Civil War Blog

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Cassius Mars – Founder of Stevens Post in Harrisburg

Posted By on February 6, 2015


On 8 April 1914, the Harrisburg Patriot reported that Cassius Mars had died:


Cassius Mars, aged 71 years, a Civil War veteran, died Monday at his home, 1201 North Fourth Street, after a few days’ illness, of pneumonia.  He was a charter member of David R. Stevens Post No. 520, Grand Army of the Republic, and also a trustee of the Harris A. M. E. Zion Church.  He is survived by one sister, Mrs. Mollie Briar, and one daughter, Mrs. Maggie Warren.  Funeral Thursday afternoon at 2 o’clock from the Harris A. M. E. Zion Church, the pastor, the Rev. I. B. Turner, assisted by the Rev. W. H. Marshall, officiating.  Interment will be made in Lincoln Cemetery.

The Harrisburg Telegraph was first in reporting his death in its 7 April 1914 edition:



Another Old soldier is Mustered Out.

Cassius Mars, in his 70th year, died at noon yesterday at his residence, 1201 New Fourth Street, of pneumonia.  He was ill only a few days.  As a soldier of the Civil War, Mr. Mars had an enviable record.  He was a charter member of David R. Stevens Post, No. 520, Grand Army of the Republic, and also a trustee of Harris African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.  He was long employed at the Blough Brothers manufacturing plant.  Surviving him are his sister, Mrs. Mollie Briar, and one daughter, Mrs. Maggie Warren.  Mr. Mars lived here nearly fifty years.  He will be buried at 2 o’clock, Thursday afternoon from Harris African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.  The Revs. I. B. Turner and W. H. Marshall will officiate.  David R. Stevens Post, James M. Auter, commanding, will attend the services.  Burial will be made in Lincoln Cemetery.


MarsCassius-PADeathCert-001 According to his death certificate, Cassius Mars was born in Harrisburg, 18 July 1844, the son of Samuel Mars and Mary [Gruple] Mars, both of whom were born in New York.  At the time of his death, his occupation was custodian.





MarsCassius-PAVetCardFile-001In the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Index from the Pennsylvania Archives, Cassius Mars’ service was located under “Marrs”.  He served in the 41st U.S. Colored Troops, Company D.  According  to other military records, he was mustered in at Harrisburg on 17 September 1864 as a Private, sent to Camp William Penn in Philadelphia, later promoted to Corporal on 1 July 1865, and finally mustered out at Brownsville, Texas, on 30 September 1865, which was at the end of his one year term of service.




MarsCassius-Military-003From Card #3 in the military records of Cassius Mars, at the time of enrollment, he stated that he was 20 years old and was born in York, Pennsylvania.    His complexion was light, his hair was black, and his eyes were brown.  He stood 5 foot, 9 inches tall.  The record card is from Fold3.  All told, there are 12 cards in his file.  A search of Fold3 for the available Pension Index Cards for the 41st U.S. Colored Troops did not locate any cards for Company D.




MarsCassius-PensionIndex-001However, a Pension Index Card was located on Ancestry.com.  That card shows that on 17 November 1890, Cassius H. Mars applied for a pension based on his Civil War service – which he received and collected until his death.





MarsCassius-Census1900-001In 1900, Cassius Mars, his wife Flora Mars, and his daughter Margatta Mars, were living in Harrisburg.  At that time he was working as a day laborer and his wife was working as a laundress.  He and his wife had been married for 14 years. The daughter, Maggie (who was named in the obituary) was 15 years old and was attending school.  Cassius said that he could read and write, but his wife Flora did not answer the question.  Census records are available on Ancestry.com.




MarsCassius-HbgDirectory-1883-001Cassius Mars appears in at least ten Harrisburg City Directories during the period in which they were issued.  The one at the left is from 1883.  He was living at 348 Sayford Avenue and was working as a waiter.  These records are available on Ancestry.com.






Additional information is sought on Cassius H. Mars.


February is Black History Month.  This post on Cassius H. Mars is about the role of one of many African Americans in the Civil War.



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