William Jeanes Tyson and Catherine Rinker

William Jeanes Tyson was born in 1866, one of eleven children of Ephraim Tyson and Anna Maust.1 Ephraim was a farmer in Hatboro, where William grew up.  On 20 February 1889 he married Catherine Rinker, daughter of Francis Rinker and Catherine Pownall. Francis had been a shoemaker and then a policeman in Germantown, Pennsylvania, but retired to a farm in Montgomery County in 1885. William and Catherine lived in Horsham, at the corner of Easton and Dresher Roads, right across from the Horsham Friends Meeting House, and raised their family of eight children there.2 They would remain there for the rest of their lives together. According to William J. Tyson II, the grandson and namesake of William, their house was still standing, at least in 1993.3

By 1900 Catherine Rinker, William’s mother-in-law was living with them, after her husband Francis died in 1892. She probably stayed with them until her own death in 1909. In 1910 five of the children were still at home.4 Through the 1920s and 1930s they stayed on the farm, with some of the children living there temporarily until they were married.5 Since none of the sons wanted to take over the farm, William sold fertilizer for M. L. Shoemaker.6 As each of the children married, he gave them a piece of the farm. As William J. Tyson II put it, “At one time my Aunt Mildred lived across the street from us and next to her, Uncle Willie and his wife… Next door to us my Uncle Ralph… My Uncle Earl and his family… lived in back of our property. It was a wonderful idea on Grandpop and Grandmom Tyson’s part—to keep their family together, but it didn’t last all that long. Eventually everyone except Uncle Earl moved away.”7 William and Catherine also owned a beach house in Ocean City, New Jersey, where they gathered the family. Their thirteen-year old grandson Howard made a dramatic rescue there in 1925, swimming to save a woman who was drowning in Great Egg Harbor Bay.8 He saw her struggling and calling for help, swam to her, and pulled her by the arm to shallow water. “He was nearly exhausted and was unable to go father when his feet touched bottom.” Howard was there with his parents at the cottage of his grandmother Catherine Tyson. After After Catherine died in 1950 she left the house in Ocean City to her son Raymond.9 William died on March 24, 1947.10 Catherine died on June 25, 1950.11 They are buried in Hatboro Cemetery. As their grandson remembered, “They led a very simple, good life.”

Children of William and Catherine:12

William Francis, born Dec 1889, died 1980. In 1910 he was living at home with his parents, working as a house carpenter. In 1911 he married Elsie Woodroffe with a Delaware marriage license. He was 21; she was 18.13 She was the daughter of James and Harriet Woodroffe.14 She lived in Germantown, where her father James was a policeman. This could be a coincidence, since Catherine Rinker’s father Francis was also a policeman in Germantown. Perhaps that is how Elsie and William met. They had two children, Howard and Gladys.15 Elsie and William lived in Horsham, where he was a builder.

In 1932, Elsie divorced William on the grounds of cruel treatment.16 Elsie told the court a dramatic story. “After acting as clerk for her husband following their marriage, and thus engaged for several years, everything went well until the wife decided that housekeeping was enough to keep her busy, and decided to give up the clerical job. The husband consented, according to the wife, and soon he engaged another girl, became much devoted to the new clerk, and neglected his wife… Mrs. Tyson said her husband admitted taking the girl out. She said that when she remonstrated with her husband about the girl he threatened to strike her with an electric heater.” By 1940, William was remarried, living next door to his parents in Horsham, with his second wife Kathryn Mather and a newborn son Ronald.17 They later moved to Fort Lauderdale, where he worked as a building contractor and died in 1980.18 Kathryn died in 1987. They are buried at Lauderdale Memorial Park.

Ralph Steward, born in 1892, died 1965, married Nora Schabinger in Sept 1912. They had four children: Ralph, Pearl, Laura and Arthur.19 Arthur was born in 1920, but by then Ralph was gone, living with a young woman named Florence in East Cleveland, Ohio.20 Nora divorced him and went back to live with her father Charles, taking the three surviving children with her.21 By 1930 Ralph and Florence were in Grand Junction, Colorado, with four children. By 1940 they were in Horsham, living in the same house as Raymond and his family; Ralph was working as a towerman for the railroad. Children: Evora, Constance, Twilla, Cloyd, Willa Mae.22

Raymond LeRoy, born in 1895, died 1959, married 1919 Helen Worthington, daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth.23 They were married in 1919, after he returned from serving in World War I.24 Raymond worked as a ticket agent for the Pennsylvania Railroad, based in Hatboro or Horsham. Helen worked for the state of Pennsylvania as a tax collector. They had three children who survived infancy. After Raymond died suddenly in 1959, Helen remarried twice, and survived all three of her husbands.25 She eventually moved into an assisted living facility in Quakertown, and died there in 1987. He is buried at Hatboro Cemetery; her ashes were sprinkled in the lagoon in Ocean City, New Jersey, where she had a summer house for many years. Children: Raymond, Dorothy, Robert E, Janet E, William Jeanes II.

Harry Edwin, born 8 Oct 1897, died Oct 11, 1918, in the flu pandemic of “croupous pneumonia”. He was not married. A machinist, he was just 21 when he died.26 When he registered for the draft for the Second World War on 12 Sep 1918, he was living at 461 Winona Ave in Germantown, with Rinker relatives, working for Frank H. Rinker as an automobile mechanic on 416 Coulter Street.27 Frank was Harry’s uncle, a son of Francis and Catherine.

Katie and Anna, born 1899, died within two hours of birth.

Mildred Evelyn, born in 1900, died 1973, married William Barlow. William was a salesman. They lived in Allentown, Pennsylvania, later in Johnstown. They retired to Florida, where Mildren died in 1973 in Sarasota. William died in 1996; They are buried together in Port Charlotte. Child: Gail.

Earl Jeanes, born in 1909, died in 2001. After graduating from Abington High School in 1927, Earl went to work for the post office in Horsham, and in 1953 was the postmaster there.28 He married Thelma Gaykenheimer or Gegenheimer in 1934 in Philadelphia. They had six children together.29 Thelma died in 1975 in Ft. Lauderdale. Earl married Mary McDonald in 1978 in Broward County, Florida, and in 1998 married Louise Wells Friday. He died in November 2001, in a retirement home in Quarryville, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, survived by his wife Louise, five children and three stepchildren. He had 23 great grandchildren at his death.30 Children of Earl and Thelma: Thomas, Nancy, David, Daniel, John, Richard. Two of the sons, Thomas and Richard, became ministers.


  1. William’s middle name was for his father’s mother Eleanor Jeanes.
  2. In the 1920 census George Maust was living very close to William in Horsham; is this a coincidence or inherited family properties?
  3. Personal communication, 1993.
  4. 1910 census, Horsham, image 2. The baby Earl, only a year old, was living nearby with Frank Jarrett and his two sisters Martha and Sarah; they were apparently taking care of the baby. Frank and his sisters are not known to be related to the Tysons.
  5. 1920 census; 1930 census, Montgomery County, Horsham, ED 46, image 63 and 65, indexed as Lyson.
  6. William J. Tyson II, personal communication 1993.
  7. Personal communication 1993.
  8. Hatboro Public Spirit, Week of July 3-9, 1925, quoted on a website, “Hatboro 50 years ago”. He had learned to swim in the old swimming hole in Pennypack Creek near his home. The woman he rescued, Mrs. Harry Refsnyder, was a guest and a cousin.
  9. Montgomery County Orphans’ Court records, #53279. Each of her five surviving children also received $6,289 as their share of her estate.
  10. His Pennsylvania state death certificate said that he died of pneumonia. His obituary in the Bucks County Intelligencer, a few days after his death, said that he had suffered a stroke about three years earlier. He was survived by five children, four living in Pennsylvania plus Ralph S. in Colorado. He was also survived by two sisters Mrs. Anna Refsnyder and Mrs. Hannah Lenhart of Germantown, thirteen grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. He was a charter member of the Horsham Fire Company and a member of a fraternal organization, the Patriotic Sons of America, Jarrettown chapter.
  11. Her Pennsylvania state death certificate, which said that she died of heart disease.
  12. Recollections of William J. Tyson II, son of Raymond Tyson; Helen Worthington Tyson, wife of Raymond Tyson; census records; Hatboro Cemetery records.
  13. There is a different William F. Tyson with a similar birthdate, who is very confusable with this William. The other William F. Tyson was the son of  William H. and Jennie Tyson, born in Watsontown Pennsylvania. In June 1904 he married Hannah Daisy Wert in Northumberland County. (PA Marriage Licenses on Ancestry). They had two children: William and Pauline. In the 1910 census they were in Harrisburg, where William was a brakeman. In 1920 They were still there. By 1930 he was a conductor and the children were gone. By 1940 he had become an assistant stationmaster.
  14. From their marriage license in 1911. Also from Linda Davenport, a granddaughter of Elsie and William, personal communication 2006.
  15. Howard married Claire Templeton and had two children, Linda and Roger. Linda moved to Gratz, Dauphin County, married Charles Meyers, had two sons, married Robert Davenport after Charles died. Linda died in Gratz in July 2011. She bred Salukis and was a volunteer drive for the Amish, for example, on hospital trips. Her brother Roger was killed in 1965 in Hatboro in a car accident.
  16. Doylestown Intelligencer, 24 Dec 1932.
  17. 1940 census, Horsham, image 29. Kathryn was twenty years younger than William. She was born in Oct 1908. (Her PA state birth certificate, and Florida Death Index, both on Ancestry)
  18. Fort Lauderdale City Directory, 1959. The dates of death are from Findagrave.
  19. Laura married Christopher Leuz and died in Doylestown. (PA state death certificate for Laura Leuz)
  20. 1920 census. They were boarding with Bert Fenn in East Cleveland. He was a motorman for a street railroad (trolley?). They had no children yet. They may not have ever married, according to personal communications of Helen Tyson and William J. Tyson II.
  21. 1930 census, Doylestown, Montgomery County, dist. 21, image 29. The surviving children were Pearl, Laura, and Arthur. In 1940 she was living with her son Arthur and his wife Helen in Doylestown, working in a bakery.
  22. 1930 census, 1940 census, and recollection of William J. Tyson II. The birthplaces of the children were Ohio, Texas, and Colorado, suggesting that Ralph moved around.
  23. Raymond’s birthdate is sometimes shown as September 1897, but I believe that 1895 is correct.
  24. Philadelphia Marriage records, on FamilySearch, accessed 12/2009. The year was 1919, no month or day, record #412880. Her name was given as Worthington, so we know it’s the right Raymond L. Tyson.
  25. She married Eddie Revoire and Robert Eichner, both of whom had served in the same unit as Raymond in the war.
  26. He was buried at Hatboro. (PA state death certificate)
  27. World War II draft registration card; Philadelphia City directories. But Frank H. was listed in city directories as a carpenter, not an automobile shop owner.
  28. Appointments of U.S. Postmasters 1832-1971, on Ancestry. 1927 Abington High School Yearbook, on Ancestry. He may be the only one of the children of William and Catherine to graduate from high school.
  29. Recollections of Helen W. Tyson and William J. Tyson II.
  30. His obituary, Lancaster New Era, 23 Nov 2001. He was survived by children Rev. Thomas, Rev. Richard, David, John, Nancy.

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