5. Emerson Bennett Metzler and Anna Mary Sherry   Leave a comment

Emerson Bennett Metzler was born March 14, 1852 in Strasburg, PA to Abraham Metzler, a Mennonite, and Anna Warren. He was the oldest of 8 children, 4 of whom died young. His father died in 1866, his mother in 1867.

Nothing is known of where Emerson resided from 1867 to 1869. But in 1870, he appears on the Pittsburgh manuscript census as 19 years of age and living in the 10th Ward, Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh, with the family of John Doyle, a baker, his wife Mary F., and their 5 children. John’s brother Patrick, a Frank McDermott, baker, and a James McDermott, domestic servant, as well as a David Addams, baker living there. Emerson is listed as a journeyman baker. (Note: The Doyles appear to have been running a rooming house for local laborers, especially for the those in the baking trade. WM)

It was probably through the Doyles that Emerson met Anna Mary Sherry, the daughter of another Irish family, John and Catherine Sherry, also of Lawrenceville, Anna, 6 years Emerson’s junior, was born in England in 1860 before her parents came to America. It was not known where Emerson and Ann were married between 1876 and 1878.

Their first child, Warren Abraham, was born March 21, 1879 and baptized at St. Agnes Church, Oakland, Pittsburgh. On March 10, 1880, John Metzler was born premature and died 2 days later. He was buried in the Sherry plot in St. Mary Cemetery, Lawrenceville. In 1882, Emerson is listed in the Pittsburgh City Directory as living on Second Avenue, 4th Ward, Pittsburgh, known as Soho. It says he was a laborer in the gas works. In February 1883, another child was stillborn and buried in the Sherry plot.

Emerson and Ann Metzler moved to 129 Cherry Alley, where they lived until  1887. During that time Annie Metzler (who was to become Sister Mary Hubert, Sister of Charity) was born and baptized at St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland.

The Metzlers then moved to Homewood, living on Susquehanna Street near Richland. Richland Avenue ran from the 7200 block of Penn Avenue to Susquehanna.

On November 29, 1888, Sarah Josephine Metzler was born to Emerson and Anna and baptized in St. James Church, Wilkinsburg. She must have died young, because nothing was known of her until recently, when her baptismal record was discovered at St. James. James Francis (Frank) Metzler was born in 1887. On April 7, 1891, Marie Elizabeth Metzler was born and baptized at St. James Church.

By 1893, when son Laurence F. was born, the Metzler family was living on Herr Street near Robinson Street on the hill above St. Agnes Church. They were still living there in 1900, when son Warren, aged 22 was listed as a clerk working at 813 Penn Avenue for the H. Childs Shoe Company. Warren worked for Childs for over 40 years until his retirement.

Sister Mary Hubert once  said that Warren was introduced to Mr. Childs by his grandfather John Sherry. Warren used to ride on the wagon with John when young. The Childs shoe business was one of John Sherry’s clients in his hauling business. Mr. Childs developed a real fondness for Warren and treated him almost as a son.

The Metzler Musicians Frank Larry Warren

In  1902, Warren married Rose Pugh, also from ‘the Hill’ and St. Agnes Church. Rose was born in England to James Pugh and Mary Ann Ford. She came to this country when she was just a young girl. Rose and Warren wee to become the parents of 9 children.

My 1908, Emerson and Ann Metzler were living at 2 Williams St., where Annie is listed as a grocer and son Frank now 19, is listed as a clerk. Warren and Rose were living 8 Miami St. in the Hill, where they lived until the 1940’s, when their home was torn down to make way for the Terrace Village housing project. Warren and Rose and their family moved to Capitol Avenue, off West Liberty Avenue in Brookline, where they lived until they died — Rose on May 14, 1947, and Warren on May 16, 1952. They are buried in Calvary Cemetery.

Frank, born the 31st of October, 1887, married Elizabeth (Lizzie) Laub sometime around 1915. He worked for the T. K. Ray Wholesale Shoe Company and the B. K. Elliott Glass Company. They spent most, if not all, of their married years living in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh. They resided on Fifth Avenue, Burrows St. Terrace Village, and Parkview Avenue. Frank and Lizzie had 9 children, all of whom are still living except their first child, James Francis, Jr. who died as an aviator in the South Pacific near the end of World War II. Frank died at the age of 62 on the 5th of January 1950. Lizzie died on the 14th of March, 1971. Both are interred in Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Peters Township, Penna.

In 1913, Emerson and Annie were living at 150 Natchez St. on Mount Washington. Frank was still at home and still a clerk. Daughter Annie, age 29, entered the convent at Seton Hill. Annie was a dressmaker by profession and a member of St. Mary of the Mount Parish. A small built woman, weighing 98 pounds at her entrance into the convent, she had attended St. Agnes School to the 7th grade. Sister Jean Augustine from Seton Hill wrote of Annie, “I knew Sister in 1955. She worked at the College switchboard and did beautiful tatting work. She was frail and weak looking – a gentle soft-spoken woman. She retired to Assumption Hall (Note: the residence for retired sisters at Seton Hill. WM) in  in67. She briefly worked at switchboard there, too. Most of her community life was spent as a seamstress — Providence Hospital, Pittsburgh Hospital, Roselia Foundling (Note: Home for expectant mothers. WM) By 1915, son Laurence, age 23, was working as a clerk for Kriders Shoe Company. About this time he met Margaret Jane Leuzinger, from Homewood, who was also employed by Krider as a bookkeeper.They were married July 23, 1917, in St. Paul’s Cathedral, and were the parents of 7 children. Laurence died 26 February 1966 (Note: after an extensive battle with emphysema, WM) and is buried in Resurrection Cemetery.

Margaret Metzler was born in 1896, and this past May 23, she celebrated her 86th birthday. (Note: Margaret died at the age of 106. WM).

During their marriage, Laurence and Margaret lived in Homewood, Knoxville, Brookline, Mount Washington and Sheridan, where Margaret still resides at 2952 Zephyr Avenue.

After leaving Krider Shoe Company, Laurence was employed by Pittsburgh Railways as a trolley conductor, Prudential Insurance Company and the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare.

It is said that mother, Anna Metzler, worked as a domestic servant for many years for a wealthy family on Fifth Avenue.

In 1927, Emerson, Anna and Marie, now a telephone operator, were living at 7039 Kedron Street, Homewood. Laurence is listed as an insurance man for Prudential and living at 853 Eldora Place in Mount Washington.

The elderly Metzlers continued to live at the Kedron St. address until Emerson’s death on Dec. 10, 1933, at the age of 82. Marie and her mother Anna then took an apartment on Kelly St. Homewood until Ann’s death at age 80, on January 29, 1940. Marie continued to work for Bell Telephone. She died March 5, 1973. She was 82.

The 3 of them are buried in the same plot at Calvary cemetery. Thee is no headstone on Marie’s grave. (Note: After this writing — and because of it — a collection was taken up at the Metzler family reunion and a headstone was purchased for Marie’s grave, in recognition of her dedicated and loving care for her parents through their old age and until their death. WM) The plot is under a large maple tree a few hundred yards along the lower road .(Note: traveling toward the two mausoleums, WM) above and opposite the chapel. The graves lie about 3 rows back from the road.

Emerson Bennett Metzler was a quiet man, obviously out of place with his Irish Catholic relatives and his own Mennonite family. He is remembered most by his grandchildren as a baker with Ward Baking Company. But his wife’s income as a grocer in Mount Washington, and later as a domestic servant in Oakland, seems to have supported the family in those years. Emerson is remembered as an artist, a great reader of books, quiet at family gatherings — perhaps partly because he was thought to have a hearing problem.

Emerson with some of his grandchildren

Margaret Metzler, Emerson’s daughter-in-law, remembers him as a wonderful man, quiet but kind with a remarkable ability to draw free hand. Sitting quietly, he would sketch a bird, a person, a pet with such detail you would think the paper was going to come to life.

Grandson Paul Metzler speaks lovingly of both grandparents, but it is evident that Emerson was his favorite. He has talked of vacationing at their home on Mt. Washington, getting stuck in the chicken house, and sitting under the plum tree with Emerson. He says, “my Grandpap was great”.

Emerson’s Mennonite origins were not known by his family until recently. Granddaughter Ann Metzler Keifer remembers him telling her of the simple family wedding ceremonies among his people, but she thought he was a Quaker.

His sister Barbara Doolittle, a strong-willed woman residing in Pasedena, California, made few contacts with Emerson after his marriage to Catholic Annie Sherry, and most of those contacts were unpleasant. Barbara’s husband is said to have been the largest stockholder in the Crane Company.

Emerson maintained no contact with formal religion. But Sister Mary Hubert remembered him getting them ready for their mother Annie to take them to Mass on Sunday morning, reminding them of which could eat breakfast before they left and which ones had to ‘fast’ for communion. She also recalled his saying night prayers with them at bedtime, as they giggled while he continued with the ‘Protestant’ ending of the Lord’s Prayer.

Nine days before his death, bedridden and ill, Emerson Bennett Metzler was baptized Catholic in his home on Kedron Street by Father Leo Pastorius, the young assistant at Holy Rosary Church. When asked why he hadn’t become a Catholic years before, he replied, “Nobody ever asked me to.”


Posted February 14, 2012 by wmetzler

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