This is the still-unfolding story of a house’s forgotten history and it’s role in the growth and development of one of western Pennsylvania’s  earliest industrial towns — Apollo borough, founded in 1816 as the town of Warren and then renamed in 1848.

When my family moved into this old brick farmhouse in the 1970s, we knew essentially nothing about the house’s history. We recognized, though, that we’d landed in  a cool, sturdily built historic home that needed just a little tlc — e.g.,  sheets of ice formed on the inside of the original old bedroom windows each winter, and the upstairs had no central heat. No central air conditioning, then or now.

I was dismayed in 1991 when Apollo celebrated its 175th anniversary, and this old brick house was not mentioned in any of the literature or histories published at that time. But in those pre-Internet days, I had no clue how to research a house’s history to learn more.

I’ve since learned that if you want to know the history of a place, you shouldn’t just sit and wait and hope that maybe someone else will do the work. Go ahead and roll up your sleeves and do the research yourself. You’ll find lots of nice and knowledgeable people and organizations along the way. And be sure to share what you’ve learned with others, so you all can help to grow everyone’s knowledge base, including your own.

Please comment on posts and pages to share your own stories. And follow my blog to learn more as the story unfolds. Thanks for stopping by.

—Vicki Contie
Catonsville, Maryland

PS – My full-time job is as a science writer and editor at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). I currently help to produce a free monthly newsletter for the general public called NIH News in Health Check it out, and get some tips for staying healthy in today’s world. Subscribe to this free health newsletter here: https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/subscribe


  1. Hello Vickie, great site! I am Vice President of a local historical society in North East PA. I stumbled across an old land deed today that is a real mystery. Been scanning the Internet for any clues. Found your blog. Simon Truby is listed on it, along with several other names. I am very interested in discussing this more with you and have images I can share!


    1. Hi Annie – Thanks for writing! Would love to know more about the content of the deed you’ve found. I’m not certain if it’ll match with Apollo’s Simon Truby, though, as I’m pretty sure he lived and conducted business only in Western PA, but am not 100% certain. Let’s check it out! I’ve emailed you my contact info.


  2. Hi Vikie,

    My Name is Zachary Truby, my father is Michael Allen Truby, his dad is Michael Clark Truby (named after Clark Owen Truby), his dad is Jack Truby, and his dad was Clark Owen Truby. We would love to learn more about the family origins and would be happy to help in anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Zachary,

      You may not be able to help us, but we are looking for the Truby family where my grandfather David Alvin Russell lived when he was 6 years old. He lived with Daniel Truby son of Michael Truby Jr. (1791-?) and Mary “Molly” Scherecengast or Schecengost (abt 1798-?). We need to find out why David Alvin was adopted by the Truby’s and how the Truby’s happened to be chosen.

      Absalom Russell was David Alvin’s father and his sister, Mary Ann Russell married Solomon Black, son of John Black. Before the marriage Solomon apprenticed as a blacksmith in Armstrong County. We believe he may have done so under Michael Truby, Jr., who was also a blacksmith in the area. We are wondering if there was some connection between the Russell, Truby and Black families.
      Michael Truby, Jr. would have been the adopted grandfather of David Alvin Russell.

      If you know of any Truby family that knows this information or could help us in our work please contact me at joannlinck@gmail.com.

      Thank you for your time.
      Jo Ann Russell Linck


  3. Dear Zachary, I’m delighted to hear from a descendant of Clark Owen Truby! He was the third and final Truby to own the brick Truby farmhouse in Apollo. Clark’s story looks a little sad from the details I’ve uncovered so far. Do you know much about Clark or his son Jack? I’m happy to hear that Clark’s line continues to this day. Thanks for writing.


    1. Hi Vicki! I personally did not know Clark or Jack but my Grandfather is Jack’s son and knows much more about them. If there is anything that we can do to help please let us know! Reach out to me via email if you would like!


  4. Vicki,
    I just ran across your blog. A few weeks ago I saw a post on the Apollo web site about the Truby farm. My great grandmother was a Truby and she lived in that end of town. My grandmother’s name was Mary(born I guess in early 1900’s,late1800’s). She was married to LeRoy Baer and I noticed that last name in one post. Anyway I don’t know much, all of the relatives on that side are gone. On a different note I live in Columbia, Md.


    1. Hi Chuck, Thanks so much for writing! I’m not quite sure how your great grandmother may have fit into the Simon Truby’s family tree. Was her maiden name Truby, and do you know the name of her husband (your great-granddad)? Just curious. A couple named Grace & Matthew Baer owned the Truby farmhouse in the 1930s & 40s, but I hadn’t been aware of any bloodline connection to the Trubys. I’ll look into it though.


  5. Enjoyed reading about the Truby home. Simon is my great,great,great grand father. Would have like to have toured the home. Will be looking to hear more info. Thanks.


  6. Hi Guy, Thanks for writing, and glad you’ve enjoyed reading about your GGG-granddad and extended family!. You’re descended from Simon Truby’s youngest son, little Winchester Hill Truby (1847-1943), who ended up with Simon’s farm in Park’s Twp, formerly known as the Hill farm. There are so many interesting stories within the Truby family! Sorry to say, I’ve had trouble finding time to write more stories; I really hope to get back to the blog before the end of the year. Take care!


  7. Hi Vicki!

    My name is Grace Truby, Zachary Truby’s wife. I’m working on compiling information on both my side of the family, and the Truby side! I remember when Zach and I found your page about the home back in 2018 and he left you a message, we got so excited learning more about his family tree, because little to none was known/is known to the living family. I’m compiling a tree starting with Zach and going back through the generations, so far I’ve gotten back to Henry Hill Truby and his wife Sarah Belle Whitlinger. If you or anyone has any more information please feel free to email me or comment, and I would be happy to provide you with all the information I uncover! 🙂


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