Search billions of records on Ancestry.com

E. ELMER HELMAN—The man whose name stands at the head of this article,and whose post office address is Irwin, Pennsylvania, has long been a recognized leader and interpreter of public sentiment. Mr. Helman, who is sole owner of the Republican Printing Company, which publishes the "Republican Standard and Westmoreland Journal," was for many years identified with the manufacturing interests of Pennsylvania and has long been a conspicuous figure in local and State politics.

Michael Helman, great-grandfather of E. Elmer Helman, came before 1786 from York county, Pennsylvania, and settled near East McKeesport, Versailles township, Allegheny county, obtaining a patent for the land on which Grandview Cemetery is now situated. Michael Helman and his wife were the parents of eight children, the second son, Daniel, being mentioned below. Mr. Helman had not been many years in possession of his new home when Western Pennsylvania was disturbed by the Whiskey Insurrection. The scene of this important event in our history was limited almost entirely to the four counties of Allegheny, Westmoreland, Washington and Fayette, and was caused by the "excise tax," as it was then called. In 1794 the agitation culminated in a furious outbreak which United States troops were called upon to quell. It is interesting to note that after subduing the insurrection the army, and were leaving Pittsburgh, made its first halt at Michael Helman's farm, fifteen miles east of that city. This old homestead is thus, apart from its family traditions, invested with Historical associations.

Daniel Helman, son of Michael Helman, was born in 1786, and in 1836 settled at Larimer, North Huntingdon township, Westmoreland county, where he purchased a farm and erected a stone house which is still standing. Mr. Helman married in 1807, Catherine Ludwick, and their children were: Jacob, Martha, Rachel, Elizabeth, Maria, Samuel, Mary, William, Peter, mentioned below; Jane, Catherine, and Hetty.

Peter Helman, son of Daniel and Catherine (Ludwick)Helman, was born in 1822 and in the fifties was the proprietor of two general stores, one at Harrison City and the other at Larimer. In partnership with Daniel Beck he purchased the grist mill at Irwin and in 1868 disposed of his interest, removing to Larimer where he bought the flour mill which he operated during the remainder of his life. Mr. Helman married, in 1854, Hannah, daughter of Simon Lauffer, of Penn township, and the following children were born to them: Alice A., William W., E. Elmer, mentioned below; and S. Grant. The death of Peter Helman occurred in 1880. He was respected always as an honest man and a good citizen, and was elected to the office of justice of peace, serving with prompt despatch and faithfulness.

E. Elmer, son of Peter and Hannah (Lauffer) Herman, was born April lo, 1861, at Larimer, where he received his earliest education in the public schools, afterward attending the select schools of North Huntingdon township, which was then conducted at Circleville, and graduating in 1882 from Duff's Business College in Pittsburgh. After his father's death Mr. Helman, then a youth of nineteen succeeded to the management of the flour mill, which he operated successfully, installing the roll process in 1884 In 1888 he disposed of the business and moved to Irvona, Clearfield county, Pennsylvania, where he erected a foundry and machine shop. The success which attended him in this enterprise may be gauged by the fact that he conducted it for nineteen years, indisputable evidence of his ability as a business man. Meanwhile, however, Mr:. Helman's attention had been drawn in other directions and in 1907 he moved to Irwin where, in association with his brother, S. Grant Helman, he undertook the publication of the "Republican Standards and Westmoreland Journal." Mr. Helman is now the owner and editor of this paper and by his manner of conducting it has shown himself well fitted for activity in the field journalism. He also carries on a commercial printing business under the name of the Republican Printing Company and of this likewise he is now sole owner. The ''Republican Standard and Westmoreland Journal" flourishes apace, showing an annual increase in its number of subscribers.

Public spirit has ever been a dominant trait in Mr. Helman’s character, and while a resident of Irvona he took an active part in the incorporation of the borough. He was the choice of his fellow-citizens for councilman and school director and so satisfactory was his service in both these offices that he was retained in them almost continuously. His political allegiance is given to the Republicans and so prominently had he been identified with the Progressive movement that in 1914 he received the nomination of the Washington party for the State Legislature. Both in fact and manner Mr. Helman shows himself to be the alert, far-sighted, clear-headed man that everyone knows him to be. He would be recognized by a great number of the inhabitants of Westmoreland county and by many of the residents of Clearfield County.

Mr. Helman married, September 30, 1885, Eva May, daughter of Thomas W. and Evaline (Painter), of North Huntingdon township, and they are the parents of the following children: I. Mervyn P., born March 25, 1887, married Ruth Kennedy, daughter of Thomas Kennedy, of State College, Pennsylvania a prominent contractor there; he now lives at Fairmont, West Virginia, and is a mechanical engineer; they have one son, Mervyn P., Jr. 2. Thomas L., born January 25,1890. 3. Frank W., born July 5,1893. 4 Elmer G., born June 15,1895. 5. William A. born November 18, 1898. 6. Evaline P., born March 9, 1902. All these with the exception of Mervyn P., who resides in West Virginia as stated, live at home with their parents. Mr. Helman is devoted to the ties of family and friendship, and Mrs. Helman. a woman of great good sense and most pleasing personality, presides over an attractive and happy home. The whole family enjoy a high degree of social popularity. Mrs. Helman is a graduate of the Indiana State Normal School, of Indiana, Pennsylvania. Her father, Thomas W. Painter, comes of an old family of that name in North Huntingdon township, which has for many generations been engaged in agricultural work. She has always taken an active interest in all community betterment work. At Irvona, she was the first president of the Village Improvement Society, which has done much to awaken interest and pride in the home surroundings of that village. Since coming to Irvona she has continued along similar lines. She has served as president of the Woman's Musical and Literary Club, the pioneer woman's organization of the town, and has served very efficiently on the various committees that have been concerned with home economics, conservation, etc. She is a member of the Ladies’ Aid Society, a charitable organization, and also to the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and has served as State and county delegate for some of the above organizations. She has also been a member of the women's advisory committee that worked in conjunction with the building committee in charge of the construction of the United Presbyterian Church of Irwin, built in 1914, and has been an active church worker along personal lines.

Combining as he does the attributes of a business man, a journalist and a consistent advocate of progressive local politics, Mr. Helman possesses a threefold capacity for serving his community, and both at Irvona and Irwin his fellow-citizens have accorded him most convincing proofs of appreciation.

Back to: The Helman Family Home Page