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Isaac Koppenhaver – Hotel Proprietor of Millersburg

Posted By on July 11, 2016



Isaac Koppenhaver (1849-1900) was a well-known businessman of Millersburg and was a Civil War veteran.

The Harrisburg Telegraph of 26 September 1900, told of his funeral:


Isaac Koppenhaver Buried

Millersburg, 26 September 1900 — All that was mortal of the late Isaac Koppenhaver – genial “Koppy” to a thousand friends – was laid to rest in Oak Hill Cemetery yesterday afternoon.  Services at the house were conducted by the Rev. Lantz, assisted by Rev. Isenberg, the Rev. Dickerson and the Rev. Bougher and at the grave by Harrisburg Lodge of Elks of which he was a member; Millersburg Castle, K. G. E.; and Kilpatrick Post G.A.R., attended with full ranks and a delegation from the P.R.R. Veterans’ Association.  There were a large number of friends from Lykens and Lykens Valley, Harrisburg, Sunbury and Williamsport.  The funeral was the largest ever held in Millersburg and evidence of the esteem in which Mr. Koppenhaver was held here and elsewhere.



Isaac Koppenhaver’s Civil War records indicate that his surname name was spelled in several ways including Koppenheffer, Kopenhaver, and Koppenaver.  The Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card from the Pennsylvania Archives gives the date of 7 March 1865 for his enrollment in the 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry at Harrisburg.  Two days later he was mustered into service at the rank of Private in the 2nd Company G of that regiment.  Previously on this blog, the reason for the formation of these “2nd companies” was given, as was a history of that regiment.  In particular, the short length of service as well as the location of service was explained in those posts.  See: The Second Company G of the 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry.

When Isaac Koppenhaver enrolled in the 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry, he gave his age as 17, although he was more likely 16 as several sources give his birth date as March 1849.  He was 5 foot, 4 inches tall, had a fair complexion, gray eyes, and brown hair.  His residence at the time was Lykens, Dauphin County, and his occupation was laborer.


On 17 November 1897, Isaac Koppenhaver applied for a pension, which he received and collected until his death, which according to the Pension Index Card from Fold3, occurred on 10 Dec 1900.  This date is incorrect.  The description of his funeral (above), indicates that he died in late September.  The grave stone record, shown above from Findagrave, only gives the year of death and not the month and day.


On 23 September 1887, it was reported in the Harrisburg newspapers that Isaac Koppenhaver purchased the Freeland Hotel in Millersburg from the estate of James Freeland who was Col. James Freeland, who died in 1881, and is buried at Millersburg.  In the ensuing years until the death of Isaac Koppenhaver, his named appeared regularly in applying for various operating licenses for the hotel, which was frequently referred to as the Freeland House under his proprietorship.


In 1894, a panoramic map of Millersburg was published as a part of a series of views of many Pennsylvania towns.  The map key indicates that an “I. Coppenhaver” was the proprietor of the Freeland House, which is noted as building “2.”  However, because of the resolution of the map image, the “2” has not been located, so the actual location of the Freeland House cannot be determined.  If a reader of this blog can locate the Freeland House from a better copy of the map, please send the information via e-mail of add a comment to this post.  An interesting feature of the above map is that it shows the Northern Central Railroad running horizontally across near the top, and along the left side, the Lykens Valley Railroad, running vertically.  Note:  The panoramic map is from the Ancestry.com map collection.


For his Civil War service, Isaac Koppenhaver was recognized on the Millersburg Soldier Monument.

However, the name of Isaac Koppenhaver does not appear on the Lykens G.A.R. Monument.  Considering that he gave his residence as Lykens when he enrolled, this is another name missed by those at Lykens who should have included him on that monument as well.

After the death of Isaac Koppenhaver, his widow, Mary R. [Light] Koppenhaver, applied for a pension, which she received and collected until her death in 1932.  The hotel remained in the family after Isaac’s death.

Census returns for 1910 show that Mary was the proprietor of the hotel, while her son Homer G. Koppenhaver was its manager. Census returns for 1920 indicate that Mary was working as a hotel cook, while her son Homer G. Koppenhaver was managing the hotel. Also in the same household in 1910 and 1920 was Catherine, the mother of Isaac Koppenhaver.  Homer died on 12 April 1931, about a year before his mother.


From the Harrisburg Evening News of 2 July  1932:


Mrs. Mary Koppenhaver, widow of Isaac Koppenhaver, of Union Street, Millersburg, died yesterday in a local [Harrisburg] hospital.  Funeral services will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2 o’clock at the W. J. Minnier Funeral Parlors, Millersburg.  Burial will be in the Millersburg Cemetery [Oak Hill].  The body may be viewed Monday night after 7 o’clock at the funeral parlors.

Some unfinished research:

  1. The mother of Isaac Koppenhaver was Catherine Koppenhaver, who was still alive in 1920.  However, her maiden name has not been discovered as of this writing nor has the first name of Isaac’s father. Has anyone located her death certificate?
  2. Although Isaac Koppenhaver claimed he was a resident of Lykens in 1865, he has not been located in an 1850 or 1860 census.  Likewise, he has not been located in an 1870 census.
  3. Was Isaac Koppenhaver related to the other men named Koppenhaver who are named on the Millersburg Soldier Monument?  If so, how?
  4. Was Homer Koppenhaver the only child of Isaac & Mary?  Did he have any descendants?

News clippings are from Newspapers.com.



One Response to “Isaac Koppenhaver – Hotel Proprietor of Millersburg”

  1. Deborah Rudy says:

    Hi Norm, Found the Freeland House for you. Great fun looking, as always! The postcard can be found in original size in the PA Archives collection. When blown up, you can see the number 2 on the roof of the Freeland hotel & restaurant easily. It is, as I suspected, one of the old hotels on the square. In the postcard, go across the covered bridge over the Wic, go two blocks straight ahead to the town square-the Freeland House is on the left. The number 2 is on the roof! Today it is the “historic” though run down, Millersburger Hotel. Here is the link to the archives postcard:

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