Tube City Almanac

May 03, 2013

Hey, Answer Person: Who Was William D. Mansfield?

Category: History || By

Sandie in England writes:

I wonder whether you can help me. I've got your contact details from your website, Tube City Online.

I am researching my husband's family tree and his grandparents were married and lived in McKeesport for a few years in the early 1900s. The marriage took place in 1905 and was undertaken by a person noted as William D. Mansfield, and we are wondering whether there is any connection between this person and the person to whom the bridge is dedicated.

I have so far tried researching this information for myself but have been unable to find out who the 'bridge' William D. Mansfield was. My husband's grandfather apparently went to the U.S.A. from the U.K. in 1904 intending on patenting an invention to do with the railways, and it is family rumour/legend that the invention was 'stolen' from him by a religious minister. Whether that is correct remains to be seen, of course, and it would be wonderful to find out more information if possible.

Do you have any information as regards the William D. Mansfield connected to the bridge?

. . .

Dear Sandie: William D. Mansfield was the publisher of the McKeesport Daily News from 1927 until his death in 1952 at the age of 74.

Among his other roles in the McKeesport area, Mansfield was chair of the Republican Party of McKeesport; a Pennsylvania state senator representing the 44th District from 1923 to 1934; and an Allegheny County commissioner.

But before that, according to some old newspaper clippings I found, Mansfield was what Pennsylvania called a "squire." I'm not sure what the equivalent legal term in the UK is, but these days in the U.S., a "squire" is generally called a "justice of the peace" or "district magistrate." They adjudicate minor criminal offenses (traffic violations) and they can officiate weddings.

If your husband's grandparents were married by William D. Mansfield in McKeesport, I assume they were married by him when he was serving as "squire."

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