Jesse Newton Sipe and Edith Mae Snyder
To view pictures of the Sipe family, please click HERE
Jesse Newton Sipe was born on December 13, 1889 in Clintonville, PA. His mother was Charity Sipe, daughter of Jacob and Henrietta. Family members recall that he was a very small baby, possibly born premature. Henrietta, an experienced mother, took care of raising him during the first part of his life and did not want to let him go when Charity returned and was ready to care for him on her own. Jacob and Henrietta had become attached to Jesse as their own son, and he remained with them and was raised as their child. He knew that his real mother was Charity, but referred to Jacob and Henrietta as Dad and Mom. He was only three years old when they moved from Clintonville to Fayette, and Jesse went with them. Charity went on to marry A.J. Surrena, and their other children knew that Jesse was a brother. They were told that A.J. was Jesse’s father, although Jesse told his son Melvin that he believed that his true last name should have been Hilliard.
Jesse was musical and took piano lessons which Charity paid for. He also had a good tenor voice and sang with a musical group that performed at weddings and parties. He worked at local sawmills and stone quarries to support himself. He married Edith Mae Snyder in 1915. The couple lived in Neshannock Falls, PA.
Edith had one child of her own before marrying Jesse. The family does not know who Lola Marie Snyder’s father was. She was born on June 18, 1913, two years before Jesse and Edith were married. She was raised by her grandparents, Charles and Jeanette Snyder. The family says that when Lola was a young teenager Jesse wanted her to come to Neshannock Falls and live with them, but Jeanette said no. She said that if he didn’t want to take care of her when she was young, he couldn’t have her as a maid now that she was old enough to work. Lola married George Wilson in 1939 and lived in the Franklin, PA area. They had no children of their own, but they helped to care for Jeanette after Charles died.
Jesse and Edith had nine children of their own. Their first child was a daughter, Violet Jeanette, born in 1915. “Vi” married James “Beryl” Book in 1939 and they had one son, James Doyle. (He went by the name Doyle, but Joyce Sipe remembers calling him “Cootchee Coo”). They also raised Donna Faye McCurdy, one of Beryl’s granddaughters. Doyle married Pamela Pearson in 1978 and the couple was later divorced. Donna married William Sphaler and had three children- James (1972), Betty (1976) and Raymond (1979). They were later divorced. Donna remarried in 1980 to Marshall Dillen. Violet also remarried after Beryl died in 1971. She married Clifford Duncan and moved to Florida. Clifford died in 1996, and Vi resided in Florida until her death in 2007.
Jesse and Edith’s next child was Dorothy Mae Sipe, born July 10, 1917. Dorothy (who went by “Dot”) married Sherman Shrawder in 1935. Sherm worked at Sharon Steel and lived in West Middlesex. They had three children- Charles (1936), Carol (1939) and Darlene (1946). Charles went by the name Chuck and married Betty Johnson in 1961. They had three children- Bradley (1962), Brent (1968) and Adrienne (1970). Chuck was a politician in the West Middlesex area before he died in 2004 after a long bout with cancer. Carol married Delmar Taylor in 1957. They had five children- Delmar Paul, Jr. (1958), Gary James (1959), Barbara Jean (1961), Sherman Ray (1963) and Dorothy May (1970). Darlene Shrawder remained single and lived at home caring for her mother and father. She retired from Sharon Regional Hospital and then went back to work at Mercer County Childrens Services. Sherm eventually developed Alzheimers and died in 1987. He is buried in the Haywood Cemetery in West Middlesex. Dot survived a bout with breast cancer before Sherm died, and it returned in 2005. She successfully underwent another surgery for cancer only a few weeks after Darlene also underwent surgery for cancer. She continued living at home while being cared for by Darlene until her death on June 16th, 2011. She was 93 years old.
Melvin Lewis Sipe was born to Jesse and Edith on February 18, 1919. He married Lois Tillie Lehman in 1945 after he returned from serving as a medic in World War II. Melvin and Lois had four children- Marcia Evonne (1946), Melvin Larry (1948), Joyce Elaine (1951) and Randy Lee (1957). Marcia married Melvin (Stan) Kaufman and had three children- Andrew (1976), Leanne (1978) and Melinda (1980). Larry married Rosemarie Alessio and had one son, Brian, in 1975. Joyce never married and stayed at home to care for her mother. Randy married Susan Bowersox in 1982 and had two children- Tyrel (1989) and Angie (1996). For more on Melvin’s family, please see “Melvin and Lois (Lehman) Sipe Family”.
Margaret Lorraine Sipe was born on July 2, 1921. Nicknamed Peg, she married Roy Eugene Williamson in 1942. Roy was originally from West Virginia. He worked at GTX to support his family. They settled in Neshannock Falls, just behind where Edith and Jesse lived. They had four children- Grace Elaine (1943), Ella Mae (1944), Linda Lee (1946) and James Gary (1950). Grace married Larry Twigg in 1961 and had five children- Tammie (1963), Larry Jr. (1964), Pamela (1965), Thomas (1967) and Rebecca (1968). Grace and Larry were divorced and she remarried in 1984 to Leroy McFall. They are also divorced. Grace works as a waitress. Ella Mae married Robert Cole in 1962. They had two children, Linda Marie in 1964 and Robert Jr. in 1968. Bob and Ella moved to the Chicago area and raised their children there. Linda Marie gave birth to triplets in 2002. Linda married Robert Kloss in 1967. They had three children- Jodi (1968), Robert Jr. (1973) and Nicole (1981). James went by the name “Gary”. He married Kay Robinson in 1971 and had three children- Laurie (1971), Michelle (1974) and James (“Jim”) in 1976. Gary and Kay were divorced and Kay moved to Nevada with the younger daughter while Gary raised Jimmy and Laurie while living with his parents in Neshannock Falls. Once his children were grown, Gary was the main caretaker of his parents. Roy continued to work as long as his health allowed him, and also to drive Amish for extra money. He died from heart problems in 2003 and was buried at Fair Oaks Cemetery in New Wilmington. Peg died five years later, on March 25th, 2008.
The next son was Jesse Newton Sipe, Jr., who was born on October 9, 1923. Junior married Edith Bunney in 1945 when he returned from serving in World War II. Uncle Jr. was injured in the Army when a tree fell on him from falling because of the bombs. He was in enemy territory and had to pretend that he was dead. He spent the night and the next day his Division came back to the area (they had pushed the enemy back some). His friends found that he was still alive and got him medical help. Jr. had many medical problems from the war and later in life. He suffered from flashbacks about the Army. He and Edith had five children, including twin daughters Jacqueline and Jessica (1953), Patricia (1955), Paul (1957) and Timothy (1962). Jacqueline (Jackie) married Texan Young and had one daughter, Dawn, in 1977. Jessica (Jessie) married Albert Hoover and also had one daughter, Mylissa in 1977. Jessie died of cirrhosis in 2000 and is buried at Fair Oaks Cemetery. Patricia married John Gates and had two children- Elizabeth (1989) and Mark (1990). Their family lived in New York. Paul married and later divorced Terri Adams. They had one daughter, Michelle, in 1979. Paul lived with his father after Edith died and helped to care for Jr. He also suffered from cirrhosis and died only nine days after his father. The family believed that he just gave up trying to live after Jr. died. Timothy married Karen Malaniak and had two children- Adam (1989) and Kelsey (1993). Edith died in 1990. Jr. suffered from heart problems (he had a pacemaker), diabetes and cancer. He died in 2005.
Carl Snyder Sipe was born on March 24, 1926. He was injured on the army base in Texas and returned home without serving in WWII. Carl married Thelma Laurain in 1960, and the couple resided in Neshannock Falls near Jesse and Edith. Carl worked at Eastbrook Sand and Gravel and helped raise three of Thelma’s daughters- Sherry Huggins (1948), Connie Laurain (1951) and Thelma Laurain (1954). The couple had one daughter together, Tracy Lynn Sipe in 1961. Tracy married Robert Mesol in 1985 and had two children- Robert Carl (R.C.) in 1987, and Amber in 1991. Thelma died in 1992 and was buried at Fair Oaks Cemetery. Carl died in 2002.
William Sipe was born on October 15, 1928. He served in the Korean War before marrying Beatrice Rush in 1955. They lived in Neshannock Falls. Bill worked at the Lockley Foundry. They had two daughters, Shirley (1958) and Cindy (1966). Shirley married Randy Martin in 1985 and divorced him before marrying Joseph Woryk in 1995. The couple is still married and has no children. They reside in New Castle. Cindy married Todd Jablon in 1990 and later divorced him. She remarried in 1994 to Daniel Boyle Jr. They had two children, Stephen (1995) and William (1998). She later divorced Daniel. Bill Sipe died in 1988 from cancer. He is buried at Fair Oaks Cemetery. Bea lived alone until she married Paul Fyffe in 1992. He died one year later, and Bea continued living in his house on Rt. 208 until she suffered some severe health problems and was placed in the Overlook Nursing Home in 2005 when she was unable to be cared for by her children at home. Cindy and the boys moved in with her after Cindy’s second divorce. She later remarried Edward Bailey in 2004. Bea lived in the Overlook until her death in November, 2008.
Merle Eugene was born on March 23, 1931. He served in the Korean War before returning to marry Edith Mae Kloss. They had two children, Thomas (1953) and Terry (1956). “Gene” and Edith also remained in Neshannock Falls to raise their children. Tom married and later divorced Joanna Williamson. They had two children, Rhonda (1978) and April (1983). Terry married Shirley Barcheck and had one son, Matthew, in 1979. Tom died on April 21, 2008.
Jesse and Edith’s youngest son was Kenneth Wayne Sipe. Born on August 11, 1933, he was a corporal in the Korean War and retired from the National Castings Division of Midland-Ross Corporation in Sharon. He married Darlene Taylor in 1955. They had four children- Kenny “Wayne” Jr.. (1957), Michael (1959), Jeffrey (1962) and Darla (1965). Wayne married Roma Brier and raised three of her children- Greg (1983), Chas (1985) and Autumn (1987)- and one child of their own, Anthony (1990). He suffered from heart problems and died in 2005. Michael was never married, but has one daughter, Ashley (1997). Jeff has been married three times. He had one child to his first wife, Kimberly Wilbert. This was a son, Kenneth Jesse (1986). Jeff divorced Kimberly and married Jill Eppinger in 1996. They were also divorced, and had no children. He remarried his first wife, Kimberly, in 2002 and helped raise the children she had had from her remarriage. These children were Karley Rich (1987), Kristina Rich (1990) and James Rich (1993. Darla Sipe married Steven Jordan in 1987. They had two children, Michael (1987) and Megan (1989). Kenny died of heart problems in 2003. He is buried in Fair Oaks Cemetery. His wife, Darlene, lived on her own for as long as she could, but she also suffered from health problems and needed someone to keep an eye on her. She moved into the Overlook Nursing Home where she had round-the-clock supervision.
Edith Sipe died on December 14, 1961. She suffered from diabetes for many years. She went into Jameson hospital for tests. Her son Melvin stopped to visit her in the hospital in the morning, and left when her lunch arrived. He went to tell his dad that she was doing well, but while they were talking the hospital called and told them to come immediately and they arrived to find that she had died. An unknown blood clot had moved into her lung and killed her instantly. She is buried at Fair Oaks Cemetery. Jesse outlived her and lived to see his 97th birthday and was less than two months away from turning 98. He was living with Carl’s family in Neshannock Falls when he died. He was cared for by his children, who remained nearby as neighbors. He died on October 30, 1987 and was buried with Edith at Fair Oaks. The house where Jesse and Edith raised their kids was later torn down.
Through interviews with Uncle Gene (Merle Eugene Sipe) on Oct. 14, 2009 and February 21, 2010 I have learned more about Jesse and Edith Sipe. Jesse was blown up in a boiler explosion at the sawmill where he worked. He had gone back to work to do some overtime (Edith had told him not to go because they really did not need the money at the time). He was the operator of the boiler and it scalded him and broke his arm. They could not set the arm because of the burns and therefore his arm reset wrong. The bones overlapped and that made his arm shorter than the other. He was in the hospital a long time.
The sawmill was owned by a Garrett and they sued the boiler company. They won the case because of Grandad’s injuries. He had to go to court and testify. The “baffle tubes” in the boiler were defective. They were awarded money but Grandad was never given anything by Garrett.
The man who was fueling the boiler was hurt also – his eyeballs came out of socket, but Uncle Gene said that they were able to put them back into his head and fix him up. I do not know who he was. Barnie Sipe had told me that the sawmill was on the Fayette-New Wilmington Road just outside of Fayette. It would now be across the road from Destinaire Farms.
Uncle Gene also worked with grandad at the sawmills and the stone quarries. He said that Grandad was very good at operating equipment. He ran the cranes. They worked in Neshannock Falls, Annandale (Butler Co.) and for Wally Smeltzer in Volant at the quarries. They also worked for sawmills in the local areas. They worked in Edinburg, Eastbrook Road, and all around the Neshannock Falls area. They also worked in Clintonville, Franklin, and Emlenton. They would work and stay there all week and just come home on the weekends. Jim Elder of Elder’s Crossing was in charge of some of the sawmills that Grandad worked.
Uncle Gene said that there were two stone quarries in Neshannock Falls. One was before the river along present day Rt. 956 and the other was across the river on the other side. They built a trestle across the river for the train to go over and get loaded. The train had to back out of the quarry to the switiching station (behind the Kloss’s on Kloss Lane. The tracks went from behind Grandad’s house and across the road to the quarries. You can still see the place of the railroad to this day. It goes back to the “Walls” where the bridge was. Gene said that the cotton mill was where the Duane Moose home was and they used water from the river to operate. There was also a blacksmith shop on the side of the quarries. I asked him how that could be because it is all hill over there. He said that the hill came from the quarries dumping dirt in a pile when they were digging out the stone. It is now all covered with trees and I never knew it was flat before. Gene said that he could look from their house and see the iron bridge at the end of Covered Bridge Road clearly. It is all blocked now with trees.
I asked him who lived there in Neshannock Falls when they were all going to school. He mentioned these names – Sipes, Kloss family (Robert and Raymond), Andy Zook, Abraham Kauffman, Harris family (they ran the Park), J.J.Byers Store and Jack Reynolds store, Post Office was in Byers Store, the Dance Hall at the park, Walker’s Mill, John Walker, Bill Hall, Grant Parks, and Harvey and Amelia Miller family.
Uncle Gene told me that Grandad’s house which is pictured here was really two houses put together. The one story part was one house and the double story house was attached to it. Grandad bought the properties from Milo and Elizabeth Kauffman Moose and Benjamin and Mary King Moose. I found those names on the deed that I traced at the courthouse. Grandad paid $350.00 for them. The two story house was a “company house ” just passed his place. He moved it to the other house. A “company house” means that it was owned by the quarry and rented out. I had never heard anyone tell about that.