What I remember about the DRURY FAMILY


By Leonard W. Drury

Father of Elmer Drury and Keith Drury; Grandfather of Scott, Kathleen, David, John Drury


___Pix to be added here (as soon as I get some time—Keith)


            Little is known by our family of my great grandfather, Isaac Drury, other than the approximate date of his birth as 1806 to 1810. If he lived to be 65 he would have deceased about 1875. However, to Isaac Drury and his wife was born a son in the year 1834. They named him John supposedly after an earlier Drury who bore that name.


John grew up in the countryside and as a boy attended the Anglican church of England. His education was meager so as a teenager he secured employment in the coal mine. Most of the mines in England were very deep and had to be entered by elevator down a shaft. Each night John would come home, after a hard days work at the mine and enjoy his meal around the table with the others.

            Life in the mine satisfied John Drury as far as employment was concerned, and after saving a few English pounds (worth about $5.00 in our money at that time) he decided to get married. His beautiful wife presented them with their first child and they named him George. Other children born into the family were William, Harriet, Emma, Walter, Frank and Charles. The family was closely knit and the boys followed their Dad into the coal mine and there they earned their livelihood. They lived in Elsecar, near Barnsley in the shire of Yorkshire, England. Other towns nearby were Grimethorp, Hoylans, Doncaster, etc.

            The father of the writer is WALTER DRURY, the third son of John Drury. In his boyhood in Elsecar Walter sang in the choir dressed in his surplice, a loose white choir robe used in the Church of England. He also on occasions pumped the organ by hand. I have heard him tell how he would pump the organ bellows full then hang up his surplice and run home with the rest of the kids, leaving the organist without sufficient air to finish his music as people left the sanctuary.

            Dad, who was born January 27, 1872, had a host of friends of whom he spoke about to us at the dinner table when we were growing up.

            It was in the year 1895 that Walter Drury married Emmeline Guest daughter of the village butcher William Guest and wife Frances (Bailey) Guest. Mother was a beautiful girl as the pictures truly reveal. She had other sisters Polly, Ellen, Maggie, Lucy, Lizzie, Kate, and two brothers Arthur and Butch. They lived in Hoyland.

            The butcher shop was a beehive of activity and every Saturday was market day when they set up market stalls in the Farmer’s Market. The girls tended the stalls where pork pies, meat, hot-cross buns in season, and other goodies were sold to the villagers. Mother’s father would take the hides after slaughtering to the town of Barnsley to sell and on the way would stop at a home where they had a nice flower garden and have a posy or bouquet made up for his wife Frances. The Guest family had a horse named Toby and a picture of Grandpa Guest and Toby is a family keepsake.

            In the year of 1895 Walter and Emmeline were blessed with their first child Edith born November 18th. William was born November 16, 1896. Nellie was born January 13, 1901. Lois was born August 27, 1903. Ida was born July 1, 1905. Elmer was born September 20, 1908. Leonard was born March 30, 19010. Roy was born September 18, 1912.

            Walter’s father John died in 1897. Dad told of going over to his dad’s house and found him sick in bed. He slipped into the room and spoke. My father said to me “Oh Walter, I was just slipping away to meet the Lord and you stopped me.” Dad said his father repeated the words of Simeon “Now lettest though thy servant depart in peace fro mine eye have seen Thy salvation.” Just 24 hours after that John Drury slipped away to be with Jesus.

            Another time of sorrow came in 1902 when William died in April at the age of six and Nellie died in November at about the age of two. There was no doctor where they lived. Willie was sick with diphtheria and Nellie had whooping cough. Dad had to walk or run to the next town, which was a bout about 5 miles away, to ask the doctor to come because one of their children was very sick. He started to run down the road because he felt he should hurry. He got to the doctors, went in and told his errand. The doctor obliged taking Dad back to his home in his horse and wagon. At one point he thought to him self, “It’s too late the child is dead.” Sure enough when he got home the child had died at about that very time. They bore this sorrow bravely. They were now left with one child, their first, Edith. Then came Lois and Ida to bless their home.

            Dad worked in the coal mine and one day he came home from work and said, “Let’s go to America Emmeline.” Mother answered, “Let’s go.” They did. Dad and mother had money saved for the fare for both he and the family but decided that he should go first, get work, and rent a house. Mother, Edith, Lois, and Ida would come later. Dad decided to bring along with him his nephew Leonard Smith my Aunt Maggie’s son. Their trunks packed and bookage secured on a ship, they left Liverpool, England in 1906 arriving at Ellis Island, N.Y. in five days. Going through customs quickly they then went by railroad to Pittsburgh, PA.  Then to Monongahela, PA. They had bought fare as far as Monongahela. Dad had heard that some new coal mines were opening in the area. He said, “I’ll get a job in the coal mine ‘till I get settled in America, then I’ll go to the steel mill for employment.” Little did he know that he would stay in the mine until he retired.

            When Dad and Leonard Smith arrived in Monongahela City they went into a nice restaurant and bought a roast beef supper. They left the restaurant and Dad said to Leonard, “That was good wasn’t it. Let’s have another.” They went in, sat down, and ordered another roast beef dinner, then got the train to Ellsworth, PA where they spent the night in a rooming house. Next day both sought employment in the mine and were hired.

            The Ellsworth mine was a new one, so the company had built many new homes of terracotta tile. They were numbered and bore the letters of the alphabet regarding the streets. There was H-row, K-row, E-row, etc. The home they rented was brand new and on K-row.

            Dad went to the company store and decided to purchase the necessary furniture, pots, and pans. There was a stove, bed, kitchen cabinet pots and pans. When he ordered some pots (meaning dishes) from the store keep he also brought slop-jars with him. “I don’t want them,” Dad said, “One would be enough.” All the houses were equipped with a nice out-house, because there was no city water in that area.

            At the Company Store, when Dad pulled out of his pocket a fist full of new $5.00 bills he had gotten in New York and offered to pay cash for the things he bought, the storekeeper was surprised and would have sold him anything in the store. Most of the miner families paid the Company store by the month.

            Teddy Roosevelt was President of United States and thing seemed to be prospering. Travel was mostly by train. Automobiles were scarce and horse and wagon traveling was in vogue. 1906 was also the year of the San Francisco earthquake and fire.

            George B. Kulp was the General Sup’t of the Pilgrim Holiness Church, which reported 74 churches and 2,744 members. The Pilgrim Holiness and Wesleyan Methodist church merged and both denominations had a tremendous influence on our family as you shall see.

            Dad left Mother and the three girls, Edith, Lois, and Ida, in England and in a few months they came to America on a White Star steamer arriving in New York. They had to go through customs in Ellis Island. A tedious task it was for Mother and the girls, being strangers in a strange land. Dad’s mother was still alive and Mother’s parents were living. They said to Mother, “There has always been a living for us here in England and there would be for you.”

            Well, Mother and the girls arrived in Ellsworth at K-row and the family was again reunited. By this time Ida was talking and when Dad left England she hadn’t started to talk. Dad said, “When your Mother looked at the kitchen range she thought the fire should be built in the oven and thought the kids would burn themselves in the iron stove.” Fireplace cooking was used in England at the time. Prizer Apex was the name on the front of the oven of the stove Dad purchased when he came to America.

            Dad worked at The Face in the mine. That term is used for the area where the coal is actually mined, loaded into the pitcars, and brought to the surface. Of course now-a-days much of this work is automated.

            Work was getting slack and Dad said to his brother Charlie, who had come from Ohio to board with Mother and Dad, “Let’s go over to Mariana and find a job in the mine there.” Instead they went down toward Bentlayville and got extra work there. Had they gone to Mariana they may have been there when the great mine disaster, which killed 154 men, took place. I suppose that’s why Dad wanted to get out of the mine and secure work in a steel mill. Mongahala mine disaster took the lives of 361 in 1907.

            Dad heard about a mine in Manifold, PA. in Washington County where working conditions were better and the Drury’s decided to move there in the spring of 1908. The house was located just of old Rt. 31 before entering Washington, PA. The double house still stands and as I recall we lived in the left side of the house as you would face the front porch. Here Elmer in September 1908, Leonard in March 1910, and Roy in September 1912, were born. The house was located in what was called “The Patch,” a group of houses owned and rented by the Coal Company to the workers. This is where I had my first recollection. I remember being caught in a hail storm and running home and getting on the porch out of the storm.

            While living here the girls wanted dolls for Christmas. Well, Mother told Lois and Ida if they filled the coal shed with coal picked from the slate dump then she would buy them dolls. They girls worked like beavers and got the shed filled for the winter. They were rewarded for their work. They completed a mammouth task.

            Mother and Dad made friends in Manifold. Yorky Jones and wife were from England and lived here, and they became good and lasting friends. Mother wanted to go back to England for a visit with her parents while they were still alive and she wanted to visit with her sisters. The Drury’s lived in Manifold from 1908 to 1913 when another move was planned.


            Dad had been interested in a mining education for it would be advantageous to him if he continued in the mine. He sent to Scranton, PA to a well known correspondence school and started his mining education. His books came, a 15 volume set of soft leather bound books “All About Mining.” I recall how nice the books were for they looked like a set of bibles. He studied hard and felt he could pass the test. Going to Pittsburgh where the tests were given, he took the examination and passed. “It was tough,” Dad said, but he was glad when it was over. He went back to Pittsburgh to get his certificate and was informed that they were given only to citizens of the United States. Dad told the authorities that he was in the process of getting his citizenship papers which were called “Naturalization papers.” The kind man signed and sealed his certificate. Now Dad could be hired as a fire boss, assistant mine foreman, or a mine foreman. This prompted the move to the Meadowlands where Dad was hired as a Fire boss. The work of Fire boss was to enter the mine with a safety lamp and check all the areas for gas. His work began at about three o’clock in the morning before the men came for work. Dad was soon advanced to Assistant Mine Foreman at the mine which was close to our house. Being near the railroad track and fearing the safety of the children Mother asked Dad to see if he could secure a house on Rich Hill, a better section of Meadowlands. Dad asked and was told a house would be open soon. Mother was the happiest woman in Meadowlands knowing that she would get a nicer home to live in. She was such a wonderful house keeper and wanted to move from where we were.

            Memory recalls the house on Rich Hill. Our neighbors in the double house were the Storicks. Our family and the Storicks were friends over the years. Their sons Bob and John especially would sit on the front porch courting their girl friends. We kids would be pesky and John would give us Fan Tan chewing gum if we would behave. We did at least until the next day, we liked to get the gum.

            The Methodist pastor, a young man names Reverend Hayden, was making pastoral calls in the village and stopped at our house one day inviting Mother to the revival meeting. Mother promised to attend. When Dad and the boarders got home from work they found dinner ready and after the dishes were cleared Mother got ready for church. “Where are you going Emmeline?” asked Dad. She answered “The preacher from the Methodist church was here and invited us to attend revival so I’m going.” She went but as she walked down the tracks to the church the Devil said to her “You don’t know what they do in the churches in America you had better not go.” Mother had a mind to turn back but said “I promised that preacher I’d be there so I’m going.” Such was her determination.

            When the altar call was given a lady named Mrs. McGill put her hand on Mother’s shoulder and asked, “Do you want to be a Christian?” Mother said “Yes” and went to the altar. Mrs. McGill went along with her. I have always thanked God for that young Methodist preacher and in later years, when he was a District Sup’t. of the Methodist Church and I a Dist. Sup’t of the Pilgrim Holiness church, I called him on the telephone and thanked him for his invitation to Mother back in 1914.

            Mother got home that night after she had been saved and told Dad she had done something he would be happy about. “What have you done Emmy?” “I’ve gotten saved,” she replied. Dad said, “That’s nice,” but down inside he thought I’ll see if she’s saved. He knew how to get her vexed and tried but she wouldn’t get vexed anymore.

            One day Mother came home from church and said, “Walter, we ought to tithe.” “It will be alright,” said Dad. So they started to tithe their income and did it until their dying day. Honor God with your substance and He will honor you. This is the teaching of God’s Word. Sure enough this was the case as we shall soon see.

            They built a new church in Meadowlands and Dad was one of the leaders in the church even though he was unsaved. I remember when pledge cards were being handed out in a service there when I was a child and I was so proud of Dad because he was one of the ushers that day.

            Dad had a nice garden and raised chickens. They were Plymouth Rock breed and he was proud of his flock. One day a setting hen came home from the woods with a brood of chicks, 13 in all, and Dad was surprised. He didn’t know there were eggs being laid in the wooded area by his own flock.

            Mother used to tell of her wanting to go back to England before her parents died. She planned to go with some friends in Manifold. She was so excited that she couldn’t go to sleep the night before she was to go to Washington, PA to get her passport. She finally fell asleep and the next morning said “I’m not going, I just can’t go and leave my children.” Our older sister Edith, who was 18, was going to take care of us.

            Mother’s parents died while we lived at Rich Hill and this was a shock to her not having gotten back to see them. Dad’s mother passed away also and Ida remembers how Dad cried and put his hands over his face as he walked from the kitchen into the living room and back and forth. “I had never seen Dad cry before,” said Ida. It touched her to the heart.

            One day I was wheeling Elmer or Roy in my new red Ford wheel-barrow and fell, cutting my arm on the side of the metal barrow. I still have the on my left arm today. A young lady came over from Washington to organize Epworth League and Mother remembered seeing her working in the $.05 and $.10 store. It was Janie Bradford, who in later years stayed in our home in Elizabeth and held two revivals at Stroudsburg.

            I also remember one of the oil tanks holding thousands of gallons of crude oil. These mammoth storage tanks were about 20 feet high and 50 feet across. Memory recalls some being struck by lightening, boiling over and burning for days and weeks.

            Reverend Blye, and older man, became pastor of the church. Mother and Dad liked him as a pastor and preacher. He helped them in their church life.

            A Mr. Fred McKay, for whom Dad worked at Meadowlands, was transferred to Elizabeth and asked if Dad would come and be his mine foreman. Dad’s answer was “YES” and it meant that we would be moving again.

            Dad took the advancement and in 1916 we moved to Kerr’s Row in Elizabeth at the bottom of the Blaine Hill road. The house has been torn down, however, two of the Kerr’s Row houses remain. Running water, gas, lights, and a bathroom were conveniences we had not had before this. Here Elmer and I started school in first grade together.

            We all attended the Methodist church where Reverend W.T. Hartley was the pastor. They had three sons and a daughter; Olan, John, Elijah, and Nellie. One day Pastor Hartley came to our home on the Hill and Dad was smoking his pipe leisurely as he walked about in the grape arbor. Brother Hartley came upon him and being surprised that he was smoking said, “I’m sorry Brother Drury. I looked down in my congregation and thought you were one of the cleanest men in the church and now I see you smoking.” Dad always smoked a pipe and kept on smoking “until” as you shall later see.

            Kerr’s Row was not far from the Monongahela river and the boat whistles were fascinating to me. They all had to blow their whistle for dock #3 and people could identify the boats by the particular whistle. In later years I was able to identify some of them.

            Lois and Ida had many girl friends at the school and they liked Elizabeth a lot. Margaret Fahrety was one of them. They used the telephone often in conversation and Margaret told them how to make Chili. They made it and I have liked it ever since then.

            We lived in Kerr’s Row for just a few months when I started school from that house and ended school in 1917 attending from the house on the hill.

            Dad and Mother purchased the house from John P Bohlander whose brother Leonard Bohalder and their wives attended the Methodist Church. Chris Bohlander, our neighbor, was a half-brother to these two brothers and didn’t attend church at all. His wife Bridgett and children were Catholics. Chris was the truck farmer and butcher for whom we boys worked later on. About the house – the price was $2,000. It had four rooms and a third floor attic which was finished, plastered, and papered. The house on the hill still stands (1978) and is owned by Betty Huffman. Her husband died after they bought the house from Mother for $7,800.

            My oldest sister, who was 21 when we moved from Meadowlands to Elizabeth, stayed in Washington for some months and worked at some job. She had a boyfriend in that area and I suppose that was an incentive for her to stay. However, afterwards she came to Elizabeth to the house on the hill. Edith’s boyfriend was an Englishman named Joseph Henderson, and memory recalls Joe coming to our house to court Edith. Joe played with us as we set a bottle on the fence and he threw small fallen peaches at the bottle and tried to knock it off the fence. Edith and Joe were married and God blessed their home with two children, Ruth (Mrs. John Robert Bennett of Weirton, W. Va.) and George also of Weirton. (1978)

            Let me tell you more about the house on the hill which was built in 1904 (The date was on a cement grate near the back porch). John Bohlander, who was a carpenter and builder, built the house. I suppose it was like most houses built at that time with two ground floor rooms, two bed rooms above and a finished off attic above them. The house was tall and narrow but it was home for so many years. I lived there from 1917 to 1934 when my first pastorate opened at Cherryville. So, for seventeen years I called it home yea more than that I called it home until Mother moved out of it in 1957 and that would be 40 yrs. Here we had 27 grapevines that produced abundantly. There were white, blue, and red grapes for jelly, eating and grape juice. One year Dad sold a good many bushel to an Italian from Blaine Hill who said he was going to make jelly of them. Afterwards Dad had his doubts about the Italian making jelly from so many grapes. There was other fruit on the property: 3 sour cherry trees, 6 Peach, 4 Apple, 1 Plum and one Pear tree. Oh, yes, I almost forgot the quince tree at the top of the garden. We kids tried the quince and found them bitter and unpalatable. They puckered up our mouth. Dad added other trees such as black cherry, sweet red cherry, and a couple more apple trees.

            Edith was 21, Lois 15, Ida 12, Elmer 9, Leonard 7 and Roy 5 years old when we moved on to Bohlander’s Hill (so named because the three houses were owned by John Bohlander, Lewis Bohlander, and Chris Bohlander). Imagine buying a house for $2,000. Yet in those days that was quite a sum. Dad was 45 and Mother 43 when they made the venture.



            Growing up and attending Wiley School and Elizabeth High School from 1917 to 1929 was filled with many delightful times as we made friends, got our education, and played with the kids on the hill. Of course there were some hardships encountered along the way.

            Dad would read the newspaper, which was the Pittsburgh Press, and tell us about the First World War with Germany. I remember bringing the newspaper home which stated Armistice signed November 11th, 1918 and the whistles blew, church bells rang, and it was a jubilant time. Sorrow had come to many homes because of the loss of their boys in the war. We were all glad the war was over because there was a severe shortage of many store items such a sugar, shows, meat, and other table items. I recall going around to stores for Mother and trying to get a pound of sugar which was gray beet sugar.

            Our new house had no bathroom, electricity, gas, or running water so we became adjusted to oil lamps and outside toilet. We would carry drinking water from the neighbors and heat it at the Kitchen Range. Across the front of our Kitchen Stove were the words PRIZER APEX and especially Roy would use his blocks and write that word using the oven door wording PRIZER APEX as a copy. Oh how Mother would polish that stove, which Dad purchased in Ellsworth when he came to this country. Every Saturday she had it shining like a diamond and I am sure she was legitimately proud of her stove. We kids would lay on the floor with our legs under the stove and do our homework.

            On Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as other special occasions the living room would be opened and a fire built in the fireplace. Also, when sickness came the fireplaces in the bed rooms would be opened and fires built. About this time Roy became very sick with Dyphtheria and we were quarantined. How sick Roy became and the doctor came every day for a week or so giving him shots in the arm to clear away his illness. We were all glad God spared Roy’s life for he was very, very sick.

            It was Kidd Bros., the tinsmith in Elizabeth, who sold and installed our Caloric pipeless furnace. We also got electricity and now we thought we were living high. The Aladdin lamps in the kitchen and living room were discarded. I believe sister Lois finally got the one Aladdin lamp and changed it to an electric table lamp. Dad would sit in his rocking chair and read the newspaper, (Pittsburgh Press) which we picked up at the news stand each evening.

            Before we got electricity, we got a radio. It was a battery set. Mother had told us that if we read the Bible through, she would give us each $10.00. There was Elmer, Roy and I. Dad said “I’ll pay you boys your ten dollas now and add some to it and we’ll send to Sears Roebuck and get a radio.” We said “Ok.” The order was filled out and it finally came, with the name “CRESCENT” across the front, aerial, lightening arrestor, batteries etc. We put up the 100 foot aerial properly, connected and set the Crescent Radio, with good neck speaker, on a stand. We connected the A, B, an C batteries and were able to tune in the different stations. We also had two sets of earphones for private listening. KDKA, was the first radio station to ever broadcast and the announcers on the station still say KDKA PIONEER BROADCASTING STATION OF AMERICA. This station came on the air I believe in 1920 or 1921. We got our radio in about 1924. There are those who say, “What did families do before Television?” I can say, “What did families do before radio?” The answer is to play games, crack nuts, eat apples, and read the paper.

            Our neighbors had a Crystal set years before we got our battery radio. We got a chance once in awhile to listen in to the music or preaching on the crystal set the neighbors had. Then we boys purchased a small crystal, wrapped a round box with wire for the coil, and were able to tune in KDKA on our home made set. The total cost of our battery radio from Sears was about $55.00. We boys put in our $30.00 and Dad added the rest. We boys would go to bed after family prayer and when Mother and Dad retired we would tiptoe downstairs and listen in, listing the stations we had received. There was WBBM, Chicago, KOA Denver, WLW Cincinnati, KFI Los Angeles, WCCO Minneapolis, WIP Philadelphia, etc. We could quickly get the call letters because they announced after every song or music rendition.

            Dad sent to Sears and purchased a Piccalo. In England he played in a Piccalo orchestra so he thought this would be a means of entertaining himself as well as us. Each evening in the summer he would sit at the end of the grape arbor and play the piccolo for an hour or more. He knew a lot of music he played in England and he would also make up some beautiful music on the instrument. We all liked it for it was so soft and musical.

            In the house below us lived Bards, then Mainwarings, Ketterings, Hixenbaughs, and a few other families. Louis Bohlander also lived below us. Bohlander’s daughter Sally and husband now live in the house (1978). Some of the families were older people with no children and other families had children with whom we played.

            When we three boys were about 12 or 13 Dad took us individually into the mine and explained his work. We looked forward to the trip into the mine with Dad. We put on a pit-cap with an electric (battery) light on the front and followed Dad around. He showed us the pump house that was used to pump the water out of the mine, the air shaft to keep the fresh air flowing to the workers, and the face where the men mined the coal. Then in his office down in the mine Dad gave us a down to Earth talk on “What Every Boy Should Know.” That was his purpose of taking us into the mine at this particular time. He told us not to tell our brothers what he talked to us about. First there was the trip for Elmer, then two years later it was my turn. Roy was last going into the mine for that “special down to earth talk.”

            About this time Mother and Dad got acquainted with God’s Bible School through Charlie Slater and C.P. Pridgen, pastors of the Pilgrim Holiness Mission in McKeesport. Ida and Lois were finished High School so Dad and Mother gave them the opportunity to enroll at God’s Bible School. They wanted to go so arrangements were made for their further schooling. Their trunks were purchased and delivered to our house. Now packing began, skirts and middies, books, other clothing ---all packed---but no---Dad thought the girls would enjoy eating some grapes when they left home and got to Bible School---so Dad picked some grapes and packed them in the trunks. The trunks were taken to the freight station and shipped to Cinicinnati. When Lois and Ida opened their trunks they smelled of wine because the grapes had smashed in transit. Never again did they take grapes to Bible School.

            Among the members of Elizabeth Methodist Church there were some who attended Bentleyville Camp and Mt. Lake Park Camp Meetings. John and Leonard Bohlander and their wives Carrie and Minnie invited Mother and Dad to attend Bentleyville camp with them. Dad wanted to go to Atlantic City but mother wanted to go with Bohlanders to the camp meeting. Dad finally said I’ll go with you to camp meeting, then we’ll go for a week to Atlantic City. They went to camp meeting. Dad gave them the telephone number of the camp meeting at the mine so that if anything went wrong they could call him. Under the searching ministry of the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, Dad got under deep conviction. He went to Leonard Bohlander and Mr. Bohlander said, “Brother Drury, you need to be sanctified.” Dad said, “I need something.” Dad was wishing he would receive a call from the mine but everything went smoothly. He stayed at the camp. Dad went to the altar seeking to be sanctified as Brother Bohlander had suggested. Dad said “I went to the altar to be sanctified and God gave me what I needed. He reclaimed me, for I had been saved in England.”

            Immediately after the service Dad went down over the hill by a big oak tree on the camp ground and with his pocket knife he dug a grave and buried his expensive pipe and pack of tobacco (Five Brothers Tobacco). He never smoked again. We asked Dad when we were at the camp ground years later “Dad, where did you bury your pipe and tobacco? Where?” He wouldn’t tell us. He didn’t want to dig it up and he didn’t want us to dig it up.

            After Dad got saved we started the Family Altar in our home and continued it until we left home. Later the Bohlanders took Elmer, Roy, and me to camp meeting. This was the first experience we had at a camp meeting. It was a Methodist camp with good preachers such as Dr. John Brasher, Dr. H.C. Morrison, President of Asbury College, Dr. G.W. Ridout, Dr. C.W. Ruth, Rev. Joseph H. Smith, Rev. Will Huff, Rev. John and Joseph Owen, Rev. John and Bona Fleming and others too numerous to mention. They faithfully preached the TRUTH in the power of the Holy Spirit and many entered the experience of a pure heart. It was here at Bentleyville camp when I was 12 years old under the ministry of Rev. Charlie Dunaway that I gave my heart to Jesus. That was a happy day when I knelt at the left hand side of the right hand mourners bench and asked God for forgiveness. He forgave me and my life was now different, changed for the better, thank God.

            The above mentioned Leonard Bohlander purchased many books by the old holiness writers at the turn of the century. One day he told Dad, “You know, Brother Drury, I’d like your son Leonard to have all my books.” So while we lived at Warren we went home to Elizabeth and I loaded the trunk and back seat with the books he gave me. They were valuable and some were autographed by the writers. There were especially “Praise Papers,” “Faith Papers,” etc. by S.A. Keen and autographed in his own handwriting. Many other Holiness Classics were included in the store of books given to me. Leonard Bohlander was in his late 80’s when he gave me the books.

            Lois and Ida spent three years at God’s Bible School and became acquainted with boy friends. Ida married Vance Webster and Lois married William Baker. Vance was from Kansas and Bill from Cleveland, Ohio. In their early married life Vance and Ida lived in Cincinnati but later moved to Dayton, Ohio where Vance worked for Drury Printers (no relation to our Drury family). Lois and bill lived in Cincinnati. Bill was working as a contract painter. To the Bakers were born three sons, Roy living in Cincinnati, Billy (deceased) and Bobby (deceased). Lois and Bill are both deceased (1978). To the Webster’s was born one daughter, Evelyn who married William Swartz of Dayton, Ohio.

            This incident happened in the 20’s when Dad’s sister’s husband died. His name was Ted Naylor. Emma, his wife, and he were devout Jehovah’s Witnesses and lived in East Palestine, Ohio. Aunt Emma came to our house by train arriving in West Elizabeth at the Pennsylvania R.R. station, and we boys were there to meet her. She had a lot of luggage and we boys were burdened down carrying the bundles across the River bridge then up Bohlanders hollow to the hill where we lived. We kids didn’t know what the bundles were until later. Evidently she expected to make converts of Dad and Mother to the Jehovah’s Witness way. Dad and Mother were established Christians and would have nothing to do with the false doctrine. I now look back and give Aunt Emma a good mark for trying. We kids lugged her belongings back to the station in West Elizabeth after she had spent a few weeks at our place. Aunt Emma was a jolly fat woman and memory recalls attending her funeral some years later in East Palestine, Ohio.

            Chris Bohlander, our neighbor, was a truck gardener and butcher. Elmer and I worked in the garden off and on during the summers. There were times when he would load the wagon with produce, drive the horse and wagon to Glassport at 3 a.m. Saturday, sell his wares around the town and return home Saturday afternoon. Elmer generally got the privilege to go along, however I recall going one Saturday. What a day it was when at the close of selling he would buy us an ice-cream cone to eat on the way home. We never could make the cone last for the trip of five mile back to Elizabeth.

            When John Bohlander had the well drilled at our house on the hill he wanted to have better water than his brothers, so he drilled deeper and deeper. The trouble was that he hit sulpher water and it was no good for drinking or cooking so we had to carry water from the neighbors each day and evening. Dad decided to correct this and concluded that we should dig a well of our own. The deeper we went the harder it got to dig. We had to drill holes, place a stick of dynamite in the hole and blast away each evening. Next day we boys would clean out and drill another hole. We used a bucket on a pulley to remove the stone and this was a tedious task. The well was about four feet in diameter and going deeper every day until we were about 22 feet down. We struck a vein of water and because of the danger of a cave-in Dad decided it was deep enough. The next step was to lower the 36 inch terracotta tile into the well as a liner. How would we do it? Dad had an idea. We would use the pulley already rigged up for removing the stone, tie the big tile to the pulley, and slowly let it down. All set with the first tile—boards placed over the well, tile secured to the pulley rope and strapped around the post of the grape arbor then down the walk with all of us holding it. I tied or wrapped the rope around my chest while others held on to the rope. Dad pulled out the boards and said steady and slowly leave it down, but the tile was so heavy and as quick as a flash the heavy terracotta tile went to the bottom of the well, smashing the tile to smitherines. Since I tied the rope around my chest I was dragged up the walk to the base of the grape arbor. “Well, well, now we’ve done it,” said Dad in his English brogue. All we could do was clean up the mess and next night Dad brought a block and tackle home from the mine which was used to successfully lower the tile in place. When the pump was in place we had some good water.

            While we were digging the well one of our relatives from Joliet, IL came to visit us. His name was John Drury, Dad’s brother’s boy. He hadn’t seen his Aunt Emmeline, whom he thought a lot of, since he left England. John had an English brogue and we kids liked to hear him talk. His brother Charlie Drury, who was an executive in the Wolworth 5 and 10, came to visit us a few years later. 

            I was still growing up and finished eighth grade in the spring of 1925 at Wiley School (used now as a truck repair garage). The years of childhood spent going to and from school left an indelible impression on my mind. I suppose I did learn some things, but I was never at the top of my class. I was fifteen years old now and the Glass Factory in Glassport hired kids when they reached that age. Inquiring about being hired, my first job was given to me by the Glass Factory about five miles from Elizabeth. The hours were from three in the afternoon to one thirty in the morning, a total of 10 hours. The pay was 25 cents an hour which made $2.50 a day. Most of the time we kids from Elizabeth went to work on the bus and it cost 10 cents.  Then we walked home in the early morning because there was no bus service at that hour.

            We were always given an extra $1.25 as a bonus if we worked everyday. I hardly ever missed work. However, one week I was sick and went home early, missing half a day. When I got my pay, which was always in cash, they had paid me for the half day I didn’t work and gave me the bonus of $1.25. Memory recalls sitting on the curb of the round-house in Glassport and counting my money. I was surprised and told the kids, “They paid me for a turn I didn’t work and gave me the bonus; I’ll have to return the extra money to them.” The boys from the hill said, “You’ll be foolish if you do. The company can afford to pay us all a bigger wage.” So I stuffed it into my pocket and forgot about it, until under the searching ministry of the Word of God in later years, it was brought to my attention by the Holy Spirit. I remember distinctly of how it bothered me so I placed a $5.00 bill in an envelope, addressed it to the Company, and related what it was for. When I placed the letter in the postal mailing slot at the Elizabeth Post Office I felt such a relief, and that extra money I received hasn’t bothered me since because I made the necessary restitution.

            About this time I started a Baseball team and considered myself as the manager because no one wanted the job. The kids co-operated and we called our team the Blaine Hill Celtics. One of the kids had a truck which was used for transportation, each one pitching in a dime for expenses. We played teams in Glassport, Mustard Hollow, Number 1 Hill, Greenoak and others. Liking baseball so much as a kid it was then that we started following Big League Baseball on the radio (KDKA) and in the newspaper. 1925 was a big year for baseball around Pittsburgh for that year they won the pennant in the National League, winning 95 games and losing 58. The manager was Bill McKechnie and he was a Methodist. After the world series our pastor N.L. Brown, who had been McKechnie’s pastor in Wilkensburg, invited him to our church to sing. It was a thrill for us to hear this sports figure sing the gospel in the choir and in special solos. Let me tell you about the World Series played with the Washington Senators. They played all seven games. When six games had been played, the Senators and Pirates each had won three, so the shoot off came in the seventh game. Walter Johnson, one of the greatest pitchers ever to play in the big league, was the pitcher for the Senators. It rained. Mr. Lowrey, the principal at the High School, had a radio hookup at school, and all classes were dismissed for the afternoon. Those wishing to go home could go, however, few had radio so most who were interested stayed outside in the rain. A speaker was placed in a window of the school. We listened as they played in Pittsburgh in the rain. At last Pittsburgh won the series to the delight of all. We thought it was nice of Mr. Lowrey to cancel classes for the baseball classic.

            In May of 1927 a young man from Minnesota named Charles Lindberg crossed the Atlantic from New York to Paris, France in a single engine airplane called “The Spirit of Louis.” I recall bringing the newspaper home with the headlines “Lindberg Lands in Paris.” This was an extraordinary feat at that time and now in 1978 air passage to and from Europe and all over the world is a common thing.

            In high school Elmer and I played football together in the fall of 1927 and 1928. In 1928 with a team composed of:

*Lenny Monheim – Quarterback,

Harry VanFossen – Fullback,

*Walter Smith and Dean Natalli – Halfbacks,

Jim Smalley – Right End,

Dave Turnbull – Right Tackle,

*Kenneth Hixenbaugh – Center,

*Dave Morrison – Right Guard,

*Jim Bowman – Left Guard,

*Elmer Drury – Left Tackle,

Leonard Drury – Left End.

                                    (The six marked with * are deceased.)

            This team lost but one game, which came at the end of the season, to Clairton, our greatest rival. The next year of 1928 when Lenny Monheim, Walter Smith, Dave Turnbull, Jim Smalley , and Elmer Drury had been graduated it left such a big hole in the team that we wont only one game and lost ten. The ’28 season was the final one for me on the football team. Surprisingly in those days all members of the team played defensive and offensive style because of the limited number of players. By today’s standards, even in High School football, to play every quarter of 22 straight games is unusual but that was my privilege in High School football.

            Elmer graduated from High school in the spring of 1928 and secured employment at Carnegie Steel Mill in Clairton. In a few months he was transferred to the Marine Ways Boat yard of that company where his friend Jim Smalley was working.

            My last year of High School was 1928-29 and after graduation my first job was also at the Marine Ways. Elmer worked as a boilermaker and my work was in the carpenter gang. I hired as a carpenter-helper and when I got to work they handed me a shovel and put me down in a 175 ft. by 40 ft. barge used for towing coal. When a new deck was necessary we had to clean out the coal which had washed into the hull. Here I worked for the summer and was later transferred to the carpenter shop and some of the guys said “Lucky break.” It was for now I could come home after a say’s work and be clean as when I went. Elmer and I worked at the same place, however, we rode to work in different cars. We slept together, walked to town together and had some of the same chums. Roy was younger and had chums in his own class. We three were very close as we grew up and played together. Roy played on my baseball team and was a very good left-handed pitcher. Elmer didn’t seem to be too much interested in baseball although he played some.

            In 1930 Roy was in his last year of High School. It was in football season of 1929 when he was playing halfback on the High School team that a decision was made to have a game—a preseason game—between the High School team and Alumni a sort of practice game in preparation for the season. Elmer and I were asked to play for the Alumni team for we were recent graduates. The problem was, how would we get off work at the Marine Ways. Lenny Monhaim and Jim Smalley came up with an idea. One of them would call Marine Ways and say that Elmer and Leonard Drury are wanted at home right away. I recall that we were working that day and expected the call which had been planned. Finally my boss Bill Free came and told me that I and my brother Elmer were wanted at home right away and added I hope there is nothing serious happened. We went home and Mother asked “What are you going to do?” We told her about the arranged practice game. Roy was at the high school preparing for the practice game after classes. Mother said, as I recall, “I wish you weren’t going to play football, there’s three chances today for one of you to get hurt.” We answered, “Ah, Mom, It’s only a pratice game. No one will get hurt in a practice game.”

            We played the game and on the last play of the game, Elmer tackled a boy by the name of Regis Shiveley and when the play was over he was unable to get up on his feet. The High School trainer worked over him and then called an ambulance which took him to the Doctor’s office in Elisabeth. I went along. The doctor used an instrument to prick his legs and Elmer had no feelings in his legs so the doctor ordered him to the McKeesport hospital.

            It was mine and Roy’s job to go home and inform Mother and Dad that Elmer was hurt and was taken to the McKeesport hospital. I said, “I don’t think it is too bad,” but Mother and Dad knew that if he was hospitalized it must be serious. It was. The report showed that his neck was broken at the fifth vertebrae down his back and he was paralyzed. This was a shock to our family, to the town of Elizabeth and to the Methodist Church family where we attended faithfully. This all happened on Friday September 13th, 1929.

            Mother and Dad had purchased a new 1929 Essex Challenger in late 1928 when the new models came out. Elmer and I had gotten our license and Dad passed his test too. So we had our first car and had transportation to and from the hospital when necessary. We had taken a trip in the new car to Illinois in the spring of 1929. Mother, Edith and her two children Ruth and George, Roy, and I made the trip while Elmer and Dad stayed home and worked. This trip took us to the Joliet where we visited Uncle William and family. Then we went to Wisconsin to visit Leonard Smith and family. Leonard was the young nephew who came to America with Dad. We also visited Aunt Maggie, Mother’s sister in Braceville, Illinois.

            Elmer remained in the hospital a little over a month. Mother was at his bedside most of the time. Dad and I were working every day. Roy was in his last year of high school. Each night when we got home from work and school, we went down to the hospital to see Elmer who was getting worse all the time. Specialists were called in from Pittsburgh who said “Mr. Drury, if your son comes through this a Higher Power than us will have to undertake.” We all prayed and waited patiently feeling that somehow God would undertake for Elmer. Ida, who lived in Ohio came home to prepare meals and do the house work. She faithfully did this every day as Roy went to school and Dad and I went to work then all of us went to the hospital in the evening. Evelyn, Ida’s daughter, who was jus a baby in 1929 was with Ida.

            One morning when dad went down stairs to get ready for work he saw that we had been robbed. Someone evidently had gotten in the side window, stole change form a $10,00 bill, also took Dad’s dinner bucket and left things messed up. Dad called me for it was time for me to get ready for work. We went outside hunting for anything they might have left. Dad found part of his dinner bucket. As we were searching around the yard in the dawn, our neighbor, Mr. Louis Bohlander met us at the gate stating there was a telephone call from Mother at the hospital asking us to come immediately for Elmer had gotten worse. We readied ourselves and went to McKeesport hospital and when we got there Elmer was coming to the close of his life on earth. He died before noon. It was a rainy day and on our way from the hospital our car slipped on the trolley tracks and skidded into the bridge railing. No one was hurt. We thought, “When it rains, it pours.” A death, robbery, and an accident all in one day.

            We owned no cemetery lot for burial so Dad and Mother had this to care for. Funeral Director Johnny Cox was so kind in helping Mother and Dad in these matters. An eight-grave lot was purchased at the Round Hill Cemetery about three miles outside of Elizabeth. The funeral was help in the Methodist church after the viewing which was held in our home on the hill. Pastor Robinson preached the sermon and the church was filled with mourners.

            Mother and Dad stood this bravely. However, it seemed to be a long time before mother got over this sorrow. She would walk out to the cemetery, plant flowers, and also take cut flowers to the grave.    Elmer had died October 20 1929 at the age of 21 years, 32 days. The incident of Elmer’s death had a profound affect upon my life. He had known the way but had slipped a little.  In the hospital under the leadership of mother and dad, Elmer made a complete surrender of all to the savior.  The watch he gave me at his death has been given to our son Elmer for a keepsake.

            The dedication of my life to the Lord came about this time. Roy and I started to attend the McKeesport Pilgrim Church where they had a fine group of young people.  We used to go on occasions when Elmer was living


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