Love Stories in Shades of Greene

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

Originally published in Greene Speak in two parts, February 2005 and February 2006. Updated July 2020.

Here is an old favorite revived from our Greene Speak column series. Without their love stories, for better or worse, we would not be here today. Tell us, how did your ancestors meet?


Love at First Sight

Frances Cook was born in Greene County, Pennsylvania, in 1887, but moved as a young woman with her family to Columbiana, Ohio. Ties to Greene County remained strong. Frances returned often to visit friends and relatives. On one such occasion Frances sang with her hostess in the church choir. When John Madison Livingood caught sight of the musical guest, he turned to a friend and said, “I’m going to marry that girl.” ( Listen)

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The House That Cyrus Built

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

On June 7, 1870, Cyrus W. Pyle, a 26-year old carpenter, was enumerated by the Census taker in the household of Simon Rinehart, a stone cutter, in Waynesburg, Greene County, Pennsylvania. Compared to Simon Rinehart with thousands of dollars in real and personal estate, Cyrus had just personal estate valued at $200 and a teenage, carpenter’s apprentice boarding with him in the Rinehart house.[1] Cyrus was also a newlywed, having married Susan E. Hertzog in neighboring Fayette County, Pennsylvania, on 28 April 1870,[2] but the young couple were living separately as late as 12 August 1870, when the Census taker reached Susan at her parents’ house near Masontown, Fayette County.[3]

The Rineharts were the artisans behind many of the fine tombstones in Green Mount Cemetery, so it is interesting that their tenant, Cyrus W. Pyle, purchased a block of lots immediately across the street facing that burial ground on 1 April 1875.[4] Cyrus’s property in the Flenniken Addition of Waynesburg, contained lots 53 and 54. When Cyrus sold the property on 25 January 1882, there was a notable change of language in the Deed description to include buildings with the land.[5]

Close up of Cyrus Pyle’s property across from Green Mount Cemetery cropped from the map of Waynesburg in Caldwell’s Illustrated, Historical, Centennial Atlas Of Greene County, Pennsylvania, 1876. Digital image courtesy of David Rumsey Map Collection.
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Civil War Letters in a Family Bible

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

Two letters tucked into the pages of a family Bible, reveal how a family pulled together to bring home a fallen soldier.

The Bible once belonged to William Mitchell Clemens [1851-1938] and his wife, Elizabeth Jane Grimes [1854-1937]. The couple likely bought or received the Bible at the time of their marriage in 1872, the same year the Bible was published. On it’s decorative pages, William and Elizabeth recorded the date of their wedding, births and deaths of their children, and most helpfully to the extended Clemens cousins, they pasted in a list of births and deaths for William’s parents and siblings, taking the data back the tree another generation. It is this list that corresponds to the two letters also preserved within the Bible’s pages. William’s parents, John Charles Clemens [1804-1873] and Louisa Hupp [1815-1875], are recorded with their seven children. Included on this list is their son John Hupp Clemens [1839-1864] who served in Company A, 100th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. John was killed in action 17 June 1864 at Petersburg, Virginia.

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The Long and Sad Goodbye: World War I Families Wait to Bury Their Fallen Soldiers

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

A CENTURY AGO, on Memorial Day 1920, most WWI families were still waiting to bring their sons home for burial. There were many factors involved in the long delay.

At US military bases in 1918-1919, flu deaths were followed by funerals at home in a much more reasonable period of time since international travel was not required. However, the volume and chaos of the flu epidemic still brought about delays and restrictions for those families.

In the war zone of Europe, sick or wounded soldiers who spent their final days at military hospitals were buried in graves organized nearby and so were often brought home earlier than their comrades who fell on the battlefield, even if their deaths occurred later in the war.

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Flu 1918: Greene County, Pennsylvania

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

We are living through tough times, but we have been here before. The genealogist’s approach to history is to learn about it from the local level outward. Our ability to relate, empathize, understand, and simply be interested, increases when the history is tangible: places, people, and events that we know personally. Local history reduces our degree of separation from past events, even though we are separated by time.

Knowing that our ancestors experienced similar circumstances and endured, makes it easier for us to do the same. We are here today because they survived their hard days.

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The Census – The Personal Public Record

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

Originally published in Greene Speak, January 2007. Updated December 2019.

The decade-by-decade details that have been cataloged by United States Census takers since 1790, culminate in one of the most research-rich and personally insightful record sets regarding the everyday existence of our ancestors and communities. Available for public perusal for years 1790 to 1940 (excepting the damaged 1890 entries), census records indicate: where and with whom our relatives lived; when and where they were born; how they earned a living; the languages spoken at home; the values of their real and personal property; and, all of this for each of their neighbors too. As incredible as this information is, the thing that is really exceptional about the Census, is that it goes a step further – a step taken when the Census taker walked through our ancestors’ doors and into their homes.

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She Watches from the Grave

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

Originally published by Candice Buchanan as a contributing chapter in Supernatural Lore of Pennsylvania: Ghosts, Monsters and Miracles, Thomas White, Editor (Charleston, South Carolina: History Press, 2014), 35.

The Martin Mausoleum in Green Mount Cemetery. (Photo by Candice Buchanan, 2014.)

Far from its main entrance, where the gravel road winds near the back gate, stands Green Mount Cemetery‘s haunted mausoleum. It is not especially large, but it is stately, with a small porch supported by four pillars. Its heavy, gray stone is contrasted by a tempting patch of color within. To get a good look, a passerby must climb the stairs to the narrow porch and come nose-to-nose with the crypt’s glass doors to peer between the metal bars. On each side are four drawers, occupied and identified accordingly. On the back wall, in vivid hues and artisan craftsmanship, an elderly woman stares back from a stained-glass window portrait. Her expression is stern, but it is her eyes that are haunting. As you study her, she studies you back. There is an eerie feeling of being watched. According to legend, her eyes actually move to follow visitors until they are safely out of range. Local lore explains that she holds this eternal vigil because her husband wronged her in life and she is forever watching him in death. Other versions say that she guards her family from beyond the grave, with her eyes not only on anyone who approaches from the outside, but also on everyone entombed on the inside. Children who play hide-and-seek games in the cemetery see her both as protector, using the mausoleum as safe base, and as opponent, identifying her as the threat to either hide or run from.

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The Man Who Brought Football to Waynesburg College

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

Originally published in Greene Speak, June 2006.

In the fall of 1894, a 20-year-old transfer student arrived on the Waynesburg College campus bringing with him a passion for a young and still developing pastime.

Thomas Davies Whittles, Waynesburg College, Class of 1896, item no. WAYN_AN001_1896_0019, Waynesburg University Paul R. Stewart Museum Collection, Greene Connections Archives Project (www.GreeneConnections.com).

Thomas Davies Whittles, the man who brought football to Waynesburg College, was born in Bardsley, Lancashire, England, on December 27, 1873, to Robert and Emma (Davies) Whittles. When he was ten years old, he immigrated to the United States with his mother and sister, landing in New York on May 21, 1884, after a voyage aboard the ship Helvetia.

Thomas was privileged to receive a preparatory school education at an institution where football was already being played. Outside of the ivy-league schools that had developed the game, football was only being introduced into a wider selection of colleges and universities in the 1890s, and Waynesburg, for its part, had neither received nor encouraged any such introduction, until Thomas came to town.

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Case Study: Local Celebrity

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

The Greene County Historical Society in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania holds a carte-de-visite size photograph album connected to the Cathers, Inghram, Lindsey, Munnell, and related families. In the album is a CDV captioned “Jesse Lazear.” The photographer stamp credits Whitehurst Gallery, 434 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.[1] This photograph shows up again, in combination with another pose from the same sitting, captioned as Jesse Lazear, as a loose CDV in the orphaned images of GCHS and also of the Waynesburg University Paul R. Stewart Museum.[2]

This popular photo has made not only these three archived appearances, but it has also made itself present in family photograph collections and research questions submitted by private families to the Greene Connections: Greene County, Pennsylvania Archives Project. Whether the image appears (1) captioned as Jesse Lazear, (2) captioned with an ancestor’s name, or (3) without a caption at all, it has been cause for further research. In the first case, who is this man with a name that does not fit into the family tree? In the second and third, if this is an ancestor, why would he have had a photograph taken in Washington, D.C.? Did he reside there, or did he travel to visit or attend a special event?

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All About the Greene Connections Archives Project

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

We hope you have visited our site (www.GreeneConnections.com) and found your ancestor looking back at you, or seen what your house or street looked like a century ago, or read a handwritten letter your relative sent home from France during World War I. The possibility of such discoveries increases daily as the project continues to grow!

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