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Civil War Blog

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Civil War Veteran Burials at St. Paul’s Cemetery, Tower City (Part 3 of 6)

Posted By on February 9, 2013

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(Part 3 of 6).  St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Cemetery is located in Tower City, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, at the corner of East Grand Avenue (U.S. Route 209) and North 4th Street.  At the front of the cemetery, along East Grand Avenue, is the Tower City, Porter Township and Rush Township Veterans Memorial, which was previously featured here in a series of posts with each of the name plates of the Civil War veterans from the area.  This is the last of the four major cemeteries in the Tower City area that will be examined for Civil War burials. No doubt there are other cemeteries and family cemeteries in the area where Civil War veterans were buried – some still undiscovered – but for now, the presentation of the St. Paul’s Cemetery will complete the photographic tour and brief description of each of the Tower City area veterans’ war service that began months ago and included the area memorial, Greenwood Cemetery in Tower City (5 parts), St. Peter’s U.C.C. Cemetery in Reinerton (3 parts), and the Grace United Evangelical Cemetery in Muir (2 parts).

Research continues on each of the Tower City area veterans and as a result of the analysis of the tombstone inscriptions at St. Paul’s Cemetery, some new information about them has been added to the Civil War Research Project.  But, much remains to be discovered.  Especially needed are pictures of the veterans and their families, stories, and any other information that would help in an understanding of this generation of Americans who fought to preserve the Union more than 150 years ago.  As always, the Project relies on local researchers and family members who are willing to come forward and share information about these men and their families.  By sharing the information, we increase our knowledge.

Some of the now-known information about the veterans buried at St. Paul’s Cemetery is presented with the grave marker pictures.  Links are provided to where the veteran previously was mentioned in blog post articles, and some of the past-known information is repeated.  In addition, new Project file numbers are added.  When corresponding by e-mail regarding information available on a specific veteran, it is helpful to use the file number (if known), especially in the many cases where there is more than one veteran with the same name.

Three more veterans’ graves are presented today.

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JONATHAN MILLER (about 1824-1890)

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Very little is known about Jonathan Miller (c. 1824-1890) except that he served in the 39th Pennsylvania Infantry (Emergency of 1863), Company H, as a Private, from 1 July 1863 to 2 August 1863.  The application for “government issue” headstone (above) gives his date of death as 9 February 1890.  A handwritten notation on his Pennsylvania Veterans’ Index Card (from Pennsylvania Archives, card not shown) states that he was 49 years old at time of his muster-in at Harrisburg, which would give an approximate birth year of 1824.  No Miller widow was found in the 1890 census for the area of and around Tower City and his service was too short to expect that a pension application will be discovered.  One of the difficulties in researching this veteran is that he could have gone by the name of John, and there are quite a few John Miller‘s in the Project who have yet to be completely identified.

See also:  Tower City, Porter and Rush Township Civil War Veterans – Part 13 and Tower City – Porter Township Centennial – Civil War Veterans List.  [File: CW#M172].

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PETER RHOADS (c. 1831 -1897)

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The various possible spellings of the name of this veteran are:  Peter Rhoads, Peter Roads, Peter Rhodes, and Peter Rhoades.  With the discovery of this stone for Peter Roads, a death date of 28 January 1897 has been established.  A search of the Pension Index Cards available from Ancestry.com produced a Peter Rhodes who served in the 6th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company G.  A widow’s pension application for Elizabeth Rhodes was filed on 27 February 1897, making it likely that the Peter Roads who is buried at St. Paul’s Church Cemetery in Tower City is a match with the veteran who served in the 6th Pennsylvania Infantry.  The Pennsylvania Veterans’ Index Card from the Pennsylvania Archives (not shown) gives the information that Peter Rhodes resided in Llewellyn, Schuylkill County, at the time of enlistment, was 30 years old (born about 1831), and was an engineer.

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Click on document to enlarge.

The portion of the 1880 census, shown above, locates the family in Tower City, with Peter Rhodes, age 48 (born about 1832) working as an engineer, wife Elizabeth Rhodes, age 45 (born about 1835), and son George Rhodes, age 3 (born about 1877).  There are two additional sons in the household, but with different surnames:  Lincoln Reign, age 14, and William Wood, age 12, both working as slate pickers.  The latter two sons could possibly be Elizabeth’s sons via previous marriages.

When Peter Rhodes applied for his invalid pension in 1890, he stated that his only service was in the 6th Pennsylvania Infantry.  In the 1890 census for Tower City, a Peter Rhder has been found who claimed service as a Private in the 174th Pennsylvania Infantry.  No company was given and no person has been located in the 174th Pennsylvania Infantry with a similar name.  It is possible that Peter Rhder is the same person as the Peter Rhodes who was living in Tower City in 1880 – but the regiment is not a match with the pension record.  For now, the Civil War Research Project is keeping them as two separate persons.  The file for the Peter Rhodes who is buried at St. Paul’s Cemetery is [File: CW#R074].  The file for the Peter Rhder who is named in the 1890 census is [File: CW#R072].

See also:  Tower City, Porter and Rush Township Civil War Veterans – Part 9 and Tower City – Porter Township Centennial – Civil War Veterans List.  [File: CW#R074].

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SAMUEL SCHWENK (c. 1844-1879).

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SAMUEL SCHWENK (c. 1848-1879) is one of two people with the same name from Pennsylvania.  The Samuel Schwenk named on the Tower City Memorial died before 1890 and his widow, Angeline S. Schwenk, was living in Tower City at the time of that census.  She reported that her husband served in the 151st Pennsylvania Infantry, Company I, as a Private, for a period of 9 months.  However, the Pension Index Card indicates that Angeline was the widow of Samuel Schwenk who served in the 50th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company C., without the 151st Pennsylvania Infantry mentioned.  The other Samuel Schwenk was Brigadier General Samuel Klinger Schwenk, who died in 1915 in New York City, and was on the headquarters staff of the 50th Pennsylvania Infantry.  According to Angeline, her husband died of “catharr” [probably catarrh].

Angeline S. Schwenk is buried in St. Paul’s Church Cemetery in Tower City, next to her husband Samuel Schwenk, whose “government-issue” headstone clearly states that he served in the 50th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company C, with no mention of the 151st Pennsylvania Infantry.

Partial clarification of this confusion can be found by examining the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Index Cards at the Pennsylvania Archives.  There are two cards for the 18-year old Samuel Schwenk who was a farmer and served as a Private.  One card shows that he enrolled at Schuylkill County on 15 October 1862 and was mustered into service in the 151st Pennsylvania Infantry on the 3 November 1862, Company I at Harrisburg.  A notation at the bottom of that card points to the 50th Pennsylvania Infantry.  On the card for the 50th Pennsylvania Infantry, Samuel Schwenk was credited with mustering in on 3 November 1862 at Harrisburg.  This second card gives more descriptive information about him including his height of 5 foot, 6 inches, dark eyes, dark hair and dark complexion.  The remark at the bottom of the card states that he was a recruit who entered into service in the 151st Pennsylvania Infantry, Company C, on 27 July 1863 and re-enlisting in Company C, 50th Pennsylvania Infantry, on 22 February 1864.  The card for the 151st Pennsylvania Infantry states that he mustered out of that regiment on 27 July 1863 while the card for the 50th Pennsylvania Infantry states he mustered out on 30 July 1865.  The cards do not explain why the transfer was made.  The 151st Pennsylvania Infantry was at Gettysburg, but not during the time Samuel Schwenk was a member of it; therefore his name does not appear on the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Memorial.  The 50th Pennsylvania Infantry was not at the Battle of Gettysburg and was in the area of Vicksburg, Mississippi at that time.

Another piece of confusion regarding this  Samuel Schwenk is his year of birth, which in some records is given as 1848.  The military enrollment records give his age as 18, which would mean a year of birth of about 1844.  While it was not uncommon for volunteers to lie about their age, he could have been only 14 when he enlisted rather than the 18 that he claimed.

See also:  Tower City, Porter and Rush Township Civil War Veterans – Part 10; 151st Pennsylvania Infantry – Pennsylvania Memorial at Gettysburg; Tower City – Porter Township Centennial – Civil War Veterans List.  [File: CW#S068]

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To be continued next week….

To access other parts of this series on St. Paul’s Cemetery, click here.


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