Civil War Blog

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The Kauffman Brothers of Minersville

Posted By on October 15, 2014

Two brothers, Jonas Harrison Kauffman (1840-1930) and Luther Samuel Kauffman (1846-1938), both associated with Minersville, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, saw service in the Civil War and following the war had successful professional careers, the older brother as a physician and the younger brother as an attorney.  Jonas H. Kauffman has also been named in two sources as a Jewish American war veteran.


In 1860, the family is found in the census for Minersville, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, with the father Samuel Kauffman, age 49, a laborer, and the mother Maria Kauffman, age 47.  Jonas Kauffman, the oldest son, is recorded as 21 years old, and his younger brother, Luther S. Kauffman as 13 years old.  Both parents are buried in the Minersville Union Cemetery, Schuylkill County, and pictures of their grave markers are posted on their Findagrave MemorialsSamuel and Maria.  The father’s occupation is difficult to decipher, and could be “surgeon’s…” or “surveyor’s…”  From the Findagrave Memorial, the mother’s maiden name is given as Heisler and this is verified as correct by other sources.

The death certificates of the two brothers confirm their parentage including the maiden name of the mother.

KauffmanJonasH-PADeathCert-001According to the death certificate, Jonas Harrison Kauffman died on 2 October 1930 at Minersville of arterial sclerosis.  At the time of his death he was age 90 years, 5 months, and one day, a widower, and by occupation a doctor, who was retired for 5 years.  The mother’s given name was not known by the informant, Lucas L. Deitz, whose relationship to the deceased was not stated.  The remains were delivered to the Mt. Peace Cemetery in Minersville for interment.




KauffmanLutherS-PADeathcertificate-001Less than 8 years after the death of his brother, Luther Samuel Kauffman died on 2 April 1938 at Upper Darby, Delaware County, Pennsylvania of cerebral apoplexy, age 91 years, 4 months, and 28 days, and a widower.  No occupation was given.  The parents’ names were given by the informant Edith Kauffman, presumably the eldest child of Luther, who never married.  The remains were delivered to Arlington Cemetery in Upper Darby for interment.




Luther Samuel Kauffman‘s Civil War record was brief and as such, he did not qualify for a pension.  His first service came during the Emergency of 1862 when he joined the militia known as the 17th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company D, as a Private, serving from 17 September 1862 through the end of the emergency when he was discharged on 28 September 1862.  His second service came during the Emergency of 1863 when he joined the militia known as the 39th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company K, as a Private, serving from 4 July 1863 through 2 August 1863.  Confirmation of this service is found in the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Card File available from the Pennsylvania Archives.

Luther’s post-war experience included marriage to a woman named Mary about 1870 and the raising of a family of at least 5 children.  At the time of the 1870 census he was working as a bank teller in Minersville.  In the 1880 census he is found in Denver, Colorado, working as a mining broker.  In 1890, he was living in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where he reported his Civil War service but indicated no disabilities were incurred from it.  From 1900 onward, he resided with his family in the Philadelphia area (Philadelphia itself as well as Upper Darby) where he worked as a lawyer.

KauffmanLutherS-PAVetBurialCard-001 According to the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Card File of the Pennsylvania Archives (available from Ancestry.com), he is recognized at his grave site for his Civil War service.






The Civil War record of Jonas H. Kauffman is more difficult to determine with any degree of preciseness because his service was supposedly on a contract basis and during the war he was a medical student who completed his formal education in 1862.  While he is found in the records of four regiments, it is unlikely that he served a full term in all of them.

KauffmanJonasH-PAVetCardFile-002At the beginning of the war, Jonas enrolled on 22 April 1861 at Pottsville as a Private in Company H, 6th Pennsylvania Infantry, and served a term of 3 months in that company and regiment.  At the time of his enrollment, he was a 21 year old medical student.  Other records of that company state that he enrolled as a 1st Lieutenant and was quickly promoted to the rank of Assistant Surgeon of the regiment, but those records could be confused with his other service.





KauffmanJonasH-PAVetCardFile-001The second service found in the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Card File from the Pennsylvania Archives is in the 128th Pennsylvania Infantry, Headquarters Staff (F & S), as an Assistant Surgeon.  At age 23, he was “mustered in” to that service on 20 March 1863 and “mustered out” on 19 May 1863, initially joining the regiment in the field at Stafford, Virginia.





KauffmanJonasH-PAVetCardFile-004The third regiment with which he was associated was the 151st Pennsylvania Infantry, Headquarters, also as an Assistant Surgeon.  At age 24, he joined the regiment in the field at Falmouth, Virginia, about one month prior to the Battle of Gettysburg, worked through that battle and its aftermath and was discharged on 27 July 1863.  The great number of casualties suffered by this regiment required a a great deal of medical attention.





KauffmanJonasH-PAVetCardFile-003The final regiment in which he actively served was the 52nd Pennsylvania Infantry, also at Headquarters, and also as an Assistant Surgeon.  This regiment was his longest continuous service which was from 31 May 1864 through 12 July 1865.





KauffmanJonasH-Gettysburg-151stPA-001For his service at Gettysburg, Jonas H. Kauffman is recognized on the Pennsylvania Memorial tablet for the 151st Pennsylvania Infantry.





KauffmanJonasH-PensionINdex-002One of the four Pension Index Cards from Fold3 is shown here at left [Note: the Fold3 version of the cards are filed by regiment and therefore there are four cards because he served in four regiments).  This card gives the four regiments which are confirmed above from the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Card File, but states that for the 6th Pennsylvania Infantry, he was a “Contracted Surgeon.”  Jonas applied for a pension on 24 June 1879 and collected benefits through his lifetime.  His death date is given as 2 October 1930 and his place of death is given as Minersville.



Some researchers suggest that Jonas H. Kauffman actually served as a surgeon for the duration of the war and that the time between the field experiences with the regiments (named above) was spent in Philadelphia attending medical school at the University of Pennsylvania (where he graduated about 1862) and working at the hospitals in Philadelphia.  In a prior blog post, a map was presented showing the location of all the Civil War hospitals in Philadelphia.  See:  Military Map of Philadelphia, 1861-1865.  At this time, this is only speculation, but it would make sense that since Philadelphia was the site of his medical education, he could have contributed his expertise in that location.

From 1870 through 1920, Jonas H. Kaufman can be found in the censuses for Minersville where he practiced medicine.  The 1930 census names him as a retired doctor.  Some time prior to 1871, Jonas married a woman named Mary and with her had at least 3 children.

One contributor to a genealogy forum indicated that after the war, Jonas H. Kauffman was a member of the Captain George J. Lawrence Post G.A.R. No. 17 of Minersville.  Another contributor stated that in 1898, he tried to join Theodore Roosevelt in Cuba.

KauffmanJonasH-JewishSoldiers-001As for his possible Jewish heritage, the two places where he has been cited are:  The Jews of Philadelphia, page 488, by Henry Samuel Morais, Philadelphia, 1894 (click on title for web page); and U.S. Civil War Jewish American Civil War Veterans, 1861-1865, a database constructed by Lynn Berkowitz from Samuel Wolf‘s The American Jew as Patriot, Soldier, and Citizen, published in Philadelphia in 1895.  The screen capture (at left) is from Ancestry.com and a full copy of the Wolf book is available as a free download from the Internet Archive.  The reliability of this latter source has been discussed on this blog in a post entitled Jewish-American U.S. Civil War Veterans.  No other sources have been located which indicate in any way that he had a Jewish background or that he practiced Judaism.  The Shappell Manuscript Foundation is researching Jewish American Civil War veterans and doing an update of the Wolf list; this was explained in the prior blog post entitled New Information on George Samuels.  Anyone with information on the possible Jewish heritage of Jonas H. Kauffman is urged to contact Adrienne Usher, at Shappell.

One additional piece of information seems to discount the idea that Dr. Jonas H. Kauffman was of Jewish origin.  It was provided by Jane Butler of Minisink Valley Genealogy and is from Volume II of Schuylkill County Pennsylvania:  Genealogy  – Family History – Biography, pages 867-868:

The Kauffmans have been in America since 1860, in which year two brothers, Jonas Kauffman and Christian Kauffman, natives of Wurtemberg, Germany, emigrated to this country.  They settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, among its early residents; some of their descendants located in the Lykens Valley, in what is not Schuylkill County, in the days when the Indians were still in possession…. Samuel Kauffman… was born in the Lykens Valley, Schuylkill County, and lived and died in what is now known as Hubley Township, this county.  He was a Whig in politics, in religion a devout Lutheran.  A family of eight children, six sons and two daughters, was born to him and his wife, whose maiden name was Klueger or Klinger….  Emanuel Kauffman, who was engaged as a merchant for some time and subsequently went West, served in the Civil War, and received promotion to the rank of captain before his death, which was caused by typhoid fever….

Samuel Kauffman, son of Samuel, was one of the foremost men in Schuylkill County in his day.  As a business man he was widely acquainted through his long connection as cashier with the First national Bank of Minersville, and he was also a civil engineer of note, in that capacity laying out most of the town of Minersville.  He also served one term as county commissioner, and represented this district in the lower branch of the State Assembly.  His death occurred at Minersville, when he was seventy-six years old.  Mr. Kauffman married Maria Heisler, a daughter of George Heisler, and they became the parents of five children: Cecelia H. Kauffman, now deceased…; Dr. Jonas H. Kauffman, a prominent resident of Minersville; Luther S. Kauffman, a successful attorney of Philadelphia; George Kauffman, who died in infancy; and Samuel Kauffman, deceased.

Stating that the grandfather of Dr. Jonas H. Kauffman was a “devout Lutheran” does not refute the possibility that there were Jewish origins in this family and that some of the descendants returned to the Jewish faith.

Jane Butler‘s interest in Dr. Jonas H. Kauffman is related to a blog post she wrote on Company B of the 151st Pennsylvania Infantry, An Imperishable Fame, in which she told of the number of Pike County Pennsylvanians who were wounded or killed at Gettysburg.  Most likely, Jonas Kauffman, as Assistant Surgeon of the regiment, would have been involved in the treatment and care of some or many of them.


KauffmanJonasH-USDeceasedPhysicians-001Three reference cards have been found for Jonas H. Kauffman on Family Search from a database of American physicians.  The cards confirm his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania in 1862, his date of death as 2 October 1930, and his cause of death – and add that he had also had fractured his hip, which contributed to his death.





The grave marker for Jonas H. Kauffman is found at the Mount Peace Cemetery, Minersville, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. Only his first service as a Contract Surgeon is named on the stone.  More information about Jonas and his family can be found at his Findagrave Memorial.










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