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Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

The Machamer Boys of Wiconisco

Posted By on November 10, 2012

The names of four members of the Machamer family appear on the Lykens G.A.R. Monument which is located on North Second Street in the Borough of Lykens, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.  The four men are:  Henry Machamer, Isaac Machamer, Israel Machamer and David Machamer  The Machamer family had roots in Wiconisco.

HENRY MACHAMER (1836-1862)

It is possible that the Henry Machamer who is buried at the Asylum Burial Grounds in Washington, D.C. (stone pictured above), is the same Henry Machamer who is named on the Lykens G.A.R. Monument.  However, this needs further confirmation.  Working against the conclusion that it is the same person is the fact that there is no mention on the Lykens G.A.R. Monument that Henry died during the war.   This Henry Machamer served in the 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company L, as a Private, enrolling and mustering in at Baltimore (see card below) and he supposedly died at the Military Asylum Hospital.

Not much more is known about him.   No Pension Index Card has been located and no other person of a similar name has been found as an enrollee in a Pennsylvania or Regular Army regiment.  The picture of the grave marker was located in Ancestry.com.

Records on Ancestry.com indicate that Henry Machamer was born in Wiconisco.

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ISAAC MACHAMER (about 1840 – 1864)

Isaac Machamer was killed in the Civil War.  There are two conflicting death dates in the records – 6 June 1864 and 11 June 1864.  He is buried in the Hampton National Cemetery, Hampton, Virginia.  The grave photo is from Ancestry.com.

Isaac Machamer was mustered into the 55th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company B, as a Private on 17 September 1861.  He died as a result of wounds received at Bermuda Hundred, Virginia.  Isaac’s enrollment took place in Berks County, Pennsylvania and he was mustered in at Harrisburg.  At the time, he was 21 years old, was a resident of Berks County, and was working as a laborer.  Well after his death was made known to his family, his mother Esther Machamer applied for survivor benefits (card below).

As is noted from the Pension Index Card, the mother’s application did not occur until 1875.  One of the reasons for this late application was that Isaac’s father, Charles “Karl” Machamer (who was the chief supporter of his mother) died in 1870.  Isaac’s mother’s maiden name was Esther “Hettie” Fisher.   Records in Ancestry.com indicate that Isaac was born in Wiconisco.

Isaac Machamer‘s name is spelled “Mauchmer,” “Mauchamer,” MacKnorr”, and “Macher” in various war and civil records.

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ISRAEL MACHAMER (1832-1868)

Israel Machamer, who is also found in the records as Isreal Mogherman, is buried in the Calvary Methodist Cemetery in Wiconisco.  He was born on 19 July 1832 and died 21 April 1868.  During the Civil War he served in the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company B, as a Private.  he was married to Carolyn Fisher.  He was previously featured in a blog post on the cemetery where he is buried (click here).

As shown on the Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card, Israel Machamer enrolled in the military at Lykens in September 1861 and mustered into service in Harrisburg on 7 October 1861.  At the time, he was a 28 year old laborer with residence in Dauphin County.  At the end of his three year term, 24 December 1864, Israel was given the option to re-enlist, but he chose instead to accept an honorable discharge.

It should be noted here that there is another Israel Machamer (1819-1878) who is buried in Shamokin, Northumberland County.  The two should not be confused.

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DAVID MACHAMER (about 1841 – 1883)

As can be seen from the Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card (above), David Machamer, who was 20 years old in 1861 when he enrolled in the 96th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company G, at Lykens as a Private, was born in Berks County, Pennsylvania.  During the war he was captured and held as a prisoner, but the Pennsylvania Archives card does not give a date.  His discharge was on a Surgeon’s Certificate of Disability.  Other records indicate that the date of that discharge may have been 5 December 1864.

The Pension Index Card for the David Machamer who served in the 96th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company G, notes that he applied for a pension in 1864 and the application was successful – apparently connected to serious wounds received.  The date his widow Mary Ann applied was in 1890 indicating that David died either in 1890 or before.  She received a widow’s pension which she collected until she died.  Another Pension Index Card, available from Fold3, gives David Machamer‘s death date as 7 July 1883 with the notation that a “minor supplement” was given to his widow.  This meant that at the time of David’s death, he had minor children under the age of sixteen who received support.  It is not known why Mary Ann, whose maiden name was Gehr, waited until 1890 to apply for a widow’s pension.

The 1890 Veterans’ Census for Philadelphia notes that Mary Ann was a widow, that David served in the 96th Pennsylvania Infantry, and that he was taken prisoner at Spotsylvania, Virginia.  David Machamer is said to be buried in the Glenwood Cemetery in Philaldelphia, although his grave marker has not yet been photographed.

At this time, research is still ongoing on David Machamer and anyone with information about him is urged to contact the Civil War Research Project (click here).

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There is no definite confirmation that all four of these men were brothers although there is the possibility that they were.  The certain connection with Wiconisco (and Lykens) is that Israel Macherman was buried in Wiconisco and he served in the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry, a regiment composed heavily of men from in and around Lykens.  One of those men, William Thomas, was a diarist of the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry and his diary was the basis of the book Yankee Cavalrymen.  All were said to have been born in Wiconisco.

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Pension Index Cards are from Ancestry.comPennsylvania Veterans’ File Cards are from the Pennsylvania Archives.


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