Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Book of Me - My Grandparents

I had just two grandparents.  They were (and still are!) William Carl Robert "Bob" and Emma Virginia (Bickerstaff) Meinzen.  How I wish I knew about their younger years, how they met, how they ended up in Mineral Ridge instead of the Steubenville, Ohio, area.  Not a word of their younger years was passed on to me.  Not one word.  What I know I've put together because of my family history research.

They both grew up in the Steubenville area, my grandmother in Mingo Junction, my grandfather in and around Steubenville.  Gramma was the oldest daughter and second child of Edward Jesse and Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff.  Research tells me that her parents and grandparents had been in Ohio for several generations.  Grampa was the 11th of 14 known children.  Both of his parents immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1860s.  His father was German, his mother from England.  I don't know how they met though I know that both of their fathers were (or had been) carpenters.
Gramma's family moved to the Ridge in about 1911 or 1912.  Grampa's family stayed in Steubenville.  Gramma and Grampa were married in Mineral Ridge.  Perhaps it was true love that caused Grampa to move away from family to marry Gramma.

I knew my grandparents well because they lived just two doors down the street from us.  I was a regular visitor in their home and loved my grandmother dearly.  Grampa was a barber with his own shop.  I remember him being at home only in the evenings and on Sundays.  He used to keep the shop open till after the supper hour.  Gramma made dinner and one or two of the older grandchildren walked Grampa's supper up to him at his barber shop.  He retired just before I was old enough to have my turn.

I said I had only two grandparents but, of course, it's not true.  I thought so because I knew only my maternal grandparents.  I was at least 10 or 11 when I was surprised to learn that other children had two sets of grandparents.  I asked my mom or my grandmother about the situation and learned that my father's parents were dead.  In recent years I've learned only a little more.

Dad's parents were Gust and Beulah Mae (Gerner) Doyle.  They lived on a farm outside Stoneboro, Pennsylvania.  Beulah died a few weeks after giving birth to my father and he grew up a half-orphan with an unkind stepmother.  Gust died of colon cancer (or possibly an infection as a result of a colonoscopy) when my father was 21.  Dad moved away from the farm and, as far as I know, never returned.  He visited his grandparents in Stoneboro and two of his step-siblings after they were older and married but he never went to the farm. Dad was silent about his father, his childhood and youth, and life on the farm.

Gust was the son of William and Tressa Rose (Froman) Doyle.  He was a kind-hearted farmer and coal miner who did what he could to protect my dad from his stepmother.  Beulah was the daughter of Frederick and Elvira (Bartley) Gerner.  Her father was a farmer.  She grew up in Butler County and, as an older teen or young adult, lived in Mercer County when her family moved there.  I suspect that Gust and Beulah met while she was living in Mercer County.

I've written many posts about all of these grandparents.  If you'd like to know more about any of them, type one of their names into the search box on the left sidebar which is located just about "About Me."

This is another post in The Book of Me series, created by Julie Goucher of Anglers Rest.


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