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BYERS, William

    Johnstown Daily Tribune, 16 Nov 1907, Page 10, Contributed by Lynne Canterbury


Rev. William Byers, of Vinco, Met Death
Following Participation in Wedding
Festivities of Graddaughter


Prominent as a German
Baptist Clergyman

Venerable Minister Last Evening Performed Ceremony Uniting Miss Otta Byers to Howard Rose, Remaining at the Home of the Bride, with His Son, Over Night -- Early This Morning He Arose, Presumably to Get a Drink, and His Skull Was Crushed by Falling Down the Stairs.

Special to The Tribune.

Vinco, Nov. 15 -- After officiating at the wedding of his granddaughter, partaking of the bountiful wedding feast, enjoying the event with the others, and then retiring for the night at the home of his son, where the wedding was solemnized, the Rev. William Byers arose about 3 o'clock this morning and fell to the bottom of the stairs that descend into the kitchen on the first floor. His skull was crushed in and his death resulted five hours later.

The relatives and friends who were so happy during the wedding ceremony last evening are to-day deeply mourning the loss by so tragic a death of the aged minister. The Rev. Byers was unconscious from the time he fell until his death and his relatives are unable to explain why he was up and around at such an early hour. It is believed, however, that he wished to get a drink of water and fell down the stairs in the darkness.

The Rev. Byers was selected as the minister who should perform the ceremony that would unite in marriage his granddaughter, Miss Otta Byers, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Byers, who live about one mile north of this place, and Howard Rose, a son of Mr. and Mrs. David Rose. The marriage was solemnized at the home of the bride's parents and was attended with much gaiety. The ceremony was followed by the usual forms of merriment and everybody was happy. As the Rev. Byers was past eighty-four years of age, and the weather was rather cold, he was persuaded to remain during the night with his son and daughter-in-law.

It was about 3 o'clock this morning when members of the family were awakened by the noise accompanying Mr. Byers' fatal fall, and the unconscious form of the minister was found lying at the bottom of the steps. His head hit against the wall at the bottom and was crushed in by the impact, the injury causing death at __ o'clock, after Dr. J. C. Wakefield had done all in his power to save his life.

The Rev. William Byers was born in Bedford County, but had not resided there long after attaining his majority. For almost sixty years he had been a resident of Jackson Township, _____ the last several years with his son, William H. Byers, who lives about four miles north of this place. He had been an Elder in the Brethren Church for almost sixty-five years, joining the old German Baptist Brethren, which later divided into the Progressive Brethren. He had never had a regular charge, but will be remembered by many members of what is known as the Conemaugh congregation, before whom he preached for many years.

The Rev. Byers was married to Miss Rachel Cain, a native of West Taylor Township, and after her death to Miss Isabelle Wilkinson, of England. His second wife expired in Jackson Township four years ago. Of the first union, four children survive, as follows: Abram Byers, a widower, of Hamilton Terrace, Johnstown; Benjamin, married and residing in Jackson Township; Samuel, of Altoona, a conductor on the Pennsylvania Railroad, and George, at whose home he received the injury which terminated in death. Of the second union, the following survive: Rachel, wife of James Devlin, of Rosedale; Mattie, wife of George Strayer, of Waterloo, Ia.; Mollie, wife of Lewis Glenn, of New Kensington, Pa; Lydia, wife of Chester M. Singer, of near Portage; William H., with whom he made his home, and Leah, single and at home.

Arrangements for services over the remains of the Rev. Byers and the interment, have not been completed.

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