Hilda at a Hundred

 

Last Saturday, Hilda Farabaugh Buck celebrated her 100th birthday. She has a special place in the family history, because she is the last living grandchild of a Farabaugh immigrant, and the last to have lived at the first settlement. Her mind is quite sharp and with the help of her son Dave over the course of a few interviews we have been able to get a sense of what life was like there, from the time immigrants Augustine and Mary Farabaugh established the home in 1840, to when Hilda left it in 1935.

Augustin Fehrenbacher (1800-1874) and Maria Anna Kienz (1805-1866).
—Erhard Fehrenbacher (1829-1892) and Annie Eckenrode (1835-1906)
——Edward Giles Farabaugh (1879-1969) and Mary Rosalia Baker (1884-1959)
———Hilda Lucy Farabaugh (1917) and Cyrus Robert Buck (1916-2000)
————Mary Suzanne Buck (1944)
————David Cyrus Buck (1948)
————Robert Edward Buck (1952)
————Mary Kathleen Buck (1955)
————Daniel Gerard Buck (1959)

Hilda’s parents, Mary and Ed Farabaugh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This photo of the ancestral home was taken in 1988, more than 20 years after it was last occupied. Hilda confirms that it resembles her childhood home, which by the time of this photo had fallen into its ramshackle, but still sturdy, state. It looks stark and foreboding. But as explained below, Hilda has clear memories of it in fact being quite a lively and joyful home, filled with children and headed by their hard-working and dedicated parents. It was located near Bradley Junction in Allegheny Township, Cambria Co., Pa. From the old “Brick Road” below, the farmland is accessed by an unmarked lane (now known as Beck Road) that opens to the left to another lane that leads directly to the site of the original homestead and pond. The land is spectacular, especially in the Fall. The tract at one time grew to 200 acres, and alternates from dense woods to squarely defined clearings that are now matted green grasses in the Spring and dry yellow in the Summer. If you were to visit it today, you can witness much of what Hilda and the immigrants experienced: green forests, the gently sloping fields set against powder blue skies, bird songs and the sound of winds through trees uninterrupted by humanity. The iconic images of the settlers Augustine and Mary come to mind when one stands in the middle of this sprawling property, and the imagination puts them in motion. This is the land that was painstakingly cleared of timber and then laboriously farmed for over a hundred years. It is the ancestral home to over 8,000 Farabaugh descendants today.

Hilda was born here on July 22, 1917, as the 7th of 11 children to Ed and Mary (Baker) Farabaugh. In the cross-sectioned image, the worker in red is sitting in the window frame for the first floor parlor. That room was reserved for house guests. It had a black leather couch, a family photo album now lost to time, plants, ferns by the window, and a place for the Christmas tree.

The most remarkable feature in this image is the above ground stone foundation. In 1840 it was laid by the settler Augustine, who was an accomplished stone mason by trade. It is made of individual rocks that were hand-chiseled to fit together, without the benefit of mortar. Hilda recalls that the foundation served as a multi-use cellar. A furnace to heat the home was installed there in the later years, and the large white stack next to the worker in red likely distributed the heat from it. The wood plank structure also likely dates to the 1840 construction, as even at that early date the area had planing mills that operated for the purpose of erecting such homes and their barns. On the right, and barely visible, is a bright white, circular grist mill stone, laying horizontal at the base of the home. It marks the front of the house and used to serve as a step to the front porch leading to the front door. The porch, and a two story addition that once was adjacent to it, were previously demolished and are missing from the photo. The millstone is still at the property. It is now set vertically in the ground as a sort of monument, in view of the approach from the lane.

The dining room was off to the right of the front door entry, and doubled as the family room. The large oak table there  had at least 8 chairs and there was a big couch and a side board for dishes. Hilda recalls a beautiful, large pale green lamp with painted roses. The children did homework on the table at night. Hilda recalls ghost stories being told there. All of the courting took place in this room. “My sister Thelma was popular,” deadpans Hilda.

Further in on the first floor was the kitchen. Hilda says it was by far the busiest area of the home. It had a black, wood-primed coal stove with a silver top. It was the home’s heating source until the furnace was put in. Opposite the stove was the kitchen sink. Water was supplied to it by a gravity-fed pipe that led from the uphill well and cistern. There was a narrow area for a pantry, and a washtub for baths. Clothes were also washed there in the tub until they acquired a gas-powered washing machine that was placed on the porch. An ice box was added in later years when they acquired electricity (and party line telephone). Before that, cracked ice from Chest Creek was kept in sawdust in the ice house down the hill. Hilda has a favorite memory of her industrious mother making cakes in that kitchen. All food preparation came from the various crops they raised, and there was steady activity in and out of the kitchen door, which in the cross-section photo would be on the opposite side of the house. The two cows were milked in the mornings, and the milk separated to churn for butter and buttermilk; eggs were collected from the hens; the central crop of potatoes was fried or mashed for consumption; they made bread from the flour and sugar father Ed would barter locally; the vegetable garden provided peas and carrots; and there was a pear tree off the front porch with cherry trees nearby. They would purchase barrels of peaches. Most farming was done by plow with two horses. They planted winter wheat, as a cover crop to maintain good topsoil. Food was frequently canned for the WInter. In the kitchen, father Ed would lead the rosary every night – with the family on its knees and leaning against the chairs. Hilda recalls that he sometimes was so exhausted from the day’s work, he would nod off during his own recitation.

From the front door entry, a stairway used to lead down to the cellar, but this was then configured to go up to the second story. At the top of those stairs was a landing where the wardrobe was kept, which Hilda found frightening as a child. The second story hall accessed two bedroom and then doubled back to two more, ending and the foot of the attic stairs, where there was a table with a globe light and a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

 

Hilda vividly recalls radio programs, and FDR saying “Friends, you are all my friends,” in his popular fireside chats. Mother Mary was very creative with fabric, and she made by hand most of the curtains, furniture slip covers and clothes for the children. They never went to the doctor, except for vaccinations. Nearby Bradley Junction had the local post office, but because they were miles removed from the towns, they never had indoor plumbing or septic. There were outhouses at a distance down the hill and Father Ed usually emptied all of the chamberpots. Hilda never minded the outhouses, “because Mrs. Eisenhower had one.” For music, there was a Victrola that played the old 78s. Hilda recalls seeing Guy Lombardo at the Sunset Ballroom, where she and sister Celeste would learn dance steps, feet on feet. Although the Bishop Schoolhouse was available for the children’s education just up the hill from the farm, they instead took a bus to the Catholic School next to Michael’s Church in Loretto. The family also attended Mass there on Sundays, driving in with the Model A. Nights were generally quiet, and Hilda recalls falling asleep to the cows mooing in the barn, shown here.

While the Summers were full of fun and full of life, Hilda recalls that the Winters were quite harsh, especially the infamous area Winter of 1936, which produced such a melting run off in Spring that it contributed to one of the Johnstown floods that year. With the farming operation on hold, Ed would take Winter employment at the railroad. Hilda recalls that although they lived life to the fullest on the farm, it was hard work – they had a fair share of both good and bad times.

Hilda left the home at the age of 18 and worked various local jobs. She lived for a time at the home of Bede and Naomi Farabaugh Bender in Carrolltown. She met Cy Buck, a native of nearby Cresson, and they married at St. Michael’s Church in Loretto, in 1943. Cy worked for Seagram’s Company and they settled in Lawrenceburg, Ind. He passed away in 2000 and Hilda remains active despite her advanced age. Hilda recognizes that her childhood was from a vastly different, bygone era of subsistence farming, marked by often harsh Pennsylvania winters. Hilda’s comment: “We were cold but didn’t know it.”

The property was sold to “Easy Ed” Smithbower in the 1950s or 60s. In 1988, it was acquired by the O’Brien family that moved into the area and ambitiously built a magnificent home with side residence. Aware and interested in the history of the property, son Ed O’Brien had all of the pictures shown here taken at the time of demolition. Ed confirms, with admiration, the intricate pattern of Augustine’s old stone foundation, which he utilized for his own construction. He also used the original bull-strong floor joists shown below, which can be seen as overhead support at his property today.

Ed O’Brien, 1988

Removal of the wood beams for the new home

 

 

 

 

 

Hilda maintains the charm of her era, and speaks in a very clear and humble manner. At her 100th, a video captured her personal recounting of all of the world changes she witnessed, from telephones and automobiles to a man on the moon to smart phones. It certainly seems that her generation has witnessed the greatest rate of change, and she serves as a living link from rural America’s agrarian society to our modern age of technology. Given her amazing lucidity, it would not be surprising to see her surpass the family record for longevity, which currently stands at 104.

(For those interested in more of the old Farabaugh farm history, see the prior essays, Finally a Visit To the Homestead and The Second “Kirsch” Farm.)

Our Thirteen Wartime Casualties

 

For a school social studies assignment a few years ago, my daughter Sophie had to call my Mom in Cambria County and ask about her favorite childhood memory. Without hesitation, Mom told her it was the Memorial Day parade in Carrolltown, Pa. Our family albums have several pictures of those parades, as we waved miniature flags in our little boy sailor suits. Carrolltown is unquestionably the Farabaugh ancestral home in the U.S., and the entire town turned out for those parades.

We have scores of relatives who served our country all over the world. Because Memorial Day is set aside to honor the fallen, I collected those in the Farabaugh bloodline who lost their lives during wartime. There are just thirteen, but if I’ve omitted someone please let me know. There is a separate tribute to Col. Herbert Brennan, who married into the bloodline here.

1. Bernhard Farabaugh

Bernhard Farabaugh Tombstone

The Civil War service of Bernhard Fehrenbacher / Farabaugh (1835-1862) was very hard to understand because of a lot of misinformation in the Samuel Bates’ History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers and some confusing census records. It all cleared up when I pulled the file at the National Archives. Bernhard, sometimes known as Bernard or Barnard, was a Private in Company A of the 40th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, 11th Regiment Pennsylvania Reserves. He was mustered in for a three year term on June 25, 1861. The regiment was furnished and drilled at Camp Wright in Pittsburgh, and then marched to Harrisburg, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. It was assigned to General Meade’s 2nd Brigade of the Reserve Corps., and numbered 900 strong. It was ordered north to Great Falls, Md., in September of 1861, when the soldiers first saw action in a skirmish near the Potomac. The 2nd Brigade was held in reserve during the Union’s victory at the Battle of Dranesville, in December of that year. On March 10, 1862, the regiment advanced to Georgetown and Leesburg pike, and then camped in the rain at Hunter’s Mills. They then proceeded to Alexandria under a cold rain in what was the most difficult march the regiment was to encounter. They camped at Fairfax Seminary where many fell ill, and Major Litzinger’s health forced his resignation from service on April 1. It was here that Bernhard died in the Alexandria Hospital of typhoid fever on April 6, 1862.  The condition is a bacterial infection caused by poor separation of food and drinking water from human waste. Over 27,000 Union soldiers died of typhoid fever.

2. Walter Dominic Farabaugh

Walter D. Farabaugh (1893-1918)

Walter D. Farabaugh (1893-1918)

The remains of Walter D. Farabaugh were the subject of the essay, Spooky Farabaugh Mystery No. 4, Whither Walter? He was raised in Carroll Township, Cambria County, Pa., and died in WW I. He was a corporal in Company H, 16th Infantry, First Division. Walter enlisted in May of 1918, arrived in France on July 30th, and was mustard gassed at Julvecourt, France, during the Battle of the Argonne Forest. He died the next day of pneumonia. Walter was buried in a temporary grave in France and his remains were removed and reinterred at St. Benedict’s Church in Carrolltown in 1921. Since I cannot find proof of any field gas deployment during the battle phase involved, some more research is needed to verify his fate.

 

3. Marcellus James Sutton

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Another Army soldier of WWI, Marcellus James Sutton (1897-1918), did not actually fight overseas. He reported for duty and was assigned to Camp Greenleaf, Ga., where he contracted broncho pneumonia. He died three weeks later in the medical camp facility at Ft. Oglethorpe. He is buried in my hometown of Loretto, Pa.

4. Jerome William Farabaugh

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Jerome W. Farabaugh (1918-1944) served in the Army Air Force, with the 15th Airdrome Squadron in the Pacific Theater. As I understand it, these squadrons played in important role in building structures for airfields at strategic locations in the South Pacific after they were cleared. Jerome was likely assigned to this duty because his enlistment record shows he was “semi-skilled in electroplating, galvanizing and related processes.” This particular unit was active in the Admiralty Islands. Jerome died in a non-battle incident at his base. He “was fatally wounded when an explosive he was handling exploded.”

5. Herman J. Dinehart.

Herman J. Dinehart Tombstone

I never saw a headstone marked “cenotaph” before. It is a memorial that does not include the remains of the deceased. This one is in St. Lawrence, Pa. Herman Dinehart (1922-1944) also has a memorial marker at the Arlington National Cemetery. But the interesting thing is that there is yet a third marker at the Sicily-Rome Memorial Cemetery in Lazio, Italy. It is possible that remains were located and interred there after the cemetery was dedicated in 1956; they have “rosettes”  there for that purpose. The circumstances of Herman’s fatality aren’t known. If the death date represents when he became missing in action, it falls near the end of the advance up the Italian peninsula. In September of 1944, the Allies were fighting to penetrate the so-called Gothic Line in the north Apennine Mountains.

6. Leonard Gerald Sharbaugh

leonard-sharbaugh-tombstone-2Leonard Sharbaugh (1924-1944) died at WWII’s Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and has memorial markers there and the one shown in Altoona, Pa. He was awarded the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf and had wartime assignments to the tank destroyer division at Camp Hood, Tx., attended radio school and then transferred to the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) at Louisiana State University. He however ended up in the infantry and apparently died as a foot soldier.

7. Frank Gilbert

Frank Gilbert Tombstone

Frank Gilbert (1925-1944) also died at the Battle of the Bulge. He enlisted in the Army on December 3, 1943. He trained at Ft. Knox, Ky., and at Camp George G. Meade, Md., before joining the 4th Armored Division, Company B, of the 35th Tank Battalion. He went overseas on May 15, 1944, and was killed in action on December 28, in Belgium. Frank was burned to death in his tank. He was only 19 years old.

 

 

8. James Knopp

James Knopp Tombstone
James R. Knopp Jr. (?-1945) was the third relative killed at the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. This is his marker at the Rue du Mémorial Américain there. James was a Corporal in the 509th Parachute Inf. Batallion.

 

 

 

 

9. Joey Bishop

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Joey Bishop (1933-1951) is the youngest casualty – just 17 years old. In the Korean War, you could volunteer at that age with parental consent. He was a Private E-2 in the 1st Calvary Division Infantry which went straight to the front lines of the conflict. Joey died as a result of a missile wound received in action on January 26, 1951. It was the second day of Operation Thunderbolt, a U.S.-led offensive that successfully forced Chinese forces to retreat to the Han River in South Korea.

10. Charles Kohl Farabaugh

Charles Kohl FarabaughCharles K. Farabaugh (1929-1952) attended West Point. Our family had his distinctive wool uniform, which hung on a hanger in full view as I would chart the Farabaugh family as a teenager. Despite a close relationship between my parents and his, we didn’t know the specifics of Charles’ death during the Korean War. His story eluded me for years. There was some talk that he sacrificed his life in some dramatic way, like falling on a grenade. I only recently discovered the official account online: “The Distinguished Service Cross is awarded to First Lieutenant Charles K. Farabaugh, Infantry, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving as a member of an infantry company on July 17, 1952 in the vicinity of Haduch’on, Korea. Lieutenant Farabaugh led a combat patrol deep into enemy-held territory for the purpose of locating and probing hostile troops. The patrol was surprised by a numerically superior enemy force and a fierce fire-fight ensued. During the battle, Lieutenant Farabaugh observed an element of the enemy force moving slowly to the left of the patrol’s position in a flanking maneuver. After carefully estimating the situation, Lieutenant Farabaugh ordered the patrol to withdraw. He then moved from his protective cover through the intense enemy fire to a position from which he could cover the threatened flank. With complete disregard for his own safety, Lieutenant Farabaugh laid down such a withering hail of fire that the hostile forces were repelled. While he was covering the withdrawal of his patrol through the cleared sector, Lieutenant Farabaugh was mortally wounded.” Charles was brought home and buried in Carrolltown.

11. Myron Aloysius Farabaugh

myron-farabaugh

Myron Aloysius Farabaugh (1929-1957) died near Nienburg-Weiser, Germany six days before his discharge from service. He was a passenger in a vehicle that was hit head on by a German truck. His widow Rita, in Cambria County, Pa., survived him by 58 years, succumbing in 2015. Myron was fond of German clocks and sent several home from overseas, which are still in use among family members.

 

12. Stanley A. Stys.

Stanley Stys 2

Pfc. Stanley A. Stys (1949-1968) was an infantryman in the 173rd Airborne Division during the Vietnam War. He was killed by small-arms fire in the Thua Thien Province of South Vietnam. He is buried at Grandview Cemetery in Johnstown, Pa. I have been unable to figure out the identity of his father, to complete his family record.

 

 

 

13. Robert Stolz (1939-68).

Robert S. Stolz Tombstone
Robert Stephen Stolz (1939-1968) is the only soldier on this list who left behind children. According to a 1988 newspaper article that profiled his parents’ 60th wedding anniversary, Robert was a pilot and lieutenant in the U. S. Navy, missing in action after his plane was shot down in the Vietnam War on April 5, 1968. However, oddly enough, he’s not on the Vietnam Wall. He’s also not listed at the National Archives site. On the other hand, the Navy’s burial record references a death report and approved a cenotaph for St. Benedict’s Cemetery in Carrolltown. Whatever the unusual circumstances involved, it appears that Robert’s remains were never recovered, and that the headstone shown here is a memorial marker.

The history of these soldiers is often forgotten due to passage of time. Memorial Day is meant to revive the sacrifices of these brave relatives, and remind us of the importance of patriotism and the freedoms that are all too often taken for granted. Our family has a timely contribution from Kane Farabaugh. Kane is a veteran who recently produced a documentary profiling a WWII soldier, The Greatest Honor. It’s good to know that one of our own maintains an active interest in, and has worked to preserve, our military history.

Col. Herbert O. Brennan

 

Just in time for Veterans Day, I received thisimg_01441 POW/MIA wristband for Col. Herbert O. Brennan, who was married to, and had 5 children by, Mary Farabaugh Coker. It was sent to me by Melissa Terhune, a non-relative who purchased it many years ago. Such wristbands were sold by the thousands during the Vietnam War, to raise awareness of our missing soldiers. I was amazed to learn that many of these bands were acquired not by relatives, but by random citizens as a patriotic act. Melissa bought and kept her wristband many years ago, and only recently decided to search for a member of Col. Brennan’s family. She found my site on the internet and sent it to me. I am wearing it for today only, and will then pass it on to Col. Brennan’s family.

 

missing in action mia col. herbert owen brennan of the USAF who went MIA 11/26/1967 during the Viet Nam War

Herbert “Bert” Brennan graduated from West Point in 1947 and became a colonel for the USAF. He fought in the Vietnam War and was missing in action on November 26, 1967. He is presumed to have been killed making a bombing run with a F-4 fighter-bomber. A DOD report at the time indicated that the F-4 with Col. Brennan as pilot and Maj. Douglas Condit as the rear seater bombadier was seen to explode, burst into flame and crash during a bombing mission in the thickly forested region of the Quang Binh Province. It was not possible to discern if parachutes were deployed. A beeper signal from the aircraft was believed to have been activated either by ejectment, or by a subsequent act by the enemy to lure additional aircraft. Given this eyewitness account, which emanated from another F-4 in the rear position, there was really no reason to think that Brennan and Condit could have survived. In 1987, a book entitled “Check Six: a Fighter Pilot Looks Back,” was released by the Deputy Commander involved, Col. Frederick C. “Boots” Blesse. Col. Blesse explained that the aircraft may have been shot down by a lucky “golden BB” from enemy fire. But he also raised the strong possibility that the plane was downed because of a defective bomb detonation device known as the FMU-35 fuze, which caused the bomb to immediately detonate when activated. Either way, there was no evidence of survival; Brennan and Condit were declared KIA in 1979. In 1988, there was a site inspection in the dense area of the downed plane, but the results were apparently inconclusive. It was still thought that neither Brennan nor Condit survived.

All of this changed when the Vietnamese government released its “MR4 Report” in 1991. This 84 page document indicated that the aircraft was downed, with one killed and one captured. The report resulted in a priority, joint government inquiry in April and May of 1992. During the site inspection, 25 years after the crash, the nose wheel portion of the aircraft was found in a ravine. As the site was excavated, a local hunter approached and – incredibly – offered a dog tag for Maj. Condit. The hunter then took the team to the locale where the tag was found at a karst, and Condit’s remains were then recovered and brought home for burial in Oregon.

Col. Brennan’s remains have never been recovered and the investigation is suspended.  The reasonable conclusion here is that Col. Brennan did not survive on November 26, 1967, but there certainly are a lot of scenarios in play.  At any rate, both he and Maj. Condit are on the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C. I have a picture of my son Tommy pointing to Col. Brennan’s name several years ago. Our family was always close to these Farabaugh relatives, and we’ve always shared an interest in knowing of Col. Brennan’s fate.

herbert-and-mary-brennan

 

Farabaughs and Their Beer

Hello cousins. A few new subscribers to the website, and so I thought I’d write up another essay. The family tree continues to grow and with the reunion season upon us, it is great opportunity to again email me with updates at novatony@verizon.net. And as you pop open a brewski at your reunion, think of your German ancestors with their steins who have done the same for generations. Das gut? Das gut!

Michael Fehrenbacher (1808-1856)

A long time ago in the Black Forest of Germany, there lived a young “bierbrauer” (beer brewer) named Michael Fehrenbacher (1808-1856). He graduated to become a “kufermeister” which I think means he was a master of keggers. Certainly a good guy to have around. But he left all that and came to America, settling near Loretto, Pa., in about 1848. We don’t know why. In 1856, he dropped dead at the age of 48. We don’t know why. That’s his tombstone in Loretto, but he might not be buried there anymore. He became the grandfather of the steel magnate Charlie Schwab. When the Schwab Mausoleum was established many years later, it included a marble drawer with Michael’s name on it. So, maybe they dug him up for his new home and left the old tombstone standing. But he’s definitely in the Loretto cemetery somewhere.

There is no evidence that Michael revived his German occupation, or that his Farabaugh descendants had a brewery at Loretto. In fact, I grew up in Loretto and it never had any brewery as far as I know. But if you go over to nearby Carrolltown, you will find a significant history of 19th and early 20th century breweries. In his definitive history of the town, more or less disguised as a history of the Benedictine Order, our cousin Fr. Modestus Wirtner recorded that Carrolltown in its heyday had 3 breweries and 11 taverns. That’s a lot of beer for a town of about 1,000.

Celestine Farabaugh with Henry on L and Isadore on R

Throughout the 1890s, one of the Carrolltown breweries was owned and operated by Celestine Farabaugh. I just received this photo of him and his product, flanked on the left by his brother Henry, and on the right by his brother Isadore. Celestine added an ice house but had some financial difficulty. After some creditors got a sheriff involved the brewery was bought out by Celestine’s brother-in-law Henry Swope, “in whose hands it was destroyed by fire,” according to Fr. Modestus. The Bearer Hotel was erected on the site. Celestine continued the trade near Pittsburgh, but unfortunately died of tuberculosis in 1910. He left behind a widow with 9 children. Isadore became a brewmaster and chemist for the Allegheny Brewing Company.

John Sylvester Farabaugh worked at a brewery in Spangler, Pa., until it was torn down during the Prohibition. Undaunted, he relocated to Detroit and in 1937 became a brewmaster for Strohs.

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One of my favorite early pioneer names for this area of Cambria County, and perfect for the 4th of July, is George Washington Beers. He was husband to Anna Gibbons (1861-1928) of Chest Springs. Alas, Mr. Beers did not ply the alcohol trade. He and Anna instead decided to seek a different fortune, by moving to California.

Farabaughs By the Numbers

I haven’t posted anything in a few months, and we have some new subscribers! Welcome to my site dedicated to Farabaugh history. Past newsletters are under the Forum tab and has mostly my random essays on the more interesting folks in our bloodline. But the heart and soul of the site is the light green Tree tab, where the extensive family lineage is laid out. I wrote a book on the family back in 1990, which included about 7200 souls. The Tree at this site has 9751 descendants of six immigrants, and counting. Those six immigrants (five siblings from Kappel, Germany, and one immigrant from nearby Schuteral) came to the area of Carrolltown, Pa., beginning in 1833. They are:

Augustin & Maria Fehrenbacher – 6341 (65%)

Michael & Maria Fehrenbacher – 756 (8%)

Johann Georg (George) & Elizabeth Fehrenbacher – 1134 (12%)

Matthias & Theresa Fehrenbacher – 255 (3%)

Viktoria Fehrenbacher & Dennis Brawley/Friedrich Pichel – 719 (7%)

Michael & Genevieve Fehrenbacher – 546 (5%)

RudolphBut wait, now there’s more. We have the discovery of Rudolph “Farbaugh” (1840-1927). He immigrated in the late 1860s and had a meat market at 1810 8th Avenue, Altoona, Pa. In 1893, he innocently bought some stolen cattle from a Mr. McGonigle, butchered it and sold the meat. McGonigle was apprehended and jailed when he returned to the Farbaugh meat market and tried to sell more of the stolen cattle. (Cambria Freeman, 22 Sep 1893). Rudolph here escaped notice in our family history because there are no male descendants to carry on the family name. I haven’t figured out where he came from in Germany. There is another straggler, Godfrey Fahrbach (1820-1909), an early settler of Hollidaysburg (along with Philip, likely a brother). Godfrey had a son and grandson who also took on the cognate “Farbaugh,” but so far it looks like no other males carried the name forward. Godfrey was a Lutheran, so he doesn’t count anyway. Just kidding. My wife was raised Lutheran and we get along just fine. I decided to keep her in the family tree, so we’ll find a place for good old Godfrey as well.

Godfrey Farbaugh (1820-1909)

Godfrey Farbaugh (1820-1909)

 

Our Cousin, the Murderer

Farabaughs are generally law abiding. But with a family tree that numbers 12,475 and counting, there is bound to be one murderer in the bunch. Thanks to whiz bang search engines and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, I found him.

James Farabaugh of Ambrose
In 1959, James C. Farabaugh shown here was convicted for the 2nd degree murder of his estranged wife, Ella Belle, in Pittsburgh, Pa. James was an out of work painter; he had a past record of charges for robbing confectionary stores in Duquesne, and for selling black market whisky. Ella Belle was described as a 300-pound cripple, who helped to support her husband by selling pencils from a wheelchair. According to the trial testimony, James was living separately in an apartment at 611 Buhl Way. About four weeks before the murder on July 13, 1958, he became acquainted with a railroader named Ray Bowers there. James frequently used Ray’s telephone to call Ella Belle, which led to Ray’s opportunity to meet up with Ella Belle.

On the night of the murder, Ray was having “intimate relations” with Ella Belle at her residence at 1113 Gerst Way, when they heard James pounding on the door. James had been drinking beer, wine and Sterno throughout the day. A companion described him as “out of line with the world.” Ella Belle had Ray exit by a back door. Ella Belle was then found dead from a stab wound to the chest.

James Farabaugh of Ambrose 2

James made a peculiar confession to the police. He admitted to stabbing Ella Belle with a 10 inch butcher knife, but had difficulty recalling the events because of his inebriation. His statement indicated that after being stabbed Ella Belle “had a funny look. I put my arms around her and kissed her and then I left. I thought she was playing possum.” James was charged with 1st degree murder, without a death penalty charge. In support of possible premediation, a witness testified to seeing James holding a jar of kerosene over Ella Belle’s head and threatening to set her on fire, a week before the murder. Other evidence of a threat from 3-4 years earlier that was offered by a blind couple was disallowed. During the defense phase, James suddenly accepted a gulity plea to 2nd degree murder, which ended the trial. He was immediately sentenced to 5 to 12 years in the Western Penitentiary. At the sentencing, James’ attorney in pleading for leniency said, “It is unfortunate that a man like Bowers, who ignited the flame which caused the death of Mrs. Farabaugh, is at liberty, while Farabaugh must go to prison.” The judge expressed generic hope that James would someday be rehabilitated into a “useful citizen.”

Since there was no third party witness to the slaying, it is clear that it was James’ confession that led to the conviction. But there were some interesting details. The confession was obtained when James was drunk, and only after the detective involved “had to prompt Farabaugh by calling certain facts to his attention before he could remember the events of the day.” Also, blood was found on the shirt and shoes of Ray Bowers, to which Bowers explained that he snagged his hand on a lock as he left the apartment. Had the case gone to jury, this certainly could have led to a finding of reasonable doubt.

This all took place in a section of the old Northside of Pittsburgh, which was condemned and eventually replaced with the construction of I-279 during the 1980s. Here are the tombstones of this unfortunate couple. As expected, they are not buried together. They lie in different Pittsburgh area cemeteries entirely. I haven’t figured out how long James served time or what he did when he got out. That story is probably not as interesting.

Ella Creighton Farabaugh TombstoneJames C. Farabaugh Tombstone

Farabaugh Art Museum

While recently adding branches deep into the night, it suddenly occurred to me that I’ve amassed and processed thousands of family pictures. The most iconic are in this website’s slideshow. By now, most of you are familiar with the amazing 1929 Reunion photograph by Michael J. Farabaugh (1878-1959). And the stiff, stern countenances of our “First Farabaughs” are obvious to anyone who visits here.

But they aren’t necessarily artistic. So for this month’s newsletter I thought I’d share some of the images that strike me as interesting. Clicking on the image will take you to the Farabaugh relative shown, and most are portraits. I am only going to comment on the first one, my favorite picture of my Mom taken in the late ’40s. I think it’s an accidentally great work of art. She has her eyes closed with her face turned toward the sun. But she is off to the side and instead in the center is the open garage at Main St., Carrolltown, home of my grandparents Bede and Naomi (Farabaugh) Bender. I find the geometric shapes and shadows fascinating, with a hint of the backyard shown through the garage’s rear window. Bede had many talents, but nothing about him suggests that he had the artistic vision to compose this. When I described the box camera used to a professional photographer, with its viewfinder at the top as it was held at chest level, he was quite knowledgeable about its use. He explained it had a sensitive trigger that caused many unintended shots to be taken. I can well imagine my grandfather frowning at this and having my mom perfectly centered for the ordinary picture that must have followed. Enjoy this stroll through the Farabaugh Art Museum! Three of the pictures have fish, for some reason.

Mom1

Steven Baile and Christa Huffsticker Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Small

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Eckenrode SistersLeah Marie Rose Farabaugh Theresa Regina (Farabaugh) Jenkins

 

 

Seth WinelandSebastian and Catherine (Farabaugh) Boxler 2Orval Farabaugh 3Victoria (Fehrenbacher) Bechel 1Scott Farabaugh of Lawrence 2Ronald and Carleen Farabaugh Shoe HouseModestus F. Farabaugh 07Joseph Francis YeckleyJoseph and Anna Farabaugh - 6 ChildrenDenise Horvatin FarabaughAgnes Jane Farabaugh TombstoneJoseph Joby CondronJoshua Lowell Hartvigson 2Naomi Billings Shumway

Merle Farabaugh Family 2

 

 

 

 

Bethany McNeal Farabaugh
Christina W of Alan Farabaugh

Hayden FarabaughMichael Farabaugh Tombstone 4 NicktownMark StephensMary Adelaide FarabaughLance and Amy Yahner Eckenrode FamilyMichael GibbonsKristin VoisineKris and Pimmada FarabaughHeather Lynn FarabaughJohn HagelinBarbara Kirsch - Nurse grad 2Jane Young FarabaughDustin Michael FarabaughMother Theresa Moser (ca 1848-1918)Catherine Hitch KriseMichelle Cecilia Louise Farabaugh 2John Sherman KriseLauren TakitchCody VoisinePatrick and Kayla Lindsey GibbonsElizabeth (Biller) Farabaugh 2Alan and Christina Farabaugh
Alice (Bechel) and Barbara Kirsch - The Loons

 

Around the Maypole With Charlie Schwab

We have several new subscribers to the website – welcome! The crack staff here at farabaugh.org has been diligently uploading massive family updates. If you spot errors or omissions, please email me at novatony@verizon.net. I really want to get a lot more pictures up too. I try to send out a new post the first of each month. To see the old ones go the tab named FORUM. I haven’t figured out a way to archive them yet or to have an obvious way for visitors to write in.

May 1st is supposedly a romantic day, a time for Spring thoughts, leaping about, chasing butterflies or attending a coronation. Out of curiosity, I ran the date through my whiz bang search engines to see what Farabaugh relatives got married on May 1st. I expected to find a number of incurable young and hopeful romantics, full of wide-eyed enthusiasm for what lies ahead. I expected my archives to produce elaborate wedding gowns, beautifully radiant brides, and rows of colorful matching bridesmaids offset by rows of handsome, tuxedoed gentlemen, arranged by height.

Instead, all I got was a blurry picture taken in Atlantic City:

Charley and Rana Schwab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, this is our most famous and successful relative, Charles M. Schwab, son of John and Pauline (Farabaugh) Schwab. He is on his honeymoon following his marriage to Rana Dinkey on May 1, 1883. At this point in time, Charlie was a rising star at the Edgar Thomson works near Pittsburgh. This picture is taken before his meteoric ascent with Andrew Carnegie, his presidency of U.S. Steel and his succession to Bethlehem Steel. They may not seem to be the most likely couple to go out a-May-ing, but who knows?  What is known is that the marriage did not produce any children and Rana rarely accompanied Charlie anywhere. She mostly remained in the mansions, was uncomfortable with her looks and even tried to stop any celebration of their 50th Anniversary. Her relationship with Pauline Farabaugh Schwab, her mother-in-law, was initially poor. Pauline as a devout Catholic disapproved of her son marrying a Presbyterian. But the two women rarely saw each other. Rana did send Pauline elaborate jigsaw puzzles, a pastime they both enjoyed, and no real strife is evident over the years. Robert Hessen, Steel Titan (Oxford Univ. Press, N.Y., 1975), pp. 17-19, 119-22, 139, 285, 290-93. I do recommend Hessen’s book. For the impatient, you can read more about this luminary at the Wikipedia page. He is not related to the modern day Charles R. Schwab who runs the investment conglomerate.

Charlie was a man of many talents and his legacy still holds a spell over Loretto, Pa., the town of his youth and mine. He had a deep interest in the arts and was, in his way, a philanthropist. But he was also a ruthless industrialist by day, and may have played some role in putting down the infamous Homestead strikes of the 1880s and 1890s. The last of these was unsuccessful and bloody; it set back unions everywhere for decades. Charlie also had some low key scandals that usually attach to wealth, as he moved among all the celebrities of his era. He was for example embroiled in serious charges in misrepresenting production for armor plate contracts, and later there were claims that he improperly profited from more government contracts during WWI. But his business reputation remained impeccable among those who mattered. He was truly a self taught and a self made man. He worked very hard to get to the top of the steel industry. He ultimately lost his wealth in the Great Depression and the final accounting of his estate was in the red.

This was all long after the honeymoon shown here, when Charlie showed his playful side at the beach. Cheer up, Rana! Happy Anniversary!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Farabaugh Goes To Harrisburg

 

Englebert Farabaugh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In June of 1952, Englebert Farabaugh (1890-1970) married Mary (Miller) Eckenrode. Englebert lost his first wife during a failed childbirth; Mary lost her first husband in a drowning accident at Clearfield Creek during the terrible area floods of 1936. They were, by all accounts, a serious no-nonsense couple. Englebert was part of the first full generation to have some formal education. Mary was a fixture in Loretto, Pa., for decades, succumbing in the year 2000 at the age of 106.

A few months after this marriage, Englebert was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The election district was the rural part of the county north of Johnstown, and the most common surnames among voters would chiefly include. . . Farabaughs, Millers and Eckenrodes. There were 24 children between them, and those children had already married into other wildly prolific families such as the Benders, Hoovers, Scanlans, Conrads and Noels. I can’t find any evidence Englebert had to campaign. They were all Democrats and he probably just needed these relatives to show up on election day.

There is no easy way to research Englebert’s voting record online. But there is quite a bit of newspaper coverage throughout his six terms (12 years) at Harrisburg. To understand it, it helps to know that he was first and foremost a dairy farmer. Englebert’s farm was just outside of Loretto, along the “Dutch Road” to Chest Springs. It’s located just past and opposite the medieval style tower reservoir, and it’s still in the family. In the 1940’s and into the 50’s Englebert was active in a host of farming organizations, such as the Banner Grange, the Cambria County Farm Bureau Cooperative, the Interstate Milk Producers Cooperative, the Artificial Breeding Association, the Dairy Herd Improvement Association, and the Cambria County Agricultural Extension organization. When he went to the Assembly, he was already quite knowledgeable about farming and farming issues. From the accounts, he comes across as hard-working and principled. There are several items that are striking:

1. He tried to protect poor farmers. He was on most congressional committees related to farming, and little else. He co-sponsored a bill to finance the testing of cattle disease, and another to create a class of agents to test chickens for salmonella. He worked to have the Dept. of Agriculture well funded to regulate and inspect commercial grain feeds, and also empower the Department to approve any farm labor regulations. These measures were pursued in order to relieve farmers from the expenses involved and have a well-funded agency to provide aid as the need arose. They did not always pass. In his later years, he became deeply involved in the successful defense of fixing the price of milk, kept high in order to prevent small dairy farmers from losing out to larger enterprises. If you are interested in old political struggles over milk, you can see his commission report here. If not, I understand. At first blush, this appears to be self-interested. But this would be unfair. Englebert’s zeal to protect farmers actually went too far at times. He lashed out at a bill that prevented billboards near interstate highways, thinking it would deprive nearby farmers from advertising their products. “This is just a foot in the door for the state to control the land some farmer is trying to scratch a living out of,” he said. However, he seemed to have overlooked the bill’s exemptions for farmers and the 5-6 million a year in federal funding that passage would bring.

2. He fought taxation. Democrats used to fight taxation in Pennsylvania. Englebert voted against, and helped defeat in a dramatic post-midnight session, a bill in 1959 that proposed a state sales tax increase from 3 to 3.5%. When later efforts failed and the tax crept up to 4%, he sought to exclude “the propagation of domestic mink in captivity.” Not exactly sure what he was trying to accomplish, but my guess is that he was trying to help out the mink farm that was situated below the original Farabaugh homestead in Allegheny Township. It’s not a bad guess. Today, the base sales tax is 6%; where I live in California it’s a ghastly 9.25%. We could use a few Engleberts around here.

3. He generally opposed pay raises and government spending. When an Assembly bill proposed a $3K expense account and increased pensions for its members, Englebert’s criticism on the floor was widely reported. When he urged them to “search your consciences” he was accused of hunting for headlines. In leading the failed opposition, he pointed out that they really only work 27 days a year in session and warned: “I think it’s about time the members in both houses start thinking of the people they represent. . .and not thinking simply of financial gains. . . we’re going to call upon a lot of people to pay more taxes who are not making a good living.” The press noted that Englebert was heckled with inaudible comments during his speech.

Englebert railed unsuccessfully against a bill to increase the salaries of judges, noting that the $5k increase represented more than many Pennsylvanians make in a year. He voted in the majority against across-the-board pay raises for county officials. The second attempt to hike various state salaries (up to 25%) failed in the House by a vote of 75-105, and Englebert was an opposition leader. “This is just another of those unreasonable things we are asked to do at the expense of the taxpayers,” he told the press. Englebert also was among the House members to successfully vote down an unemployment compensation bill proposed by the governor. Sometimes he attacked small line items, and appeared myopic. In 1964, Englebert was ridiculed in an editorial when it was reported that he was one of only 3 who cast votes against a long-standing $300 budget item for road maintenance on the Cornplanter Indian Reservation. The columnist considered the objection frivolous, in light of the millions involved in other appropriation issues. Englebert was definitely a watchdog when it came to government spending.

4. Volunteer Fire Companies. When Englebert spotted a recurring budget item for Harrisburg’s volunteer fire company, he went on a mission to get money for the departments back home. Englebert sponsored a bill to give Cresson firemen $1000 for protection of the local sanatorium, which passed both Houses, but it was inexplicably vetoed by Gov. George Leader, a fellow Democrat. As an additional slight, Leader at the same time approved a $5000 a year measure for Harrisburg firemen. Englebert may have been outfoxed by allowing the bills to be separately considered – but he kept trying. In 1963, he sought $1000 in yearly appropriations for the Cresson and Ebensburg volunteer fire companies, again arguing that they were entitled to the same consideration as the Harrisburg department. This time, House Republicans voted it down. He did, however, co-sponsor a bill to fund $225,000 for the Ebensburg sewage treatment plant, which passed both houses unanimously.

5. Earl Farabaugh. Englebert never lost an election. One of his challengers over the years was Republican Earl Farabaugh, reported to be no relation. This was before farabaugh.org. They were, in fact, second cousins. Earl was a former coal miner who lived in Carrolltown. He lost at least three bids for the Assembly. In 1956, all three Democrats won re-election in the House. Engelbert led with 32,669; with Rovansek getting 31,521 and Lopresti getting 31,323. The closest of the three Republican challengers was Earl Farabaugh, who pulled in 26,385 votes.

6. The Failed Turnpike Extension. If you’ve ever been stuck behind a truck or at one of the many traffic lights trying to get to Pittsburgh on Route 22, know that Englebert tried to change this in 1955. He co-sponsored an unsuccessful bill to create a Turnpike extension at Somerset that would run through Cambria and other counties, in a northwesterly route that neared Pittsburgh and ended in Erie. The Assembly instead voted for highway improvements at the Delaware River. The congressmen in Philadelphia had a little more clout.

7. Taking Sodomy Seriously. Also in 1955, Englebert co-sponsored a bill that “[i]ncluded sodomy in the definition of first degree murder.” It did not pass.

8. JFK. In August of 1960, Englebert was among 30 Democrats chosen to meet with John F. Kennedy in Harrisburg in advance of his presidential campaign tour there. (Kennedy in fact packed the War Memorial in Johnstown that Fall). In the November elections, all four of the House Democrats from Cambria’s 22nd District were re-elected, including Englebert. The Dems retained control of the House and also took control of the state Senate for the first time in 22 years.

9. Dust Up With a Philadelphia Assemblyman. The 1959 general appropriations bill attempting to budget a $1.4 billion proposal required unusually long legislative sessions. Certain Assemblymen waned after a 9 hour session and Englebert was quoted as threatening to exercise a legal option to have them forcibly brought to the House. It was a maneuver that hadn’t been implemented since 1921.  “It touched off a debate at first humorous but gradually bitter, winding up with a complaint by a Philadelphia Democrat that the leadership [Englebert] was obstinate and stubborn in not recessing until Monday.” A Farabaugh who was both obstinate and stubborn? Really?

Englebert’s successor in the Assembly was the respected Master Farmer Paul J. Yahner, husband to Englebert’s niece Posie Farabaugh. Paul was known as a man of few words, but served from 1964 to 1980. Englebert eased into retirement. He was Mayor of Loretto for four years, which to him was “three years too many.” Growing up in Loretto, I knew several of Englebert’s children and grandchildren but never heard any discussion of his time in the Assembly. Perhaps he had a level of satisfaction knowing he helped to protect local farming interests. Perhaps he didn’t. I am told he built the altar at St. Michael’s Church that was used throughout the 1960s. Perhaps he thought that to be his most important accomplishment instead.

 

Al Marx: Strongman, Acrobat and Heavyweight Contender

 

Aloysius Marx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love sportswriting from the 1880s. Don’t you? Whenever I squint into my cellphone to check on the Pittsburgh Pirates or Steelers, I get the same formulaic narrative. It starts with the name of the impact player, followed by a meaningless statistic, followed impassively by the game changing event – all done with a third grade vocabulary. Today’s missive instead presents an entertaining account of a boxing match that involved your cousin pictured above, Aloysius Marx (1860-1931). He was the oldest son of Anton and Emma Fehrenbacher / Farabaugh Marx. He died alone at an infirmary in Galveston, Tx., and I wasn’t expecting much of a human interest story. But then I looked over his death certificate which listed the following occupation: acrobat. Acrobat??!? This is all I needed to fire up the whiz bang search engines on what my young son once called “the interwebs.” We don’t call it the internet anymore. We call it “the interwebs.”

John_L_Sullivan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the famous John L. Sullivan. By acclamation, he was America’s first heavyweight boxing champion. This is the way he looked when he embarked on his “knockout tour” of the U.S. in 1884. He was 28-0 when he arrived at the Opera House in Galveston. His promoter offered $500 to anyone who could prevent being knocked out for four rounds. There were no takers after Sullivan’s exhibition. But the local barker who was sponsoring the event called out for Al Marx, who had a reputation as a fighter at the local docks were he loaded bales of cotton. The Galveston newspaper account of April 10, 1884, follows:

The Slugging Match. Another fair audience greeted the Sullivan contingent at the Tremont Opera House, which in a part was due to the announcement that Al Marx, a resident, though hithereto unknown, pugilist, had agreed to stand up before the scientific slugger for four three-minute rounds, or as much thereof as he was physically able to endure. Doubting Thomas. . . appositioned the coming to the scratch of the rash aspirant for p. r. fame, and confidently predicted a funeral, with the young man doing the hearse act, as the natural result of his temerity. Doubts of Marx’s non-appearance were not dispelled until the rising of the curtain, when both he and Sullivan were revealed advancing from opposite wings. All eyes were centered on Marx. To use the technical expression indicative of a superfluidity of adipose tissue, he was beefy. His chubby face and generally soft look excited a spasm of sympathy, as for a victim to be sacrificed, though the gloves were the softest of their kind and Sullivan had even expressed “that he was sorry for the young man and didn’t want to hurt him more than he could help.”

Though the same height the disparity in the physique of the men was striking, adding to the surprise elicited by Marx’s lead with his right, finding a resting place on Sullivan’s collar-bone. Sullivan then left go with his left, landing on Marx’s left eye. Though it staggered him, [Marx] managed to recover in time to let drive and fall short with both hands before another well-directed blow set him down. Lightly springing to his feet, he made a rush, got in a few slight body blows and again went reeling back with a bloody nose. On his feet again, and very groggy, Marx made another rush. A few short strokes [of] fighting, with Sullivan driving him before him, a dab at the right side of Marx’s stomach and three times down was scored against him. It required some effort for him to horizontalize; he was winded and had drawn up his whole right side. Sullivan advanced to him, motioned to strike him, but realizing the helplessness of his enemy, said: “Do you want any more?” “No,” was the gasping reply and this ended the bout. Time – 55 seconds. Considering the capabilities of Sullivan as a hard-hitter, Marx escaped with very light punishment, which consists chiefly of a slightly discolored eye. Marx says of his feelings when struck that they were like unto a man standing under a pile-driver encased by a foot-ball, and yet he thinks it such sport that he immediately matched with a local boxer, to meet him with hard gloves for a hundred dollars aside.

Al Marx’s 55 seconds of fame with the champion was parlayed into a career. He became known as the Texas Cowboy and he boxed (and brawled) all over the country. After the Sullivan fight, he beat a local hero in a 66 round contest that was watched by 800 paying customers. He had mixed results and mostly fought on undercards. In 1885, Al’s measure of fame for fighting Sullivan landed him in Madison Square Garden in New York. The Texas Cowboy began an undercard fight with Ike Williams of Bridgeport. When a “tip to the ribs” lifted Al into the ropes and angered him, hostilities resulted in heavy biting. After a separation the boxers would not cooperate in the next round, so the match was called off and the fighters ordered off the floor.

In September of 1886, Al had his finest hour in Omaha, where he fought for Nebraska’s vacant state heavyweight championship against Mike Fitzgerald. A round-by-round description shows that this was an excellent fight on the main card. Al staggered Mike in the first round, but had his nose bloodied in the second. There were mutual exchanges throughout but Fitzgerald was clearly flagging by the 6th. In the 8th, Fitzgerald could not get up after a ten count. Al received the state’s gold medal and was to receive all of the gate receipts for the 300 in attendance. Al later lost the title to a fighter named James McCormick. McCormick was losing when he suddenly broke Al’s jaw with a strong left glove that likely contained lead. The match apparently ended Al Marx’s boxing career.

Al’s life after this is hard to track because he became a cosmopolite. In 1892 he had a permanent residence in New York, yet he was in Paris applying for a passport as a professional athlete. In 1897, he appears as a professional strongman and weightlifter in London, where two accounts describe the hospital death of an adopted son, an accomplished acrobat. He then had three sons in three other countries (Spain, Portugal and the U.S.). By 1930, Al was a widower and patient at the St. Mary’s Infirmary, back were he started in Galveston, Tx. His brief obituary the following year gave no indication of his colorful past.

Al was born in Pine Township, Indiana County, Pa., the grandson of one of Cambria County’s five sibling immigrants, Michael Farabaugh (1810-1897). His family farmed for a time in Cambria County but left the area for Kansas. From there, Al winds up in Galveston, the site for this story’s main event –  brought to you today, by the interwebs.

An Unpleasant Trial

 

Judge Harry White

 

Mary Farabaugh (1880-1898) had a profoundly disturbing, short and tragic life. At the age of eleven, she was a rape victim in Pine Township, Indiana County, Pa. Charges were pressed against 24-year-old Lawrence McClemens, a grand jury indicted him, and the matter proceeded to jury trial on June 22, 1892. Judge Harry White, pictured above and son of the namesake for White Township, presided. Here is the account of how this brave girl testified against her attacker:

Commonwealth vs. Lawrence McClements: 1st count, rape of a woman child under 16 years of age; 2nd count, same; 3rd count, assault with intent to rape; 4th count, same. Mary Farabaugh, prosecutrix. The prosecutrix testified:—I live in Pine township; was eleven years old the 19th of last July; father’s name is Albert Farabaugh; am the oldest of the family; on the 19th or 20th of April last, I took some eggs to Guthrie’s store at Possums Glory, Pine township, to get some coffee; live about two miles from the store; the road has woods on one side, and goes through woods part of the way. Mrs. John Davis kept the store that day. I noticed Lawrence McClemens, the defendant, on the porch of the store when I went in, but did not see him when I come out. About a mile away from the store, McClemens caught me around the neck; he either came out of the woods or came up behind, I don’t know which, did not see him before he caught me; he pulled me off the road and threw me down among the bushes alongside tbe road, and accomplished his purpose. I screamed and hollowed. Fry Roser came along in his wagon from the store, and McClemens slapped his hands across my mouth so I could not scream. I had been down a good spell before Fry Roser came along. Roser drove past a piece and [stopped], then McClemens run down into the woods. When I went home I did not tell mother about it, because I didn’t like to. The prosecutrix was corroberated In every particular, several witnesses testifying that the defendant asked them to settle the matter with the child’s father. The parents did not discover anything until May 9th, when the defendant sent a man to them to settle, and on the following day they had him arrested. They noticed the girl had been crying when she came home, but she said nothing was the matter, and a couple of weeks afterwards, the mother discovered the soiled clothing in the washing. The defendant is about 25 years of age. The defence claimed that McClemens got sick when about 12 years of age, which left him entirely deaf and injured his mind. Beyond the fact that he talked fast and acted queer, no evidence of insanity was produced. The jury were out about 20 minutes. They found the defendant, McClemens, guilty of rape under the 1st and 2nd counts of the indictment.

Lawrence briefly escaped on the day of sentencing, during the transfer from the jail to the Indiana Co. Courthouse. He fled as Deputy Budd Lewis turned to lock the jailhouse door. He “struck out like a fine fellow down Sixth Street,” but was apprehended by the Sheriff near Clawson House. Lawrence was then sentenced by Pres. Judge Harry White to the Western Penitentiary for separate or solitary confinement at labor for ten years without credit for time served (the maximum term was 12 years). He was ordered to pay a $100 fine and the costs of prosecution. Because the case attracted much local attention, the sentence was published in the local paper at great length, verbatim. Lawrence indicated the trial was unfair because he could not hear the testimony, but also unwittingly admitted that he spoke to some of the witnesses about settling. Judge White summarized the testimony. “You seemed to be entirely oblivious of the infamy of your crime for you merely went ‘round the neighborhood hunting for the parents of the girl with whom you had trouble trying to condone or compromise it for the sum of two dollars. Is it possible a man of your age. . .does not know that this is one of the most heinous offences known in our criminal jurisprudence.”  Judge White also rejected a mitigation argument claiming intoxication, since there was no evidence of it on the day of the crime, and also arguments about “weakness of intellect.” There was no indication that Lawence was represented by counsel at the sentencing.

In August of 1898, six years later, it was reported that Mary was convalescing from a few days of illness. The following week, however, a Miss Lettie Mulvehill was assisting at the Farabaugh home in Pineton while Mrs. Farabaugh waited upon Mary, who was very ill with inflammation of the brain. In September, her death was reported “of brain trouble.” Her obituary made no mention of the past ordeal and recounted that “[s]he was a bright and intelligent young lady and assisted her father in his duties at the postoffice. . . Mr. and Mrs. Farabaugh desire to thank the neighbors in Pineton and vicinity for their kindness during the illness of their daughter.”

At the time, the terms brain trouble and brain fever could refer to meningitis, but was more commonly used to describe mental instability or trauma which, given the circumstances, seem to connect her death with the terrible incident years before.

Lawrence McClemens was listed among 14 inmates at the Western Penitentary in 1900. He apparently served the full sentence. He resurfaces in the 1910 Census. He is listed as a 39 year old deaf laborer doing odd jobs, living alone on Indiana Pike in Blacklick Township, Indiana County. In 1917, he sold rights to three tracts of land to the Yellow Creek Coal Co., for the sum of $287.15. After that, he is not found in any census records or obvious sources.

This is certainly one of the most disturbing stories I uncovered by word searching newspaper archives. It is not likely we will locate a picture of this courageous girl. The trial account seems so coldly factual and disquieting. Someday, I would at least like to get a picture of her tombstone at the Catholic cemetery in Cameron’s Bottom, if it can be found.

Anselm’s Wild, Wild Midwest

If you look closely at this tombstone of Anselm Fehrenbacher / Fernbach (1841-1891) in Waterloo, Iowa, you will find the inscription, “Gone but not forgotten.”  Over the last few months, a long standing mystery about his death was solved in this post. and here. Now we bring the tombstone’s prophecy to life with newspaper accounts that detail his exploits. Anselm was a wild and crazy guy.

After his brief service in the Civil War, Anselm ends up in Waterloo, where he marries a German girl named Sybil Fisher in 1865. After working in the local flour mill, he somehow acquired the means to buy local land, including the Western House Hotel on 4th Street. From this base of operations, Anselm left a legacy of altercations, alcohol-related offenses, vigilante justice, an injury case that went to the Iowa Supreme Court, a 1882 wife swap, a funny wheelbarrow bet over the 1888 presidential election, and a U.S. Marshal investigation that was cut short by his fatal fall in 1891. A complete (somewhat tedious) chronology is here. But the entertaining highlights are as follows:

1. Altercations. Anselm’s recorded career of confrontations begins in 1875, when he cracks the skull of a drunken sailor who was harassing the local grocer. In 1880, Anselm was brought to court for horsewhipping his wife Sybil, leaving a severe gash on her forehead. He was put in jail 8 days not for the offense, but for refusing to pay the $25 fine. Not all of the fights were started by Anselm. He was once robbed of $40 at gunpoint, and when a matter with Jacob Kauth of Hudson was “arbitrated by the fists,” the mayor fined Kauth and not Anselm.

2. Alcohol-related Offenses. Anselm’s liquor license was revoked in in 1877. In the years that followed he was arrested several times for selling. In 1884, Anselm paraded around town with a large bottle in one hand and a revolver in the other, demanding all to drink with him. The charges are dropped when his attorney somehow convinced the court he was only pretending to be drunk and that the bottle only had sweet water and vinegar. A serious federal indictment for his habitual sales was pending in Dubuque at the time he had his fatal fall in 1891.

3. Vigilante Justice. In 1877, Anselm helps a local marshal by chasing down a horse thief, tying his feet under the stolen equine and walking him down Commercial Street in triumph. In the years that followed, Anselm settled disputes with his non-paying boarders by regularly chasing them down and seizing their possessions, sometimes with the aid of law enforcement.

4. Wife Swap. Read this carefully and follow along. A man named Jacob Fernbach from New York was stranded in Waterloo and, being struck by Anselm’s same last name, took up residence at the Western House with his wife Maggie. Anselm ditches his wife Sybil for Maggie, an incident that involved a gun toting confrontation with Sybil’s relative Nicholas.  Anselm and Maggie marry. Sybil immediately marries a railroad conductor named Edward Chapman — all within a few weeks in 1882.

5. Wheelbarrow Bet. Anselm loses a bet when Benjamin Harrison defeats Grover Cleveland in the 1888 presidential election. Anselm was “gaily decorated for the occasion, and with a good-sized fish-horn frightened away all obstructions” as he started out to carry Jake Hoffman by wheelbarrow to Cedar Falls, about 8 miles away. Reading this triggered my memory that such a bet was depicted in this Disney movie.

6. Iowa Supreme Court Case. In 1885, Anselm incurs serious injuries when his horse and carriage run into a street hole in Waterloo. Anselm’s lawsuit (which probably involved a legal issue over governmental immunity) fails but it is reported that appeals took the case to the state Supreme Court and that the case evidently ended in Anselm’s favor. Nonetheless, the town counsel made cost claims against Anselm’s estate following his death in 1891.

7. Harassment of Gospel Singers. A visiting performance by the Colored Georgia Jubilee Singers was considered “too rocky.” The second performance was cancelled when Anselm and another boarding house owner decided to immediately demand rent from them, knowing that income from the second performance was needed to meet the rooming debts. Anselm confiscates the manager’s trunk and the performers’ costumes.

8. The Committee of Unclear Purpose. In 1888, Anselm helps start the 6 member Waterloo Self-Constituted Improvement Company, and becomes its President. It is formed “to decorate and beautify whatever needed.” No subsequent action of the committee is reported.

When Anselm fell off a stair landing and cracked his skull at the age of 50, he did not leave behind any offspring.  His Farabaugh relatives in Pennsylvania probably knew nothing of his adventures. But one of them, Fr. Modestus Wirtner, at least noted his location in Waterloo, which enabled me to eventually uncover this colorful if disreputable character. The Cedar Falls Historical Society and the whiz bang search engines for online newspaper archives helped too.

Merry Christmas, From Mike and Maude

 

Seasons Greetings from Carrolltown, Pa., in about 1950. Here we have Michael J. Farabaugh (1878-1959) celebrating Christmas with his second wife, Maude (1895-1976). Michael was a farmer, photographer, town mayor, Justice of the Peace, and bred prize-winning beagles. He played some clarinet, not very well. He was known and loved by all in the Carrolltown area, including his 17 children.

The union to Maude was a minor controversy at the time. Mike’s first wife Bernetta died in May of 1917 of exhaustion. That’s what her death certificate says. The underlying cause was infection from the unsuccessful delivery of her 8th child. Maude was a foster child, raised by Peter and Catherine Noel. She was a young woman who helped Mike, who was 17 years older, at the photo studio. They had a child inside a year after Bernetta’s death, and this seemed a bit too quick for the first family. They weren’t married in the church until 1949, long after the children were born, which is surprising given the community. However, the two families got along great over time. Here is a 1982 reunion with the children of Bernetta seated and the children of Maude standing:

The Michael Farabaugh descendants had huge reunions every August, usually in Patton or Duman’s Dam near Nicktown. And since many of them started large families of their own, there were also lots of busy Christmas celebrations. Michael himself was quite involved in family functions, and toward the end of his life pursued some of the family history. His 1958 letter below to family is a charming read, ending with the words, “God love you all.” It was a good choice of words for any season (click to focus).

MJ Farabaugh 1958

 

 

Andy Farabaugh, Football Hero

 

Andy FarabaughAndy Farabaugh 1906.04.15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andy Farabaugh (1881-1952) was the nephew of steel magnate Charles Schwab and also the accomplished physician, Lawrence Flick. When Schwab was establishing Bethlehem Steel, young Andy moved in and attended Lehigh University. While there he became one of Lehigh’s greatest athletes, lettering in 5 sports. In 1902 and 1903, he was captain and the centerpiece of a  football team that twice beat arch-rivals Lafayette. The Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry is the longest running contest in all of college football. For the 1902 season, the rivalry was stoked when Lehigh lured away coach Samuel B. Newton from Lafayette. With Andy at left halfback and his brother Louis Farabaugh (1878-1958) at quarterback, the Lehigh squad posted records of 7-3-1 and 9-2-1 and won all of the home games. Nearly all the losses were at Ivy League schools, controversial games that were commonly rigged. Lehigh’s campaigns in those two years were nonetheless remarkable. The program was mediocre both before and after the Farabaugh brothers took over.

Collegiate football in the eastern states was essentially the professional level at the time. Touchdowns were 5 points. The passing and kicking were erratic, and the game was far more brutal than today’s NFL. During the 1902 season alone, there were 14 fatalities, and there on the long list of reported injuries was a broken knee cap by Andy Farabaugh.  Washington Times (Wash., D.C.), 1 Dec 1902, “Gridiron’s Victims Number Fourteen Dead.” All the major newspapers carried detailed accounts of the games, which fortunately allows us to track just how great Andy performed. A chart of his successes is at the end of this post.

Lehigh Football Team of 1902

Lehigh Football Team of 1902

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In baseball, Andy pitched the first game at the University of Virginia’s new athletic field in 1902, losing after relinquishing a 3 run lead in the 9th inning. He also pitched an entire 26-1 game loss at Harvard. After his collegiate career, Andy reportedly played with professional teams on a few occasions but did not give it full attention.

His life after Lehigh was tumultuous. In 1904, Andy was involved in an altercation in Allentown with a Mr. John Gosheen over a girl, in which Gosheen was seriously injured and Farabaugh placed under arrest by park guards. Andy was clubbed on the scalp but then escaped the guards by jumping off a trolley and eluding three shots fired at him. He was charged with aggravated assault and battery by Gosheen but acquitted by a jury vote of 11-1, with the civil damages case still pending in Easton, Pa. Later that year, he became gravely ill from typhoid fever and was hospitalized in Providence, R.I., for several weeks.

Andy became an engineer with Bethlehem Steel and other steel companies, and settled in Johnstown, Pa. He evidently worked one year as a mining engineer in Mexico, and in 1910, supervised steel production for Charles Schwab in Europe. His privileged status among the Schwabs finds him in the news travelling quite a bit. When drafted for WWI in 1918, his draft registration card indicated that he was a Superintendent at the blast furnace for Cambria Steel Co., in Johnstown, Pa., living at the Ft. Stanwix Hotel with his wife Vera. (Vera died of breast cancer in 1935). Andy apparently remained Superintendent for most of his adult working life that followed.

A 1942 registration card for WWII indicated that at the age of 61 Andy was not employed and living at 431 Lincoln St., Johnstown, and that he had an operation for pleurisy that resulted in a left side incision. At the time of his death in 1952 from arteriosclerosis, Andy was living alone in Altoona.

Andrew was perhaps the greatest athlete in the Farabaugh family bloodline, although I may be overlooking another candidate. There are the collegiate wrestling careers of Rob and Dave Yahner.  While at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in the 1980s, each placed 4th in the NCAA II wrestling tournament. Dave came very close to winning the national title in 1989, losing in OT to the eventual champion. He was a teammate of the great Carlton Haselrig.

But let’s reach back in time and give Andy his due. Here is a compilation of his game accomplishments:

1902:  7-3-1
Coach: Dr. Samuel B. Newton

W/L

Date

PF

Opponent

PA

Location

Notes

L

09-27-1902

0

Pennsylvania

12

Philadelphia, PA

According to a newspaper report, the score was unexpectedly close. “A. Farabaugh excelled for Lehigh.” Louis played quarterback in the loss.

L

10-01-1902

0

Princeton (NJ)

23

Princeton, NJ

After a scoreless first half, Princeton recovered at Lehigh’s 8 yard line after Louis Farabaugh’s high pass to the fullback Butler was fumbled, leading to the first score. Lehigh could only manage one first down the entire game.

W

10-11-1902

34

Rutgers (NJ)

0

Bethlehem, PA

T

10-15-1902

5

Navy (MD)

5

Annapolis, MD

  “In the first half, with the ball on the Lehigh’s ten-yard line, the visitors held Navy off for downs, and A. Farabaugh was given the ball. He made a clear break through the line, and, eluding Halsey and Smith, made a beautiful run of 100 yards and a touchdown.” Near the end of the game a missed field goal kick landed in the Lehigh end zone and was fielded by a Navy player for the tieing score, with Lehigh protesting that it did not touch the ball and at first refusing to resume play. “The Pennsylvanians tried to carry off the ball after the game and nearly precipitated a riot.” Louis Farabaugh also quarterbacked this game. A season list of injuries indicated that on 10/22/02 it was reported that A. Farabaugh suffered a broken kneecap at Annapolis.

W

10-22-1902

41

Union (NY)

0

Bethlehem, PA

W

10-25-1902

46

New York (NY)

0

Bethlehem, PA

W

11-01-1902

39

Haverford (PA)

0

Haverford, PA

W

11-08-1902

34

Virginia

6

Washington, DC

 “Virginia was powerless to stop Leigh’s fierce rushes.” Andy was again at left halfback and also kicked 3 goals. Louis managed the team at quarterback. In another account, it was written that “The play of Walters and A. Farabaugh was brilliant, and they were loudly applauded. Farabaugh made several long runs, and kicked goal from the 35-yard line.”

L

11-15-1902

0

Dickinson (PA)

11

Carlisle, PA

W

11-22-1902

6

Lafayette (PA)

0

Easton, PA

 “Captain Farabaugh tried twice to kick goals from the filed in the [first] half, but missed both attempts. The half ended without either side scoring.” Right end Brush made the only score of the game for Lehigh, a forty yard run for Coach Newton against his former team. “…Farabaugh, Waters and Brush excelled for Lehigh.” Louis Farabaugh did not quarterback this game.

W

11-29-1902

41

Swarthmore (PA)

0

Bethlehem, PA

246

Season Totals

57

1903:  9-2-1
Coach: Dr. Samuel B. Newton

W/L

Date

PF

Opponent

PA

Location

Notes

W

09-26-1903

83

Albright (PA)

0

Bethlehem, PA

W

09-30-1903

40

Manhattan (NY)

0

Bethlehem, PA

L

10-03-1903

0

Pennsylvania

16

Philadelphia, PA

Andy Farabaugh at left half back, Louis Farabaugh at quarterback. Lehigh only reached Penn’s territory once in the game.

W

10-07-1903

10

Swarthmore (PA)

5

Swarthmore, PA

L

10-14-1903

0

Princeton (NJ)

12

Princeton, NJ

 “Twice the visitors were within fifteen yards of Princeton’s goal, and once they came so near a touchdown that Captain Farabaugh and Coach Newton of Lehigh felt ustified in making a strenuous objection. . ..” In another controversy, “… L. Farabaugh, the Lehigh quarterback, touched the ball down on the side lines and kicked it over the Tigers’ goal line. Before anyone realized what had happened Farabaugh had fallen on the pigskin and the Lehigh rooters were dancing with joy. . . After an argument lasting nearly a half hour, Referee Young decided that the Lehigh player had not put the ball in play.”  “As a result of insubordination on the Lehigh eleven, Captain Farabaugh of that team has resigned and will play hereafter on the scrubs.”

W

10-17-1903

71

Villanova (PA)

0

Bethlehem, PA

“The football eleven representing Villa Nova was given a severe trouncing. . .long runs were common. . . Andy Farabaugh kicked eleven of the twelve goals.”

W

10-24-1903

41

Ursinus (PA)

0

Bethlehem, PA

W

10-31-1903

17

Dickinson (PA)

0

Carlisle, PA

After the kickoff, “Lehigh then began a series of mass plays, which netted them a touchdown in about fifteen minutes, and Farabaugh kicked the goal.” Andy also scored a touchdown as the left halfback, and Louis was the quarterback.

T

11-07-1903

0

Cornell (NY)

0

Ithaca, NY

Andy Farabaugh at left half back, Louis Farabaugh at quarterback. In the first half, Lehigh failed to score after reaching the 8 and then the 16 yard line of Cornell. Cornell had a fake kick that nearly scored in the second half.

W

11-13-1903

45

Susquehanna (PA)

0

Selinsgrove, PA

W

11-21-1903

12

Lafayette (PA)

6

Bethlehem, PA

Capt. Andy Farabaugh at left half back, Louis Farabaugh at quarterback, before 10,000 spectators. The game was “marked by wrangles,” and the score tied 6-6 at half. In the second half, “Farabaugh missed a place kick from Lafayette’s 30-yard line. He, however, redeemed his error by making a thirty-yard run for Lehigh, only to miss another place kick from Lafayette’s 20-yard line. Lehigh got the ball on Lafayette’s 5-yard line on a quarterback kick. Landefelt scored another touchdown for Lehigh, and Captain Farabaugh kicked the goal. It was then very dark and the referee’s whistle found the ball at Lehigh’s possession on their own 15-yard line, having secured the pigskin on a fumble when it looked as though the score might be tied.”

W

11-26-1903

12

Georgetown (DC)

6

Washington, DC

 “Lehigh showed itself the better team in all-around work, and their captain-Farabaugh-was decidedly the star of the day. He tore through the opposing phalanxes like a veritable catapult, fighting like a savage creature for his man who carried the ball. . . Capt. Farabaugh gave his team their signals and was quick to get to his post, which was generally on top of the Georgetown crowd, his strength and weight bearing them down as surely as would a falling house. . .Farabaugh, Torrey, Butler and Waters played the best game for Lehigh. . ..” Another account indicated that “. . .Georgetown was thankful that there were only two Farabaughs on the visiting team. . . Andy Farabaugh’s stellar performances have become chronic, no what what the opposition.” The box score shows that Louis Farabaugh shared quartback duties with a McFarline. “The visitors used the delayed pass with great success, and both their touchdowns were due to this particular play. When all eyes and energies were directed at some portion of the line, with Andy Farabaugh or Torrey would make an unexpected assault on the least protected position.”

331

Season Totals

45

 

 

Spooky Farabaugh Mystery No. 1: Tuberculosis

 

No. 1:  It was a close call, but I chose this for No. 1 because I find the photograph involved to be incredibly haunting and the topic relates to current events. Have a great Halloween and hope you enjoyed this series. Read on.

How did the Edward Farabaugh family get decimated by lung disease? Edward was born on the Atlantic Ocean. It is his baptism by Prince Gallitzin in Loretto that marks the arrival of the Fehrenbachers in Cambria County, to become the Farabaughs. That was on August 25, 1833. The picture below of his family was sent to me by a descendant in Florida not long after I published my book in 1990. It’s a great photo, with 13 of his children gathered around. I can tell by the background tapestry that this was taken by my great-great-grandfather Joseph Farabaugh, who used about four different backgrounds for his many studio photos. If you could collect his work, one would think that all of northern Cambria County lived in only four parlours. Edward Farabaugh Family ca 1895

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, this family was hit hard by airborne disease. On September 7, 1877, The Cambria Freeman reported that seven family members fell victim to diphtheria, an upper respiratory and throat condition that was a national epidemic at the time. This happened many years before this photo, when the family was living at the pioneer homestead in Allegheny Township. One can imagine that the disease easily spread among the children in close quarters with shared beds. Diphtheria claimed the life of six-year-old Margaret Farabaugh. The worst was yet to come.

Edward’s wife Catherine died in 1890. I believe this picture was taken on the day of her funeral at St. Benedict’s Church, located just across the street from the Joseph Farabaugh Studio. Edward looks mournful. Several of the children look thin and gaunt. In studying this further I learned that the family was dealing with a second, far deadlier airborne disease: tuberculosis. It was also called the consumption because it attacked the lungs directly and slowly “consumed” the body, resulting in weight loss and a pale, gaunt appearance. Local physician Lawrence Flick was among the first to determine that tuberculosis was highly contagious through airborne exposure, like diphtheria. But this understanding came too late for the Edward Farabaugh family. In fact, it took several more years before victims were routinely quarantined. In 1913, a sanitorium opened in nearby Cresson for this purpose. (When I first heard of this as a kid, I thought the sanitorium was a place for the insane, and that Cresson had such a high population of crazy inhabitants that a special place was needed for them. I was partially wrong.).

Returning to our photograph, I was able to figure out that four of the children shown would die of TB, and then came to the chilling realization that they are actually grouped together:

Four Consumption Victims

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left to right, we have Celestine, a Carrolltown brewmaster who succumbed to the disease in 1910. Herman died in 1903 at the age of 29. Anicetus was a coachman who died in 1895, at the age of 25. Rosanna (aka Rosaline) died in 1898 at the age of 31, leaving behind 5 young children. From what I have read, TB is usually a latent infection, with a 5-10% chance of becoming an active disease, often many years later. These four Farabaughs are all in the unlucky 5-10%. As young adults, they were not likely to be in constant close proximity as when they were struck with diphtheria as kids. But what we are witnessing here in the photo is a shared breathing zone among the four victims. It remains a mystery which of the members first brought TB to the family, but it could very well be that we are seeing the event that spread it. Believe it or not!

— Tony Bentivegna

 

 

Spooky Farabaugh Mystery No. 2: The One That Froze

 

William C. Farabaugh (1877-1936)

William C. Farabaugh (1877-1936)

 

 

 

 

 

 

No. 2: In 1957, my great-grandfather Michael J. Farabaugh received a letter from a distant cousin, E.M. Farabaugh. The letter mentioned William C. Farabaugh (1877-1936)  as “the one that Froze [sic].” In my 1990 book, I didn’t have much else on him, so I left it at that. But thanks to whiz bang search engines I recently found a detailed account of poor William’s demise from the Indiana Evening Gazette, 3 Feb 1936 (click to focus and enlarge, it’s worth the effort):

Wm C Farabaugh

A tragic tale. I have a few hard questions for the Russell Shultz family, which refused to help when William appeared at the farmhouse during that sub-zero blizzard in 1936. William misjudged the conditions and must have lacked enough warm clothing to endure the walk from Colver, so why turn him away? Neither family were strangers to the area. William had lived there his entire life. In comparing the 1930 with the 1940 Census, we can see that Russell Shultz was established as a layout worker at the steel mill in Johnstown, with a wife Helen and a daughter Betty. On that night, Russell was 30 years old, and William was 58. Although the mystery of William’s fate is solved, the cold-hearted response of the Russell Shultz family is not.

We don’t have an image of William, but here is his son Leo, who at the age of 21 went on the frantic mission only to make the grim discovery.

Leo R. Farabaugh 2

 

 

 

 

The snows from the Winter of 1936 are still within the memory of some of the local old timers. At my Dad’s wake a few years ago, I remember them being described by Mr. Shuty of Lilly, Pa. (Dad had a lot of interesting friends from all walks of life). When the snows starting melting in March and were accompanied by three days of hard rain, the Johnstown Flood of 1936 resulted. Everyone knows about the 1889 Flood, but the 1936 Flood actually did more property damage. Who knows, maybe Mr. Shultz lost his job at the steel mill. It would serve him right.

Spooky Farabaugh Mystery No. 3: Three Forgotten Boys

 

George and Elizabeth Farabaugh

George and Elizabeth Farabaugh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No. 3:  Sometime in the mid 1980s, I was able to spend a few days with the vital records at St. Benedict’s Church in Carrolltown, Pa. They record in Latin the birth of three boys to the immigrants George and Elizabeth Farabaugh. First was  “Joannem Fahrebach, son of Georgii Fahrenbach and Elizabethae Biller.” The birth date is July 3, 1854. This is followed in the records by Francis Joseph, born in 1855, and Anthony in 1856. All three boys have their baptisms recorded at the church within days or weeks of the birth dates, with witnesses in attendance.

They vanished — all 3 of them. They don’t show in the 1860 Census. There are no death or burial records. When I was preparing the Farabaugh book for publication in 1990, all descendants expressed surprise that these boys existed, including Cecelia Farabaugh, who wrote her own publication on the family and lives on the original homestead. She thinks they must have died young and are buried at St. Benedict Church. This would make sense, because George and Elizabeth had strong ties there. In 1851, George pledged $10 for the ten acres needed for the building and cemetery. On January 19, 1852, they were married in that church.

However, the church recorded deaths and burials and I didn’t see any of these boys in those records. Neither did Fr. Albert Ledoux, who later transcribed the deaths and burials. He listed several deaths of both infants and adults, but not these three:

IMG_2816

 

 

 

 

 

 

While it is possible that a burial could have been overlooked by the priests who drafted the entries, it is not plausible that all three children were victims of clerical errors. One theory is that with the church and grounds being new, the cemetery wasn’t being used yet. This doesn’t explain the lack of burial records and doesn’t really pan out. Here is an example of a tombstone there that pre-dates the birth of the three boys. I believe the church maintained a plot map, but I doubt it will list the missing boys.

Since George pledged money for the ten acre church and cemetery in 1851, why not have the boys buried on the consecrated ground there? Perhaps the family used another church cemetery. However, there is no proof of them at St. Joseph’s, the local mission church, or St. Michael’s Church in Loretto. George and Elizabeth always belonged to St. Benedict’s in Carrolltown. When another boy, Sylvester, later died at the age of 11 years, there was a funeral and burial at St. Benedict’s, and he has a tombstone there today. George and Elizabeth were also buried there themselves.

Perhaps it was decided to simply bury them on the family farm. But descendant Cecelia indicates there is no evidence of graves there. Or, because there is actually no evidence of their deaths, maybe they were actually raised by others. An intriguing thought. To me, the most puzzling aspect of this mystery is that the descendants never heard of them. If we didn’t have the baptismal records, we would never know that they existed!

Spooky Farabaugh Mystery No. 4: Whither Walter?

 

Walter D. Farabaugh (1893-1918)

Walter D. Farabaugh (1893-1918)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walter Farabaugh 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walter D. Farabaugh Tombstone

 

 

 

 

 

 

No. 4: “I don’t know if they found out!” This utterance marks the return of our most disenfranchised relative, Cecil Farabaugh. His much older half-brother Walter was reportedly gassed in WWI. When Walter was exhumed from a temporary grave in France (marked by the cross above)  and brought to Carrolltown for reinterment (the headstone above), there was an inspection of the remains to see if it was really him. It was conducted by Walter’s father Joseph, and by Dr. Charles Farabaugh, brother to Walter. The results were not shared with 12-year-old Cecil, hence the exclamation.

Walter was a Corporal in Company H, 16th Infantry, First Division. Various independent sources (local to Cambria County) state that he encountered mustard gas released by German forces at Julvecourt, France, on October 3, 1918, and died the next day. However, Walter’s death occurred in the second phase of the Battle of the Argonne Forest, and I cannot locate any account of mustard gas being deployed then. As explained here, the First Division was at the forefront of the assault on Oct. 4, Walter’s date of death. The Division advanced a mile and a half at great loss of life, but succeeded in creating a gap in the German defensive line.

In order to investigate this further, we are going to have to order Walter’s records from the National Archives. I did this years ago to learn about the WWI service of my grandfather Bede Bender. The oral tradition was that he was a radio operator on a submarine, but it turned out he was an operator on a submarine tender. If you, gentle reader, wish to take on Walter’s records be my guest. I certainly encourage it because I’m not sure when, if ever, I’ll get around to it.

The Daily Tribune, now the Tribune-Democrat in Johnstown, reported on 14 Jul 1921 that Walter’s remains arrived in Hoboken, N.J. Cecil recalled that when the casket came to Carrolltown, a guard was assigned to it at all times. Yet, there was enough family doubt that a private viewing of the remains was requested. So, there is some unfinished business in order to better understand and honor our brave relative. I suppose there is a certain romantic appeal should the mustard gas story be verified. But that was certainly a horrible, suffocating death. I’m starting to prefer the image of him charging across an open battlefield instead.

 

 

 

Spooky Farabaugh Mystery No. 5: Trouble at Waterloo

No. 5: There were three Farabaugh brothers who served in the Civil War. The oldest, Charles Farabaugh (1834-1909), is buried in Nicktown and had a significant enlistment, from October of 1863 to August of 1864. Thanks to those whiz bang search engines by the folks at ancestry.com, I isolated his picture taken with grandchildren in 1907 (uploaded by descendant Felisha McKeever):

Charles Fehrenbacher / Farabaugh (1934-1909). Photo from 1907.

Charles Farabaugh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second, was Barney Farabaugh (1835-1862). He fought in several battles and contracted typhoid fever while marching through Alexandria, Va. He is buried at the military cemetery there.

Our mystery concerns the fate of the third brother, Anselm Farabaugh (1841-?). Anselm is in the 1860 Census as a 17-year-old laborer living in Ebensburg. He was “mustered in” as they say, in April of 1861, but left service in July of the same year. He was a Private in Company G of the 10th Regiment of Pa. Volunteers and did not see significant action. His life after wartime is not known, except for one tantalizing clue. When Fr. Modestus Wirtner, OSB (1861-1948) compiled a chart of the various Farabaugh families in 1927-8, here is what he listed for this family:

Anselm Farabaugh - Wirtner Chart

Anselm died at a party in Waterloo, Iowa. How? When? Why? Fr. Modestus gives no details. There are no other clues. He cannot be found in the 1870 Census, so I believe this incident happened between July of 1861 when his enlistment ended and the Summer of 1870 when a census was taken. I just now fired off an email to the Cedar Falls Historical Society. If they don’t come through for me, I don’t know if we’ll ever know. Charles here looks confident, like he has the answer – but he ain’t talking anymore.

Addendum 29 Oct 2014. This mystery is solved. Anselm died from a fall in 1890 and is buried in Waterloo, Iowa. See comment for details. The article and tombstone are reproduced below.

A. Fernbach death 2 December 1891 Waterloo Courier

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fernbach tombstone from findagrave.com

 

 

 

 

Spooky Farabaugh Mystery No. 6: Loretto’s Mixed Up Cemetery

No. 6: Who is buried in Michael Farabaugh’s tomb?

Loretto Cemetery

If you start where this sign marked the old section of the Loretto Cemetery and walk up the hill, you will soon know that something is terribly wrong. Newer markers are next to the old; there are bald spots where graves used to be; the rows are uneven; and if you dig a bit in the grass you will find parts of old markers. There is a circa 1890 picture of the cemetery from the same vantage point, and the line of stones shown is very different.

According to lifelong Loretto resident Leo Noll, the cemetery became so overgrown in the 1930s or 1940s that he and some other workers removed large sections of headstones to more easily cut down the growth. But when it came time to put them back, they discarded the unsalvageable stones and then had to guess the original locations for the rest. This must be why the old photos of the cemetery show a different alignment of stones.

So now we have unmarked graves and pioneers buried under the wrong headstones. It would be possible to reconstruct the burials if records or a cemetery plot were maintained. No such luck. Prince Gallitzin certainly kept burial records from 1799 until his death in 1840. But there is no proof that such records were kept by his successors for the rest of the century. When Fr. Ferdinand Kittell published his Souvenir of Loretto Centenary in 1899, he included an alpha cemetery listing that he indicates (at page 165) was “chiefly” based on the headstones arranged there, and not parish records. Kittell’s project was worthwhile, but in the process he carted up the vital records the church did have (including the loose set of Prince Gallitzin’s burial records) and headed off to a monastery near Rome to compile an index, which then was transcribed for the Souvenir. All well and good, except he fumbled away all of those original records and his handwritten index. So he left us with a transcription of a transcription, and today we have no original records from the 1840-1899 era whatsoever. Lucky for us, Kittell inexplicably left behind Gallitzin’s two volumes of births, marriages and deaths, which we still have — but this is all pre-1840.

If you are confused, take heart. There is a fantastic effort here to make sense of all of this by pulling together nine different sources, to the credit of Lisa Baker, Jane Tripp and Jim Crouse.

This brings me to the mystery of the immigrant Michael Farabaugh (1808-1856). Michael had several occupations. In Germany, he was a Bierbauer (i.e. a beer brewer), so I like him already. He was also a Kufermeister (a cooper, who made staved wooden containers or barrels held together by slatted wooden hoops). He and his wife Eve brought their family to the U.S. in about 1841, and bought property at what is now Munster Township, in 1848. He was a farmer and probably stonemason too, although the 1850 Census lists his principal occupation as cooper. After this, all knowledge of him mysteriously disappears. No picture, no physical description, no stories, no death record, no newspaper article, no will – no nothing. He dies in 1856 at the age of 48 or 49 for no known reason, and today has two tombs at the Loretto Cemetery, shown below. Where is he really buried?

Michael Farabaugh Grave 1Michael Farabaugh Grave 3Michael Farabaugh Grave 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The deeply-chiseled 1856 headstone of “Michael Farabaugher” (first picture above),  is still there at the Loretto cemetery, but his remains are probably not at that spot. He was the grandfather of Loretto’s famous son, Charlie Schwab. After the Schwab Mausoleum (second picture above) was built, Michael’s name was inscribed in marble on the inside facing of what appears to be a drawer crypt, with a keyed lock release mechanism (3rd picture above).

I don’t know when the mausoleum was built, but we can infer that Michael was dug up and put into this crypt at some point in time — perhaps when Schwab arranged for Gallitzin’s remains to be transferred to his monument by the church in around 1899, or perhaps around the time Schwab himself died in 1939. If Michael’s remains were not dug up and transferred, there is a real good chance that he was part of the tombstone scramble described by Leo Noll. Either way, I think it is unlikely he still lies beneath the nice-looking stone erected in 1856.

Here’s a scenario: If he was subjected to the tombstone scramble and then the remains beneath the headstone’s new location were dug up and transferred, there is a really good chance that somebody else’s bones are in that mausoleum. One thing is for certain: Michael is a man with two tombs today. Pretty creepy.

Incidentally, the disheveled graveyard with its diseased elms, slippery slopes and lack of lighting was a favorite Halloween destination when I was a kid. The only thing it lacked was a good old creaky gate. The older boys always promised there would be an event there, so when we finished up getting candy in town we would take the side trip, wait and see, and consult a few of the inscriptions. R.I.P. Michael, wherever you are.