Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mineral Ridge Miners

O is for Ohio-Mineral Ridge Miners from Celeste Friedman on Vimeo.

I understand that most of the images in this video are not from Mineral Ridge.  Even so, I think it gives a good feel for the work of coal miners.  Watching and listening, I feel sorry for the men, boys, and animals who spent so much of their lives underground without the benefit of daylight performing such labor-intensive work.

I do not have ancestors who mined coal in Mineral Ridge, but I have coal-mining ancestors in other parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Copperweld Steel, From Mite to Giant - Workday Wednesday

The Youngstown Vindicator published the following article on Sunday, February 14, 1943, page B-44.  This particular issue of The Vindicator was filled with articles about businesses in Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley and their production for the war effort.  Copperweld was mentioned in several other articles.
From Mite to Giant
Copperweld Steel's Expansion Puts It High Among Alloy Firms

(Special To the Vindicator)
50-ton furnace at Copperweld Steel
    Warren, Feb. 13.---Copperweld Steel Company's plant, still expanding, is a giant war producer.  It began as a comparative baby in October, 1939, and this summer will be producing a substantial proportion of the electric furnace steel made in America.
    Its products go into airplanes, ships and tanks with the United States Navy its principal receiver.
    A telegram from the Navy Department, read at a rally in the new cold draw building a few weeks ago, declared:  "The navy has given Copperweld a big job to do.  When your present expansion is completed you will be producing a substantial part of the electric furnace steel made in America.  The navy gives such assignments only to proven leaders.  The founder of your company, S. E. Bramer, is such a leader[.]"
    The telegram was signed by Clark H. Woodward, real [sic] admiral, chief of the incentive division of the U.S. Navy.
    Since Oct. 1, 1940, Copperweld's Warren plant has been in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Specializes in Specialties
    Copperweld's Warren plant makes virtually any kind of specialty steel.  Originally it was established for the dual purpose of supplying its Glassport, Pa., plant with the materials for the widely known Copperweld wire, rods and related products and other customers with high-grade alloy steels.
    The Glassport plant took billets of special steel, coated them with copper and molten-welded the two into a perfect bond.  The billets were than rolled into bars and rods.  From rods of about a half-inch thick, wire of all sizes down to as fine as a human hair was drawn.  In all sizes the same percentage of copper sheathing was maintained.  The advantages of the tensile strength of the steel with the electrical conductivity and corrosion-resistant properties of the copper made the product in high demand for the electric power and light industry.
Long Experience
    War brought new and tremendous demand for high-grade specialty steels.  President Bramer and his associates had 25 years experience in steel making and knew production design and methods to greatly expand efficient manufacture of specialty steels.  High ranking U. S. Navy officials frankly say they are glad this nation had Copperweld Steel's personnel.
    Electric furnace steel manufacture is a highly specialized process.
    The furnaces takes [sic] a charge of scrap iron with various combinations of iron, chromium, nickel, tungsten, spiegeleisen (bright iron), vanadium, silicon and other elements, reduces the mix to a molten mass at terrific temperature and in three or four hours disgorge alloy steel in ladles and thence to molds.
Finishing capacity Rises
    In Copperweld's plant there are 35-ton furnaces, 50-ton furnaces and a few as small as six-ton capacity to produce limited quantities of specialty steel.  Furnaces must be small enough to permit good control of the mixes and speedy enough to be efficient producers.
    The complete process of Copperweld's planned plant was casting ingots from the various proportional mixes, re-heating and then rolling the billets into bars or rods of the various sizes demanded by customers.
    Now, however, Copperweld not only makes thousands of tons more steel than originally planned, but has vastly increased finishing capacity.  There are 12, 18, 24, and 29-inch mills, a new 21-inch nearly completed and enlargements of all others.  There are greatly expanded finishing and fabricating units including large heat treating and cold drawing capacities.
    Men---and women also, nowadays---at Copperweld realize the importance of their jobs in the war effort.  Men of Copperweld last fall tore down and erected in 12 days the 29-inch mill.  It was a miracle of modern industry, but typical of Copperweld production.

Had my father, Lee Doyle, not worked at Copperweld I would probably have read this article with passing interest, but knowing he was working there during the war it helped me gain an appreciation for Copperweld's contribution to the war effort and for the work Dad performed there.  

Previous posts about Copperweld:
Copperweld Steel Mill - Workday Wednesday
Copperweld, Dad, and the War Years - Workday Wednesday


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Alfonzo Gerner - Tombstone Tuesday

Alfonzo / Alphonzo Gerner

Alphonzo Gerner
Husband of
Elva W. Covert
1874  ---  1952

Alfonzo is buried in Bear Creek Cemetery, Butler County, Pennsylvania.

Alfonzo has, perhaps, more given name variations than most people have surname variations.  They include Alfonzo, Alphonzo, Alphonso, Fon, Fawn, and possibly more I haven't remembered.

Thanks to Zachary Pyle for the photograph.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Goldens, and Less - Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (on Sunday)

Randy Seaver of Saturday Night Genealogy Fun at Genea-Musings suggested we find which of our ancestors celebrated golden wedding anniversaries.  My memory told me that there were at least four couples among my ancestors, but a search through only four generations revealed seven.

The Seven Goldens (thus far discovered)

William Carl Robert Meinzen and Emma Virginia Bickerstaff were married 58 years, 4 months, and 30 days.  They married on September 8, 1914.  The marriage ended when she died on February 7, 1973.  They celebrated their golden anniversary in 1964, and were honored with a newspaper article.

Henry Carl Meinzen and Elizabeth Armitage were married 50 years, 2 months, 2 days.   They were married on April 24, 1870, and she died on June 26, 1920.  They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1920.

John Thomas Thompson and Lydia Bell were married 50 years, 5 months, 9 days.  They were married on September 23, 1872.  He died on March 4, 1923.  They celebrated their golden anniversary in 1922.  (From all information I can find, this marriage may have terminated years earlier -- let's just say it didn't appear to be wedded bliss -- but there was no divorce.)

William Bickerstaff and Susanna Holmes were married 63 years, 18 days.  They were married on March 4, 1830.  They celebrated their golden anniversary in 1880. 

Frederick K. Gerner and Elvira Bartley were married 53 years, 8 months, 2 days.  They were married on July 24, 1872.  They celebrated their golden anniversary in 1922. 

William Doyle and Tressa Rose Froman were married 51 years, 10 days.  They were married on March 17, 1885.  They celebrated their golden anniversary in 1936. 

Dixon Bartley and Rebecca Smith were married 61 years, 5 months, 13 days.  They married on July 16, 1836 or 1838.  (Calculation is based on 1838.)  They celebrated their golden anniversary in 1888 and were honored with a grand fete which was reported in the newspaper.  Their marriage ended at her death in 1899. 

The Almost Goldens

Lee Doyle and Audrey Victoria Meinzen were married 48 years, 8 months, 4 days.  They married on September 15, 1938, and ended at Lee's death in 1987. 

Edward Jesse Bickerstaff and Mary Thompson were married 49 years, 5 months, 22 days.  They were married on March 15, 1891.  Their marriage ended at her death after

Andrew Doyle and Elizabeth Jane Laws were married 48 years, 9 months, 19 days.  They married on November 11, 1861.  Their marriage ended at his death.

The Briefest Marriages
These ended when a spouse died a premature death due to illness or accident.

Gust Doyle and Beulah Mae Gerner married 1 year, 3 months, 14 days.  They married on December 19, 1911.  The marriage ended at her death.

John Froman and Catherine Saylor were married about 10 years.  They married in about 1861.  The married ended at his death in 1871.

Abel Armitage and Eliza Hartley were married less than 12 years.  They married on 13 January 1847.  She died between 1852 and 1859.

Ellis Bickerstaff and Emma Nelson were married 16 years, 8 months.  They were married on September 1, 1861.  The marriage ended when she died on May 1, 1878.

This has been an interesting post to write, considering that I believe marriages can continue into eternity.  When I write of the number of years of marriage, I'm writing about mortal, temporal years.

Thanks for the fun, Randy.


Copyright © 2009-2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Alfonzo Gerner's Wife # 1:  Death or Divorce?

After finding a marriage certificate for Alfonzo Gerner and Hattie Slagle with a marriage date of December 17, 1896, and knowing that at the time of his death in January, 1952, Alfonzo was a recent widower of Nona Covert, I wanted to investigate further to see what I could find.  I wanted to know if Alfonzo remarried because Hattie had died or because there was a divorce.

I guessed she might have died but no searches for Hattie Gerner revealed a person of that name -- at least not in online records.  Newspaper searches at MyHeritage, Google Newspapers, and Chronicling America did not help me find Hattie Gerner, either. 

Alfonzo and Hattie did not appear together in the 1900 U.S. census.  Alfonzo was living at home with this parents, Fred and Elvira (Bartley) Gerner.  But where was Hattie?  On their marriage certificate Hattie identified herself as Hattie Slagle, 22 years old (therefore born before December 16, 1874), and she named her parents as Frank and Jennie. 

With those few bits of information I searched the 1900 U.S. Census for Hattie Slagle.  In the index I found "Hattie M. Slagle" living with parents Benjamin and Jennie.  Alfonzo's Hattie had no middle initial and her father's name was Frank.

When I went to the census image, I saw "Hattie B. Slagle."  She was born September, 1874.  And there, the last individual in the family, was Ross Gerner (indexed as Gemes), grandson to head of household, born February, 1897.  Hattie's marriage information is blank (whereas the marriage information for all others in the family is identified). 

There are two other females of marriageable age in the family, Nellie, age 23, and Jessie, age 17, but both are identified as single.

I believe this is Alfonzo's Hattie even though her father's name is Benjamin in the census and Frank on the marriage record.  Other information aligns with the marriage record, and there is the grandson.  Alfonzo's obituary names Ross Gerner as his son.  A search for Ross turned up nothing helpful.

Further searches for Hattie led me to  the following:
  • A brief note was published in the Titusville Herald of Tuesday, August 20, 1935, that read, "Miss Hattie Slagle, of Bruin, is caring for Mrs. Nancy Bunting who has been ill for some time...."  Titusville is about 50 miles from Bruin.
  • A death certificate for Hattie B. Slagle shows that she was born on September 6, 1874; that her parents' names are Frank Slagle and Jennie Fredrick; and that she was divorced.  Hattie died on November 18, 1952.

  • I've been unable to find an obituary for Hattie but Find A Grave shows that Hattie Slagle was buried in Allegheny Church Cemetery in Butler County, Pennsylvania.  (You can click to enlarge the image.)

I am certain Hattie and Alfonzo divorced but I'll probably never know why.  One wonders because they married in December, 1896, and Ross was born just two months later in February 1897.  It's possible Hattie or Alfonzo felt the need for a speedy marriage, or perhaps either or both of their parents felt the need and added some pressure to push the couple into marriage.  That's never the best way to begin a marriage.

I thought of searching for a divorce record but because Alfonzo is not a direct-line ancestor I probably won't.


Copyright © 2009-2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Copperweld, Dad, and the War Years - Workday Wednesday

In 1939 and 1940 my father, Lee Doyle, worked at the Niles Rolling Mill but sometime after June, 1940, he began work at Copperweld Steel Company in Warren, Ohio.  The parent Copperweld Steel Company was in Pennsylvania but this mill in Warren was new.  It had just opened in 1939.  As I understand it, a friend recommended my father for a job there.

I believe the badge, right, is the one created for my father when he first began work at Copperweld.  It is the only badge he used during his 34 years of employment there.  (Those who know my father will recognize his (contained) expression of satisfaction.)

By October, 1940, Copperweld had increased production to 24-hour days, seven days per week.  It had been a successful first year.  The Pittsburgh Press's October 31, 1940, article "Copperweld Steel Co. Building New Furnaces," reported,
Copperweld Steel Co., today declared a dividend of 20 cents on its common stock and the regular quarterly dividend of 61½ cents on its cumulative convertible preferred 5 per cent series.  Both dividends are payable Dec. 10 to stockholders of record Dec. 1.
     President S. E. Bramer announced that construction is well under way on one 25-ton and one 10-ton top charging electric furnaces at the Warren, O., alloys steel plant.
     The company recently added two additional heat-treating furnaces, bringing the total heat-treating capacity of the company to 12,000 tons a month; and two additional annealing furnaces which increased the annealing capacity of the company to 3000 tons a month.

In the years before the United States' involvement in World War II, Americans had an isolationist view.  But there must have been some Americans who imagined that the war in Europe would expand to involve the United States.  When France fell to Germany in June, 1940, Americans began to worry that Great Britain wasn't strong enough to defeat Germany without help.  Citizens and leaders, both political and business, must have sensed the changes that would come to an America at war.  As hard as the war made life for many, the production of steel mills -- including Copperweld -- increased and the mills thrived.

With the possibility of the nation's involvement in the war, a draft was initiated.  The National World War II Museum website informs that the United States required all men between the ages of 21 and 45 to register for the draft beginning on September 16, 1940.  Having been born in February, 1913, my father was 27 years old and would have been in one of the first groups to register.  However, because he worked in a steel mill involved in war production he would have been classified as either II-A or II-B and was exempt from military service.  I've been unable to find a World War II Draft Registration Card for my father because the only images currently available online (to my knowledge) are for the fourth registration, for men over the age of 45.  It's a high calling to serve one's country in the Armed Forces and I'm grateful to those who do.  I'm also grateful that my father served at home.

Copperweld Steel's high-grade alloy steel was essential for the war effort and the company had government contracts.  The Youngstown Vindicator reported on Jun 9, 1942,
The big steel producers here [in Youngstown] are turning virtually 100 percent of their output to the war effort.  So is the rapidly-expanding Copperweld Steel Co. of Warren which is becoming one of the nation's largest high-quality steel producers, although its Warren plant was built only a few years ago. . . .  Most of the larger fabricating concerns are entirely or in part on war work already. . . .

Copperweld Steel Company may have done well even without the war but there is no doubt in my mind that World War II helped the company grow.  The war years were good to Copperweld.

You can read the previous post about Copperweld Steel and my father's association with the company here.


Copyright © 2009-2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bartley Family Reunion This Saturday, August 19 (in 1939)

From The Pittsburgh Press on Tuesday, August 15, 1939.

The distance between Bruin and Pittsburgh is about 60 miles.  Without modern highways or the speed of our current cars and speed limits, the drive could have taken the better part of 2 hours in 1939.  It was a surprise to find the announcement in a Pittsburgh newspaper but a large city newspaper would have had a wider circulation than any of the local Butler County papers.

The reunion date was Saturday, August 19, just four days after the publication of the announcement.  For people learning about the event for the first time in the newspaper, the announcement didn't give much time to plan ahead.   Since it was announced as an "annual" reunion it's possible that it was held every year on the third Thursday in August, in which case attendees would have already known the date.

Sometimes write-ups about reunions are published in local newspapers after the event.  They may give details about who attended, the food on the menu, and the activities of the day.  I wasn't able to find a newspaper account of this or any other Bartley reunion.

The location of the reunion was Dixon Bartley's farm near
Bruin, shown below in 1909.

My known ancestors who could have attended were
> Lee Doyle, my father, and his soon-to-be wife, Audrey Meinzen
> Elvira (Bartley) Gerner, daughter of Dixon

Dixon's grandchildren / Elvira's children who could have attended were
> Alfonzo Gerner
> Alonzo Gerner
> Lana Gerner Snair
> Della Gerner Fletcher
> Alma Gerner Kitch
> John Gerner
> Leota Gerner Holland
> Mabel Gerner Bannon
> Warren Gerner
> Brendice Gerner Davis
> Paul Gerner

Of course, the Bartley reunion would have included all of Dixon's children and grand- and great-grandchildren and could have included descendants of Dixon's siblings, too, since it was announced as a "Bartley family reunion."

This photo of Elvira and her sisters may have been taken at the reunion in 1939.  If other photos were taken they have not fallen my way but have either been dispersed among other family descendants or may have been discarded.

I wish I could step back in time.


Copyright © 2009-2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Alfonzo Gerner - Sunday's Obituary

This obituary and funeral notice were published on January 30, 1952, in the Butler Eagle, page 13.  Alfonzo is the second child of Fred and Elvira (Bartley) Gerner.

         Alfonzo F. Gerner
   Alfonzo F. Gerner, 77, died at
noon yesterday in his home at
Bruin, of a heart attack.
   Mr. Gerner was a son of the
late Fred and Elvira Bartley
Gerner, and  had spent most of
his life in Bruin.  He was the
husband of the late Mona Covert
Gerner.  He was born in West
Virginia, July 25, 1874.
   Surviving are a son, Ross, of
Bruin; five sisters, Mrs. Mabel
Bannon and Mrs. Leota Holland
of Oakland, Calif., Mrs. Della
Fletcher of Massillon, O., Mrs.
Brenda Davis of Louisville, O., and
Mrs. Alma Kitch of Bruin; three
borthers [sic], Warren Gerner of Cali-
fornia, John Gerner of Middle-
town, O., and Paul Gerner of
   Mrs. Gerner was a member of
the Methodist Church of Petrolia.

The funeral notice:
GERNER---Friends of Alfonzo F. Gerner
   of Bruin, who died Tuesday, Jan. 29,
   1952, will be received at the Hepler
   Funeral Home, Petrolia...  Funeral
   services will be held at 2 p.m. Fri-
   day, from the funeral home, with the
   Rev. C. C. Headland, pastor of the
   Methodist Church of Petrolia, offi-
   ciating, assisted by the Rev. Frank-
   lin Kreps, pastor of the Bruin Free
   Methodist Church.  Burial will be in
   the Bear Creek Cemetery.  Arrange-
   ments by Hepler Funeral Home,
In the obituary Alfonzo's wife's name is noted as Mona but research causes me to conclude that it was actually Nona.  As far as I know now, all other information is correct.


Copyright © 2009-2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.
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