Malissa Mansfield Slicker: Living in an Always Changing World – Part 3

This is the third part of a three-part series. If you would like to read the first two parts before reading part three, just click the following links. Part 1: Malissa Mansfield Slicker: Living in an Always Changing World – Part 1 . Part 2: Malissa Mansfield Slicker: Living in an Always Changing World – Part 2 .  

The First Few Years in Washington Township, Westmoreland County

On October 21, 1914, Malissa and John sold their property in Conemaugh township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania for one thousand dollars.[1] According to this deed, they had already made their move to Washington township, Westmoreland County where they would spend their remaining years. Two days after selling the property in Conemaugh, John and Malissa agreed to pay three hundred dollars for a property on Brick Road (present-day Thorn Street) in Washington Township.[2] Their new home would become a part of the borough of Oklahoma in 1931.

On January 25th, 1917 Malissa’s mother, Nancy, after suffering from pneumonia for about a month, passed away at the home of Malissa’s oldest daughter, Ruth Hardwick.[3] Ruth’s home was on Brick Road in Washington Township. After they buried Nancy at the Apollo Cemetery, her husband, Samuel Haney, moved to Ohio where his and Nancy’s two sons, James and Samuel, were living with their family. Nearly one year later, Samuel passed away at a hospital in Cleveland.[4]  Samuel’s sons brought him home to Pennsylvania and laid him to rest next to his wife, Nancy.

The year between the death of her mother and step-father must have been a tough one for Malissa. One marked with sadness as Malissa’s sister, Matilda Belle Owens, passed away five months after the loss of their mother. Matilda was laid to rest in the Vandergrift Cemetery.[5] In a single year, the Haney/Mansfield family had dwindled from seven to four. Those remaining were Malissa, her two half-brothers, James and Samuel of Ohio, and her half-sister, Jennie Taylor, who was living in Pittsburgh.

Malissa’s World Continues to Change

The 1920’s brought economic prosperity and great political and cultural change. This era, marked by Prohibition, also saw the passage of the nineteenth amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote. As women gained more rights and more freedom, an increasing number of them entered the workforce. A growing number of household  inventions that included the electric washing machine, the refrigerator, vacuum cleaners, and ready-to-wear clothes help to make adjusting to this new wage-earning lifestyle easier.

Despite these cultural changes, there was one cultural norm that still held strong – that of families living close to one another. And so, we find John and Ruth 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 and John’s mother, Violet Hardwick, living on Brick Road near John and Malissa. Fred Manners, John’s and Malissa’s adopted son was living with John and Malissa.[6] John and Malissa’s son, Frank was living with his wife, Estella, and their five children across the river in the borough of Apollo.[7]

But even the cultural norm of families living close together was slowly changing as family members moved across the country seeking employment. Both James and George with their families moved to West Allis, Milwuakee County, Wisconsin by 1921.[8]  Here they would pass many years. William Eugene was living as a boarder in Cleveland, Ward 16 and working as a steelworker.[9] His mother’s half-brother, Samuel Haney, was living nearby in Ward 20.[10] William’s wife, Lela, and his six-month old son, Eugene, were living with Lela’s parents on the west side of Warren Avenue in Apollo, Pennsylvania.[11]

Malissa’s Personal Loss

To the world 1929 marked the end of the Roaring Twenties and the beginning of the greatest economic depression. To Malissa and her family this year was marked with great personal loss – John passed away on July 31st, only five and half months before he and Malissa would have celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary. John was laid to rest on August 3rd in the Vandergrift cemetery.[12]

Despite her loss, Malissa’s home was not an empty one. Malissa’s adopted son, Fred Manners, continued to live with her, and her daughter, Matilda and Matilda’s husband and children had moved into the home. And her son, Samuel J. and his family lived nearby.[13]

Malissa Sells Her Property

On July 8th, 1937 Malissa sold the property she and Samuel purchased in 1914 to her daughter, Matilda, and her son-in-law, Albert Seighman, for a sum of three hundred dollars. Malissa reserved the right to use the property for and during her natural life.[14] On May 2nd, 1938 Matilda, Albert and Malissa took out a mortgage with the Apollo Trust Company for the sum of five hundred dollars. They had agreed to pay twenty dollars a month plus six percent annual interest. They debt was repaid in full on August 11th, 1943.[15]

Malissa’s Final Day

After suffering from pneumonia during a two-week period, Malissa Jane Mansfield Slicker died of a cerebral hemorrhage. It was September 8th, 1946,[16] exactly eighty-two years from the date the Department of Interior had accepted as her father’s, John Mansfield’s date of death.

Summary of Malissa’s Life

In her eighty-eight years, five months and five days of life, Malissa had lived through many changes, personally, socially, politically and culturally. She began life in Elizabeth, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. During her lifetime she moved four times. From Elizabeth she moved with her mother, father and siblings to Webster, Westmoreland County. As a young, married woman, she moved with her husband, her mother, step-father and siblings to Apollo, Armstrong County. Malissa and her family passed thirteen years in this small community that lies along the Kiskiminetas River. In 1895 Malissa and John moved their family to a property located a little north of Saltsburg, Indiana County. Her mother and step-father settled in Saltsburg. Then in 1914, the family made one last move. John and Malissa purchased a property on Brick Road in Washington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. This address would one day become Thorn Street in Oklahoma Borough.

As a young child, Malissa lost her father, John Mansfield, and her sister, Anna. As a married woman, she purchased and sold three properties, a right denied to married women before 1848. She gave birth to eight children and raised seven of them. She lost her first child, Milford, shortly after he was born and her second son, Frank, died before she did. In 1902 or 1903, Malissa and her husband, John, adopted Fred Manners.

Malissa was born a few years before the start of a war that temporarily divided her country, and she died shortly after the end of another war that had divided many nations of the world. She lived through prosperous times like the Roaring Twenties and endured challenging times like the Great Depression. In 1946, she left it all behind and was laid to rest next to her husband in the Vandergrift Cemetery, in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

You can visit Malissa’s memorial at:    Melissa Mansfield Slicker’s Find-A-Grave Memorial

Should you want to add something to Malissa’s story, see an error in the facts I’ve presented, or just want to comment on the post, use the comment section below.


[1] Indiana County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 140:164, Malissa J. and John Slicker to David Kellerman, 10 December 1895; Recorder of Deeds Office, Indiana.

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

[3] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 445 (1917), Nancy Haney, Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

[4] Ohio Department of Health, death certificate 1256 (1918), Samuel Haney, Division of Vital Statistics, Columbus, Ohio.

[5] Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1964, database-online, ( : accessed 28 January 2018), entry for Matilda Owens, death certificate 51204, citing 1917 death.

[6] “1920 United States Federal Census,”, ( : accessed 25, July 2017), entry for John Slicker Family (3 members), Washington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Note: Check the entries before and after John’s household including those that follow at the top of the next image to see how one family household was located to the others.

[7] 1920 United States Federal Census,”, ( : accessed 28, January 2018), entry for Frank Slicker, Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.

[8], U.S. City Directories, 1882-1995, on-line database, ( accessed 28, January 2018), entry for James Slicker, West Allis, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Note: His brother George’s name, appears two lines above his name.

[9] 1920 United States Federal Census,”, ( : accessed 28, January 2018), entry for William Slicker, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

[10] United States Federal Census,”, ( : accessed 28, January 2018), entry for Samuel Haney, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

[11] 1920 United States Federal Census,”, ( : accessed 28, January 2018), entry for Lela Slicker, Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.

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

[13] 1930 United States Federal Census,”, ( : accessed 28, January 2018), entry for Malissa Slicker, Washington, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[14] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 1013:390, Malissa J. Slicker to Albert G. and Matilda B. Seighman, 18 July 1937; Recorder of Deeds Office, Greensburg.

[15]  Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Mortgage Book 558:83, Albert and Matilda Seighman and Malissa J. Slicker to the Apollo Trust Company, 2 May 1938; Recorder of Deeds Office, Greensburg.

[16] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 80354 (1946), Melissa Jane, Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

© Robin Slicker, 2018. All Rights Reserve.