From Revolutionary War Stock
Ella Hazelbaker, Kin of pioneers, nears 89.
from: The Charleroi Mail, Washingron County, PA; May 29, 1957

Descendent of a Hessian soldier who surrendered with Lord Cornwallis to George Washington's colonial troops October 19, 1781, Ms. Ella Hazelbaker will observe her 89th birthday on May 31 at her home in Bentleyville. Born in Allen Township, Washington County, (now Long Branch Borough) on May 31, 1868. She is the only remaining member of a family of 11 children of the late George W. and Caroline Riggs Hazelbaker, and has lived all of her life in Washington County.

Although Ms. Hazelbaker can trace her forbearers to Revolutionary War days, she likes best to be recognized as the oldest living member of historic Mt. Tabor Methodist Church, one of the oldest west of the Alleghenies. "I attended there all my life until a broken hip got me down."

Her mother and father were married at nearby Coal Center on June 15, 1851 and Ella is the only living child. Her oldest sister, Felecia, lived to be 98, while her maternal grandmother Miss Lydia Riggs was 97 when she died.

Her great-grandfather was Peter Hazelbaker, Hessian soldier who was a member of Lord Cornwallis' force that surrendered to the colonial army and decided that America's vast "land beyond the Mountains" had much to offer him. After his release from custody of colonial troops, he crossed the Alleghenies and settled in Washington County's great oak and chestnut forests along the Monongaleha River. Thus he became a pioneer settler and now is buried in a small cemetery on the Henry Spahr, Jr., farm in Long Branch.

Ms. Hazelbaker, from her family historical writings, draws the story of Peter Hazelbaker's unusual death:

"He was bitten by a black widow spider and an itinerant doctor was summoned. The doctor was drunk and could not come so Peter Hazelbaker went to his reward," she recalls from her historic tracts.

Asked about her views on modern living, she replied:
"The contrast is a great one, indeed. I wonder now how Mother and Pap ever fed we 11 children back then in the quiet days. There was of course very little machinery and nothing much really to work with like they have today. People were happy. Contentment shone in every face and there was always church.

"Mother knit winter clothing for us children by candlelight, I recall". And remember, too, we had no cook stove or sewing machines. She baked the bread and most of the food at a huge open fireplace., close watch on a homemade board. Mother never had a washing machine until I was grown up. Then it was a hand type washer clumsy and difficult to maneuver when the closing of 11 children when in it.

"Mother of course use the spinning wheel and made the cloth for our clothes. We girls wore the same dress for a solid week, then mother "done them up" nice and fresh on Saturday for the following week. We were always warned to keep them clean and neat. But there was no dirt and we could usually do that."

Ms. Hazelbaker suffered a broken hip in October of 1949 and has been bedfast since. For the past three years she has made her home with friends, Mr. and Mrs. Keith Kearns, 200 Washington St., Bentlyville.

Her wants are few but she did say: "I love to receive cards and letters from friends and relatives. I am so glad that old Mt. Tabor Cemetery, where rest so many of our early pioneers, is kept up so fine and pretty now."