Thomas Lee Aye, M. D.


THOMAS LEE AYE, M. D., who has been engaged in the practice of medicine at Kelly Station, Armstrong county, since 1905, has not only established himself well professionally during his residence there but has taken an active part in township affairs and proved himself a useful citizen. He is a native of the county, born March 30, 1877, in Kittanning township, son of John George and Catherine A. (Heilman) Aye. His grandfather settled near Freeport, Armstrong county, worked as a farmer, and later lived in Allegheny for a number of years. He then moved to Crooked Creek, onto what was known as the Ross farm near Rosston, Armstrong county, and there died. The family is of German origin.

John George Aye, the Doctor's father, was born in Allegheny, Pa., April 14, 1845, and in early life learned the trade of cooper. He moved with his family to a farm in Manor township, this county, purchased after the death of his father, and for a few years ran a huckster's wagon, during that time meeting his future wife, and he has since been engaged in farming, owning the farm on which he resides in Bethel township. In 1876 he married Catherine Heilman, a native of Pennsylvania, also of German descent, and to them were born two sons, Thomas Lee and William George. Mr. and Mrs. John George Aye are members of the Bethel Lutheran Church in Bethel township.

Thomas Lee Aye received his preparatory education at Kittanning Academy, later attending Gettysburg College, and took his medical course at the Western University of Pennsylvania, at Pittsburgh, from which institution he was graduated in 1905. He at once began practice, settling at Kelly Station, in his native county, where he has remained to the present. Dr. Aye's devotion to his patients and his conscientious care of all the cases in which he is consulted have made him well liked and thoroughly trusted in the community, and that he is highly respected is shown by his long service on the school board of Bethel township. After serving two terms he was reelected for a period of six years, and he has been secretary of the board for five years. By his efficient work in this capacity he has amply proved his ability and public spirit. In association with his cousin, H. J. Lindeman, Dr. Aye optioned and sold three thousand acres of coal lands in Bethel township, as well as land opposite Kelly Station, for a future town site. The transaction was highly successful, and a credit to the business acumen of both men.

In 1903 Dr. Aye married Mary Bell Hudson, who died in 1908, leaving no children. She was a member of the Bethel Lutheran Church. The Hudsons are of German extraction and have been settled in Armstrong county since pioneer days, and they are related to the Kunkles and Peebles, other pioneer families. Capt. T. P. Hudson, Mrs. Aye's father, was an old Allegheny river captain and boat owner, at one time owning the "Florence Belle," the "Nellie Hudson" and "Nellie" Hudson No. 2 and other craft. He married Cordelia Coffman and they had children as follows besides Mary Bell, deceased wife of Dr. Aye: Capt. John S., of Kittanning, steamboat owner; Edward, of Vandergrift, Pa.; Grace, wife of Earl Christie, of St. Clairsville, Ohio, superintendent of a coal company; Annie, wife of Thomas Atkinson, of Vandergrift; and Elizabeth, unmarried, a graduate nurse, of Pittsburgh. On Oct. 5, 1910 Dr. Aye married (second) Genevieve L. Tassey, of Pittsburgh, PA., a graduate nurse of the West Penn Hospital, 1904, and they have one child, Thomas Lee, Jr., born Aug. 22, 1911. The Doctor and his wife are members of the Bethel Lutheran Church at Kelly Station.

In both paternal and maternal lines, Mrs. Aye is of find old Irish stock, through her mother, Elizabeth (Cullen), being a great-granddaughter of George Cullen, of Limerick, Ireland, who was a celebrated barrister and a man of great influence, being a typical member of a family whose high intelligence and distinguished services to church and state had won them prominent positions and uncommon distinction. He was a first cousin of Cardinal Cullen, an eminent dignitary of the Roman Catholic Church. The Cullens were of the landed gentry and had large estates in Ireland, George Cullen's holdings being inherited by his eldest son, Thomas, as was the custom, the other children receiving larger portions. The family was a large one, and almost all left Ireland. Of the other sons John, became cattle and sheep rancher in Australia; Martie became a lieutenant in the British army; Patrick was the grandfather of Mrs. Aye. There were also several daughters: Mary, married John McNamara, of New York City, a contractor who had the charge of the blacksmithing and horseshoeing for the street railway companies in New York city; Ann was married to Barney Mathews, in Albany, N.Y., and they went South. The mother of this family, Ann (McMahan), belonged to a Protestant family. She had a brother who was a gallant soldier in the War of 1812, in which he was killed; he left no family.

Patrick Cullen, son of George, was born in County Clare, Ireland. He appears to have been a favorite of his father, nevertheless he went against his father's wishes in marrying the lovely daughter of his steward, Cecilia Fennel, a native of County Clare. They had been sweethearts from youth, and he could not be dissuaded. She was sent to American with her sister, Mrs. Lucius Cushing, and Patrick Cullen joined them in Tioga county, PA., soon afterward marrying the girl of his choice, at Blossburg, that county. Mr. Cullen inherited the strong intellectual qualities for which his family were noted. He had marked business ability, and appears to have had a thorough knowledge of forestry, which he evidently found of practical value, for he engaged very extensively and successfully in lumbering. He was associated with the Balcom & White Lumber Company, of Corning, N.Y., and in that connection moved to Oconto, Wis. Having decided to go to California in 1860, he converted the major part of his holdings into cash, leaving property and boats at Corning, N.Y., and the home and boats at Oconto, Wis. He was persuaded by this partners, among whom were Balcom, White, Steve Haight and McGraw, to go to New Orleans instead, and taking the cash and all his papers proceeded to that city after bidding an affectionate adieu to his wife and family, by whom he was greatly beloved. They never saw him again. A letter to his wife, supposedly from a hotel clerk in New Orleans, stated that her husband had died of yellow fever, and had been buried in a vault (it was customary at New Orleans to place bodies in vaults or mausoleums above ground, for the reason that graves were likely to be submerged). This was in October, 1860, and it was the last definite news of Patrick Cullen received by his family; but it is a strange fact that Mrs. Cullen received money anonymously from time to time, in sums of one hundred dollars and more on several occasions-apparently conscience money, for the cash and papers Mr. Cullen was know to have with him were never restored to his family. The situation at New Orleans, owing to the troublous times before the Civil war, prevented Mrs. Cullen from making a personal investigation. It has been stated that other men engaged in the lumber business, sending logs from Illinois, Indiana, etc., to New Orleans, were never heard from after going to that city with money, but what particular form of villainy chose him for its victim never became known. The celebrated rev. Dr. Gray, of New York, a Presbyterian minister, for whom one of the company's boats was named, told Mrs. Cullen after her husband's disappearance that by right she was the real owner of the best part of Corning, N.Y. She never recovered from her grief over the loss of her husband, and devoted her remaining years to her family, dying at the age of seventy-three years, at Arnold, Pa. She was a woman of superior character, universally beloved and respected. Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Cullen had five children (some of the family born at Oconto, Wis.), viz.: Mary, who never married, resides at Arnold, Pa.; Margaret died when thirteen years old; Thomas married Emma Schuyler; Elizabeth, born at Oconto, Wis., married John Tassey, and they were the parents of Mrs. Aye; Catherine is the widow of William Freeman, of Syracuse, N.Y., where she resides.

John Tassey, father of Mrs. Aye, was born at Plessis, N.Y., on the St. Lawrence river, son of Peter Tassey, formerly of Canada, and was of French descent. The latter removed to New York State, locating at Redwood, where he was engaged as a master boat-builder, and also owned boats and land along the St. Lawrence river. At one time he owned most of the land afterward included in the village of Redwood, and he was a very prominent man in his section in many ways. He served as justice of the peace. He built the stone Catholic church at Redwood and gave it to the congregation, and he was particularly noted for his generosity to the widows and orphans of Civil war soldiers. Unfortunately he lost most of his property during the Civil war period. Mr. Tassey was a very fine musician and quite celebrated in his locality as a bass singer, and he purchased one of the first of the Chickering pianos and became quite proficient as a player.

Mr. Tassey married Lucy Schieu, whose parents settled in Canada; they were of French extraction. To this union was born a large family: Peter, who was a soldier in the Civil war, died while in the service at Washington, D.C., when only a young man; his father went on to see him, and President Lincoln was especially kind to Mr. Tassey; subsequently, President Cleveland granted pension, back pay, etc., to the son of Peter Tassey, Jr. Joseph, the next son, was also a soldier from New York, serving throughout the Civil war; he was engaged as a general blacksmith until his retirement, and lives at Plessis, N.Y. Lewis, another son, residing at Alexandria Bay (on the St. Lawrence river), is a manufacturer of and dealer in boat fittings, has a dry dock, makes gas engines, does blacksmithing, etc; he employs several men. William of Watertown, N.Y., formerly secretary to Governor Flower, is now superintendent of the Babcock manufacturing concern, which makes wagons, buggies, carriages, etc., and a stockholder in the company. Frank is engaged in blacksmithing, etc., having his grandfather's place at Redwood, N.Y. Elizabeth married Lewis Horning, a contractor. Among the deceased were Henry, Louise and Adelaide Delia.

John Tassey, one of the surviving sons of Peter Tassey, Sr., now resides at Arnold, Pa. He is a maker of window glass. His wife, Elizabeth (Cullen), died April 2, 1912, at New Bethlehem, Clarion county, PA. They had a family of nine children: Catherine and William, both deceased in infancy; Genevieve L., wife of Dr. Thomas Lee Ayre; John R., of Arnold, Pa.; James, of New Bethlehem, Pa.; Elizabeth, Mrs. Charles Hugg; Joseph of Arnold; and Mary and Mildred, at home with their father.

Source: Pages 365-367, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed September 2001 by Linda M. Stitt for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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