Posted By Norman Gasbarro on March 15, 2017
The name Daniel Oberholtzer appears on the plaque on the Millersburg Soldier Monument, Millersburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. In researching him, several surprising facts were uncovered.
According to information found on Ancestry.com and elsewhere, Daniel Oberholtzer (or Daniel Oberholzer is he is sometimes found in the records), was born on 2 June 1838 in Pennsylvania, the son of Abraham Oberholzer (1797-1885) and Elizabeth [Benner] Oberholzer (1800-1877). In 1850, the family was living in Upper Paxton Township, where Abraham was working as a farmer.
In 1860, Daniel B. Oberholtzer, age 22, was living in a hotel operated by Matilda Wingerter, age 47, in Elizabethville, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, where Daniel gave his occupation as artist.
When the Civil War started, Daniel registered for the draft and then was drafted into service in the 172nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company G, as a Private. He began his service on 2 November 1862 and completed it on 6 August 1863. No record has been seen that he received any war-related injuries during the war and, in fact, when he reported his service to the 1890 census, he did not attribute any disabilities to his service.
Daniel B. Oberholtzer applied for an invalid pension in 1890, according to the Pension Index Card, shown above from Ancestry.com. He received the pension and collected it until his death, which according to other sources, occurred on 28 December 1905. On 12 February 1906, his widow, Catharine Oberholtzer applied, and according to the Pension Index Card, she received benefits, which she collected. But, did she collect those benefits until her death?
An examination of the Pension Index Card from Fold3 shows a reference to another pension file for the widow – that of Jeremiah Garis, who served in the 148th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company D, and the application number on that pension is much lower, indicating the date was much earlier! Who was Jeremial Garis?
The Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card, shown above from the Pennsylvania Archives, for Jeremiah Garos (found also in the records as Jeremiah Garis), notes that on 9 March 1865, he was mustered into service in Company D, as a Private, in the 148th Pennsylvania Infantry. At the time he was 20 years old, lived in Centre County, Pennsylvania, and was working as a laborer. Physically, he stood 5 foot 8 inches tall, had dark hair, a light complexion, and dark eyes. No discharge information is given on the card, but in the “remarks,” it is mentioned that he was a “supposed prisoner since 22 June 1864.”
The Pension Index Card from Ancestry.com (shown above) for Catharine Garis, widow of Jeremiah Garis, shows that she applied for benefits on 3 May 1866, and was awarded benefits, which she apparently collected. Thus the status of Jeremiah had to be changed from “supposed prisoner” to “deceased” at some point between 22 June 1864 and the date she made application.
The Pension Index Card from Fold3 (shown above) for Catharine Garis, widow of Jeremiah Garis, shows that she applied for benefits twice – first on the original date of 3 May 1866, which matches the date on the Ancestry.com card, and second on 13 October 1926, as per law “J-3-26.” Also on this card is the death date and place for Jeremiah – 12 May 1864, at Battle of the Wilderness.
The maiden name of Catharine Oberholzer was Stifler – as found in a death certificate of one of the children she had with Daniel B. Oberholzer. In 1860, Catharine was living in Potter Township, Centre County, Pennsylvania, with her parents, Peter Stiffler and his wife Hannah Stiffler. Centre County was the same location that Jeremiah Garis gave as his residence when he enrolled in the 148th Pennsylvania Infantry.
It appears from these records that Catharine Stifler was first married to Jeremiah Garis in Centre County, possibly during the war, and was left a widow by his death in the war. She then applied for a widow’s pension, which she apparently collected for a time – until she met and married Daniel B. Oberholtzer. But, when did that occur?
According to information in the 1900 census for Upper Paxton Township, Dauphin County, Daniel B. Oberholtzer had been married to Catharine since 1869. At the time in 1900, Daniel gave his occupation as fruit farmer. This would be the last census in which Daniel would appear. He would die on 28 December 1905.
In 1890, Daniel B. Oberholtzer was living in Millersburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, where he reported his Civil War service.
In 1880, Daniel and Catharine were living in Potter Township, Centre County, Pennsylvania, with three children. Daniel was working as a carpenter.
In 1870, Daniel and Catharine were living in Potter Township, Centre County, Pennsylvania. There were no children in the household. Daniel was working as a carpenter.
Daniel B. Oberholtzer died on 28 December 1905. He is buried at St. David’s Reformed Church Cemetery, Killinger, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. His Findagrave Memorial has some additional information about his life.
Catharine [Stiffler] Garis Oberholtzer died on 2 May 1929. She is buried at St. David’s Reformed Church Cemetery, Killinger, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. Her Findagrave Memorial has some additional information about her life.
The following news briefs were located in the Harrisburg newspapers:
Harrisburg Telegraph, 16 July 1892:
Daniel Oberholtzer, of Upper Paxton Township, has been granted a pension.
Harrisburg Telegraph, 22 Apr 1899:
George Bucher, son-in-law of Daniel Oberholtzer, of Upper Paxton Township, died at the county almshouse on Wednesday.
Harrisburg Telegraph, 4 Jan 1906:
The funeral of D. B. Oberholtzer on Saturday was largely attended by relatives and friends from a distance.
Harrisburg Telegraph, “Killinger News,” 16 Aug 1905:
D. B. Oberholtzer, who has been confined to the house for a long time, is able to be out.
Harrisburg Telegraph, “Killinger News,” 1 Jan 1906:
Daniel B. Oberholtzer, who was confined to the house for sometime with dropsy, died on Thursday morning and was buried on Saturday afternoon from his late residence.
Harrisburg Telegraph, 18 Nov 1926:
Millersburg, 18 November 1926 — Mrs. Catherine Oberholtzer, living near Millersburg, observed her eighty-third birthday today.
The surprising information coming from this research is that Daniel B. Oberholzer for a time before the Civil War was living in Elizabethville and working as an artist and that his wife had been previously married, her first husband having died in the war.
Additional information is sought about this veteran. Please add comments to this post.