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Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Some Connections to Abraham Lincoln – Really?

Posted By on August 3, 2015

As obituaries and death notices appeared in the Harrisburg newspapers in the late 19th century and early 20th century, readers surely noticed the unusual number of references to associations of the decedents to Abraham Lincoln.  How many of the claims were true?  If any blog readers have any evidence to support any of the claims or give additional information, comments can be added to this post.

Here’s a sampling:

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From the Harrisburg Telegraph, 24 July 1899:

She Was Lincoln’s Sweetheart

Lexington, Kentucky, 24 July 1899 — Mrs. Mary Lawless died here yesterday in the 82nd year of her age.  She was a sweetheart of Abraham Lincoln and a reigning belle of her day.  Her maiden name was Joplin and her home was at Mt. Vernon, Kentucky.  Her husband is James R. Lawless, a Mexican War veteran, who survives her.  She leaves a daughter, Mrs. Mary L. Scott, widow of the late Lieutenant John Scott, of the United States Army.

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From the Harrisburg Patriot, 19 November 1907

JOHN CASSIDY HAD CIVIL WAR MEDAL

Was One of Two Railroad Men Honored by President Lincoln for Valuable Service

Wilkes-Barre, 18 November 1907 — John Cassidy, formerly of this city, and one of the best know of the old officials of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad and the Central Railroad of New Jersey, died at 12:30 yesterday afternoon at his home in Philadelphia, of paralysis, aged seventy.

Mr. Cassidy commenced his long and honorable railroad career when a mere boy, firing the Witch, a noted official inspection engine of the Philadelphia and Reading.  In those days wood was used as a fuel.  Soon afterward he was placed in charge of the Ariel, also used by officials of the Reading on inspection tours.  Then he entered the shops at Reading to learn his trade as a machinist and finished it at the shops at Palo Alto.  While learning the trade he also in what spare moments he had, learned to be a telegrapher and the knowledge thus acquired fitted him for the rapid progress he later made in rising to important positions in railroad work.  He became engine man, shop foreman and train dispatcher of the Reading and was a prominent figure in the early day development of that railroad.

During the Civil War he was in charge of the transportation of troops to the front and at the time of Gen. Lee’s invasion of Pennsylvania he made such a notable record for efficiency in getting troops to the points where they were concentrated that President Lincoln took personal cognizance of his able work and presented him with one of the two medals issued to railroaders for valuable service rendered to the Union cause.

In 1873 he was appointed to an important position with the Central Railroad of New Jersey and made his headquarters in this city.  He was in charge of the shipment of all of that company’s coal out of this valley and was in turn car master and general district train dispatcher for the road.  Later he accepted the superintendency of the Iron Mountain Railroad in Missouri, but after several years’ service there he returned to the Central and this city.  He remained with this railroad until he retired from active work in 1900.  A year later he removed to Philadelphia where he resided since.

Note:  A similar obituary appeared in the Wilkes-Barre Times, 18 November 1907, with additional information about survivors and the funeral arrangements.

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From the Harrisburg Patriot, 11 December 1907:

HAMILTON’S GRANDSON DEAD AT TARRYTOWN

By Associated Press to the Patriot

Tarrytown, New York, 10 December 1907 —  Major General Alexander Hamilton, grandson of Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington, died at his home here today at the age of ninety-two years.  He had been ill from grip since Thanksgiving.  General Hamilton was born in New York in 1815 and early in life was aid to Governor Morris and later to Governor Seymour.  He spent two years at West Point and at the outbreak of the Civil War organized the Fifth Artillery.  General Hamilton served directly under President Lincoln for a time and was in command of the troops in New York at the time of the draft riots.  He was widely known as an author.

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From the Harrisburg Patriot, 16 March 1909:

GUARDED LINCOLN’S BODY

Arthur Alward, Veteran of Civil War Dies in Altoona

By Associated Press to the Patriot

Altoona, Pennsylvania, 15 March 1909 — Arthur Alward, a veteran of the Civil War, died at his home in Bellwood today, aged 74.  He enlisted in January, 1861, in the 187th Pennsylvania Volunteers [187th Pennsylvania Infantry] and was mustered out of service 3 August 1866.  While the body of Abraham Lincoln lay in State in Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, the night of 23 April [1865], and the day following, Alward was one of the guard of honor.  Only two of the guard of honor now survive.  Mr. Alward performed jury duty last week, his death resulting from a sudden illness.

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From the Harrisburg Patriot, 24 June 1914:

DOUBLE OF J. WILKES BOOTH DIES IN SHAMOKIN

By Associated Press to the Patriot

Shamokin, 23 June 1914 — Captain J. W. Haas, commander of the Ninety-Sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers [96th Pennsylvania Infantry] during the Civil War, died here today.  Following the assassination of President Lincoln, Haas, who bore a striking resemblance to J. Wilkes Booth, while on the way to the Clearfield Oil Region in Pennsylvania, was arrested by troops who had hard work preventing a mob from hanging him.

Note:  For a death notification letter written by Haas to the mother of John C. Gratz, see:  Corp. John C. Gratz, Fever Victim.

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From the Harrisburg Patriot, 26 April 1918:

LINCOLN BODYGUARD DIES

New York, 25 April 1918 — John R. Miller, one of Abraham Lincoln‘s bodyguard when the President was shot in Washington, died at his Brooklyn home, aged 75.  He was a Civil War veteran.  He was wounded at Gettysburg.

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From the Harrisburg Patriot, 13 November 1920:

CARRIED WOUNDED PRESIDENT

Philadelphia, 12 November 1920 — John C. Weaver, a Civil War veteran, said to be the last survivor of the six men who carried President Lincoln to the White House, after he had been shot in Ford’s Theatre, Washington, died here today at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Anna Jury.  He was born in Pottsville in 1822.

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From the Harrisburg Telegraph, 1 March 1917:

LINCOLN’S SWEETHEART DIES AT AGE OF 76

Winchester, Illinois, 27 February, 1917 — Mrs. Linnie Cheatham, 76, a one-time sweetheart of Abraham Lincoln, is dead at her home here.  Mrs. Cheatham was the daughter of Major R. E. Haggard, Mexican and Civil War veteran.  At one time he kept a tavern, much frequented by lawyers, politicians and court officials, and Miss Haggard often sang for the guests.

It was there Lincoln met her and wrote and dedicated a poem to her.  The album in which it was inscribed was exhibited at the Panama-Pacific Exposition.

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Obituary of Dr. Jacob W. Shope of Halifax & Harrisburg

Posted By on July 31, 2015

ShopeJacobW-portrait-002

Dr. Jacob W. Shope died on 14 June 1923 in Harrisburg.  His obituary appeared the next day in the Harrisburg Telegraph.

While funeral services were being conducted for his brother in another part of the city, Dr. Jacob W. Shope, Civil War veteran and prominent Harrisburg physician died yesterday afternoon in his home, 32 South Thirteenth Street.

Dr. Shope’s brother, John T. Shope, for years one of the most prominent tailors on the Hill, died Monday evening at his home, 1936 Bellview Road.  Yesterday afternoon the services had just begun when the word reached relatives that Dr. Shope had died.

His death was the result of an attack of apoplexy sustained on 26 May 1923.  His condition steadily became worse and was in a critical stage when his brother died Monday evening.  Dr. Shope spent twenty-four years of his life in Harrisburg.

Served Through War

Born in Linglestown, 23 August 1845, Dr. Shope, at the age of sixteen enlisted in the Union Army and served throughout the Civil War.  He engaged in the shoemaking business at its close and married Miss Margaret Oswald, who died five years ago.  After several years of hard work at his trade he succeeded in saving enough savings to enter the Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia.  He located in Halifax following his graduation from the Philadelphia institution and practiced there for nearly half a century.

Dean of Polyclinic

Coming to this city [Harrisburg] he became affiliated with the Polyclinic Hospital upon its organization and was dean and chief of staff at the hospital when he died.  He was a member of Susquehanna Lodge No. 364, Free and Accepted Masons, Millersburg, and prominently associated with the Stevens Memorial Methodist Church.

Third Death in Family

He is survived by two daughters, Mrs. Minola Reitmyer, at home, and Mrs. Howard C. Fry, Paxtang; a son, Charles R. Shope, Halifax; two sisters, Mrs. Elizabeth Gerberich, Dauphin and Mrs. Mary Manley, Lucknow; a grandson, Leslie R. Shope, Pittsburgh.  Another brother, George F. Shope died four months ago at his home in Perdix.

Funeral services will be held at the home, at 3:30 o’clock Monday afternoon.  Private burial will follow in the Paxtang Mausoleum.  The staff department heads of the Polyclinic Hospital will act as pallbearers.  They are:  Dr. G. H. Widder; Dr. R. E. Holmes; Dr. Edward Kirby Lawson; Dr. C. W. Batdorf; Dr. William Tyler Douglass; and Dr. H. F. Gross.

Previously, Dr. Shope was featured in the post entitled Dr. Jacob W. Shope – Physician of Halifax and Harrisburg.  At that time no picture of Dr. Shope was available. The picture of him at the top of this post was included with his obituary in the Harrisburg Telegraph, which was recently discovered.

Some Civil War Connections to Pillow (Part 3 of 3)

Posted By on July 29, 2015

On 4 July 2015 I gave the Keynote Speech at the Pillow Historical Society Open House, Pillow, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.  One of the parts of that talk was the identification of twenty-one Civil War veterans who had some connection to Pillow (formerly called Uniontown). Today’s post features the final seven of those men with some of the information known about them.  Most of these men have been previously featured here on this blog and links are provided to those past posts.

The Pillow Historical Society is particularly interested in pictures of the men and their wives for an updated “veterans-of-all-wars” display that they are working on.  Where pictures of the veterans are not included in the posts in this series, it can be assumed that the Civil War Research Project has not yet obtained them – and, if any descendants of those veterans have digital images they would like to contribute for the memorial display, they can be e-mailed to the Project.  Also mentioned in the talk were two supposed veterans, one of whom has a G.A.R. marker at his grave and the other has been included because family or local tradition has stated that they had Civil War service.  For those two, confirmation of their actual Civil War service must be obtained or they will not be included in the veterans’ display.  Readers of this blog are invited to share what they know either by commenting directly to this post or sending an e-mail to the Project.

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Gideon Johnson Pillow (8 June 1806 – 6 October 1878)

PillowGideon-portrait-MexWar-001

Service:  Officer in Mexican War.  Confederate General in Civil War.

Occupation:  Plantation Owner, Slaveholder, Military Officer and Politician.  Born: Williamson Co., Tennessee.   Died: Helena, Phillips Co., Arkansas.

Pillow Post Office named for him.  Pillow Borough named for him.

PillowGideon-GraveMarker-002

Buried: Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee.

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Dr. Jesse J. Reed  (18 August 1840 – 8 April 1916)

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Service: 131st Pennsylvania Infantry, Company C, Private.  MI: 8 August 1862 .    MO: 23 May 1863.  Service: 28th Pennsylvania Militia, Company A, Private.  MI: July 1863. MO: August 1863.

Occupation:  Physician and Burgess of Uniontown (Pillow).  Born: Shamokin.   Died: Pillow.  Married: Catherine Leinbach.   Married: Adelaide A. Bressler.

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Note:  News clipping above from Harrisburg Patriot, 10 September 1907.

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Buried: Oak Hill Cemetery, Millersburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania.

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William W. Rothermel  (2 May 1842 – 18 May 1922)

RothermelWilliamW-portrait-003

Service: 50th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company A, Sergeant.  MI: 19 August 1861     MO: 30 July 1865.  Injured by Wounded Man Falling on Him at Weldon Railroad.

Occupation:  Farmer. Born: Klingerstown.  Lived: Jordan Township.  Died: Pillow.  Married: Sarah Ann Schaffer.

RothermelWilliamW-graveMarker-001

Buried: St. Michael’s Cemetery, Klingerstown, Schuylkill Co., Pennsylvania.

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Percival Sausser  (17 May 1841 – 18 August 1907)

SausserPercival-208thPAFlag-001

Service: 208th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company A, Corporal.  MI: 30 August 1864.     MO: Absent, in Hospital.  Wounded at Fort Stedman – Leg Shot Off.

Occupation:  Stone Cutter and Farmer.  Married: Lydia Leitzel.  Lived in Mifflin Township, Pillow, Lower Mahanoy Township, and Jordan Township.

Buried: Union Cemetery, Jordan Township, Northumberland Co., Pennsylvania.

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John Weiser  (October 1842 – 1 March 1905)

WeiserJohn-12thPACavFlag-001

Service: 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company I, Private.  MI: 24 February 1862     MO: 12 April 1865.  Wounded in Ankle.

Occupation:  Laborer.  Married: Catherine “Kate” ?  Married: Jestina Rothermel.  Born: Jordan Township.  Died: Pillow.

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Buried: Grand View Cemetery, Pillow, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania.

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William M. Williard (24 February 1846 – 31 March 1920)

WilliardWilliam-portrait-101

Service: 208th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company A, Private.  MI: 30 August 1864. MO: 1 June 1865.

Occupation:  Plasterer and General Contractor. Lived: Mifflin Township, Herndon, Girardville, and Pillow.  Married: Sarah E. Groff.  Married: Henrietta C. Hoffman.

WilliardWilliam-GraveMarker-003

Burial: Union Cemetery, Jordan Township, Northumberland Co., Pennsylvania.

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Solomon Franklin Leitzel  (23 May 1834 – 19 Jun 1923)

LeitzelSolomon-portrait-001

Service: 36th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company B, Private.  MI: 18 July 1861.    MO: 20 May 1862.

Occupation:  Tailor.  Born: Pillow.  Died: Powell’s Valley.  Married: Hannah A. Buffington.

LeitzelSolomon-wifeHannah-gravemarker-002

Buried: Union Church Cemetery, Enterline, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania.

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For regimental flag photos see:  Pennsylvania Civil War Battle Flags.  News clipping from the on-line resources of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

This concludes the series of three articles on “Some Civil War Connections to Pillow.”

The Yeager Family in the Civil War (Part 15)

Posted By on July 27, 2015

In 1912, the Hon. James Martin Yeager wrote and published A Brief History of the Yeager, Buffington, Creighton, Jacobs, Lemon, Hoffman and Woodside Families and Their Collateral Kindred of Pennsylvania.  Yeager was formerly the President of Drew Seminary for Young Women of Carmel, New York as well as a former Member of the House of Representatives of Pennsylvania and a Marshal of the Middle District of Pennsylvania.  On pages 82-85, he presented a list of Pennsylvania soldiers he identified with the Yeager surname who had fought in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865.  In addition to the names of the soldiers, he named the regiment and company in which they fought.  Sixty-three veterans were thus identified.  A free download of Yeager’s book can be obtained at the Internet Archive.

There is much information still to be discovered about each of the veterans.  Readers of this blog are urged to add information to what is provided below – particularly genealogical information about each of the men, including the names of their parents and their decent from the earliest Yeager’s who arrived in Pennsylvania.  Additional stories about the Civil War service of these veterans is also sought, particularly if readers have access to the pension application files and military records from the National Archives.  Pictures are especially welcome!  Comments can be added to this post or sent by e-mail.

This post concludes a multi-part series on these Pennsylvanians with the Yeager surname who served in the Civil War.  In today’s post several unconnected Yeager family members are featured in hope that a reader of this blog can make the required connection with a verified Civil War regiment and company.  It should be noted that none of the Yeager family members in this final post have yet been connected to the “list” presented in James Martin Yeager‘s book published 1912, but all were previously identified for inclusion in the Civil War Veterans’ List of the the Lykens Valley area.

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YeagerJosiah-gravemarker-001

Josiah Yeager is buried at Peace Cemetery, Berrysburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.  He was married to Louisa Enterline.  At his grave there is a Civil War marker (G.A.R. flag holder).  He was born on 11 July 1830 and died on 18 January 1890.  At his draft registration in July 1863, he was living in Mifflin Township, Dauphin County, and working as a saddler.  His name has not been located in any Civil War service records.

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George Yeager, is named on the Willow Grove Monument at Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County, as a Civil War soldier.  From information available about that monument, he appears to have served in the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry, but that has not been confirmed with other sources.

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John Henry Yeager was born 14 January 1843 and died 24 June 1863.  He is buried in the Yeagerstown Lutheran Cemetery, Yeagerstown, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania.  His military records indicate that he died of chronic diarrhea at Alexandria, Virginia, 24 June 1865, while serving in the 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company C, as a Private and Bugler.  At the time of his enrollment, he was living in Mifflin County.

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Andrew J. Yeager appears in the Dalmatia list of Civil War veterans.  However, to date, a specific regiment and company of service has not yet been determined.  There is a possibility that the Andrew Yeager who served in the 22nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company K, from 23 April 1861, who deserted and was under arrest for court martial is the same person, but his residence was Juliann Furnace, Adams County, Pennsylvania, some distance from the Lykens Valley.

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Joseph F. Yeager or Joseph F. Yerger, was born 22 November 1843 and died in Boone County, Iowa, on 18 December 1880 (or 1881).  He is buried at the Clark Cemetery, Luther, Boone County.  Three Civil War companies/regiments have been identified for him:  (1) On 13 September 1862, while a resident of Millersburg, he joined the 6th Pennsylvania Infantry (Emergency of 1862) and served through the end of the emergency on 27 September 1862;  (2) In June 1863 and July 1863, he served in the Emergency Force, 26th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company K, as a Private, and participated in the Battle of Gettysburg;  (3) On 16 September 1864, he was mustered into the 210th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company H, as a Private, then promoted to Corporal on 1 October 1864, where he served until 30 May 1865.  He married Edith Patterson.  After the war, he moved to Iowa.    Additional information about him can be found at his Findagrave Memorial.

The Yeager Family in the Civil War (Part 14) – Pvt. Jacob F. Yeager, Medal of Honor

Posted By on July 24, 2015

In 1912, the Hon. James Martin Yeager wrote and published A Brief History of the Yeager, Buffington, Creighton, Jacobs, Lemon, Hoffman and Woodside Families and Their Collateral Kindred of Pennsylvania.  Yeager was formerly the President of Drew Seminary for Young Women of Carmel, New York as well as a former Member of the House of Representatives of Pennsylvania and a Marshal of the Middle District of Pennsylvania.  On pages 82-85, he presented a list of Pennsylvania soldiers he identified with the Yeager surname who had fought in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865.  In addition to the names of the soldiers, he named the regiment and company in which they fought.  Sixty-three veterans were thus identified.  A free download of Yeager’s book can be obtained at the Internet Archive.

There is much information still to be discovered about each of the veterans.  Readers of this blog are urged to add information to what is provided below – particularly genealogical information about each of the men, including the names of their parents and their decent from the earliest Yeager’s who arrived in Pennsylvania.  Additional stories about the Civil War service of these veterans is also sought, particularly if readers have access to the pension application files and military records from the National Archives.  Pictures are especially welcome!  Comments can be added to this post or sent by e-mail.

This post continues a multi-part series on these Pennsylvanians with the Yeager surname who served in the Civil War.  Today’s post features Medal of Honor recipient Jacob Franklin Yeager, who was born in Pennsylvania, but served with an Ohio regiment.

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Jacob Franklin Yeager was born on 27 January 1841 in New Texas, Pennsylvania, the son of John Jacob Yeager and Susanne [Fenstermacher] Yeager; he died on 13 November 1909 in Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio.  He is buried at the Greenlawn Cemetery in Tiffin.

During the Civil War, he served in the 101st Ohio Infantry, Company H, as a Private from 30 August 1862 through his transfer to the Veteran Reserve Corps on 15 March 1865.  At the time of his enlistment he gave his occupation as “real estate.”

The following statement about his service is found in the Medal of Honor records:

During the action of 11 May 1864, at Buzzard’s Roost, Georgia, a shell with a still-burning fuse fell among the ranks of the soldiers of Company H, 101st Ohio Infantry.  The deadly explosive threatened to kill or wound several soldiers within seconds, and would have, but for the action of one brave soldier.  Private Jacob Yeager, rather than seeking cover from the anticipated explosion, raced to the burning time-bomb and hurled it into a nearby stream, thereby saving his comrades from injury or death.

The Yeager-Buffington history (cited above), notes the following on page 85:

At this late day medals of honor, says Harper’s Bazaar, 11 September 1907, for bravery in the Civil War have been presented to four soldiers – George N. Bliss, of Providence, Rhode Island; R. T. Irwin Shepard, of Winona, Minnesota; Chester Furman, of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania; and Jacob Yeager, of Tiffin, Ohio.  Three of these distinguished themselves by leading forlorn hopes; but Yeager, who was a Private, won his medal by his heroic action in snatching up a shell with a burning fuse, which had fallen into the ranks of his company, and throwing it into a stream that flowed close by.

Jacob F. Yeager, because he was a Pennsylvanian by birth, is honored on the Pennsylvania Medal of Honor Memorial at Harrisburg (pictured above).

Jacob F. Yeager applied for a disability pension on 2 September 1865, which was awarded and he collected benefits until his death; his widow, Alice E. Yeager, applied on 29 November 1909, and she collected benefits until her death.

Additional information about Jacob F. Yeager and his family can be found at his Findagrave Memorial and on the Home of Heroes Web Site.