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Samuel Mumma or Samuel Mummy? – Confusion Over Ancestry of Lykens Veteran

Posted By on April 10, 2017

According to information on his grave marker in the Odd Fellows’ Cemetery in Lykens, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, Samuel Mumma was born on 12 October 1822 and died on 12 September 1870.  The marker does not indicate that he was a Civil War veteran, but his Findagrave Memorial notes that he served in the 26th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, Company D, as a Private, during the Civil War.  This regimental information is most likely incorrect for the Samuel Mumma buried at that site.

The Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card, shown above from the Pennsylvania Archives, notes that Samuel Mumma enrolled at Lykens, in the 10th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company F, and was mustered into service on 26 April 1861 as a Private at Harrisburg.  At the time he was 40 years old, he resided in Lykens, and was working as a miller.  No record has been located indicating that a Samuel Mumma served in the 26th Pennsylvania Infantry, either in the regular 3-month regiment formed in April 1861, or in the militia regiment of the same name, formed in 1863 to protect Pennsylvania from the impending invasion by Lee’s army.

Samuel Mumma‘s name does appear on the Lykens G.A.R. Monument as shown above.  Also appearing on the monument is the name of Mort Mumma.  It must be concluded that the Samuel Mumma whose name is on the Lykens G.A.R. Monument is the Samuel Mumma who served in the 10th Pennsylvania Infantry and is the same person who was born in 1822 and is buried at the Odd Fellows’ Cemetery in Lykens.

Genealogical information about this Samuel Mumma indicates that some time around 1839, he married Anne Dallas (1819-1898) and had at least 11 known children with her.  In a search of the pension records of the Civil War, the following index card was located in the Ancestry.com records:

On 18 July 1890, nearly 20 years after the death of her husband, widow Anne Mumma applied from Pennsylvania for pension benefits based on Samuel’s service in Company F, 10th Pennsylvania Infantry.  She received those benefits and collected them until her death.

Unfortunately, nothing has been located to indicate who Samuel Mumma‘s parents were, or where he came from prior to settling in Lykens.  The earliest pre-Civil War census located for him was 1860 where he is found with Anne and 9 children, living in Wiconisco Township, Dauphin County, where he gave his occupation as powder maker.  The surname of the family in that census is “Mumy,” but it is clearly the same family.  This spelling appears to be a slight discrepancy, but on closer examination and inclusion of other evidence, proves to be a major problem in tracing the roots of this family.

As mentioned above, the name of Mort Mumma also appears on the Lykens G.A.R. Monument.  No person of that name has been located in the Civil War records.  However, the following card was located at the Pennsylvania Archives:

The card states that Martin Mummy enrolled at Lykenstown, on 15 June 1863, in the 26th Pennsylvania Infantry (Emergency of 1863), Company D, as a Private, and was mustered into service on 19 June 1863 at Harrisburg.  He was 18 years old at the time and served though the emergency until his discharge occurred on 30 July 1863.

For his service at Gettysburg, Martin Mummy is recognized on the Pennsylvania Memorial tablet for the 26th Pennsylvania Militia.

In re-examining the 1860 Census for Wiconisco Township, Martin Mummy appears as Martin Mumy, 14 year old son of Samuel Mumy, the powder maker, for whom it has been determined was the Civil War veteran who served in the 10th Pennsylvania Infantry as Samuel Mumma.  Therefore, Martin Mumy or Mummy, the son, was also a Civil War soldier, and is most likely the Mort Mumma whose name appears on the Lykens G.A.R. Monument.

This surname-spelling-confusion continued to the death of Martin Mumma, who is buried at the Lykens Odd Fellows’ Cemetery with a grave marker reading “Mumma.”

An explanation of this Mumma-Mummy confusion comes from a historian of the Mumma family:

Samuel Mumma is not a MUMMA.  He is a MUMMY descendant.  Samuel was not literate.  His surname was recorded as “Mumy” in the 1860 census.  When he enlisted in the Civil War, he went to Harrisburg and spoke his name.  Needless to say, in Harrisburg, his surname sounded like “MUMMA” to the recruiters and that is how his surname was recorded.

I tested one of Samuel’s descendants and his DNA was not a match to the Mumma family DNA fingerprint, but did match the Mummy family that I had also tested.  I was totally surprised.  So, ALL of Samuel’s descendants spell the “Mummy” surname incorrectly as “Mumma.”  Isn’t science great!!!  DNA testing is proof positive.

The above information was forwarded in 2015 to the Civil War Project by Roger Cramer, noted historian and genealogist of the Lykens Valley, who received the information from Doug Mumma, the Mumma family historian who had the DNA testing done.




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