Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Who Was Inglis V. Fairbain of Tower City?

Posted By on November 13, 2015

FairbairnInglisV-Census1890V-001aToday’s post features another Civil War soldier about whom not much is known.  On the 1890 Veterans’ Census for Tower City, Schuylkill Count (shown above from Ancestry.com), the name of Inglis V. Fairbairn appears.  He claimed service in the 18th United States Infantry (Regular Army) from 28 March 1862 through 23 May 1865.  During that time he served as a Private in Company F.  In the two note columns at the bottom of the census sheet, Inglis reported that he was a prisoner at Andersonville for 10 months and that he was wounded/shot in the foot.


A prisoner record for him has been located in Ancestry.com in the database Andersonville Prisoners of War and is shown above.  There is confirmation that he served in the 18th United States Infantry, Company F, that he was captured at Resaca, Georgia on 14 May 1864, and that he was paroled on 24 February 1865, at Northeast Ferry, North Carolina.  In the “More Information” field, the word “Yes” indicates that there is additional information about him in the records.  The death date of 2 July 1921 is also given in this database, which is generally unusual since it occurred more than 55 years after his release and probably did not have much to do with his status as a prisoner at Andersonville.


The Pension Index Card from Fold3 also confirms his death date as 2 July 1921, but notes that he died at Joliet, Illinois.  Whether “Illinois” is an error, is not known at this time.  Joliet, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, is nearly “next door” to Tower City, so it is possible that the transcriber wrote the wrong state on the card.  In any event, there is a pension application file for him under Inglis V. Fairbain, a slightly different spelling of the surname.  Inglis applied for the pension on 10 July 1878, which he received and collected to his death – with no widow applying for benefits.  The Ancestry.com version of the Pension Index Card does not indicate the state from which he applied, but that information should be in the pension application file which has not been seen in composing this blog post.

If any reader of this blog has seen the complete pension application file and or the complete Andersonville Prisoners of War database and is willing to add information to the story of Inglis V. Fairbain it would be greatly appreciated!   The information can either be sent via e-mail or added in a comment at the end of this post.   Since he was a resident of Tower City in 1890, he definitely should be recognized locally for his service and for his confirmed status as a Prisoner of War.  At the present time, he is not named on the Memorial in Tower City.

Additional information sought about him includes:  (1) birth place and date of birth; (2) family members; (3) locations where he lived; (4) stories, pictures, family reminiscences, etc.; (5) military record, including more information about how he was wounded, captured, paroled, and the time he spent at Andersonville; (6) where is he buried? and (7) what is his association with Tower City?


Obituary of and Memorial to George W. Ely

Posted By on November 11, 2015


George Washington Ely died on 18 January 1914 in Lykens Borough, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.  As a member of the United Brethren Church in Lykens, his name was inscribed into the memorial book there and his obituary was attached to his memorial page.  The page, which is shown below, incorrectly gives his name as “George Edward Ely,” but the other other information is correct.  The notation, “His name, “George Washington Ely, mistake of printer,” also appears on the memorial page.  The grave marker in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Lykens (shown above), correctly gives his middle initial as “W” – for Washington.


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Text of the obituary as it appeared in a local newspaper at the time of his death:

George Edward Ely of North Street, died suddenly of apoplexy at about 4:50 p.m. Sunday while conversing with John H. Keen, of Wiconisco, in the engine room of Keen and Kniley’s Hosiery Mill.  Mr. Ely had attended the U.B. Sunday School and shortly after 4 o’clock told his wife that he would go over and talk to Mr. Keen until supper was ready, the hosiery mill being directly opposite his home.

Upon entering the mill he found Mr. Keen was doing some work on an engine and sat down on a bench near him.  After conversing for a few minutes Mr. Keen failed to hear Mr. Ely reply and spoke louder.  Then not receiving a reply he walked around to where Mr. Ely had been and saw him sitting on the floor, one arm resting on the bench.  Mr. Keen noticed that Mr. Ely had suffered a stroke of some kind and notified the family.  He was carried to his home and Dr. H. A. Spencer of Wiconisco, was summoned who pronounced that death was instantaneous and caused by apoplexy.

Deceased was born in Fishing Creek Valley, Dauphin County, on 25 December 1842, bringing his age to 71 years and 23 days.  He came here with his parents when four years of age and has resided here ever since.  In 1866 he was united in marriage with Miss Rebecca Rudisill, and the aged couple anxiously awaited the celebration of their golden wedding two years hence.  Five children were born to the couple, two having preceded him in death.  The surviving children are Anna Ely (Mrs. John Renshaw), Lykens; Ella Ely, at home; and T. Edward Ely, Lykens, who with the widow mourn the loss of a kind and indulgent father and a faithful husband.  He is also survived by two brothers, Francis Ely and Edward Ely of Lykens; and three sisters – Mrs. Sarah Myers and Mrs. Matilda Bainbridge of Lykens; and Mrs. Barbara Woland of Shamokin.  Five grandchildren also survive.

Mr. Ely was a veteran of the Civil War, having served as a Private in Company C, 13th Pennsylvania Cavalry, for a little more than a year, when he was honorably discharged on account of the cessation of hostilities. He was a member of the G.A.R., the Junior O.U.A.M., the United Brethren Church and the recently organized Bible class thereof.

The funeral services were held at his late home at 2 p.m. yesterday and were conducted by his pastor, Rev. H. S. Kiefer.  Burial was in Odd Fellows Cemetery with military honors, the G.A.R., Sons of Veterans, and the P.O.S. of A. Drill Team paying the last tribute of respect to a “departed defender of our nation.”

For expressions of sympathy and for assistance rendered, the family desire to thank neighbors and friends.

For his service in the Civil War, George Ely received a pension, which he applied for on 27 March 1885, as shown on the Pension Index Card (below, from Fold3).


The Pension Index Card also gives the date of death as 18 January 1914, and the place of death as Lykens.  Within a week Rebecca [Rudisill] Ely applied for benefits, which she collected until her death.  According to her death certificate, she died at Lykens on 20 November 1920.  She was the daughter of David Rudisill and Susan Row and was born on 12 September 1848 in Washington Township, Dauphin County.


In addition to the church book memorial, George W. Ely is also remembered on the Lykens G.A.R. Monument as a veteran who joined the Heilner Post after its organization.

Additional information is sought about George W. Ely – including photographs, stories, more information about his military service, family history, etc.  Please attach comments to this post or send the information via e-mail.



Millersburg’s Ties to the American Civil War

Posted By on November 9, 2015


Soldiers for the Cause:  Millersburg’s ties to the American Civil War

Program to be held at Colonnade Theater

MILLERSBURG — The Historical Society of Millersburg and Upper Paxton Township invites the public to “Soldiers for the Cause:  Millersburg‘s Ties to the American Civil War.

The program will be presented November 11, 2015, at 7 p.m. at the Colonnade Theater, Center Street, Millersburg.  Admission is free.

Britt Charles Isenberg, a licensed battlefield guide and historian at Gettysburg National Military Park, who resides in Gettysburg, with his wife Suezana, is a 2004 graduate of Millersburg High School and a 2004 graduate of Millersville University of Pennsylvania.  He spends the majority of his days guiding, lecturing, researching, writing and photographing topics in Civil War history.  His greatest areas of expertise include Pennsylvania Troops at Gettysburg and in the Civil War, the Peach Orchard, and The Wheatfield at Gettysburg, and the Aftermath Story.

Isenberg will present the program how many small communities across the United States furnished soldiers to the Union war effort during the Civil War.  By the time the guns went silent and after four years of bloody struggle, Millersburg was one of those small communities that was profoundly impacted by the war years.  From heroes to legends, this program will explore some of the personalities, stories and sacrifices that connect Millersburg to America’s most defining conflict.


The above press release from the Historical Society of Millersburg and Upper Paxton Township appeared in The Citizen Standard (Valley View, Pennsylvania), 20 October 2015.  In addition to its website, the Society is also found on Facebook.

For all past posts on this blog pertaining to Millersburg, click on Millersburg or Upper Paxton Township.


William Dodd Mystery Solved – Not Civil War

Posted By on November 6, 2015


In a post on 14 October 2015, several questions were raised about William Dodd who is buried at Calvary United Methodist Church, Wiconisco, Dauphin County.  The questions mainly centered around whether he was a Civil War soldier.  As a result of information provided by Deb Rudy, a Lykens Valley area researcher and contributor to this blog, it can be definitively stated that William Dodd did serve in the U.S. Cavalry, as noted on the grave marker, but did not serve in the Civil War;  his name was included in the Civil War list in error!

Part of the basis of this conclusion can be found in two brief obituaries located and provided by Deb Rudy:



Special Correspondence

Wiconisco, 30 October 1909 — William Dodd, son of John Dodd and wife, a cavalryman in the United States Army, died in the army hospital at Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.  The body arrived Friday noon and was taken to his home in Wiconisco.  The funeral was held this afternoon….

Harry Higgins and wife, Lewistown, attended the funeral of the latter’s brother, William Dodd, today.  [Harrisburg Daily Independent, 30 October 1909].




William Dodd, 34 years, Government Hospital for the Insane.  [The Washington Times, 29 October 1909].

Family information that can be used for further research includes the name of Williams’s father [John Dodd], that William was approximately 34 years old at the time of his death [born about 1875], and that William had a sister who was married to Harry Higgins [they attended the funeral and were living in Lewistown, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, in 1909].


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The above extract is from the 1910 Census of Derry Township, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania (found on Ancestry.com).  It shows a Harry V. Higgins, age 30, born in Pennsylvania, a clerk at a steel plant, and married 6 years to Emma Higgins, who was 29 years old, born in England (as were her parents), and emigrating to the United States in 1889.  They had one child – Vincent W. Higgins, who was 3 years old at the time of the census.  Also in the household were Joe D. Higgins, age 20, brother of Harry, and Howard Buffington, age 20, a boarder.  The two 20-year-olds were working as laborers in a steel plant.


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Turning next to the 1910 Census of Wiconisco Township, Dauphin County (found on Ancestry.com), the above family unit was located.  John Dodd [the father of William Dodd] a 68 year old coal miner, was head of the family.  He was born in England and emigrated to the United States about 1888.  He was married to Sarah Dodd, age 65, who was also born in England and emigrated in 1888.  Sarah was married to John for 43 years and had 12 children with him, six of whom were still alive in 1910.  It can be presumed that since their son William died in 1909, that he was one of the 6 who were no longer living.  Also in the household was a younger son, Andrew J. Dodd, age 22, also born in England and emigrating to the United States about 1888.  Andrew was working as a laborer in a coal mine in 1910.


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The final available* U.S. census is from Wiconisco Township in 1900, and is shown above.  John Dodd, age 58, a coal miner, born in England about January 1842, is head of the family.  Sarah Dodd, age 55, the wife, was born in England about June 1844, and was married to John for about 34 years.  She had 12 children, 7 of whom were still alive.  Presumably, William Dodd was one of those still alive, since he did not die until 1909.  However, William Dodd is not in their household in 1900.  The children in the household, all of whom were born in England, are:  Sarah A. Dodd, age 20, born about December 1879; Emma Dodd, age 19, born about May 1881 [in 1910 married to Harry Higgins, and living in Mifflin County]; Hiram Dodd, age 17, born about February 1883; and Andrew Dodd, age 13, born about May 1887.  [*Note:  The family entered the United States just prior to the 1890 Census, which was entirely lost by fire; censuses after 1910 have not been examined, because William died in 1909, and those censuses would only be useful in following through on other members of the family].

At this point in the research, ship lists for entry into the United States have not been consulted, but it should not be too difficult to locate what appears to at least be two separate ship entries:  John Dodd, who claimed to enter in 1887, and the rest of the family who entered in 1888.  From the U.S. Census of 1900, it can be speculated that Sarah was pregnant with Andrew at the time her husband traveled to the United States, that Andrew was the last child born to this couple, and that after Andrew was born, Sarah brought her other children with her in 1888 – to meet up with her husband John who arrived in 1887.  Presumably, William Dodd, who would have been about 13 years old, accompanied his mother and younger siblings in 1888.   And, since Sarah had 7 living children in 1900, there are still 2 missing children – who may or may not have come to the United States with the family.  A search of the English censuses, which has not been done for this blog post, may produce the names and birth information on the other children.

William Dodd does not appear with the family in Wiconisco in 1900.  So, where was he in 1900?


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Deb Rudy also provided the above information leading to the identification of a William Dodd in a 1900 Census for Grant District, Marion County, West Virginia.  It appears to be the same person, i.e., single and living as a boarder, the age of 25 (birth date approximately February 1875), born in England (as were both his parents), emigration to the United States in 1888, occupation of coal miner – and there is an absence of any other person anywhere in the United States who closely fits the description.  Of course, the census does indicate why this William Dodd moved away from his family to West Virginia or how long he had been there when the census was taken.

Deb Rudy also located a military record for a William Dodd from England who enlisted in New York during the Spanish-American War – and then deserted.  Was this the same person researched here?


On 17 May 1899, at New York City, a William Dodd enlisted as a Private in the 2nd United States Artillery, Companies E and I.  At the time he was 24 years-4 months old (consistent with a February 1875 birth), was born in London England, was about 5 foot, 7.5 inches tall, had light brown hair, a fair complexion and blue eyes.  His occupation was painter.  He had no prior military service.  The record shows that he deserted on 24 September 1899.   The above card is a transcription made for New York records and is not the original register sheet.



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In checking the original records for this William Dodd, the above extracts are taken from the U.S. Army Registers of Enlistments of May 1899.  The information in the original is consistent with the New York State transcription.  What is not consistent is the fact that this William Dodd, who deserted, was in an artillery regiment, not a cavalry regiment as stated on his grave marker.  Therefore, an additional record search, post 1899, is required to see if William Dodd shows up again in a cavalry regiment.



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The above record extract, also from the U.S. Army Register of Enlistments (available on Ancestry.com), shows that on 2 December 1904, a William Dodd, who was 29 years, 9 months old, registered at Pottsville, Schuylkill County, in the 8th United States Cavalry, Company E, and served until his discharge on 7 December 1907 at Fort Russell, Wyoming, at the expiration of his term.   The age at enlistment in years and months is consistent with the February 1875 birth date given in the West Virginia Census of 1900 (above).



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Finally, the above U.S. Army Register of Enlistment extract from December 1907, shows that William Dodd re-enlisted at Fort Russell, Wyoming, in the 8th United States Cavalry, Company E, but was discharged for disability at Washington, D.C., on 27 September 1909 – approximately one month before his death – at the same place!

It is always best to get as much confirming information as is available, but it appears that the research now on William Dodd is headed in the right direction, thanks to Deb Rudy for her contribution!  There are still gaps in the story.  Additional information is sought from blog readers who might be able to provide some additional family information, pictures, and any other interesting information about this veteran who is buried in Wiconisco.  Please attach comments to this post or send by e-mail.










October 2015 Posts

Posted By on November 4, 2015

A listing of the October 2015 posts on The Civil War Blog with direct links:

Philip Hoffman – Killed in Mines, 1878

Clifford H. Romberger (1947-2015) – Civil War Re-Enactor

September 2015 Posts

Isaac Darker – Accident at Short Mountain Colliery, 1874

Obituary of James E. Lambert

Who Were These Lykens-Wiconisco Soldiers?

Who is John Dougherty, Buried Near Elizabethville?

John Doudle – Reminiscence of the Civil War

Obituary of Benjamin F. Eby, 1934

Peter D. Eby – Killed in Mines at Lykens, 1882

Death of Major Findlay I. Thomas at Lykens, 1922

John S. Eckel of Tremont – Fact-Checking a Story of His Confederate Service

Thomas J. Elder Leaves Estate to Paxton Church