Posts Tagged ‘johnstown’

Harman Updegraff & Margaret Miller

Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library

1850′s Pennsylvania Freight Locomotive (Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library)

Two things I can tell you about my ancestors: there are a lot of Margarets and a lot of accidental deaths.

Harman Alexander Updegraff was born 28 August 1821* in Somerset County, Pennsylvania to Harmon Updegraff and Rachel Howard.  He was a farmer in his early years and later became a conductor of a freight train of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Updegraff Residence

Updegraff Residence

Harman’s wife, Margaret Miller, was born 15 February 1820 in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.  The two were married in March of 1845* and had eight children.  They lived in downtown Johnstown near the Baltimore & Ohio station, on Washington Street.

The Adams Sentinel and General Advertiser, 5 Dec 1860, p. 1

The Adams Sentinel and General Advertiser, 5 Dec 1860, p. 1

On November 29, 1860 while working somewhere between Derry and Latrobe, Harman fell from his train onto the tracks and was killed. He was only 39 years old and left his five young children and newly pregnant wife (two of their children had passed years earlier).  Harman was buried at the Levergood Cemetery but was later exhumed and interred in Grand View Cemetery.

As Margaret’s children grew up and got married, she permanently moved in with her daughter Margaret Angelina Williams. Her son William had moved to Harrisburg, George to Chicago, and Henry to New Castle, but James and Margaret Angelina stayed in Johnstown.  She was a member of the Trinity Lutheran Church and survived the Great Johnstown Flood in 1889.

On March 11, 1898 Margaret set off to walk from her daughter’s house to her son’s a short distance away.  Her daughter was concerned about her walking by herself, but she insisted that she did not need help as she had just walked from the train station the day before by herself. Just minutes after leaving the house, Margaret was struck by a Pacific Express Train, 37 years after her husband’s tragic death.  She was buried with her husband in Grandview Cemetery.

Johnstown Daily Tribune, 11 March 1898

Johnstown Daily Tribune, 11 March 1898

Source List

Aged Lady Killed by a Train.” Undated clipping, ca. 1898, from unidentified newspaper.

“Killed on the Railroad.” The Adams Sentinel and General Advertiser, 5 December 1860. Digital images, http://newspaperarchive.com/adams-sentinel : 2012.

“Updegraff.” The Johnstown Daily Tribune, 11 March 1898.

Grandview Cemetery.  Internment file, database. http://grandviewjohnstownpa.com/interment-search.php : 2012.

Pennsylvania. Cambria County. 1850 – 1880 U.S. census, population schedules. Digital images. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2012.

Pennsylvania. Cambria County. Death Certificate. Clerk of Orphans Court, Johnstown.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [LDS].  “Pedigree Resource File,” database.  FamilySearch.  http://www.familysearch.org : 2012.

*Note: Harman’s exact birth and marriage date came from the Pedigree Resource File.

Related Posts:

Loretta (Zillifro) Hutchinson & Oscar Hutchinson

Margaret (Davis) Updegraff

Updegraff Page

Sunday’s Obituary – Margaret Davis-Updegraff

Margaret H. Davis was born 19 January 1861 in Johnstown,1 Pennsylvania to David H Davis and Catherine Annie Harris, both immigrants from Wales. She was the 5th child of 13 born to David and Catherine.

Margaret Davis married Henry Herman Updegraff in 1881.  Her siblings considered her “marrying well.”  The young couple moved to New Castle between 1885 and 18892 (just before the horrendous Johnstown Flood of 1889).  Margaret and Henry raised four children: Clarence David, Royer Howard, John William, and Alma Catherine.  Margaret’s younger sister, Rachel Davis also lived with Margaret and Henry until she was married to William G. Fischer in 1901.

Margaret hosted many social events for her children, especially her daughter Alma.3  They had a cottage at Brady’s Lake in Ohio and in one instance in 1904, Margaret and her sister Rachel Fischer took the two oldest children (Clarence and Royer) and their girlfriends (to whom they were later engaged) on a vacation there.  The family appeared in the “Society Section” of the New Castle News over 20 times between the year 1900 and 1920.

27 September 1945 - Youngstown Vindicator

Margaret was certainly the matriarch of the Davis and Updegraff family.  Not only did she host many family and social gatherings but she also cared for many.  In addition to caring for her younger sister Rachel, she also took in her niece, after her sister-in-law (widow of Margaret’s brother Luther John Davis) passed away unexpectedly.  When her niece, Irene married, the couple continued to live with the Updegraffs until they could afford a place of their own.

In 1923, Margaret’s husband, Henry Herman Updegraff passed away.  She moved to Youngstown, Ohio to live with her son John William and became the primary caregiver for her two grandsons Robert Lee (my grandfather) and John Leroy.  Margaret was a very important person in my grandfather’s life and according to my mother “she could do no wrong in his eyes.”

Margaret passed away on 26 September 1945 of heart failure.  She is buried with her husbad in Graceland Cemetery in New Castle, Pennsylvania.

1 The obituaries posted in the Youngstown Vindicator and New Castle News have conflicting birth dates: 23 January 1861 and 19 January 1861, respectively. Margaret’s death certificate lists the birth date as 19 January 1861.
2 Royer Howard was born in 1885 in Johnstown and the next child, John William, was born March 1889 in New Castle, indicating the family moved sometime between 1885 and March 1889.
3 To read more about the events and gatherings Margaret hosted with her daughter Alma, click here.

Click here for a list of sources used.

Sunday’s Obituary-David H. Davis

Johnstown Daily Tribune - Friday, June 18, 1886

If only all obituaries were this informative!  Here we have the complete birth date, location, marriage date, wife’s full name, immigration year, children’s names and locations, and memberships.

Finding out the specific area of origin from “across the pond” can be pretty difficult to come by.  Cardiganshire, as listed in the obituary, is one of the thirteen traditional counties of Wales.  In 1996, the county was reconstituted under its historical name of Ceredigion.

Welsh immigration into what is now known as Cambria County, Pennsylvania began in 1796.  Most of which were skilled industrial workers, such as miners.  The name Cambria is actually the latinized version of the word Cymru, meaning “land of Welsh.”  To this day, Pennsylvania has the largest population of people with Welsh ancestry.

For more information on David Davis’ wife Catherine Harris, click here.

(Relation: David H Davis → Margaret H Davis → John William Updegraff → Robert Lee Updegraff → Barbara Updegraff → Me)

Sunday’s Obituary-Walter Harris

I believe this is the oldest obituary I have of a direct ancestor, Walter Harris, my 4th great grandfather.  Walter was born 1769 in Wales.  He came to America at the age of 85 with his wife, Sarah, and settled in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.  He died 10 years later in 1864.  His obituary is particularly interesting:

The Cambria Tribune – 29 January 1864

Walter must have been very proud of his health, particularly his dental hygiene, for his relatives to relate this fact to the columnist.  Another great detail is that he reared a large family; I’ve only been able to locate records for 3 of Walter’s children, but that may just be a fraction of his total offspring.  After all, his daughter Catharine had 16 children.

(Relation: Walter Harris → Catharine Annie Harris → Margaret H Davis → John William Updegraff → Robert Lee Updegraff → Barbara Updegraff → Me)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27 other followers