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Genealogy of the Woodcock Valley

Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania


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I'll try to post site updates, new information, or about life in general as things happen.  ~  Deb

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Iron Ore in the Valley

Posted on April 15, 2013 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Lonnie Smith shared some photos of Aitch on his website, Huntingdon County PA History and Heritage, and he had a photo there that I had never seen before of an engine surrounded by miners of iron ore in the Woodcock Valley.

I was "raised" in Penn Township, Huntingdon County, and always heard my dad talk about the ore mines.  As a child, I always had visions of large mines you could walk into and explore.  However, in reality, all he could show me were rocky areas with small holes or piled up mounds of dirt on the side of Tussey Mountain.  This was certainly not what I had hoped to find.  One local family had an iron ore cart relic sitting in their yard, so I knew at one time the holes in the ground had to have been much bigger than what my dad was showing me.  It took until I was an adult to have a better understanding of what an ore mine might have looked like.  A  family friend was doing some excavating on his property, and actually uncovered an opening to an ore mine in 2003.  When I heard the news, I had to go and  investigate.  It was quite exciting to finally see a mine shaft going into the side of the hill with the wooden support beams still visible.  We only graced the entrance, as the shaft was small and potentially unstable, but I couldn't leave without some rock samples and photos.  For the historian in me, it was neat to think about what life was like back in the days of the miners in Penn Township.

Clair Grove can be seen above inspecting the opening of an iron ore mine that was opened up in 2003 on private property along Redstone Ridge Road in Penn Township during some construction excavation.

In the chapter on Penn Township, J. H. Wintrode wrote in the History of Huntingdon and Blair Counties, Pennsylvania for J. Simpson Africa in 1883:

"Within the last eighteen years over one hundred and fifty thousand tons of this ore were shipped from Marklesburg and Grafton Stations, mainly to the Cambria Iron Company of Johnstown, and to the furnace of the Grove Brothers, of Danville, Montour Co., Pa. At present the Grove Brothers are almost the exclusive owners of the ore leases of the township."


The engine in the above photo says J. H. Grove on it.  The back of the photo offers the following description:  

"Grove Brothers of Danville, Montour County were almost the exclusive owners of ore (iron) in Penn Township.  One hundred 50 thousand tons of ore were removed from 1865 to 1883.  The mines on Tussey Mountain operated till 1918.  A tipple was built in Isett hollow and the ore was shipped by the Huntingdon Broad top RR to Cambria Iron at Johnstown and the Grove brot. furnaces at Danville.  Huntingdon Co. now claims the ore lease left by the Grove brothers.  There are literally thousands of tons still left in Tussey.  This picture shows the engine and crew and miners.  Note ore car above the front of the engine loaded with ore.  Dumped car on the right is dumping tailings.  Engine hauled cars to the tipple where H & BT backed cars for loading the coasled loaded cars to Brumbaugh to be hauled on the mainline to the Penna. RR."  It is unknown at this time who wrote this information, but obviously the first part was taken from Africa's History.

I grew up at the entrance to Isett Hollow, where James K. Isett and his wife Elizabeth (Garner) Isett lived.  Their property had been in the previous ownership of Elizabeth's father, John Matthew Garner, and surrounded by her brothers.  It is apparent that there was strife over the iron ore rights as can be seen in the following pages from the book, The Mining Reports: A Series Containing the Cases on the Law of Mines Found in the American and English Reports, Arranged Alphabetically by Subjects, With Notes and References, Volume 2, by R. S. Morrison (1883), pages 698-711, that involve the Garner family and Michael J. Grove, owner of Grove Brothers of Danville:  

The Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain Railroad was completed by 1864.  The H&BTM RR left the Pennsylvania Railroad line in Huntingdon and traversed the Woodcock Valley area of Huntingdon County into Bedford County and ended at Mount Dallas.  Within the Woodcock Valley area, there were many stops at Grafton/Hesston, Stump Hill, Brumbaugh, Marklesburg, Fouse, Entriken, Hummel/Beaver, Russell, and Cove to name a few where iron ore could be loaded for transport to a larger rail line.  

The above map shows the Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain Railroad line with stops throughout Huntingdon County.  In 1877, there were 32 stations located on the line, 81 bridges, 10 wood and water stations, and the line had run 16,938 tons of iron and other ores.

In 1910, the Pennsylvania Railroad built their own north-south line, which took traffic away from the Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain Railroad.  The iron ore mines closed along Tussey Mountain about 1918.  Eventually, the Broad Top coal fields were depleted, and the H&BTM RR was reduced to predominantly passenger trains through 1953.  The H&BTM RR officially closed in 1954. 

It is amazing that there was such an industry in such a small area that necessitated rail line stops and spurs to haul the iron ore out of the Tussey Mountain.  Mining was a livelihood for many local people.  The Huntingdon & Broad Top Mountain Railroad also provided jobs and a means of transportation for both iron ore and passengers of the Woodcock Valley.

Fisher Family Frustrations

Posted on April 2, 2013 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (5)

I was recently contacted by a Fisher cousin, Richard Fisher.  We began comparing notes on our Fisher lines and quickly came to the same conclusion:  We both have the same Fisher brick wall!  I spent large chunks of whole days pouring through information on the  Fisher family over my recent Easter vacation.  Unfortunately, I'm still as lost as ever.

John David Fisher [1821-1868]

My Fisher line (as well as Richard's) goes back to Henry Fisher, who married Christiana Dilling. The two are buried in St. Luke's Cemetery in Liberty Township, Bedford County, PA. They were the parents of at least ten known children. I descend through their second son, Casper Fisher (1824-1891) and Richard through their first son, John David Fisher [1821-1868].

The known children of Henry and Christiana (Dilling) Fisher include:

John David Fisher [1821-1868]

Casper Fisher (1824-1891)

William Fisher (1826-1903)

David Fisher [b. abt. 1828]

Sarah (1834-1896)

Isaac (b. abt. 1836)

Elizabeth (1836-1910)

Christiana (abt. 1839-1873)

Catharine (b. abt. 1842)

Mary Ann (b. abt. 1846)

Christiana was the daughter of Johann Casper Dilling and Christina Butterbaugh. Her tombstone indicates she died on November 30, 1877 at 77 years of age. This would place Christiana as being born about 1800. However, many researchers say she was born in 1803. I have never found a definitive research source that confirms her date of birth.

Henry Fisher's parents are unknown. His tombstone indicates he died February 3, 1876 at 84 years of age. This would have him being born about 1792. However, many researchers say he was born in 1786, and census reports indicate he was born about 1796.   Again, I can find no sources that support these dates of birth other than the databases of individual researchers and census reports.

It is very frustrating not to be able to prove the parents of Henry Fisher. It is strongly believed that he was the son of another Henry Fisher from the Heidelberg area of Berks County, PA...but which one? Henry was a very popular name in the Fisher family!  At this point, I am even questioning why I even think my Henry was the son of another Henry anymore; where did I come up with that idea in the first place???

There are potentially two (or more) Henry Fisher's that could be the father of my Henry Fisher, who married Christiana Dilling. They are:


1. Henry Fischer (1739-1822), who married Christina Durst. He was the son of Johann Wilhelm Fischer and Elizabeth Gertrude Hain. Henry and Christina were the parents of the following known children:

Peter (1761-1783)

Christina (b. 1763)

John (1765-1844)

Catharine (b. 1767)

Elizabeth (b. 1769)

Anna Maria (b. 1771)

Susanna (b. 1773)

Margaret (1775-1834)

Philip (1777-1816)

Catharine (1780-1849)

Frederick (1782-1836)

I're probably saying to yourself, "But they didn't even have a child named Henry!" I know, but just wait; it gets more interesting!

2. Henry Fisher (1758-1823), who married Susanna Ruth. He was the son of Peter Fischer (brother of Henry #1 above) and Appolonia Heckert. Henry and Susanna were the parents of the following known children:


Mary "Polly" (1790-1830)

Samuel (1791-1824)

Sarah Ann (1793-1867)

Daniel (1795-1839)

John [1798-1828]

Henry (b. 1801)

The son Henry, b. 1801, supposedly left home and was never heard from again according to a published article from the Berks County Genealogical Society in their Journal of the Berks County Genealogical Society Volume 14, No. 4 dated Summer of 1994 entitled "Johan Wilhelm Fischer:  A Brief Overview of His Ancestors, Life, Death, and Descendants" by Kenneth L. Fisher.  Researchers later discovered that he had supposedly moved to Columbia County, PA.

Years ago, I was in touch with Fisher family descendants in Columbia County who confirmed there was a Henry of the right age in the area, but they claimed that he was born in Columbia County, and came from an established family in that area.  However, I recently found a published bio in the Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties, Pennsylvania:  Containing a Concise History of the Two Counties and a Genealogical and Biographical Record of Representative Families:  In Two Volumes published in 1915 that confirms the Henry born above in 1801 did indeed go to Columbia County from Berks County in 1821!

Henry Fisher, #2 above, who married Susanna Ruth, died while visiting in Huntingdon County. His daughter, Mary "Polly" was married to Henry Spang, who operated the furnace at Mt. Etna in neighboring Blair County, PA (which was still in Huntingdon County at the time of Henry's death in 1823).

I have often wondered if the birth year is wrong for the younger Henry (b. 1801) above, since he went missing and researchers only thought they had found him in Columbia County, PA. Was he actually my Henry who married Christiana Dilling? After all, wouldn't it make more sense that his father died here in Huntingdon County while visiting his daughter Mary AND his son Henry? However, I can't prove it; and, the birth date just seems to be too far off.  In addition, there is a published bio now from 1915 that ties Henry (b. 1801) living in Columbia County, PA back to his Berks County roots and gives the correct names of his ancestors.

One of the above Henry's also married Sarah Hunter.

Some on-line researchers claim Henry #1 was married to Christina Durst, Susanna Ruth, and Sarah Hunter! Good grief...that certainly confuses everything. They claim Henry married Christina in 1761, Susanna in 1781 and Sarah in 1791. If this is true, then son Frederick (of Henry #1 above) would not be a child of Christina Durst, but rather a child of Susanna Ruth. If my Henry were really born in 1786 as some researchers list, then he could potentially be a child of Susanna Ruth too. However, if his tombstone is correct and he was born about 1792, he could potentially belong to the 3rd wife, Sarah Hunter. Are you confused yet?????  I personally do not buy this scenario at all, but it is on the web.

How will this mess ever be straightened out?  The only possible answer I can come up with after pouring over every record known to exist was to do DNA testing on my father, and hope that he matches other Fisher family members who can confirm their lineage to sort out which line my Henry Fisher belongs to.  So, I splurged at income tax refund time and tested my almost 81 year old dad, who now officially thinks I'm crazy!  I sent his DNA cheek swabs off to Family Tree DNA, and am now anxiously waiting on the results!  

A number of Fisher names have already been tested, and I see one from the above lines in Berks County as well as one from the Columbia County line who have already posted their lineage.  If my dad matches one or both of them, it will answer a lot of questions.  However, I am fully prepared, as would be my luck, that he will not match any tested line.  If the latter scenario comes true, then my hope is that someone in the future will be tested who will match my dad.  In my mind, it was a critical investment to test my dad now rather than later.  He only has one living brother left to carry the surname Fisher and one living nephew.  I felt I had to test my dad now in hopes that his DNA will some day solve the Fisher Frustration mystery.


Marklesburg - Way Back When

Posted on March 8, 2013 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Marklesburg is a tiny town located in the heart of the Woodcock Valley.  It is a quaint and quiet little town that has had it's share of commerce through the years, but always a friendly spot known for it's tight knit family atmosphere.  It is a borough located within the boundaries of Penn Township.  Throughout it's history, the town has sported general stores, a shoe shop, gas station, post office, and a variety of other specialty shops.

Sam Hinish recently shared some old photo postcards with me of Marklesburg from way back when.  Viewing the post cards can make one realize how little the town has really changed through the years, but they also show the toll of progress.

The above was once the Methodist Church.  It was no longer being used, and was purchased by the James Creek Church of the Brethren when they lost their former church to the construction of Raystown Lake in the early 1970s.   The church is located at the northern end of the town.  It is still in operation and looks much the same.

At one point in time, there was a school house located at each end of Marklesburg.  The photo above shows the old and new schools.  The old school is located in the foreground of the photo and the new Normal School in the background.  The Normal School still exists and serves as the US Post Office for James Creek and the Marklesburg Borough Building.  It was a two-room school house designed to teach young men and women to become teachers.  The old school no longer exists.  A private home is now situated on the lot.

Here is a closer view of the Marklesburg Normal School.  This may actually be a graduating class photo of an outbound group of teachers.

This photo shows the dirt main street of Marklesburg looking south toward Saxton.  Except for the dirt, this is still very much the view you see looking down Route 26 in Marklesburg.  Many of the houses still exist, along with the shade trees.

This is another view of Marklesburg from a side street.  The photographer was standing near the back alley area, and looking straight down the street toward the road to Aitch.  St. Matthew's Lutheran Church can be seen in the distance.  The chickens are feeding on what is now a side street.  Notice the Isenberg clothing sign painted on the building for some local advertising.

Here is a close up of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church.  The church is still in existence and has expanded through the years.  It is located along the road that led to the neighboring community of Aitch.

This building is a mystery.  Is it a church or a school house or both?  I'm not at all sure where this building was located, but it was gone before the 1930s.  Could it have been the school house that was located at the northern end of town somewhere near the Marklesburg Fire Hall?  If so, why was it so large?  Any input from those knowledgeable with the Marklesburg area is greatly appreciated!  If you know about this building, please comment below or contact me.

You can view all of these photos and more in the Local Houses, Places, and Deeds photo album and in the Schools photo album.  As always, if you have any old photos, please feel free to add them or e-mail them to me by using the Contact Me link on the left of the page.

Norris, Garner, and Schell

Posted on December 31, 2012 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

I would like to start this post by wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!!!!  I hope 2013 brings you health and happiness and wonderful genealogy finds!  

While I have not been a very active researcher the last several months, I always have my eyes open, and love to hear from others.  I am sometimes slow to respond, but I will always get back to other researchers in time.

Others on the site have been working hard and posting new information to the website.  Ron McCall has written two detailed family history reports on Joseph Norris and John B. Garner that can be viewed in the Family Histories area of the website.  

In the first report, Ron chronicals Joseph Norris, Sr. and his movements to Huntingdon County, his endeavors, and the movements of his children.  The report is entitled The First Norris Family in Huntingdon County.  Ron follows each of Joseph Sr.'s children, and even goes into detail on the wives of his oldest son, John D. Norris.

Ron's second report is on the family of John B. Garner and his first wife, Eleanor (Norris) Garner.  Most of John B. Garner's children moved westward, and the real reason was never known until Ron and his wife Dorothy interviewed some family members.  Ron explains the circumstances surrounding the John B. Garner family in his report entitled Why One Garner Family Moved Westward.  In the report, Ron explains the circumstances that separated the children from their father, and why many went west.  He follows each child, and included tombstone photos for many of the family members buried in Missouri, which can be viewed in the Garner Family photo album.  

Lonnie Smith, Jr. also contributed a large number of tombstone photos, obituaries, and photographs to the Schell Family photo album.  I merged the album he created with an album that I already had, and organized everything into family groups within the album.  Lonnie is a young genealogist, who recently completed a new website, Huntingdon County PA History and Heritage.  

I want to thank all of the site members for a wonderful 2012, and for all of your wonderful contributions to this site.  Please continue to visit, add your treasures, and post about your searches.

Happy New Year!

Gerald Isaac Grubb (1921-1943)

Posted on September 29, 2012 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Gerald Isaac Grubb was a Woodcock Valley hero who paid the ultimate sacrifice during World War II.  

I was recently contacted by Nancy, who aquired Gerald Grubb's World War II service journal.  From entries she shared, Gerald was the radio operator on air flights during the war.

Gerlad Isaac Grubb was born October 8, 1921.  He was the son of J. Carl Grubb and Edythe Lillian Horton Grubb.  

J. Carl and Edythe were the parents of the following known children:  Loretta J., Gerald Isaac, Cloyd Philip, Willard L., and Kirby C. Grubb.  The father, J. Carl, was killed March 30, 1938 by a dynamite explosion.  Gerald writes of his father's death, his brother Cloyd's birthday, and the wish that Cloyd would not be drafted and "I don't want any of my brothers in this war.  I'll try to do enough for all of them."  

He was the grandson of Isaac Bowers (1866-1946) and Rachel Ann (Shultz) Grubb (1875-1964) and Philip A. (1863-1943) and Alberta Vance (Houck) Horton (1865-1939).

From his journal, it would also appear that Gerald had a sweetheart, Marie Hoover, who gave him the journal for his 21st birthday.  Gerald writes about Marie, and her birthday on August 9.  It seems as if she might have been turning 15 in 1942.  


Unfortunately, Gerald Isaac Grubb lost his life on March 30, 1943 in the Aleutian Island area.  The details of his death are not known.  His last journal entry appears below on March 29, 1943, the day before he died.


The body of Gerald Isaac Grubb was returned to the Woodcock Valley area of Huntingdon County, where he was buried in the Old Stone Church Cemetery in Penn Township.  A news article of Gerald Grubb's death states:

"S-SERGT. Gerald I. Grubb---Another young soldier from Huntingdon County has paid the supreme sacrifice, according to a telegram received today by the Huntingdon Chapter, American Red Cross.  The soldier who gave his life in defense of his country was Staff Sergeant Gerald I. Grubb, son of Mrs. Edythe L. Grubb of Aitch. He was killed in action in the North American area on March 30th. The young hero was 21 years old on October 8, 1942, and at that time he was on duty as first radio operator on a Consolidated bomber with the Air Corps in Alaska. Sergeant Grubb's father, J. Carl Grubb in deceased. Isaac G. Grubb, of R.D., Hesston, is his grandfather. A brother Cloyd Philip Grubb, was among the selectees who left Huntingdon on Thursday for the reception center at New Cumberland, to begin his army career. Sergeant Grubb is a graduate of Huntingdon High School, class of 1938. He enlisted in the Air Corps in March 1941. He received his training at Tampa, Fla,; Leavensworth, Kansas; Scott Field, Illinois, and March Field, Cal. The young aviator had several hundred hours in the air and had extensive experience in aerial combat. His squadron commander while he was still on duty in California, was Colonel Woods, who was commander of the late Capt. Colin P. Kelly. Many of Gerald's friends stationed in California at the time personally knew Captain Kelly."

Nancy is trying to locate Marie Hoover or a close family member with which to share the journal.  I wish I had a photo of Gerald Isaac Grubb to share, but I do not.  If you have one that I can share, please contact me.  You can view other pages from his journal in the Grubb Family photo album.  I also have a photo album for his grandparens, the Isaac and Rachel (Shultz) Grubb Collection, with some family photos.

If you know of a close family member, or have more information on Marie Hoover, please use the Contact Me button with more information.  I do know that his brother Cloyd had at least two daughters, but I know very little about Gerald Isaac Grubb's siblings, nieces, or nephews.

Every year before Memorial Day, my husband and I place a flag on the grave of Gerald I. Grubb.  I now have a new appreciation for his service to our country after reading his journal pages that Nancy so graciously shared.

53rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry

Posted on August 29, 2012 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)

The 53rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was formed very early during the Civil War.  Company C of the 53rd P. V. I. was formed from the Huntingdon and Blair County areas of central Pennsylvania.  Many of the men to enlist in September and October of 1861 were from the Woodcock Valley area of Huntingdon County.  Most were mustered in October 17, 1861.

I have created a new page dedicated to the men of Company C of the 53rd P. V. I.   The page includes a brief history, the battles the men engaged in, a list of every person known to serve with Company C, and some additional resources.  When possible, I included information and/or photos of each veteran.  However, I still need a lot more information!  If you have an ancestor who served with Co. C of the 53rd P. V. I,, please complete a Roll Call form and submit his information.  I will then respond to you via e-mail.  

The men of Co. C were at the Battle of Gettysburg, and their names are represented on the plaque for the 53rd at the Pennsylvania Memorial.

There were several injuries at Gettysburg received by the men of Co. C who fought in the Wheatfield area.  Matthew G. Isett was killed at Gettysburg.  You can read more about this battle in the letters of Anthony J. Beaver, which are contained in the Faces of the 53rd PVI photo album.  Anthony detailed Matthew Isett's death and the injuries received by the men of Company C.

The men of the 53rd continued fighting until the end of the war.  As the war went on, many men joined Co. C from Company K of the 145th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry in 1864 and 1865.  These men were originally recruited in Erie County, Pennsylvania.  

The men of Company C and of the 53rd Regiment reunited in Gettysburg on several occassions.  The photo below was taken on September 12, 1899.  They are pictured at the 53rd monument.

The photo below was also taken at Gettysburg, but the exact date is not known.  There are a number of veterans from Company C in the front row.  Those who have already been identified include Samuel Wilson Norris, Samuel Watson Gill, and John G. Garner.  

Finally, the men of Company C met and reunited locally as well.  The photo below was taken on June 8, 1898, in Grafton, now known as Hesston, in Huntingdon County, PA.  

Some of the local men from the Woodcock Valley area of Huntingdon County who served with Compan C have been identified above.  Samuel Wilson Norris is the first person on the left in the front row.  Samuel Watson Gill is the fourth person from the left in the front row (there is another man on the ground in front of him).  John G. Garner is the third man in the back row from the left.  Can you identify any other faces from the Woodcock Valley?

Please fill out a Roll Call form if you can submit additional information on any member of Company C of the 53rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.  I would love to have biographical information on each man, photos, and/or letters written during the Civil War.  You can find the photos and letters I already have in the Faces of the 53rd PVI photo album.  Finally, be sure and check out the Company C, 53rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry page.  It includes a lot of information on our ancestors who left the Woodcock Valley to serve their country during the Civil War.

Norris Cemetery

Posted on August 14, 2012 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (2)

With progress comes change.  Change was necessary for the construction of Raystown Lake.  The ridges and valleys of the Woodcock Valley lost some historical treasures in the face of progress.  One of the local landmarks lost to visitors was the Norris Cemetery.  

The Norris Cemetery was located on property owned by Joseph Norris, Sr. (1729-1813).  Long time Norris researcher, Ron McCall, recently wrote the history of the Norris Cemetery, and included information on those who were buried in the Norris Cemetery.

One of the oldest burials with a marked tombstone was that of Joseph Norris.

This photo was taken by Ron McCall.  All of the known graves in the Norris Cemetery were relocated to the White Church Cemetery at Jacob's Church, where this photo was taken.  

There were at least 31 burials at the Norris Cemetery.  For the most part, the burials were members of the Norris family.  Ron McCall created a map of the cemetery based on one done by the US Army Corps of Engineers before the graves were relocated.

To see a list of all the known graves in the Norris Cemetery, please visit the Norris Cemetery page, where Ron McCall gave information on each person.  A great big thank you to Ron McCall for creating the Norris Cemetery page!


In total, the US Army Corps of Engineers relocated a total of 13 cemeteries.  The cemetery names and those whose graves were moved to a new cemetery can be found on the Burial Records page. 

Penn Township Schools

Posted on August 8, 2012 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (1)

I scanned a number of school photos when I visited with Clair Grove.  After posting them to the website, I went through to make sure I included the teacher names on the Schools pages.  One of the scans I found was a list of the Penn Township teachers from an unknown year.

This article was published in the Huntingdon Daily News 50 years after it's original publication.  The exact date of publication and the follow-up date are not known.  However, I do know that James Brumbaugh was at the Bower School during the years 1901-1902 and 1915-1917.  Using my genealogy detective skills, Blanche Lininger was not born until 1902, so for her to be a teacher too, this article had to have originally been published between 1915-1917.

This article brought two new schools to my attention:  the Brumbaugh School and the White School.  Obviously, both schools are no longer in existence, and were probably lost for the construction of Raystown Lake if not before.  It makes sense to me that the Brumbaugh School should have been somewhere in the vicinity of the Brumbaugh Homestead and Cemetery.  However, no one I've talked to remembers it or knows where it was.  My dad remembers the White School.  It was on the road that now takes you into the Susquehannock Campground.  For the old timers, he told me it was between the Speck's house and the White's lane on the right hand side of the road.  

I would love to learn more about these two schools and any other schools in the Woodcock Valley for which I have not yet created a page or do not have photos or a lot of information.  I would love to have building photos, class photos, souvenir booklets, teacher's names, pupil's names, and any other helpful information you might be able to share.  If you can contribute some school-related items, post a comment below or send me a message using the Contact Me form.

In the mean time, please be sure and check out the Schools page and the Schools photo album.

Joseph M. Norris

Posted on August 8, 2012 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Joseph M. Norris is a descendant of the John D. Norris family from Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.  

This bio of Joseph M. Norris is from the book, A Standard History of Ross County, Ohio: An Authentic Narrative of the Past, with Particular Attention to the Modern Era in the Commercial, Industrial, Civic and Social Development, Volume 2, which was written by Lyle S. Evans and published in 1917 by Lewis Publishing Company.  The book can be found on Google Books by clicking on the link above.


You can see some family photos from this line in the John D. Norris Family photo album.

It's Just a House...

Posted on August 3, 2012 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (0)

but it used to be a home filled with love and memories and family.  But when those are gone, it's no longer a home, right?  It was a bittersweet day on July 21, when my dad and his siblings sold the family home at public auction.  It was the only Fisher home I ever knew, but it wasn't the first for them.

My dad was one of 13 children born to Philip Carl "Mike" Fisher and Cora Blanche (Norris) Fisher.  They started in a log house in the Upper Corner area of Penn Township.  My dad recalls that the house had only one big room upstairs that was divided by a curtain to make two bedrooms.  One side was for his parents and the other side for all the kids.

All of the children were born in the log cabin, and two of the children died there at a young age.  The house had belonged to Philip's parents, Jackson and Sarah Belle (Swope) Fisher.  Jackson died shortly after his youngest son married, and Sarah Belle continued to live with her son and new daughter-in-law.  Sarah Belle acted as midwife and delivered all of her grandchildren up until her death in 1937.

In May, 1945, a very large Fisher family had the opportunity to buy a farm with a larger brick farm house that gave everyone room to grow.  The house afforded enough room for a dining room table large enough for the whole family, and enough room for Grandma to bake bread, make pies, tend her garden, can and preserve the crops, and do all the things farm wives did back then.  However, this home was not to last either.  The US Army Corps of Engineers purchased the farm for the construction of Raystown Lake.  The farm itself would not be under water, but the house and outbuildings were torn down to create the Seven Points Recreation area.  The farm is right across the road from the Visitor's Center.

So, my widowed grandmother bought three acres in Penn Township between Hesston and Marklesburg and had a split-level home built between 1972 and 1973.  She made sure it had an open floor plan to accomodate her still growing family that was now being blessed with many grandchildren.  There was always room at the dining room table, and if there wasn't, a make shift table was extended into the living room.  There was always enough seating in the living room too.  I'll never know how we all fit in that house, but we most surely did.  It was always the central hub and gathering spot for any family function.

Eventually, Grandma died, and then my uncle who lived there died, until it was only my aunt left.  As everyone aged, so did the house and upkeep became more difficult for my aunt.   While it has been hard to say goodbye, it is just a house, but one with so many wonderful memories.  I had to take some final photos of the fuzzy wallpaper in the bathroom and the old wallpaper in the kitchen.  There are other aspects that will always be in my mind's eye, for which no photos are necessary.


We all gathered on a cold, drizzly morning to see the family treasures sold.  I was fortunate enough to buy my grandmother's china cupboard, a quilt made of feed-sacks that she sewed together, a set of her dishes, and some other special memories.

One of my most precious purchases was a box of old photos.  I saw the assistant pull the box out of another box and put it aside.  I watched as he looked through the box while other items were sold, and I could see the old photos.  I have no idea who was bidding against me, but those photos had to be mine regardless of the price.  I paid dearly for them, but I was thrilled with my box of more than 50 photo postcards.  

This brings me to the point of my rambling blog post...the photos in the box are largely unidentified.  The box was full of photo postcards and one tin type.  The box of photos obviously belonged to Sarah Belle (Swope) Fisher, because the few that are addressed are to her.  From what I can tell, the whole box appears to be her friends and relatives.  I need your help to identify these photos!

Here is an example of one of the photos.  I am very certain that Sarah Belle (Swope) Fisher is in the middle and that the younger man on the right is probably one of her sons, maybe Chester.  I suspect the man on the left is Orbison Clapper, and that the young girl is one of his daughters.  Orbison was Sarah Belle's nephew through marriage.  This man, who I suspect is Orbison, appears in a lot of the photos.  There definitely were photos of his children in the box.

All of the photos from the box that have not already been identified are included in the Unknowns Photo Album.  Please take a look at these photos and see if you find a familiar face.  If you do, please post a comment under that photo!!!

It was a bittersweet day to say good-bye to our family home, but it was a special day to be able to buy some of my fondest memories back from my grandmother's home, and to be able to share a box of special photos with others who are interested in the Fisher family and local history.


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