Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Isaac Snoke of Millersburg – 107th Pennsylvania Infantry

Posted By on July 31, 2017

Isaac Snoke was born 2 May 1826 and at the time of the Civil War, he enrolled in and honorably served in the 107th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company D, as a Private.  The record card, shown above from the Pennsylvania Archives, notes that he was mustered into service on 24 January 1862 at Harrisburg, and was discharged on a Surgeon’s certificate of Disability on 12 November 1862.  At the time of his muster in, he was 36 years old, was employed as a farmer, and resided in Millersburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.

In the 1860 Census, Isaac Snoke was living in Upper Paxton Township, Dauphin County, where he was working as a farmer.  In his household, was his wife Barbara Snoke, and two children, Hiram Snoke, age 8, and Barbara Ellen Snoke, age 3 months.

In 1870, Isaac Snoke was still living in Upper Paxton Township and still working as a laborer.  The same family members were in his household.

Isaac Snoke died on 18 September 1873 and is buried at St. Luke’s Parish Cemetery, Malta, Northumberland County.  There is some additional information about him at his Findagrave Memorial including that his parents were Henry Snoke and Barbara Snoke and that he had a twin sister Leah Snoke.  Note that there is a government issued grave marker as well as a G.A.R. Star-Flag Holder at the grave!

Barbara Snoke applied for widow’s pension benefits on 1 July 1874, which she received as indicated on the Pension Index Card from Ancestry.com, as shown above.

Following the death of Isaac, Barbara remained in Upper Paxton Township, where she was enumerated as a 51 year old head-of-household, with a boarder, Jerry Specht, 33, a laborer, living with her.  Whether by error or by choice, Barbara’s race was given as “M” for mulatto.  Previous censuses have her as white.

In 1890, Barbara Snoke indicated that she was a war widow, that her husband served in the 107th Pennsylvania Infantry and had received a “disability” as a result of his war service.

The only reverence found of Barbara’s maiden name is in the death certificate of here son Hiram F. Snoke, 1907, where his mother’s maiden name was given as “Bella Lauer” (or Lawer).

Barbara Snoke died on 30 January 1896 and according to her Findagrave Memorial, she is buried with her husband at St. Luke’s Parish Cemetery, Malta, Northumberland County.

Some additional sources on this veteran:

Above, from the database, Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, shows that by contract dated 21 January 1883, a grave marker was issued for the Isaac Snoke who served in the 107th Pennsylvania Infantry.  [From:  Ancestry.com].

Above, pension re-issue for Barbara Snoke, widow of Isaac Snoke, as reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer, 19 April 1891.  [From:  Newspapers.com].

Finally, the above cut from the plaque on the Millersburg Soldier Monument, shows that the name of Isaac Snoke has been omitted.  Hence, still another soldier who served in the Civil War is not recognized in the central square of his hometown.  This again calls into question the criteria for the recognition of veterans that was applied when the monument was erected.  It’s difficult to understand how more than three times as many legitimate Civil War vets have not been recognized as were actually recognized.   Perhaps the current veteran organization of Millersburg and area can answer the question!



Rev. George A. Singer – Militia Man from Millersburg & Halifax

Posted By on July 28, 2017

The obituary of George A. Singer appeared in the Pittsburgh Daily Press, 27 August 1910:


Rev. George A. Singer, 67 years old, for 42 years a member of the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, died Thursday afternoon in a sanitarium in Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania, where he had been an invalid for the last five years.  He was born in Millersburg, Dauphin County, 30May 1943.

Rev. Mr. Singer’s last regular appointment was in Williamsburg, Pennsylvania.  He retired from the ministry six years ago, making his home with his son, S. Olin Singer, and supplying several pulpits on the Northside.

Surviving are three sons:  S. Olin Singer, of Pittsburgh; E. Harper Singer, a student at the Carnegie Technical Schools; and Prof. George P. Singer, of the Lockhaven Normal School.  A daughter, Mrs. Sarah Metz, resides in Williamsburg.

Funeral services will take place tomorrow at Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and the remains will be interred at Shiremantown, Pennsylvania.

In 1850, George Asbury Singer was living with his parents in Upper Paxton Township.  The father, George Singer, was a blacksmith.  In 1860, the family had moved to Halifax Township, where the father was then working as a farmer, and young George was working as a clerk.

During the emergency of 1862, George A. Singer joined the 6th Pennsylvania Infantry (Militia), Company A, where he served as a Private from 13 September 1862 to 27 September 1862.

During the 2nd emergency in 1863, George A. Singer joined the 36th Pennsylvania Infantry (Militia), Company C, a company that was formed from men who had been part of the Gratz Home Guard.  This company was sent to Gettysburg to help clean up the battlefield after 3 July 1863. It was in this company that George served with two African American soldiers – John Peter Crabb and his brother Edward Gratz, both sons of Peter Crabb, one of the first settlers of Gratz.

The Civil War service is not mentioned in the obituary.

At this time, not much is known about his career as a minister, except that it is believed that he did not return to the Lykens Valley after the war.  Nevertheless, he is named in the Halifax list of Civil War veterans, but like many others from Millersburg and Upper Paxton Township, he is not named on the soldier monument there, nor is he named in any list of veterans from that place.

For more information, see his Findagrave Memorial.


News clipping from Newspapers.comPennsylvania Veterans’ File Cards pictured above are from the Pennsylvania Archives.


Did Henry Shoop of the 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry Die in Wisconsin?

Posted By on July 26, 2017

On 7 March 1865, Henry Shoop, who resided in Upper Paxton Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, enrolled in the 2nd Company G of the 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry at Harrisburg, and was mustered into service as a private two days later at the same place.  He was a 24 year old shoemaker who stood 5 foot 9 inches tall, had light hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion.  According to the military records, he was mustered out with his company on 25 June 1865 New Bern, North Carolina.  Previously on this blog, the service of this replacement company was discussed.

In the 1850 Census of Halifax Township, Dauphin County, Henry Shoop appears as a 12 year old child in the household of George Shoop, age 51 (born about 1799), a farmer.  Presumably, this George Shoop is the father of Henry.  Elizabeth Shoop, age 48 (born about 1802), is presumably the mother.

In 1860, Henry Shoop appears in Upper Paxton Township, where he is living in the household of William Jury, a 40 year-old farmer.  At this time, Henry was 22 years old (born about 1838), and was working as a master shoemaker.  Although the age is slightly off, this Henry Shoop matches the soldier who enrolled in the 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry in 1865 claiming he was 24 years old (born about 1841).

In 1863, a Henry Shoop, age 22, of Washington Township, Dauphin County, registered for the draft claiming he was married and was a farmer.  Was this the same person? If so, in the interim between the census and the draft, he changed occupations and location — and got married.

The two Pension Index Cards, shown above from Ancestry.com (top) and Fold3 (bottom) give some interesting information about the Henry Shoop who served in the 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry.  First, he did not apply for pension benefits until 18 June 1892, and when he applied, he did so from Pennsylvania, seeming to indicate that he was living in Pennsylvania in 1892.  Second, according to the pension records, he died in 1907.

While research is still on-going, no matching Henry Shoop has been found in an 1890 Census for Pennsylvania, and efforts to locate a a Henry Shoop in Pennsylvania censuses for 1870, 1880 and 1900 have not been successful.

However, an 1870 census for Fond Du Lac, Ashford County, Wisconsin, gives the following:

Henry Shoop, age 28, a farm laborer, born in Pennsylvania, is head of household, with wife Matilda Shoop, age 24, born in Vermont, and children, Warren Shoop, age 4, and Elmer Shoop, age 2, born born in Wisconsin.

Subsequent federal censuses for this Henry Shoop family in Wisconsin add the following information (click on image to enlarge):

In 1880 (above), Henry Shoop, age 41 (born about 1839) was working as a farmer, living in Ashford, Fond Du Lac County, Wisconsin.  Wife Matilda Shoop, was 37 years old, , Warren Shoop and Elmer Shoop still in household, Edmund Shoop, age 8, Cora Shoop, age 6, and Lelia Shoop, age 4, added to household.

No 1890 Veterans’ Census was located for a Henry Shoop in Wisconsin who served in the 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry.

In 1900, Henry Shoop is a farmer, born June 1839, living in Beaver, Clark County, Wisconsin, who is a widower, head of household, with his daughter Lillie Shoop, a teacher.

A Wisconsin state census for Beaver, Clark County, 1895 shows a Henry Shupe (note spelling change of surname), as head of household, with himself and two females in household.  This indicates that Henry moved to Clark County some time between 1880 and 1895.

An Ancestry.com member publicly posted the following obituary of Henry Shupe, from the Loyal Tribune, Loyal, Clark County, Wisconsin, 9 March 1905:

Shupe, Henry (1838? – 2 MAR 1905)

Henry Shupe died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Fred Nelson, on 2 March 1905.

Mr. Shupe was born in Pennsylvania 66 years ago and with his parents came to Wisconsin and settled in Milwaukee County in the forties, where he grew to manhood. He then married and engaged in farming in Fond Du Lac County, from there he came to Clark County, Wisconsin about twenty-four years ago, buying land in the Romaine settlement in the town of Beaver, where he and his family commenced clearing away the forest and commenced building a home. With the other first settlers he underwent the hardships and privations incident to developing a new country, which are unknown to the present generation.

Mr. Shupe was a man of sterling qualities and respected and trusted by his neighbors and townsmen. Four times he was elected to the office of town treasurer, filling it with credit to himself and the town by hard work, industry and economy. He acquired enough of this world’s goods to enable him to retire from farm life and two years ago this spring he moved to the village of Loyal, and built a neat and comfortable residence.

During the fore part of December of last year he suffered an attack of stomach trouble, a disease he had suffered with a great deal in his younger days, which resulted in his death as stated above. He is survived by four children, two sons, Ed Shupe and Elmer Shupe, residents and farmers of the town of Beaver, and two daughters, Mrs. Nelson Walterman and Mrs. Fred Nelson, residing in the village of Loyal.

The funeral was held at the M. E. Church Friday afternoon, J. A. Hill officiating. The remains were interred at Dodgeville by the side of his wife, who preceded him six years ago.

Finally, in regard to this Wisconsin Henry Shupe (or Shoop), a Findagrave Memorial was located with the following information and picture:

Henry Shupe, born 13 June 1838, died 2 March 1905, buried Pine Grove Cemetery, Loyal, Clark County, Wisconsin. 

Henry’s wife, Matilda Shupe, was also located in the same cemetery and her Findagrave Memorial gives the information that she was born 27 June 1843, died 22 January 1899, and her maiden name was Matilda Harris.

There is no mention in Henry’s obituary or in his Findagrave Memorial that he was a Civil War veteran – and the actual year of death, 1905, is two years off the year of death of the Henry Shoop who served in the 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry (per the Pension Index Card, above).

While the two Henry Shoops do not entirely match, there are many circumstantial connections.  The actual pension application file might shed some light on whether the two are the same person, but that file was not available for this blog post research.  Perhaps a reader can shed some light on this?

A final interesting antidote must be presented here and comes from a news article found in the Eau Claire Leader, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 4 May 1902:





The bride that was-to-be is nigh 50 – perhaps a year or so on the sunny side – she has carried bride’s roses on three distinct occasions – has shad many other opportunities, but held out until Henry Shupe came forth and went down on his knees in the orthodox fashion and then for the fourth time in her life Mrs. Harriet Rossellen Burnett sighed the blissful word: “yes!”

The groom-that-was-to-be had been twice before.  In his fifty years of life he has enriched two parsons with liberal fees, he knows what it is to walk down the church aisle and meet the blushing lady at the altar, he knows well the joys of a hack ride around town after the ceremonies, twice in his life had he combed rice from his locks.  Well he knew the feeling of old shoes liberally thrown at his head and back.

What became of Mr. Shupe’s former wives is not stated.  Mrs. Burnett ran two of her men through the divorce-court mill – the third’s fate is not stated.

When Mrs. Burnett said “yes!” to Mr. Shupe’s impassioned query: “Will you be my own?” both were happy.  All this occurred in Nellsville. They are Nellsville people.  Then Shupe went to Marshfield and didn’t make good when the wedding day came around.

Mrs. Burnett brought suit before Judge James O’Neill, the case has been on for the past few days at Nellsville.  Clerk of the Court Charles Fiske of this city, took the testimony.  Eau Claire folks who attended the trial say that the testimony taken in prosaic shorthand would make Laura Jane Libby quit the business of romance writing.

Mrs.Burnett testified that she sold her cook stove and bed-room carpet to raise money enough to reach Marshfield and the altar, but when she got there Shupe had altered his plans regarding the altar and shuped-the-shupes into the uncertain matrimonial sea.  The jilted wants damages enough to soothe a lacerated heart.  An odd feature of the trial is the fat that two of Mrs. Burnett’s former husbands were witnesses in her behalf.

J. R. Sturdevant and C. R. Sturdevant of Nellsville, appeared for the plaintiff, and L. M. Sturdevant for the defendant.  The latter was one of the Board of Appraisers in the Eau Claire Water Works matter.

What is interesting about the above story is the location of the communities mentioned in relation to the community in which Henry Shupe died in 1905:

The cut above from GoogleMaps, shows that Loyal is 15.7 miles from Nellsville, where the court case took place, and Mansfield, which can be seen at the right edge of the map, is about the same distance from Loyal as is Nellsville.  The indication that Henry Shupe had been twice married may refer to the marriage that was reported to the 1863 Civil War draft – and the marriage to Matilda Harris, which probably occurred in Wisconsin. Most likely, the Henry Shupe, the defendant in the Nellsville case in 1902, was the same man who died in 1905 and is buried in Loyal.  Note, Eau Claire, where the newspaper was located, is at the left edge of the map cut and is about 40 miles from Loyal.

None of this speculation helps to explains why Henry Shoop would have moved from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, and why if this is the same man who served in the 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company G, no record has been found that he mentions his Civil War service.


News clippings are from Newspapers.com.




What Happened to John D. Shearer of Gratz?

Posted By on July 24, 2017

On 30 August 1861, at Gratz, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, John D. Shearer enrolled in the 50th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company A, as a Private.  He was mustered into service at Harrisburg on 9 March 1861.  The record card shown above from the Pennsylvania Archives notes that John D. Shearer re-enlisted on 1 January 1864, was promoted to Corporal on 18 March 1865, and was mustered out (according to Bates) on 30 July 1865.  At the time of his enrollment, he claimed he was 18 years old (born about 1843), was a painter by occupation, and resided in Gratz.  His physical description included a height of 5 foot 4 inches, brown hair, a light complexion, and hazel eyes.

In checking the book A Comprehensive History of the Town of Gratz, the name of John D. Shearer was not found – under either Shearer or Schearer.  So, who was he, and what happened to him after the war?

One record, easily located is the Pension Index Card, shown below from Ancestry.com.

This card indicates that an invalid pension was first applied for in June 1870, but no state location for application is given.  At the bottom of the card, a new number, “873336 combined” suggests that there was a re-application and the two sets of records were combined. The card also notes a date of death of 1 October 1933.  There was no widow application.

In searching for John D. Shearer in the 1890 Veterans’ census, no matching person was found, although it has to be assumed that he was living at the time if he died in 1933.  This could either be because he didn’t report his Civil War service to the 1890 census or because he was at the time living in a state from which the records were destroyed by fire.

In searching for John D. Shearer in Findagrave, one good match was found for someone born around 1843 and died in 1933:

According to the Findagrave Memorial, John D. Shearer was born 25 June 1842 in Pennsylvania, and died on 30 November 1933 in Los Angeles, California.  He was married to Maria Elizabeth Hileman, who was born on 18 January 1850 in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, and died on 13 March 1929 in Los Angeles, California. No mention is made in the memorial that this John D. Shearer was a Civil War veteran.   However, despite the fact that John died in Los Angeles, he is buried in Wood River Cemetery, Wood River, Hall County, Nebraska.

In the 1910 Census for Los Angeles, California, John D. Shearer was found along with his wife, Maria E. Shearer.  No occupation was given, but John did indicate that he was “U. A.,” meaning a veteran of the Union Army.

Was this the same person who lived in Gratz in 1861?

This question can most likely be answered by viewing the pension file, which has not been seen for the writing of this blog post.  If any reader has seen the pension file and would like to share its contents, please do so here.

How did John D. Shearer arrive in Gratz, what caused him to apply for a pension in 1870, and why did he not return to Gratz after the war?  Was he married only once, and did he have any children?  Why did he re-apply for a pension?   And finally, if both he and his wife died in Los Angeles, why are they buried in Nebraska?



Joel R. Spahr, Civil War Veteran- Not Buried at Urban!

Posted By on July 21, 2017

In a previous post here on this blog, the name of Joel R. Sparr was given as a Civil War veteran who is buried at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ Cemetery, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.  That information was taken from the Klingerstown Bicentennial Album, 1807-2007, which was reviewed in relation to its Civil War references.  As a result of the naming in that book, Joel R. Sparr (sometimes found in the records as Joel R. Spahr or Spohr) was included in the Civil War Project list of veterans from the Lykens Valley area.  Subsequent research has now shown that the Joel R. Sparr buried at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Urban may not be a Civil War veteran and that he may have been confused with a Joel R. Spahr who is buried at Walnut Ridge Cemetery, Jeffersonville, Clark County, Indiana.

Based on information in the Klingerstown Bicentennial Album, 1807-2007, it was determined that Joel R. Spahr served in the 42nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company B, first as a Private, but eventually promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.  Information on the card (above) from the Pennsylvania Archives, Joel was mustered into service on 4 June 1861 at Harrisburg.  At the time of his enrollment, he stood 5 foot 10 inches tall, had dark hair, a light complexion, grey eyes, and was 19 years old.  He claimed his residence was Petersburg [Perry County], Pennsylvania, and that he was a teacher.  His 1860 residence, as confirmed by the census, was Petersburg Borough.  Joel R. Spahr was honorably discharged at the end of his term of service on 1 June 1864.

Following this Joel R. Spahr in the census records, it can be noted that after the war, he appeared in various places including the Dakota Territory, Dodge City [Kansas], and finally Jeffersonville, Indiana.  Indiana death records show that Joel died in Indiana on 5 December 1903 and is buried at the Walnut Ridge Cemetery, in Jeffersonville.

Dennis Brandt, who has done extensive research on Civil War soldiers from York County and Adams County, Pennsylvania, supplied information on Joel R. Spahr to the Findagrave Memorial. Information from Brandt was confirmed by him by consultation with the pension application records at the National Archives.  Brandt concluded that the Joel R. Spahr who served in the 42nd Pennsylvania Infantry is buried at Jeffersonville, Indiana.  Brandt’s conclusions are not only borne out by the records he has examined, but also by further genealogical research on the family.  And, to date, no connection has been found to the Lykens Valley area for this veteran!

If there is a Joel R. Sparr buried at Urban, there is no Findagrave Memorial for him and no photograph has been seen of the grave marker there.

Epilogue:  In 1923, Joel’s son Howard H. Spahr applied for an emergency passport so he could work on U. S. graves registration for the army.  If his father is incorrectly “registered” as buried at Urban, Northumberland County, then this ironic twist can be added to the story of this veteran, who, from follow-up research does not belong in the Lykens Valley list of Civil War veterans!