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Civil War Blog

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The Shamokin Soldiers’ Circle – Photographs 111 – 119

Posted By on April 22, 2014

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Today’s post on the Shamokin Cemetery’s Soldiers’ Circle features nine graves in the second circle, third quadrant, beginning with photograph 111.  The photographs in this segment are numbered 111 through 119.  All of the stones in this section are sequenced in the order of the death of the veteran.  For each of the veterans, the best determination of the name is given and where possible some information about the military record.  Some errors may be noted where the information on the stone may not match other records.  Each grave photograph may be enlarged by clicking on it, and in some cases, readers may be able to identify or clarify some of the unknown information.  Comments can be added to this post or sent by e-mail to the Civil War Research Project.  The collected information on soldiers buried in the circle (including some military records, pension files, photographs, etc.) is available free-of-charge to veterans organizations, historical societies, and other non-profit groups.  Inquiries may be sent by e-mail or by regular mail, to the attention of Norman Gasbarro, P.O. Box 523, Gratz, PA  17030.

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#111 – ——– May

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The name on this stone is possibly Joseph G. May, but additional information is needed to identify his Civil War service.  He died some time between the end of 1907 and the beginning of 1909.

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#112 – Simon Strauser

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Simon Strausser was born around 1834 and died 11 January 1909.  He enrolled at Windsor, Pennsylvania, in the 96th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company G, as a Private, and was mustered into service on 14 October 1861.  On 29 January 1862, he was discharged on a Surgeon’s Certificate of Disability.  He applied for a disability pension on 22 August 1890.  Not much more is known about him at this time.

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#113 – Balzer Ritzman

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Balzer Ritzman who is buried here has been previously mentioned in other spellings of his first name, including Balthaser, Balthazer, Blatzer, Balser, and Baltzer.  He was featured in a previous blog entry on 3 December 2011, Honorable Discharges, 177th Pennsylvania Infantry.  He was born 6 October 1841 and died 22 January 1910.  He was married to Sarah Ann Faust.

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#114 – William Wright

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More information is needed about William Wright, born 8 February 1834 and died 15 November 1909, to determine his Civil War service.  There is some hard-to-read wording on the stone which may give the military information.

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#115 – John A. Wilson

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John A. Wilson‘s grave marker is a standard government issue and is very readable, possibly indicating that it was a later replacement.  Wilson was born around 1838 and died 19 February 1910.  His military records indicate that he first served in the 6th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company E, as a Private, and was mustered into service at Harrisburg on 22 April 1861 and mustered out at the termination of his three month enlistment in July 1861.  At the time of his enrollment, he was a laborer living in Ashland, Schuylkill County.  His second service was in the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry (the regiment indicated on his grave stone), Company F, where he served as a Private and Sergeant from the time of his muster on 22 October 1861 through honorable discharge on 28 November 1864.  There is also some indication in the records that for a time during this cavalry service, he was detached to the 4th U.S. Cavalry. There is some confusion as to his actual birth year; he gave his age as 22 for the first enlistment and 33 for the second enlistment.  A pension application for John A. Wilson was submitted on 2 June 1883 and after his death, his widow, Esther Wilson applied on 26 February 1910.  His residency in Shamokin is confirmed in the 1890 census.

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#116 – William Britton

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This stone appears to say that William Britton served in the 95th Pennsylvania Infantry.  If this is the case, he served first in the 96th Pennsylvania Infantry.  However, the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Index Card gives the dates of service as 22 August 1861 through discharge on a Surgeon’s Certificate of Disability on 1 March 1862.  These dates of service occurred before the 96th Pennsylvania Infantry was merged into the 95th Pennsylvania InfantryWilliam Britton enrolled and was mustered in at Pottsville and was 28 years old at the time.  He served at the rank of Corporal.  A pension application was submitted on 25 April 1865.  No widow applied, possibly indicating that his wife died before he did, or he was never married.

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#117 – Unreadable

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This stone is too difficult to read.  It is badly weathered.  The soldier buried here died between 20 June 1908 and 24 October 1910.

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#118 – Unreadable

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This stone is also difficult to read but some of the lettering can be deciphered. The soldier buried here died between 20 June 1908 and 24 October 1910.

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#119 – Lewis Moyer

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Lewis Moyer was born either in 1845 or 1847.  He died 24 October 1910, in Shamokin.  During the Civil War he enrolled at Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, and was mustered into service in Schuylkill County on 19 December 1861.  His military records are confused in that they state that he was wounded at Antietam, but then sentenced by General Court Martial for desertion.  It is reported that he re-enlisted on 1 January 1864 at Cedar Mountain, Virginia, but then he deserted again on 10 May 1864 at Spotsylvania, Virginia.  The records also state that he was mustered out with his company on 1 July 1865.  He applied for a pension based on his service in the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company H, as a Private.  The pension was not awarded.  At the time of his enlistment he was a coal miner living in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania.

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For all posts in this series, click on ShamokinSoldCircle.

The Great Shohola Train Wreck – Introduction to a Series of Posts

Posted By on April 19, 2014

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On 15 July 1864, at about 2 P.M., a train carrying 833 Confederate prisoners of war and a contingent of Union guards, collided head-on with a 50-car coal train on a single-track main line of the New York and Erie Railroad.  The collision occurred about one-and-a-half miles west of the small village of Shohola, Pike County, Pennsylvania.  The train carrying the prisoners was headed west from Jersey City, New Jersey, to the newly-established prison camp at Elmira, Chemung County, New York.  The coal train was headed east from the Hawley branch railroad and was hauling coal from the vast anthracite coal fields of central Pennsylvania to the  New York area.  It was the greatest railroad disaster of the Civil War – and to that point in time, the greatest recorded railroad disaster in history.  Forty-eight prisoners and seventeen Union guards were killed in the accident and many more were seriously wounded.

Pike County is located in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania and is separated from New York and New Jersey by the Delaware River.  The above map from 1895 has been modified to show the points of interest to the train wreck.  #1 is the point where the coal train entered the final connection on its approach to Lackawaxen where it would attempt to enter the main line of the Erie Railroad on its journey east.  #2 is the junction at Lackawaxen where the coal train entered the main line and headed east toward Shohola.  #3 is the approximate location of the collision of the coal train with the prisoner train.  #4 is the village of Shohola, the last station the prisoner train passed before the collision.  #5 is the point at which the prisoner train had to cross the Delaware River before entering Pennsylvania; note the word “Port” (to the right) is for Port Jervis, the last major station in New York.  #6 is the point at which the prisoner train was supposed to re-cross the Delaware River and re-enter New York before continuing on its way to the prison camp at Elmira, Chemung County, New York.

My personal interest in this train wreck includes the fact that for about eight years, I lived just a few miles from the site of the wreck, just north of a point noted on the map as “Big Brink Pond.”  The small “lake” just above “Big Brink Pond” is presently called “Little Twin Lake” and it was there that my home was located.  During my time in Shohola Township, Pike County, I became acquainted with George J. Fluhr, Pike County Historian, who shared with me his research on the train wreck.  George also wrote and published The Civil War Tragedy at Shohola, which remains one of the best print resources on this event.  Since those days in the years 1996-2004, I have intermittently continued my research on the incident and have have discovered some additional information which I am now pleased to share with the readers of this blog.

There is also the connection which I will make between the location of the prison camp at Elmira and the Northern Central Railroad.  This railroad ran right through Millersburg and ended at Elmira where transfer could be made to other railroads for trips north to Canada, west to the Great Lakes, and east to New York.  Those Union guards who survived the train wreck were returned to the area of Point Lookout, Maryland, by the Northern Central Railroad – not by the Erie – and for all later train-loads of prisoners to Elmira via the New York and Erie Railroad, the guards returned the same way – via Millersburg and Harrisburg to Baltimore!

The 1872 map shown below give greater detail to the area where the wreck occurred.

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Click on map to enlarge.

The numbered points on the map, #2, #3, and #4, correspond to the legend given for the first map, with #3 representing the approximate point where the two trains collided.

The point where the collision occurred, King and Fuller’s Cut, is shown in the above video, which was posted to YouTube in 2012.  The site has been slightly modified since the wreck occurred and for many years after the Civil War had double tracks but has now been returned to a single track line.  The growth of vegetation and the deterioration of the stone wall are other notable differences, but essentially the look and feel of the site lines is most likely about the same as it was in 1864.

Thus, in commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Great Shohola Train Wreck, which will occur on 15 July 2014, this series of posts is presented.  The next post will feature some of the first newspaper accounts of the tragedy.

To see all the posts in this series, click on ShoholaTrainWreck.

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The picture of the 1864 passenger train at the top of this post is from my personal files on the train wreck and was copied and enhanced from a picture post card image showing a painting in the reception room of the Travelers Insurance Company headquarters.  The original painting, oil on canvas, was by Frank J. Lefevre.  No pictures are known to exist of any of the railroad equipment involved in the wreck.

The map cuts are modified from maps available at the Pennsylvania Archives and from Pennsylvania Railroad Stations Past and Present.

The End of the Civil War Draft

Posted By on April 17, 2014

Civil War Draft Registration Records, 1863-1865, were previously featured here on the blog on 2 May 2011.

After the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox on 9 April 1865, it became increasing obvious that the draft was no longer needed to supply men for the army.

The following commentary appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, 29 April 1865:

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THE END OF THE DRAFT

For the gratification of that important portion of the adult male population which is yet upon the sunny side of forty-five years, we take great pleasure in announcing that the suspension of the draft, which was announced shortly after the capitulation of Lee’s army, is becoming more thoroughly assure.  The Provost Marshal’s department has ordered the discharge of drafted men in barracks, or who have been drawn and not yet reported.  instructions have been sent to the Surgeons of the Board of Enrollment that it is extremely probable that they will soon be honorably discharged from further official connection with the Provost Marshal’s Bureau.  They are, therefore, ordered to carefully and accurately prepare their monthly medical reports of recruits and substitutes, drafted and enrolled men, and their final report of the draft to include the 30th day of April 1865, and forward them punctually on the last day of the present month to the Provost Marshal-General’s office.  There will, therefore, soon be a diminution in the number of surgeons under employment by the Government.  The Commissioners of Enrollment, it is to be presumed, will also be soon discharged.  The Provost Marshals may remain in service longer, as they are guardians of the peace in military districts.  In New York these officers are retrenching their expenses by giving up the offices which they have rented, several of them removing to the same building.  The clerks are also being reduced in number, and it is evident that very important reductions in the expenses of the army are to be made all over the country.

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The news article on the end of the draft is from the on-line resources of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

 

The Shamokin Soldiers’ Circle – Photographs 102 – 110

Posted By on April 15, 2014

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Today’s post on the Shamokin Cemetery’s Soldiers’ Circle features nine graves in the second circle, second quadrant, beginning with photograph 102.  The photographs in this segment are numbered 102 through 110.  All of the stones in this section are sequenced in the order of the death of the veteran.  For each of the veterans, the best determination of the name is given and where possible some information about the military record.  Some errors may be noted where the information on the stone may not match other records.  Each grave photograph may be enlarged by clicking on it, and in some cases, readers may be able to identify or clarify some of the unknown information.  Comments can be added to this post or sent by e-mail to the Civil War Research Project.  The collected information on soldiers buried in the circle (including some military records, pension files, photographs, etc.) is available free-of-charge to veterans organizations, historical societies, and other non-profit groups.  Inquiries may be sent by e-mail or by regular mail, to the attention of Norman Gasbarro, P.O. Box 523, Gratz, PA  17030.

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#102 – Unreadable

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This stone is badly weathered and unreadable.  The soldier buried here died between January 1906 and January 1907.

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#103 -Daniel ——–

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The first name on this grave marker appears to be Daniel.  The rest of the stone is difficult to read.  The soldier buried here died between January 1906 and January 1907.

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#104 -Unreadable

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This stone is badly weathered and unreadable.  The soldier buried here died between January 1906 and January 1907.

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#105 – Jonathan Rumberger

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Jonathan Rumberger was born in Dauphin County on 29 September 1825.  He is also found in the records as John Romberger and Jonathan Romberger.  During the Civil War he enrolled at Lykens Borough and was mustered into service in Pottsville, 30 September 1861, in the 96th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company G, as a Private.  At the time he was working as a laborer.  On 15 February 1862, he re-enlisted at Brandy Station, Virginia.  On 15 October 1864, his company was merged into Company G of the 95th Pennsylvania Infantry.  On 13 August 1883, Jonathan Rumberger applied for pension benefits.  In 1890 he was living in Shamokin and complained of “deafness received in the war.”  After his death, his widow, Elizabeth [Snodgrass] Rumberger applied for pension benefits.  In recognition of his war service, he is named on the Pennsylvania Memorial at Gettysburg (as J. Romberger) and on the Lykens G.A.R. Monument (as Jonathan Romberger, not a member of the Heilner Post).

 

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#106 – Unreadable

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This grave marker is almost completely unreadable.  Based on the burial position in the circle, death occurred for this veteran between January 1907 and June 1907.

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#107 – William ——–

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While the first name of the veteran who is buried here appears to be William, the rest of the stone is badly weathered.  The surname could be Miller, but the middle initial is needed to identify the regiment and company as there are many of that name who served. This veteran died in 1907, prior to 26 June.

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#108 - Hawthorne Clare

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If the soldier buried here was named Hawthorne Clave, then he was born about 1831 in Scotland, and arrived in America before the Civil War began.  Two Civil War regiments have been identified for him including the 41st Pennsylvania Infantry (Emergency of 1863), Company E, where he served as a private from 1 July 1863 to 3 August 1863, and the 200th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company C, also as a Private, from 11 August 1864 through honorable discharge on 30 May 1865.    Hawthorne was married to Agnes Wright.  In 1880, he was living in Danville, Montour County, Pennsylvania.

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#109 – Henry Bordner

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This is a different Henry Bordner than had been previously identified as a Civil War soldier.  The Henry Bordner who is buried here was born 3 October 1834 and died 27 September 1907.  He first was drafted into service in the 173rd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company K, as a Private, and was mustered in on 2 November 1862.  On 24 November 1862, he was reported as “deserted.” He was caught and tried by a military commission and assigned to serve a nine month period in Company I of the 147th Pennsylvania Infantry for “time lost in the 173rd Pennsylvania Infantry.”  The Special Order  No. 151 was issued at Philadelphia on 14 December 1863.  The wife of this Henry Bordner was Ellen Ziders or possibly Mary (maiden name not yet found).  A pension application was made by Henry on 11 November 1890 and after his death, application was made for benefits for his minor children with the Guarantee Trust and Safe Deposit Company of Shamokin serving as legal guardian.  The widow also applied for pension benefits.  Care must be taken to separate the records of the two men named Henry Bordner, both of whom had Civil War service.  The other Henry Bordner served in the 177th Pennsylvania Infantry and was buried at the Marion National Cemetery in Marion, Indiana.  See: Sergeants of the 177th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company I.

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#110 – Unreadable

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This stone is badly weathered and partially sunken in the ground.  The soldier buried here died between 27 September 1907 and 11 January 1909.

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For all posts in this series, click on ShamokinSoldCircle.

 

The Shamokin Soldiers’ Circle – Photographs 93 – 101

Posted By on April 12, 2014

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Today’s post on the Shamokin Cemetery’s Soldiers’ Circle features nine graves in the second circle, second quadrant, beginning with photograph 93.  The photographs in this segment are numbered 93 through 101.  All of the stones in this section are sequenced in the order of the death of the veteran.  For each of the veterans, the best determination of the name is given and where possible some information about the military record.  Some errors may be noted where the information on the stone may not match other records.  Each grave photograph may be enlarged by clicking on it, and in some cases, readers may be able to identify or clarify some of the unknown information.  Comments can be added to this post or sent by e-mail to the Civil War Research Project.  The collected information on soldiers buried in the circle (including some military records, pension files, photographs, etc.) is available free-of-charge to veterans organizations, historical societies, and other non-profit groups.  Inquiries may be sent by e-mail or by regular mail, to the attention of Norman Gasbarro, P.O. Box 523, Gratz, PA  17030.

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#93 - John P. ——–

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Most of the lettering on this grave marker is readable, except for the surname of the veteran, who was born in December 1845 and died in November 1904.

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#94 – Daniel Fetter

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According to this grave stone, Daniel Fetter served in the 6th U.S. Cavalry, Company I.  He was born on 24 June 18– [year date is not clear] and died on 16 December 1904.  Not much else is known about him at this time.

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#95 – Israel Whary

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The name on this grave marker is Israel Whary, but he is found in the records as Weary or Wary.  Israel enrolled at Llewellyn in the 6th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company G, as a Private, and served from 22 April 1861 through his honorable discharge in July 1861.  He was mustered into service at Harrisburg. At the time of his muster, he was a miner living in Donaldson, Schuylkill County.  In 1880, Israel Whary was living in Frailey, Schuylkill County, and by 1890 he had moved to Shamokin.  In 1903 he was working as a watchman for a colliery.  On 28 November 1887, he applied for a Civil War pension.  After his death, his widow, Annette [Bressler] Whary applied on 6 March 1905.

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#96 – William ——–

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Most of the wording on this stone is readable, but because the surname is unclear, this veteran has not yet been researched.  The first name is clearly William.  Is the last name Kessler or Bressler?  This soldier probably died in mid-1905.

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#97 – William Thomas

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Many persons of the name William Thomas served in the war – as well as men named Thomas William (or  Williams).  The William Thomas buried here was born in 1827 and died on 28 September 1905.  The regiment and company in which he served has not yet been determined.

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#98 – William Blyler

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William H. Blyler ( September 1845-19 December 1905) was a resident of Gratz Borough, Dauphin County, who was working as a laborer.  He served in the 50th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company A, but was listed as a deserter on 11 May 1864 at Spottsytlvania Court House, Virginia.  Later he was found in the 16th Pennsylvania Cavalry lists for Company G and Company F.  He was married to Mary Elizabeth Beck.  The records may be confused for this individual because he used the alias “William Clinger.”  Klinger was the maiden name of his mother.  William H. Blyler was previously featured in a post on 20 April 2012.  Military records indicate that he was a printer, was born in Dawsontown, Pennsylvania, and enrolled at Camp Stoneman, Washington, D.C.  He also was credited with a re-enlistment at Blaines Crossroads, Tennessee.

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#99 – Joseph Helt

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Joseph Helt served in the 104th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company F, as a Private from 9 March 1865 through 25 August 1865.  He had enrolled and was mustered into service at Harrisburg, where declared that he had been born in Dauphin County and worked as a laborer.  In 1870, he was living in Shamokin and working as a laborer.  On 3 February 1888, he applied for an invalid pension.  In 1890, he was living in the National Soldiers’ Home in Elizabeth City (Hampton), Virginia, where it was reported that he was suffering from general debility.  Joseph’s wife’s name was Amelia E. Helt who apparently did not survive him because no widow applied for his pension.

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#100 – Charles ——–

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A difficult to read stone for a soldier named Charles who died some time between 1906 and 1907.

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#101 – Unreadable

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Another difficult to read, badly weathered stone.

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For all posts in this series, click on ShamokinSoldCircle.