Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Family ProFile--John A. Pinyerd

     When I think of steamboats cruising up and down the river, two folks come to paternal great grandmother, Jessie Pool VanGilder and the husband of my paternal great grandaunt, John A. Pinyerd.  The Pinyerd line has recently come back onto my front genealogy burner with an e-mail from a cousin out in Texas.  Sometimes I need to be shaken awake!

Steamboat Slackwater
     John, son of Jesse Pinyerd and Melvina S. Rider, was born on October 20, 1859 in Washington County, Pennsylvania.....possibly in East Bethlehem Township near Fredericktown.  John's father was a blacksmith and the family moved around when John was growing up. Finally, they settled in Cumberland Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania near or at Rices Landing. By age 20, John was also a blacksmith, probably working along side his father.

     How and when he met Sarah Ann Pool, down in Monongalia County, West Virginia is unknown.  Perhaps he was working as a blacksmith on a steamboat and met her when the boat stopped at Morgantown...both Morgantown and Rices Landing are on the Monongahela River.

     The marriage license shows that John was a blacksmith when he married Sarah the day after Christmas, December 26, 1888.  He was nine years her senior.  The wedding took place at Joseph Harner's home in Monongalia County, West Virginia.  Joseph was Sarah's uncle through her mother's side of the family. 

     Sarah Ann Pool, daughter of Sampson Frum Pool and Sarah Louise Harner, was born on October 9, 1868 in the Eastern District of Monongalia County, West Virginia.

     Without access to a census for 1890, it is difficult to determine the newly married Pinyerd's where abouts until 1900.  Oddly, Sarah is the only one with a census enumeration in 1900.  She was living on a farm in the Clinton District of Monongalia County, West Virginia....which is outside Morgantown.  John was not enumerated, although she was listed as married.  Her cousin, Charles Wesley Pool, was also living on the farm and helping her with the work.  A guess is that John was on the river when the census enumerator knocked at the door.

North Charleroi, PA and Lock # 4
from an old postcard
     In 1910, the Pinyerd's had relocated to Fourth Street, near Lock 4, North Charleroi, Pennsylvania.  On this census, Sarah lists that she is the mother of one child who is no longer alive.  I have not been able to find any records to date as to the birth of their child.  In a Poole Family genealogy book, they are listed as the parents of a girl, Viola L. Pinyerd.  Where the author found this information is a mystery.  John was employed as a boat engineer and Sarah is working as a nurse.  Their house location was close to the river.  John would be able to get on and off the steamboat and simply walk up Fourth Street to his home.

     While living in North Charleroi, Sarah Pinyerd seemed to have a direct line to the local newspaper offices. Fortunately for me, she must have phoned in every family and friend "coming and going" from her home. I have had some exciting "finds" in these old newspapers, which are out on Ancestry.  They have also been useful in piecing together other relations lives....where they lived, who they were married to, who they were visiting and their social activities.  The article above tells me that John Pinyerd was almost considered a "visitor" in his own home.

     The 1920 census the Pinyerds were still living on Fourth Street in North Charleroi, Pennsylvania.  John was employed as an engineer on a steamboat and Sarah was a nurse at home.  She has opened up her home as a maternity hospital.  Pregnant women stayed in the bedrooms upstairs and Sarah took care of them before and after the delivery.  A local doctor came to the house for the deliveries.

     One frequent visitor to the Pinyerd home during the 1920's, was John's sister, Jennie Pinyerd Wood.  I believe that Jennie and Sarah were good friends as newspaper articles list them visiting each other at various times.  Jennie was also invited to numerous social gatherings at the Pinyerd home.  One article also listed a Sabina Alfree from Chicago accompanying Jennie to the Pinyerd's.  That lead me on a search for this lady, only to find that she was another of John's sisters....Dorcas Sabina Pinyerd Allfree.

518 Fourth Street
North Charleroi, Pennsylvania
     John and Sarah are enumerated on the 1930 Pennsylvania census living at 518 Fourth Street in North Charleroi, Pennsylvania.  John was employed as a marine engineer and Sarah was a nurse at a maternity hospital, which she continues to operate out of her home.  John was still working at age 70 and Sarah at age 61.

     John has two 1930 census enumerations!  On the second one he is a lodger in Pittsburgh, on the North Side in a boarding house operated by his sister-in-law, Olive Pool Reeves.  Perhaps John was staying in Pittsburgh while his boat was being unloaded.  The street where Olive lived was not far from the Allegheny River.

Research done by Richard Yackly

     The North Charleroi newspaper continues to mention the Pinyerd Maternity Hospital/Home throughout the 1930's.  What happened to John and Sarah's relationship?  Apparently they did not divorce....did they separate?  Sarah remained in North Charleroi, Pennsylvania in the house on Fourth Street; however, there is a record regarding John's sister, Jennie Wood in 1938, and his address is listed in Bucyrus, Ohio.  Perhaps this mystery will have a resolution when the 1940 Federal Census is released.

     In fact, when John A. Pinyerd died on February 2, 1951, his address was listed as Bucyrus, Ohio. The death certificate does say "married". John was buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Bucyrus, Ohio with his two brothers, George T. Pinyerd and Uriah R. Pinyerd and their families.      

     Sarah Ann Pool Pinyerd died June 19, 1952 at the Charleroi-Monessen Hospital, was cremated and buried in her Pool Family plot, Mt. Union Cemetery, Route 19, Monongalia County, West Virginia.

NOTE:  I have seen this surname spelled Pinyerd and Pinyard.


- 1860 Pennsylvania Census, East Bethlehem, Washington County, page 449.
- 1870 Pennsylvania Census, Jefferson, Greene County, page 277.
- 1880 Pennsylvania Census, Cumberland, Greene County, ED 68, page 163B.
- 1900 West Virginia Federal Census, Clinton District, Monongalia County, ED 79, Sheet 5.
- 1910 Pennsylvania Census, North Charleroi, Washington County, ED 221, Sheet 5A.
- 1920 Pennsylvania Census, North Charleroi, Washington County, ED 203, Sheet 5B.
- 1930 Pennsylvania Census, North Charleroi, Washington County, ED 63-90, Sheet 21B.
- 1930 Pennsylvania Census, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, ED 392, page 2B.
- Cale, Freda Robinson, Poole Family, page 19.
- Hewitt Cemetery Listing, Rices Landing, Pennsylvania
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  1. I think that divorces were hard to obtain and there was a stigma if a person was divorced. It may have cost a lot of money that they could not afford to divorced.

  2. I have the original marriage license of Jesse Pinyerd and Melvina Rider in July, 1853. I am Clair David Pinyerd, son of David M. Pinyerd, of Bucyrus, and Grandson of Kirby Pinyerd, also of Bucyrus. Interesting that John was an engineer on a steam boat. I was a licensed steamship engineer in the Merchant Marine for 30 years. And yes, the marriage license spells Jesse's name as Pinyard.