The Life of John Slicker Part 2

This is part two of a two-part series narrating the history of John Slicker’s life. Part one of this series https://aslickerfamilyhistory.com/2017/07/12/the-life-of-john-slicker/ gives a brief narrative of John’s life from 1857, the year he was born, until 1890. This second part highlights events in John’s life from 1890 until 1929, the year he died. As you read part two, you may notice that I have not documented the sale of the property John and Malissa owned in Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania. I’m not certain if I had a copy of that property deed and misplaced it; or I just didn’t look for it when I was at the Indiana County Courthouse. Nonetheless, I hope to find it. If I do, I will be updating this post to include the sale of that property. So, if you are interested in knowing about that sale, you may want to check back in a month or two.

August 30th, 1890 Malissa signed a property deed agreeing to pay three hundred and fifty dollars for two lots in Apollo Borough.[1] Five years and two months later – on November 5th, 1895- John and Malissa sold their two lots in Apollo for one thousand dollars.[2] They moved the family to Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania. On December 10th of the same year, Malissa purchased eight acres and forty and six-tenths perches. Malissa agreed to pay four hundred dollars for this plot of land.[3] It is here, John and Malissa’s sixth son, William Eugene, was born December 13th, 1896.[4]

January 7th, 1892 John’s mother, Magdlena, passed away. John and Malissa were still living in Apollo. Although I have not found any written record, it is probable that John returned to Webster to attend the funeral service. Malissa who had just given birth three weeks earlier to their sixth child most likely didn’t make the trip, but rather stayed home to tend to the newborn and the other Slicker children.

The year was 1900. Twenty years had passed since John and Malissa were united in marriage. During these twenty years they had moved from Webster, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania to Apollo, Armstrong County to Conemaugh Township in Indiana County. Over the years John went from digging coal in the mines of Webster to working as a catcher in a rolling mill. His eldest son, Frank, now seventeen, joined his father in the rolling mill as a matcher. Malissa with help from son, Samuel, age 15, was farming the eight acres of land she and John owned. It seemed the family worked together to make life better, but it wasn’t easy. Both John and Frank had been unemployed eight months between June 1st, 1899 to June 1st, 1900. Although Malissa purchased the eight acres in 1895, they were still carrying a mortgage.[5]

The year was 1910. By 1910 Frank, Samuel, and Ruth had married and left home. Frank, Samuel, George, James and Ruth’s husband were working at the sheet iron mill. John Slicker had left the mills and turned to farming the land. Malissa and the younger two children were probably helping with the farm work. In the years following 1901, John and Malissa had welcomed young Fred Manners into their home. Fred was listed as an adopted son in the 1910 United States census. John and Malissa were still carrying a mortgage on their property.[6]

The year was 1914. On October 23rd, 1914 John and Melissa agreed to pay three hundred dollars for lots eighteen and nineteen in Washington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Each lot had frontage of forty feet on a public street then called Brick Road. The lots extended one hundred twenty feet from Brick Road to an alley.[7] Those two lots would become Malissa and John’s last purchased property.

The year was 1917. On February 23rd, Eva Stinogle Vogel, John’s eldest half-sister passed away.[8] She was seventy years old. It is unknown whether John returned to Webster for the funeral service. Eva is buried next to her mother at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Monongahela, Pennsylvania.

The year was 1920. It was the start of the Roaring Twenties. The coming decade of economic prosperity and political and cultural change began with women being granted the right to vote, and the enactment of the Volstead Act which closed every bar, tavern and saloon in the United States marking the era of Prohibition. A greater part of the population lived in the cities and small towns than on farms. An increasing number of women were entering the work force. Many American families had extra money to spend; and they spent it on consumer goods – electric washing machines, refrigerators, and vacuum cleaners, radios, ready-to wear clothes, and automobiles.

Despite the major political and cultural changes taking place in America, one cultural norm remained almost intact – families living close to one another. And thus, we find John and Malissa Slicker living on Brick Road, Washington Township (now present-day borough of Oklahoma), Westmoreland County; nearby and on the same road, we find John and Ruth Slicker Hardwick and their four children, Albert and Matilda Slicker Seighman and their three children, George M. And Bessie E. Slicker and their two children, and Samuel and Ethel Hardwick Slicker and their five children and Ethel’s mother, Violet Hardwick. John and Malissa’s son, Frank is living with his wife, Estella, and their five children across the river in the borough of Apollo.

At the time of this writing, I have been unsuccessful in locating James C. and William Eugene in the 1920 census. William’s wife, Lela, and their six-month old son, Eugene, are living with Lela’s parents on the west side of Warren Avenue in Apollo.

All the Slicker men, except John, were working in a steel mill. John was a general merchant and owned his own shop. His adopted son, Fred R. Manners was still living with John and Malissa. Fred was seventeen and working as a utility boy for the railroad.[9]

The year was 1921. John must have received the news from his half-sister, Mary, about the passing of his half-brother, Conrad Stinogle. Conrad, a retired coalminer, left this earth on May 22, 1921.[10] He is buried in the Monongahela City Cemetery, in Monongahela, Pennsylvania.

The year was 1924. Mary, John’s half-sister, sold the property she had purchased from John and Malissa in 1880.[11] In 1930 Mary and her two sons, Samuel and James, moved to Butler, Hancock County, West Virginia. Twelve years later Mary, who was living with her son, James in Holidays Cove, Hancock County, West Virginia, passed away.[12]

The year was 1929. On July 31st, about three months before the Roaring Twenties were to come to a crashing halt, John Slicker, our ancestor, left his earthly journey.[13] The second generation of this branch of the Slicker family tree was laid to rest in the Vandergrift Cemetery, in Vandergrift, Pennsylvania.  Malissa would join John twenty-nine years later.

You can visit John’s and Malissa’s Find-A-Grave memorials at:

John Slicker’s Memorial Page at Find-A-Grave

If you know additional details or have a story about John Slicker’s life and would like to share, please do so in the comment section below.

References:

[1] Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 75:75, S.M. Jackson to Melissa Slicker, 13 August 1890; Recorder of Deeds Office, Kittanning.

[2] Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 84:196, John Slicker to Esther Owens, 4, November 1895; Recorder of Deeds Office, Kittanning.

[3] Indiana County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 6976:296, Julia A. Hartlett to Malissa J. Slicker, 10 December 1895; Recorder of Deeds Office, Indiana.

[4]  “1900 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25, July 2017), entry for William E. Slicker (age 3), Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

[5] “1900 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25, July 2017), entry for John Slicker Family (9 members), Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

[6] “1910 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25, July 2017), entry for John Slicker Family (7 members), Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

[7] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 554:137, John Orr Chambers to John Slicker, 23 October 1914; Recorder of Deeds Office, Greensburg

[8] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 25302 (1917), Eva Vogel, Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

[9] “1920 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25, July 2017), entry for John Slicker Family (3 members), Washington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[10] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 49167 (1921), Conrad Stinogle, Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

[11] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 791:59, Mary Sharrow to Paul Tomecko ET UX, 3 September 1924; Recorder of Deeds Office, Greensburg

[12] West Virginia State Department of Health, death certificate 7484 (1942), Mary Sharrow, Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

[13] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 77663 (1929), John Slicker, Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

© Robin Slicker, 2017. All Rights Reserve.

The Life of John Slicker (1857-1929) – Part 1

John Slicker, son of Philip and Magdlena (Friend) Slicker, was born March 17th, 1857 in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania[1]. John may have been Philip’s first and only child. He was Magdlena’s fourth living child. Although it is unknown where in Allegheny County John was born, the 1860 Federal Census for Allegheny County shows John, age four, living with his parents and half-siblings, Conrad, Eva and Mary Steinogle in Baldwin Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania near Library.[2] So this is where I will start the story.

The year was 1861. Thirteen days after Abraham Lincoln began his first term as president, John reached his fourth birthday. A few weeks later the young independent nation John’s foreign-born mother, Magdlena Friend Slicker, came to call home engaged in one of its bloodiest wars.

There is no evidence that Philip, John’s father, was ever called to enlist in the Union Army. If not called to take up arms, Philip must have continued picking and shoveling out a living in a nearby mine. As the 1860 Federal census shows Philip’s step-son, Conrad, 14, joined Philip in this physically demanding work.[3]

The year was 1870. The war between the North and South had ended five years earlier; and the nation was reunified. John, age 13, was living with his mother and his half-brother, Conrad Steinogle, in Forward Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. His father, Philip, was no longer with the family.[4] Did he die from a mining accident? Or did he pass from natural causes? Whatever the reason, it must have been hard on the family to lose their loved one and the main breadwinner at such a young age.

The burden of supporting the family fell on Conrad.  It is unclear if John, who was of legal age to work in the mines, was working alongside his half-brother. The 1870 Federal Census lists no occupation for John; and the column for documenting school attendance within the past year isn’t marked either.[5]

In the years following 1870, Conrad, John and their mother moved to Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County Pennsylvania.

The year was 1873. The national economy had taken a downturn; but this did not stop John, now 16, and his step-brother, Conrad, from agreeing to pay $600 for three adjacent lots at the north end of Webster, a village nestled between a steep hillside and the mighty Monongahela River.[6] Conrad and John shared ownership of those three lots until one month after John’s 21st birthday in 1878. In 1878, John and Conrad signed two quitclaim deeds dividing the three adjacent lots into two parcels. Conrad and his wife, Isabella took ownership of the northern half of those three lots. John took ownership of the southern-half of those three lots.[7]

The year was 1880. In the cold month of January, John married Malissa Jane Mansfield, a daughter of John and Nancy Mansfield. About two weeks after their marriage, John and Malissa sold John’s southern part of the three adjacent lots he jointly purchased with Conrad. They sold the property for $600 to John’s half-sister, Mary Stinogle.[8] John and Malissa moved to a house a few streets away. They rented a home near John’s half-sister, Eva and her husband John Vogel. Malissa’s mother, Nancy, and step-father, Samuel Haney, lived about a small-village block away.

John, continued work as a coal miner. But the work was not steady.  The 1880 United States census shows that John was unemployed for six months between June 1st, 1879 and June 1, 1880.[9] He was not alone. By 1880, periods of unemployment in the coal mining industry had become common. These periods of unemployment were not a result of decrease in demand for this fossil fuel. On the contrary, demand for coal was increasing. The technology for mining had improved; but the coal mining industry of the late nineteenth century, like the oil industry of today, experienced periods of boom and bust.

The severest winter weather ever experienced in the United States arrived in the fall of 1880. By October bitter cold and white blizzards began swirling their way across the land dumping massive amounts of snow. The snow and cold continued through October… through November…through December. And into this white, wonderland came Milford, John and Malissa’s first child. What should have been a moment of joy was briefly lived if lived at all. This tiny life, unlike the snow and cold of that winter, did not linger.

The year was 1882. John and Malissa had moved from Webster, Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County to Apollo, Armstrong County. It is probable that John found employment in the Apollo Iron Company, later renamed the Apollo Iron & Steel Company. As the year came to an end, John and Malissa welcomed with joy their son, Frank Walton Slicker, into their lives and home. It was December 30th, 1882.

On January 4th, 1885 John and Malissa welcomed their third son, Samuel John Slicker, into the world. In the eight years following, John and Malissa added a child to the growing family every two years. Their first daughter Ruth Elizabeth arrived September 17, 1887. George Mansfield Slicker arrived on July 29th, 1889. And James Clifford was born December 18, 1891. Matilda Belle, the second daughter, was born November 14th, 1893. The Slicker household was filled with six sons and daughters ranging from infant to eleven years of age.

[1] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 013051 (1917), John Slicker, Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

[2] “1860 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11, July 2017), entry for Johny Slicker (age 4), Baldwin Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

[3] “1860 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11, July 2017), entry for Conrad Slicker (age 15), Baldwin Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

[4] “1870 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11, July 2017), entry for John Steingle (age 13), Forward Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

[5] “1870 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11, July 2017), entry for Conrad Steingle (age 23), Martha Stengle (age 49) and John Steingle (age 13), Forward Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

[6] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 364:77-78, Captain John Gilmore and wife to Conrad Stiernogle and John Slicker, 2 June 1873; Recorder of Deeds Office, Greensburg.

[7] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 96:38-39, John Slicker to Conrad Steinogle, 19 April 1878; Recorder of Deeds, Greensburg. And Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 96:40-41 Conrad Steinogle and his wife, Isabella, to John Slicker, 19, April 1878; Recorder of Deeds, Greensburg, PA

[8] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Deed Book 101:439-441, John Slicker and Malissa Slicker to Mary Stinogle, 28, January 1880; Recorder of Deeds, Greensburg.

[9] “1880 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11, July 2017), entry for John Slicker (age 23), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

2017 © Robin Slicker, All Rights Reserved.

John Slicker: First Property – Purchased at Age 16

The year was 1873. The economy which had flourished in the years following the end of the Civil War was coming to a slow. But that slowed economy didn’t stop John Slicker, 16, and his step-brother, Conrad Stinogle, 26, from purchasing a property from Captain John Gilmore and his wife, Susannah.  The property, a part of Gilmore’s Addition, was located at the north end of Webster, a small village in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

1876 Atlas Map of Webster and Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, PA

Webster, Westmoreland County, PA 1876
The black arrow points to the approximate location of the property purchased by John Slicker and Conrad Stinogle in 1873. Copied from Atlas of Westmoreland County 1876, Reading Publishing Company, 1876 (Public Domain).

On June 2, 1873, John and Conrad, who were working as coalminers and supporting their mother, Magdlena, signed their name to a deed agreeing to pay $600 for three adjacent lots: Lots 143, 144, and 147. Each lot was 50 feet by 100 feet.

2017 Image of Boundary Lines for Lots 143, 144 and 147

2017 GIS Tax Map of Lots 143, 144 and 147.
Here are lots 143, 144, and 147 as they appear on 2017 GIS tax map of Webster, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Note the dotted lines on lot 144. These are the original boundary lines that separated lot 144 from lots 143 and 147. Source: Westmoreland County. GIS Maps. wcgis.us/apps/public, accessed May 15, 2017 for Lots 143, 144 and 147 of Webster, Westmoreland County, PA.

Although these three lots were originally equal in size, overtime their boundary lines shifted. Today the lots sizes are as followed:

Lot 143    38 x 100

Lot 144, PT LT 143 and 147     76.79  x 100

PT Lot 147     35.29 x 100

 June 2, 1873 Property Deed

1873 Property Deed, Book 364, Pages 77-78.
Source: Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 364:77-78, Captain John Gilmore and wife to Conrad Stiernogle and John Slicker, 2 June 1873; Recorder of Deeds Office, Greensburg.

You can read the description of the property in the image of the deed given above, or read it below. As you read it, try to follow the boundary lines on the image of the GIS map given above.

Starting at the corner of lot No (148) on first street thence along said Street one hundred and fifty feet to corner of lot (140) Thence along said lot one hundred (100) feet to water street Thence along said Street one hundred fifty feet to corner of lot one hundred and forty eight (148) Thence along said lot one hundred feet to first street the place of Beginning

Unfortunately, I do not have an 1873 photo of these three lots; but I do have 2017 photos. The down-side: the “Mansion” house that John, Conrad and Magdlena called home is gone.

Present-day View of Lots 143, 144 and 147

2017 view of property once owned by John Slicker.
Here is a 2017 view of the property once owned by John Slicker and his step-brother, Conrad Stinogle. The deteriorating concrete building on the right is sitting on lot 147. The wooden fence on the left marks the approximate border of lots 143 and 140. Source: Photo taken by Robin Slicker, April 2017.

 

2017 view of property once owned by John Slicker.
Here is the property taken from a different angle. The yellow house barely visible on the right side of the concrete building sits on lot 148. Source: Photo taken by Robin Slicker, April 2017.

I have added a few more photos for those who are not able to travel to Webster to view the town John Slicker and his mother, Magdlena, called home.

The View East of the Three Lots

View on east side of property purchased by John Slicker.
This is the view John, Magdlena and Conrad would have seen from their front porch. It no doubt looks different today then it did in 1873. Source: Photo taken by Robin Slicker, May 2017.

 

North end of Webster looking back towards Webster

View from north end of Webster looking towards town.
This photo was taken across from the east boundary of lots 143, 144 and 147 looking back toward present-day Webster. Of course, in 1873 there were no paved roads; and as seen on the 1876 Atlas map of Webster there was only one road entering Webster from the north end. Source: Photo Taken by Robin Slicker, May 2017.

 

Webster, PA – Late 1800s.

Webster, PA late 1800's
This is a photo of Webster, Westmoreland County, PA. It is believed to have been taken in the late 1800s. John’s and Conrad’s property is not visible in this photo. Source: Public Domain.

Should you want to find lots 143, 144 and 147 on Google Maps or to drive out to see them in person, here are their present-day addresses:

Lot 143   vacant lot    Nulled Address

Lot 144, PT Lots 143 and 147 with mobile home   121 Bargehr Lane, Webster

PT Lot 147 with Building    123 Bargehr Lane, Webster

(to be continued in the next post)

© 2017, Robin Slicker. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Magdlena Slicker’s Life in Pennsylvania

This is Part Three of a three-part series. You may want to read Part One, “Magdlena Friend Slicker’s Life in Nineteenth Century Germany” and Part Two, “Magdlena’s Voyage to a New Life” if you have not already.

Part one places Magdlena in the historical context and events of her home country. It covers the political, economic, and social context from the time she was born in 1819[1] until the birth of her daughter Mary in 1851[2]. In part two I attempt to describe as accurately as possible the conditions and methods of travel during the mid-nineteenth century. In part three I describe all I know of Magdlena’s life in the United States.

As you read you will perhaps realize there are many unknowns about Magdlena and her life. For example, I do not know whom with, if anyone, she traveled from Baden to the United States. Since it is unlikely that her three children ages three, five and seven traveled without adult supervision, I feel safe in concluding she traveled with them. However, I have not found any evidence that she traveled with her husband, John Joseph Steinogle or any other family members. For all I know John Steinogle died in Baden or sometime during the trip to the United States. Some additional unknowns include Magdlena’s date of marriage to Philip Slicker, the exact number of husbands, and the exact number of her children. I would further note that no document has been discovered that supports either marriage.

Let’s now turn to the last part of Magdlena’s story.

It was 1854[3] when the ship carrying Magdlena and her family sailed into a U.S. port. With the long ocean voyage behind them and new challenges in front of them, Magdlena, Conrad, Eva and Mary stepped from the deck of the ship to their first piece of solid ground in weeks. Surrounded by strangers and inundated by the new sights, sounds, and smells, Magdlena directed her three young children through the crowded port.

Three years later Magdlena and her second husband, Philip Slicker, welcomed their newborn child, John, into their home. A family of five was now six.

In 1860 Magdlena and her family were living in Baldwin Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania[4]. While she cooked, cleaned, did laundry and cared for her youngest son, John, Philip and Conrad went to one of the nearby mines to put in a long day’s work. Conrad was only thirteen. Magdlena’s daughters, Eva, age 11, and Mary, age 9, were most likely attending school.

1860-census
1860 United States Federal Census. Philip and Magdlena Slicker are living in Baldwin Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Although Conrad, Eva and Mary appear with the Slicker surname, their surname really is Steinogle.

By 1870 Magdlena had become a widow. She was living with her two sons, Conrad and John in Forward Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania[5]. Conrad was supporting the family from the wages he earned working in the coal mines. Eva had married in 1866[6]. She and her husband, John Vogel, were living in Webster, Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County[7]. The whereabouts of Mary, the youngest daughter, is a mystery.

1870 United States Federal Census. Magdlena Slicker is living in Forward Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania with her two sons, Conrad Steinogle and John Slicker.  The census taker mistakenly recorded Magdlena’s and John’s last name as Steinogle.

On June 2, 1873, with six hundred dollars of their hard earned money, Conrad and his sixteen year old, half-brother, John, purchased lots 143, 144, and 147 at the north end of Webster[8]. This small village nestled between the Monongahela River and a hillside is the place Magdlena called home for the last two decades of her life.

In 1877, Conrad married Isabella Carmichael. In the spring of the following year, Conrad and his wife, using a quitclaim deed, conveyed the southern half of the three lots purchased by Conrad and his half-brother, John to John[9].

On January 13, 1880 John Slicker married Malissa Mansfield. Fifteen days later he sold the southern half of lots 143, 144, and 147 for six hundred dollars to his half-sister, Mary Stinogle[10]. Mary and her seven-year old son, John W., moved in to their new home. John and Malissa moved closer to the center of Webster. They were now living next door to John’s half-sister, Eva, and her family and about three houses from the home of Malissa’s mother, Nancy, and step-father, Samuel Haney[11]. John’s mother stayed with her daughter, Mary, and grandson on the southern half of those three lots at the north end of Webster[12]. Magdlena’s son, Conrad and his wife continued to live on the northern half of those same three lots[13].

 

1880 US Federal Census
1880 United States Federal Census. Magdlena is listed on the line marked with a red star. Her name is spelled Marthalena. She is living with her son-in-law, Abraham Sharrow, and her daughter, Mary. Her son, Conrad, and his family are listed on the four lines above Abraham’s name.

January 7, 1892, Magdlena’s life came to an end. She had spent her first thirty-five years in her homeland of Baden, a Grand Duchy of the German Confederation. The last thirty-eight years she spent in her new homeland, the United States of America. At her death she had four adult children and twenty-two grandchildren. Two grandchildren had preceded her in death.

Magdlena is buried in the Vogel plot at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Monongahela, Washington County, Pennsylvania.

Magdlena Slicker December 6, 1819 – January 7, 1892

You can visit Magdlena’s Find-A-Grave memorial by clicking the hyperlink below:

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/126383026/magdlena-slicker

SOURCES:

[1] Saint Mary’s Cemetery (Washington County, Monongahela; located within the Monongahela City Cemetery), Magdlena Slicker marker; read by Robin Slicker November 2006.

[2] “1900 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02, December 2016), entry for Mary Hedge (age 49), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[3] “1910 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02, December 2016), entry for Eva Vogel (age 60), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[4] “1860 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02, December 2016), entry for Magdlena Slicker (age 46), Baldwin Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

[5] “1870 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02, December 2016), entry for Conrad Steingle (age 23), Forward Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

[6] “1900 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02, December 2016), entry for Eva Vogel (age 50), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[7] “1870 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02, December 2016), entry for Eva Vogle (age 21), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[8] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 77: 364, John Gilmore to Conrad Steinogle and John Slicker, 14 August 1873; Recorder of Deeds Office, Greensburg.

[9] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 96: 38-41, Conrad Steinogle to John Slicker, 2 May 1878; Recorder of Deeds Office, Greensburg.

[10] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 101: 439-441, John Slicker, et ux to Mary Stinogle, 2 July 1880; Recorder of Deeds Office, Greensburg.

[11] “1880 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02, December 2016), entry for John Slicker (age 23), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[12] “1880 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02, December 2016), entry for Marthalena Slicker (age 60), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[13] “1880 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02, December 2016), entry for Conrad Stinogle (age 34), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

© Robin Slicker, 2016. All Rights Reserve.

 

The Elusive Life Story of Philip Slicker

Note on name spelling: The names in this post are written exactly as they appeared in the documents from which they were taken. In the 1870 Federal Census, Magdlena’s name was written as Martha.

The last time I checked the dead weren’t talking. Thus, if we want to learn the life story of our ancestors, we must rely on historical documents to provide the details that will tell us their stories. The more historical documents we find and the more the factual information varies within those documents, the greater potential we have to weave an elaborate, more reliable life story about our ancestors. Even when there are only a few documents, we can still piece together a short narrative about those who came before us. And so it goes with Philip Slicker.

Like treasure hunters diving to the bottom of the ocean to search for buried riches among a more than one hundred-year old ship wreckage, my mother and I have spent countless hours in various repositories searching for that treasure trove of historical documents that would enable us to piece together – gem by gem[1] – the life story of Philip Slicker.

In our exploratory search, we were able to discover three documents containing several genealogical gems: the 1860 Federal Census for Pennsylvania, the 1870 Federal Census for Pennsylvania, and Philip’s son’s death certificate.

From the 1860 census we can begin to piece together a life story for Philip. According to this collection of historical records, Philip was 45 years old and working as a coalminer. Given Philip’s age and the census year, we can estimate that Philip was born about 1815. The census also shows there was an adult female, Magdlena, age 46, living in the same household and bearing the same surname as Philip. Magdlena was most likely his wife. Both Philip and Magdlena were born in Germany.

In addition to Philip and Magdlena, there were four children bearing the Slicker surname listed as a part of the household in 1860: Conrad, age 15, working as a miner; Eve, age 13 or 14; Mary, age 10; and Johny, age 4. The three oldest were born in Germany while Johny was born in Pennsylvania. The family was living in Baldwin Township near Library,[2] Allegheny County, Pennsylvania the day the census was taken: August 17, 1860.[3]

The second useful document was John Slicker’s death certificate. The informant for the certificate, A.G. Seighman – most likely Albert Grant Seighman, John’s son-in-law – reported Philip Slicker as John’s father and Magdalene Slicker as John’s mother. A.G. Seighman also reported Germany as the birthplace of both parents[4], [5].

I believe we would not have found Philip’s family in the 1870 Federal Census for Pennsylvania, the life stories of Conrad, Eva and Mary Steinogle or the burial site of Magdlena, had it not been for Ruth Baker who willingly shared a bit of oral history that has passed from generation to generation.

In the first half of the 1990s, my mother and I had a sit down interview with Ruth. Ruth, the daughter of Matilda Belle Slicker and Albert Grant Seighman, told us Philip and Magdlena had been born in Germany and had lived in and was buried in Webster[6], Pennsylvania. Ruth also told us that Conrad, Eva and Mary were Philip’s step-children and their surname was Steinogle. This little bit of information was enough for us to locate most of Philip’s family members in the 1870 census.

According to this census year, the family household consisted of Conrad Steingle, age 23, born in Germany and working as a miner; Martha Steingle, age 49, born in Germany; and John Steingle, age 13, born in Pennsylvania. They were living in Forward Township, Allegheny County[7]. Eva, Philip’s step-daughter, was married to John Vogle. Eva and John were living in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County[8]. Mary, Philip’s youngest step-daughter, couldn’t be found in this census year. Since Philip did not appear in the 1870 Federal Census, it is most likely he passed away. But when and where?

Based on the information at hand, we can estimate that Philip most likely passed away in the decade between 1860 and 1870. He would have been between the ages of 45 and 55. The answer to where did Philip died is not so easy. It is highly probable he died somewhere in Allegheny County perhaps Baldwin Township…maybe Forward Township.

Three historical documents and a bit of oral history have made it possible to develop a short narrative about Philip Slicker. This life story, although appearing elusive in nature, is not as comprehensive as I believe it could be. Other documents containing their own genealogical gems surely exist. Documents containing factual information that would make Philip’s life story more elaborate… more complete.

Those possible documents include ship passenger lists, naturalizations records, bible records, and church records. There may be a standing grave marker carrying Philip’s name and date of death. The gems to be found within these documents and on his grave marker may include Philip’s arrival date to the United States, the port he arrived to, when he was born, when he was married, when he died and the name of his parents. In fact, with the right documents in hand it would be possible to trace Philip’s life story to the motherland – Germany.

[1] In the field of genealogy, gem is used as a synonym of fact or good-find.

[2] Baldwin Township covered a larger geographical area in 1860 than it   does presently. Library is presently located in South Park Township, Allegheny County.

[3] “1860 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7, October 2016), entry for Philip Slicker (age 45), Baldwin Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

[4] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate no. 77633, John Slicker (1929); Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

[5] Although the informant of John’s death certificate, A.G. Seighman, most likely presented an accurate account of the names of John’s parents and their birthplace, the information must be treated as suspect. Mr. Seighman, given his date of birth could not have known Philip and Magdlena. Thus he was relying on information passed down through generations which is less reliable than an eyewitness account.

[6] Webster is in Westmoreland County.

[7] “1870 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7, October 2016), entry for Conrad Steingle (age 23), Forward Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

[8] “1870 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7, October 2016), entryfor Eva Vogle (age 21), Westmoreland, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

© Robin Slicker, 2016. All Rights Reserve.

He Came From Germany

The Not So Complete Life Story of Philip Slicker

The following story is being related in narrated form to make it more interesting to the reader who otherwise may fall asleep upon reading lists of facts. The reader should take note of the numerous words that convey possibility and uncertainty. I don’t know the mode of transportation Philip used to move from seaport to Western Pennsylvania; but naming the possible modes of transportation –  automobiles and planes weren’t options – helps the reader to place Philip in the context of his time. Likewise, the description for the working life of nineteenth century coalminers has the purpose of placing Philip in the appropriate historical context as well as making the narrative more interesting to the reader.  For those who want to read all the known facts of Philip’s life and view the citations of documents supporting those facts, the next post will make that possible.  

Born in Germany about 1815, Philip Slicker crossed the Atlantic Ocean to the United States in a ship powered by wind or steam. He most likely landed at one of the eastern seaports – Boston, New York, or Philadelphia. From the seaport, Philip made his journey in-land.

Depending on the year and from which port he started his land trip, Philip may have traveled in a wagon, stagecoach, or train. He may have even made the trip via the Pennsylvania Canal, a complex system of canals, dams, locks, towpaths, aqueducts and viaducts.

Between the years of 1851 and 1856, Philip met Magdlena. To this union, she brought three children from a previous marriage – Conrad born in 1847, Eva born in 1849 and Mary born in 1851. All three were born in Germany. Their father may have been Joseph John Steinogle.

The three Steinogle children arrived to the United States in 1854. They most likely traveled with their mother, Magdlena. It is unknown whether Philip met Magdlena in Germany or in the United States.

March 17th, 1857, Philip’s and Magdlena’s son, John, was born in Allegheny County bringing the family total to six members.

In 1860, Philip Slicker and his step-son, Conrad Steinogle, age 15, were earning a living as coalminers in Allegheny County. The hours were long and the pay, based on production, was low. Six days a week, they were up and started before daylight. They worked until physically exhausted which was usually sometime after sunset. The work took place in small confined areas; much of the work had to be done lying on their side.

Working in small, poorly ventilated areas, Philip and Conrad were exposed to the coal dust stirred up while they worked. That constant exposure placed them at risk for developing pneumoconiosis, more commonly known as black lung disease. Other risks they faced included death and injury from collapsing walls and ceilings, haulage accidents, flooding and explosions.

They had only simple tools – a pick, a shovel, a hammer, a sledge, wedges, a hand machine for drilling, a drill, a crowbar, explosives, an oil can and lamp – with which to work. With their meager pay, they were required to buy their own tools and supplies.

Philip’s home, most likely leased from the owner of the coalmine, was in Baldwin Township near Library. This was in the days before the company town – in some areas known as patch towns.

It appears Philip departed from life between 1860 and 1870. In 1870, Philip’s wife, Magdlena, his step-son, Conrad, and his son, John were living in Forward Township near Elizabeth. Conrad was still entering the mines to support the family. Philip’s step-daughter, Eva, was married to John Vogle. They were living in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County. The whereabouts of his step-daughter, Mary, in 1870, is unknown.

To learn more about Philip Slicker and his family, be sure to read the next post.

© 2016, Robin Slicker. All Rights Reserved.