John and Mary “Polly” (Unknown) Craig

When you get back to a certain point in history, you are going to run into a few basic problems. First, it seems that every darn one of these people is named John – and there are tons of them. But only a couple of them were ever written about or mentioned in the county histories – and of course, none of them were ours. That would make this too easy.

According to my paperwork, John Craig and Mary “Polly” Unknown were the parents of Harriet Craig. Harriet and John Shaffer were married in the 1840s prior to the by name census, so it’s not possible to place Harriet in her parents home using census records. There are numerous family trees online, which agree with my paperwork; however, they provide no proof or documentation. My beginning source was my father-in-law’s family history. He was well acquainted with Harriet’s son Peter and would have been aware of the relationship. Based on that, I will continue with the research for this line and attempt to find some other documentation to back it up.

Records I have attached to John Craig:1
1840 census

Records for John and Mary Craig:2,3
1850 census
1860 census

Records for Mary “Polly” (Unknown) Craig after John disappears:4,5
1870 census
1880 Mortality Schedule

Several of the trees online have decent documentation back to the children of John and Mary Craig, but little if anything beyond the census records to connect them to John and Mary. I have connected as much as I can through Ancestry and the records available online. (I will remind you that I’m in Tucson, Arizona, and this family is in Armstrong and Indiana counties in Pennsylvania.)

I have an extensive list of items yet to research when I go to Salt Lake City this summer and (hopefully) back to Pennsylvania within the next year. Until then, I’m at a dead-end unless someone out there has some help they can provide with documentation of who married who, obituaries, family bibles, or newspaper clippings about family members visiting that would tie this family together.

The family as I know it:
John Craig (abt 1793-bef 1870)
Mary “Poly” Unknown (abt 1804-1880)
Their ten children:
Harriet (abt 1822-) m. John Shaffer
Margaret E. (abt 1824-bef 1870) m. Patrick Shaw
Mary Ann (abt 1826-bef 1878) m. Levi Fry
Exemnia (abt 1829-) m. P.J. Dunmire
Richard (abt 1832-)
John (abt 1835-1862)
Jesse (abt 1839-)
Priscilla (abt 1841-)
James (abt 1845-) m. Sarah Unknown
George (abt 1847-)

There is still a lot of research to be done on the children of this line to see if I can locate any information that might help. Once again, any help is appreciated.



1. 1840 U.S. census, Armstrong, Pennsylvania, Plumcreek Twp., p. 34, John Craig; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 23 Jan 2012); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M704, roll 442.
2. 1850 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., p. 350A, dwelling 234, family 234, John Craig; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com: accessed 21 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 749.
3. 1860 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp, p. 703, dwelling 834, family 737, John Craig; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com: accessed 21 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 1069.
4.1870 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., p. 350B, dwelling 12, family 12, Polly Craig; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 21 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M593, roll 1301.
5. 1880 U.S. Census Mortality Schedule of Pennsylvania, Armstrong County, Plumcreek Twp., p. 1, line 5, Mary Craig, age 78, general debility; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 20 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration Archive Collection M1838; Roll 8.

Peter Shaffer Family Tombstone

All of Peter and Nancy’s children are buried in Elderton Cemetery.

Peter and Nancy Shaffer’s tombstone.

Peter and Nancy Shaffer

Oldest daughter Minnie Elizabeth Beatty was married to John Frailey in about 1894.

Minnie and John Frailey

Oldest son Charles Wilmer was married to Lillian May Kelley.

Charles Wilmer Shaffer


Lillian Mae Kelley Shaffer

Son Leason J was married to Mary A. Hilliard.

Lee and Mary Shaffer

Son Harry Oliver was married to Martha Pearl Williams.

Harry and Pearl Shaffer

Son George Addison was married to Zelma Smith.

George and Zelma Shaffer

Youngest son, Christopher Nesbitt was married to Zula Agnes Smeltzer.

Christopher N. Shaffer


Zula Smeltzer Shaffer



Photos not taken by me courtesy of Ralph Satterfield and other contributors.

Peter Shaffer (1852-1935)

I think we need a little recap of where we are in the tree, it’s easy to get lost in the jumble of names. We are going to go up the Shaffer line next. While Peter Shaffer is not the biological father of Anna Mary Beatty, he was the husband of Nancy M.J. Beatty and Anna’s children considered him to be their grandfather. I have noted that he is her stepfather, but he appears on our family tree in the paternal slot. So here once again is the tree of Robert Clare Scott and we are looking at his mother’s paternal line.

Peter was born 12 Jan 1852, in Plumcreek Township, Armstrong, Pennsylvania, the son of John and Harriet (Craig) Shaffer. Right off the bat, we have the first “diffugilty.” His Pennsylvania death certificate and his obituary both state he was born in 1849.1,2 His tombstone actually has the correct date of 1852.

Why do we know the stone is right and the documents are wrong? He does not appear on the 1850 census with his parents, but he does appear on the 1860 census at the age of seven.3,4 He remains consistent in his age on the census records from 1870 – 1920, usually declaring himself to be born in 1852 (ages: 19, 28, 48, 58, 69).5,6,7,8,9 The only time this varies is on the 1930 census when his age is listed as 81.10 He is living with his son and his family so it is possible that Peter was not the informant. The informant on his death certificate was Mrs. John Frailey. That’s right, Peter and Nancy M.J.’s daughter Minnie. The same one who was living with her grandmother Rebecca Beatty on the 1900 census when all of Rebecca’s information changed. I have gone with the 1852 date that is consistent with the records that either he or his parents would have provided.

The second “diffugilty” comes with the middle name. As I mentioned in my post about Nancy, the middle names are an issue. Peter never appears on any documents (created while he is alive) with a middle initial or name. The only times the initial K appears is on his death certificate and then again in his obituary. That information was provided by daughter Minnie. The next odd middle name, Levi, appears in the obituary of his son Christopher and is probably provided by his daughter-in-law Zula.11 At the time Christopher died, Zula would have been well up in her 70s and Peter had been dead over forty years. I have not yet found the name of Levi used by any other Shaffer or Craig family members of Peter’s generation or previous.

His tombstone reads simply Peter Shaffer, which I believe to be the most correct. Based on the records created while he was alive, I have chosen not to use the middle initial or middle name. I will continue to explore records to see if he ever uses an initial on either tax, land, or voting records.

I have provided links to the images of all the census records on which Peter appears:
1860
1870
1880
1900
1910
1920
1930

He married Nancy M.J. Beatty in about 1874. I have not yet found a marriage record for the couple. This date is based on the 1900 census and the birth of their first child together. Peter remained in Plumcreek Township his entire life and did not remarry after Nancy died in 1909.

I found this article in the Simpson Leader Times newspaper dated 31 October 1931:12

Elderton Farmer Injured
An 80 year old Elderton farmer lay in his home today with a serious head injury, suffered when the wagon on which he and a 30 year old son were riding, was wrecked in a heavy fog Thursday morning.
The farmer, Peter Shaffer, living about a mile from Elderton, was unable to recognize members of his family late yesterday. He is in a semi-conscious condition.
The son, Christopher Shaffer, was less seriously injured.
The two were enroute to another farm when a car driven by Joseph Coulter, of Girty, enroute to Kittanning, collided with the wagon in the heavy fog.
The force of the collision hurled the two men on the wagon onto the concrete.
They were taken to their homes and Dr. E. E. Keeler of Elderton was summoned. He has been administering treatment since.

Peter died 4 January 1934 in Plumcreek Township of apoplexy. His death certificate lists the secondary cause as epilepsy, listing the duration of that condition as three years, possibly linking it to the accident above. He is buried with his wife Nancy in the Elderton Cemetery.

Peter Shaffer and Nancy M.J. Beatty had the following children together:

Minnie Elizabeth (28 Jun 1875 – 26 Jun 1944) m. John R. Frailey (abt. 1873 – 1953). Remained in the Elderton area all their lives, buried in Elderton Cemetery.
Charles Wilmer (18 Jun 1877 – 26 Aug 1939) m. Lillian May Kelley (1881 – 1922). Remained in the Elderton area all their lives, buried in Elderton Cemetery.
Leason J. Shaffer (Jan 1880 – 19XX) m. Mary A. Hilliard (15 Oct 1882 – 18 Jul 1942). Removed to Niles, Trumbull, Ohio, buried in Elderton Cemetery. His tombstone does not have the last two digits engraved.
Harry Oliver (11 Jun 1882 – 17 Mar 1960) m. Martha Pearl Williams (30 Mar 1886 – 17 May 1968). Remained in the Elderton area all their lives, buried in Elderton Cemetery.
George Addison (30 Sep 1887 – 26 Jan 1967) m. Zelma Smith (25 Sep 1895 – 26 Jan 1978) Remained in Elderton most of their lives, removed to Corning, Stueben, New York much later. Buried in Elderton Cemetery.
Christopher Nesbitt (1 Nov 1889 – 10 Jul 1976) m. Zula Agnes Smeltzer (15 Aug 1894 – 21 Nov 1986). Remained in the Elderton area all their lives, buried in Elderton Cemetery.

I have not included family group sheets for these people because many of their children are still living.

Does anyone have a picture of Peter Shaffer? If so I would very much like a scan of the image for Peter or his wife Nancy.

My next post will be the tombstones of these family members and then we will move back a generation and attempt to deal with Peter’s parents, John and Harriet (Craig) Shaffer.



1. Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 2875 (1934), Peter K. Shaffer; Division of Vital Records, New Castle.
2. Obituary, “Peter K. Shaffer,” The Indiana Evening Gazette, 5 Jan 1934; digital images.
3. 1850 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., p. 342A, dwelling 120, family 120, John Sheaffer; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 20 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll M432 749.
4. 1860 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., p. 728, dwelling 991, family 879, John Sheaffer; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 20 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll M653 1069.
5. 1870 U.S. census, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Armstrong Twp., p. 13, dwelling 184, family 192, John Shaffer; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M593, roll 1350.
6. 1880 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 5, p. 124, dwelling 283, family 301, Peter Shaeffer; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 6 Mar 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 1096.
7. 1900 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 11, p. 6B, dwelling 137; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 1373.
8. 1910 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 37, p. 5, dwelling 79; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 1310.
9. 1920 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 15, p. 4A, dwelling 68; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T625, roll 1508.
10. 1930 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 42, p. 13A, dwelling 298; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 1994.
11. Death Record, “Christopher N. Shaffer,” The Simpson Leader Times, 10 Jul 1976, p. 7, col. 8; digital images, NewspaperArchive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 19 Dec 2011), Historic Newspapers.
12. News Article, “Elderton Farmer Injured,” The Simpson Leader Times, 30 Oct 1931, p. 1; digital images.

James and Rebecca Beatty’s Family Tombstones

There are not a lot of stones happening in this small group. Neither James nor Rebecca have a tombstone.

Oldest daughter Elizabeth Angeline Beatty (1850 – 1918) is buried with her husband James Young (1854 – 1914) in Elderton Cemetery. While her tombstone says 1851, she was born in 1850 as documented by the 1850 census.

Elizabeth Beatty & James Young

Daughter Jane Isabella Beatty is buried in an unknown location.

Daughter Nancy M.J. Beatty Shaffer (9 Aug 1853 – 2 Feb 1909) shares a stone with husband Peter Shaffer in Elderton Cemetery.

Nancy M.J. Beatty Shaffer

Daughter Caroline “Callie” Beatty Beer (abt 1859 – 1891) is with her husband Elias Clark Beer (29 Jan 1860 – 9 Oct 1932) in Elderton Cemetery. Callie and Clark had four children: Harry Edwin and John are both in Elderton Cemetery, Laura Mae Beer Metz is in Greenwood Cemetery, Indiana County, and Lydia E.Beer Chambers, location unknown.

Caroline Beatty Beer


Elias Clark Beer

William James Beatty (25 Aug 1861 – 4 Aug 1920) is buried in Elderton Cemetery, but he has no tombstone. Both of his wives are buried in Elderton Cemetery as are several of his children. Rather than a separate post, I will include their tombstones here.

First wife Martha Jane Shaffer Beatty (abt 1858 – 27 Jan 1891).

Martha Jane Shaffer Beatty

Their oldest daughter, Ella Minnie Beatty (2 Mar 1881 – 3 Mar 1905) is also in Elderton, but has no stone.

Oldest son Charles Nesbit Beatty (1 Sep 1882 – 3 Jul 1953) married three times. He is buried in Elderton Cemetery. There is a good photo of his stone on Find A Grave. My picture quality was not good enough to be used here.

He married his first wife Anna Belle Fiscus Beatty (1880 – 12 Nov 1925) on 18 May 1909. They had one child: Homer Charles. She is in Elderton Cemetery.

He married second wife Nannie Belle Miller Beatty (abt 1883 – 10 Jan 1932) on 9 Jan 1926 in Indiana, Indiana County. They had no children. She is buried in Elderton and I have requested a photo.

He married third wife Ethel Pauline Bleakney (5 Aug 1898 – 9 Aug 1970) on 9 Jul 1934. They had no children. Ethel is also in Elderton Cemetery.

Daughter Jennie Mae Beatty was also married multiple times. First about 1906 to Robert McClellan (information not known). They had one child: Robert Paul McClellan. Second to John Milo George (8 Aug 1868 – 23 Aug 1923) on 21 Jun 1919. And third, to George Robert McKee (24 Mar 1887 – 26 Dec 1958) on 1 Mar 1924. Jennie and George are both buried in Oak View Memorial Park, Antioch, Contra Costa, California.

Anna Belle Fiscus Beatty

Son John Addison Beatty (2 Apr 1889 – 28 Aug 1983) married twice. He is buried in Gastown Cemetery.

John Addison Beatty

John Addison married his first wife Lottie Susanne Bierer (1 Feb 1891 – 17 Mar 1917) on 23 Sep 1913. They had one child: Mary O. Lottie died of Typhoid Fever and is buried in Gastown Cemetery.

Lottie Susanne Bierer Beatty

He married second wife Martha Eleanor Boyer (20 Dec 1893 – 7 Apr 1983) on 25 Mar 1919. They had five children: Marie Velma, Robert Addison, William V., Raymond Neal, and Virginia. Martha shares a tombstone with her husband.

The next post will be some final thoughts about the Beatty line.



Photos not taken by me courtesy of Ralph Satterfield and other contributors.

The Children of Rebecca and James Beatty

Information about the five children of Rebecca and James.

Elizabeth Angeline Beatty (1850-1918) m. James Young (1854-1914) in about 1877. I believe she may have been known as Angeline. This is based on the 1850 and 1880 census.1,2 According to the 1900 census, she and James had no children of their own, but it does list an adopted daughter Mary E. Young.3 I have not yet located any records of their marriage, death or obituaries. Their death dates come from their tombstone in Elderton Cemetery.

Jane Isabella Beatty (chr. 18 May 1851 – bef 1860). She never appears in any record except the baptismal.4 It is probable (pure speculation) that she is in an unmarked grave in Plum Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery where she and several of her siblings were baptized and other family members are buried.

Nancy M. J. Beatty (1853-1909) documented in her own post.

Caroline “Callie” Beatty (1859 – 1891) m. Elias Clark Beer (1860-1932) I had trouble finding Caroline, but finally located Clark and in his obituary found that she was constantly referred to as “Callie.”5 Her tombstone reads Cally Beer. She married Clark in about 1881, and had four children before dying in 1891 – everything happened in between census records. I have found no marriage record, obituary, or mention of Callie’s death; however, her tombstone is in Elderton Cemetery.

What has been freaky was the story of Callie’s two sons. First of her children to die was son John Beer. John was born in Jan 1885 and died 2 May 1921 in a horrifying accident. Sixty years after Caroline’s father was killed by a train – so was John. And the account was no less graphic.6

FARMER MET INSTANT DEATH WHEN STRUCK BY TRAIN
His Brother Witnesses the Tragedy While the Two Were Returning Home

John Beer, aged 30 years of Armstrong township, was instantly killed on Monday evening shortly after 5 o’clock when he was run down by the local freight on the B.R.&P. railroad between Thomas and Shelocta stations. His body was horribly mangled, the top of the head being torn off and a leg and arm cut off and the body almost severed at the trunk. His brother, Harry, who witnessed the shocking accident, was unable to rescue him. The two brothers, who jointly owned and conducted a farm near Shelocta, were in Indiana on Monday transacting business and late in the afternoon went to Creekside on the trolley car. At this point they decided to walk home and following the railroad had completed the greater part of the journey. Both were on the railroad track when the freight, running north, approached, and while the train was in plain view the unfortunate man failed to clear the tracks. The deceased was regarded as one of the most industrious and successful young farmers of that sections and was prominently know in that community, and both he and his brother, who were unmarried, occupied the same home on the farm. Besides his brother he is survived by two sisters and his father, Clark Beer, who also resides in Armstrong township. Interment will be made in Oakland cemetery at this place. [Note – His tombstone is in Elderton Cemetery.]

John Beer

As if that wasn’t enough – 10 years later, oldest son Harry Edwin Beer is killed when he was hit by a car.7

OTHER ACCIDENTS Harvey Edwin Beer, 49 years old, of Shelocta, R.D., who was fatally injured when a car operated by a hit-and-run driver crashed into him on the Benjamin Franklin highway, about a quarter of a mile west of Shelocta, about 11:30 o’clock Saturday, died from the result of his injuries in the Indiana hospital at 8:15 o’clock Sunday morning. According to State Motor Patrolman Corp. Harry Fulton, who investigated the accident, Beer, who was enroute to his home, after shopping in Shelocta, was walking west along the highway. In his arms he carried bread and other articles. He had been accompanied by two boys who left him a short distance from the scene of the accident. It has not been learned whether, Beer was blinded by the headlights of the death car and stepped in its path, or whether the operator did not observe him in time to avoid the crash. When the car crashed into him, he was hurled 12 feet off the side of the highway. The operator of the car hit-and-run and Mr. Beer, who had been rendered unconscious, lay along the side of-the highway ,for some time before he was discovered by a passing motorist from Pontiac, Michigan, whose name could not be learned this morning. When Robinson’s ambulance responded to the call Mr. Beer was removed to the Indiana hospital where an examination by staff surgeons revealed he had sustained concussion of the brain, a fractured left leg and shoulder and his left side practically caved in. He died six and a half hours later without regaining consciousness. Members of the motor patrol are searching for the hit-and-run driver today. A son of Clark and Callie (Beatty) Beer, the deceased was born in Plumcreek township, near Shelocta, September 14th, 1882. He lived his entire life in the home of his father, where he followed the occupation of a farmer. He leaves his father and two sisters: Mrs. Laura Metz, of 310 Water street, Indiana and Mrs. Wade Chambers, of Colgate, Maryland. Funeral services will be conducted in the home of the deceased’s sister Mrs. Laura Metz, 310, Water street, Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock. Interment will follow in the Elderton cemetery.

Harry Beer

Note to self – Do not walk anywhere with Beatty men or their descendents in Indiana County in a year ending in one!

William James Beatty (1861-1920) first married Martha Jane Shaffer (1858 – 1891). Martha Jane is the sister of Peter Shaffer, Nancy M.J. Beatty’s husband. She also died in 1891, which makes me wonder if it was a bad influenza year or if some other type of disease was running rampant. William James and Martha Jane had four children together. Martha is in Elderton Cemetery.

His second marriage was to Amanda Jane Ramsey Uncapher (1858-1956). He had four children with Jane. Jane is also in Elderton Cemetery.

William James is in Elderton Cemetery according to his obituary, but he has no tombstone.



Photographs courtesy of Ralph Satterfield.
1. 1850 U.S. census, Indiana, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Washington Twp, p. 220, dwelling 141, family 141, Angeline Baty; digital images, Ancestry (http//www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 785.
2. 1880 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 5, p. 126A, dwelling 309, family 331, Angeline Young; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 23 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 1096.
3. 1900 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Elderton, enumeration district (ED) 11, p. 2B, dwelling 38, family 38, Elizabeth Young; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 23 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 1373.
4. Treasures of the Past, “Plumcreek Presbyterian Church Baptism Records,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 Jun 2011), Beatty, Jane Isabela, baptized 18 May 1851.
5. “Elias Clark Beer Obituary,” The Indiana Evening Gazette, 10 Oct 1932, p. 1, col. 4; digital images, NewspaperArchive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 1 Jan 2012).
6. “FARMER MET INSTANT DEATH WHEN STRUCK BY TRAIN,” The Indiana Progress, 4 May 1921, p. 1, col. 1; digital images, NewspaperArchive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 1 Jan 2012).
7. “OTHER ACCIDENTS,” The Indiana Evening Gazette, 31 Aug 1931, p. 1, col. 1; digital images, NewspaperArchive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 31 Dec 2011).

Rebecca Beatty Beatty (1824 – 1902)

Rebecca has been easy to keep track of. I’m telling you folks, this family is an anomaly because the women in the direct line have made it easy to follow.

Rebecca was born in Ireland and I have listed her birth as about 1824. Her age on the census records fluctuate between 1822 and 1826. Her brothers list their immigration year as 1824. She is consistent that her place of birth was Ireland until the 1900 census, where she is listed as age 77, born in 1822. I’m not sure that she provided the information for this census. It is probable the information was provided by her granddaughter Minnie Shaffer Frailey, or Minnie’s husband John, as they resided with her at the time. This is the only census that states her place of birth as Pennsylvania. There was also no information provided about the number of children born and living – yet another reason I believe the informant was not Rebecca.

I have provided links to all the census records she appears on below.
18501
18602
18703
18804
19005

Rebecca and James had the following children:
Elizabeth Angeline Beatty (1850-1918) m. James Young (1854-1914)
Jane Isabella Beatty (chr. 18 May 1851 – bef 1860)
Nancy M. J. Beatty (1853-1909) m. Peter Shaffer (1852-1934)
Caroline Beatty (1859 – 1891) m. Elias Clark Beer (1860-1932)
William James Beatty (1861-1920) m. Martha Jane Shaffer (1858 – 1891) m. Amanda Jane Ramsey (1858-1956)
I will discuss the children and their spouses in a separate post.

Rebecca’s death has been clearly documented in a rather graphic newspaper account in several newspapers of the time.6 However, these articles name her as Mrs. Nancy Beatty, age 92. But they all name her children as Mrs. James Young [Elizabeth Angeline], Mrs. Peter Shaffer [Nancy M.J.], and William J. Beatty. This is definitely Rebecca. Don Beatty, Beatty family researcher, reported that John Addison Beatty (Rebecca’s grandson) personally confirmed to him that this was Rebecca and that the editor printed a correction shortly thereafter. I have not yet found a copy of that correction; however, I have no reason to doubt Don’s report. Don’s note of this interview is available on Rootsweb.7 And, once again, this matches a family story provided by my father-in-law prior to my own research.

Warning! Graphic content!

BURNED TO DEATH AT AGE OF 92
Mrs. Nancy Beatty Sat Too Close to the Stove and Her Clothes Caught Fire
HER FLESH BURNED TO THE BONE
Flames Had Completely Enveloped Her When Friends Came in Response to Her Cries for Help.

Mrs. Nancy Beatty, aged 92 years, was burned to death at the home of her son, William, on Plum creek, midway between Shelocta and Elderton last Saturday.
As no one was in the room with the aged victim at the time, the cause of her burning can only be conjectured, but it is thought that her apron caught fire from a cook stove before which she was sitting.
When her cries for help attracted the other inmates of the house, the flames had completely enveloped her. The clothing was burned from her body, her hair was entirely burned off, and her emaciated frame from the knees to the shoulders was fearfully
seared by the cruel flames. In a number of places the flesh was burned off completely, exhibiting the ghastly whiteness of the bones.
Dr. Keeler, of Shelocta, was summoned and did what he could to alleviate the intense suffering of the woman, but she lingered in great agony until 2 o’clock Sunday morning when death came to her relief.
The deceased is survived by two daughters, Mrs. James Young and Mrs. Peter Shaffer, of Elderton, and one son, William, of Plum Creek township. The funeral services were conducted on Monday afternoon, by Rev. O. H. Milllgan, interment being made in the Elderton Cemetery.

There is no stone for Rebecca in Elderton Cemetery.
I also found no will for Rebecca in either Armstrong or Indiana County.
My next post will be some short notes and information about Rebecca and James’s children.



1. 1850 U.S. census, Indiana, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Washington Twp, p. 220, dwelling 141, family 141, Rebecca Baty; digital images, Ancestry (http//www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 785.
2. 1860 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Burrell, p. 72, dwelling 258, family 251, Rebecca Beaty; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 1116.
3. 1870 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., p. 360, dwelling 153, family 153, Rebecca Beatty; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M593, roll 1301.
4. 1880 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 5, p. 124, dwelling 284, family 303, Rebecca Beatty; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 6 Mar 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 1096.
5. 1900 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Township, enumeration district (ED) 12, p. 9B, dwelling 192, family 199, Rebecca Beatty; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 18 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 1373.
6. “BURNED TO DEATH AT THE AGE OF 92,” The Indiana County Gazette, 17 Sep 1902, p. 3, col. 3; digital images, NewspaperArchive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 31 Dec 2011).
7.”USGenWeb,” database, USGenWeb Archives (http://files.usgwarchives.org : accessed 20 Dec 2011), Rebeccah Beatty, 1902, Plum Creek; Provided by Don Beatty http://files.usgwarchives.net/pa/armstrong/obits/b3000001.txt.

Climbing Nancy M. J. Beatty’s Family Tree

Keeping on track – Nancy M. J. Beatty is the mother of Anna M. Beatty Scott.

Nancy Margaret Jane Beatty was born 9 August 1853 in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. At least that’s the information her husband Peter Shaffer provided on her 1909 death certificate.1 She is a daughter of James Beatty and Rebecca Beatty. Yes, Beatty is her maiden name. According to the information Peter provided, her father James was from Canada and her mother Rebecca was from Ireland.

Some of the confusion for this woman comes with name changes. She was baptized Nancy Margaret Beatty in the Plumcreek Presbyterian Church, Indiana County on 4 Oct 1853, daughter of James and Rebecca Beatty,2 and she appears on the 1860 census as Nancy M. Beatty.

However, beginning with the 1870 census and continuing through the remainder of her life, she is Nancy J.3 It is probable that she took Jane in honor of her older sister Jane Isabella Beatty who appears to have died before 1860, as she does not appear on that census. Her tombstone states her middle initial as “J.” In Viola Lawton Scott’s and her son’s genealogy pages, they both refer to her as Nancy Jane Beatty. Both Viola and her son had a good relationship with her husband Peter and spent time in the household of her daughter Anna M.

Due to these documents, I have chosen to refer to her as Nancy M.J. to avoid any confusion with the numerous other Nancy Beatty’s in the area.

The other small wrinkle that appears is the middle name of Ellen. This one is provided in the 1976 obituary of her son Chrisopher Nesbitt Shaffer.4 In this obituary, it lists Nancy Ellen (Beatty) Shaffer. It also lists his father as Peter Levi Shaffer. Both of these are new middle names. The information for this obituary was no doubt given by Christopher’s wife Zula, who would have been about 82 at this time – or one of his children. One family researcher told me that she was told, Christopher’s daughter Nancy Ellen was named for his mother. All these lend weight, but I have found no document with the initial E. or the name Ellen except for this obituary. None of the other obituaries for Nancy’s children list a middle initial for their mother. Nor have I found any Beatty or Shaffer family members (of Nancy’s generation or prior) named Ellen.

Nancy married Peter Shaffer about 1873 or 74 in Armstrong County. I will cover her children with Peter in a later post about Peter and his family line. Nancy died of apoplexy in Elderton. She appears to be reasonably well documented by the census records, and I can establish a family based on those.

This may be one of the rare instances where tracing a family has been better accomplished through the women.

On the 1870 census Nancy J., age 16, is with her widowed mother Rebecca, who was born about 1826 in Ireland, and also in the home is Sarah Beatty born about 1779, along with Nancy’s siblings, Elizabeth A. age 18 and Wm J. age 9. (Missing from this record is Caroline age 11.)

On the 1860 census5 I find Nancy M. age 6 with older sister Elizabeth A. and younger sister Caroline age 1. Caroline as you recall is listed with her mother Rebecca on the 1880 census next door to Peter Shaffer. Mother Rebecca is from Ireland and so is father James born about 1849 in Ireland. More on James and his birthplace to come in a later post.

I followed her mother Rebecca back to the 1850 census6 and located the family in Washington Township, Indiana County, and found a large family group of Baty[sic] people. [Just a reminder that when I cite a census records, I list the people as they appear on the record complete with misspellings.]

James Baty age 20 from Ireland,
Rebecca Baty age 24 from Ireland,
Avyaline age 10 months (December 1849). [Angeline]

This location of the family lends credence to the birthplace of Indiana County which Peter listed on Nancy’s death certificate.

Nancy M.J. Beatty’s family as I had found it based on the baptismal records, census records and her death certificate is:

James Beatty born abt 1830 in Ireland
Rebecca Beatty born abt 1826 in Ireland
Elizabeth Angeline Beatty born Dec 1849
Jane Isabelle Beatty born before 18 May 1851
Nancy M. J. Beatty born 9 Aug 1853
Caroline Beatty born about 1859
William J. Beatty born about 1861

My next post will deal with James and Rebecca Beatty, Betty, Batty, Baty, etc.



1. Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 12340 (1909), Mrs. Nancy Shaffer; Division of Vital Records, New Castle, Pennsylvania.
2. Treasures of the Past, “Plumcreek Presbyterian Church Baptism Records,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 Mar 2011), Beatty, Nancy Margaret, baptized 4 Oct 1853.
3. 1870 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., p. 360, dwelling 153, family 153, Nancy Beatty; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M593, roll 1301.
4. Death Record, “Christopher N. Shaffer,” The Simpson Leader Times, 10 Jul 1976, p. 7, col. 8; digital images, NewspaperArchive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 19 Dec 2011), Historic Newspapers.
5. 1860 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Burrell, p. 72, dwelling 258, family 251, Nancy Beaty; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 1116.
6. 1850 U.S. census, Indiana, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Washington Twp, p. 220, dwelling 141, family 141, Rebecca Baty; digital images, Ancestry (http//www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 785.

Anna Mary Beatty Scott

To bring us back on track now – we are going to discuss Anna M. Scott, wife of J.P. Scott. I’ll begin with Anna M. (2 Sep 1872 – 4 Mar 1950)

When I first began my research, Royden Blair Scott provided me a descendant list and he had listed the wife of J.P. Scott as Mary Ann Shaffer, born 2 September 1872 and listing her parents as Peter Shaffer and Nancy Beatty. Every census record that I found for J.P. listed her as Anna or Anna M. With all the available records listing her in this way, I have done the same.

Blair also told me Peter and Nancy Shaffer had six children – Anna, Minnie, Charles, Lee, Harry, George, and Christopher. As with all information that I receive, there is a verification process. Part of our job as genealogists is to find more evidence to back up the family document.

I started running into trouble when I began doing the verification work of Dad’s information. I had no problems locating Anna’s census records from 1900 through 1930 as she appears with her husband J.P. Scott on those records. (Those records may be seen on J.P. Scott’s posts) The trouble came when I was trying to go back further. I found her parents Peter and Nancy on the 1880 census in Plumcreek Township with children, Minnie, Charles and Leason [sic], but no Anna.1 (This is not a great image – Peter Shaffer is on line 13) Living with, or next door to, Peter and Nancy are Nancy’s brother William and his wife Martha, mother Rebecca, sister Caroline. Anna (who would be 7 at this time) is not with the Beatty family. I have not yet located Anna Mary or Mary Ann on the 1880 census records. I wonder if she might not be living with some other family member and be recorded under their last name. Sadly, with names such as Anna and Mary this one will be a tough slog until I investigate all of the extended families. There are, as you might imagine, literally dozens of Anna’s and Mary’s of the appropriate age.

I started working my way through the death and marriage certificates and the confusion deepened. Viola Lawton Scott was the informant when her husband Bob died, and she listed his mother as Anna M. Beatty. I honestly thought she had made a mistake – although that seemed unlikely since she had been working on the family genealogy for some time. As I started acquiring other death certificates, talking to the elderly family members, and more importantly, locating the obituaries, I soon found that she was absolutely correct.

Peter Shaffer was definitely not the father of Anna Mary Beatty. According to several family members including a daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters, Anna Mary Beatty was the illegitimate daughter of Nancy J. Beatty and an unknown father. Anna told all three of these women on separate occasions that she was illegitimate, and while they were a close-knit family, and Peter referred to her as his daughter, he was not her father. None of the woman ever recalled hearing any discussion concerning who her biological father might be. None could provide any insight as to why Anna is not listed with the family in 1880 as they all believed she was raised in Peter’s household. Yet another one of those odd mysteries that occurs in families.

When Anna married John Pettigrew Scott on 11 June 1890 in Elderton, the information, which she provided at the courthouse, reflected her true name as Anna M. Beatty.2

Anna died 4 March 1950, and her death certificate shows her father as Peter Shaffer, but the informant was her youngest son Paul.3 The obituary for Anna M. Scott once again states her father is Peter Shaffer, but it says she is survived by four half brothers. Paul’s widow confirmed that Paul was also responsible for the obituary information. This makes it clear that he was aware Peter was not her biological father.

ANNA M. SCOTT, 77, of Shelocta R. D., died Saturday, March 4, at 1:00 a.m. at her late home in Idaho Pa., from a cerebral hemorrhage.
Born September 2, 1872 in Plumcreek Township, Armstrong County, she was a daughter of Peter and Nancy (Beatty) Shaffer. She was the widow of John P. Scott, and was a member of the Lutheran Church, South Bend.
Surviving are a daughter, Mrs. Wade (Gladys) Rose of Mineral Ridge, Oh., and two sons, Frank Scott of Sagamore and Paul Scott, of Shelocta R. D., with whom she made her home. Mrs. Scott was preceded in death by two sons, Howard and Robert, and one daughter, Ella.
She is also survived by four half brothers and 20 grandchildren.
Services will be held Monday, March 6 at 2:00p.m. in the Clark Funeral Home, Elderton, with the Rev. Howard Amlek officiating. Burial will be in Elderton cemetery.
Respect may be paid at the Funeral home after 7:00 p.m. today and from 1 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday.<sup4

All of the obituaries for her half-siblings simply refer to her as a sister with no reference to the term half. For convenience on the family trees, I have left Peter K. Shaffer listed as her father while noting that he is not her biological father.

I believe that the odds of figuring out who Anna’s biological father actually was are somewhere between slim and none. Unless I luck into a church record that declares her father, or someone unearths a document demanding support, this is a dead end. I am researching the Shaffer family, as our family ties remain so close with them. There will posts to follow on the Shaffer line, after I finish with the post on the very confusing Beatty family.

Anna M. Beatty Scott’s family as I have it documented currently.
Father – unknown
Peter Shaffer (1849-1934) – stepfather.
Nancy J. Beatty (1853-1909) – Mother
Anna M. Beatty (1872-1950) – dau. of Nancy J.
Minnie Elizabeth Shaffer (1875-1944)
Charles Wilmer Shaffer (1877-1939)
Leason J. Shaffer (1880- ?)
Harry Oliver Shaffer (1882-1960)
George Addison Shaffer 1887-1967)
Christopher Nesbitt Shaffer (1889-1976)
(Documentation on Peter and his children will be in a future post)

My next post will be about the work to clearly define the family of Nancy J. Beatty.



1. 1880 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 5, p. 124, dwelling 283, family 301, Peter Shaeffer; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 6 Mar 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 1096.
2. Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, Marriage Books, Book 5: Page 183, #1616, John P. Scott-Anna M. Beatty, 11 Jun 1890; Armstrong County Courthouse, Kittaning, Pennsylvania.
3. Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 18894, 4 Mar 1950, Anna M. Scott; Division of Vital Records, New Castle, Pennsylvania.
4. Obituary, “Anna M. Scott,” The Indiana Evening Gazette, 4 Mar 1950

John Pettigrew Scott

Moving back one generation from Robert Clare to his father John Pettigrew Scott.

John Pettigrew Scott was born 21 Jan 1865 in Plumcreek Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.1 He was the oldest son of Zachariah T. Scott and Margaret Olinger. I have been searching for the reason for his middle name, but while I have theories, I haven’t been able to nail it down.

J.P., as his family called him, spent his entire life in Armstrong County. He married Anna Mary Beatty (1872-1950) on 11 June 1890 in Elderton.2 Anna Mary Beatty is the daughter of an unknown father and Nancy J. Beatty. Nancy J. Beatty married Peter K. Shaffer after the birth of Anna M. Hold your mail – I’ll have more on Anna and the Beatty and Shaffer families in later posts!

J.P. and Anna had six children. I have put up J.P.’s family group sheet.

Robert Clare Scott (1890-1932) m. Viola Cynthia Lawton (1895-1969)
Howard Lee Scott (1892-1943) m. Blanche Elizabeth Altman (1893-1950)
Frank T. (Ben) Scott (1898-1972) m. Margaret Amelia Russell (1901-1925)
Gladys Marie Scott (1901-1961) m. Richard William Cessna (1898-1925) m. Wade Henry Rose Sr. (1885-1967)
Ella Grace Scott (1908-1943) m. Willard Ray Wingard (1906-2001)
Paul John Scott (1914-1977) m. Marion Larue Hill (1920-)

I am looking for information about Frank T. Scott – what does the T. stand for? I have been told it stands for Taylor. I’m also looking for information about why he was known as Ben to his family. It is my understanding there was a second marriage for Frank to Ann Lind, but I have no information on Ann. If anyone can help with information on this please contact me.



1. Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 61021 (1938), John Pettigrew Scott; Division of Vital Records, New Castle, Pennsylvania.
2. Armstrong, Pennsylvania, Marriage Books, Book 5: Page 183, #1616, John P. Scott-Anna M. Beatty, 1890; Armstrong County Courthouse, Kittaning.

Robert Clare Scott

The Scott line is actually one of the shorter ones in Scotty’s family tree. Beginning with Robert (Bob) Scott the Scott line is only verified back three more generations. I say verified because I’m still working on past generations. The women have actually been easier to work on in some ways then the men – that’s not normal in genealogy!

Robert Clare Scott was born on 5 May 1891 in Plumcreek Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.1 [Yes, I’m aware his death record and tombstone say 1890, but his marriage record and early census record place his birth in 1891, well after his parents 1890 marriage.] Bob is the oldest son of John Pettigrew Scott and Anna Mary Beatty (aka Anna M. Shaffer – more on that later). I have seen some records that state he was born in Elderton, but I’m comfortable with Plumcreek Township as the appropriate location since this is what he declares on his marriage application.

Bob was apparently a bright young man and a hard worker. According to a 29 July 1908 news article, he was hired as a teacher at the Concord School in Concord.2 Concord was a small community above Gastown and is no longer in existence. Keystone Lake was created in the 1960s and it covered the small community.

On 9 May 1910 he is enumerated with his parents and siblings on his father’s farm and lists his occupation as a farm laborer.3 He was still teaching school, but as with many teachers of the day, he worked at other jobs to make ends meet.

Bob married Viola Cynthia Lawton on 22 September 1915 in Shelocta, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.4 Viola was the oldest daughter of Elmon Grant Lawton and Mary Etta Pickle. I will address Viola and her family when I post on the Lawton line in the future. One of the more interesting side facts about Bob and Viola’s story is that Viola had been one of Bob’s students when he taught at Concord School. The 1911/12 school year souvenir shows both of them along with several of Viola’s Lawton siblings.

Their only child Royden Blair Scott was born on 9 April 1917 in Elderton, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.5

Blair told me that his father had a known heart condition and while he helped out during threshing season, he had been told that heavy labor was dangerous to him. This was part of the reason to become a teacher and also to take on some of the other jobs he had later in life.

Robert Clare Scott & Students



1. Pennsylvania. Armstrong County. Marriage Licenses & Applications. Armstrong County Courthouse, Kittaning.
2. “Teachers Chosen,” The Indiana Weekly Messenger, 29 Jul 1908; digital images.
3. 1910 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 37, p. 9B, dwelling 185; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 1310
4. Armstrong, Pennsylvania, Marriage Books, Book 25: page 521, Robert Clare Scott-Viola C. Lawton, 22 Sep 1915; Armstrong County Courthouse, Kittaning.
5. Pennsylvania Department of Health, birth certificate 67695 (9 Apr 1917), Royden Blair Scott; Department of Health, New Castle, Pennsylvania.