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Articles written by Doris Dibert


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  • The Underground Railroad Passes Through Bedford County

    DORIS DIBERT, For the Herald|Jan 27, 2022

    The Underground Railroad was a name given to an informal system that helped enslaved persons escape from southern to northern states from the early 1800s until the passage of the Emancipation proclamation in 1863. Places where the fugitives or “passengers’ could find shelter and safety were called “stations” or “safe houses.” The person leading a group to freedom was a “conductor,” such as the well-known Harriett Tubman. Residents in south-central Pennsylvania were in a difficult situation as a border state along the...

  • 'Jim' Lyons of Potter Creek: Part 2

    DORIS DIBERT, For the Herald|Jan 13, 2022

    The obituary for James Lyons also conflicts with the Herald article regarding parentage and age. It reads: "James Lyons, aged colored man and lifelong resident of the southern end of Morrisons Cove, died unexpectedly sometime Saturday night, April 10, 1943 or Sunday morning, his death being discovered by Charles Mock, a neighbor, who knew he had complained of not feeling well Saturday evening, and went to the home Sunday morning to see how he was. Mr. Lyons was employed all his life among the...

  • 'Jim' Lyons of Potter Creek: Part 1

    DORIS DIBERT, For the Herald|Jan 6, 2022

    In addition to James H. Lyons, son of Benjamin, there were two other James Lyons who lived in the New Enterprise area. James M. and Stacia Lyons of Bloomfield Township were the parents of Anna (the wife of Robert Love), and their two sons: John and David. Listed in the 1880 census in this household was another James, age ten, listed as a grandson. How he was connected to the Lyons or Love family is unsure, for an article states that Robert was his uncle – unless it was through one of his wife...

  • The Longevity of the Love Family

    DORIS DIBERT, For the Herald|Dec 30, 2021

    In the story of Robert Love of Potter Creek, it was noted that Robert and four of his siblings made their way to Pennsylvania around 1849, after being freed from the Carter plantation. A bill had been passed in 1849, stating that free blacks could not stay in that state after being freed. In addition, the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act gave permission for slave hunters to capture persons who may have been runaway slaves and return them to their owners, which encouraged a mass exodus from the plantations. The story of Robert R. Love, son of George...

  • The Love Story of Potter Creek: Part 2

    DORIS DIBERT, For the Herald|Dec 16, 2021

    George Love, oldest son of Robert and Anna, was living at home in 1900, but soon married Abadora Lyons (daughter of David and Mary Lyons) in 1901. In October of 1907, tragedy struck, for an article in the Bedford Gazette reported a large barn on the Peter S. Duncan property about two miles southeast of Bakers Summit and occupied by George Love was burned to the ground. Lost in the fire were two horses, a cow and the summer’s harvest; a sleigh, buggy and a wagon. By 1910, George and Abadora were still living in Bloomfield township with their...

  • The Love Story of Potter Creek Part 1

    DORIS DIBERT, For the Herald|Dec 9, 2021

    In addition to the Benjamin Lyons family of Salemville, there was another colored family living a short distance away whose story somehow entwines with the family name of Lyons. The Robert R. Love family lived not far from New Enterprise in Bloomfield township near Maria. The headline of his obituary, printed in 1920 in the Altoona Tribune reads, “Ex-Slave Dies Aged 103 Years,” and tells the amazing story of his coming to Morrisons Cove. Robert R. Love was born Dec. 20, 1816, of slave parents, George Love and Dollie Wans near Culpepper...

  • A Story about Acceptance or Rejection

    DORIS DIBERT, For the Herald|Dec 2, 2021

    In searching Ancestry.com for descendants of James H. and Sarah Lyons through their many children, I found a woman in Minnesota whose husband was descended from James and Sarah’s daughter, Ophelia Kathryn. Through Ancestry.com, she had entered data to build a family tree to trace his Lyons ancestry. Through emails, she provided me with needed information about Ophelia, as well as helping to find and verify other members of the James H. Lyons family. She related that her husband, after learning of his connection to a Black family, “found it...

  • The Children of James H. and Sarah Lyons, Generation Three: Part 4

    DORIS DIBERT, For the Herald|Nov 24, 2021

    Editor’s Note: The first 14 children of James H. and Sarah Lyons were detailed in the Nov. 4, Nov. 10 and Nov. 18 editions of the Herald. This article finishes the descriptions of the Lyons children with the final two. Charles was the last son in the family, born in 1868 in Salemville. He died at the young age of two or three, dying in 1871. His gravestone was found in the Lyons family cemetery nearby. A final daughter, Leah G., was the last child born to James and Sarah on Nov. 12, 1876. Sadly, her mother Sarah died just one month after her...

  • The Children of James H. and Sarah Lyons, Generation Three: Part 3

    DORIS DIBERT, For the Herald|Nov 18, 2021

    Editor’s Note: The first 10 children of James H. and Sarah Lyons were detailed in the Nov. 4 and Nov. 10 editions of the Herald. This article continues with the next four children. The remaining two children will be featured in the next edition of the Herald. Esther, born in 1862, was the 11th child born to James and Sarah. She married Blair W. Brown, living on Brush Mountain Road in Frankstown Township, Blair County. Blair and Esther held a reunion for students of the separate public school in Hollidaysburg at their grove in 1927; featured...

  • The Children of James H. and Sarah Lyons, Generation Three: Part 2

    DORIS DIBERT, For the Herald|Nov 10, 2021

    Editor’s Note: The first four children of James H. and Sarah Lyons were detailed in the Nov. 4 edition of the Herald. This article continues with the next six children. The remaining six children will be featured in the next two editions of the Herald. Daughter Nancy Jane joined the family in 1854, but she died in 1870 at the young age of 16. A stone was found by local historian James Boor when identifying grave markers in the Lyons family cemetery in Salemville, marking her burial place. An obituary for her was placed in The Gospel...

  • The Children of James H. and Sarah Lyons, Generation Three: Part 1

    DORIS DIBERT, For the Herald|Nov 4, 2021
    1

    As told in the previous story of James H. and Sarah Lyons of Salemville, they were the parents of 16 children, born between 1847 and 1876. James continued work as a farmer, store keeper and postmaster of Salemville for many years until his death in 1899. From census records we know the names of their children, but they “come to life” when discovered on family trees on Ancestry.com. It was unexpected to find descendants of some of the children tracing their ancestors; sharing documents, photos, death certificates and places of burial on...

  • The Family of James H. Lyons, Generation Two: Part 3

    DORIS DIBERT, For the Herald|Oct 28, 2021

    James, as a widower, head of his family for 23 years after Sarah’s death, developed kidney trouble and was taken seriously ill while in Bedford, dying on Nov. 24, 1899. His obituary in the Bedford Gazette on Dec. 1 begins, “James H. Lyons, colored, died at his home in Salemville…” It ends with this statement: “He was an intelligent, sober, honest and industrious citizen.” An obituary was also published in the Morrisons Cove Herald the same day, revealing more admiration for the man: “James Lyons, of Salemville, passed to the...

  • The Family of James H. Lyons, Generation Two: Part 2

    DORIS DIBERT, For the Herald|Oct 21, 2021

    According to the terms of his father’s will, James was able to stay on the family farm and it came into his ownership after conditions were met. The Jas. Lyons property is noted in South Woodbury Township on both the 1861 and 1877 atlas maps of Bedford County. James Lyons is perhaps most known for his accomplishment in being appointed the first postmaster of Salemville when that office was established there on July 14, 1882. It was probably located in their country store in the heart of Salemville. In the book “Bible, Ax and Plow” by Ben...

  • The Family of James H. Lyons, Generation Two: Part 1

    DORIS DIBERT, For the Herald|Oct 14, 2021

    As in the story of Benjamin Lyons, it is important to put into writing the interesting facets of his son, James H. – how he met his wife, his work in the community, and large family of 16 children. If their story is not told, this family disappears, and their unique place in Bedford County history is lost forever. More is known about James H., the son of former-slave Benjamin and Mary (Heck) Lyons of Salemville, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, than the other four siblings (Mary, Catherine, Richard and Elizabeth). Born in 1826, he continued to...

  • The Benjamin Lyons Family of Salemville, Pa.: Part 3

    DORIS DIBERT, For the Herald|Oct 7, 2021

    Benjamin Lyons had the foresight to write a will before his death to make sure his family was well cared for. It began with the usual instructions that his debts and funeral expenses be paid. His wife was to live on the farm, receive a share of the grain and fruit, and keep a cow. Son James was to have the farm for five years after the death of his mother, or from the time of his father’s death; to keep it in good order, take care of the timber and pay all taxes. After five years, the farm of 157 1/4 acres was to be valued; the debts due him...

  • The Benjamin Lyons Family of Salemville, Pa.: Part 2

    DORIS DIBERT, For the Herald|Sep 30, 2021

    Benjamin married Mary “Polly” Heck, a white girl, but their marriage date is uncertain. According to a paper written by historian Frank Bayer of New Enterprise, they were the parents of five children: Mary, James H., Catherine, Richard and Elizabeth. A fact later found in Benjamin’s will may prove that his marriage to Mary Heck was after the birth of son James H. on Oct. 8, 1826, for in the will, he calls James “son of my wife.” He refers to the other children as “my daughter Mary…my daughter Catherine.” Son Richard, born about...

  • The Benjamin Lyons Family of Salemville, Pa.: Part 1

    DORIS DIBERT, For the Herald|Sep 23, 2021

    One of the most highly respected families of Salemville, a tiny community in the southwestern corner of Morrisons Cove in Bedford County, is the Lyons family. Salemville was sometimes called “Seven Day Corner” because of early residents coming from the Snow Hill community in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, who observed Saturday as the seventh day for worship. There are several articles and stories written about Benjamin Lyons; the first of his family to come to this area. The most credible record is from Waterman’s 1884 History of...

  • The Benjamin Lyons Story: The Preface

    DORIS DIBERT, For the Herald|Sep 9, 2021

    It is past time to take a step back and reflect on our local history to give new insights in our patterns of thinking. Were slaves ever held in our mostly white Bedford County? Was there a separate school just for the black students? Did racial segregation even happen here, too? And most importantly, does prejudice still occur today? Although Pennsylvania was a northern state and a part of the Union, just north of the Mason-Dixon Line, slavery was allowed until a law was passed in 1780 which gradually emancipated slaves. Although not actually...

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