A New Era for the Simon Truby Farmhouse
Dear Apollo Area History Lovers,
Welcome to a new year and a new decade! A century ago, the Roaring 20s reportedly ushered in racy fun and frivolity to the Kiski Valley. Illegal booze freely flowed, and folks were fox-trotting up a storm. Even the ladies at Apollo’s Woman’s Christian Temperance Union were having a grand time scolding friends and neighbors for illicit drinking (you can read minutes of their very staid meetings at the Apollo Area Historical Society).
For our new decade, though—the 2020s—I secretly wish it will come to be known as the as the Boring 20s. I’m afraid I’m ready for a little R&R and respite from today’s crazy news cycle—more boring and less roaring is my current motto. I pray for peace and prosperity for all in the 2020s, and I endorse all efforts to love thy neighbor. Continue reading
Brief Summing Up of the House’s History
Dear Apollo-area history lovers: When I started this blog over 3 years ago, in anticipation of Apollo’s 200th anniversary celebration in 2016, I never imagined that our family would be putting this old brick house on the market within the next few years. But that is where we are today. In fact, after only about a week on the market, we’ve accepted an offer on the house, and we hope all stages of the sale process will go smoothly. Continue reading
Greetings dear Apollo-Area history lovers! I’ve taken a more-than-yearlong hiatus from the Simon Truby Farmhouse blog while tending to family and personal matters. Although I haven’t been writing, I’ve continued to investigate local history, and there are dozens of Apollo- and Truby-related stories I still intend to write and share on this website. Please stay tuned to this channel.
The blog’s silence has been due to the illness and passing of my beloved mom, Becky Frayer, who had been the owner and caretaker of the Simon Truby farmhouse at 708 Terrace Ave in Apollo for more than 43 years.
Ma Truby, Ma Mullen, & My 3-G Grandma Harrington Were the Ladies Who Lunch (allegedly)
Apollo farmer Simon Truby was married to his second wife Elizabeth Hill Truby (1826-1901) for more than 35 years, until his death in 1886. After Simon’s death, Elizabeth – known to her friends as Betsy or “Ma Truby”– found herself in her big rambling brick farmhouse, living with her eldest son Henry and his family, including 8 of Betsy’s grandchildren (see photo at end of article). Meanwhile, all around her, the Truby farm was being subdivided into hundreds of lots. New homes and streets were being built, and new families moving in.
With Simon gone, Betsy surely needed a friend to socialize with and confide in; son Henry Truby and his wife Sarah Belle Whitlinger were busy raising their children and managing what remained of the dwindling farm. Fortunately, Ma Truby seems to have found such a friend—a woman around the same age who had moved into a sprawling new house on N 7th Street, diagonally behind the Truby farmhouse. That woman—Ma Truby’s new friend—was my great-great-great grandma Mary E (Ryan) Harrington (1838-1922).
Favorite Festive Homes on Truby’s Former Farm
The photo above shows a Christmas cactus in full bloom & the view from the 2nd story hallway of the home built c 1844 by Apollo’s farmer Simon Truby–located at 708 Terrace Ave.
Last weekend, Dec 15-17, 2017, the Apollo area was treated to a beautiful light snowfall. So my daughter & I took the opportunity to snap photos of a few of our favorite Christmas-decorated homes situated on Simon Truby’s former farmland — which extended between N. 6th Street in Apollo and 15th Street in North Apollo, and included Pegtown and some of Oak Hill. Continue reading
The Apples Didn’t Fall Far from the Tree
All 9 of Simon Truby’s children grew up in the brick farmhouse he built around 1844. That house, which still stands today at 708 Terrace Ave in Apollo PA, must’ve lived large in the Truby kids’ memories even after they’d moved out and on with their lives— Continue reading
Sorrow and Suicide
Mary Jane Truby was the first-born child of wealthy farmer and landowner Simon Truby of Apollo PA. So you might have expected that she’d be destined for a life of privilege & ease. But Mary Jane Truby’s life instead seemed marked by heartbreak and tragedy. Though she’d married into another prominent local family—the Henrys—the secure life that Mary Jane and her husband tried to build for their children had crumbled away before their eldest child had turned 16. Continue reading
Farmer Truby aids a widow & gives Nellie Bly a home
Historic marker at the 500 block of Terrace Ave in Apollo, PA, where Nellie Bly lived briefly (for less than 2 years) as a child.
Most of us who’ve lived and loved in the western Pennsylvania town of Apollo have heard that the daring, world-famous journalist Nellie Bly (1864-1922) grew up in a mansion on the 500 block of Terrace Avenue—a fact attested to by the historic marker on that block. But you may not know that Nellie Bly lived for only a couple of years in that mansion. Her mom and siblings were forced to vacate mere months after the death of Nellie’s father, Judge Michael Cochran, in 1870. Continue reading
It’s kind of like the Academy Awards of Apollo PA. Earning a mention in one of the town’s official history books, published every 25 years, is quite an honor. It helps to ensure that hometown facts, figures, faces, and places important to Apollo’s past will be remembered for years to come. So it’s awesome that Apollo’s new bicentennial book—Apollo: Pride in Our Past; Faith in Our Future—includes a page devoted to Simon Truby, his farm, and house. Thank you Bicentennial Committee for the shout-out! Continue reading
Simon Truby Cashes In on the Good Earth
How can you make a quick buck? Definitely not through farming! Farming requires dedication, resilience, and patience. But property sales could turn a pretty profit with relative ease in the late 1800s in Apollo, PA. Continue reading