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Life and Times

Our family has lived and worked and played together in many places and in many ways. As I've researched our history, I've also tried to find out what the world around them was like. What was it like to mine coal in 1890 in Pennsylvania? What kind of town was Bothwell, Scotland? What happened at a Methodist "class meeting" in the 1860's? Enjoy learning a little more about our family's world.



Airdrie- Martin and Anne McDermott married here, as did Felix and Elizabeth Butler.

Bothwell and Holytown - The McDermotts and Harts and Butlers lived here.



Coal Valley - Bernard and Annie McDermott lived here before moving to Duquesne.

Duquesne - Here's where the Wilkinson and Topley families connected.

Monongahela - a tour up the river from Pittsburgh in the 1940s

South Versailles - This township includes Coulterville and Alpsville. The McDermotts lived here soon after coming to America.



Church of England

Church of England - The Topleys were C of E when they lived in Durham, England around 1860. This site is an overview of the current church with some links to history pages.

St. Mary the Virgin - Parish church of Whickham, County Durham, England where Richard Topley married Alice McCabe in 1863.


Classes- Margaret Turner and John Natcher are listed as participants in "classes" in the church register in Carlisle, PA. This is a description of what such classes were like.


Colonial Days- The Curry family were Presbyterians.

Roman Catholic

Duquesne Parishes - Parish churches in Duquesne, Pennsylvania. The McDermotts and Butlers were members of Holy Name parish, the Topleys belonged to St. Joseph's.




Coal Mining

Breaker Boys - Young boys often started out at this job.

Steel Making

Making Steel - Quick overview of the modern steelmaking process.

Steelworking - Feature series at the Gateway Hometown Plus Pittsburgh website.

Duquesne Works - Offsite history of the US Steel plant at Duquesne, PA

Steel Men's Lingo Puzzles Visitors - article from the Duquesne Times 1937

Other Occupations

Cotton Mill Worker - At least one member of our family, Elizabeth Kennedy, worked in western Scotland's cotton mills during the 1860's.

Store Manager - Charles Natcher managed the Bower Hardware store in Homestead, Pennsylvania.

Teaching - School teacher salaries in Duquesne, Pennsylvania in 1949.


Daily Life

Cost of Living

1875 Scotland- Food prices and other expenses around Glasgow when our Butlers, Kennedys, Harts and McDermotts lived in that area.

1945 Pennsylvania [scanned] - Cost of living in McKeesport, Pennsylvania during World War II.

Newspaper Clippings

Duquesne Times - Duquesne, Pennsylvania, has had several weekly papers serve its residents over the years. The Duquesne Times was launched in March of 1889. There was also a paper called The Duquesne Observer, which merged with the Times to become The Times-Observer in 1912. After 1918 it was again called The Duquesne Times. during WWII another weekly began called The Duquesne Star. It was an independent paper from October 1944 through December 1947, then it too merged with the Times.The masthead proclaimed that the weekly paper was "The voice of Duquesne, West Mifflin and Kennywood residents." The final edition was printed on August 25, 1960. The articles I've included here are from random photocopies I've made while researching. The Duquesne Times and the others are available on microfilm at the Hillman Library, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

The Carlisle Sentinel - An article about the new Carlisle Shoe Company. Rudicil Natcher was a shoemaker.

The Daily News has informed the residents of McKeesport, Pennsylvania and its environs since 1884 and is still going strong today. And it's now available online at Check out the series on Rosie the Riveter about women who worked in the mills during WWII. My research was done at the McKeesport Heritage Center which has the archived microfilms of the Daily News.

The Pittsburgh Press newspaper

Slippery Rock and Butler County newspapers

Family Stories

What I Remember- Some rambling thoughts about growing up on Duquesne in the 1950s and 60s.


Historical Events

The Great Famine

Emigration to Scotland- Several of our Irish families - the McDermotts, the Butlers, the Harts, and the Kennedys - left Ireland for Scotland during the time of the Famine.

The American Civil War

Soldiers - Quite a few of the men in our family were living in the North at the time of the Civil War. I've pulled together a list of soldiers who happen to match our surnames - further research is necessary to claim the connections.

Roll of Honor - A memorial to the men from Cumberland County, PA who fought and died for the Union in the Civil War.

World War II

WWII Honor Roll - Search for service members who died in WWII overseas. Type Long John A into the search field - this hero lived on my mother's street and was her penpal while he served in Europe)


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Updated on Saturday, 02-Dec-2000 13:10:33 MST