Posts Tagged ‘New Castle News’

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 – Loretta Zillifro-Hutchinson

New Castle News, August 3, 1948 Front Page

New Castle News, August 3, 1948 Page 2

On 23 July 1948, Roscoe Campbell Hutchinson was electrocuted while on the job at the National Tube company.   He was 51 years old, leaving a wife, four children, two brothers, two sisters, and his mother Loretta Hutchinson.

A week after Roscoe’s unexpected death, Loretta Hutchinson stepped around a large commercial grass mower and was hit by a car driving 45 mph.  She died instantly. It’s believed that Loretta was crying about the recent death of her son, that she never saw the car coming. Loretta’s sister, Ethel Gold, who witnessed the tragic event, developed many health problems as a result from the shock.

Loretta is buried with her sons Roscoe and Victor at the Locust Grove Cemetery in Ellwood City, PA.

(Relation: Loretta Alice Zillifro → Cametta Marie Hutchinson → Robert Lee Updegraff → Barbara Updegraff → Me)

An Unusually Attractive and Popular Girl

On occasion, while researching my family history, I’ve come across a person, photo, or event that touched me personally.  Often it was completely unexpected, and mostly about ancestors that I wasn’t even that closely related to.  One such instance occurred while reading about my great grand aunt Alma Catherine Updegraff.  Thanks to the New Castle News archives at the New Castle library, we can piece together some fantastic details of Alma’s life.  She is mentioned nearly 50 times in the Society Section during the time of her childhood and adult life.

Alma Catherine Updegraff

Childhood
5 February 1895:  Alma Catherine Updegraff was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania to Henry Herman Updegraff and Margaret H Davis.  She was much younger than her three older brothers: Clarence David, Royer Howard, and John “Jay” William. (1900 Census)

2 June 1900:  Five year old Alma was living with her parents, three older brothers, and Aunt Rachel Davis (her mother’s youngest sister) near 257 West Washington Street, New Castle, Pennsylvania. (1900 Census)

Adolescence 
20 March 1908:  A large meeting was held by The Protected Home Circle and the Ladies League, with a great number of members being present.  For entertainment, Alma performed a duet, “Star of the East” with Charles Isaacs.

7 February 1911: So that Alma’s 16th birthday would not go unnoticed, her friends at the L.B.G. Club planned a surprise party.  Alma’s mother furnished the music and entertainment and decorated the house with red and white ribbons, flowers, and hearts.

29 November 1911: Alma and her brother Jay spent Thanksgiving with their Aunt Susannah Davis-Schultz (mother’s sister) in Alliance, Ohio.

31 Jan 1912:  While visiting their home at 135 North Beaver Street, New Castle, Alma’s Aunt Annie Hughes-Davis died of dropsy.  Annie Hughes-Davis was the wife of Alma’s mother’s younger brother Luther John Davis.

11 March 1912: Alma and her brother Jay visit for a couple of days to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, possibly to see their Aunt Rachel Davis.

17 January 1913: Just before her 18th birthday, Alma was appointed Pianist at the Protected Home Circle, New Castle Circle No. 5 (a fraternal insurance organization).

Adulthood
11 July 1913:  On this day she participated in a motor party to Youngstown with some friends, her brother Jay, and future fiancé Leon Claire Taggart.

15 August 1913:  In honor of a friend visiting from New York, Alma hosted a 6 o’clock dinner at her Front Street home.

30 October 1913: Alma participated in a “progressive party” in which party attendees change houses for each course.  Alma’s house was the last stop and was co-hosted by her cousin Irene Davis (Uncle Luther John Davis’ daughter).

28 July 1915:  Alma attended a “Supper at Park” in honor of her sister-in-law’s cousin visiting from Pittsburgh.  Those in attendance included her brother Clarence David and sister-in-law Minnie Colgan, brother Jay, and future fiancé Leon Clare Taggart.

31 August 1915: Alma hosted a “Corn Roast” with four of her friends.  The event was decorated with japanese lanterns and Alma’s mother served the refreshments.  Music and dancing occurred later in the evening.

Engagement
16 February 1918:  Alma was described in her engagement announcement as “unusually attractive and popular.”  The engagement party was held at the home of Alma’s parents and was hosted by her mother, sister-in-law Minnie Colgan, and Aunt Rachel Davis-Fischer.  A basket of red tulips decorated with red, white, and blue ribbon hung from the chandelier.  The favors to guests included miniature ships filled with red and white candy and the message “will sail in the spring.”

Marriage
13 January 1920: Renting at 179 Cleveland Street, Youngstown, Ohio with husband Leon Clare Taggart. (1920 Census)

16 April 1920:  The J.B.G. Girls held a farewell dinner at the Leslie House in honor of Alma who was moving to Akron, Ohio.

5 July 1921: Alma and Leon visit with her parents in Youngstown because of the serious sickness of Irene Davis-Shaffer -Alma’s 1st cousin.

17 February 1925: Mr. and Mrs. Leon Clare Taggart celebrate the birth of their son, Leon Russell Taggart.  (Family called him Russell, my Uncle Rusty Updegraff was actually named after him!)

7 April 1930:  Living at 35 Erskine Avenue, Youngstown, Ohio with husband and five year old son. (1930 Census)

Tragedy
20 November 1930: Funeral services for Alma Updegraff-Taggart occurred at the family residence 35 Erskine Avenue.  The house was filled with beautiful flowers and many friends in mourning.

I was absolutely shocked when I read the last article.  Happiness seemed to surround Alma and it was so enjoyable reading each article.  The last thing I was expecting to read was her obituary.

Alma died during childbirth at the age of 35.

Unless otherwise noted, all events have been gathered from the New Castle News archives.

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