Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Civil War Veteran Burials at Oak Hill Cemetery, Millersburg (Part 5)

Posted By on July 20, 2015

Today’s post is the fifth in the series of photographs of the Civil War veteran graves at Oak Hill Cemetery, Millersburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.  It features the grave markers of ten soldiers about whom research is ongoing.  To determine the extent to which each soldier’s information has been posted on this blog, click on the name and a list of prior posts that contain information will come up.  For veterans where there is very little information available, reader comments are invited.


Jacob Beller (1835-1912)


John R. Brubaker (1845-1923)


Dalles P. Ditty (1844-1893)


Benjamin G. Steever (1821-1880)


Samuel P. Auchmuty (1827-1884)


Jacob H. Rowe (1841-1928)


Thomas J. Woodside (1829-1909)


William DeHaven (1846-1919)


William Bender (1842-1923)


Simon Cluck (1838-1890)


This series to be continued at a later date.  For previous posts mentioning this cemetery, see:  Oak Hill Cemetery.


The Death of Col. Thomas H. Rickert

Posted By on July 17, 2015


Harrisburg residents read of the death of Col. Thomas H. Rickert of Pottsville, in the Telegraph of 17 November 1899:

Col. Rickert Death

Pottsville, 16 November 1899 — Colonel Thomas H. Rickert, a well-known railroad businessman of this city, died at 1:20 this afternoon of disease contracted during the Civil War.  He was one of the contractors who built the Schuylkill Valley Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Buffalo extension of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, Cumberland Valley, and branches and extensions of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad.  He is one of a syndicate who recently purchased the Schuykill Haven Iron Works.  He was Quartermaster of the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry during the Civil War.

The Pennsylvania Veterans’ Burial Card (below) from the Pennsylvania Archives was compiled in 1932 and contains an erroneous year of death and otherwise only gives the place of burial as Charles Baber Cemetery, Reading.


The Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card (below) notes that Thomas H. Rickert began his service in the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company A, and then provides a reference to a second card, for the Headquarters Staff (F & S).  The Bates reference is Volume 2, Page 1123.


However, referring to the only card for Thomas H. Rickert for a regimental headquarters staff (below), in error, the card read that he served in the 79th Pennsylvania Infantry – obviously an incorrect regiment, because the Bates reference is for Volume 2, Page 1122, which names the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry.


At the time of his enrollment at Harrisburg, 28 August 1861, Rickert gave his residence as Schuylkill County.  No other personal information about him is given on the card.  He was mustered into service at Harrisburg on 28 September 1861, as a 1st Lieutenant, and then on 5 November 1861, he was transferred from Company A to Headquarters with promotion to Quartermaster.

A Pension Index Card was located for him at both Fold3 (shown below) and Ancestry.com (not shown).  However, the cards show that he never did apply for a pension and his widow applied 13 years after his death.  Presumably, he was wealthy enough from his investments, that despite the fact that he suffered from a “disease contracted in the war,” he did not ask the government to give him a pension for his war service.  However, the widow, Elizabeth [VanDusen] Rickert, may have had a need by 1913 to apply – which she did and subsequently received benefits until her death, which occurred in 1928.


The Reading Eagle printed a more extensive obituary:

Death of Col. Rickert

Pottsville, 16 November 1899 — A deep gloom was cast over the community this afternoon when the death of Col. Thomas H. Rickert, one of Pottsville’s foremost and highly respected citizens, which occurred at about 1:20 o’clock, was announced. The news of his death spread rapidly, and expressions of regret at his sudden taking away were heard on every hand.

Col. Rickert had been suffering from a systemic trouble for ten years or more, but had wonderful recuperative powers, and the disease did not take any serious effect until about six months ago when he began to fail. Despite his illness he was able to be up and about the greater part of the time, and on Thursday last was about town. On Friday he took a chill and was compelled to take to his bed. Nothing serious was feared, however, until Monday, when he took a second chill. His condition from this time on grew rapidly worse and despite the efforts of the attending physicians, who prescribed all that medical skill and science could provide, he sank rapidly, and at 1:20 o’clock, surrounded by his loving wife and children, passed peacefully away to the world beyond.

Col. Thomas H. Rickert was a son of the late George Rickert and Amelia [Hammer] Rickert and was born in North Manheim Township, near Schuylkill Haven, 8 April 1834. He was educated in the public schools of Pottsville and almost by heredity started life in the coal business, first with his father, and then independently. To his coal operations he added that of railroad contracting. His work of this nature was in connection with the Buffalo extension of the Lehigh Valley Rail Road, the Cumberland Valley, Schuylkill Valley, Pennsylvania and the P&R Railroad. Col. Rickert always supported the Republican party, though he never sought preferment at the hands of the party. At the beginning of the late Civil War in response to his patriotic convictions he enlisted in the service of his country. He served as quartermaster of the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry and the different divisions and corps of the army of the Cumberland until the spring of 1865, when he resigned. He took part in most of the engagements of the army of the Cumberland, among which were Stone River, Chattanooga, Missionary Ridge, Chickamauga, thence to Atlanta and then returned to Frankfort and Nashville, and followed the leadership of General Thomas to Atlanta. On his return from the army he acted as chief clerk to Miller, Maize & Co., who conducted a large coal operation at the “Flour Barrel,” afterward known as Maizeville. This colliery has been abandoned and a washery, operated by the Stoddart Coal Co. has been erected in its place.

He subsequently entered into partnership with M. F. Maize for a short time in another operation, but litigation on the part of the partners of the former company with M. F. Maize prevented its being a success. He then became a contractor.

Col. Rickert was united in marriage to Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VanDusen, of Pottsville, September 23, 1856, who with two children, Anna Rickert, wife of Dr. T. W. Swalm, and VanDusen Rickert survive. He was a member of Gowen Post No. 23, G.A.R., Loyal Legion and Encampment No. 19, Union Veteran Legion. He was president of the Schuylkill Haven Iron Company, recently organized; a director in the Safe Deposit Bank and Edison Electric Light Company. He was also interested in the Pottsville Soap Works.

Some Civil War Connections to Pillow (Part 1 of 3)

Posted By on July 15, 2015

On 4 July 2015 I gave the Keynote Speech at the Pillow Historical Society Open House, Pillow, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.  One of the parts of that talk was the identification of twenty-one Civil War veterans who had some connection to Pillow (formerly called Uniontown). Today’s post features the first seven of those men with some of the information known about them.  Most of these men have been previously featured here on this blog and links are provided to those past posts.

Two posts will follow, each of which will present seven of the men.

The Pillow Historical Society is particularly interested in pictures of the men and their wives for an updated “veterans-of-all-wars” display that they are working on.  Where pictures of the veterans are not included in the posts in this series, it can be assumed that the Civil War Research Project has not yet obtained them – and, if any descendants of those veterans have digital images they would like to contribute for the memorial display, they can be e-mailed to the Project.  Also mentioned in the talk were two supposed veterans, one of whom has a G.A.R. marker at his grave and the other has been included because family or local tradition has stated that they had Civil War service.  For those two, confirmation of their actual Civil War service must be obtained or they will not be included in the veterans’ display.  Readers of this blog are invited to share what they know either by commenting directly to this post or sending an e-mail to the Project.


Jonathan S. Anspach (22 November 1835 – 14 February 1908)


Occupation:  Photographer.  Self-Portrait (above).  Born: Lebanon County.  Lived in Pillow after Civil War.  Married: Leah Miller.


Buried: Union Cemetery, Jordan Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.

G.A.R. Civil War marker at grave but no service record found.


Charles D. Arters (11 December 1835 – 14 February 1908)


Occupation:  Teacher and Clerk in Schuylkill County.

Service: 195th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company K, Private.  MI: 14 February 1865     MO: 23 May 1865.


Buried: Charles Baber Cemetery, Pottsville, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.

Laura Arters, the daughter of Charles D. Arters, married Charles A. Snyder of Pillow.

Note:  A question was asked at the Open House as to whether Charles A. Snyder was a descendant of the founder of Pillow, which was originally called Snydertown or Schneidershtettle) after John Snyder who died in 1855.  The question was left unanswered.


David M. Brown (13 September 1837 – 7 February 1902)


Occupation:  Laborer and Farmer.

Service: 177th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company I, Private.  MI: 2 November 1862     MO: 5 August 1863.

Lived in Pillow late in life.  Married: Catherine “Kate” Gottschall

Buried: Grand View Cemetery, Pillow, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.

Note:  For an additional story about David M. Brown, see The Brothers David Brown and Samuel E. Brown – Family Photos.


Jonas Bubb (9 March 1827 – 10 January 1886)

BubbJonas-177thPAFlag-001 Occupation:  Plasterer.

Service: 177th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company I, Private.  MI: 1 November 1862     MO: 5 August 1863.

Born and Died in Pillow.   Married: Rebecca Bordner.

Buried: Grand View Cemetery, Pillow, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.


Cyrus F. Buffington (24 February 1839 – 21 July 1930)


Occupation:  Wagoner and Wheelwright.

Service: None Known. Registered for Draft in July 1863 (see above).

Lived in Mifflin Township and Pillow.  Married: Caroline Bingaman.  Married: Maria Dunkelberger.


Buried: Union Cemetery, Jordan Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.


William Elias “Eli” Dilfield  (19 March 1845 – 1 December 1915)


Occupation:  Saddler and Hotel Keeper.

Service: 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company B, Private and Saddler.  MI: 22 February 1864     MO: 28 July 1865.

Born in Pillow but Lived in Mifflin Township, Hegins Township, Shamokin, Tremont and Reading.  Married: Ellen McClain.  Married: Sarah Ellen “Sallie” Hoffa.  Married: Ellen V. Keiser.


Buried: Charles Evans Cemetery, Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania.


Charles Drumm  (8 February 1824 – 25 April 1897)


Occupation:  Laborer, Shoemaker and Farmer.

Service: 177th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company I, Private.  MI: 2 November 1862     MO: 5 August 1863.

Lived in Lykens Township, Mifflin Township, Lower Augusta Township, and Pillow.  Married: Christianna “Dinah” Beck.


For regimental flag photos see:  Pennsylvania Civil War Battle Flags.

The 2nd and 3rd parts of this series will follow in the days ahead.






The Yeager Family in the Civil War (Part 13)

Posted By on July 13, 2015

In 1912, the Hon. James Martin Yeager wrote and published A Brief History of the Yeager, Buffington, Creighton, Jacobs, Lemon, Hoffman and Woodside Families and Their Collateral Kindred of Pennsylvania.  Yeager was formerly the President of Drew Seminary for Young Women of Carmel, New York as well as a former Member of the House of Representatives of Pennsylvania and a Marshal of the Middle District of Pennsylvania.  On pages 82-85, he presented a list of Pennsylvania soldiers he identified with the Yeager surname who had fought in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865.  In addition to the names of the soldiers, he named the regiment and company in which they fought.  Sixty-three veterans were thus identified.  A free download of Yeager’s book can be obtained at the Internet Archive.

There is much information still to be discovered about each of the veterans.  Readers of this blog are urged to add information to what is provided below – particularly genealogical information about each of the men, including the names of their parents and their decent from the earliest Yeager’s who arrived in Pennsylvania.  Additional stories about the Civil War service of these veterans is also sought, particularly if readers have access to the pension application files and military records from the National Archives.  Pictures are especially welcome!  Comments can be added to this post or sent by e-mail.

This post continues a multi-part series on these Pennsylvanians with the Yeager surname who served in the Civil War.



Frank Yeager enrolled at Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania, in the 128th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company E, as a Private and was mustered into service on 14 August 1862 at Harrisburg.  At the time of his enrollment, he said he was 19 years old (born about 1843).  He served in that regiment and company until his honorable discharge on 19 May 1863.  On 17 February 1892, he applied for a pension based on his service.  He was awarded the pension and collected it until his death which occurred on 24 March 1911; his widow then applied on 3 April 1911, and she too was awarded a pension which she collected until her death.


Daniel L. Yeager served in the 132nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company H, as a Private, mustering in at Harrisburg on 17 August 1862.  He was honorably discharged on 24 May 1863.  At the time of his enlistment at Catawissa, Columbia County, Pennsylvania, he said he was 21 years old (born about 1842), a resident of Catawissa, and was employed as a saddler.  The stone at Union Cemetery, Catawissa, Columbia County, notes his birth year as 1841 and his death year as 1894.  However, the following is pointed out at his Findagrave Memorial:

There seems to be conflicting data concerning the Daniel L. Yeager who served in Company H, 132nd PA Infantry Regiment. A record from “Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, 1879-1903″ shows he died July 15, 1879 and a marker placed by 1883. However, the tombstone pictured shows he died in 1894, but Rebecca, wife of the Daniel Yeager who served in the same unit, applied for a Civil War pension in 1890 as his widow. 

There is also a second Findagrave Memorial for a Daniel D. Yeager, which gives the same dates as on the grave marker – and reports the company and regiment as is noted on the marker.



William Yeager, a 22-year old resident of Harrisburg who was employed as a carpenter, was mustered into the service of the 127th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company D, as a Private, on 9 August 1862.  On 1 April 1863, he was promoted to Corporal and on 29 May 1863, he was mustered out of service with his company.   Nothing more is known about him at this time.



Samuel Yeager was mustered into service at Chambersburg, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, on 28 October 1863.  He served as a Private in the 148th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company B, as a substitute.  At the time of his enrollment he was 46 years old (born about 1817).  At some point during his service he was taken as a prisoner of war and sent to Andersonville, Georgia, where he died on 27 February 1865.  He is buried at Andersonville National Cemetery at that place.  No record has been seen of a pension application from any survivor.



William Yeager, of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, was born on 15 March 1839, the son of William Yeager and Mary Yeager; he died on 18 December 1914 in Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania.  Because he spent most of his life in the Philadelphia area, he is buried at the West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  He was 22 years old when he joined the 131st Pennsylvania Infantry, Company C, as a Private.  His military record states he was wounded at Fredericksburg, Virginia, on 13 December 1862, and was absent and in the hospital when his company was mustered out.  On 17 April 1879, he applied for an invalid pension, which he received and collected until his death.  His widow, Alice [Fowler] Yeager, applied for benefits on 22 December 1914, which she collected until her death.  For additional information about him, see his Findagrave Memorial.


Edward Yeager, alias Henry Yerger, died on 10 May 1864 at Bridgeport, Alabama, while serving as a Private in Company H of the 147th Pennsylvania Infantry which he had joined on 27 October 1862.  He is buried at the Chattanooga National Cemetery in Chattanooga, Tennessee.


George W. Yeager, also known as George W. Yerger, was born 22 February 1844 in Pennsylvania and died 11 May 1917 in Lamar, Missouri.  He is buried at the Lake Cemetery, Lamar Heights, Barton County, Missouri.  He had three tours of duty during the Civil War.  (1) On 20 April 1861, at Harrisburg, he mas mustered into the 3rd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company C, as a Private, and completed his 3-months term of service on 29 July 1861.  (2) On 5 August 1862, he was mustered into the 125th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company B, as a Private, and served until April or May 1863, after which he was promoted to Corporal on 30 July 1863, then to Sergeant on 5 January 1864.  The record at this point is not completely clear on whether he was transferred to another company in this regiment, or whether he joined his third regiment.  (3) On 30 January 1864, he is found in the 22nd Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company D, as Commissary Sergeant.  Then he received a transfer on 18 August 1865 to Company H.   After the war, he applied for a pension on 12 July 1877, which he received and collected until his death.  His wife, Sarah Yeager, died in 1909, so he was not survived by a widow.  More information about him is found at his Findagrave Memorial.


Pennsylvania Veterans’ Index Cards are from the Pennsylvania Archives.


Henry Curtin – The Man with 35 Artificial Legs

Posted By on July 10, 2015

According to an article on the ASME web site, the Civil War created a great demand for prosthetic limbs.  That demand came about because of more destructive ammunition and the willingness of the government to pay for the replacement body parts.

Recognizing the alarming number of amputations resulting from combat, the U.S. government unveiled the “Great Civil War Benefaction,” a commitment to provide prosthetics to all disabled veterans.

With the lure of government support, entrepreneurs began competing for a share of the growing prosthetics market. This new “arms race” was characterized by far-fetched advertising claims about the comfort and utility of the latest artificial limb…. [See:  The Civil War and the Birth of the American Prosthetics Industry, Michael MacRae, ASME]

The following story was widely circulated in newspapers throughout the country in 1899 – including the Harrisburg Telegraph of 30 August 1899.  Perhaps a reader can determine whether the story is true or just a sensational and slightly ridiculous, false allegation of government waste.  The man named in the story, Henry Curtin, has not been specifically located in any Civil War regiment, nor can he be located in the official pension records although there are several persons of similar name whose records do not quite match with the story.


Chicago Man Who Might be a Centipede If He Wishes

Henry Curtin,a veteran of the Civil War living on the West Side, has a room in his residence that impressed all his visitors as a veritable chamber of horrors.  This is because its most conspicuous decoration and ornament is a row of human legs suspended on the walls and entirely circling the room.  Mr. Curtin always laughs at the fright of strangers at the first sight of this room, and then explains that the legs are only artificial ones, ant there.s nothing to be afraid of there, says the Chicago Inter-Ocean.

“You see,” says Mr. Curtin, “in ’64 I was so foolish as to try to stop a cannon ball with my right leg.  Of course I wasn’t one, two, three and the next thing I know, I was in a camp hospital with only one leg left.  That ended my soldering.  The government had me measured for an artificial leg as soon as I was able to be about, and I came home to Chicago.

“Well, I discovered that I couldn’t wear the kind og leg the Government gives, owing to some reasons connected with the way my leg was amputated, and the only leg I can wear is this wooden stump that straps the thigh.  It was in ’65 when I got my first leg.  In ’66 and express package brought me another.  I sat down and wrote the War Department that the legs were of no use to me and therefore not to send them.  They didn’t take a bit of notice of my letter, and in ’67 another leg came.  I wrote again to Washington, told them I had three of their legs now that I couldn’t use, and didn’t want them to go on and bankrupt the Government buying me legs.

“They never noticed me. In ’68 I got another leg.  They began to get in the way around the house, so then I started the labeling and dating of each one, and hanging them up on the walls of my den.  They came regularly – one each year.  There’s 35 there now, and I guess I’ll last long enough to see 50 or more if Uncle Sam doesn’t get tired sending them.”