Civil War Blog

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Rev. Milton H. Sangree – Former Salem Pastor?

Posted By on December 18, 2013


Two portraits of Rev. Milton H. Sangree have been recently discovered in a file folder.  Attached (with a paper clip) to the portraits was a note stating the following:  “Keep these… think he may be a former Salem Church Pastor.”

There are several churches in the Lykens Valley area with the name “Salem”, so it is not clear which church the writer of the note was referring to.  However, after researching the life of Rev. Sangree, it became clear that he served as a soldier in the Civil War and that he was connected to Harrisburg. His obituary, which appeared in the Harrisburg Patriot of 19 October 1911 gave a good account of his career:

SangreeMiltonH-Patriot-1911-10-19-001PASTOR SANGREE YIELDS TO DEATH

Reformed Clergyman Was Lovable Man, With Many Friends


After a long illness, the Rev. Milton H. Sangree, a retired Reformed clergyman and a fisher of men whose creel hung heavy with results, died of angina pectoris at his residence, 1219 State Street, yesterday morning at daybreak.   A few hours before he had asked a member of the household for a drink of water.  This brought, he sank into a slumber from which he never woke.  A daughter found him dead at 6 o’clock.

The circle of sound friendship what surrounded Mr. Sangree comes to few men.  His friends were many and they were true.  Meeting the man meant friendship:  knowing him meant lasting loyalty.  His funeral Friday is expected to be largely attended.

Funeral Services

Services will be held from the family residence at 1:30 o’clock in the afternoon.  Later more extended services will be held in the Reformed Church, Sixteenth and Market Streets, the church Mr. Sangree founded as a mission years ago.  The Rev. Dr. Ellis N. Kremer, pastor of Reformed Salem Church, a close friend of the dead clergyman, and Rev. Homer S. May, pastor of the Fourth Church, will officiate.  Interment will be made in Paxtang Cemetery.

Mr. Sangree was a soldier, a member of Post 58, G.A.R., whose members will assist at the service and extend full military honors, including a salute over the grave.  Honorary pallbearers selected yesterday are Judge Kunkel; Edwin C. Thompson, a member of the Board of Public Works; the Rev. George S. Chambers, Pastor of Pine Street Presbyterian Church; the Rev. M. P. Hocker, pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Steelton; Professor George F. Mull of Lancaster; and the Rev. Dr. John C. Bowman of the same city.

Born 79 Years Ago

Mr. Sangree, who was 79 years old, was born in Washington County, Maryland, 2 November 1833.  His father was Abraham B. Sangree; his mother Martha Triffle Sangree.  His parents traced their ancestry to Switzerland and were supposed to have been descendants f French Protestant refugees.

At the age of four he moved with his parents to what later became the well-known Sangree farm at McConnellstown, Huntington County.  He started public schools there, later entering Tuscarora Academy.  Afterwards he taught for 11 years and then traveled in the West.

Mr. Sangree was married in 1856 to Miss Jane E. Henderson.

War Service

On his return from the West, Mr. Sangree enlisted in February 1865 in Company K, Seventy-Eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers [78th Pennsylvania Infantry] and was promoted to Second Lieutenant and served in Tennessewe, and was discharged in September 1865.  He was detailed for post duty at Nashville, Tennessee.  Later he was superintendent of oil interests in Venango County, Pennsylvania.

About this time his mind turned toward the ministry.  He pursued a thorough course of study at Mercersburg for three years.  This course he completed in 1871, when he was ordained to the office of the holy ministry.  He was financial agent of Mercer College one year and was then called to be pastor of the Reformed Church at Bloody Run, now Everett, Pennsylvania, which was a missionary field of large extent.  Here he remained for seven years and accomplished valuable results in gathering people the people and organizing the work.  His next charge was at the Water Street Church, Huntington, in 1879, which he held for five years, and in 1884, went to Arendtsville, Adams County, Pennsylvania.

Charge at Steelton

In 1889, the Rev. Mr. Sangree came to Steelton, where he found a wide and important field for mission work, and where he built up a large and flourishing congregation and erected a handsome church.

After four and a half years of work in Steelton the Rev. Mr. Sangree came to Harrisburg, where he established the Fourth Reformed Church, at Sixteenth and Market Streets, and later through his efforts erected a church.  After a pastorate of thirteen years he resigned, that a young man could take charge.

Through urgent requests the Rev. Mr. Sangree became pastor of the Sabillasville Charge and resided at Highfield, Maryland.

The degree of Master of Arts, which honor he received with characteristic modesty, was given him by Mercersburg College in 1875.

In addition to the widow, the survivors are the Rev. H. H. Sangree, Philadelphia; Mrs. Frances Fahrney and Miss Margaret Sangree, Harrisburg; Dr. Chalmers Sangree, New York; Mrs. Hope Kaufman, of Steelton; Allen Sangree, a well-known writer, New York, who has been at home for some weeks; and George H. Sangree, Harrisburg.

According to information on Ancestry.com family trees, Rev. Sangree was married to Jane E. Hudson, who was born 4 September 1933 in Pennsylvania, and died in Harrisburg on 20 November 1918.

Milton H. Sangree‘s military record is confirmed through his Pennsylvania Veterans’ Index Card which is found at the Pennsylvania Archives:


At the time of his enlistment in the 78th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company K, as a Private, at Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, Milton H. Sangree was working as a clerk, he stood 5 foot-5 inches tall, had dark complexion, dark hair, and grey eyes.  He gave his birthplace as Washington, D.C.  Also noted on the card is his promotion to 2nd Lieutenant on 2 March 1865, the rank at which he was honorably discharged, 11 September 1865.

The second portrait of Milton H. Sangree (shown below) was from a newspaper clipping that appeared in an unknown newspaper at the time of his death.


It is still not known if Rev. Sangree had a connection to any of the Salem churches in the Lykens Valley area.

Allen Luther Sangree (1878-1924), the son of Rev. Sangree, was a correspondent during the Boer War in South Africa and he also covered other world events as a journalist at the turn of the century.   His work appeared in Collier’s Weekly, Cosmopolitan, Saturday Evening Post, New York World, McClure’s Magazine, and other popular periodicals of the day.  He also was well-known as a writer about baseball, authoring The Jinx: The Stories of the Diamond (1911), one of the books that helped to establish the “literature” of baseball.  Allen Sangree was a graduate of Gettysburg College.


The obituary of Rev. Sangree is from the on-line resources of the Free Library of Philadelphia.


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