Civil War Blog

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Martin Koppenhaver – Was He a Civil War Veteran & Did He Have Two Families?

Posted By on September 2, 2015


At the St. Paul’s (Artz) Cemetery in Sacramento, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, the tombstone of Martin Koppenhaver (1829-1900) has a G.A.R. star and flag holder indicating that he served in the Civil War.  However, to date no military or pension record of Civil War service has been found for him.


Next to the stone of Martin is a stone for Sarah [Dietrich] Koppenhaver (1831-1908).  While the grave marker for Sarah does not indicate that she was the wife of Martin, the stones are the same style and shape.  Sarah [Dietrich] Koppenhaver was the daughter of Philip Dietrich (1794-1871) and Eva Maria [Artz] Dietrich (1794-1885).  Genealogical sources confirm that she was the wife of the Martin Koppenhaver who is buried next to her.


In the Gratz (Simeon’s) Union Cemetery, there is a stone for Catherine Ann [Thomas] Koppenhaver (1846-1886), that indicates that she was the wife of Martin Koppenhaver.  Catherine was the daughter of Samuel Thomas (1811-1874) and Hannah [Hoffman] Thomas (1815-1887).  Buried in the same plot with Catherine are three of her children:  Anna Koppenhaver, John Koppenhaver, and Hattie Koppenhaver.  However, if her husband was Martin Koppenhaver, he is not buried in that plot in Gratz, nor is he buried anywhere else in the Gratz cemetery  In fact, the only Martin Koppenhaver who has been found in any Lykens Valley area cemetery, is the one in the St. Paul’s (Artz) Cemetery in Sacramento.

Gratz and Sacramento are only a few miles apart, despite the fact that they are located in different counties.

The strongest evidence that there were two different persons named Martin Koppenhaver in that same area comes from the 1880 Census:


1880 Census. Hubley Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.


From the 1880 Census of Hubley Township (Sacramento), Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, a Martin Koppenheffer, age 51 (born about 1829), a farmer, was head of household, with wife Sarah, age 48, keeping house and 10 children ranging in ages from 14 to 31.  Sarah is Sarah [Dietrich] Koppenhaver.


1880 Census. Gratz Borough, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.

From the 1880 Census of Gratz Borough, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, a Martin Koppenhaver, age 50 (born about 1830), a huckster, was head of household, with wife Catherine, age 34, keeping house and 4 children in the household ranging in ages from 2 to 13.  Catherine is Catherine [Thomas] Koppenhaver.

However in the 1870 Census, neither of these Martin Koppenhaver‘s has been found.  Instead, Sarah [Dietrich] Koppenhaver is living in Hubley Township with her children – but no Martin (see below)!


1870 Census. Hubley Township, Schuylkill Co., Pennsylvania.

Where is Martin? And, where is Catherine [Thomas] Koppenhaver, who does not appear in any 1870 Census, with or without Martin?

Other than the 1880 Census, no other record has been found that suggests that there there were two persons of the name Martin Koppenhaver who were born at approximately the same time and living in the same location.

In consulting with genealogist Roger Cramer, who keeps one of the most extensive databases of families who lived in the Lykens Valley, two descendants lists were made available by him. They contain the descendants of “each” of the two Martin Koppenhaver’s.

Hereafter in this post, the Martin who was married to Catherine will be referred to as “Gratz Martin” and the Martin who was married to Sarah will be referred to as “Hubley Martin.”

By laying out the two families on a single timeline, it is noticed that “Hubley Martin” had 10 children who were born between 1849 and 1867 and “Gratz Martin” had 5 children who were born between 1867 and 1883.  There is one overlapping “event” in 1867:  “Hubley Martin‘s” last child was born 15 March 1867 and “Gratz Martin‘s” first child was born 3 October 1867.  This makes it likely that “Hubley Martin’s” wife Sarah was nearly-full-term pregnant when “Gratz Martin‘s” first child was conceived.

Hubley Martin‘s” occupation during the Civil War was peddler or huckster and he paid a tax based on that occupation.  As a peddler or huckster, he would have been “on the road” during and after the Civil War.  But the 1880 Census says that “Gratz Martin” was also a huckster.  Is this evidence that “Gratz Martin” and “Hubley Martin” are the same person?

A more definitive answer can probably be found by looking at a portion of an 1876 map of Hubley Township:


Click on map to enlarge.

The property of Martin Koppenhaver (“Hubley Martin”) can be seen between the property of Eva Dietrich [Dieter], widow of Philip Dietrich, and the Artz Church.  The road that runs east-west through Hubley Township [currently known as State Route 25] enters Lykens Township at the left side of the map, just above the red words “Eva Dietrich.”  That road continues into Gratz.  But the most significant point made by this map is that the properties of Martin and Eva are adjacent to each other – and it it known that Eva was the mother-in-law of “Hubley Martin.”

The father-in-law of “Hubley Martin” was Philip Dietrich, who died 28 January 1871.  Philip made his will on 22 March 1870.


Click on document to enlarge.

The 3rd Item in Philip Dietrich‘s will is particularly cogent:

3rd Item:  I give and bequeath unto my daughter Sarah intermarried with Martin Koppenhaver the log house, frame stable, and outbuildings thereon erected where she now —- on, at three hundred dollars and after the death of my said wife as aforesaid, I order that my Executor hereinafter mentioned shall pay seven hundred dollars thereto, making one thousand dollars in all, as her pro-rata share.

Looking at some of the events chronologically – with a few speculative comments:

1861-1865 (Civil War):

Hubley Martin” is working as a farmer, huckster and peddler.  During this time he is traveling east into Spring Glen (Springville on the map above), where he was born, and further east into Lykens Township and Gratz.  It may have been during this time that he encountered the family of Samuel Thomas, the father of Catherine Thomas, and perhaps met Catherine, who was between 15 and 19 at the time.


Hubley Martin” and wife, Sarah [Dietrich] Koppenhaver, conceive a child, about June of that year.   Martin continues to peddle his wares to the east toward Gratz.  Perhaps he met Catherine during 1866, when she was about 20.


In about February 1867, in Gratz, “Gratz Martin” and Catherine Thomas conceive a child.  On 15 March 1867, “Hubley Martin” and wife Sarah [Dietrich] Koppenhaver have their 10th and last child, Ida Silara Koppenhaver, born in Hubley Township.   On 3 October, a child is born to Catherine Thomas.  That child is named Sarah Sevilla Koppenhaver.  Some records indicate that the child was born in Schuylkill County.


Not much is known about this time period.


Knowing that he is near death, Philip Dietrich makes his will on 22 March.  He may have been unaware that his son-in-law, Martin Koppenhaver, had a child with Catherine Thomas.  It is not known whether “Hubley Martin” had any idea that he was mentioned in Philip’s will.  But it is possible that Sarah [Dietrich] Koppenhaver knew and about that time, Martin left and went to live with Catherine and her child.  The Census of 1870, taken in mid-year, shows Sarah living in Hubley Township without “Hubley Martin,” but with all their children, most of them minors.  Neither “Gratz Martin” nor Catherine Thomas, nor their only child Sarah Sevilla Koppenhaver has been located in a census for 1870.


Philip Dietrich dies on 28 January.  The will is probated.  In order for Sarah to collect her inheritance, “Hubley Martin” has to return to the family.  At some point after the death of Philip Dietrich, his property is transferred into the name of his widow Eva and the property inherited by Sarah and Martin is transferred into Martin’s name.  “Hubley Martin” supports both families.


In about January, “Gratz Martin” and Catherine conceive a 2nd child.  That child, named Annie L. Koppenhaver, is born 11 September.  It is not known where Catherine and her children were living.  Martin Koppenhaver continues to support both families.


Gratz Martin” and Catherine conceive a 3rd child in or about October.


The 3rd child, John F. Koppenhaver, is born to “Gratz Martin” and Catherine, on 10 June 1875.  Some records indicate that John was born in Schuylkill County.


The name of Martin Koppenhaver (“Hubley Martin“) appears on a map of Hubley Township, Schuylkill County, as the owner of property next to his mother-in-law Eva [Artz] Dietrich, widow of Philip Dietrich.


On 10 July, the child John F. Koppenhaver dies.  He is buried in Gratz Union Cemetery in a plot, most likely purchased by Martin.  Other graves in the plot are reserved for future use.


Gratz Martin” and Catherine conceive a 4th child in or about October.


On 15 June, the 4th child, Jennie M. Koppenhaver, is born to “Hubley Martin” and Catherine.

During this time period and afterward, no Civil War pension application has been located for anyone named Martin Koppenhaver.

The evidence seems to lean toward the conclusion that “Hubley Martin” and “Gratz Martin” were the same person. Other researchers may have different information and they are invited to present that information here.  Comments can be added to this post or sent by e-mail.













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