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Civil War Blog

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Honorable Discharges – 177th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company I – Part 1

Posted By on November 14, 2011

Today, the blog post will begin to feature members of the 177th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company I, who served the full term of nine months and received honorable discharges on 5 August 1863.  The research results presented here are based on preliminary data gathering on each of the members of the company and searches for Pension Index Cards that reference the pension application files that are available at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.  Some of the members of this company has been previously discussed on blog posts here and reference to those posts are provided with links.

In addition, much has already been written on Benjamin J. Evitts, the elected captain of this company (click here for previous posts on Benjamin J. Evitts).   Click here for previous posts on the 177th Pennsylvania Infantry.

The 177th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company I,was a drafted militia that served for nine months.  No member of this militia was reported injured as a result of a military act, so, theoretically, nearly all the pension applications should be post-1890, when “age” became the most significant factor for the veteran to receive a pension.  This should be reflected in the date of application on the Pension Index Card.  If the veteran died before 1890, there probably was no application made by the veteran, but it is possible that a widow applied.  In the column for “Certificate Number,” if no number appears, this would indicate that an application was made, but no pension was awarded.  If a number appears in the “Certificate Number” column, it can be assumed that a pension was awarded, although the date of the award cannot be determined from the Pension Index Card.

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JOHN BELLON (1819-1892)

John Bellon was born in Germany and In addition to serving in the 177th Pennsylvania Infantry, John also served in the 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company G, from March 1865 to June 1865, as is noted on his Pension Index Card.  He left a widow Sarah [Sarah J. Burd].  John was a miner in 1870 and 1880 and was living in Lykens Township.  In the 1890 Veterans’ Census, he only reported service in the 103rd Pennsylvania InfantryJohn Bellon is buried in St. Peter (Hoffman) Cemetery, Lykens Township, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania.

There is also a John Bellon who served in the 36th Pennsylvania Infantry (Emergency of 1863), Company C, as a Private, from 4 July 1863 through 11 August 1863, but this has to be a different person for two reasons.  First, the dates of service are concurrent with the dates of service in the 177th Pennsylvania Infantry.  Second, there is no mention of the 36th Pennsylvania Infantry on the Pension Index Card.  However, the 36th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company C, was formed of men from Gratz and the area around Gratz.  Information is sought on this other John Bellon and further research needs to be done to determine if the records of the two are co-mingled.

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ANTHONY BETZ (1822-1902)

Anthony Betz was born in Pennsylvania, the son of Benjamin Betz and Margaretha [Paul] Betz and is sometimes found in the records as Nathaniel Betz.  He served in the 177th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company I, as a Private. During his service he became sick with typhoid fever and was in the hospital at Suffolk, Virginia.  His tent mates were Eli Schaffner and Philip Klinger.  In his pension application, Anthony relates an incident where he was carried to the hospital by fellow company members William Weaver and Edmund Umholtz.  In the hospital with him at the same time were Alfred Hoover, Edward Muench, and Daniel Williard.

Anthony married Catherine Rowe and lived in Washington Township, where he worked as a carpenter and in 1880 he was found in Williamstown, where he was working as a peddler and confectioner.  According to information found in A Comprehensive History of the Town of Gratz Pennsyvlania, page 265, Anthony’s wife Catherine owned a tavern outright, unusual for a woman in the nineteenth century.  Anthony Betz also spent some time working as a saloon keeper.  Before his death in 1902, he was living with a son in Shamokin and was working as a salesman. Anthony is buried in St. John (Hill) Church Cemetery in Berrysburg.

There is confusion in the records between this Anthony Betz and another person claiming to be Anthony Betz who falsely and fraudulently applied for a pension.  The “imposter” was caught and sentenced to a jail term.  The records of that fraudulent attempt can be found in the files of the Civil War Research Project.  The notation at the bottom of the Pension Index Card of the Anthony Betz who correctly served in the 177th Pennsylvania Infantry references the fraudulent claim (see card above) and notes “not identified with” the fraudulent claim number.

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JONATHAN BORDNER (1809-1883)

Jonathan Bordner was the son of Peter Bordner and Margaret [Novinger] Bordner of Berks County, Pennsylvania.  The only record of Civil War service for him that has been confirmed is in the 177th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company I.  In 1870 he was working as a a builder and carpenter in the Berrysburg area.  Census records from 1850 in Danville, Montour County, Pennsylvania, indicate a marriage to Julianna with three children in the household:  William Bordner, born about 1844, Margaret Bordner, born about 1845, and Mary Bordner, born about 1848.  In 1880, he was living on Market Street, Lewisburg, Union County, Pennsylvania, as a boarder in the household of his daughter Margaret [Bordner] Baker and her husband, J. Thompson Baker, an attorney at law, along with several grandchildren and servants in the same household.  A Pension Index Card has not been located for him so it is assumed he had no claim of an disability that was war-related.  He died in 1883, before the pension laws were relaxed allowing for lower restrictions on pension awards.

Jonathan Bordner is buried in the Lewisburg Cemetery, Lewisburg, Union County, Pennsylvania.

The Pension Index Card for William Bordner who was previously identified by the Civil War Research Project as from the Lykens Valley area due to his enrollment at Millersburg in 1863 in the 26th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company K, is now presented as the possible son of Jonathan BornderWilliam Bordner served in two other regiments, the 131st Pennsylvania Infantry and the 194th Pennsylvania Infantry.  He enlisted in the 131st Pennsylvania Infantry at Lewisburg and in the 194th Pennsylvania Infantry at Danville.  The connection appears to be obvious in that the father, Jonathan Bordner, lived in both places.  Although more research needs to be done on William Bordner, the preliminary conclusion is that he is the son of Jonathan Bordner who was living in the Bordner household in Danville in 1850 as a 6-year old.

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DAVID BROWN (1837-1902)

David Brown was previously profiled in the post entitled,  David Brown – 177th Pennsylvania Infantry.  He is buried at the Grand View Cemetery, Pillow, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.

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The continuation of the “Honorable Discharges” of the 177th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company I, will appear on Saturday.


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