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|Michael Baumgardner Cemetery|
Cambria County, Pennsylvania
|The following report was written by (and provided courtesy of) George A. Hancock.|
This report was updated on Monday, November 12, 2007.
If anyone has additional information to share with Mr. Hancock directly,
his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE BAUMGARDNER CEMETERY of RICHLAND TOWNSHIP, CAMBRIA CO. PA.
By - George A. Hancock
Gone but not forgotten. Rest in peace. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. These simple words are found in cemeteries and often recited at funerals. However, time is a great equalizer. Time erodes and clouds our knowledge when not properly documented.
The years pass. Decades come and go. World, national and state events mold our local landscape. Family farms slowly disappeared beneath the advent of industrialization and urban growth. The farm families either sold their property or simply moved away.
Coal mining quickly became a dominant local industry in the late 19th and early 20th Century. The Berwind White Coal Mining Company developed into a powerful economic force. Berwind White would buy local farms, at a very cheap price, and eventually harvest the coal reserves. The region's population grew dramatically due to the massive immigration influx. The coal companies needed abundant cheap workers. The Cambria-Somerset County Region eventually produced a rich, quality coal supply.
Nestled on the Southern slope of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown campus, in a somewhat secluded section, is one of Richland Township's largest private cemeteries. The cemetery, by my count, contains nearly 85 graves. Traditional tombstones mark 14 graves. The other graves are marked by fieldstones. Fieldstones are the rocks unearthed by farmers during the plowing process. Farm families often used these flat stones as grave markers. Sometimes the deceased name or initials were carved in the stone. However, most farm families used plain, flat stones to mark graves. The family "historian" would record who was buried where and why. This family "historian" would maintain important events, dates, births, marriages, deaths, etc in the family's history.
I refer to this location as the Baumgardner Cemetery because the Baumgardner family lived here many years. Also, most of those buried here are Baumgardner family members. 6 graves in the rear Southern section are Foust family members. The Foust family may be the original settlers on this particular farm. This article will identify some of the people buried in Baumgardner Cemetery. Right now, we can only identify a small percentage of the individuals buried at this site.
The Baumgardner Cemetery is located above the Berwick Road and above the old Sun Oil Natural Gas pipeline. Foundations, ruins and remnants of the Baumgardner farm house and out buildings are still visible today. These ruins are located just above the natural gas pipeline substation. These ruins are the only structures left from the many farms that once dotted the UPJ Campus grounds. Vegetation, shrubs and trees hide some of the structure remnants.
The Baumgardner Cemetery is accessible several ways. The UPJ Nature Trail eventually reaches an old tram road just above the Baumgardner ruins. Follow this road (which heads toward the gas line substation) and you will find the cemetery on the left just before the steep grassy hill. Be careful, this Nature Trail is in very bad shape.
One can reach the Baumgardner Cemetery by driving the Berwick Road. The Berwick Road is an old Richland Township farm that connects State Route 56 and SR 160. Today, the Berwick road is a picturesque macadam country lane. About a dozen homes, the former Valley View golf course and the old Pritt farm are located on the Berwick Road.
The Baumgardner Cemetery access road is located about " miles from the Berwick Road/SR160 intersection. Directly below the Berwick Road steep hill (on the left) and the entrance to the old Mine 40 strip mine site is an old dirt road. This dirt road leads uphill to the Sun Oil gas line substation. Park here and walk, along the well-worn trail, towards the tree line. A locked gate was recently installed at this location. It is now impossible to drive your vehicle to the old pump station location. The Baumgardner ruins are located directly behind the pump station. The ruins are located just inside the shrub, tree line.
The Baumgardner Cemetery is reached by following the grassy trail up the ridge. At the tree line, the trail becomes a steep hill. Proceed up this hill about 50 yards. The cemetery is located on the right about where the hill levels off. A grassy path leads into the cemetery site. During the late Spring and Summer months this path may partially close shut due to the vegetation. Trees encircle the entire cemetery.
The Baumgardner Cemetery is also accessible back near the UPJ sports field complex. An access road runs past the UPJ baseball and softball fields. The dirt road heads towards a grassy loop section of the UPJ cross-country course. This old road is easy to spot now since the University recently installed a locked gate here. Just walk around the gate. The old road, located at the Southern point of this loop, heads down the ridge. Follow this rocky, rutted trail down to the clearing. The footing is very poor here. This road is not maintained. Water runoff is eroding many trail portions. Some fallen trees are also now blocking the trail.
This is the upper portion of the trail that begins near the gas line substation. Follow the trail to the steep grassy hill. The cemetery is on the left just before the trail slopes down to the lower fields and the gas line region. Look carefully as the path leading into the cemetery is often shielded by vegetation.
The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown acquired this land in 1966. A Wednesday April 6, 1966 Johnstown Tribune-Democrat article "Local College Adds Big Tract To Campus" describes how the land purchase was finalized. Dr. Theodore W. Biddle (the 1966 Johnstown College president) detailed how a $70,000 gift from the Pittsburgh, PA Richard Kink Mellon Foundation was used to purchase this 316-acre tract. The Baumgardner Cemetery was included in this 1966 land purchase.
The University hired John F. Lewis, a Western Pennsylvania Conservancy consultant and a botany professor at California State College, to conduct a detailed study of this land purchase. The Baumgardner Cemetery is not mentioned in this report. The overgrown cemetery probably was just not visible in the enclosed trees.
So, what do we know about the Baumgardner family and this old farm cemetery?
The Baumgardner family is one of Richland Township's oldest families. The Baumgardner name is found in pre-1800 Richland Township records. The Baumgardners were of German ancestry and helped establish the Weaver Mennonite Church.
Richland Township celebrated its Sesquicentennial Anniversary in 1983. The old Windber Era published, from March 18, 1983 to June 5, 1984, a delightful, informative Richland Township history. The Baumgardner family was featured on week 56 in an April 3, 1984 article.
This particular Baumgardner feature illustrates how and why the Baumgardner Cemetery became an isolated, forgotten place. This article "Baumgardner Clan Part Of Richland Township's History" written by James and Lois Siehl describes the attempt by the Richland Township Baumgardner descendants to link a common ancestry with the Scalp Level Baumgardners. Somehow during the early 20th Century, the Baumgardner clan lost track of their ancestral roots. The Baumgardners mentioned in this April 3, 1984 newspaper article were all true relatives.
MICHAEL AND ELIZABETH BAUMGARDNER
Michael and Elizabeth Baumgardner are both buried in the old farm cemetery located on the UPJ campus. Several of Michael and Elizabeth's children are buried here too.
Michael was the son of Rebecca (Rose) and John Baumgardner, JR. Michael was born on June 12, 1827 in Richland Township. Michael had 9 brothers and 1 sister. Michael's brothers included: Adam born in 1824, William born in 1825, Joseph born in 1828, Isaac born in 1829, Samuel born in 1830, John born in 1832, Jonathan born in 1833, Daniel born in 1836, Christian born in 1837 and Michael's sister Amelia born in 1844. These births dates are approximate due to discrepancies in the various family records.
Confusion exists as to the exact location of the John Baumgardner, JR home site. Local descendants of John's oldest son Adam believe the site is the current land occupied by the UPJ Campus and the Johnstown Vo-Tech Career and Technology Center. Family records refer to John's farm as SPRING GROVE. However, obituary articles from Adam's and his wife Mary Ann (Ripple) deaths place the farm in the region near current Scalp Level Borough.
John Baumgardner, JR died in 1847. John's burial site remains a mystery. John's father John Baumgardner, SR died in 1856. His burial site also is a mystery.
Here's an interesting historical footnote. Michael's sister Amelia married Thomas Wissinger and purchased the farm directly above the current Mine 40 Community. Thomas and Amelia's second child Amanda is buried in the Baumgardner Cemetery. Amanda was born on August 4, 1865 and died on October 5, 1866. Michael and Amelia's farm bordered each other on the current Berwick Road.
Michael's brother Samuel married Thomas' sister Esther Wissinger. Esther and Samuel had 9 children. Their fourth child, a male died in infancy. This infant was born and died sometime between 1863 and 1871. The exact dates are not known. It is very possible, following family custom, that this infant was buried in the Baumgardner Cemetery. Samuel and Esther's farm bordered Thomas and Amelia's farm. The former Valley View pitch and putt golf course is the approximate location of Samuel's farm.
Elizabeth Baumgardner was born on March 22, 1833 in Richland Township. Elizabeth was the daughter of John and Polly (Berkheimer) Murphey. Elizabeth grew up in the region above the present day Mine 42 Community. The Murphy homestead was located in the area where the present day power lines cross the Mine 42 Road or Centennial Drive.
Apparently Elizabeth had no formal educational training. A copy of John Murphey's wills dated 1872 reveals Elizabeth did not sign as a witness but rather made her X mark. Elizabeth's mother Polly and several sisters also made their X marks as witnesses.
Ironically, the Murphey's lived near land now owned by my wife's uncle Stan Percosky. Mr. Percosky's dad Stan Sr. purchased this farm and land from George Baumgardner. This George Baumgardner was possibly the son of John Baumgardner. John was a younger brother of Michael Baumgardner.
Michael and Elizabeth Murphey were married on April 16, 1854 at the Murphey homestead. Cambria County marriage records show that Adam S. Gramling, a Richland Township Justice of the Peace, presided at the marriage ceremony.
Michael and Elizabeth apparently purchased the farm site from the Foust family. This could explain why Foust family members are buried in the old farm cemetery. Old farm cemeteries generally always contained the graves of nearby family members. Census records do not show any Foust families living in the immediate vicinity of Michael Baumgardner's farm.
Michael and Elizabeth had 12 children. The children included: Simon born in 1855, William born in 1857, Emeline or "Emma" born in 1858, Ephraim born in 1859, John H. born in 1861, Catherine "Cassie Ann" born in 1864, Jennie born in 1865 0r 1866, Elizabeth born in 1867, Sylvester born in 1870, an infant daughter born in 1871(?), and an infant daughter born and died on December 13, 1878. Again, these are approximate birth dates due to the various discrepancies found in the family records. And, Emma is not listed as a child in all available family records.
A large stone family marker sits in the Baumgardner Cemetery. This approximate 4 foot high marker is composed of 4 segments. This stone reveals some fascinating yet sad Baumgardner family history.
The front of the stone indicates that Elizabeth Baumgardner died on December 13, 1878. Elizabeth was 45 years, 8 months and 22 days old when she died. Directly below the main stone face, on the second stone segment, is carved "Also Infant Dau. Of M & E Baumgardner born & died Dec. 13, 1878." Evidently, Elizabeth and the infant girl died during childbirth or from serious childbirth complications. Elizabeth and the unnamed infant girl were buried in the Baumgardner Cemetery.
On another side of this family marker is carved Emma E wife of Josiah Miller Died Aug. 14, 1901 Aged 42y. 4m. 13d. Emma was the possible third child of Michael and Elizabeth Baumgardner. Emma and Josiah Miller had a son named Dorsey L. As mentioned previously not all Michael Baumgardner family records list an Emma but the U. S. Census records clearly show an Emma as the third child. Emma is listed as 12-years old in 1870. The 1880 Census records reveal William 23, John 19, Jennie 16, Elizabeth 15, Sylvester 9, and Ida 6 as living at the Baumgardner farm. Michael's occupation is noted as a farmer.
4 other children are mentioned on another side of this stone marker. The first listed is William who died on Dec. 2, 1891. William was Michael and Elizabeth Baumgardner second child. William is listed as 35y and 21 days old. William's obituary published in the December 1891 Johnstown Tribune lists cancer as the cause of his death. The news article mentions William was buried in the Baumgardner cemetery.
The second child listed on the stone is Ida May who died on January 16, 1890. Ida May was the 11th child born to Michael and Elizabeth. The stone marker lists Ida May's age as 15 years 8 months and 10 days. However, Ida's obituary which appeared in the Friday January 24, 1890 Johnstown Tribune listed her age as 16 years 8 months and 10 days. John Murphey's will also lists Ida May's age as 16 years 8 months and 10 days old.
The next child listed on the stone marker is Ephraim. Ephraim died on October 25, 1861. Ephraim was 2 years 2 months and 4 days old. Ephraim was Michael and Elizabeth's 4th child.
The next child on the stone is listed as an infant daughter. This infant Daughter died on April 26, 1870. The infant was 1 year 3 months as 14 days old. Question: Why wasn't there a named carved on the stone for this infant? Surely, a 1-year old infant girl had a name. Why didn't the Baumgardner children know this child's name?
The next stone segment below the children's names reads Children of M & E Baumgardner. The 3rd stone segment reads "Loved In Life" then "In Death Remembered".
So, to the immediate left of the Baumgardner family stone are 8 gravestones. The first stone belongs to the infant Baumgardner daughter who died on April 26, 1870. The 2nd stone belongs to Ida May Baumgardner who died January 16, 1890. The 3rd stone belongs to Ephraim Baumgardner who died October 25, 1861. The 4th stone marks the grave of Amanda Wissinger who died October 5, 1866.
The 5th stone reads simply E. B. I believed this was Elizabeth Baumgardner's grave. However, the 6th stone reads Mother and Infant. Was Elizabeth and the infant girl buried together? If this is the case, then perhaps the E. B. refers to Emma Baumgardner Miller who died in 1901. Or, the Baumgardner family may have placed another stone here years after the 1878 deaths.
The 7th stone belongs to Michael Baumgardner who died in 1903. The 8th and final stone marks the grave of W. B. or William Baumgardner. William was the second son of Michael and Elizabeth.
Another child is possibly buried in the Baumgardner cemetery. The 5th child born to Michael and Elizabeth John H. Baumgardner died in 1919.
A Wednesday November 19, 1919 news article in the Johnstown Tribune reports that John Baumgardner died at age 65. The article stated John lived in Philadelphia, PA and worked for the government. The article also states "burial will be made in the Baumgardner Cemetery near Scalp Level." This news article makes no mention of a wife or any surviving children.
The Johnstown Tribune article states, "The deceased was a brother of Sylvester Baumgardner of Roxbury, Simon Baumgardner of South Fork, Mrs. Elizabeth Lehman, of rear 314 Strayer Street, Dale; Mrs. Josiah Fisher of Scalp Level; and Mrs. Robert Brown of Pittsburgh, PA."
We have two questions with that obituary. Is Mrs. Josiah Fisher actually Mrs. Josiah Shaffer or Catherine Ann the sixth child? And, Is Mrs. Robert Brown actually Jennie the seventh child married to Robert Burns? The 1870 Federal Census lists Catherine as 7 years old. Jennie is listed as 5 years old. The Federal 1880 Census was compiled on June 10, 1880. Jennie is listed as 16 years old. This means that she was born in 1864. Catherine is not listed meaning that she no longer lived at the Baumgardner farm. Catherine would be 17 or 18 years old now.
We are not 100% certain William is buried in the Baumgardner Cemetery since no stone marks his gravesite. John's name does not appear on the large Family marker, which leads me to believe the stone, was placed here after Michael died in 1903 but before John's death in 1919.
Michael's nephew Lewis Baumgardner owned and worked this farm site in 1919.
I could not find Michael Baumgardner's obituary in the Johnstown Tribune. However, The Windber Era printed a small notice about Michael's death in June of 1903. The article states Michael "died at his daughter's home in Scalp Level at age 82." This was Catherine Ann Shaffer's home. The Windber Era article mentioned these children survived Michael: Simon, Sylvester, John, Cassie Ann and Jennie.
Some Baumgardner family records mention a Cervilla Baumgardner. We have few conclusive records about Cevilla. We can rule out Cevilla as being a daughter of Michael and Elizabeth Baumgardner. No birth dates or death date exists for Cevilla. Cevilla's name does not appear on the 1860, 1870 or 1880 Census records. Official Cambria County Court House Records relating to Elizabeth Baumgardner's will mentions Cervilla in Will Volume 1 page 202, Column 2, File Packet #5185. This document dated October 26, 1895 lists Louis Baumgardner, Christian Baumgardner, Alexander Weaver, and Henry Lehman as guardians for Cevilla.
Michael Baumgardner had a younger brother named Christian. Lewis Baumgardner was the son of Michael's other brother John. In 1895, Michael was about 74-years old. Perhaps Michael was no longer capable of supporting his family. And, Cevilla a relative came to live with Michael and his remaining children. What happened to Cevilla Baumgardner? Who was Cevilla Baumgardner?
Michael & Elizabeth Baumgardner's Other Children
Simon M. Baumgardner was Michael & Elizabeth's oldest child born about 1855. This birth date is based on official 1860 Census records which list Simon as 5-years old. The 1880 Census shows Simon married to Rachel and living on Richland Township Tract # 147-147. Also living at this site is 56-year old Mary Geis, 1-year old Emma Shatten, and 18-year old Maggie Kunkel. Simon Baumgardner along with Jonathan Baumgardner served as a Richland Township Supervisor during the 1884-1885 time frame. This information is contained in the 1976 Richland Township Bicentennial booklet.
Rachel Baumgardner died on May 3, 1886. The Tuesday May 4, 1886 Johnstown Daily Tribune reported that Rachel was buried near Emanuel Weaver's farm.
Simon Baumgardner died March 25, 1931. The Thursday evening Tribune reported Simon died after a long illness. The news article lists Simon's age as 74. The article mentioned Simon lived in South Fork for 43 years. There is no mention of his occupation.
Simon had 6 surviving children. Simon's children included: Ollie of Allegheny County, Eugene of Pitcairn, Orin of Ashville, Charles living out West, James, a South Fork school teacher and Jessie a Croyle Township school teacher.
James was born to Simon's first wife Rachel in 1884. James died in 1976. Some family records indicate James may have had four children: Ollie, Lessie, Charles and Orin.
Simon married MelvinaVarner on July 3, 1888. Simon and Melvina had four children: Orion M., Jessie, Eugene and Ollie. Orion died on March 8, 1952. Orion was married to Margaret Simanski and had two children. The children were Orin M. Jr. and Jessie. Orin M. JR died in 1975. Eugene died in 1979 while living in Altoona. Ollie died in 1967 while residing in Fayette City, PA. Jessie is a mystery.
The March 25, 1931 Tribune news article states his surviving brothers and sisters were Sylvester of Johnstown, Mrs. Robert Burns of Pittsburgh, PA (Jennie) and Mrs. Elizabeth Freeman of Johnstown. Again, Is there a mistake here with the last name? Is this surviving sister Elizabeth Layman?
The newspaper article also mentions "Mr. Baumgardner's wife passed away 22 years ago." Melvina died in 1909. Simon and Melvina were buried in the Mt. Hope Cemetery. Simon's gravestone lists his birth year as 1853. Also, the stone lists his wife as Melvina E. Baumgardner. Melvina was born in 1867 and died in 1909 at age 42. Simon lost both wives at a very young age.
Simon's first child James M. Baumgardner is buried nearby. James' gravestone indicates he was born in 1884 and died in 1976. There are no other Baumgardner's buried in the Mt. Hope Cemetery.
Michael and Elizabeth's 6th child was Catherine Ann Baumgardner. Catherine was born about June 17, 1864.
Catherine married Josiah D. Shaffer and raised 6 children. Josiah was the 6th child born to David J. and Rachel Shaffer. David and Rachel were pioneer settlers in the region now known as Windber, PA. The Shaffer homestead was located near the current Windber Municipal Building. The Shaffers sold their farm to the Berwind White Coal Company in 1893. The Shaffer's retired from farming and moved to Scalp Level. The Shaffer homestead exists today. This home now sits facing 15th Street. This building is the current home of the Windber Museum.
Catherine and Josiah's children included: Daisy M. who married Dr. Michael E. Ritzman, Percy W. (1889-1961) who married Elsie Layman and raised 2 children Glenn and Harold; Cloyd (1891-1954) who married Ida Lehman; Morris (1893-1951) who married Stella Ripple, Edith who died on April 16, 1906 and Dr. Foster C. Shaffer.
Dr. Foster Shaffer was the first man from Windber to enter the medical profession.
Daisy was a missionary in China and married Dr. Michael Ritzman. Daisy died in 1970 at age 81. Family members revealed that a writer named Renninger wrote a book about Daisy's missionary experiences in China. This book was entitled ADVENTURES OF A SOWER.
Daisy and Michael had 4 children. The children were: Michael Erwin, Thelma Marie, Ruth and Mary Esther.
Josiah and Catherine are buried in the Berkey Church of the Brethren cemetery in Paint Township. Catherine died in 1928 and Josiah died in 1945. An interesting problem occurs with their gravestone. Catherine is listed as mother Katie A. 1884-1928 on the stone. Josiah had an older sister Catherine Ann who married Isaac N. Foust and then after his death Joseph J. Yoder. This Catherine was known as Katie Ann. Josiah married Catherine Ann Baumgardner who was known as Cassie Ann. Is it possible that family members mixed these two Catherine Ann's when the Shaffer family stone was ordered? This particular Shaffer family stone is a modern gravestone.
Another strange puzzle is the burial place of this Shaffer family. Josiah and Catherine are buried in the Berkey Cemetery along with Cloyd and Edith. However, Percy and Morris are buried in the Richland Cemetery along Scalp Avenue.
When Edith died in 1905, two years after her Grandfather Michael Baumgardner, why wasn't she buried in the Baumgardner family cemetery? Perhaps, this is because Josiah's father and mother were buried in the Berkey Cemetery. Michael Baumgardner was living with Catherine at the time of his death in 1903.
We have very little information about Jennie, Sylvester and Cevilla Baumgardner. Jennie was the 7th child born in 1864. Jennie married Robert Burns and lived in Pittsburgh, PA. Jennie was alive in 1931 and was mentioned in her brother Simon's obituary.
Sylvester was born in 1870. Sylvester was alive in 1931 and lived in the Roxbury section of Johnstown. Brian Ensley, a fellow local history and cemetery researcher, passed along some valuable information about Sylvester Baumgardner. Sylvester was married to Mary Ada (Kaufman). This couple had two children: Anna Pearl and Verle F. Hoffman. Mary Ada died in 1920. Sylvester died in 1950. This couple is buried in the Maple Springs Cemetery in Jerome, PA.
Cevilla, as mentioned previously, is an unknown factor. Cevilla remains a mystery. There was a Cevilla Baumgardner married to Hiram Hostetler. Cevilla and Hiram had nine children and lived in Richland Township. This Cevilla was born in 1879 and died in 1970. Cevilla was the daughter of Henry J. Baumgardner and Sara Jane King. Henry J. was the son of Isaac and Caroline Baumgardner. Isaac was Michael's brother. Is this the same mysterious Cevilla who lived with took care of Michael Baumgardner?
Apparently Elizabeth N. Baumgardner Lehman was the last surviving child of Michael and Elizabeth Baumgardner. Elizabeth was born about January 6, 1887. Elizabeth died at age 82 on January 16, 1951. Elizabeth was Michael and Elizabeth's 8th child. Elizabeth, no doubt, was given her mother's name.
Elizabeth married Norman S. Lehman and had 4 children. They lived in Dale. Elizabeth and Norman's children included: Jessie born in 1894 and married to Frank Keller, Lilian born in (?) and married to Frank Turner, Percy W. born in (?) and married to Elsie Young and Florence born in 1898.
Norman died on October 8, 1914 and is buried in the Richland Cemetery. Norman was a printer.
Elizabeth died January 16, 1951 and is buried in the Richland Cemetery. Elizabeth's obituary reveals 3 children survived her. The child Florence was not mentioned nor any surviving brothers and sisters. The obituary mentions 6 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren survived Elizabeth.
The early Richland settlers lived a rugged difficult life. The infant mortality rate was very high. Medicines, inoculations, doctors were nonexistent. Death was a constant companion. Basic living required hard work and effort. Food supplies were grown, raised or hunted. Water was carried or pumped from streams or wells. Electricity, coal and natural gas for heating and cooking purposes were years away. In fact, there is no visible evidence electricity was ever available on the Baumgardner farm site.
Church served as a social and spiritual meeting place. Schools were a distant luxury. The children were needed for the farm chores. Life on the early farms was hard. The hours were long. The farm chores were endless.
The Federal Census records from 1870 reveal that 45-year old Michael Baumgardner could not read or write. Elizabeth Baumgardner could read but not write. 15-year old Simon, 14-year old William, and 12-year old Emma are listed as having attended school in the past year. One wonders what school and where was it located in Richland Township? There was a primary school located near the Michael Baumgardner farm site. This was the Hoffman School that opened in July of 1892. A red brick school replaced the original wood school structure in 1916. This Hoffman School was a one-room schoolhouse. The grades reached the fifth grade level. The Hoffman School operated for 43 years. The school finally closed on August 27, 1935. Today this same school building remains after being converted to a private residence. The 1892 opening date indicates that none of Michael and Elizabeth's children attended this school. The Baumgardner children were all adults when this school opened.
Lewis Baumgardner was the second child born to John B. and Mary (Orris) Baumgardner. John was Michael's younger brother. Family records show that Lewis was born on March 16, 1860. Lewis was the last Baumgardner to live and work the old farm site located on the current UPJ Campus.
Lewis married Mary Eash on August 3, 1884. Family information indicates that Lewis and Mary were united in marriage by Hiram Musselman at the Moses Eash residence. The witnesses were John Baumgardner and Moses Eash.
Lewis and Mary had two children: Oliver born on May 24, 1886 and Laura born on August 18, 1888. Family records do not reveal their exact birth locations. It is possible that by 1886 Lewis was running Michael Baumgardner's farm site.
Oliver married Bess Beutman and they had one daughter Mary Orcina. Oliver and Mary lived at 501 Graham Avenue in Windber. Oliver died on October 29, 1930 at age 44. Oliver died at Windber hospital after a brief illness. Oliver was a member of the Weaver Mennonite Church. Oliver was buried in the Richland Cemetery. Oliver was a plumber.
Oliver's wife Bess remained at their Graham Avenue residence until her death on October 5, 1954. Bess was 66 when she died and survived by her daughter Mary, her son-in-law and three grandsons.
Mary Orcina married Francis T. Bach. Reverend Bach and Mary had three sons: David, Theodore, and Mark. Mary Orcina died at Windber Hospital on March 15, 1999.
This writer interviewed Rev. Bach and his wife Mary for this project. Mary provided some valuable family history information and insights on Lewis Baumgardner's life and farm. Mary only had vague memories about the Baumgardner farm. Mary stated that she was born on September 23, 1925. Lewis had already sold and moved away from the old farm site. The Baumgardner farm was sold to the Berwind White Corporation. Mary related how ruthless this corporation was in purchasing these old farms properties. Berwind often controlled the water rights and farmers were not able to secure the needed water to maintain their farms. The farmer's only recourse was to sell this land for amount Berwind offered. Mary had no knowledge about the Baumgardner Cemetery. Neither Rev. Bach nor Mary could offer any insights about this cemetery. They both were amazed at this writer's pictures of the Baumgardner Cemetery. Yet, neither could recall any family member mentioning the Baumgardner Cemetery. Nor, were the names Michael and Elizabeth Baumgardner familiar to them.
Lewis Baumgardner died on December 9, 1935 at age 75. Lewis and his wife Mary resided at 411 Graham Avenue in Windber. This homestead still stands today.
Old Richland Township farm records show Lewis Baumgardner owning the old farm site in 1917. Mary Orcina Bach believed that her Grandfather sold the farm property around 1923. After selling the farm Lewis and his wife moved to Windber.
Lewis also was an active member of the Pleasant Grove Mennonite church located near Salix. Lewis was buried in the Richland Cemetery. Lewis' obituary mentions that three sisters and a brother survived him. They were: Harvey Baumgardner of Jennerstown, Mrs. Amanda Perkins, Miss Elizabeth Baumgardner, and Mrs. B. E. Noon all of Johnstown.
Lewis Baumgardner is also responsible for that extended mail route formerly known as Windber R. D. 2. Lewis and Nathan Hoffman worked tirelessly to get rural mail service out to the farm country. Nathan and Lewis contacted every individual on this proposed route. Nathan and Lewis petitioned Federal Postal officials for this new rural route. On September 28, 1905 this new Windber R. D. 2 route was sanctioned. Mailboxes would be placed roadside on this nearly 20 mile Cambria county rural route. These locations today still carry that Windber, PA address.
Laura Baumgardner never married and lived at her parents Graham Avenue residence. Laura's obituary mentions that she was born on August 18, 1888 in Adams Township. Laura died on November 23, 1941 at home after an extended illness. Laura was 53. We know little about Laura's life. Laura and her family were very active at the Pleasant Grove Church. Laura was involved in Sunday school, Summer Bible school studies and various other church activities.
Mary (Eash) Baumgardner lived a long productive life. Mary outlived her husband and two children by many decades. Mary was born on July 29, 1863 in Jerome, PA. Her parents were Moses and Paula (Wingert) Eash.
The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat printed an interesting article on Mary Baumgardner in 1963. Mary reached her 100th birthday on July 29, 1963. The article states that Mary was well known, respected in the Windber community. Many neighbors and friends called Mary "Grandma Baumgardner" or "Aunt Mary." Mary was very active at her church the Pleasant Grove Mennonite Church. Mary was regarded as an excellent quilt maker and an expert sewer.
Mary was able to reside by herself until 1958 when she moved into the Church of the Brethren Home located in Paint Borough. Mary died on April 11, 1965 at age 101. Mary is buried in the Richland Cemetery with her husband Lewis and family.
Mary Orcina Bach and her husband gave this writer a very informative newspaper article from the Saturday Evening, September 10, 1910 Johnstown Daily Tribune newspaper. The article was titled "Reunion of the Baumgardner Family was a Great Success."
The article describes the very first Baumgardner family reunion held on Joseph A. Baumgardner's Richland Township farm. This farm site was directly behind the Greater Johnstown Vo-Tech School property near Nevin Street off the Elton Road. 225 family members and friends attended this event. The oldest Baumgardner family members were: Samuel 81 of Scalp Level, John B. 79 of Windber, Jonathan 77 of Geistown and Christian 71 of Johnstown. Samuel, John, Jonathan and Christian were Michael Baumgardner's brothers.
Page 3 of this report describes the attempt of several Baumgardner descendants, in the 1980's, to prove family ties between the Scalp Level and Richland Township Baumgardners. This article clearly illustrates the family relationships.
I now know that direct descendants of Michael and Elizabeth Baumgardner are alive today. Many have emailed and communicated with this writer. These communications were all possible due to the Internet's awesome power.
This is an ongoing research project. New information will be presented once it's collected, analyzed and documented. Please direct any corrections, questions, comments and new information to email@example.com This writer is interested in obtaining photographs of these Baumgardner family members.
My sources include the following: extensive cemetery fieldwork, viewing newspaper microfilm, exchanging information with local historians, family historians, personal interviews with Baumgardner family descendants, researching various local histories, local records and extensive original research.
Hopefully, this information gives you some insight into the Baumgardner family especially Michael, Elizabeth and Lewis Baumgardner and their respective families. The Baumgardners were real people who lived, worked, died and some buried on the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Campus grounds.