Carpatho-Rusyns are one of the major ethnic groups of Pennsylvania. From the time they settled the state’s small towns and cities in the late 1870s until the present time, Carpatho-Rusyns have left an indelible mark on the state, and their story should be told. This blog is about a project that will do just that. Read more

Friday, July 3, 2015

“Lost” Settlements: Betula, McKean County

(Part of the series “Lost” Carpatho-Rusyn Settlements)

Betula, now considered a "ghost town," "started about 1910 when the barrel factory moved in. In Betula's prime, 1915-1921, there was 3000-4000 people." (capsule history and photo here)

Pictured here is the family of Pavel Panc'o (Paul Pancio); he came from Tŷl'ova, Krosno County, to the U.S., to Pittsburgh, in 1905, where he joined Lodge 102 of the Russian Brotherhood Organization (RBO). From Pittsburgh he moved to Betula in north central Pennsylvania, where assisted by his brother Teodor they organized Lodge 146 of the RBO. Pavel served as the lodge secretary/treasurer.

In 1922 there was a dearth of work in Betula, and the Pancios moved to Olean, New York, and transferred RBO Lodge 146 also to Olean.

In Jan. 1933, with the assistance of his brother John, Pavel organized a youth branch, Lodge 52 of the RBO Youth Division.

In 1993 a family member published this history, which I have yet to read. Perhaps it will shed some more light on how this family came to live in Betula, if only for a short time.

Bell, George E, The Pancios from Galicia: The Pancio family history, 1993

In the records of Holy Trinity Greek Catholic Church in Sykesville, Jefferson Co., are several baptisms in 1912 of Rusyn children born in Betula, of the Pancio, Dadio, and Kaszczak families. Most likely there were other Rusyn families there. What happened to them?

Original material is © by the author, Richard D. Custer; all rights reserved.


  1. I knew two of the Pancios in Olean - the parish there was a mission from Sheffield. It was really St Michael mission, built in 1915, but the name was changed to St. Mary due to the large Dormition icon in the sanctuary. It's been a struggle keeping that place open though - I think now it is served by a Ukrainian priest, since the mother church in Buffalo NY was closed.

  2. Here's an interesting Pancio family obituary.
    Olean Times Herald
    EVA PANCIO PLANO - former Olean resident
    Penfield - Eva M. Plano, 84, of Penfield, formerly of Olean, died unexpectedly Friday (Dec 22, 2000) in Rochester General Hospital.
    Born in Betula, Pa., on Aug 14, 1916, she was a daughter of Anastasia "Nellie" Pushkar and John Pancio of Tylawa, Galicia, Republic of Austria. On May 29, 1934, in St. Mary's Byzantine Church, Olean, she married Albert Andrew Plano who died Nov. 3, 1999.
    Mrs Plano, a longtime resident of Olean, worked at the Pancio Grocery Store on Union Street in Olean and was co-owner of the Pickaninny Restaurant on Homer Street with her husband until 1969. The couple also lived in Cuba before moving to Penfield.
    She was a active member of St. John's Church, where she belonged to the Altar Society. She held offices in local Parent-Teachers Association groups and she enjoyed a card club of close friends. She is warmly remembered for her crochet and knitting projects.
    Survivors include two daughters, Elizabeth (Jerry) Tyner and Jean (George) Bell, both of Ontario, NY; two sons, Donald (Heather) Plano of Geneva, and Bruce Plano of Cuba; 10 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; three sisters, Mary Piechota of Bradford, Pa., Rose Kwiatkowski of Olean, and Teresa (John) Moszak of Olean; one brother Paul Pancio of Olean; several nieces and nephews; a brother-in0-law Lawrence (Alice) Plano of Dallastown, Pa. and two sisters-in-law, Stella Plano of Whittier, Calif and Kay Pancio of Olean and many godchildren.
    In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by four brothers, Paul, Frank, Peter and Andrew Pancio and three sisters, Catherine, Helen Scott and Ann Bush.
    Friends will be received Tuesday from 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Guenther Funeral Home Inc., 1303 E. State St., Olean. A scriptural wake service will be held in the funeral home on Tuesday at 8:45 p.m.
    Fiends are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial on Wednesday (Dec, 27, 2000) in St. John's Church at 10 a.m. Monsignor William Wangler, pastor, will be celebrant.
    Burial will be in St. Bonaventure Cemetery, Allegany.

    1. Coincidence. A reprint of the 1993 book, "The Pancios From Galicia," is in the works. A companion "Centennial Update 2016" is also in the works, both to be softcover, on Lulu, this year.
      See for brief descriptions.
      Front matter has a bit about the "old country."

    2. PS Eva Pancio Plano is my mother.

    3. The reprint of "The Pancios from Galicia" was published on August 15, 2017. It is available at
      The companion, with updates from 1993 to 2017 will be out in December.

  3. And more:

    Paul Panson
    Wappingers Falls - Paul Panson (nee: Pancio) was sleeping peacefully at Elant at Goshen on July 8, 2015, when his beloved wife called him to join her with an offer he could not refuse: eternal peace and a martini. Paul was born in Betula, PA in 1922 to Theodore Pancio and Pelagia Shwahla Pancio as one of ten children. He is predeceased by his six sisters and three brothers. Over the course of his 92 years, Paul lived a life with integrity, compassion and humor that served as an inspiration to those who knew him.

    Paul married his soulmate, Anne Panson (Myslichuk) in 1947. Together, they raised four children on Lake Oniad, where Paul would welcome new neighbors to the small community with a warm smile, a joke and usually something to drink. They were gracious hosts to many friends and family over the years with gatherings small and large. Paul was devoted to Anne, referring to her as his "bride" throughout their 67 year marriage up until Anne passed away last year.

    Paul was a first generation American who served his country in the navy during WWII. Upon his honorable discharge, he was the first in his family to go to college and earned a bachelor's degree in Management Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1950 with the GI Bill. He completed his master's degree in Engineering from Syracuse University in 1967 while working for IBM. Paul was employed by IBM for 29 years starting as a Professional Engineer and moving up into management during his career.

    Continuing to be inspired by him are his children and grandchildren, daughter Deborah & Ted Schwartz, her children Kelsey Steele and Kevin Steele, daughter Christine Panson, son Richard Panson and his son Richard & Sara Jane Panson, daughter Linda & Jeff King, numerous nieces, nephews and anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him. His spirit lives on in fond memories of his generosity, humor, ingenuity and loving devotion to family, friends and country.

    To honor his memory and celebrate his life, family will receive friends on Saturday, July 18, 2015 from 1 to 2 p.m. at Straub, Catalano & Halvey Funeral Home, 55 East Main Street, Wappingers Falls, NY 12590.

    A funeral service will follow at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Zion Episcopal Church, 12 Satterlee Place in Wappingers Falls. Inurnment will follow in the columbarium at Zion Episcopal Church.

    Eva Smolnycki
    Eva Smolnycki, 95, of Fairmount, passed away Saturday at The Centers at St. Camillus. Born in Betula, Pennsylvania in 1918, Eva later moved to Olean. She married William Smolnycki of Syracuse in 1945 and moved to Syracuse in 1946. Employed for 16 years with the West Genesee Central School District, she retired in 1975. She was a communicant of Holy Family Church, member of the Camillus Senior Citizens and active member of AARP.

    Eva was predeceased by her husband, William, in 1987; four brothers; and four sisters.

    Surviving are her sons, Michael (Qudsia) of Syracuse, Paul (Phyllis) Stevens of Weymouth, MA and William D. (Debra) of Sevierville, TN; brothers, Paul (Elise) Pancio Jr. of Norristown, PA and George (Marcia) Pancio of Olean; sisters-in-law, Stella Pancio of Olean and Kate Bunn of Voorheesville; and grandchildren, Gabriel Smolnycki, Becca Nell, Christen Whitaker and Adam Smolnycki.

    Relatives and friends may call Monday, May 26 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Buranich Funeral Home, 5431 W. Genesee St., Camillus.

    Services will be at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, May 27 at the funeral home and at 10 a.m. in Holy Family Church where a funeral Mass will be celebrated. Eva will be laid to rest in St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery.

  4. One more:

    Mary Piechota
    Olean, NY - Mary Piechota, formerly of Homer Street and Fountain St. in Olean died Saturday (November 1, 2008) in the Bradford Manor in Bradford, PA.

    Born March 17, 1918 in Betula, PA she was the daughter of John and Nellie Pushkar Pancio. On September 1, 1941 at Transfiguration Church in Olean she married Stanley I. Piechota who predeceased her December 7, 1998.

    Mrs. Piechota had been a resident of Olean most of her life and had worked at the former Armour's Meat Co., Inc. She was a member of the Transfiguration Church.

    Surviving are 2 sons Robert (Sue) Piechota of Allegany and Ronald (Michelle) Piechota of Schenectady; 1 daughter Marian (David) Anderson of Cuba; 6 grandchildren; 1 great granddaughter; 1 brother Paul Pancio of Olean; 2 sisters Theresa (John) Moszak of Olean and Rose Kwiatkowski of Olean and several nieces and nephews.

    In addition to her husband she was predeceased by 4 sisters Catherine Pancio, Marie Scott, Eva Plano and Helen Pancio and 3 brothers Frank Pancio, Pete Pancio and Andrew Pancio.

    Friends will be received at the Casey, Halwig & Hartle Funeral Home 3128 W. State Rd. Olean on Monday from 2-4 & 7-9pm. Funeral services will be held Tuesday (November 4, 2008) beginning with a prayer service at the funeral home at 9:30am. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 10:00am at St. John the Baptist Church Oratory in Vandalia. Rev. Richard Husted, OFM will be the celebrant. Burial will be in St. Bonaventure Cemetery.

  5. The reprint of the Pancio Family History, "The Pancios from Galicia - Centennial Edition" is now available at As mentioned earlier, many of the Pancios were born in Betula, Pennsylvania. In the companion book, to be out in December, there are further old pictures from a more recent trip to Tylawa, and additional detail of the two siblings who did not emigrate.


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