Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Gratz Family Civil War Stories

Posted By on August 9, 2010

Some interesting stories discovered about the Gratz family…

Lt. Louis A. Gratz, who we thought was a member of the Gratz family, and who served in the 9th PA Cavalry, Co. B, was an immigrant arriving around 1860 and probably had no connection to the Gratz family of Philadelphia. When he suddenly left the 9th PA and joined a Kentucky Cavalry unit as a Major, he did so under suspicious circumstances just after he was involved in the accidental death of a member of the 9th PA Cavalry, Co. B – which was composed mostly of members from the Lykens Valley.

Benjamin Gratz Brown,(Civil War soldier, wartime U.S. Senator and later Governor of Missouri), was a cousin of Theodore Gratz of Gratz, PA.  In 1872, he ran for Vice President on the Democratic ticket with Horace Greeley.  The town of Gratz, KY, is named for Gratz Brown – the only other community in the United States named for a member of the Gratz family.

Rebecca Gratz of Philadelphia, of Ivanhoe fame, and the sister of Simon Gratz (after whom Gratz PA is named), tried to offer her services as a nurse during the war, but was rejected because of her advanced age.  She spent the war writing letters to her nephews who were fighting on both sides. Rebecca and her brother Simon had become estranged, possibly because of religious differences, and she knew little or nothing about Theodore’s family who were living in Gratz, PA, so she did not know that one of her nephews, John Gratz (son of Theodore) had died in the war. The Civil War Research Project has copies of the letters John Gratz sent to his mother.  John died Jan. 26, 1862 at Camp Northumberland, Virginia.  He was a member of the 96th PA, Co. G.

Cary Gratz, also a cousin of the local Gratz family, was born in Lexington, KY, and fought in the 1st Missouri Regiment (Union) as a Captain.  He was killed in the battle at Wilson’s Creek, MO.  Ironically, his step brother Joseph O. Shelby was a Confederate General who fought in the same battle!  At the time, neither knew of the involvement of the other.


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