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Too Many Connections!


Well, I have just about wrapped up my farm, and my genealogical reserch, seasons.  The farm work has gone well, except for a tough weather year.  The last six months of research has overwhelmed me.  I started this project off, three years ago, with a small crumpled folder of photos and family papers that my mother had given me before she died in 2002.  I just picked up my current paper files and photos, and they weigh 18 pounds ( 8.1 KG)

We just had a rainy Thanksgiving, so I set down to finally look up what I could find about my grandmother Julia (n. Cumashot) Johnson(?) Adams’ eight siblings, many of whom I met in my youth in Ambridge,Beaver Co.,Pa.  I found out a lot more than I ever thought I would about her 4 brothers John, Steve, George, Nick; and 4 sisters Mary, Eva, Ann, and Rose.

Even though my step-father did not permit my mother Dorothy, and me, much contact with our family, I did meet many of them.  John, the eldest stayed behind in Brownsville, Fayette Co., when his family moved north to Ambridge ca. 1916. I do remember being taken on family visits there, and my living cousin in Ambridge told me that he and his family used to visit his family on Beaver Rd., Ambridge.  In searching on line, I found some items that revealed he had married Nellie (Helen?) Ringer, from a family of West Virginia coal miners who moved up to Fayette Co.  I have contacted this distant cousin, Joy, and she confirms the connection.

As I went down the list, I was amazed to find that my grand aunt Mary, the eldest daughter, might very well have been married and pregnant, with my 2nd cousin, when the family moved north.  I had met her husband, Bill Osborne, when I was a boy; in fact he hired me for my first carpentry job – a knack that has held me in good stead for my life.  Bill had been born in Menallen Twp., FayCo., of Holloway and Mary Osborne, who farmed  in the upper Middletown District.

When I googled up the Osbornes on the 1872 Fayette Co. Land Ownership Atlas, I saw they lived in a cluster of  Osbornes, Holloways, and familiar names from my research re. the Johns(t)ons in Tuckertown, Redstone Twp.

Fifteen year old Mary Cumashot’s family was mining coal in Redstone in the 1910 US Census, and she was only two miles away from the Osborne’s family farm, and could have easily met Bill at school.  I was also fascinated by this map showing all the pioneer Quaker families (Woodwards, Jeffries, etc) that possibly are related to the Johnson/Kelley/ Simpson families, that gave birth to my grandfather McClelland Johnson (who I still do not know very much about).

Another connection, was that my grand aunt Eva married Frank Gradek, whose Polish coal mining family lived and worked in West Bethlehem, Washington Co., just across the river from Brownsville.  The Gradeks later moved up to Ambridge to work in the steel mills (perhaps HH. Robertson Building Products) and Eva met Frank who owned a kept a small neighborhood grocery store.  As a footnote, the Gradeks lived down on 16th and Church St., once part of Old Economy Village.

Well, thats enough for now; my head is spinning from all these connections!

Thom Dunn Marti

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