Posted By Norman Gasbarro on October 10, 2014
Following the Civil War, many Pennsylvania regiments tried to hold annual reunions of their members. One of the most successful of the Pennsylvania regiments in this regard was the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry as the following news article from the Harrisburg Patriot of 11 June 1909 attests:
FORTIETH REUNION OF NINTH CAVALRY
Flag Presented by Ladies of Duncannon in 1860 Was Carried in Parade
Special Dispatch to The Patriot.
Duncannon, 10 June 1909 — The fortieth annual reunion of the Ninth Pennsylvania volunteer cavalry was held here to-day. Owing to the inclement weather the reception exercises were held in the Methodist Episcopal Church instead of Market Square. The address of welcome was made by Israel G. Black, Esq., of Duncannon and was responded to by Captain William M. Potter of Washington, D.C. There were about 70 members of the company present. They formed in order in the Square and marched to the church promptly at 1 o’clock, headed by the Newport band.
The business meeting was held in the Knights of Pythias Hall immediately after the reception exercises were over. Next year they will meet at Penbrook. Captain William Potter delivered an interesting address in the evening.
In 1861 the ladies of Duncannon, then called Petersburg, made a large flag which they presented to Company A. After the war was over the flag was presented to the order of Odd Fellows, of this place, who prize it highly. To-day the flag was again carried by the veterans in their line of march.
Company A, of the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry, was recruited and mustered out in Duncannon [Perry County, Pennsylvania]. This company was composed of Perry and Lancaster countians. The Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry was with Sherman on his famous march to the sea, and has the distinction of having been in the last engagement of Sherman’s brigade.
The citizens had their residences decorated with bunting and flags and the town had a holiday appearance in honor of the veterans’ coming.
George Pennell, president of the association, acted with the executive committee, which is composed of J. M. Graybill, Hiram Potter and William Rodamaker, of Duncannon; William Rose, of Harrisburg; Robert Pennell, of Williamstown; B. H. Branyan and J. B. Lohr, of Millerstown, assisted by local committee in making arrangements for the entertainment of the guests.
The above article was located in an on-line newspaper search for post-Civil War activities of the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry. An interesting fact was discovered. Several of the reunions were held in Lykens Borough, Dauphin County. Although it is not known at this time where every annual reunion was held, those found in the search which mentioned Lykens are presented here.
1873 Reunion at Lykens
From the Harrisburg Patriot of 19 June 1872:
The next annual reunion of the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry will be held in Lykens on 8 June 1823.
From the Harrisburg Patriot of 28 April 1873:
The surviving members of the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry in Lykens had a meeting on Saturday for a reunion in that borough in June.
From the Harrisburg Patriot of 16 June 1873:
The following are the officers of the Society of the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry recently elected: President, Captain James Ewing; Carlisle; Vice Presidents, Comrades O. T. Hoffman, Allentown, John M. Brubaker, Halifax, and William Thomas, Lykens; Secretary, Lieutenant I. D. Landis, Coatesville; Corresponding Secretary, Lieutenant Jacob Coller, Lykens; Treasurer, Captain O. B. McKnight.
1878 Reunion at Lykens
From the Harrisburg Patriot of 6 June 1878:
Reunion of the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry.
The members of the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry from Lancaster and vicinity will leave that city on the Niagara express train at 0:35 o’clock this morning for the reunion at Lykens. They will be met here by members of the organization from this city and vicinity who will take the same train for the above named place, where the reunion will be held.
From the Harrisburg Patriot of 8 Jun 1878:
The Reunion of the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry.
Lykens, 7 June 1878 — Editor Patriot: Yesterday morning the armory of Company E, Seventy Regiment, Pennsylvania National Guard, was gaily decorated with flags, inside and on the exterior. At the entrance a large frame of spruce with the motto “Welcome Ninth,” was noticeable. Crowds of our people repaired to the depot when the noon train from the east arrived, and many soldiers who visited our borough were handsomely received and kindly treated.
At 3 o’clock p.m. the Lykens band appeared in front of the armory, while Col. Caldwell, of Shamokin, was busy inspecting Company E of the 7th Regiment, National Guard. After inspection Company E, followed by the 9th Cavalry members, and preceded by the band, marched through the principal streets. After the parade was ended a grand supper was given in honor of the visiting soldiers. After supper the visitors strolled through our flourishing borough, inspecting objects of interest.
In the evening at eight o’clock the soldiers assembled again at the hall, at the sound of the bugle, and the Lykens and Williamstown band put in an appearance and discoursed excellent music. A ball took place later in which many participated.
Yours, E. E. E.
1892 Reunion at Lykens
From the Harrisburg Patriot of 9 June 1892:
A number of our citizens will attend the reunion of the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry at Lykens on Thursday.
From the Harrisburg Patriot of 14 June 1892:
Jacob G. Enders attended the reunion of the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry at Lykens last Thursday.
1895 Reunion at Lykens
From the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader of 11 May 1895:
The Ninth Pennsylvania cavalry will hold its reunion this year at Lykens, Dauphin County, on 13 June.
Thus far only four Lykens reunions have been found, although all of the annual reunion locations have not been discovered. The following known cities played host to the reunions, with the years indicated: Carlisle, 1874; Lancaster, 1876; Mt. Joy, 1877; Mechanicsburg, 1881; Lancaster, 1882; Huntington, 1883; Duncannon, 1884; York, 1886; Altoona, 1888; Allentown, 1891; Williams Grove, 1889; Paxtang Park, 1894; Gettysburg, 1899; Mt. Holly, 1903; Hanover, 1908; Duncannon, 1909; Chambersburg, 1914; Lancaster, 1919. These cities were identified as reunion points through brief articles that appeared in either the Philadelphia Inquirer or the Harrisburg Patriot.
Lykens was a natural location to hold veteran reunions. It was the terminus of two railroads: (1) the Reading, Williams Valley Branch ended on the north side of Lykens, and from that station, travel was possible to Philadelphia and to all the points in the Reading system; and (2) the Lykens Valley Railroad, which ended on the south side of Lykens, and from that station, travel was possible to Millersburg, and there with connections on the Pennsylvania Railroad (Northern Central Railroad) both north and south in Pennsylvania – and more importantly, to Harrisburg and the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad which crossed the state from Philadelphia, through Harrisburg, to Pittsburgh and points west. Lykens was also in one of the Susquehanna River valleys where the greatest number of recruits came from. It also had decent hotels and in the latter part of the 19th Century its own G.A.R. Hall.
Additional information is sought on the reunions of the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry, particularly if they were held in Lykens. Information can be added to the comments section of this post or sent by e-mail.
News clippings are from the on-line resources of the Free Library of Philadelphia.