Margaret applied for and was granted in 1932 a pension for her husband's wartime service. [Widow App. #1711286 - Cert. #A-6-1-32 - XC 2.648.174] She remained in her home at 27 East Ranson Avenue for the rest of her years. At age 71, having suffered for a decade from hardening of the arteries, she was felled by a cerebral hemorrhage and died 10 days later on Jan. 31, 1957.


~ Son William Esch ~

Son William Esch (1850-1900) was born in 1850 in Brush Valley, Indiana County.

He was married twice. He first was wed to Josephine Martin (1853- ? ) on April 24, 1869 in Brush Valley.

The couple bore one known daughter, Jane "Jennie" Esch.

Their residence in 1870 was on a farm in Brush Valley near Blairsville. Just four years into the marriage, Josephine filed for a divorce on the grounds of desertion and lack of support. Her petition was granted on June 11, 1873.

William entered into marriage a second time in July 1874 with Catherine J. McCormick (May 1846- ? ).

They begat four known children -- Mollie Wilson, Laura Esch, Clara Esch and Sarah Esch.

When the United States Census was made in 1880, the Esch family lived in Blacklick, Cambria County, PA. There, William earned a living as a farmer. The family relocated to Somerset County, PA, where they resided in 1899-1900 in the community of Dull.

William for the last several years of his life suffered from asthma and tuberculosis, and died from their effects in their home at age 49 on Jan. 31, 1900. His remains were returned to Brush Valley to rest in eternal repose in Dutch Bethel Cemetery. An obituary was published in the Indiana (PA) Weekly Messenger.

Daughter Jane "Jennie" Esch (1870- ? ) was born in April 1870. After her parents' divorce in 1873, she was brought into the household of her grandmother Jane DeArmie/DeArmy in St. Clair, Westmoreland County, PA.

Daughter Mollie Esch was united in holy matrimony with George Wilson.

Daughter Laura Esch lived in Pittsburgh in 1900.

Daughter Clara I. Esch ( ? - ? ) - She dwelled in Pittsburgh circa 1900.

Daughter Sarah Esch relocated by 1900 to Philadelphia.


Copyright © 2021 Mark A. Miner
Minerd.com extends its gratitude to the late Donna (Younkin) Logan for her research contributions to this biography.