Posted By Norman Gasbarro on July 25, 2016
Philip Koch was born about 8 April 1813, the son of Heinrich Koch and Catherine [Ploutz] Koch, of Lykens Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. Philip’s baptismal record is found in the records of the Zion (Klinger’s) Lutheran Church at Erdman, 22 May 1813.
In 1850, Philip Koch is found in Lykens Township. He was married to Catherine, and was working as a laborer. There were five children in the household.
In 1860, Philip Koch is found in Lykens Township where he was a farmer. Wife Catherine and six children were also in the household. Also living with the family was Philip’s widowed mother Catherine, age 76. Although Philip gave his age as 38, based on his birth/baptismal record, he was actually about 47.
According to information found in the Klingerstown Bicentennial Album, page 161, the Philip Koch who is buried at Erdman, Lykens Township, at the Zion (Klinger’s) Lutheran Church Cemetery, served in the 16th Pennsylvania Infantry. The grave marker pictured at the top of this post shows a G.A.R. star and flag. However, the Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card, shown above from the Pennsylvania Archives, gives some information which seems to conflict with what is known about the Philip Koch of Lykens Township.
- Philip Koch enrolled in the 16th Pennsylvania Infantry at Tamaqua, on or before 30 April 1861. Tamaqua is located in the eastern part of Schuylkill County, a distance from Lykens Township, although not an impossible journey in 1861.
- Philip Koch claimed he was 26 years old at the time of enrollment. The Philip Koch of Lykens Township was actually 48 years old in April 1861. Could a 48 year old man have passed for a 26 year old?
In 1870, Philip Koch is found in the Lykens Township census as a farmer who was living with his wife Catherine and seven children. He indicated to the census that he was 56 years old.
In 1880, still living in Lykens Township and working as a farmer, Philip Koch indicated that he was 66 Years old. In the household were his wife and three children.
Philip Koch was not located in the 1890 Veterans’ Census, although he was still alive and living in Lykens Township in 1890.
According to his grave marker, Philip Koch died in 1896. Other sources give the death date as 30 January 1896. Although no obituary has been seen, a brief notice appearing in the Harrisburg Telegraph, “Gratz News” column, 20 January 1896, indicated that he was “feeble” and “prostrated:”
Philip Koch, past 80 years, is quite feeble. A cold contracted while at Lykens Saturday necessitated the performance of a very painful surgical operation, which has completely prostrated the old man.
Two years later, the Harrisburg Telegraph reported that the second and final accounting of the Estate of Philip Koch was filed in Dauphin County.
Nothing has been located, other than at graveside (and the Klingerstown Bicentennial Album), that suggests that the Philip Koch who is buried at Erdman, was the same person as the Philip Koch who served in the 16th Pennsylvania Infantry. Note: The Findagrave Memorial for Philip Koch notes that he was “G.A.R. 1861-1865,” which apparently is based on the marker placed there.
For the Philip Koch who served in the 16th Pennsylvania Infantry, who was discharged on 30 Jul 1861, no other military records have been located, other than the Military Index Card, shown below from Fold3.
Perhaps a reader who has further information on Philip Koch (1813-1896) can shed some light on this mystery. Was this Philip Koch a Civil War veteran and did he serve in the 16th Pennsylvania Infantry? Please add comments to this post or send the information via e-mail.