Facts and Events
John Thomas Stanier was born in England or Scotland, most likely in 1865 or 1866. Family stories told by William W. Stanier to Charles O. Stanier say that John Thomas immigrated to Pennsylvania and that he was in the iron and steel business as a skilled tradesman, perhaps as a designer and builder of furnaces or other iron and steel making equipment. He immigrated to the United States at about the age of 18. He was in the iron and steel industry in the Pittsburgh area. By 1910, he had risen to the position of "Manager of Steel Works," but it is uncertain whether he managed the entire mill or if he was lower down in the management team. He married Emma L. Fidler in 1888. John Thomas and Emma had three children, William Joseph, Anne Elizabeth and John Stewart. John Thomas died at age approximately 80 (in 1945) in Ashtabula, Ohio and is buried in the Chautauqua Cemetery in Mayville, New York.
Early Life & Education
John Thomas was born in range 1865-1868. His gravestone lists 1865, but his answers to census takers on his age are consistent with birth years from 1865-1868. The location of his birth and the identify of his parents is not confirmed. The birth location of Astley Abbotts, Shropshire, England is based on ancestry.com public trees and may be incorrect. On the 1910 census, the place of birth of John and both of his parents is listed as Scotland. On the 1920-1940 census forms, it is switched to England for all of them. John indicates he had an 8th grade indication on the 1930 census form. The ancestry.com public trees disagree as to the birthplace of John Thomas. Some indicate Astley Abbotts, Shropshire, England and others say Scotland.
Two interpretations are possible for the Scotland to England change. We have confirmed that the instructions to census takers asked that Wales, Scotland, England, and Ireland be separated in terms of place of birth. One interpretation is that they were born in England, but were of Scottish descent. The other is that they were born in Scotland, but either through errors in the census, or by answering England (rather than Scotland) to the census taker, the location of birth was switched. Additional documents such as baptism, confirmation, or birth records, or census records from Great Britain (e.g. 1870, 1880) would help to clear this up.
A passenger list from an 1884 ship from Glasgow Scotland, listing Mrs. Esther Stanier (age 40), no husband, and 7 children (ages 2 to 18 with John as the oldest) seems to ring true. The 1900 census finds William Stanier (immigrated in 1882) and Esther Stanier (immigrated in 1884) living with two children in the Hazelwood neighborhood of Pittsburgh. An 1881 Scottish census locates William and Esther Stanier in Dalziel, Scotland -- south of Glasgow. http://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Dalziel,_Lanarkshire,_Scotland
Another unanswered question regarding John's heritage is (assuming the Scottish heritage is correct) whether is was lowland Scottish history with Anglo Saxon heritage and Scottish (Germanic) language history, or highland Scottish descent with Celtic heritage and Scottish Gaelic language. If the Lanarkshire location is correct, this would be lowland Scotland.
In two difference census responses (1910 and 1930) the answers indicate that John was age 22 when married. And we are relatively certain of the 1888 marriage year because of the primary documentation we have of the 50th anniversary party in 1938. So putting these together means a birth in 1865 (after the wedding in the calendar) or in 1866 (before the wedding in the calendar).
1910 census age 42 (1867 or 1868) him: Scotland. father Scotland. mother Scotland immigration year 1888. (indicated 20 years of marriage, indicating married at age 22) 1920 census age 54 (1865 or 1866) him: England. father England. mother England immigration year 1884. 1930 census age 63 (1866 or 1867) him: England. father England. mother England immigration year 1885. (note: education through 8th grade; marriage age: 22 for JT, 17 for Emma) 1940 census age 74 (1865 or 1866) him: England. father England. mother England.
John married Emma L. Fidler in 1888. He was 22 years old and she was 18. They had three children, William Joseph (1889), Anne Elizbath (1893), and John Stewart Stanier (1898). At the lake, is the guest book from the golden (50th) wedding anniversary party of John Thomas and Emma L. Stanier. The party was held in Ashtabula on 9/20/1938. The inside of the book has written: "September 20th 1938, Presented to Mr. and Mrs. John T. Stanier. One [sic] their Golden Wedding Anniversary. By the Kunkle family and Jennie Blair." The party was held at 1042 Bunker Hill Rd., Ashtabula, Ohio (which was the address of Dick Stanier). The names in the book:
John T. Stanier Emma L. Stanier Martha S. Fidler Wm. J. Stanier (William J. Stanier) J.S. Stanier (John S. Stanier) Anne Stanier Rutledge Ralph L. Rutledge Elizabeth W. Stanier D.H. Rutledge Esther M. Stanier Maude Y. Woollcott Jack Stanier Ralph S. Rutledge II Mary Oliver Stanier Dick Stanier Hazel B. Park Nancy A. Rutledge Florence Knox Blanche Griswold Mrs. W.S. Morley W.S. Morley R.E. Graham Barbara Roller Mrs. L.B. Wrikart Martha Jean Brown Mrs. Frank H. Childs Mrs. W.J. Kunkle [illegible] Rebecca Kunkle Mrs. G.R. ?anfield Mrs. Margaret Coursen G.L. Ralston W.H. Cook Mrs. K???? Crosby Truey S. Grey Mrs. Russell Sharer Mr. and Mrs. J. Kahnr Russell M. Sharer Mr. and Mres. G.L. Carle Jennie A. Blair Mrs. and Mr. H.M. Kundle A. K???? Crosby Geo. ?. Lane John E. Carhartt [illegible] Charles E. Perkins Ruth F. Carlisle Mrs. G.H. Lane Mr. and Mrs. James D. Prier
All of our records for occupation are from Tarentum, Pennsylvania. The 1910 census lists an occupation "Manager of Steel Works", the 1915 phone book lists an occupation "Superintendent", the 1920 census lists occupation "Superintendent Bar Mill." By 1930 (age 63 or 64) he was retired and in Ashtabula, OH.
John Thomas did not serve in the military (per the 1930 census). This makes sense. He emigrated after the Civil War and was about 50 years old at the time of U.S. entry into World War I.
Places of Residence
The 1910 census lists a rented house with address of in Tarentum with address 200 Lock St. Sometime between 1910 and 1915, the address changed to 554 E. 8th Ave. This address is confirmed by the 1915 Tarentum phone book, the 1920 census, and the 1925 record of Anne E. Stanier. A search of Google Maps shows that there is likely a house or apartment at that address as of 2013, but "street view" is not available. Sometime between 1925 and 1930, John Thomas and his wife moved to Ashtabula and he retired. By 1930 (age 63 or 64) he was retired and living next door to his eldest son in Ashtabula, OH. The address was 542 Main St., the residence was rented, and John Thomas was living with his wife, his wife's unmarried sister Martha S. Fidler, and a maid of Polish descent (Helen Witucki).
Photographs and Other Historical Documents
No photographs of John Thomas have been located to date, although some likely exist. A photograph of his gravestone is linked to the record. John Thomas Stanier appears in the U.S. census records of 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940. He is listed in the New Kensington / Tarentum Phone Book (1915-1916) edition, and the 1931 Ashtabula, Ohio phone book.