Notables
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1891 Homestead Steel Works Explosion

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"Buried Beneath Seething Cinder."
"Buried Beneath Seething Cinder."

Photo source: "A Seething Cinder." Pittsburgh Dispatch, 20 Sep 1891, p. 2.

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A Seething Cinder
A Seething Cinder

Source: Pittsburgh Dispatch, Sunday, 20 Sep 1891, p. 2.

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Buried Amid Sorrow.
Buried Amid Sorrow.

Source: Pittsburgh Daily Post, Tuesday, 22 Sep 1891, p. 1

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"Buried Beneath Seething Cinder."
"Buried Beneath Seething Cinder."

Photo source: "A Seething Cinder." Pittsburgh Dispatch, 20 Sep 1891, p. 2.

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On Saturday, September 19, 1891, a horrific accident occurred within the Converting Mill of the Homestead Steel Works of Carnegie, Phipps, & Co, when a chain link parted, exploding nearly five tons of molten cinder from a ladle over six employees, killing one instantly, and fatally burning two others. The remaining three were only slightly burned. 

James Maguire, a 26 year old foreman, was killed instantly after receiving the brunt of the falling molten cinder.  

Jacob Linn, father of five and recent widower, succumbed to his burns on September 20, 1891. 

Both men were buried on September 21, 1891, within the Homestead Cemetery, following a joint Funeral Service at the Methodist Episcopal Church. The mills shut down for the day in observance, and an estimated 10,000 people, including eleven lodges of the Amalgamated Association, lined the streets as the bodies were transported to the Cemetery. At the time, it was recorded as the second largest funeral ever seen within the Homestead area. 

Information and photo sources:

  • “A Seething Cinder.” Pittsburgh Dispatch, 20 Sept. 1891, p. 2. 

  • “Buried Amid Sorrow. .” Pittsburgh Daily Post, 22 Sept. 1891, p. 1.

  • “The Second Homestead Victim Dead.” Pittsburgh Dispatch, 21 Sept. 1891, p. 2.

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1918 Influenza Pandemic Mass Grave

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The mass grave area is thought to be located in the large unmarked field parallel to 22nd Avenue, towards the Anne Ashley United Methodist Church. Much of the area was originally unmarked, and it's speculated that the need for efficient and numerous burials, as well as the stigma and health concerns of those who had perished from the Spanish flu prevented families from holding traditional ceremonies.

 

According to notes found in the subsequent ledger entries, many of those who were originally buried in this area during the pandemic had been exhumed and reburied near other family members in larger lots.

 

We are working on trying to learn more about those interred within this area. 

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Anne Ashley

Find A Grave links available

Location: Old Section D, Lots 35 & 36

The Ashley memorials consist of an obelisk and individual stones set within Old Section D.

Interments include those of:

Anne (McDowell) Ashley, (1794 - 1854);

Her children:

  1. Alexander Ashley, (1831 - 1901), his spouse, Elizabeth Ann (née Cox) Ashley, (1834 - 1923), their son, Charles William Ashley, (1866 - 1913), and his spouse, Anna Martha (née Powell) Ashley, (1869 - 1921);

  2. Rebecca Ashley, (1833 - 1859);

  3. Step-son (?), Thomas K. Ashley, (1820 - 1866)

Anne Ashley was born on July 23, 1794 to parents John Archibald and Jannet "Jane" (née McLin) McDowell, who were children of Irish immigrants. She had one daughter, Hannah (née Ford) Cox, prior to marrying her husband, Charles Ashley (1786 - 1832), with whom she had four children, Sarah Ann Ashley, Charles Wesley Ashley, Alexander Ashley, and Rebecca Ashley. 

More information to come soon.

Ashley Family Obelisk

Photo of Ashley Family Obelisk. Credited to Find-A-Grave user, Anne. Added 5 Nov 2013.

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Independent Order of the
Odd Fellows and Rebekahs

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Located in Old Section I, in center of Section

IOOF
IOOF

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IOOF Epitaph
IOOF Epitaph

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IOOF
IOOF

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This cryptic monument, engraved with "I. O. O. F.,"  includes an epitaph dedicating the monument to the "memory of deceased members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs." The memorial is located in the center of Old Section I.

The principles of the Independent Order are "to visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan." A sick/funeral benefit, as well as entire cemeteries, were provided by local Lodges to their members and as charity. A large plot would sometimes be purchased within a cemetery, such as what is located here. Headstones would often be depicted with a heart in an open palm, or show a three-link chain containing the letters, F, L, and T, which stood for friendship, love, and truth.

Two lodges were located in Homestead. The Magdala Lodge # 991 was instituted on January 9, 1883, and consolidated on January 8, 1963 with the Homestead Lodge #1049, originally instituted on June 28, 1892. Homestead #1049 went defunct on October 21, 1978.

For more information about the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs, please click here.

Information received from IOOF Grand Secretary, Justin C. Bailey, 2021.

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Fireman Thomas W. Jacobs

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Location: Old Section E, Lot 52

"One was killed, three injured."
"One was killed, three injured."

Source: "One was killed, three injured." Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, 11 September 1904, p. 11.

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Fireman Jacobs Buried.
Fireman Jacobs Buried.

Source: Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, Wednesday, 14 Sep 1904, p. 4.

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"One was killed, three injured."
"One was killed, three injured."

Source: "One was killed, three injured." Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, 11 September 1904, p. 11.

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Fireman Thomas W. Jacobs, a member of engine company No. 1 of Homestead, died as a result of head trauma while fighting a recurring blaze in the Harbison-Walker Refractories plant fire on Saturday, September 10, 1904. A falling smokestack struck Jacobs, along with several other fire fighters. He was taken to Mercy Hospital where he died from a concussion of the brain shortly afterwards. He was 49 years old. He was buried in the Homestead Cemetery on Tuesday, September 13th, following a service at the Fourth Avenue Baptist Church in Homestead. His funeral, the first in the borough for a fireman, was recorded as one of the largest ever attended in the borough, with members of the surrounding boroughs fire department marching to the cemetery.

Information source:

  • "Fireman Jacobs Buried." Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, 14 Sep 1904, p. 4.

  • "One was killed, three injured." Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, 11 September 1904, p. 11.

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The McClure Family

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Located in Old Section D, Lots 31, 32, 33, 41, 42, & 43

overlooking the property of the former family estate.

The McClure memorial consists of a large obelisk surrounded by smaller stones. Interments include those of:

Abdiel McClure, (1816 – 1887) and his spouse, Anne "Annie" Wiles (Risher) McClure, (1818 – 1895);

 

Their children:

1. Sarah Risher (McClure) Taylor, (1839 – 1922);

2. Matthew L. McClure, (1841 – 1912) and his spouse, Hannah S. (Read) McClure, (1842 – 1919);

3. Martha Denny McClure, (1844 – 1927);

4. Daniel Risher McClure, (1846 – 1938) and his spouse, Mary Ellen (Gleadall) McClure, (1847 – 1905), along with their infant son, (1877);

5. William Edgar McClure, (1849 – 1853);

6. Susan Elizabeth McClure, (1854 – 1862);

7. Otto Munson McClure, (1857 – 1863)

8. Jennie (Ramsey) McClure, (1855 – 1879), wife of John Henry McClure (son of Abdiel and Annie McClure, buried elsewhere), and their son, Joseph Ramsey McClure, (1879 – 1889).

Abdiel McClure

The McClure family history begins after John McClure, Sr., born 1723,(buried in Lebanon Church Cemetery, West Mifflin), moved to the greater Pittsburgh area in the 1760s from Carslisle, PA. Having inherited much land and a manor house from his father who had purchased nearly 6,500 acres from the Penn family, John became a well-known and successful Pittsburgh merchant. He received a contract to supply Fort Pitt through government favor, and managed the abandoned Fort McIntosh. Through his supply line, he amassed a fortune through trading with local Native Americans. For $262, he purchased nearly 330 acres of land, called "Amity," which is now what we know as the entire borough of Homestead, the steel works area, and a portion of the borough of Munhall. When John was killed in 1811 allegedly by the Native Americans he had traded with, his land was willed in succession from his son, John M. McClure (buried in Lebanon Church Cemetery, West Mifflin), to his grandson, Abdiel McClure. Abdiel is credited with the creation of the Homestead area, by dividing and parceling his land into 60x120 foot lots. His business, the Homestead Bank and Life Insurance company, was responsible for marketing and selling the lots to those looking to escape the polluted downtown areas and create a peaceful suburban community.

 

Among the parcel that he kept for himself, he built a lumber planing mill which he ran until his death, and wisely set apart building lots for churches and schools. Of note, the land currently housing the Homestead United Presbyterian Church on the corner of Ninth Avenue and Ann Street, was donated by Abdiel, a charter member of the Church. In 1880, the 113 acre area, along with an additional 100 acres of land purchased from the West family by the Bank, was formally incorporated as the borough of Homestead, named after the McClure "homestead" of over 100 years. Another tract of land was purchased in 1881 by Andrew Kolman, who went on to build the Pittsburgh Bessemer Steel Works. This mill was the beginnings of the steel boom that Homestead would be noted for by the turn of the century.

According to his entry in the 1889 History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Abdiel was "a man of unusual ability. His influence was felt in religious and business matters, and he was universally loved and respected. In political circles he was recognized as an upright, honest gentleman. He was a republican, and held the office of county recorded from 1863 to 1866. In the latter part of his life he identified with temperance reform and was an earnest worker and supported of that cause. After his term of office as recorded expired, he farmed the "Homestead," and also became interested in a wholesale business in Pittsburgh...His life was an example worthy of emulation. He was a quiet and thoughtful man, of a just and peaceful disposition, honest and equitable in the extreme. He was justice of the peace a number of times, and he was often chosen to settle estates. He was an earnest Christian and a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church." Abdiel married Anne Wiles Risher, born 14 Dec 1818, and had eight children.

Matthew L. McClure

Matthew was a son of Abdiel and Anne McClure. The 1889 History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, writes that Matthew was "born at Homestead, Dec. 24, 1841, where he received his education and learned the trade of carpenter. In September, 1862, he enlisted in Co. H, 14th P. C., and served with his regiment under Gens. Hunter, Averill and Sheridan in the Army of Western Virginia. At the close of the war, he returned home, and was clerk for his father in the county recorder's office; then engaged in the lumber business in Pittsburgh." He married Sarah S. Read of Union City, PA, on September 13, 1866, and had two children, Abdiel R. and Florence L. McClure. He served as a councilman and assessor of Homestead. According to his 1912 obituary, he had been a member of the Alexander Hays Post No. 3 G. A. R. and of the Union Veteran Legion.

Daniel R. McClure

Daniel was a son of Abdiel and Anne McClure. The 1889 History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania writes that Daniel was "born at Homestead, Oct. 17, 1846; is a graduate of Duff's College. He also attended the Penn Institute. He was a deputy county recorder two years. After traveling for his health he accepted the position of bookkepper for the old Fort Pitt Bank. He ranks among the leading business-men of Homestead, has taken an active interest in anything that is of benefit to that town, and has been councilman four years. Mr. McClure is a director of the First National Bank, and president of the Homestead Building & Loan association." He married Mary Ellen Gleadall on February 22, 1876, and had three children, Daniel R., Mary G., and Robert M. McClure. He died on 23 Aug 1938 in Los Angeles, CA, following a month-long illness.

The McClure's namesake roadway, McClure Street, connects E. 6th Avenue to 22nd Avenue in Homestead. Amity street, which connects E. Waterfront Drive to E. 12th Avenue, is the namesake of the Amity area purchased by John McClure, Sr.

Information sources:

  • Barkes, Kevin. “Cemetery Bares Famous Names, History.” 5 Dec. 1973, pp. 7–7.

  • Cushing, Thomas. History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania (A. Warner & Co., Chicago, 1889, Part 2, p. 279-280, 577)

  • Leftwich, Mariruth. “Smithsonian Learning Lab Resource: Chapter 1: Plans for a New Community.” Smithsonian Learning Lab, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, 10 Jul. 2017, https://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll-c/XLjFBfsXExXLw5Yh#r/153798

  • Meinert, Norman J. “HOMESTEAD CEMETERY 2257 Main Street Homestead, PA 15120 (412) 461-1818.” Homestead Cemetery, Homestead, PA, 5 Dec. 2012, sites.rootsweb.com/~njm1/08Homestead.html.

  • Rishel, Joseph F. "Founding Families of Pittsburgh: The Evolution of a Regional Elite 1760-1910. University of Pittsburgh Press. 1990.

  • Vojtko, Margaret Mary. “In Memoriam Homestead Cemetery - 1896-1986.” The Valley Mirror, 8 Jan. 1987, pp. 8–12.

McClure Family Monument
McClure Family Monument

Side A

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McClure Family Monument
McClure Family Monument

Side B

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Joseph Ramsey McClure
Joseph Ramsey McClure

Son of John Henry and Jennie McClure

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McClure Family Monument
McClure Family Monument

Side A

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Abdiel McClure

Portrait of Abdiel McClure. Photo source: Leftwich, Mariruth. “Smithsonian Learning Lab Resource: Abdiel McClure biography.” Smithsonian Learning Lab, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, 28 Jun. 2017, https://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll-c/XLjFBfsXExXLw5Yh#r/150115

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The Trautman Family

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The Trautman memorials sit within several sections of the Cemetery, and consist of an obelisk and individual stones. Interments of the large extended family include those of:

 

Frederick Trautman, (1840-1901) and his spouse, Margaret (Durst) Trautman, (1850 - 1906), located in Old Section D, Lot 148;

Trautman obelisk

Adam J. Trautman, (1882-1885);

Freddie A. Trautman, (1876-1877);

Henrietta Trautman, (1884-1900);

Louisa Trautman, (1886-1889);

Minnie Trautman, (1891-1893)

Trautman stone

Henry D. Trautman, (1871-1961) and his spouse, Augusta M. (Brickner) Trautman, (1870-1931), located in Old Section F, Lot 95, and their daughter, Irene Margarette Trautman, (1896-1923);

Clarence Trautman, (1903-1905);

Delores Trautman, (1914-1937);

Hazel Trautman, (1897-1898);

Viola M. Trautman, (1909) 

Jacob Henry Trautman, (1868-1906) and his spouse, Carrie Dorothea (Motz) Trautman, (1875-1938), located in Old Section D, lot 92;

Caroline Trautman, (1874 1945);

Clarence Trautman, (1873-1918);

Elizabeth Trautman, (1896-1898);

Elmer A. Trautman, (1903-1934);

Henry N. Trautman, (1871 - 1905) and his spouse, Freda Marie (Starke) Trautman, (1873-1906), located in Old Section C, Lot 21;

Frederick Trautman, originally of Beyon, Germany, immigrated to the US with his parents as a young child before settling in Ohio. After starting his own family, he moved to Homestead in 1888. He died in 1901 after battling a year-long illness, leaving an estate worth over $23,000.00 to his widow. Their namesake roadway, Trautman Street, connects W. Miller Avenue to Main Street in Munhall, and houses the baseball complex, Trautman Field. 

Information gathered from:

  • “Estates of Decedents: Wills Filed for Probate and Disposition of Much Property.” The Pittsburgh Press, 12 Nov. 1901, p. 2.

  • Meinert, Norman J. “HOMESTEAD CEMETERY 2257 Main Street Homestead, PA 15120 (412) 461-1818.” Homestead Cemetery, Homestead, PA, 5 Dec. 2012, sites.rootsweb.com/~njm1/08Homestead.html.

  • “The Death Record: Frederick Trautman.” The Pittsburgh Press, 4 Nov. 1901, pp. 7–7.

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The Vondera Family

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Location: TO BE ADDED

Interment include those of:

F. H. Vondera (? - 18 February 1897)

F. H. Vondera, a member of the St. Paul's German Protestant Church in Braddock, was a Homestead farmer noted for his honesty and integrity. He was born in Prussia and moved to Pittsburgh in 1847. His sons, Frank and Charles managed the property after his death in 1897. A third son, C. T. Vondera, was a successful Homestead merchant. His funeral, led by Rev. C. Engelder, took place on February 20, 1897. 

Their namesake roadway connects Farragut Street with Homestead-Duquesne Road in Munhall.

Information gathered from:

  • "Gathered to Rest," Pittsburgh Press, 19 Feb 1897, p. 11.

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The West Family

Find A Grave Links Available

The Wests were a prominent family heavily involved with the development of the Homestead and Steel Valley areas. The family owned and operated a successful bricklaying business located along the Homestead portion of the Monongahela River. Several members of the West family served as members of the original Homestead Cemetery Company Board after it's incorporation in 1886. The West monuments consist of a tall obelisk and surrounding stones in Old Section I, Lots 68, 69, & 70. The obelisk, marking the burials of Lowry H. West and his wife, Eliza J. West, was shortened by five feet in the first half of the 20th century because it was continually struck by lightning. Surrounding extended family members can be found nearby in Old Section I, Lots 60, 63, & 66, and Old Section G, Lots 1, 2, & 3. Their namesake roadway, West Street, divides the East and West portions of Homestead, connecting 8th Avenue to E. 22nd Avenue. Interments include siblings, 

  1. Lowry Hay West, (1826-1901), organizer and first President of the Homestead Cemetery, his spouse, Eliza Jane (Snyder) West, (1825-1907); their son, North West, organizer and first Treasurer of the Homestead Cemetery, (1852 - 1911), his spouse, Martha "Mattie" West (burial as of yet unconfirmed, and dates unknown), and their daughters, S. Madaline West, (1890 - 1903), and Marguerite West, (1887 - 1889);

  2. Matthew Hay West, (1836 – 1888), and his spouse, Ann Wesley West, (1839 – 1907);

  3. Captain Edward West, (1838 – 1900), his spouse, Anna Marie (Noble) West, (1839 – 1898), their daughter, Flora T. (West) Ackard, (1867 – 1933), and her spouse, Alby O. Ackard, (1858 – 1941);

Lowry H. West

Lowry H. West, was a pioneer resident of Homestead. He was born on February 1, 1826, in a log cabin built by his grandfather in colonial times, to parents, Joseph (d. 1873) and Sarah (Whitaker) West, of whom were among the earliest settlers in Mifflin Township, and was one of ten children. Lowry was named after relative, Col. Alexander Lowry, who came from the north of Ireland to Lancaster Co., PA, in 1729, and went on to command the Lancaster militia at the Battle of Brandywine in the Revolutionary War. Lowry married Eliza Jane Snyder, a Pittsburgh native, on October 30, 1851, and raised six children, including North West, a fellow organizer and first Treasurer of the Homestead Cemetery. Lowry, along with Abdiel McClure, are credited with founding the First Presbyterian Church within the borough in 1873. His death occurred after falling ill on October 30, 1901, the date of his golden wedding anniversary to Eliza, and died on November 14, 1901, at their family home on West Street and Fifth Avenue. He left an estate worth over $90,000.00, which would be worth over $2, 876,000.00 today.

North West

Born August 15, 1852, North West, a native of Homestead and prominent businessman, died of apoplexy in Johnstown, PA, a day before his 59th birthday, on August 14, 1911. Mr. West conducted a wholesale paper store in Pittsburgh, called N. West & Co., of Water Street, prior to manufacturing paper roofing in Johnstown following the purchase and relocation of his plant by the Cambria Steel Company. He continued as general manager until his death, but the Cambria Steel Co. soon afterward sold it to the Barrett Manufacturing Co. He was married to Martha “Mattie” Walker on June 1, 1876. Mr. West was one of the organizers and the only treasurer of the Homestead Cemetery Association. He was a member of the Johnstown Lodge of Elks.

 

General information gathered from:

  • Barkes, Kevin. “Cemetery Bares Famous Names, History.” 5 Dec. 1973, pp. 7–7.

  • Vojtko, Margaret Mary. “In Memoriam Homestead Cemetery - 1896-1986.” The Valley Mirror, 8 Jan. 1987, pp. 8–12.

Information on Lowry H. West gathered from:

  • History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, by Thomas Cushing, A. Warner & Co., 1889.

  • “Lowry H. West.” Pittsburgh Daily Post, 15 Nov. 1901, p. 2.

  • “News of the Courts.” The Pittsburgh Press, 20 Nov. 1901, p. 7.

Information on North West gathered from:

  • History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, by Thomas Cushing, A. Warner & Co., 1889.

  • “Hymeneal.” Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, 3 June 1876, p. 4.

  • “North West.” The Pittsburgh Press, 15 Aug. 1911, p. 10.

  • 10.

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The Whitaker Family

Find A Grave Links Currently Unavailable

The Whitaker borough, incorporated on January 4, 1904, is named for James Whitaker, a pioneer, who came to the area in 1767 with his family. He is credited as being the first European settler in the area. Prior to its incorporation, the Whitaker area was part of the former Mifflin Township.

Information gathered from:

  • Ackerman, Jan (May 10, 1984). "Town names carry bit of history". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 6. Retrieved 18 February 2021.

 

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Munhall, PA 15120, USA

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