Picking Through the Past

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Howard Milton Picking married my 1st cousin three times removed, Mary M Davis. Mary was the daughter of Wesley W Davis and Lydia Marie Witt. Born December 12, 1873, Mary lived in Somerset Pennsylvania, located south east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


I decided to do some research on Howard and his family and soon was being blown from limb to limb, each fact more fascinating than the last. Howard’s father, Jacob Sylvester Picking, Sr. seemed to be a pretty common kind of guy. He owned a livery stable, lived to be 90 years old and had 8 children. His children, on the other hand, would live profitable and sometimes colorful lives.


Howard Milton Picking was a well known and liked funeral director in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He was a veteran of the Civil War and had 5 children. A short biography on his was written in the History of Cambria County.


History of Cambria County, Pennsylvania

Chapter:  Vol. one. Part II. Biographical history

Page:  430



Howard M Picking, well known funeral director of Johnstown, located at 429 Somerset Street, is a native of Pennsylvania. He was born in Somerset County, Sept. 1, 1873 and is the son of Jacob and Mariah (Imhoff) Picking.


Jacob Picking, who lives retired in Somerset County, has been identified with the business interests of that county for many years. He engaged in the mercantile business and conducted a hotel. To Mr. and Mrs. Picking the following children were born: B. J., lives in Johnstown, Howard M., the subject of this sketch; Joseph, a farmer, lives in Somerset County, Pa.; Marian, marred Curtis Grove, lives at Somerset, Pa.; and Robert, lives in Philadelphia.


Howard M Picking spent his boyhood in Somerset County and received his education in the public schools. He entered the employ of the Cambria Steel Company at an early age and remained there until 1909, when he engaged in the undertaking business in Johnstown. He also conducted a livery until 1920. Mr. Picking’s funeral home is modern in its appointments and he ranks among the reliable business men of the community.


On Dec. 8, 1897, Mr. Picking was united in marriage with Miss Mary m. Davis, a native of Somerset, Pa., born Dec 12, 1873, the daughter of Wesley W. and Lydia (Witt) Davis. Mr. Davis, a veteran of the Civil War, died May 28, 1897, and his wife died Oct. 8, 1894. They had three children: Harry B.; Mrs. Picking; and George, who died at the age of 14 years. Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Picking, as follows: Mary Louise, born Feb 8, 1899; Madeline, born April 30, 1902; Lydia Adelaide, born Sept. 8, 1904, a trained nurse; Howard M., Jr., born March 17, 1908; and Ronald D., born Aug 24, 1910.


Politically, Mr. Picking is a Republican. He is a member fo the First Christian Church and is active in church affairs, being deacon and Sunday school superintendent. He is also affiliated with the Masonic Lodge.


Jacob Sylvester Picking, Jr, Howard’s younger brother was a pharmacist in Somerset and enjoyed a comfortable life style. History of Bedford and Somerset Counties, Pennsylvania written in 1906 wouldn’t mention his youngest son Robert Boyd born in 1914.


History of Bedford and Somerset Counties, Pennsylvania; Bedford County by E.

Howard Blackburn; Somerset County by William H. Welfley; v.3, Pub. The Lewis

Publishing Company, New York/Chicago 1906, pgs. 161/2


Jacob S. PICKING, Jr.


Jacob S. Picking, Jr., a leading druggist of Somerset, Somerset county, Pennsylvania, was there born October 30, 1879, the son of Jacob S. and Maria L. (Imhoff) Picking.  He is of German descent.  His father is a native of Jenner township, Somerset county, born January 22, 1848.  He engaged in the hotel and livery business, and is now living a retired life.  His wife, Maria L. Imhoff, was born February 12, 1848, in Somerset.  They have seven children, viz.: Barnet, Milton, Joseph, Florence, Jacob S., of whom later; Marion and Robert.


Jacob S. Picking, Jr., was educated in the public and high schools of his native place, and deciding to engage in the drug business, he found employment in a drug store, where he was occupied for three years.  He then entered the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, and in 1901 was graduated from that institution with the degree of Doctor of Pharmacy.  After a year and a half spent in the service of John M. Toney, he located in Berlin, Somerset county, and was there engaged for two years in the conduct of a drug establishment.  He subsequently removed his business to Somerset, being located on Main street, where he enjoys a generous and ever increasing patronage.

Mr. Picking married, October 1, 1903, Miss Ruey F. Boyd, born August 16, 1881,

in Franklin county, daughter of Alexander and Emma (McCreary) Boyd.  Alexander

Boyd was a contractor of Plate Glass Works.  He and his wife had children as follows: Frank, Charles, Grace, Samuel, Ruey F., (Mrs. Picking), Effie and Ford.  Mr. and Mrs. Picking have one child, J. Wilfred Boyd, born June 29, 1905.


Jacob S. Picking, Jr.’s son Robert Boyd Picking married a society girl whose father most people would recognize from his shoes.  Mary Florsheim was an heiress to the fortune of the Florsheim shoe company. Her grandfather and father would be the originators of the company and a new way of showing and selling their shoes.


Flosheim would be the first company to sell shoes with their name on it, brand marketing. Florsheim marketed to the public and had customers requesting Florsheim shoes. Previously shoe makers would manufacture shoes and place the name of the selling department store on the boxes. In 1923 Florsheim’s 2,300 employees were producing 8,000 pairs a day and it bought space for a third factory.


Mary married Jacob prior to 1958 and then divorced and would then marry singer and actor Allan Jones. A smiling picture of the happy couple taken just moments after their marriage can be seen in the January 3, 1958, Connellsville newspaper.


The Daily Courier (Connellsville, Pennsylvania) > 1958 > January > 3


Singer Weds Heiress – Singer Allan Jones, 50, is shown with his bride, heiress Mary Florsheim Picking, 37 shortly after their marriage in Las Vegas, Nev. It took place a few hours after Jones was divorced by actress Irene Hervey. The divorce ended a 21 year marriage. The singer’s new wife formerly was wed to socialite Robert Boyd Picking.


Mary would go on to marry 2 more times and Robert Boyd Picking would marry Pat Kelly.


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