Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Reflection on the Victory of John W. Geary Over the White Supremacist Heister Clymer

Posted By on September 27, 2016

An editorial from the Harrisburg Telegraph, 15 October 1866, on the election of John W. Geary as Governor of Pennsylvania, over the avowed white supremacist Hiester Clymer:


There has never been a man elected Governor of Pennsylvania who as fairly earned the position as has John W. Geary.  We do not pretend to write that other men who have filled the Gubernatorial chair were nor worthy of its honors, nor do we desire to be understood as writing that all who have reached that proud position reflected credit on the office. Some there were who disgraced the high office, and some are still living, hoary with age, who within the past four years could not do sufficient to bring disgrace as well as destruction to the country.  Such as these, however, are merely the base politicians, who have lived for plunder, and who, being unable ever more to plunge their arm up to the shoulder into the public treasury, were ready to pull the Government to pieces themselves or assist in the treason of other engaged in the same work.  But Gen. Geary, unlike all these, was willing first to peril his life in defense of his native State, before he became a candidate for the Governorship thereof.  The hero of two wars, he fought for the honor of our flag in a foreign land, and participated next in the struggle to preserve the national life from the attacks of its intestine foes.  Such a man is indeed worthy of his native State’s highest honors, as he will fairly requite the confidence of the people just so enthusiastically confided in him.  He has never been what may be called a politician, yet he possesses, in an eminent degree, more of the essential qualifications of a statesman than Mr. Clymer.  Without intending to be harsh with a fallen foe, it is nevertheless true that of all the public men in Pennsylvania, Hiester Clymer is the most shallow and superficial. nature never intended him for a statesman.  He might have made a good confectioner or dancing master, but to lead in the government of a State, he is absolutely incompetent as is W. H. Wallace incompetent or unwilling to tell the truth in a fair issue between his faction and any of its opponents.  On the contrary, John W. Geary is entirely made of different stuff, has been differently educated, and is a vastly different man.  He is a man of truth and veracity, and his administration will prove him to be such.  He does not understand double dealing and despises those who resort to it.  Compelled to battle with the world from his early youth, he knows how to deal with it false pretenses and dispose of those who resort to such means for success.  He never theorizes.  He is practical in all his views.  When Buchanan sent him to Kansas, it was this very determination to be practical which made him enemies among the slaveholders then concocting a monstrous wrong.  John W. Geary, in Kansas, implanted that feeling in the national heart which afterwards enabled the people of the United States to resist the slaveholders’ rebellion.  He proved at that time that not all Democrats were not dough-faces like James Buchanan, as he established on the battlefield, that one Southern man could not whip two Northern men.  This is shown by the records of Geary’s career in aiding to crush the rebellion, wherein it is clearly set forth that in the fights out of which he came victorious, he invariably led inferior forces, as to numbers, when compared to those against which he fought.

It is well for Pennsylvania that John W. Geary was elected Governor on Tuesday last.  The election of Hiester Clymer would have entailed dire calamity on the State.  But we are  saved from all that.  We will have a man at the head of the affairs of State not only able to guard and administer them with integrity and ability, but competent also to aid in maintaining the  national honor, and of dealing with domestic as well as foreign affairs.

Editorial from Newspapers.com.

George A. Kreis – Cavalryman & Chief Burgess of Tremont

Posted By on September 26, 2016


The funeral of George A. Kreis was reported in the Pottsville Republican on 28 February 1901:

The funeral of George Kreis who died at his home in Tremont on Sunday night will take place tomorrow afternoon. The deceased was 59 years of age and well known Democratic circles throughout the county. He was a veteran of the rebellion having served in the cavalry from 1861 up to its close. Seven years ago while serving as a juror he suffered a paralytic stroke. Fifteen years ago he was the Democratic candidate for Poor Director but was defeated. Deceased was supervisor and Chief Burgess in that town and prominently identified with the Odd Fellows and G.A.R. organizations. He is survived by a widow and the following children: George Kreis in Colorado, Charles Kreis in Philadelphia; Edwin Kreis, Elizabeth Kreis and Nora Kreis at home.

George Kreis was born about September 1840.  His father George, was a miner in 1860.

During the Civil War, George Kreis served in the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company L, as a Private.  He enrolled at Pottsville on 19 August 1861 and immediately went to Washington, D.C., where he was mustered into service the same day.  At the time of his enrollment, he was living in Schuylkill County and working as a machinist.  He was 5 foot, 7 1/2 inches tall, had dark hair, a light complexion, and dark eyes and was 21 years old.  The record card, shown above from the Pennsylvania Archives, mis-identifies him as “George Koise,” but this name is cross-referenced in the card file to his correct name.  Additionally, his name is found in the war records as Kreise, Krise and Kries.


For his service in the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry which was engaged at Gettysburg, George Kreis is recognized on the Pennsylvania Monument tablet for that regiment, Company L.

Some time around 1865, George Kreis married Elizabeth Linn, an immigrant from Germany, who was born around September 1836.  According to records found on Ancestry.com, the couple had the following children:

  1. George E. Kreis, born about 1866.
  2. Harry Kreis, born about 1869.  Harry is found in the 1870 census, but is not found in the 1880 census.
  3. Elizabeth D. Kreis, born about 1871.
  4. John J. Kreis, born about 1873.
  5. William Kreis, born about 1878.
  6. Edwin Kreis, born 6 Jun 1882, in Tremont, and died 16 September 1945, in Pottsville.
  7. Florence C. Kreis, born about 1884.

In 1870, the family was living in Tremont and George was working as a machinist.  In 1880, at the same place, he was a police officer.  In the Veterans’ Census of 1890, he reported that he incurred chronic diarrhea as a result of his Civil War service.  The “substitute census” of 1890 indicated he was a laborer, and, in 1900, he was still working as a laborer.


On 5 March 1884, George Kreis applied for a Civil War pension, which is noted on the Pension Index Card, above from Fold3.  He received the pension and collected it until his death, which, according to information on his Findagrave Memorial, occurred on 24 February 1901.  The death date at the bottom of the Pension Index Card appears to be a different month and day, but the year is 1901.  According to information on the Ancestry.com version of the Pension Index Card, the widow Elizabeth Kreis applied on 5 March 1901 and collected the pension until her death.  She died on the 27th July 1926 in Tremont.

George Kreis and Elizabeth [Linn] Kreis are buried at St. John’s Lutheran Church Cemetery, Tremont, Schuylkill County.  The Findagrave Memorial, as of this writing, needs to be updated to show his Civil War service.

More information is sought about George Kreis, his military service, his political role in Tremont, and his family.  Information can be sent via e-mail or added as a comment to this post.

Amos Rumberger – Served at End of War in 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Posted By on September 23, 2016


Amos Rumberger died on 21 June 1892.  He is buried at the Church of God Cemetery in Valley View, Hegins Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.  His stone identifies him as a Civil War veteran of the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry, and at his grave is an appropriate bronze G.A.R. star-flag holder.

Amos Rumberger was born in Lykens Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, the son of Johannes “John” Romberger (1802-1891) and Hannah [Hoffman] Romberger (1807-1858).  In 1850, still in Lykens Township, Amos was working as a laborer, but by 1860, he was living in Wiconisco Township in the household of Isaac Weidner, a shoemaker, and apprenticed to him in that trade.

In his research entitled Civil War Veterans: Rumbergers/Rumbargers/Rombergers/Rambergers in the Civil War (unpublished), Dr. John A. Romberger identified “Amos Rumbarger” as No. 31 in a list of 40 veterans.  He indicated that “Amos Rumbarger” served in the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry and his research produced the following information:

This regiment was involved in heavy fighting almost throughout the war.  After various battles in Tennessee, the unit was sent back to Pennsylvania in April 1864 on furlough.  Late in May, its ranks filled out with fresh recruits and re-enlisted veterans, the unit was again in the field.  It participated in Sherman’s final march to Atlanta and the sea, and then in many engagements that brought about the final collapse of the Confederate armies.  The last fighting done, and the last guns fired under Sherman’s command involved this regiment.


Amos Rumbarger, as shown by the Pennsylvania Veterans File Card (above, from the Pennsylvania Archives), enrolled in the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry on 23 February 1864 at Harrisburg, and at the same place and on the same day was mustered into Company L as a Private.   His age was given as 22 and his residence was Dauphin County.  Although most of his neighbors from the Lykens Valley were serving in Company B of this regiment, he was assigned to Company L, which was composed primarily of men from Luzerne, Mifflin and Northampton Counties.  Company L was commanded by Captain George Smith.

At enlistment, Amos was a shoemaker by trade and stood just less than 5 foot 4 inches in height, had brown hair, a fair complexion, and blue eyes.  After the war ended, Amos was discharged by General Order on 3 July 1865.


On 8 November 1887, Amos Rumbarger applied for a disability pension, which he received as shown by the Pension Index Card (above) from Ancestry.com.


And on 28 June 1892, Justina [Klinger] Rumbarger applied for widow benefits, which she received and collected until her death.  The card above is from Ancestry.com.


It is not known why the Ancestry.com versions of the Pension Index Card show two separate listings for Amos and Justina.  The Fold3 version of the card (above), lists both pension applications and awardings on the same card.  The death of Amos Rumberger, 21 June 1892, is reported only on the Fold3 version.

In 1880, the Amos Rumberger family lived in Porter Township, and he was working as a laborer on the railroad.

At the time of the 1890 Census, Amos Rumberger was living in Joliett, Schuylkill County, and did not report any service-related disabilities.


On 29 May 1909, Justina [Klinger] Rumberger died in Porter Township, Schuylkill County, of pneumonia with heart disease named as a contributing factor.  Her death certificate shown above is from Ancestry.com, and names her parents as Israel Klinger and Caroline Schwalm, both born in Pennsylvania.  Harry Rumberger, her son, signed as the informant.

Genealogical information on Amos Rumberger, which was compiled by Bob Averell and Dr. John A. Romberger, can be found on RootsWeb.  Corrections and additions should be sent to Bob Averell through the link on that page.

There is also additional information on Amos Rumberger‘s Findagrave Memorial, although at this writing, there are no pictures posted there.

With the time spent in Porter Township, Amos Rumberger should be recognized on the Tower City Veterans’ Memorial.  At this time, he is not recognized there.  He is also not named on the Lykens G.A.R. Monument, which presumably includes Wiconisco and Wiconisco Township, he having lived at that latter place while apprenticed as a shoemaker in 1860.






The Flowers of Emanuel Lehman

Posted By on September 22, 2016


On 4 October 1913, the headline in the Harrisburg Telegraph read:  “Emanuel Lehman and His Flower Bed.”  A photo and the story followed:

Lykens, Pennsylvania, 4 October 1913 — The above is a picture of Emanuel Lehman, of Lykens, who was recently elected to the office of Sunday School Treasurer of the United Brethren Church for the twenty-fourth annual term.  During his many years in the office there has never been a mistake in his accounts, notwithstanding the fact that the Sunday School moneys amounted to nearly $20,000.  Mr. Lehman, who is 70 years old, is in good health and seldom misses a church service.

Mr. Lehman raises more fine flowers than another person in this section, and for the last fifteen years or more the pulpit of the church of which he is a member, was not on a single Sabbath without its bouquet taken from Mr. Lehman’s garden.  He is a cobbler by trade, was a veteran of the Civil War, and a member of the United Brethren Church for nearly fifty years.  The above picture shows Mr. Lehman in a bed of asters in his garden.



A little more than three years later, the Harrisburg Telegraph reported his death:


Lykens, Pennsylvania, 17 February 1917 — Emanuel Lehman, aged 72 years, died at the home of his son-in-law, Edward Matter, Wednesday afternoon, from paralysis.  Mr. Lehman was a Civil War veteran and was a member of the Heilner Post, 232, G.A.R.  Funeral services took place at the home of Edward Matter, in North Second Street, this afternoon at 2 o’clock, the Rev. Mr. McDonald of the United Brethren Church, in charge.  Burial was made at the borough cemetery at which place the Junior Mechanics had in charge of the service.


Emanuel Lehman‘s death certificate, shown above (from Ancestry.com), gave his birth date of 7 April 1843, his death date of 14 February 1917, his occupation as shoemaker, his father’s name as Adam Lehman, and his mother’s maiden name as Holtzman.  Other sources give the mother’s full name as Elizabeth Holtzman (1816-1892).  At the time of his death, Emanuel was a widower; his wife, Lydia A. [Shoop] Lehman, passed away on 26 April 1886.


The Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card, from the Pennsylvania Archives (shown above), indicates that on 9 August 1862, Emanuel Lehman enrolled in the 127th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company D, as a Private, at Harrisburg, and was mustered into service the same day.  At the time of his enrollment and muster he gave his correct age of 19, his occupation as shoemaker, and his residence of Millersburg, Dauphin County.

It is believed that Edward Lehman participated in all engagements of the 127th Pennsylvania Infantry, a history of which can be found at the Pennsylvania Civil War web site.  He was honorably discharged on 29 May 1863.


For his war service, Emanuel Lehman was recognized on the Lykens G.A.R. Monument as a member of the Heilner Post who joined after organization.  Note:  Name spelled Emmanuel Lehman.


In what is clearly an error, this same Emanuel Lehman is named in the database U.S. Civil War Jewish-American Veterans, 1861-1865 (see above screen capture from Ancestry.com).  An explanation of how this type error occurred was previously discussed on this blog on 19 April 2011.


On 20 January 1892, Emanuel Lehman applied for an invalid pension.  This application date is an indication that he had no Civil War-related injuries that affected his life.  He waited until after the pension eligibility rules were sufficiently relaxed in 1890 to allow “old age” to be a reason to receive benefits.  He was awarded benefits which he collected until his death as noted on the Pension Index Card (shown above from Fold3).

The 1860 Census for Mifflin Township, Dauphin County, shows that Emanuel was working there as a farmer.   Census records also show that Emanuel Lehman was living in Millersburg as late as 1870, working as a shoemaker, and married with three small children in his household.  However, given that other records such as the U.S. Civil War Draft Registration (1863) and the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Index Card (1862) also give his residence as Millersburg, it must be noted that his name does not appear on the Millersburg Soldier Monument.  He should have been included!

By 1880, the Lehman family had moved to Lykens Borough. Mrs. Lehman died in 1886.  In 1890, Emanuel reported his Civil War service in the 1890 census.  In 1910, still living in Lykens, he was working as a shoe raiser in a car shop.


Emanuel Lehman is buried at the Lykens I.O.O.F. Cemetery.  His grave marker gives his death date as well as the regiment and company of Civil War service is engraved on the stone.

In the Memorial Book of his church, the following was recorded:


He united with the Church very early in life and was a member for more than fifty years.

He was a veteran of the Civil War and in his workshop he would often tell of his experience while in the service of his country.

He was a Cobbler by trade and being a widower he lived alone and took great pride in the cultivation of flowers, and for more than fifteen years the pulpit of his church was seldom without its flowers from his garden.  He served the Church in various capacities.  He was Class Leader, Church Trustee, Ladies’ Aid Treasurer, and Sunday School Treasurer.

In the latter office, he was elected September 1891 and serve continuously until October 1916 when he no longer wished to serve and during his term of service handled at least $25,000 without any mistakes in his accounts.

He also taught the Men’s Bible Class for a number of years.  He was buried from the home of his son-in-law, Edwin F. Matter with whom he had his home.

He is survived by one son Charles Lehman and two daughter Mrs. Edwin F. Matter and Mrs. Daniel Matter.

To the memorial page was added the news article and picture that appeared in the Harrisburg Telegraph on 4 October 1913, “Emanuel Lehman and His Flower Bed,” which is featured at the top of this blog post.

What stories of the war did Emanuel Lehman tell in his cobbler shop?  Were any of these stories written down anywhere?  Any information that can be provided by readers would be greatly appreciated.

News articles are from Newspapers.com.



Sarah Klinger – Civil War Widow Bludgeoned to Death in 1906 (Part 2)

Posted By on September 21, 2016


Part 2 of this murder story will be told in today’s blog post.  It includes pre-trial events involving Henry Fisher, the defendant, which resulted in the judge’s sending him to the Danville Insane Asylum for evaluation.

Sarah Ann [Reed] Klinger, a widow of a Civil War veteran and a pensioner, was brutally murdered in her home near Shamokin, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, on 21 November 1906.  Her death certificate, from Ancestry.com, is shown at the top of this post.  Through the stories printed in newspapers of the time, this horrendous murder story will be told.  In Part 1, the initial reports of the murder were presented as well as speculation on the motive and the arrest of Henry Fisher.

Jacob Klinger was born on 3 April 1843 in Lower Mahantongo Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.  During the Civil War, he served in the 172nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company D, as a Private, from 27 October 1862 through 1 August 1863.  Jacob Klinger died in early 1899. He had been collecting a pension, which, after his death, Sarah applied for and was receiving at the time of her murder.

From the Mount Carmel Item (Pennsylvania), 28 November 1906:


At This Term of Court — Public Disappointed

The trial of Henry Fisher, of Shamokin, slayer of Mrs. Sarah Klinger… will not be called for trial at the December term of court but will be continued until the February term.

This announcement will occasion much surprise and disappointment as many people were anxious to see at least the Klinger murder avenged as soon as possible for the moral effect that it would have upon cut throats and desperate characters who openly boast that it is perfectly safe to commit a murder in Northumberland County.

Indications point to one of the smallest terms of court in December in the history of Northumberland County.  Not a subpoena has been places in the hands of the sheriff or by any constable in the county.

From the Mount Carmel Item (Pennsylvania), 5 January 1907:


Henry Fisher, who on Wednesday, November 21, foully murdered Mrs. Sarah Klinger, an aged Shamokin pensioner, is making every effort to have people believe that he is insane, in order that he may cheat the gallows.

Last night, four keepers had a desperate encounter with the man.  He had broken his cot, and other cell furniture, when the men entered and attempted to quiet him.  Fisher gave battle, but was finally subdued.  He now occupies the dungeon, and will remain there until his trial.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer, 6 January 1907:

SUNBURY — Henry Fisher, the alleged murdered of Mrs. Sarah Klinger, of Shamokin, had a desperate fight with the keeps of the Northumberland County Jail and after a hand struggle was thrust into a dungeon.

From the Wilkes-Barre Times (Pennsylvania), 8 January 1907:

SUNBURY, Pennsylvania, 8 January 1907 — A lawyer will probably be appointed by the court for… Henry Fisher, accused of the murder of Mrs. Sarah Klinger, in Shamokin.

From the Daily News (Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, 4 February 1907:


February Term of Court Started at Sunbury Today….

The February term of criminal court began at Sunbury this morning.  The session will be a short one as there are only about 35 cases to be tried.

First thing this morning Henry Fisher, of Shamokin, arrested for the murder of Mrs. Sarah Klinger, was brought before Judge Savidge and the Court asked why his case should not be tried at this session.  Welsh and Welsh, of Shamokin, attorneys appointed to defend Fisher, stated that they could not get a statement from Fisher and did not have the case prepared.  Judge Savidge then stated that Fisher had been in good health for some time and it seemed to him that there had been plenty of time to get a statement and prepare the case.  When the Court asked Fisher if he wanted the trial to proceed, he stated:  “Go ahead and fight it out.  The sooner the better.”  Welsh and Welsh then withdrew from conducting the case and the Court will appoint new attorney’s in the case….

From the Harrisburg Daily Independent, 5 February 1907:


Defendant Seems to Be Feigning Lunacy and Is Deserted

Sunbury, Pennsylvania, 5 February — As counsel for Henry Fisher, accused of murdering Mrs. Sarah Klinger, of Shamokin, was arguing for a continuance, because they had been unable to procure a statement from him, he jumped up in court and cried:

“Let it go!  Fight it out now, and be done with it!”  His counsel thereupon withdrew from the case, and the court will appoint a lawyer to defend him.  He is thought to be feigning insanity.

From the Harrisburg Daily Independent, 8 February 1907:


Sunbury, Pennsylvania, 8 February — The judges in Northumberland County Court could not induce any lawyer to defend Henry Fisher, accused of murdering Mrs. Sarah Klinger in Shamokin.  His counsel withdrew from the case in disgust because the prisoner refused to discuss the case with him.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer, 24 February 1907:

Klinger Murder Case Begun

Special to the Inquirer.

SUNBURY, Pennsylvania, 23 September — The trial of Henry Fisher, of Shamokin, on the charge of the murder of Mrs. Sarah Klinger, also of that place, was begun here today.  A jury was drawn to try Stauny Marcavage, alleged to have murdered Charles Yeschalonis, in his cobbler shop at Shamokin.

From the Harrisburg Patriot, 31 January 1907:


Shamokin, 30 January — Three murder cases in this county will probably be continued to the May sessions in order to allow the defense to profit by a study of the Thaw case now on in New York City.

Court granted a petition for the continuance of the Whittaker case today.  Attorneys Kline and Keher of Mount Carmel said public opinion was too much inflamed as yet to allow a fair trial.

The District Attorney opposed its continuance, but it was granted.

A continuance of the case against Henry Fisher will also be asked and it is likely that that against Mike Zubah of Mount Carmel, will go over until May.

The defense in these three cases will be like the Thaw case, emotional insanity, and it is said that it is largely because the defense wants to study the methods in the famous New York case that the continuances were asked.

From the Mount Carmel Item (Pennsylvania), 21 Mar 1907:


Henry Fisher, of Shamokin, Howls Throughout the Night

Henry Fisher, confined to the county jail to await trial on the charge of being the murderer of Mrs. Sarah Klinger last fall, keeps Warden McDonnell, attendants and prisoners awake at night by his weird hallucinations which compel him to shriek and scream with fear and it is the opinion of those who have heard him that he is suffering intensely for his wrong.

During the day he is the most quiet man in the bastille but when the lights are turned out for the night he begins to yell and when questioned as to his trouble he invariably says he that he has seen ghosts of men and women.  He refuses to tell what they look like but it is evident that he sees the victim.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer, 2 May 1907:


Alleged Murders in Sunbury Jail Behave Violently

Special to the Inquirer.

SUNBURY, Pennsylvania, 1 May — William Whitaker, who will be tried next wee on the charge of killing his wife in Mount Carmel, became violent in his cell at the jail today.  He broke everything except an iron bed post to splinters and acted generally as though he were crazy.  It is believed he was shamming.

Henry Fisher, in another cell awaiting trial next week for the alleged killing of Mrs. Sarah Klinger, Shamokin, is also insane or shamming such a state.  He has pulled all his eyelashes and eyebrows out.

From the Daily News (Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania), 3 May 1907:

Removing His Eyebrows

Henry Fisher is spending his leisure hours in jail, in the pleasant pastime of removing his eyebrows.  Visitors at the jail say that he presents an uncanny appearance.  It is generally believed that he wishes to impress the jury with the belief that he is demented.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer, 7 May 1907:


Another Case of Alleged Murder to Be Considered in Sunbury

Special to the Inquirer.

SUNBURY, 6 May — Criminal Court opened today with 145 cases to dispose of.  The principal ones will be the murder trials of William Whitaker, Mount Carmel, who, it is alleged, curt his wife’s throat because she would not live with him, and Henry Fisher, thought to have strangled Mrs. Sarah Fisher [sic] to death in her home in Shamokin one night in a jealous fit.

Their attorneys will seek to clear them on the plea of an acute attack of “brain storm” or insanity.  The Whitaker trial was begun today.

From the Mount Carmel Item (Pennsylvania), 11 May 1907:


Danville People Actually Think the Murderer is Crazy

Henry Fisher, who was removed from the Sunbury jail to the hospital for the insane at Danville, is considered among the worst cases in the receiving ward.

The trained attendants as well as the experts on the medical staff, are convinced that there is no shamming in Fisher’s case, but that he is unmistakably insane.  While not especially violent he still has the half human gorilla-like appearance that makes him appear so repellent.  He is not inclined to talk but shrinks away from others and generally sit [sic] on the floor.

Since his incarceration in the asylum Fisher has been unusually quiet.  No such demonstrations as were given before the court when he was summoned have since been made by the accused murderer.

While at present believing that the man is not shamming, nevertheless the alienists there will give him several thorough tests as intervals and will keep him under constant surveillance in order to fully determine the man’s condition.

Fisher’s environment, his solitary jail imprisonment and his temperament are believed to have been responsible for his derangement.  A possible simulated madness may in this case have resulted in the genuine, a condition often recorded in the medical annals.

Before court adjourned on Thursday afternoon, Judge Savidge issued the following order in connection with the Fisher case so as to become a matter of record to show what disposition was made of the case.  The order is as follows:  “It is so ordered that the defendant be not discharged from the asylum for the insane at Danville, to which he has been recently committed by the Court, in the event he at any time recovers from his medical sickness, but in such event the Court be informed of his condition so that proper officers may return him to the Northumberland County Jail to which it is ordered he be returned in the event he recovers his reason.”

Prothonotary Lawler was instructed to have a copy of the order sent to the authorities at the Danville Asylum.

From the Mount Carmel Item (Pennsylvania), 28 May 1907:


Judge Savidge Received Word From the Danville Doctors

Judge Savidge is in receipt of a letter from Dr. Meredith, Superintendent of the Danville Insane Asylum, where Henry Fisher, accused of the murder of aged Mrs. Sarah Klinger, is incarcerated, in which it is declared that it is a matter of doubt to the physicians there whether Fisher is really insane or only shamming.

The letter says that Fisher has been subjected to the most careful examination and kept under constant scrutiny and that opinions are divided on his sanity.

Fisher admits that he is crazy and a genuine lunatic is rarely known to do this.  Most of the stoutly aver that they are sane.  At times the prisoner appears perfectly normal and again he has spells that seem to admit of not other conclusion than that he is crazy.

It is now nearly a month since Fisher’s incarceration in the asylum.  During that time he has been carefully watched and yet there is a divergence of opinion as to his insanity.  Should there be a continued difference of opinion among the physicians at the hospital it is altogether likely that the prisoner will be placed on trial in court here and the decision of his sanity left to a jury.

The prisoner appears to be perfectly conscious that he is confined in an asylum and seems to know what brought him there.  Since his admission he has considerably improved in physical appearance.

From the Daily News (Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania), 10 June 1907:


And Will Be Tried for Murder at the September Term of Court

In court at Sunbury, this morning, Judge C. R. Savidge issued an order calling for the release of Henry Fisher from the State Insane Asylum at Danville and committing him to the county jail at Sunbury to await trial at the September term of criminal court.

Fisher is the degenerate who is charged with brutally killing Mrs. Sarah Klinger, of Shamokin, his aged benefactress.  He was arrested on very good evidence and his chances for hanging were excellent.  At the last term of court he feigned insanity and so well did he perform the antics of a mad dog that Judge Savidge ordered the fellow taken from the room and confined in the Danville Asylum.  The physicians in that institution were instructed to keep close watch on the fellow and if at any time they determined he was sane the court was to be so notified.  Last week the asylum authorities concluded that Fisher had been shamming and accordingly notified Judge Savidge.

The above order by the court was the result.  The order was given to Sheriff Sharpless, and Fisher was to be taken back to Sunbury today.

From the Daily News (Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania), 11 Jun 1907:


Asylum Authorities Say the Hospital Walls Can’t Hold Him

Henry Fisher, of Shamokin, charged with the murder of aged Mrs. Sarah Klinger, was released from the Danville Insane Asylum yesterday and was taken back to the Northumberland County Prison at Sunbury by Sheriff Sharpless, Judge Savidge’s order for which appeared in these columns yesterday.

The Sunbury Daily gives the following interesting story on Fisher’s case:

This action was taken by the court after the receipt of two letters from assistant physicians in the hospital for the insane.   The first was from J. E. Robbins, who, it will be remembered, testified in behalf of William Whittaker, the wife slayer, convicted of murder in the first degree last April.  Dr. Robbins says that Fisher shows none of the symptoms exhibited by insane persons, that he constantly insists that he is insane and gives his reasons for so being, which insane people never do.  At the close of the letter is this remarkable passage:  “The walls of our building are not strong enough for the detention of criminals, and although Fisher is constantly under a strong guard, the hospital cannot be held responsible for his escape.  The jail is a safer place and he should be detained there.”

The second letter is from G. B. M. Free, an assistant physician who has had Fisher under observation.  He said that in his belief Fisher was feigning insanity and when he is placed on trial again he will doubtless repeat his previous performance.  While working in the dining room with a German attendant, Fisher said that if he was sent back for trial he would play the same trick on them again.

Fisher’s insanity bluff has been most effectively called by the insane authorities and he must seek some other defense to save himself from the gallows.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer, 11 June 1907:

Not Insane, Must Be Tried

Special to the Inquirer

SUNBURY, Pennsylvania, 10 June — Judge C. R. Savidge, in Northumberland County Motion Court today, ordered Henry Fisher back from the Danville Insane Asylum for trial.  He was accused of killing Mrs. Sarah Klinger in Shamokin.  During imprisonment he picked out his eyebrows and performed more insane acts.  The authorities of the asylum, to which he was sent, this morning notified Judge Savidge that Fisher was mentally sound.

From the Mount Carmel Item (Pennsylvania), 29 June 1907:


Murderer Abandons Insanity Dodge….

It was reported on the streets of Sunbury on Thursday evening that Henry Fisher, charged with the murder of Mrs. Sarah Klinger, at Shamokin, and who was recently returned from the Danville hospital to the jail in that place, was again shamming insanity, but when Warden McDonnel was seen on Friday morning the report was found to be mere idle street talk.

Warden McDonnel stated that Fisher was apparently in better health at the present than at any time since he started to play his insanity pranks.  Instead of actin sullen and as though he does not understand what is being said to him, Fisher now chats and laughs with everybody who engages him in conversation.  He talks freely of himself and strongly asserts that he was crazy but that now he has regained his reason and is all right again.  He is always sure then to follow this statement by saying that although he is feeling well now he believed that he will get crazy again.

The Warden takes this to mean that when the time for Fisher’s trial draws near he will again work the insanity dodge just as strong or possibly stronger than he did before.  That the [sic] will create another scene in the court room is expected and there is no telling just how he will perform in an effort to try and again escape trial.  His shamming will not stop the trial of the case when called the next time….

From the Mount Carmel Item (Pennsylvania), 20 July 1907:


John I. Welsh, Esq., of the firm Welsh and Welsh, the young lawyers of Shamokin, who will defend Henry Fisher, formerly of Catawissa Mountain Charcoal Burner, accused of the murder of Mrs. Sarah Klinger, at Shamokin, some time ago, gives the public an interesting fact and one to conjure with, when he states that the authorities at Danville never said that Fisher is not insane, nor was he ordered back to jail on the grounds that he is sane.  Mr. Welsh is convinced of the prisoner’s innocence of the crime charged to him, and if Fisher is ever placed on trial, the plea of insanity will not be brought into the case once the trial is on.  Not Guilty will be the defense and one of the greatest legal battles ever fought in Northumberland County should result.

The people should remember that while Fisher may have his faults, yet  there is no direct evidence that he slew the woman.

Twenty-six dollars in money, the amount found among the dead woman’s effects, would hardly tempt even a degenerate to commit such a crime.  Fisher had a home for himself and wife with the old woman.  He knew that at her death that home would be lost to him, so he had nothing to gain  from a money standpoint.

It is said that the most damaging piece of evidence is the finding of a bloody shirt having been hidden by his wife.  Fisher never denied ownership of the shirt nor did he deny that the blood on it belonged to Mrs. Klinger.  In fact he says the blood is hers and that when he found the body of the aged lady at the bottom of the steps he raised he up and the blood from the hole in the back of her head became smeared over his shirt.

A bloody shirt should not be taken into consideration without other proofs of guilt.

From the Mount Carmel Item (Pennsylvania), 5 September 1907:


Criminal court opens Monday September 23 and the trial list is quite heavy.  Among the most important is the case of Henry Fisher accused of the murder of aged Mrs. Sarah Klinger, at Shamokin.  Fisher’s conduct at the last trial, which resulted in his being incarcerated in the Danville Asylum, is well remembered.

Although it was feared that Fisher would resort to his old tactics of alleged feigned insanity, the prisoner himself, who is now in the county jail, says that he is going to be calm for the next trial.

A county official who interviewed Fisher in his cell in the Sunbury jail says that the prisoner appeared quite rational.  Fisher said that he was worried a good deal.  “It’s an awful thing to have to worry a man about an old woman’s death this way,” he is reported to have said.

Fisher said that he would try to get into his former condition.  He was anxious, he said, to have the trial over and would therefore try to keep calm….

From the Mount Carmel Item (Pennsylvania), 19 September 1907:


Above Normal for September Session — Fourteen Black Handers — Two Murderers

Almost 200 cases are scheduled to come before the Northumberland County Court at Sunbury next week.   This number is well above the normal amount of September sessions.  Many of the cases are of more than ordinary importance.

A dozen or more Black Handers will appear before the bar of justice.  The evidence against them is sufficient to put them in prison for long terms….  Two men will be put on trial for their lives, each charged with having committed an atrocious murder.

Stanley Marcavitch will be tried for the murder of a Shamokin cobbler, and Henry Fisher for the killing of Mrs. Klinger.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer, 23 September 1907:

SUNBURY, 22 September — Henry Fisher, accused of clubbing Mrs. Sarah Klinger to death in Shamokin, will also be tried….

From the Mount Carmel Item (Pennsylvania), 24 September 1907:


Occupies the Attention of the Court All Day — Fisher is Now Sane

The Fisher Murder trial was continued this morning at Sunbury, the Commonwealth opening the case and calling its witnesses.

District Attorney Cummings and ex-District Attorney Webster Shipman represented the Commonwealth while Attorneys Welch and Welch and Morganroth are defending the prisoner.

Fisher’s behavior is somewhat different from that which he exhibited at his last appearance in court.  When he was first brought in he was handcuffed and shackled with heavy chains, he was disheveled and unshaven, and he crawled under a table and cooed, laughed and emitted cat calls, which convinced everyone in the room that he was crazy.  But since his experience at the Danville Asylum he has given up the insanity bluff and behaves himself like an ordinary man.  His moustache is well trimmed, he is clean shaven and neatly dressed.  He sits within the inner rail of the court room, with his hands clasping the arms of the chair.  With eyes set deep in his head he anxiously though attentively watches every move in the case.

The evidence against him is purely circumstantial.  Mrs. Sarah Klinger, with whom he and his wife lived, was found dead in her hall one day by Fisher on entering the house.  He gave the alarm and the neighbors came in, but could find no trace of her assailant.  She had been dead at least a day.  Fisher’s shirt was found to be bloody and a waist of his in the coal shed was found with blood stains on it.  He was seen the day before washing his hands at the pump in the back yard.  On this evidence he was arrested.

The case has occupied the attention of the court all day and the proving of his guilt all depends on the finding that Fisher took the money which his victim had hoarded up.

From the Wilkes-Barre Times (Pennsylvania), 24 September 1907:


Started in Sunbury Yesterday — Separate Crimes

SUNBURY, Pennsylvania, 24 September — Henry Fisher and Stanley Marcavitch, each charged with a heinous murder, were placed on trial here yesterday.  The evidence against both, though purely circumstantial, is strong.  One morning last spring Fisher discovered that his boarding mistress, Mrs. Sarah Klinger, of Shamokin, had been brutally assaulted and killed.  He notified the police, who made an investigation and found that the aged woman had been dead at least a day.  Search of the premises brought to light a blood-stained shirt, the property of Fisher.  Under a pile of coal in an outdoor building and undershirt, which he was wearing, had blood stains on it similar in form to those of the other shirt.  He was arrested and placed on trial, but acted so insanely that the court stopped the proceedings and sent him to the Danville Asylum.  He was recently returned from there as sane.  When placed on trial yesterday he behaved rationally, although his attorneys announced that insanity would be their defense….

From the Mount Carmel Item (Pennsylvania), 25 September 1907:


But His Confession to That Effect Was Overdone

After a strong net of circumstantial evidence had been woven about Henry Fisher, now on trial in Court for the murder of Mrs. Sarah Klinger, the Commonwealth offered in evidence a written confession by the prisoner, in which he acknowledges that he was an accomplice in the crime, though affirming that his wife, and not he, committed the deed.

On the day of the murder, according to his story, Mrs. Klinger discovered that her coffee had been drugged, and accused Mrs. Fisher of trying to murder her.  A warm quarrel ensued, and Fisher fled from the house.  He returned returned at 4 o’clock and met his little daughter, who ran up to him and said:  “Mommy’s dead.”

He went into the house and found the aged woman lying in a pool of blood.  His wife said she had killed her with a stove raker in a fit of anger and had dragged the body from the kitchen to the hall steps to make it appear that Mrs. Klinger had fallen downstairs to her death.  He was helping his wife remove bloodstained clothing, when someone came up the walk.  He said that the woman had been killed when he was away, but the evidence against him was so strong that he was sent to jail.  He did not like to implicate his wife, but the ends of justice demanded that the truth be told.

From the Harrisburg Daily Independent, 25 September 1907:


Sunbury, Pennsylvania, 25 September — [the above story from the Mount Carmel Item, 25 September 1907, with an added paragraph at the end]….

The evidence in the case shows that at this time and for the rest of the day Mrs. Fisher was several miles away and her husband must have been at home alone with the body of the murdered woman.

From the Wilkes-Barre Evening News (Pennsylvania), 25 September 1907:


But His Confession to That Effect Was Overborne

SUNBURY, Pennsylvania, 25 September — After a strong net of circumstantial evidence had been woven about Henry Fisher, now on trial in Court here for the murder of Mrs. Sarah Klinger, the Commonwealth offered in evidence a written confession by the prisoner, in which he acknowledged that he was an accomplice in the crime, though affirming that his wife, and not he, committed the deed.

On the day of the murder, according to his story, Mrs. Klinger discovered that her coffee had been drugged, and accused Mrs. Fisher of trying to murder her.  A warm quarrel ensued, and Fisher fled from the house.  He returned at 4 o’clock and met his little daughter, who ran up to him and said:  “Mommy’s dead.”

From the Philadelphia Inquirer, 25 September 1907; and from the Allentown Democrat (Pennsylvania), 26 September 1907:

Damaging Evidence Against Fisher

Sunbury — In the trial of Henry Fisher for the alleged murder of Mrs. Sarah Klinger, in her home in Shamokin, evidence of an incrimination nature was resented by the prosecution witnesses testifying that a knife Fisher had shown them before the woman woman was dead was later found in the victim’s room, and that previous to her death he said that the next time he went to jail it would be for something worthwhile.

From the Mount Carmel Item, 26 September 1907:


Jury Convicts Fisher of Murder of Mrs. Klinger — Murderer Says He Will Commit Suicide Rather Than Wait as Long as Whittaker

Henry Fisher, of Shamokin is fo0und guilty of murder in the first degree, for the death of Mrs. Sarah Klinger, also of Shamokin.  When he heard the verdict Fisher threatened to commit suicide.

The defense closed its case this morning.  Physicians testified that Fisher was crazy and the Commonwealth produced evidence in rebuttal showing that the prisoner was sane,

Judge Savidge charged the jury and at 10:30 o’clock the jury retired.  At 2:40 this afternoon the jury returned with a verdict murder in the first degree.  How many ballots were taken or how the vote stood can not be learned, the jurymen all having been sworn to secrecy in the jury-room.

Fisher heard the verdict with a smile on his face and betrayed no emotion.  While being led back to his cell he almost collapsed and upon being told to brace up as his attorneys would attorneys would make a motion for a new trial, he replied that he would kill himself before he waited as long as Whittaker had.

The trial of Stanley Marcavitch, of Shamokin, charged with the murder of Charley Salonis, the aged Springfield cobbler who was cruelly beaten to death in his shop one night and robbed of about $2000 in small coins, was called this afternoon before Judge Savidge.  The jury was selected last night while the Fisher jury was being empanneled.  Marcavitch was the last person known to have been with Salonis and he was seen afterward with a considerable amount of small coins….

From the Mount Carmel Item, 27 September 1907:


Henry Fisher Convicted of Murder — The Twelve Good and True Men Who Sealed His Fate

A 2:30 Thursday afternoon the jury in the case of Henry Fisher came into court.  TAhe doors were closed, the tipstaves pounded for order.  The court said, “Gentlemen, the clerk will take yo9ur verdict.”  Charles Reitz then handed the verdict to Judge Savidge, who opened it in the presence of his associate, Judge Auten.  The clerk then said, “Gentlemen of the jury, listen to your verdict; you say you find the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree.”  Counsel for the defendant then asked that the jury be polled.  This was done, the clerk calling each man’s name separately, and then adding how do you find?  The answer in each case came, “Guilty of murder in the first degree.”

Juror L. D. Haupt of Sunbury, was the first called.  He could hardly speak from emotion.  Each following juror was similarly affected, though all answered firmly.  The jury was as follows:  L. D. Haupt, Sunbury; Warren Bloom, Sunbury; George Bingham Sr., Mount Carmel; Harry Bender, Mount Carmel; John Chapman, Shamokin; John O. Cawley, Milton; Daniel Farrow, Shamokin; William Hancock, Springfield; William A. Montgomery, Chillisquaque; W. H. Renn, Shamokin; John W. Russell, Turbot; Rufus Savidge, Rush.

Counsel for defense immediately said that they would move for a new trial.

Fisher was taken back to jail by Sheriff Sharpless.  He of all others was the least affected by the verdict.  His expression did not change, his eyes did not stop shifting from side to side; he made no sound, but followed the Sheriff like an obedient dog.

The court room was filled with spectators who stood on the seats to catch a glimpse of the prisoner.  All were deeply moved as the verdict was read.

The jury said that the experience was the worst they ever encountered; that the four days they were imprisoned were like four days in purgatory.  They deliberated four hours and forty minutes before they arrived at a verdict.  All realized the terrible consequences to Fisher, but fearlessly rendered their verdict according to the evidence, and because they were convinced that the prisoner was guilty of murder.

Attempts Suicide

Last night, while searching Fisher in his cell, Warden McDonnell found a keen knife in his sleeve, and after a hard struggle secured the weapon.  Fisher said that he had intended to cut his throat with the blade, but now that it had been taken from him, he would find some other means of committing self-destruction.  He will be closely watched by the jail officials.

From the Mount Carmel Item (Pennsylvania), 28 September 1907:


Stanny Marcavich, Who Killed An Aged Cobbler, Will Hang for His Crime — He and Fisher Laugh Over Verdicts

Another man has this week [has] been found guilty of murder in the first degree by a jury at Sunbury.  The two similar verdicts reached in one week will have a salutary upon evil doers in Northumberland County… and the gentlemen who composed the two juries are entitled to the unstinted praise and thanks of all good people….

When Macavich was hustled out of court toward the county jail, he puffed at a cigarette, and remarked to the Sheriff that “he didn’t care a damn.”  He seemed to be absolutely indifferent of consequences.  His lawyers have not yet entered a motion for a new trial, and it is not likely that they will.

When Marcavich landed in jail he was taken past the cell occupied by Henry Fisher, the man who was this week found guilty of murder in the first degree for having killed Mrs. Klinger at Shamokin.

Fisher had been weeping and moaning, but when Marcavich reached the door of his cell the murderer straightened up and called out:

“Helo, Stanny, what did you get?”

Marcavich replied, “same as you, Hen.”

Then both men laughed.  They are heartless wretches, both of them, and the sooner they are hanged the better.

From the Daily News (Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania), 30 September 1907:


The September term of criminal court ended with the session Saturday night, having occupied one solid week and a busy week, too.  There were several cases co9ntinued until the December court, among them the Black Hand cases.

The murder cases were tried last week and both of the accused, Henry Fisher and Stanley Marcavitch, were found guilty of murder in the first degree.  At the last term of court there was one case and the accused, William J. Whittaker, was found guilty in the first degree.  It looks as though Northumberland County is going to redeem herself as to allowing murder to go un-avenged.  The vigor with which the district attorney’s office handled the cases had very much to do with the findings of the jury and our townsman, Thomas N. Burke, is largely responsible for the work of the office in these cases.

From the Daily News (Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania), 1 October 1907:


The Condemned Murderer Breaks Up Furniture and Lands in Dungeon

Henry Fisher, the man found guilty last week of murdering aged Mrs. Sarah Klinger, was confined in the dungeon of the county jail yesterday afternoon.  He is still in that unpleasant rookery in the jail basement.  He will probably remain there for some time.

Yesterday afternoon he told his keeper that he was going to get crazy again, and just to prove that he really meant it he proceeded to smash things in his cell.  He broke his lamp, smashed his table into small bits, broke his chair and his cot.  It looked dangerous for a minute for the keeper to go after him, but the man was not put there for his cowardly qualities and he proved himself game.  He ordered Fisher to keep quiet and boldly walked into the cell and collared the fiend.  He was then taken to the dungeon where he can not smash things and can not harm himself.

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