So Much History in One Home

Grandma Rachel, as she is called, grew up in Pittsburgh but lived for most of her life in Beaver. She was born in 1850 the granddaughter of a wealthy businessman who owned and operated a plow company – perhaps one of the first of its kind in the Pittsburgh area. Rachel’s grandfather, Samuel Hall, and father, John Hall, held several patents from plows.

As history dictated in the 19th-century, businesses were not passed down to the daughters in a family, but instead to a male relative. The successful plow business changed hands to Samuel’s father-in-law’s family after the deaths of Sam and John. At this point, Rachel began her move to Beaver County.

Rachel came to the area with her father’s sister, Sarah, and uncle, Robert H. Marks. Marks’ name is common across early property ownership maps of Beaver. His father already lived in Beaver and operated Grandview Fruit Farm on Tuscawaras Road.

Rachel then married Minnis Dauber and they had two children – Virginia and Wesley. Sadly, Minnis passed away and Rachel was left to raise the two children on her own.

On September 22, 1890, Marks’ purchased a property on Dravo Avenue, formerly known as Racoon Street, and sold a plot of it to Rachel in 1892 so she could build a home for herself and her two children. The home at 484 Dravo Avenue was completed in 1895. During the home’s recent renovations, the current homeowner found the signature of the homebuilder – JM Andrews of Beaver, PA.

Rachel was very creative and sold many items from fruit to fabric to car seat covers to make a living and provide for her family. She even advertised renting out a room in her home, noting the home’s many modern conveniences, including an electric bath (bathing in the Beaver River may have been a smarter idea than an electric bath!).

Unconfirmed stories state Rachel attended an Edinboro State Normal School to be certified as a teacher.  She also attended Beaver College to study music. She provided piano lessons in the local area. Later in life, her love for the arts took another form as she took up painting as a hobby. One of her paintings still hangs in 484 Dravo Ave. Grandma Rachel passed away on Christmas Day in 1943 at the age of 84.

Although Grandma Rachel is gone, her legacy still lives on through her daughter, Virginia, who raised a family in Bridgewater with some of her descendants still living in Beaver County. Rachel’s son, Wesley, died unfortunately during the Flu Epidemic of 1918.

Rachel’s legacy also lives on with the home she built. As is customary with old homes, dozens of discarded bottles, toys, farm tools and “trash” have been found buried in the backyard. An old teapot was found two feet below the ground with a leather knife sheath, a broken bottle, and a rolled used tube of ointment.

There are still many mysteries yet to be solved concerning Rachel Daubner and her beautiful home. If you are familiar with the builder, JM Andrews or know of the details of Minnis Dauber’s passing (we hope he didn’t use the electric bath), please contact us.

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