Civil War Blog

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The Brothers Thomas Vanaman, George Vanaman and David Vanaman

Posted By on December 2, 2012

In a section describing John A. Sipe, found in the Genealogical and Biographical Annals of Northumberland County Pennsylvania  (1911), pages 627-628, no less than ten Civil War veterans are mentioned in his extended family.  John A. Sipe was a merchant tailor who had a post-Civil War business that centered in Herndon, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, but operated in the rail and river corridor from Millersburg to Sunbury.

In a post two days ago, the full biographical entry was presented along with follow-up information about the military service of John A. Sipe, his father, Jacob Sipe, and his uncle, Jeremiah Sipe.  In the post yesterday, Jacob Henry Sipe, the brother of John A. Sipe, and William Ickes, the half-brother of John A. Sipe, were presented.   In the post today, the three Vanaman brothers’ service in the Civil War will be noted; David Vanaman, George Vanaman and Thomas Vanaman were brothers of John A. Sipe‘s wife, Eva [Vanaman] Sipe.  Finally, in the post on Tuesday, the two other brothers-in-law of John A. Sipe, Monroe Chronster and Hiram M. Jacobs will be presented.



David Vanaman, about whom little is known except that he was the brother of Eva [Vanaman] Sipe (wife of John A. Sipe), was born about 1844 and is found in the 1870 Census (above) for Greenwood Township, Perry County, Pennsylvania, as a soldier, living with his parents, George Vanaman and Annie Vanaman.  His brothers, George Vanaman and Thomas Vanaman are also in the same household.  The portion of the census page is from Ancestry.com.

A Pension Index Card, found on Fold3, is possibly for the David Vanaman who was Eva [Vanaman] Sipe‘s brother.  This card indicates service in the 21st Pennsylvania Infantry, Company G, and another record notes that this service was as a Private.  However, no dates of service (muster in through muster out) have yet been located.  If this is the correct regiment, then it can be noted that David Vanaman died on 26 February 1929 in Ocean View, New Jersey.  However, additional proof is needed.  Perhaps a reader has obtained this particular pension file and can confirm or reject this conclusion.  At this time, an 1890 Veterans’ Census, which could confirm a specific regiment, has not been located for David Vanaman nor has an 1910 Census (which could confirm veteran status in the Union army).


GEORGE VANAMAN (1846-1922)


George Vanaman, brother of Eva [Vanaman] Sipe, was born about 1846 in Juniata County, Pennsylvania and died on 6 July 1922 at an Old Soldiers’ Home in Battle Creek, Michigan.  During the Civil War, he served in the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company I, as a Private.  He first enrolled at Philadelphia and then was mustered in on the 17 February 1864.  At the time of his enrollment, he was living in Liverpool, Perry County, Pennsylvania, and working as a farmer.  His physical characteristics included a height of 5′ 3″, brown hair, hazel eyes, and dark complexion.  He said he was 18 years old.  Just prior to the Civil War (1860) he was found in the household of Daniel Stephens, a farmer in Oliver Township, Perry County, where he was employed as a servant.

On 17 June 1865, he was transferred to the 2nd Pennsylvania Provisional Cavalry, from which he was discharged on 7 August 1865.  Post war census records place him in Michigan where he was married to a woman named Mary and was working as a farmer.  By 1889, he was sufficiently disabled to apply for a pension, which he received for the remainder of his life.  In 1890, the nature of his disability – sun stroke, a wound in his foot, and loss of speech – was reported to the census.  In 1910 his source of income was his pension and he had a new wife, also named Mary.  Some time afterward he enter the Old Soldiers’ Home at Battle Creek, Michigan.  A home record has not yet been located, so it is not known if he had any survivors.  In any event, there was no widow’s pension application.  George Vanaman is buried in Woodland Memorial Park, Woodland, Barry County, Michigan.


THOMAS VANAMAN (about 1844-about 1906)

Thomas Vanaman, the third brother of Eva [Vanaman] Sipe, who is said to have served in the civil War, was born about 1844.  from the information in the Annals of Northumberland County, only one of the brothers served in the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry, but this statement appears to be in error according to the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Index Card and the Pension Index Card found for Thomas Vanaman.  The first card (above) shows that Thomas entered the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry at the same time as his brother George.  However, Thomas Vanaman was tried by court martial and found guilty of desertion at Alexandria, Virginia, for which he was required to pay a penalty and all allowances due and $10 per month of pay for one year.   At the time of enlistment, Thomas Vanaman was 20 years old and was 5′ 11″ tall.  He had black hair, black eyes, and a light complexion.  His occupation was not stated.  Like his brother, he transferred to the 2nd Pennsylvania Provisional Cavalry near the end of the war.  Apparently, he paid his penalty for the desertion and received an honorable discharge, because when he applied for a pension in 1890, the record shows that he received a pension – and after his death, which probably occurred around 1906, his widow Mary applied and she received his benefits until her death.

After living in Perry County for a time after the war and working as a laborer, Thomas Vanaman moved to Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. where he lived in 1890.  His service in the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry was reported in 1890, with no war-related disabilities mentioned.  In 1900, still in Wilkes-Barre, he was working as a coachman.  His exact date of death and place of burial have not yet been ascertained.



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