Skip to main content

Posts

We Come From A Long Line of Coal Miners #52Ancestors

We come from a long line of coal miners in Pennsylvania.  

Coal mining began in the Pennsylvania colony about 1760 at a place called Coal Hill, across the Monongahela River from Pittsburgh.  Coal was extracted and then moved by canoe down the river to Fort Pitt.  From these beginnings coal became a big industry through the centuries.

Coal mining boomed in the Industrial Revolution of the 19th and 20th centuries.  It was used to power steam engines, generate electricity and heat buildings.  Many of the men in our family mined coal from their arrival in Pennsylvania in the 1700s through about 2014 when cousin, Butch,  retired as the last Altman coal miner.

We come from a long line of coal miners in Pennsylvania. 

As a very small child, I remember my dad, George Dickson Altman, coming home with a white hard hat that had a light on it and his face was covered in black grime.  I remember his dusty boots and beat-up lunchbox.  He worked for John Carr Mine at Edna #1.

In the 1910 United States Fe…
Recent posts

Twists, Turns, Mysteries and Adventure - The Waldhauer/Walthour Family - Across the Atlantic Without a Captain - Part 4 #52 Ancestors

Can you imagine boarding a sailing ship to go from London to the Georgia Colony and finding yourself in the middle of the ocean without a captain to sail the ship?  That is exactly what happened to the Johann Caspar Waldhauer family when they determined to continue the journey they had begun a year earlier.

The family had had quite an adventure since leaving their German homeland.  At their own expense, they sailed down the Rhine River headed to Amsterdam, dealt with numerous toll stops, had their belongings frequently rifled by customs agents, found themselves onboard the ship, Two Sisters, headed for Philadelphia, were taken captive by Spanish Privateers, became prisoners of war, lost all of their belongings, were placed in prison in Bilbao, Spain, ransomed by the English and returned to London!  It is no wonder that they felt the British owed them a passage to the colony. They never landed where they were headed!  It surely wasn't their fault that King George's War caused th…

Twists, Turns, Mysteries and Adventure - The Waldhauer/Walthour Family - Down the Rhine and Pirates, Part 3 #52 Ancestors

Johann Caspar Waldhauer had lived in the same area of Germany all of his life.  He was the innkeeper at the Sign of the Grapes in Brötzingen, Germany and had land for farming.  His father, Hans, had been a juror in the same town.  His family and friends were nearby.  He prospered for himself and for his landlord, Margrave of Baden-Durlach, Charles Frederick.

But times were getting tough.  The yearly tax of 30% of his income was affecting his ability to provide for his growing family. The French and Imperial Army troops were marching through the area frequently leaving the inn in disarray and the land unfit for planting.  Any land that had been planted had been affected by the severe winters and particularly wet summers that destroyed the crops, livestock, and seed.  Johann Caspar could see poverty lurking in the future and knew that he had to do something.
His friends and fellow villagers stopped by the inn and were talking about the New World.  They heard that the immigrants were treat…

Twists, Turns, Mysteries and Adventure - The Walldhauer/Walthour Family in Germany, Part 2

Times were hard. It was the winter of 1738 and Charles Frederick became the new Margrave of Baden-Durlach, Germany. A new ruler.  


Charles Frederick (1728-1811) Portrait by Johann Ludwig Kisling, 1803 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Frederick,_Grand_Duke_of_Baden
New rulers were frequent and their religious policy was defined by “Cuius regio, eius religio”, a Latin phrase, (whose realm, his religion,) meaning the religion of the ruler dictates the religion of his subjects. Disagreement and war about religion was frequent and constant.

As Protestants and farmers, the Waldhauer family, and the community living in Baden-Durlach, Germany, were struggling to survive. Even though it was after the Thirty Years War, the Margravate of Baden-Durlach was still trying to recover from the heavy damages that had been incurred. Fortunately, the area of little towns, Karlsruhe, Durlach and Pforzheim, was in the lower part of the Margravate and was Protestant. While, the peasants were still in turm…

Twists, Turns, Mysteries and Adventure - The Waldhauer/Walthour Family of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

It was twenty years ago when I took a close look at our Waldhauer (Walthour) line. At the time, I had no idea that this section of the family tree was going to be a mystery filled with so many twists and turns, as well as the hint of adventure. 


Trying to unravel the twists in the tree to make some sense was crazy...  The same Waldhauer/Walthour line connects into the tree twice!  It connects through our great grandmother, Elizabeth Rachel Kunkle.  
Elizabeth's father was Samuel Kunkle (gg grandfather) and his mother was Anna Maria Catherina Walthour (ggg grandmother.)  She was the daughter of George Jacob Walthour (gggg grandfather) who was part of the family who emigrated from Germany and the focus of the story.
The Waldhauer/Walthour family connects again through our great grandmother, Elizabeth Rachel Kunkle.  Elizabeth's mother was Mary Ann Krock (Alexander) Kunkle our gg grandmother.  Her mother was Mary Elizabeth Walthour (Krock, Bair) our ggg grandmother.  Her father was…

It’s All in the Will, When There is a Will! #52 Ancestors

Wanting to be independent but feeling trapped, third great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Waldhauer (1796-1862) was resolved to find a husband. She had a good mind. She could read. She could write. She was also pretty but she didn’t have choices. Finding a husband was what was expected. It was 1815 and a woman’s role continued to be limited to finding a husband, having children, taking care of the children and submitting to their husband for their entire life. Elizabeth had a different expectation of what her life should be. She wanted to be on her own and have financial independence. She did not wish to have to marry to be economically safe and protected. Yet, it was unthinkable for a woman to remain single. Society scorned and pitied single women. She had no choice. She had to find a husband.

John Krack/Crock, (1771-1824) was a farmer and a widower. It is most likely that John’s wife passed away soon after the birth of their daughter in 1814, as deadly infections following the …