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Calvin Franklin Benninghoff - born February 20, 1889 in Lowhill Township, Lehigh County, PA., a son of William Henry Harrison & Adalina (Hoffman) Bennighoff.1  He grew up on his father's farm which was in the vicinity of Weidasville.2  In 1910 a 21 year old Calvin, still living at home, was working as a laborer in a cement mill.3  He was still living at home when his father died in early 1912.4 

Calvin married Elva Mae Serfass January 27, 1917.5  By this time he was already living in Bowmanstown.6  His World War I Draft Registration Card lists his occupation as a driver for Prince Manufacturing Company.7  It also gives a physical description of him as tall, stout, with blue eyes and brown hair.8   In 1920 Calvin, Elva and their first two children were living with her grandfather Oliver O. Blose on Fireline Road just outside of Bowmanstown.  His occupation was "helper at Spiegel Furnace".9  That furnace was a part of the New Jersey Zinc Company which was just southeast of Bowmanstown.10  In 1930 the familiy was living in a rented house on Canal Street in Bowmanstown, and he was back working for Prince Manufacturing Company as a truck driver.11

On the morning of June 26, 1942 he died at his home on Canal Street.  The cause of death was myocarditis (heart failure) due to diabetes.  He suffered from diabetes the last five years of his life, and at his death he was also suffering from gangrene of the left foot.12  He was buried next to his wife Elva (who died just eight months earlier) in Bowmanstown Cemetery.  

Elva Mae Serfass - born April 14, 1899 in Fireline, Lower Towamensing Township, Carbon County, PA, a daughter of Wesley Alvin & Mary Ellen (Blose) Serfass.13  She married Calvin when she was 17 (he was 27).14  She died on the morning of May 28, 1941 at her home on Canal Street.  Her cause of death was  Pulmonary Tuberculosis of which she was afflicted for four years.15  She was buried in Bowmanstown Cemetery.

[Calvin's Baptismal Certificate]16     [Picture of Calvin]17     [Picture of Elva]18     [Calvin's Signature]19     [Calvin & Elva's Tombstones]20

Children of Calvin Franklin & Elva Mae (Serfass) Benninghoff:

Naomi Araminda Benninghoff - born August 4, 1917.21  Married 3 times, 1st December 30, 1933 to Leroy Wilson Hottenstein22, 2nd April 10, 1953 to Gordon Howard Wertman23, 3rd after 1970 to Alfred A. Reph.24  She died in the Palmerton Hospital on November 9, 197525, and is buried in Slatedale Cemetery in Washington Township, Lehigh County.  [Naomi's Tombstone]26

Willard Calvin Bennyhoff, Sr. - born December 24, 1919.27  He married on June 25, 1938 to Florence Eva Mae Christman.28  He was a veteran of World War II.  They lived in Bowmanstown, Danielsville and Slatington.  He died June 21, 1963 in East Allen Township, Northampton County after he came in contact with a crane that had touched a high voltage power line.29  He is buried next to his parents in Bowmanstown Cemetery.  [Willard's Tombstone]30

Loide Joyce Benninghoff - born October 8, 1923.31  She married on November 8, 1941 to Walter Osville Frederick.32  They lived in Slatington, Lehigh County. She died August 11, 1994 in Lehighton, Carbon County33, and is buried in Union Cemetery in Slatington.  [Loide's Tombstone]34

Evelyn Marie Benninghoff - born September 12, 193035, married on April 30, 1950 to James Harrison Smith.36  She died May 2, 201137.


   1.  Records of Calvin's birthdate are consistent.  The best source for his place of birth is his baptismal certificate (see note 16).
   2.  Haines & Worman’s Directory of the City of Allentown and Lehigh County For 1895 (Allentown: Haines & Worman, 1895), page 5 of the General Directory section.
   3.  U.S. Census, 1910, Pennsylvania, Lehigh, Lowhill, E.D. 179, page 4A, line 24.
   4.  The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania newspaper) January 27, 1912.
   5.  Carbon County Clerk of Orphan's Court, Marriage Licenses, book 18, page 11.  The license is also dated January 27th.
   6.  Ibid.  Also on Calvin's 1942 death certificate, it states that he lived in Bowmanstown for 25 years (see note 12).
   7. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Registration Location: Carbon County, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1877832; Draft Board: 2.
   8.  Ibid.
   9.  U.S. Census, 1920, Pennsylvania, Carbon, Lower Towamensing Township, E.D. 24, page 3B, line 62.  The census enumerated this house on Stemlersville Road, but a few families later were listed as Upper Fireline Millport Road.  Today this is known as Fireline Road.
   10.  The First Hundred Years of The New Jersey Zinc Company (New York:  The New Jersey Zinc Company, 1948), 24-25.
   11.  U.S. Census, 1930, Pennsylvania, Carbon, Bowmanstown Borough, E.D. 13-4, page 9A, line 30.
   12.  Death Certificate, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Division of Vital Records.
   13.  Carbon County Clerk of Orphan's Court, Registration of Births. 
   14.  Carbon County Clerk of Orphan's Court, Marriage Licenses, book 18, page 11.
   15.  Death Certificate, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Division of Vital Records.
   16.  Baptismal certificate in possession of the author.  Photograph by the author.  Transcription:   Den Chegatten William Beneighoff und seiner frau Adlina eine geborne Hoffman ist ein Sohn geboren worden den 20ten tag Februar im jahr unsers Herrn 1889.  Dieser Sohn wurde geboren in Lowhill Townschip Lecha County im Staat Pennsylvanien, in Nord-Amerika, und wurde getauft am 8ten tag Juni im jahr unsers Herrn 1889 von dem Chrw. Pastor O. Leopold und erhielt den namen Calvin Franklin, die taufzengen waren:  die eltern selbst.
   17.  Original photograph in possession of a family member.  Scan by the author.
   18.  Ibid.  The baby she is holding is unidentified.  Perhaps it's one of her grandchildren.
   19.  Carbon County Register of Wills Estate File 5284, Adline Bennighoff.  This signature appeared on a petition in his mother's estate file.  The document was dated August 13, 1918.  Scan by the author.
   20.  Photo taken December 2006 by the author.
   21.  The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania newspaper) November 10, 1975, date of birth calculated from age at death.
   22.  St. John's United Church of Christ, Towamensing Reformed Parish, MS at Lehigh County Historical Society Library, Allentown, PA, Vol. 3, page 3, hereafter cited as Towamensing Reformed Parish.
   23.  Ibid, Vol. 3, page 9.
   24.  Tombstone inscription from Slatedale Cemetery, Washington Township, Lehigh County.  Gordon Wertman died in 1970.
   25.  The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania newspaper) November 10, 1975.
   26.  Photo taken October 2006 by the author.
   27.  Records of Willard's birthdate are consistent.  Earliest record is his baptismal certificate in possession of the author.  Transcription:  Certificate of Baptism.  In the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the holy Ghost, Willard Calvin, child of Calvin F. Bennighoff and his wife Elva M. Born at Fireline Dec. 24, 1919 was Baptized by me in the Parental Home the 16th day of May in the Year of our Lord 1920.  A. W. Reis.
   28.  Towamensing Reformed Parish, Vol. 3, page 4.
   29.  The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania newspaper) June 22, 1963.
   30.  Photo taken July 2005 by the author.
   31.  Towamensing Reformed Parish, Vol. 2, pages not numbered.  Her birthdate is given when she was confirmed on March 28, 1937.
   32.  Ibid, Vol. 3, page 4.
   33.  The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania newspaper) August 13, 1994.
   34.  Photo taken April 2007 by the author.
   35.  Towamensing Reformed Parish, Vol. 2, page 9.
   36.  Ibid, Vol. 3, page 8.
   37.  Times News (Lehighton, Pennsylvania newspaper) May 3, 2011.

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Prepared by Tony Bennyhoff, last updated May 21, 2011.