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The Ditty Brothers of Millersburg & Elizabethville

Posted By on November 7, 2012

Three Ditty brothers of Millersburg and Elizabethville, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, answered the call to service in the Civil War.  The family was profiled in the Commemorative Biographical Enyclopedia of Dauphin County, by William Henry Egle, published by J. M. Runk and Company of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, 1896:

Joseph Franklin Ditty, was the son of John Ditty and Catherine [Woodside] DittyDavid Ditty, his paternal grandfather, married Anna Osmond, by whom he had six children:  Andrew Ditty; John Ditty; Joseph Ditty; Mary Ditty; and David Ditty; all are deceased excepting Joseph.   John Ditty, father of Joseph F. Ditty, was born at Millersburg, and removed to Elizabethville, where he engaged in mercantile business.  He was a candidate for the office of Justice of the Peace at Elizabethville, on an independent ticket, was elected by a large majority, and re-elected for several terms, being recognized as an efficient and conscientious public servant.  He removed to Millersburg in 1860, and died 6 January 1861, aged 48 years, 8 months, and 16 days.   His wife Catherine [Woodside] Ditty was a daughter of Thomas Woodside and Mary [Yeager] Woodside; she is also deceased.  They had seven children:  William Theodore Ditty, married Miss Lydia Houpt, served in the United States Army for nine months, re-enlisted and served three years, was taken prisoner and confined in Libby Prison and at Andersonville for over eleven months, and liberated at the close of the war, was promoted to Corporal and then to Sergeant; Anna Mary Ditty, received her education in the public schools of her native place; Isabella Ditty, wife of William Dent; John Peter Ditty, enlisted in Company B, 26th Illinois Volunteer Infantry [26th Illinois Infantry], died in the hospital at Keokuk, Iowa, aged 17 years; Thomas Milton Ditty, married Rebecca Taylor, also served in the United States Army over two years; Charles Frederick Ditty, died aged about  24 years; and Joseph Franklin Ditty.

Joseph Franklin Ditty served as apprentice of two and a half years at moulding, with Foster, Savidge & Company, and worked at the trade as a journeyman for a short time.  Later he was occupied with various kinds of work.  He is at present in the retail tobacco business in Millersburg.  He resides with his sister Anna Mary Ditty, and they occupy a beautiful modern dwelling in that town.  Mr. Ditty is a member of Castle No. 332, K. of G. E. at Millersburg.  His political views are democratic.  His sister and he attend the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Thomas Woodside, maternal grandfather of Mr. Ditty, was a soldier in the war of 1812,  He married Mary Yeager, and their children were:  Jacob Woodside, married Hannah Rumberger; John Woodside, married Mary M. Lark; Leah Woodside, wife of Henry Straub; Daniel Woodside, married Hannah Buffington; Catherine Woodside, wife of John Ditty; Joseph Woodside, married Hetty Laird; Margaret Woodside, wife of Joseph Schnell; Mary Woodside, wife of Jarius Mason; Thomas Jefferson Woodside, married the widow of A. M. Johnson.


As stated in the biographical encyclopedia, the three brothers who served in the Civil War were:


According to the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Burial Card from the Pennsylvania Archives, William Theodore Ditty served in the 173rd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company H, and the 184th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company C.  Other records show his service dates in the former regiment as 3 November 1862 through 17 August 1863 as a Corporal, and in the latter regiment as 12 May 1864 through 30 June 1865 as a Sergeant.  He was captured at Petersburg during the latter tour of duty and held as a prisoner of war from 22 June 1864 through 21 April 1865.  There is also a possibility that William Theodore Ditty served in the 6th Pennsylvania Infantry (Emergency of 1863), Company G, as a Private from the 14 September 1862 through 28 September 1862, although it is not confirmed in the pension records (below).

For his Civil War service, William Theodore Ditty applied and received an invalid pension with the early application date of May 1880.  This early application at age 41 is an indication that his disability was directly connected to his war service – probably connected to his time as a prisoner.  An 1890 census record has not yet been located for him.  When he died in 1900, his widow, Lydia [Houpt] Ditty, received support as a result of his service.

William Theodore Ditty is buried in the Old Lutheran Cemetery, Gowan City, Northumberland County, Pennsyvlania.


JOHN PETER DITTY (1845-1862)

Click on document to enlarge.

The death of John Peter Ditty was recorded in a register of deaths of U.S. volunteers that occurred as a result of the Civil War.  He died at a hospital at Keokuk, Iowa, at the age of 17, of enteritis.  John Peter Ditty’s service was in the 26th Illinois Infantry, Company B, as a Private.  He enlisted on 15 August 1861.  It is not known at this time why he served in an Illinois regiment instead of a Pennsylvania regiment.

In 1864, John Peter’s mother, Catherine Ditty, applied for and eventually received a pension for the service of her son.  She was a widow as a result of the death of her husband, John Peter’s father, in 1861 (see Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia of Dauphin County – above).

There is some confusion as to where John Peter Ditty is buried.  One record indicates burial at the Keokuk National Cemetery in Keokuk, Iowa.  Another record indicates burial at Oak Hill Cemetery in Millersburg.



The first enlistment of Thomas Milton Ditty was believed to be in the 26th Pennsylvania Infantry (Emergency of 1863), Company K, as a Private.  The Pennsylvania Veterans’ Index Card (above) shows entry into service at Millersburg on 20 March 1863 as a Private, with promotion to Corporal.  However, the record also indicates that he was “missing since 26 June 1863.”  There is most likely an error on this card since the enrollment date given is after the muster in date and since this regiment was of the Pennsylvania militia called into service for the 1863 emergency, it is the March date that is probably incorrect.

Click on picture to enlarge.

If Thomas Milton Ditty served in the 26th Pennsylvania Infantry (Emergency of 1863), Company K, his service is not noted on the Pennsylvania Memorial at Gettysburg (above).

When Thomas Milton Ditty applied for an invalid pension in December 1898, he only gave his service as the 184th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company C.  Service records show that was a 1st Sergeant in that regiment/company, was later commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, and served from 12 May 1864 through 30 June 1865.  Curiously, the application for a pension was late, especially considering that in 1890, he reported that he lost a finger in the war.  This disability may have qualified him earlier than the 1898 date at which he applied.  More research is needed to determine both the circumstances of his early militia service as well as his service record in the 184th Pennsylvania Infantry.

When Thomas Milton Ditty died in 1922, his wife Rebecca [Taylor] Ditty applied for and received his pension.  He is buried in the Shamokin Cemetery, Shamokin, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.


The Ditty brothers who served in the Civil War are shown below in the Census of 1850 and the Census of 1860.  In 1850, the family was living in Washington Township, Dauphin County – just outside Elizabethville, and in the 1860 Census, they were living in Millersburg.

Census of 1850. Click on image to enlarge.

Census of 1860. Click on image to enlarge.

The youngest brother, Joseph Franklin Ditty (1849-1934), remained in Millersburg all his life, operated a tobacco shop there, never married, and lived with his sister Anna Mary Ditty, who also never married.  He was too young to enlist in the Civil War.

It is difficult to understand why, with the three Ditty brothers who served in the Civil War – one of whom died in the war and is possibly buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Millersburg, the brothers are not recognized on the Millersburg G.A.R. Monument – particularly since a brother and sister were living in Millersburg at the time the monument was erected.  There are two “Ditty” names on the monument (see above).  The “D. D. Ditty” named is most likely Dalles David Ditty and the “J. B. Ditty” is yet to be specifically identified – but is probably a Joshua Ditty who is buried in Halifax United Methodist Cemetery – unless the “B” is in error, and should be “J. P. Ditty” – which would indicate that the memorial did recognize the service and death of “John Peter Ditty“, but got his name wrong.


Additional information is sought on the Ditty brothers – including pictures and stories.  These may be submitted by commenting on this post, or by sending items to the Civil War Research Project via e-mail.

The Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia of Dauphin County, is available from the Internet Archive as a free download (click here).  Pension Index Cards are from Ancestry.com and reference records available in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.  Pennsylvania Veterans’ Index Cards are from the Pennsylvania Archives.  Registers of Volunteer Deaths are available through Ancestry.com.



2 Responses to “The Ditty Brothers of Millersburg & Elizabethville”

  1. Patricia says:

    I love searching for and reading about our ancestors. There are so many interesting stories out there yet to be told. And it is nice that some people want to recognize and honor our civil war veterans. Like Civil War Emporium does on its facebook page. (They want people to post about their civil war ancestors). So I can see why this article was written, but I am afraid that I cannot help you with the Ditty problem, except to point you to another source of potential information. Civil War Emporium carries genaology books on CDs. Perhaps that can help.

  2. Charlie says:

    I am trying to find out whether Charles Frederick Ditty, who died in 1878, was ever married to Margaret Jenkins of Shamokin County, PA. Margaret Ditty is listed in the 1880 census as living with her parents, Morgan and Maria Jenkins, widowed, with a two year old daughter, Eleanor. Eleanor was my mother’s great-aunt. My mother’s father was born to Margaret Jenkins’s second marriage, to Herbert Hobbs. Another of their daughters continued to live in the family home together until Eleanor’s death in 1962 — neither of them ever married.

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