1st Cousin to Conrad Sheckler

On December 11, 1823, Conrad was born in Union County, the son of Jacob** and Mary Housel Struble. In 1838, Jacob purchased 418 acres of land from Mr. John Norris in Walker Twp., Centre County just south of the town of Zion. This property was divided equally between himself and his brothers Daniel and Conrad, Jr. Being about fifteen years of age, Conrad assisted his father and his younger brother Isaac in the clearing of the land and the construction of the buildings.

** Jacob's sister,  Elizabeth Struble, married Adam Sheckler, there by tying the Struble's to the Sheckler Family
Jacob was the son of Conrad Struble 1759-1837, who was the son of Johann Diedrich Struble. (added by Vern, 2000).

For the first summer all the water had to be carried from the mountain spring, of which Conrad’s mother Mary carried a good portion.

During the winter of 1839-1840, Jacob and his sons bored pine logs to make pipe from the spring to the watering trough in the barnyard. The line then extended to Daniel’s farm and finally to Conrad Jr.’s farm. In times of drought or low water, the Conrad Struble farm could take all the water from the spring because of lower elevation.

On October 8, 1846, Conrad married Miss Sarah Swartz, daughter of Henry and Juliann Swartz of Spring Twp. The Rev. John Tonner performed the ceremony.

For a short period of time, Conrad farmed the Daniel Struble farm that was owned at that time by his father Jacob.

Henry Swartz had purchased a farm just west of what is now State College (at this time it was known only as Ferguson Twp.) on November 25, 1844 from James Irvin which contained 179 acres for a. price of $1,800, not including the iron ore rights.

On July 31, 1849, their son Calvin was born and, according to his obituary, was born on the Ferguson Twp. farm to which Conrad and Sarah recently moved.

Tax records of 1850 show that Conrad and Sarah occupied the farm and the property was owned by H. Swartz.

In 1857, Conrad and Sarah bought 20 acres of mountain land which included a cabin from Moses Thompson for $418.75 which was located just east of Pine Grove Mills along the west slope of the mountain.

By this time, their Sons Andrew and Clayton had been born and Conrad was a very successful and well to do farmer. He was extremely well thought of in the area.

On May 19, 1860 a fourth son Milton was born. One month later, June 20th, Sarah died probably from complications of the child birth. On August 26th, Milton died. Both are buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery in Pine Grove Mills.

About 1862 Conrad married Miss Sarah Lavinia Mitchell, daughter of David and Sarah Ferguson Barron Mitchell of Pine Grove Mills.

In 1864 they had a daughter Sarah Ferguson Mitchell Struble. Three years later another daughter Mary Belle was born.

Conrad and Sarah Mitchell were among the organizers of the Washington Grange of Ferguson Twp. (later Washington Grange #157) in 1874. The building is located beside the American Legion property at Pine Hall. Conrad was Steward and Sarah was Ceres.

Mary Bell and Sallie, the two daughters of Conrad and Sarah, were both nurses. Mary was a registered nurse and Sallie a practical nurse. Mary started to college at Penn State in 1887. In 1890 she Penn State to enter nurses training at Women’s hospital in Philadelphia where she graduated three years later.

The map of Ferguson Twp. of 1874, which is included in this chapter, is incorrect in that it shows C. H. Streuble living in the tenant house and that I. Corl lives at the main farm. Conrad always lived in the main house and it is unknown who was living in the tenant house at this time.

Conrad purchased the retained iron ore rights from James Linn, heir to James Irvin, on November 21, 1879 for $1,000 which enabled him to open the Struble Mines around 1880. This led Conrad to be one of the movers to extend the Bellefonte Central Railroad to Struble’s Station and on to Pine Grove Mills. Toward the end of August i886, the railroad began moving cars to the mine and westward to Tyrone.

Thru letters written by Catherine B. Struble (wife of Conrad’s brother Isaiah) to her son Jacob B. Struble much of the following information has been extracted.

In August of 1889 a portion of the ore washing equipment was on the mining site and not yet erected. Another letter of March 3, 1890 Catherine tells of a large pile of ore that a Mr. Shoemaker was anxious to buy as soon as he received a report of the iron content of the ore. It was noted the ore had a large amount of Flint content and that surface Ore was more saleable because it contained little or no flint. Lytle was living in Conrad’s tenant house.

On May 11, 1890, a letter disclosed that the mine was producing 2.6 to 18 tons of ore per day, there was a total of 16 men working at the mine and wages all told ran $20 per day. Conrad’s son Andrew was in charge of the operation at the time and the machinery was working very
smoothly since being repaired by Jacob Struble on his last visit to State College.

There was 500 tons of ore on hand August 30, 1890 for which there was no sale at a price Conrad felt he should have so money was borrowed from his brother Joel to pay the last weeks wages to enable Conrad to continue operations. At this same time he was paying interest on monies he had borrowed from his brother Isaiah.

About September 5, 1890 Albert Inlow, husband of Conrad’s daughter Sallie was seriously injured in an accident at the brickyard at State Col1ege  which was located directly across the road from the Struble Mines. Albert had been running the engine and when that was finished the foreman told him he could finish the day digging with the rest of the men. Shortly there after a large piece of clay fell on him; the piece of clay was so heavy that four men couldn’t lift it from him so the other men had to break it with picks while laying on top of him. The accident damaged his kidneys and his lower limbs were paralyzed. On de~ September 13, Albert died and was buried September 17, 1890 in the a Presbyterian Cemetery at Pine Grove Mills. Albert had been conscious entire time and suffered terribly for over a week. Conrad had written. to Sallie nearly went wild but by the time of the funeral she had become quite calm. On October 12, 1890 Conrad wrote that “Sallie does much crying by day and nights on account of the bereavement” and Albert’s  three brothers from Kansas were unable to attend the funeral.

In a letter of October 15, 1890 Catherine was telling Jacob that  Isaiah was paying the interest on the loan of $3,000 to $4,000 loaned to Conrad.

From about this time on, Conrad had serious financial problems. Iron ore in this area was a low grade, which accounted for some of the problem, but another reason was the Conrad’s second wife supposedly spent money at a much faster rate than he could make it. This is according to Mary C. Struble, a niece of Conrad, being a daughter of Conrad’s brother Isaiah. Conrad was continuously borrowing money from Isaiah. Meanwhile, Conrad’s wife and her two daughters had taken several shopping trips to Philadelphia. All three dressed like millionaires and Mary res2nted this because during this time, they had to make do with much less, while her father’s money was buying fancy clothes for her cousins. Also, at this time, Mary Belle left Penn State for nurses training, probably related to the finances. Mary’s hostilities were more directed toward her Aunt Sallie (Sarah Mitchell Struble) and her cousin Sallie (Sarah Struble Inlow) than toward Mary Belle. In fact, Mary B~ and Mary C. kept in fairly close contact until Mary Belle died in 1924..

On Monday, January 26, 1891 Conrad lost his farm through a sheriff sale to Isaac Thomas, trustee of J. V. and L. P. Thomas. Conrad’s debt to them was recorded at $l2,480. C. 0. Templeton of Tyrone held a judgement note for $208.70 which also recorded against him. Soon afterward, Conrad moved west to Missouri but was not content and return to Centre County where he remained for the most part with his son Clayton who lived on the Meek farm about 2 miles west of Pine Grove Mills. He was known to be temporarily living with his son Andrew at W. 15th Street, Tyrone. Pa. in 1901.

On May 1, 1902, his second wife Sarah died of consumption and was buried beside the Pine Grove Mills Presbyterian Church of which her parents were founding members.

Conrad spent his remaining years with Clayton until his death on January 11, 1905. The summer preceding his death, at the age of 81 Years from ”stomach trouble” which was probably cancer. He was known to have followed a plow most of the summer.