Monday, September 27, 2010

Those Pesky Pronouns in the County History

The way the pronouns are used in the biographical entry for Peter Saylor in A Twentieth Century History of Mercer County, Pennsylvania leaves me wondering who did what. You can see what I mean in the first paragraph of the biography, transcribed below.
PETER SAYLOR, a farmer who tills the fertile soil in West Salem township, Mercer County, was born June 5, 1859, in the township named. He is the son of Jacob Saylor, Sr., born in Baron, Germany, in 1812. He came to this country at the age of forty, with his parents, the grandfather being Daniel Saylor, who settled in old West Salem township. Both were coal miners in Germany and the grandfather was also a shoemaker. He died in 1845. Jacob Saylor, who was the father of Peter of this notice, upon his arrival here went to mining at the old coal mines known as the Joy & Rankin mines, where he remained for six years. He then leased and operated a mine on Coal Hill in 1860. This he sold to Andrew Bennett in 1862 and purchased the farm on which he lived the remainder of his life, dying about 1870. He was first married in Germany to Elizabeth Shaefer, daughter of J. Shaefer, who was a coal miner in Germany. By this marriage twelve children were born, five of whom are now living, and seven are deceased. Among them were Jacob, deceased; Fred, employed in the Bessemer Mills, at Sharon, Pennsylvania; Elizabeth, deceased; Catherine, widow of John Frohman, of West Salem township; Theresa, wife of Adam Lininger, of Greenville.
This is what I think I understand from the above paragraph, beginning with the oldest generation mentioned to the youngest:

about Daniel Saylor:
--grandfather to Peter, father to Jacob
--born in Germany
--was a coal miner and shoemaker in Germany
--died in 1845

about Jacob Saylor:
--father to Peter, son of Daniel
--born in Baron, Germany, in 1812
--came to America with his parents (Daniel + who?) when he was 40 (thus, in 1852)
--settled in West Salem Township
--was a coal miner in Germany
--mined at the old coal mines known as Joy & Rankin mines for 6 years
--leased and operated a mine on Coal Hill in 1860, then sold it to Andrew Bennett in 1862
--purchased a farm and lived there until 1870, when he died
--first wife was Elizabeth Shaefer whom he married in Germany

about Elizabeth Shaefer:
--Jacob Saylor's first wife
--daughter of J. Shaefer who was a coal miner in Germany

about Jacob and Elizabeth Shaefer Saylor
--had 12 children, 5 living, including
--Jacob, deceased
--Fred, employed at Bessemer Mills, Sharon, Penna.
--Elizabeth, deceased
--Catherine, widow of John Frohman, of West Salem Twp.
--Theresa, wife of Adam Lininger of Greenville

about Peter Saylor:
--son of Jacob, grandson of Daniel
--farmer in West Salem Township, Mercer County, Penna.
--born June 5, 1859 in West Salem Township

Subsequent paragraphs in the biography give additional information about both Jacob and Peter Saylor. It names Jacob's second wife (Mary Frohman, daughter of J. Frohman, weaver, of Sheakleyville and their 6 children), and Peter's wife and children.

Family records tell me that my g-g-grandparents are John and Catherine (Saylor) Froman. I believe that "Catherine, widow of John Frohman, of West Salem Twp." in this entry is my g-g-grandmother and her husband. If so, then this county history supplies more information than I had before I read it and offers additional names and dates for further searching.

It's those pesky pronouns that cause me to wonder if my interpretation is accurate.


  1. Aak - I've had this experience. Recently, as a matter of fact. So frustrating!

  2. I suppose the only solution is to take what's written as hints and research to "prove"/"disprove." Good luck with your county history.


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