Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Franklin E. Fisher and the Fotheringill Brothers of Frailey Township

Posted By on November 27, 2015


In researching Franklin E. Fisher who served in Company C of the 50th Pennsylvania Infantry, and who died in Reading, Berks County, on 25 December 1932, it was discovered that after Franklin’s first wife died, he married Sarah [Irving] Fotheringill, the widow of Joseph W. Fotheringill of Lykens, Dauphin County, also a Civil War veteran.  Both Fisher and Joseph Fotheringill had previously been included in the Civil War veterans list.  As a result of making the connection between the two, Richard Fotheringill. the brother of Joseph,was discovered, also as a Civil War veteran.  He too should be in the list, because of the Fotheringill connection to Donaldson and Frailey Township in Schuylkill County.  Also discovered as part of this research was that Sarah [Irving] Fotheringill was the sister of two Civil War veterans who also were in the research list, William Irving of Lykens, and George Irving of Lykens and later of Tower City.

The card shown above indicates that a 21 year old Franklin Fisher enrolled in the 50th Pennsylvania Infantry on 16 January 1865 at Pottsville and was mustered into Company C as a Private on the same date.  He gave his occupation as plasterer; his physical description included blue eyes, light complexion, and light hair; and he stood 5 foot, 8 inches tall.  According to the Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card, he was wounded in April 1865 and he was discharged on 2 June 1865.

A search of the Reading newspapers produced many articles on Franklin E. Fisher (or F. E. Fisher as he was sometimes referred to).  Some of those which are good for genealogical purposes are shown below:


FRANKLIN E.  FISHER, 89, died at his home, 1509 N. Twelfth St., yesterday morning.  He was a Civil War veteran, having served in the Union army for nine months.  He was a member of Faith Lutheran Church, McLean Post, No. 16, G.A.R., and Ladies of the G.A.R.  Two sons, Charles B. Fisher, with whom he resided, and Samuel H. Fisher, Cressona, survive.  Funeral Director Seidel has charge of funeral arrangements.  [From:  Reading Times, 26 December 1932].



The funeral of Sarah, wife of Franklin E. Fisher, was held from her late residence, 1145 North Ninth Street, at 8:30 a.m.  The remains were attired in a black dress and rested in a polished walnut casket with silver trimmings.  After brief services at the house, the cortege proceeded on the 1o:15 train to Blandon, where service and interment were made in the Blandon Cemetery.  Undertaker Hunter Henninger had charge.  [Reading Times, 25 January 1903].




Civil War Veteran Will Take Another Wife

Franklin E. Fisher, Civil War veteran and retired contractor, aged 7 Years, of 829 Penn Street, and Sarah Fotheringill, aged 67 years, of Wyomissing, obtained a marriage license at the court house Wednesday morning.  The ceremony will be performed this week.

The wedding is the topic of discussion of the comrades at McLean Post.  The veterans as well as the roomers in the building are planning a reception in Mr. Fisher’s honor.

Mr. Fisher was married before.  His wife died in March 1913 [sic].  This will also be the second marriage of the bride-to-be.  Her husband died in March 1912.  [From:  Reading Times, 11 November 1915].




Franklin E. Fisher Marries Sarah Fotheringill, 67, at Wyomissing

Franklin E. Fisher, 72, and a veteran of the Civil War, and Sarah Fotheringill, 67, were married by Rev. F. K. Huntzinger at the home of the bride in Wyomissing.  The bridegroom is one year older than the parson.

About fifty guests were present, included in which were battled scarred comrades of the bridegroom and lifelong friends of the bride.  A reception followed the ceremony.  A splendid repast was served. Mr. and Mrs. William Seifert, of Reading, attended the couple.  Numerous beautiful gifts were received.  Mr. and Mrs. Fisher will make their home on Mory Avenue, Wyomissing.

Mr. Fisher was a member of Company C, 50th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry [50th Pennsylvania Infantry], and served seven months.  During the Battle of Petersburg he was wounded and received an honorable discharge.  For many years he was a contractor in Reading, but, owing to his advanced age, he retired about one year ago.   He resided at 829 Penn Street.  He is a member of McLean Post, No. 16, G.A.R.  The bride resided in Wyomissing and is a member of Woman’s Relief Corps and the U. V. L. Auxiliary.  [From:  Reading Times, 6 December 1915].




MRS. SARAH FISHER, 76, wife of Franklin E. Fisher, 34 Mulberry St., prominent in fraternal circles, died at 11 p.m., Thursday in Homeopathic Hospital, where she had been a patient since last Tuesday evening.

Mrs. Fisher was born at Mt. Carbon.  She came to Reading 11 years ago.  She was a member of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church.  She was a member of the auxiliary of the Union Veteran Legion, Woman’s Relief Corps, the Ladies of the G.A.R., and the Daughters of Rebekah Lodge.

Surviving besides her husband, a Civil War Veteran, is a son John [John Fotheringill], of Rosedale; three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren; four sisters, Hannah [Hannah Irving], of Montana; Mrs. Eliza Knight [Elizabeth Irving], of Pottsville; Mrs. Susan Lewis [Susan Irving], of Newmanstown; and Mrs. Martha Ramsey [Martha Irving], of Williamstown; and one brother, William [William Irving], of Lykens.  Undertaker Seidel removed the remains to his retaining rooms.



Joseph W. Fotheringill was the first husband of Sarah Irving.  On 3 February 1864, he enlisted at Pottsville in the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company F, and was mustered into service the same day at the same place.  The only personal information about him on the Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card (shown above from the Pennsylvania Archives) is that he said he was 20 years old at the time of enrollment.


Joseph Fotheringill appears on the Lykens G.A.R. Monument as a Private who was a member of the Heilner Post.

According to information found in Ancestry.com and on his Findagrave Memorial, Joseph Fotheringill was born about 1846 in England and died on 3 March 1913 in Lykens.  He is buried in the Patriotic Order of the Sons of America [P.O. S. of A.] Cemetery in Lykens.  He appears in the 1850 census of Frailey Township, Schuylkill County, with his father, Joseph Fotheringill, a coal miner, and several siblings, including a Richard Fotheringill, who is said to be the same age as Joseph (both are age 15).

At some point between 1870 and 1880, the family moved to LykensJoseph Fotheringill married Sarah Irving of Pottsville and they had at least three children in LykensWilliam Fotheringill, born about 1869; Cora Fotheringill, born about 1877; and John Fotheringill, born about 1880.  After Joseph died, his widow Sarah moved to Berks County, where she is found in the Reading Directory of 1915.  As told above, Sarah second married Franklin E. Fisher.  Her obituary only mentions one child surviving her – John Fotheringill.


The Pension Index Card from Fold3 includes the death date of 3 March 1913 and the place as Lykens.  It also shows that Joseph Fotheringill first applied for a pension on 28 August 1891, and after his death, his widow applied – which according to the Pension Index Card, she received.  But, it is known from other sources that the widow of Joseph was Sarah Irving, who in 1915, married Civil War veteran Franklin E. Fisher.  Therefore, according to policy then in effect, upon her marriage to Fisher, the widow’s pension that she was receiving was immediately terminated.  If she had lived past Franklin E. Fisher, as a widow with no means of support, she could have either applied to have the Fotheringill pension re-enstated, or apply for Fisher’s pension.  But she died before Fisher, and he left no widow as a survivor.  So, the issue became moot.

While doing research on Richard Fotheringill, who was of Civil War-service age, it was discovered that he served in the same regiment as did his brother.  However, his service was for the duration of the war.  The following Veterans’ Index Cards were located at the Pennsylvania Archives:



It is clearly the same person who was found as the brother of Joseph Fotheringill in the 1860 census of Frailey Township, Schuylkill County.  Richard was 18 years old at the time of his enlistment at Donaldson, Schuylkill County on 21 October 1861.  He was mustered into service the next day at Harrisburg as a Private in Company F, 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry.  At some point during his service he was promoted to Corporal, and later on 15 February 1865, as a Sergeant.  At the time of his enlistment, he said he was working as a laborer and that his residence was Donaldson, Schuylkill County.  He was 5 foot, 4.5 inches tall, had dark hair, dark eyes, and brown hair.  Like his brother, he was born in England.

In the 1880 census, Richard was living in Frailey Township with his wife Mary Ann.  That census also reported that he was a broom maker and was blind.

No record has been seen to indicate whether his blindness was a result of the Civil War, and it was not until after Richard died that his widow applied for a pension.  However, other records show that Mary Ann had re-married to a man named Taylor.


The Pension Index Card from Fold3 (shown above), gives Richard’s death information as February 1886, at Miner’s Mills, Pennsylvania.  Noted on the card is the date Mary Ann applied for a widow’s pension – 5 September 1908.  It can be speculated from this that she married Taylor shortly after Richard Fotheringill died – and when Taylor died (sometime before 5 September 1908), she applied for her first husband’s pension.  At this time, nothing more has been seen about Taylor.

Of course all this information should be available in the pension application file, available at the National Archives – which was not consulted for this blog post.

Another confirmation of Richard’s death is a news article that appeared in the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, 6 April 1886 explaining a line item in the Luzerne County quarterly statement – the burial cost for indigent soldiers:


Cost of Burying Soldiers.

It will be noticed that the quarterly statement of the County Commissioners contains an item in which it is set forth that $280 have been paid for the burial of indigent soldiers.  The law provides that the county shall pay $35 in all such cases.  The names of those to whose families this relief has been extended are as follows:…. Richard Fotheringill, Miner’s Mills….  In addition to this funeral appropriation, the law provides $15 to erect a tombstone over the deceased.

Another piece of information about Mary Ann [Mason] Fotheringill Taylor is her obituary, which was published on 9 August 1926 in the Wilkes-Barre Record:


Mrs. Mary A. Taylor Dies

Mrs. Mary A. Taylor, aged 78, died yesterday morning at 2 o’clock at the home of her son, Grant Fotheringill, 72 Maple Street, North Wilkes-Barre, of complications.  Mrs. Taylor was a resident of Miner’s Mills and Parsons for a number of years and is survived by her son, Grant Fotheringill, of this city, and a granddaughter, Louise Fotheringill Cups, of Dickson City; also two sisters, of Columbus, Ohio, and Virginia.  Funeral services will be held on Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock.

Thus, with a little research a connection was established between the second wife of Civil War veteran Franklin E. Fisher, and her first husband, Joseph Fotheringill of Lykens.  That second wife also was the sister to two Civil War soldiers from Lykens, William Irving and George Irving.

Previously on this blog, William Irving was profiled in:  (1)  William Irving – First Defender;  (2) Military Funeral for Comrade William Irving;  (3) William Irving – First Defender;  (4) Gen. Francis A. Stitzer Dies in Colorado at Age 99; (5) Story of the First Defenders as Told in 1935; (6) The 1935 Reunion of the First Defenders; (7)

And, George Irving was profiled in: Tower City, Porter and Rush Township Civil War Veterans – Part 5.


News clippings are from Newspapers.com.

The Tragic Death of Frank Fenstermacher, 1879

Posted By on November 25, 2015

Frank Fenstermacher is buried at Charles Evans Cemetery in Reading.  According to information available in the Civil War records, he served honorably in the 50th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company C, as a Private, but he was not on the muster out roll of the company in 1865.  However, according to his pension application and soldiers’ home records, he was wounded at Antietam on 19 September 1862 and discharged as a result of those wounds on 26 September 1863.  From 17 May 1875 to 30 Jun 1876, he was at the National Soldiers’ Home in Dayton, Ohio.  After his discharge, he seemed to disappear, and his death date was elusive until it was recently confirmed in the cemetery records, that the Frank Festermacher buried in Reading died on 13 June 1879.

In Richards’ book, A History of Company C, 50th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Francis Fenstermacher is found on pages 189-190, with  only minimal information given about him.


The Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card at the Pennsylvania Archives (shown above) gives additional information about him:  Franklin Fenstermacher was mustered into service on 9 September 1861 at Harrisburg.  He was about 34 years old at the time.  His residence was Schuylkill Haven, Schuylkill County.  And, his occupation was boatman.

A newspaper search produced the following from the Reading Times, 14 June 1879:


Died in a Drunken Fit Yesterday


Yesterday afternoon, between four and five o’clock, Franklin Fenstermacher, residing near Bushong’s Furnace in the house of Conrad Keltenbach, while on his way home to supper fell dead.  Coroner Goodhart held and inquest and after the jury heard the evidence rendered a verdict of death from “a fit while under the influence of liquor.”  The jurymen were Gilbert DeHart, Daniel S. Schroeder, J. J. Wisner, Conrad Keltenbach, Christian Rueckert, William Davis, William D. Guinther, Thomas J. Sharp, James P. Kershner, Augustus Reinhart and John C. Strohecker.  He had drawn some $28 pension money the day previous and got on a spree.  He had paid Keltenbach the amount due him, and yesterday, after having drank some beer said to those about him, “I must go home to supper.”  He then walked in the direction of Keltenbach’s when he fell down, was seized with convulsions and died in a few minutes.  He was a middle aged man and unmarried.

The reason Franklin Fenstermacher left the Soldiers’ Home in Dayton in 1876 was “S. O. #40” which is not explained in the records.  While veterans always had the right to check themselves out of one of the National Soldiers’ Homes, the home also had the right to transfer the veteran to another home or to discharge the veteran if they were unmanageable.  There is nothing in the record to indicate that the latter reason applied here except perhaps that “S. O. #40” refers to him being unmanageable.

Not much more is now known about Franklin Fenstermacher.  He was collecting a pension – which was referred to somewhat vaguely in the report of his death.  Strangely, nothing was specifically mentioned in the report of his death that he had been a veteran of the Civil War, that he had served honorably, and that his discharge was a result of wounds received in action.  And, someone made application for a government-provided grave marker for him (shown at top of this post).  Information from that application was used in preparing his Findagrave Memorial.

Additional information is sought about this soldier who was struggling alone in the years after the Civil War and who died about age 52.  Please add comments to this post or send by e-mail.

Samuel Fetterhoff of Berrysburg – 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Posted By on November 24, 2015


Further information in sought on Samuel Fetterholf, born about 1838, who enrolled at Berrysburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania in the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry on 17 September 1861, was mustered into service on 7 October 1861 at Camp Cameron, Harrisburg, and served as a Private in Company B, until he was transferred to Company K by order of Colonel Jordan, date unknown.  Then, he served until his discharge which occurred on 24 December 1864.  The card above from the Pennsylvania Archives indicates that Samuel claimed to be 23 years old at the time of his enlistment, was 6 foot, 1 inches tall, had a dark complexion, hazel eyes, and dark hair.  He also said his occupation was sawyer and that he resided in Schuylkill County.

Since he enrolled at Berrysburg, the censuses from the area of Berrysburg were searched:

In the 1860 Census of Mifflin Township, there is a Sam Fetterhoff, age 24, working as a servant and living in the household of Daniel Deibler, a 60-year old farmer.

In the 1870 Census of Mifflin Township, there is a Samuel Fetterhoff, age 34, head of household and working as a farmer, with wife Mary Ann Fetterhoff, age 37, and daughter Becky Fetterhoff, age 2.  There are also three others in the household – all with the surname Keebach and all girls under the age of 16.  It is possible that these three Keebach girls are children of Mary Ann from a previous marriage.  Note names:  Sarah Keebach, age 14; Jane Keebach, age 10; and Mary Keebach, age 7.


The next reference found was a Pension Index Card (Ancestry.com) for a Samuel Fetterrolf which is proof that he was still alive on 8 April 1892, when he applied for an invalid pension from Washington, D.C.  He was awarded the pension.  The Fold3 version of the Pension Index Card was also located (not shown here), but there is no death date recorded on that card.  The fact that he applied for and was awarded a pension means that much more personal information about him can be found in the original files which are available at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.  Those original files were not consulted in researching him for this blog post due to the expense in obtaining them.  Perhaps a reader of this post has already obtained this information and is willing to share it here?  There also was no widow’s pension application, indicating that if Samuel was married, his wife died before he did.

Several other pieces of information should be noted.  First, the spelling of surname is not constant in the records that have been seen.  It has been found as Fetterholf, Fetterhoff, Fetterrolf, and other variations.  Second, there are several other persons with the same name who can be located in the records – all of which are definitely different people.  One, a Civil War veteran, is buried at Line Mountain, Northumberland County, and who served in a different regiment.  And, finally, it is not 100% certain that the Samuel Fetterolf who was located in the 1860 and 1870 censuses is the one who served in the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry.

The Fetterhoff name was very common in the Lykens Valley area of Pennsylvania – so it is very possible that Samuel was connected to this Fetterhoff family, but at this time it is not known how.  And the child who appears in the 1870 census of Mifflin Township, if his, needs to be traced to determine how long she lived, if she married, and if she had any children.  Likewise, if the Keebach children living in that same 1870 household were Samuel’s step-children, tracing them (and their mother) may give some clue as to what happened to Samuel.

Very little is also known about Samuel’s military service other than beginning and closing dates and the basic information he gave at enrollment.  One question that needs to be asked is why he was transferred to Company K “by order of Colonel Jordan.”  Was there some friction in Company B?  Or was the transfer something that was normally done in order to balance the size of the companies?

Finally, when and where did Samuel die?  Is there an obituary?

Any reader who wishes to contribute to this research can do so by adding a comment to this post or by sending the information in an e-mail.


Civil War Roots of Korean War POW Buried at Indiantown Gap

Posted By on November 22, 2015

On 9 November 2015, Korean War veteran Corporal Martin A. King who died nearly 65 years ago at a prisoner of war camp in Korea, was laid to rest at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Annville, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, with full military honors.

Corporal Martin King of the U.S. Army was captured at Unsan by the North Koreans in November 1950 and died of starvation the following April 1951 at a POW camp.  He was identified by a special team of scientists who were working on co-mingled remains of at least 600 missing service men that were returned in the 1990s from North Korea in 208 boxes.  In all the intervening years, it was not known for certain what happened to him, and while he was presumed dead, no physical remains had been positively identified of him.  Recently, Corporal King’s DNA was matched with a sample given by an older brother, Edward King, who gave the sample prior to his death several years ago.  The matching DNA identification confirmed that Edward and Martin were brothers, and led to a proper burial of his remains.

In the articles that appeared in the local area newspapers in and around the Lykens Valley, it was noted that Corporal King was born in Tower City on 1 January 1933.  His father was named Harry King and his mother’s name was only given as Annie King (maiden name not noted).  The next of kin who received the information from the Army in 2015 was the son of a sister of Corporal King, Grace King, who had married a Bohner.  No other immediate survivors were noted by the army team that provided the information, except Richard Bohner, the nephew of Corporal King.  Of the many people who came forward with claims that they were related to him, no direct Civil War ancestors were claimed as his, although there were a number of uncles and cousins who were named with military service.  Thus, an interesting question was posed for this blog:  was Corporal King a direct descendant of a Civil War soldier from the Lykens Valley area?

Richard Bohner, maternal nephew of Cpl. King, receives the flag at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery

In the information gathered for the news articles, Martin King was said to be the youngest child of 15 children of Harry King and Annie King, and the family was said to have been broken up in 1933 because of the death of Harry King and the financial difficulties caused by the depression.  Martin was sent to Harrisburg to be raised by a couple named Harry R. Beyrent and his wife Mary.  But there is no evidence that the Beyrent’s adopted Martin or that he ever used their surname.  Martin enlisted in the army under his birth name.

Research for this blog post found that in the 1940 Census for Harrisburg, Harry R. Beyrent, the head of the household, said that he was 44 years old, born in Pennsylvania, and was working in maintenance at the W.P.A. Army Depot.  His wife, Mary Beyrent, said she was 32 years old, also born in Pennsylvania.  Martin King was named in the census as Marlin King, age 6, and his relationship to the head of the family was given as “step son”.  Martin/Marlin was then in the 1st grade, presumably in the public schools of Harrisburg.   The address of the family was 1716 Fourth Street, Harrisburg.  The 1940 Census also asked where each member of the family was living in 1935, and for all three persons in this household, “same place” was given.  If this information is correct, then Martin entered the Beyrent household when he was around one year old – or less.

Martin King‘s father, Harry King, died on 11 June 1933 in Tower City, not quite 6 months after Martin was born.  According to his death certificate, he was a coal miner and he died of tuberculosis.  Leaving such a large family behind – and with the looming contagion of tuberculosis – it would have been natural for the mother Annie King to make arrangements to sustain and protect herself and her other children, particularly the minor ones.  Sending her youngest child to live with a couple in Harrisburg was an option she chose to exercise, perhaps to avoid infecting the infant Martin with the tuberculosis his father was dying of.  But how did she know the Beyrent family?  The census indication that Martin was the “step son” of Harry R. Beyrent is puzzling and would suggest that Mary Beyrent was actually the mother of Martin – not Annie.  Was Mary related to Annie?

Finding Annie’s maiden name was not that difficult and it has now been confirmed by records.  Annie was Anne M. Updegrove, born in Schuylkill County on 18 January 1897 to Milton Theodore Updegrove (1875-1936) and his wife Lizzie (1872-1923).  Milton’s father was Civil War veteran Solomon S. Updegrove (1844-1917).  Thus, if Martin King‘s mother was Annie [Updegrove] King, then Martin’s great-grandfather was a Civil War veteran and was from the Lykens Valley area.

Finding the burial place of Annie King was not as easy as establishing her maiden name. Some time around 1938, Annie re-married.  With William A. Gonder, who was 13 years her junior, Annie had another child on 18 October 1939, Robert Gonder.  Thus Robert Gonder was actually the youngest child of Annie – not Martin as had been stated in the numerous articles that appeared announcing the burial of Martin’s remains.  Robert Gonder died in 2008 in Millersburg and his obituary, which appeared in the Citizen Standard (Valley View, Pennsylvania), stated that he was the son of the late William Gonder and Annie Updegrove Gonder.  William and Annie are buried together in Calvary United Methodist Cemetery in Wiconisco.

Additionally, some of Martin King’s older siblings appear in the Census of 1940 for Lykens Borough in the household of William A. Gonder – but as children of William A. Gonder, not as children of Annie by her first marriage to Harry King.  Thus, William Gonder (actually William King), age 22, a “new worker;” Grace Bohner (actually Grace [King] Bohner), age 18, and her daughter Eugenia Bohner, age 5/12; John Gonder (actually John King), age 14; Charles Gonder (actually Charles King), age 14, Edward Gonder (actually Edward King, previously mentioned who gave the DNA sample); Joseph Gonder (actually Joseph King), age 9; along with their half brother Robert Gonder, age 5/12 are in the household, with only the latter child being the biological child of William A. Gonder.  It appears from this census of 1940, that Annie [Updegrove] King-Gonder was successful in placing most of her children in the Gonder household.

There are two other things apparent from this 1940 census:  (1) that William A. Gonder moved in with Annie and her family, since he is the only one not living in that same place in 1935; and (2) that there is a connection between William A. Gonder and Harry R. Beyrent in that they both were working for the W.P.A. in 1940.  Did they know each other from work?  Were they related?  It is not yet known from this initial information and much more genealogical research needs to be done to determine the actual family connection – if indeed there is one.

Turning back to the Civil War veteran from whom Martin A. King is now believed to have descended, Solomon S. Updegrove.


Solomon S. Updegrove (1844-1917)

Previously on this blog, the following was said:

SOLOMON S. UPDEGROVE (1844-1917), is one of two veterans with the same name.  This one is distinguished from the other by the fact that he survived the war (the other did not) and nearly always used the middle initial “S” – although the name plate on the Tower City Memorial doesn’t include the middle initial.  Solomon married Matilda Brown.  He was the son of Solomon Updegrove and Barbara [Rickert] Updegrove.  According to his records, he served in the 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company E, as a Sergeant from 2 October 1862 through 12 October 1865.  During his service he was held for a time as a prisoner after being captured at Strausburg, Virginia.

Since it was believed that Solomon S. Updegrove was at one time a prisoner of war, a further search of the records was conducted to see if his name appears in any on-line POW records.



Click on document to enlarge

Solomon S. Updegrove (as Uptegrove) was located in the hospital records of Andersonville Prison.  As shown above, the document reference from the National Archives is followed by a portion of the hospital page indicating his service in the 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry, his disease (scorbutus, or scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency), and his return to prison date of 4 August 1864.  While this record does not show his actual release from Andersonville, it does give proof that he spent time in the worst Confederate prison of the war.  Ironically, less than 100 years later, his great-grandson died of malnutrition at a POW camp in North Korea.


The nameplate shown above is from the Civil War section of the Tower City Veterans’ Memorial.  The great-grandfather of Martin A. King is properly recognized for his Civil War service!

If his name is not presently on that memorial in the Korean War section, it now behooves the veterans of that community to add the name of Martin A. King – now that is known that he was born in Tower City and only left Tower City because of circumstances beyond his control.  His roots in Tower City call for nothing less. [Note:  If he is already recognized on the memorial, perhaps a reader could send a picture of his name plate and it will be posted here].

Finally, Solomon S. Updegrove was only one of Martin A. King‘s four great-grandfathers.  The three others (two on his father’s side and one on his mother’s side) remain to be researched as well as his two grandfathers and eight great-great grandfathers, so it is entirely possible that that he can be connected directly to other Civil War veterans.  That research challenge remains and can be reported here by anyone with family information by adding a comment to this post or by sending it by e-mail.


Prisoner of War records are available on Ancestry.com.

The photograph of Solomon S. Updegrove was provided by a family member.

Since no pictures of Martin A. King have been found, an enterprising researcher might want to follow through on the 1940 address of the Beyrent family, knowing that Martin was in the 1st grade in Harrisburg at that time.  Schools were known for taking photos annually of individuals and classes, and if Martin, when old enough, attended a high school in Harrisburg, there is possibility he may be pictured and identified in a yearbook there.  The Army was unable to provide a photograph from their records.

For more information on matching DNA with remains of those Missing in Action from the Korean War, see The Korean War Project.  [Note:  Several years ago I was involved in doing genealogical research for this project to find a living biological relative of an African American Korean War soldier who was presumed killed in action, but his remains were never recovered.  The soldier was Milton Wesley Bailey, from Milford, Pike County, Pennsylvania.  The family search was unsuccessful, and his name is still marked “DNA Needed” in the on-line database.  Bailey was the grandson of a Civil War veteran who served in the United States Colored Troops].


Personal note:  Solomon S. Updegrove was my 1st cousin, 4 times removed, on my Rickert line.  Our common ancestor was Johann Hartman Rickert (1780-1828).  Solomon S. Updegrove‘s great-grandson, Corporal Martin A. King, was my 5th cousin.  When I started researching for this post, I had no idea that it would lead to that conclusion!

Henry Feindt Describes Great Lykens Earthquake of 1907

Posted By on November 20, 2015


Henry Feindt (1843-1914), a Civil War veteran of the 10th Pennsylvania Infantry (26th April 1861 – 31 Jul 1861)  and the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry (7 October 1861 – 18 July 1865), was Postmaster of Lykens in 1907 when an “earthquake of vast extent” hit the Upper Dauphin County area of the Susquehanna Valley.

Feindt was previously profiled here in two posts: Lykens Postmaster Henry Feindt and Death of Henry Feindt, Postmaster of Lykens.

As a government official, the postmaster was called upon to describe what had happened in Lykens and his account appeared in the Harrisburg Telegraph on 10 January 1907:



Whole Upper and Lower Stretches of the Susquehanna Valley, Except Immediate Harrisburg District, Feel Three Distinct Shocks; Windows Shaken, Dishes Rattled and People Frightened From Their Beds; No Damage Done


Lykens, the whole upper portion of Dauphin County and the Susquehanna Valley north of Harrisburg were shaken by a series of earthquake shocks early this morning which rattled dishes and window sashes, displaced pictures on walls and sent frightened residents scurrying to the open with thoughts of the San Francisco disaster in their minds.

The shock occurred about 5:45 o’clock.  First came a report like an explosion in the distance, followed by two lighter shocks, the whole occupying perhaps fifteen seconds.  In some places people thought the disturbance due to a heavy explosion, but in others the shocks were so distant as to be plainly those of an earthquake and people forsook their houses until sure all danger was past.

Telephone messages to The Harrisburg Telegraph tell of the quake having been felt in Williamsport, Lock Haven, Sunbury, Lykens, Tower City and numerous other places in that district.  In no place was there any damage done, but in every case the shocks were accompanied by a noise which resembled a terrible explosion in the distance, followed by earth motions from side to side.

Apparently the Dauphin County disturbances were a part of a similar disturbance reported from Sweden, Russia and other faraway portions of the world today.  The upper part of the Susquehanna Valley was shaken but Harrisburg escaped.  Farther south along the Susquehanna the quake was distinctly felt, but there as above no danger resulted.

The Shock in Lykens

Henry Feindt, Postmaster of Lykens, says that in his town there was but one heavy shock recorded about a quarter to six this morning.  He and his family were at breakfast.  Suddenly there came a shock and the windows on the second floor of his home rattled to such an extent that he thought somebody must be trying to rob the house.  The family searched the second floor but found nobody and then neighbors came in with similar reports and the town awakened to the fact that it had a real earthquake.

At Millersburg

At Millersburg nobody noticed any shock but the whole country roundabout felt the quake as messages were received all morning inquiring as to the cause.

Severe at Sunbury

The shocks at Sunbury were so severe that people thought a powder mill must have exploded at some distant point. Here, too, the first was heard at 5:45, and was followed by two distinct tremors within fifteen seconds.  People were awakened from their sleep, dishes rattled and loose window sashes clattered.  F. K. Hill, the postmaster, says scores of people visiting his office today told of the disturbance.

Reports reached Sunbury of similar shocks at Williamsport, Lock Haven, and other upriver points.

Less than a year prior, on 18 April 1906, the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire resulted in significant damage and loss of life.  That earthquake was referred to in the above article.  But, four days after the Lykens earthquake, on the sunny afternoon of 14 January 1907, the cities of Kingston and Port Royal in Jamaica, West Indies, were destroyed by a earthquake that took more than 800 lives.  According to some reports, the Jamaican earthquake was considered at the time to be one of the deadliest in recorded history.

The first detailed reports to the Susquehanna Valley of the destruction in Jamaica appeared in the York Daily (York, PA), 16 January 1907, which also indicated that a seismograph in Washington, D.C. had detected a mild earthquake there at 3:38 p.m. on 15 January 1907, and that another earthquake was felt throughout Norway at about the same time.  In the Harrisburg Daily Independent, also of 16 January 1907, much of the conflicting information coming out of the island was reported.  Neither newspaper made any connection to the earthquake felt north of Harrisburg four days prior.


News articles are from Newspapers.com.