You are here:  Cambria > Obituaries > COVER, William C., Sr.
Obituary Index
COVER, William C., Sr.

    Johnstown Tribune, 22 Nov 1899, Contributed by Brian Cartwright



William C. Cover, Sr., one of the oldest and best-known residents of the city, died at his home at 620 Main street last evening at 6:15 o'clock, after an illness of about three weeks. He was in his 84th year. "Uncle Billy," as he was familiarly known, was one of seven of probably the oldest living brothers and sisters in the state. He was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Adam Cover and his father was born in Cumberland County in 1781. The subject of this sketch was one of 13 children, of whom the following six survive: Alexander, aged 90, and Samuel, aged 85, both of Cover Hill, east of the City; Amos, aged (unreadable) of West Taylor Township; Mrs. Mary Fite of Conemaugh, aged 81; Mrs. Elizabeth Sharp of the South Side, aged 72; Mrs. Lucinda Horner of the Seventh Ward, aged 69. With the Cover family's record of longevity goes the remarkable fact that the family can be accurately traced far back into the early part of the Seventeenth Century, when America was a land of wonder to every European. The family name was formerly spelled "Coover," but the last generation changed it to Cover. William Cover, the subject of this sketch, was married many years ago to Miss Mary Saylor, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Saylor, who, with three children, survive, viz.: Charles B. Cover, the South Side grocer; William Cover Jr., the Locust street liveryman, and Mollie, wife of C. B. Hamm, proprietor of the Merchants' hotel. Another daughter, Mrs. Jennie Steinburg, died a number of years ago. A granddaughter, Miss Alice B. Cover, makes her home with her grandparents. Mr. Cover had been identified with Johnstown ever since it was a mere settlement, and the Cover family has been identified with the development of this part of the country in no little manner ever since the first family of Coovers came to America with a German colony in the Seventeenth Century. The growth of the family can be seen in the number of descendants of Adam Coover, father of the subject of this sketch, which is almost 300. Daniel Cover, a brother of William, died at his home on Locust street in 1893, aged 70 years, and Jacob died about 14 years go, aged 54 years. Mr. Cover was a lifelong member of the Lutheran church. He was one of the city's "landmarks" and was a man known to all the older residents of Johnstown and vicinity. In early life he was employed at the freight station of the old canal and in later years he learned the trade of a carpenter. Since the flood he had done little work other than that necessary in making repairs around his Main street house. Although Mr. Cover's death was not unexpected, it comes as a shock to hundreds of Johnstowners, who will miss this familiar figure on the streets and who will more than miss his cheery response to the greeting "Uncle Billy" when they saw him on his daily stroll. The funeral arrangements were not completed last night. The services will probably be conducted by the Rev. Mr. Anschutz, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church.. (rest is missing)

Another obit, 11/22/1899

William Cover Sr., whose serious illness this paper mentioned yesterday, died at his residence, No. 620 Main street, Fourth Ward, at 6:15 o'clock last evening. He has been sick about three weeks, but had been bedfast only since last Friday. He voted on election day -- the 7th inst. -- and on the following day his son William, the well-known liveryman, took him driving, which was the last time he was out of the house. William Cover was born in Conemaugh Township, this county, February 12, 1816, and as one of a family of thirteen children. The eldest of this family is Alexander, aged ninety-one years, who resides on the Cover homestead on Cover Hill. The others were Sarah, wife of John Hildebrand, who died about fifty-five years ago; Caroline, wife of Jacob C. Horner, who died forty years go; Samuel Cover, aged eighty-five years, who resides in Conemaugh Township; Amos, aged eighty-two, who lives in East Taylor Township; Mary, relict of John B. Fite, of the S seventh Ward; Daniel, who died on Locust street in 1893; Jacob, who died in this place in 1885; Elizabeth, wife of John Sharp, of Franklin street, Fifth Ward; Lucinda, widow of Jonathan Horner, of the Seventh Ward. Two children died in infancy. Adam Cover, father of the subject of this sketch, was born in 1781, being a son of Mr. and Mrs. Gideon Cover, natives of Germany, who came to this country about one hundred and fifty years ago and located near Shiremanstown, Cumberland County, where they died. After the marriage of Adam Cover, in Cumberland County, to Mary M. Basor, he moved to Harrisburg, where he engaged in the hotel business until the hostelry was destroyed by fire, when he engaged in the butchering business. Before this time, however, George Breniser, Sr., who had married a sister of Adam Cover, came to Johnstown, and, with some other gentlemen, purchased the Campbell tract of land, and, through the persuasion of his brother-in-law, Adam Cover came here and located on Cover's Hill. This was in 1813, when he purchased one hundred and fifty acres of land from Christian Good, subsequently adding one hundred acres more. He also purchased a piece of land extending from the present Cover alley, in this city, to Washington street, between Clinton and Franklin streets, from George Breniser, Sr., Thomas Burrell, and George Breniser, Jr.; after they had purchased the residue of the Campbell survey, on which Johnstown is now located, from Peter Levergood in 1813, and laid the same out in town lots. William Cover attended the first school in Johnstown. He walked down the hillside from home in his bare feet, with his shoes in his hands, and when he reached the bottom they were put on and he went into the schoolroom. When Mr. Cover became twenty-one years of age his father gave him a horse and started him out in the world to hustle for himself. He came to this place and began to work in the warehouse used by the Penn & Ohio Line on the old Canal. In the winter, when the Canal would freeze up, he did wharfing around the Basin. After leaving the warehouse he went to work on the Old Portage Road, being one of the first men employed as a locomotive fireman, and from there we went to work in the wagon shop of George Munson, who sold out to Daniel Cover, Matthias Kopelin, and the subject of this sketch. In 1854 Mr. Cover sold his interest in the business to his brother partner and went to work for himself. The first work he did after severing his connection with the firm was to build a barn for the late William Maclay. In 1846 and '46 Mr. Cover rented a coal bank from Peter Levergood and in 1866 he and the late Jacob Fend formed a partnership and bought a number of acres of coal lands on Green Hill, which partnership existed until recently. Mr. Cover was not engaged at any particular occupation for a number of years past, but he was always busy in doing something useful about his properties. On December 24, 1844, William Cover and Mary E. Saylor were married at the home of the latter's parents - Mr. and Mrs. George Saylor -- whose residence at that time stood near where the Ludwig family now lives, at the upper end of Main street. Rev. Peter Rightmire, who was then pastor of the Lutheran Church in this place, performed the ceremony and the only persons now living who were in attendance were Mr. Robert Bingham, of Aspinwall, Pa.; Mrs. John Sharp, and Messrs. Samuel and Amos Cover. Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Cover, three of whom are dead, viz.: Edward J., George Edward, and Jennie Steinburg. The surviving are Charles B., the South-Side merchant; William C., the Locust-street liveryman, and Mollie, wife of Charles B. Hamm, proprietor of the Merchants Hotel. Adam Cover and wife moved from Cover Hill to the Fifth Ward, this city, on the site now occupied by the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Sharp, about 1857. In the following year Mr. Cover died. His wife lived until September 13, 1868, when she passed away at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Horner, in the Seventh Ward. Adam Cover was one of the first School Directors in this place. The subject of this sketch was elected a member of the Council of Johnstown Borough in 1846, and served continuously until 1859. When he was first chosen the Council consisted of five members but when he retired there was a Select and a Common Council, as now, which, however lasted only for a short time for the reason that the system was not satisfactory. William Cover was a member of the Whig party in politics and cast his first vote for William Henry Harrison, and at the dissolution of the Whig party he joined the Republican party, and had ever since been a member of it. He joined the Lutheran Church in this place about sixty years ago, and was one of the oldest members of the Franklin-street congregation. He was one of the fifty original corporators of Grand-View Cemetery, which was established in 1887, and is the twenty-sixth of the number to pass away. The funeral will take place at 2 o'clock Friday afternoon from the deceased's late residence. Rev. William Alfred Shipman, pastor of the First English Lutheran Church, who has been in Pittsburgh for several days, has been sent for to conduct the obsequies. Interment will be made in Grand-View Cemetery. The remains of Mr. Cover's parents repose in the cemetery on the hilltop near where he was born.

Obituary Database Last Updated: 25 May 2020
Copyright © 2000-2010, All Rights Reserved
Lynne Canterbury, Diann Olsen and contributors