Civil War Blog

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Who Was Joseph Way of Lykens and Was He a Deserter?

Posted By on December 11, 2017

The name Joseph Way appears on the Lykens G.A.R. Monument as a Civil War veterans who served as a Private, but did not join the Heilner Post.

In attempting to determine Joseph Way‘s regiment and company of service, one card in the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Card File stood out as an excellent match (shown above, from the Pennsylvania Archives).

According to information on that card, Joseph Way enrolled at Lykens, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, on 23 September 1861, in the 96th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company G and was mustered into service as a Private the same day.  This company and regiment was heavily composed of Lykens Valley men,  At the time of his enlistment, Joseph Way was a 39 year old miner (born about 1822) who stood 5 foot 5 inches tall, had black hair, dark complexion, and blue eyes.  His birthplace was given as England.  In “remarks,” it was noted that he deserted, 26 January 1863.

In addition to the location of his enlistment, the fact that this was the same company and regiment in which Henry Keiser also served, made it even more likely that the correct regiment was identified for Joseph Way, and especially so because it was Henry Keiser who supervised the compiling of the list of names that were placed on the plaque on this monument.

Henry Keiser also was known as the diarist of this company and regiment, so he should have known whether Joseph Way received an honorable discharge, or whether he was listed as a deserter.  Henry Keiser does not mention Joseph Way in the diary, and for the date in question, 26 January, 1863, Keiser made the following entry:

Did not send George’s letter off until today when I added more to it.  I sent home for a box of eatables. Wrote a letter to William.  Israel Strauser and Grimms were sent back to the regiment again.

On the day before the supposed desertion, Keiser noted that the regiment had received a whiskey ration. On the day after the supposed desertion, Keiser noted that the regiment was told to prepare for inspection.  And, the following day six inches of snow fell, which by two days later had reached a foot in accumulation.  In this time period, there was no mention of any desertions.

Sometimes, it was reported in the records that a soldier had deserted, but years later, when that soldier applied for a pension, with some difficulty, the soldier had the record corrected.  No pension application record was found for Joseph Way who served in the 96th Pennsylvania Infantry.

So, at this time, the questions remains unanswered.  Who was Joseph Way and was he a deserter?  And, if he was a deserter, why is his name on the Lykens G.A.R. Monument?



Joshua A. Wald – 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry

Posted By on December 8, 2017


Joshua A. Wald, who served in the 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company K, as a Private, from 27 February 1865 to 28 June 1865, died on 18 February 1926 in Dalmatia, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.   He applied for a pension on 11 July 1890, which he received and was collecting until his death, whereupon his widow, Alvarette [Heckert] Wald applied.  There is no record on the above card from Fold3 that she actually received the pension.  The same information is found on the Pension Index Card from Ancestry.com, shown below.

Other sources indicate that both Alvatetta, who died on 3 February 1944 and Joshua are buried at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran and Reformed Church Cemetery, Lower Mahanoy Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.

The following biographical sketch was found in the Northumberland County Biographical Annals:


Joshua Wald, son of David Wald, was born 18 August 1846, in Lower Mahanoy Township.  He received his education in the pay schools in vogue during his boyhood, first attending school in his native township and later in Juniata County.  When only eight years old he began driving a mule on the towpath of the Susquehanna Canal and after a few years commenced boating, which he followed for seventeen seasons all told, two years before his service in the Civil War and fifteen years after.

He was only a youth when he enlisted in Company K, 83rd Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry [83rd Pennsylvania Infantry], for one year’s service, but he was mustered out at the end of eight months, by reason of the war closing.  Among his active engagements were the action at Hatcher’s Run and the operations before Petersburg, besides a number of skirmishes.

Resuming civil life, he continued boating until 1878, in which he engaged in the livery business at Georgetown [Dalmatia].  After about five years in that line, he went into the lumber business, in 1884, near Sunbury, contracting for logs and ties and peeling bark, and he was thus engages for two years, in 1887, commencing farming.  That year he purchased a seventy-five acre farm at Hickory Corners, in Lower Mahahoy Township, which place he cultivated for nine years.  This farm was formerly the property of WIlliam Schaffer and is now owned by Elmer I. Radel.  In 1897, Mr. Wald settled in Georgetown [Dalmatia] where he owns a fine residence and has since lived in practical retirement, though he occasionally engages in coal digging in the Susquehanna.  He is a respected citizen and trusted by his fellow citizens, but he has never cared to undertake the duties of public office.  Politically, he is a Republican.

In 1875, Mr. Wald married Alveretta Heckert, daughter of William Heckert and Lydia J. [Favinger] Heckert, who had three children”  Alveretta Heckert; Polly Heckert, unmarried; and Henry Heckert, unmarried, who lives at Millville, Pennsylvania.

Jacob Heckert, grandfather of Mrs. Wald, was a farmer in Lower Mahanoy Township.  His children were Catherine Heckert, Mrs. George Doney; Jacob Heckert; William Heckert; and Jessie Heckert.

Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Wald:  Jennie Lucretia Wald, who died when fourteen months old; and Edward M. Wald, who died when three months old.




November 2017 Posts

Posted By on December 6, 2017

A listing of the November 2017 posts on The Civil War Blog with direct links:

Joel Veatch – Right Arm Shot Off at Elbow

George VanHouten of New Jersey & Orwin – Widows Compete for Pension

October 2017 Posts

Nathaniel Stutzman of Hegins – Buried at Arlington National Cemetery

Why Does Jacob Umholtz Have a G.A.R. Marker at His Grave in Gratz?

Obituary of Cyrus Spangler

Obituary of Isaac Uhler – Born Near Elizabethville

Dr. William H. Uhler – Lykens Dentist

Mathew A. Taylor – Halifax Native Died in Iowa in 1926

J. Theodore Thomson, Buried at Halifax, Served in New Jersey Regiments

When Did Conrad Toby Die and Where Is He Buried?

Was George Tippers a Civil War Soldier?

Death of Daniel J. Toy, Charter Member Millersburg G.A.R.

Posted By on December 4, 2017

The Harrisburg Telegraph of 12 October 1900 reported the death of Daniel John Toy, a Civil War veteran:

MILLERSBURG, 11 October 1900 — Mr. Daniel Toy died on Monday, at 3 o’clock.  The funeral on Thursday afternoon was in charge of the Rev. Isenberg, of the Reformed Church.  Mr. Toy was an old soldier.  A detail of Post No. 212, G.A.R., acted as Pall Bearers.  He was aged 54 years.  Interment in Oak HIll Cemetery.

According to information found on Ancestry.com, Daniel Toy was born in Millersburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, on 2 March 1844.  Other than his time in the war, it appears from the records that he spent his whole life in Millersburg.

On 2 March 1865, Daniel Toy enrolled in the 2nd Company A of the 101st Pennsylvania Infantry.  At the time he was 18 years old, stood 5 foot 4 inches tall, had brown hair, a light complexion, and grey eyes.  He said he was born in Dauphin County and his residence was Harrisburg.  He was mustered into service on 4 March 1865 and served until he was honorably discharged on 25 June 1865.  The card shown above is from the Pennsylvania Archives.

Some time just before 1872, Daniel Toy married Emma C. Peters, and the couple had at least six children.  Various census returns during his life time report that he was a laborer and that he worked for the railroad.

The Pension Index Card (show above from Ancestry.com, indicates the service of Daniel Toy and shows that he applied for pension benefits on 25 August 1890, which he received and collected until his death.  The widow, Emma C. Toy, applied on 4 January 1901, and also received benefits.

At the time of the founding of the Fitzpatrick G.A.R. Post in Millersburg, Daniel Toy signed as a charter member.  See: Charter.

The Millersburg community honored the service of Daniel Toy by placing his name on the plaque on the Millersburg Soldier Monument.




John J. Tobias – Obituary of a Donaldson Native

Posted By on December 1, 2017

The obituary of Civil War veteran John J. Tobias, who was born near Donaldson, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, appeared in the Mount Carmel Item, 19 February 1935:


Defender of the Union Answers “Taps” After Being Bedfast a Week; Military Funeral To Be Held on Friday Afternoon


Thinning ranks of the Grand Army of the Republic [G.A.R.], valiant wearers of the Blue during the Civil War in the days of 1861-1865, were further reduced today in Mount Carmel, when Comrade John J. Tobias, 86, answered the final call of “Taps.”

He died at seven a.m. at the family residence, North Maple Street, where he was taken bedfast just a week ago.

His death caused by infirmities brought on by advanced age, leaves only two Civil War veterans in this city, Jacob Umlauf and Charles Evert.

Comrade Umlauf by the passing of Mr. Tobias is the only surviving member of Burnside Post. No. 92, G.A.R., as Comrade Evert held affiliation with the post at Shenandoah, where he lived before becoming a resident here a few years ago.

The military funeral for Comrade Tobias is to be held Friday afternoon with services at the home at 1:30 o’clock by Rev. C. W. Fields, pastor of the First Methodist Episcopal Church.

Military arrangements for the burial will be in charge of Garfield Camp No. 34, Sons of Union Veterans, assisted by Harry Geist Post No. 91, American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Lawton Camp No. 29, United Spanish War Veterans.

Interment following the services to be made at the Mount Carmel cemetery.

John J. Tobias was born 26 June 1848, on a little farm in, Schuylkill County, near Pottsville, a son of John Tobias and Nancy [Rowe] Tobias.

At the early age of 16 while the family was living at Donaldson, also in Schuylkill County, he enlisted with Company I, 48th Regiment, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers [48th Pennsylvania Infantry].  It was his third attempt to enter the service and finally meeting with success, the youth was overjoyed.  On two previous occasions, he had been turned down on account of his tender age.

The war at the time of Comrade Tobias’ enlistment was in its last year, and with distinction he served until the end.

He saw action in the Battle of Petersburg, Virginia, 2 April 1865, was mustered out of service near Alexandria, Virginia, in July, and received his honorable discharge in Harrisburg a little later the same year.

One of Comrade Tobias’ dearest recollections was that he had seen Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States during those stormy times.  The opportunity presented itself when Lincoln reviewed the Union troops.

Returning home after his honorable discharge, Mr. Tobias was married, 8 May 1869, at Tremont, to Emma Frances Long.  It was 2 February 1882, that the couple came to Mount Carmel from Donaldson.

The union was blessed by five children, all sons, three of whom survive.

Comrade Tobias, a mine foreman by occupation, immediately took active interest in the affairs of Burnside Post of the G.A.R. upon becoming a resident of this city and he held the same enthusiasm until the end.  He was a past commander of the post.

Outside of his G.A.R. activities which he held so dear to his heart, the veteran was a member of Donaldson Lodge of the I.O.O.F. without interruption for 66 years, a member of Mount Carmel Lodge No. 376, F. & A. M., and an honorary life member of Mount Carmel Lodge No. 356, B. P. O. Elks.

He was a lifelong member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Comrade Tobias was held in reverence by all who knew him for he loved only the things in life that were good.  His was a life well-spent.

The survivors, besides Mrs. Tobias, include three sons:  Charles Fred Tobias of Mount Carmel; Horace W. Tobias of Baltimore, Maryland; Attorney Raymond B. Tobias of this city; nine grandchildren; two brothers, Walter Tobias of Branchdale and William Tobias of Pottsville; and two sisters, Margaret L. Tobias of Pottsville and Mrs. Sarah Carolan of Philadelphia.

Sons who preceded their father in death were:  Clarence E. Tobias and Herbert H. Tobias, for many years secretary of Mount Carmel Lodge of Elks and a former district official in the organization.

Besides the aforementioned survivors, Comrade Tobias leaves an uncle, Thomas Jefferson Tobias, Washington, D. C., who is 89 years of age.


News article from Newspapers.com.