Charles and Martha Cheesebrough

The historical research of the life, ancestors and descendants of Charles and Martha Cheesebrough.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Charles Gordon Cheesebrough

Charles Gordon Cheesbrough, the fourth son of Charles & Martha Cheesebrough, was born on 18 July 1898 in Rea, Cross Creek Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania. 

He married Margret Johns on the 29th of May, 1918, in Brook County, West Virginia. 

They had a daughter, Martha Laura, on the 29th of March, 1919.

1920 U.S. Census
In 1920 they lived on Highland Avenue in Avella, Independence Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania.  Gordon’s occupation was a farmer and he worked away from the home.  

Their second daughter Violet V. was born in 1922.

On the 29th of April 1929 Gordon married Lena Bell Walbrown in Wellsburg, Brooke, West Virginia

1930 U.S. Census

In 1930 they lived on State Route 231 in Avella Town, Independence Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania.  The census record indicates that he re-married about one year previous.   He was working as a car repairman at a coal mine.  His children are were living with his parents nearby.  
1930 U.S. Census

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sisters Marry Brothers?

Anna Martha Cheesebrough was born December 13, 1895.  She was the second daughter of Charles and Nellie Cheesebrough. An entry in the book titled, History of Washington County, states that Martha is the wife of Frank Crow.  Martha’s sister, Sarah Nancy, married an Earl T. Crowe. 

Could these sisters be married to brothers?

The question is yet to be answered. Additional research is pending.

Based on the following obituary and headstone, we do know that Martha died March 18, 1958 in Denver, Colorado.  

The Valley Independent newspaper
March 29, 1958, Page 3.
Fort Logan National Cemetery
Denver, Colorado

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Marcus Adelbert

Marcus Adelbert Cheesebrough (Dell) was born March 28, 1893 in Cecil Township, Pennsylvania.  He was the second son of Charles and Nellie Cheesebrough.

Here is a great picture showing him with a horse. The photograph is courtesy of his daughter Viola and is part of an article by Kathryn Campbell Slasor in a 1995 edition of the Enterprise newspaper.

*See the podcast in the right column regarding his occupation and a talent during his adult life. 

He married Ida Truax of Eldersville, Pennsylvania in about 1913.
They made their home in Avella, Pennsylvania and had a daughter named Viola M.  Viola was born in about October of 1918.

By 1930, they were still living in Avella on Highland Avenue.  They owned their home that was valued at $6,000.  A new spelling of his name appears as Marquis.

In 1942, Marcus registered for the WWII draft.  The registration card again lists the first name as Marquis.  He is 49 years old, is 5'8" tall and weighing 148 pounds.  It was noted that he had experienced an amputation of toes.

Dell Cheesebough retired in 1963 after several years as a janitor of the local schools.  Marcus died in January of 1964 in Eldersville, Pennsylvania.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

First Daughter Nannie

Sarah Nancy Cheesebrough (Nannie) was born on October 27, 1891 in Cecil Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania.  She was the first daughter of Charles and Martha Cheesebrough.  At the age of 17, Sarah married Earl T. Crowe.  They had six children between the years of 1909 and 1931. 

Nellie Bell Cheesebrough was the first born on about July of 1909.  Her father was 23 and working as a coal miner.  Earl and Nannie had made their home in Avella, Pennsylvania.

During the next ten years three more children were added to the family.  Mabel A. Cheesebrough was the second daughter born in about 1913.  Her younger brother Donald C. Cheesebrough was born the following year.  Ruth E. Cheesebrough was the fourth child born in about 1919. The 1920 census record shows that Earl and Nannie lived with their four children in a home purchased in Avella.  Earl was now working as a clerk at a hardware store.  

The year 1921 must have been a very hard year for the family.  Their daughter, Clara Dale Cheesebrough, was born on the 11th of January.  She subsequently died at nine months-of-age on October 6, 1921.  Her cause of death is not known at this time, but diphtheria and smallpox were very common and fatal ailments in the very young.  In the 1920's, diphtheria was a major cause of illness and death for children in the U.S. In 1921, a total of 206,000 cases and 15,520 deaths were reported. With vaccine development in 1923, new cases of diphtheria began to fall in the U.S., until in 2001 only two cases were reported.1  In the United States, more than 100,000 cases of smallpox were recorded in 1921. Strong declines occurred after that because of the widespread use of preventive vaccines. By 1939, fewer than 50 Americans per year died of smallpox.2

The 1930 census shows Earl and Nannie still living in Avella with three children.  It appears that Nellie Bell has married at this point and moved away from home.  Earl continues to work as a clerk at a hardware store and they live in a home they own worth $4,200 on Avella Heights Rd.

The discovery of a sixth child born to Earl and Nannie came as a surprise.  A search of marriage records on yielded this marriage certificate showing 
Norma Lee Cheesebrough who was born on February 27, 1931.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tragedy Strikes

During a visit to Pennsylvania in September of 2011, I located a transcript in the Avella Public Library of an interview with a Joseph H. Kelley.  In the interview Joseph told the following story about Samuel Ross Cheesebrough (Ross).  (Warning: The story is graphic and sad.)

Joe:  …Ross was a driver and delivery man.  He stayed there from 1905 until he died in 1953.  Never worked any other place.  He [Ross, senior] worked with me at the lumber yard until he died. …He used to open up every day from ’46 until he got killed in ’53. 

Jane:  How did he get killed:

Joe:  Railroad track. Train hit him.  He was crossing… Ross’ eyesight was failing.  We were planning on him working in the yard, in the store, and me taking over the truck.  And we didn’t get to do it.  Planned on doing it the first of the year.  And it was a couple of days or so before Christmas.  From the way the engineer told it to me, he said, “I think the man thought the train was further back than it was.  He started to cross and seen the train was on him and started running ahead of it.  Of course he couldn’t outrun a train.”

Jane:  You mean he was walking?

Joe:  Yes.  He’d come to work and had forgotten his pocketbook and he went back home to get it.  He was hurrying to get this opened up by eight o’clock.  I always… I lived in Washington then and I always got there about a quarter till eight. 
I’d pulled in and I saw guys running don the track.  And there was the train crew.  I asked what was the matter and they said they’d hit a man down here.  So I just took off running right down there with them.  And we got down and there laid the body. 
The conductor of the train… it was a freight train but they had conductors too.  He asked if anybody knew who it was…
I walked up to the body and started to take his hand to feel his pulse because you could see some twitching.  The conductor said, “Take his other hand that one’s all mangled.”  We I had to roll him over a little bit and looked right down onto Ross’ face and said, “My God, that’s Ross!”  And I just took off running.  Run down and got on the telephone to call the ambulance.  Then called the house.  The ambulance came and took him.   Of course he was dead.

Jane:  Which crossing was that?

Joe:  It wasn’t a crossing; it was in back of the lumber yard.  He lived up on Highland Avenue, where his son lives now, Wayne.  In the old homestead.  He came down over that big steep bank.  There was a path cut into that bank.

The map below shows the area in Avella, Pennsylvania where this tragedy occurred.  The gray hashed- line indicates the railroad tracks adjacent to Highland Avenue.

View Larger Map

Thursday, February 9, 2012

First Child


Samuel Ross Cheesebrough was born February 14, 1890 at Cecil Township.[1]  The 1900 U.S. Census shows Samuel as a 10 year-old boy who was attending school.  He was educated in the public schools of Washington County. 


The 1910 U.S. Census shows Samuel single and still living with his parents.  He is employed as teamster doing general work.


Samuel Ross registered for the draft during World War I sometime during 1917 to 1918.  At the time he was living in Avella, Pennsylvania and was working as a coal miner at the Pittsburgh & Southwestern Coal Company. 


The 1920 U.S. Census indicates that Samuel was 28 and had married Twila.  He had a 2 ½ year-old son named Ross.  At this time he was employed as a coal miner.


According to the 1930 U.S. census, Samuel was still married to Twila and they had three children.  Ross C. was 12, Lois 8, and Wayne L. 6.  He owned his home that was worth $4,000 and he worked as a truck driver for a feed store.  This record further indicates that Samuel R. and Twila M. were married at ages 24 and 21 respectively.

     On April 27, 1942 Samuel registered for the World War II draft.  He was 52 years old, 5’ 8” tall, 163 pounds, with gray hair.  He was employed at the Avella Lumber & Supply Company in Avella, Pennsylvania.

[1] History of Washington County, S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1926, Chicago, P.328

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Nellie or Martha? What's in a Name?

A question was posed to me by a great-grandchild of Charles:  "Why does it say "Martha" for the first name of my great-grandmother?  All of the family records given to me... say "Nellie"..."

The marriage record posted last week indicated that Charles Cheesebrough married Nellie B. Hulings.  Every record since her marriage lists her as Nellie.  Every photograph that I own lists her name as Nellie.

So, why is Martha Hulings listed on the header of the blog?

The marriage record lists her father, Samuel B. Hulings, giving consent to the marriage.  During my research, I found the 1870 census record for Samuel and Sarah Hulings.  On the second page of the record it lists two daughters, Clara and Martha.  Martha's age is listed as the fraction 7/12.  The census is a record of the people as of June 1st, 1870.  Seven months prior would be November 1869.  This must be Nellie!

I have spent months searching for an 1880 census record or a birth record that may shed additional light on this question.
No matter what, she will always be know to family as Nellie!