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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

First Families of Pennsylvania application - check!


My application consisted of eighty-three final pages, including sixty-five pages of documentation and a sixteen-page summary of the generations and sources I used to document them. All in all, I presented my research into six generations of my family spanning 174 years back to 1840 in Pennsylvania. Not bad for a spare-time genealogist!

It has been a joy to trace my roots in Pennsylvania and it will be an honor to see my ancestors included within the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania's official list of First Families of Pennsylvania within the designation "Keystone & Cornerstone: 1791-1865".

I always love to visit Pennsylvania, but it will be even more special to step onto the soil of the Keystone State once I receive word from GSP that my application was accepted and my family is enrolled within their list of First Families. This is one package that was sent to Philadelphia "from Texas with love", for sure!

Monday, March 17, 2014

A St. Patrick’s Day miracle for the Irish/Hungarian genealogy blogger

You may be thinking, “It’s a miracle! Finally a new blog article from Lisa!”

Though this very well might be a small miracle, there is a real miracle I’d like to share with you in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. It is a documented phenomenon that occurred over three centuries ago that is still remembered and celebrated today. It is close to my heart for a very special reason, as you’ll see when you read on.

I first posted this article three years ago, but really wanted to share it again this year. Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Smallest Leaf!


As a Catholic and a mother, I often look to Christ’s mother, Mary, for inspiration. She is the perfect example of womanhood. Her life has provided encouragement to women for many generations, including my own and my beloved ancestors’ (on both the Irish and Hungarian/Croatian sides of the family).

In many places throughout the world, Mary is remembered by a special name or title, or honored with a particular statue or painting containing her image. There are countless “names” for Mary. I thought I had heard of most of them.

I was surprised to come across a new title for Mary recently that I absolutely could not believe. As the descendant of Irish and Hungarian ancestors, I was thrilled to discover the Irish Madonna of Hungary. The story behind this title of Mary involves a beautiful painting, two European cities a continent apart, and a documented miracle that is as surprising as it is inspiring.


The village of Clonfert in County Galway, Ireland could not hide from the troubles facing the island during the middle of the 17th century. Oliver Cromwell was imposing his will on the Irish people – often brutally – and many, particularly church leaders, were displaced, persecuted, or killed. Among those was one Irish bishop by the name of Walter Lynch. As history tells us, Bishop Lynch was forced to flee his native Clonfert to Galway city. After the attack and capture of Galway, he was pursued to the island of Inisbofin, and then escaped to mainland Europe. He was in Austria by 1655 – four years after fleeing Clonfert. While in Austria, the good Bishop met the Bishop of Győr, Hungary, who offered him the opportunity to continue his ministry within the Győr diocese until the time when Bishop Lynch could safely return to his homeland.

Sadly, Bishop Lynch, who was making plans to return to Ireland, passed away in Győr in the year 1663, twelve years after leaving Clonfert. During his travels as an exile, the Bishop had carried with him a painting of Mary and the child Jesus (shown below), which he had saved from the Clonfert cathedral. Before his passing, Bishop Lynch had placed the picture in the care of the Bishop of Győr, who put it on display in the Győr cathedral.

Thirty-four years passed with the painting housed in the Győr cathedral. The Hungarian faithful venerated this beautiful image of the Madonna, and felt sure that Mary’s intercession on their behalf had ensured their recent victories over the Turks. By the year 1697, Hungary was enjoying newfound peace. Unfortunately, that same year, Ireland was beginning to face one of its greatest trials: the outlawing of the Catholic faith, the confiscation of its churches, and the banishment of all Catholic clergy from the British Isles.

As historical accounts tell us, on the feast of St. Patrick on March 17, 1697 a miracle occurred in Győr. According to the account of a priest who witnessed the event, “…the picture of the Blessed Virgin in the cathedral began to weep copiously.” Additional details recorded indicate that this “weeping”, or “bloody sweat”, went on for several hours, and that witnesses of various denominations were unable to attribute the occurrence to any natural cause. Eventually, word of the miracle spread throughout the city. It was witnessed by thousands, many of whom signed a document indicating their presence at the time of the miracle. These included the imperial governor of the city, mayor, councilmen, the Bishop, priests, Protestant ministers, a Jewish rabbi and many more. A linen cloth used to soak up the liquid is still on display today in the cathedral. The inscription on the case reads: “This is the true cloth which was used to dry the blood, which this picture shed in this church on St. Patrick’s Day 1697.”

The linen cloth on display in Győr Basilica today
(Image thanks to Győri Egyházmegye - Győr Diocese)

The beautiful image of the Irish Madonna of Hungary, also referred to as the Consolatrix Afflictorum (Consoler of the Afflicted), remains in the cathedral to this day, framed in silver above the altar. For over three centuries, it has played a special role in drawing together the two nations of Hungary and Ireland.



Every March 17 since 1947 (the 250 year anniversary of the miracle), even during the Communist regime, Hungarian priests have made a pilgrimage to the Győr cathedral and visited the Győri Könnyező Szűzanya (Győr Weeping Virgin Mary) or Ír Madonna (Irish Madonna), as they call the painting in the Hungarian language.

Hungarian priests in procession at Győr Basilica
(Image thanks to Győri Egyházmegye - Győr Diocese)

Other special celebrations occur regularly for Hungarian lay Catholics to honor Mary’s weeping image in Győr, and there is even an annual Croatian-speaking celebration. Irish Catholics, too, regularly make pilgrimages to the Irish Madonna of Hungary. The year 1997 (the 300-year anniversary of the miracle) saw a special exchange as the Irish Clonfert Bishop John Kirby was presented a copy of the painting by Győr Bishop Lajos Papai on his visit to the city.

Győr, Hungary's Bishop Lajos Papai giving a copy of the
painting to Clonfert, Ireland's Bishop John Kirby
(Image thanks to Hitvallás)
As Clonfert’s Bishop John Kirby wrote, “The kindness shown to Bishop Walter Lynch has led to an unusual link between the small Irish rural diocese of Clonfert and the large Hungarian diocese of Győr centered in a big industrial city. It has shown us the value of friendship and the way that the consideration shown to a refugee can deepen the understanding between peoples who might otherwise never have known each other. The history of the painting has an even deeper message. It reminds us of the faith and trust in the intercession of Our Lady that existed both in Ireland and in Hungary 350 years ago.”

The Basilica of Győr today
Where were my Irish and Hungarian ancestors 350 years ago? I haven’t determined that yet, but it is interesting to imagine the possibilities knowing the history of the time.

As you may know, Catholics like to choose patron saints for themselves. I think it’s pretty obvious that Mary, the Irish Madonna of Hungary, is the ideal patron saint for this Irish/Hungarian genealogist! I hope that Győr’s Weeping Virgin Mary, the Consoler of the Afflicted, will smile down on my efforts to continue the search for ancestors on both sides of my family tree: those from Bishop Lynch’s beloved native Ireland, and those from Hungary, the country that welcomed him with open arms.


If you'd like to read more about the history of the Irish Madonna of Hungary, check out the following websites and books:
Note: This article is cross-posted to my Hungarian genealogy blog, 100 Years in America.  Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

"Don't blow the tall white candle out...": A song for Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is a magical time. The waiting of Advent is over and the celebration of the Savior's birth is about to begin.

Photo by Malene Thyssen
One beautiful way that the Irish have traditionally kept this holy night is with the lighting of a candle in the window. The warm light from its glow acts as a welcome to all so that no one should be without shelter.

Offering hospitality to others by way of a lighted candle is a tradition as old as ancient Ireland. In more recent centuries during times of persecution in Ireland, the candle offered a welcome to priests that the home was a safe haven and that Mass could be offered there. On Christmas Eve, the candle also symbolizes the willingness of the household to welcome the Holy Family, so that the Infant Jesus and his family would not again be turned away. One Irish belief held that Joseph, Mary and Jesus still wandered the world, seeking a place of refuge from Herod.

The words of The Kerry Christmas Carol, written by Sigerson Clifford, admonish us to be sure to provide a welcome for the Holy Family on this special night before Christmas. Below are verses two and seven. I've placed the full version of the song here.


Verse 2

Ná múch an coinneal ard bán,
Ach fág é lásta go geal.
Go mbeidh siad cinnte ar aon
go bhfuil fáilte is fiche roimh cách
Sa teach ar an Oiche Nollag naofa seo!

Don't blow the tall white candle out
But leave it burning bright,
So that they'll know they're welcome here
This holy Christmas night!

Verse 7

Ná cur ar an ndoras ach an laiste anocht!
Agus coimead na gríosaigh beó -
Agus guí go mbeidh siad fén ar ndíon anocht
Agus an domhan 'na chodladh go suan.

Leave the door upon the latch,
And set the fire to keep,
And pray they'll rest with us tonight
When all the world's asleep.



Tim Dennehy, who has recorded The Kerry Christmas Carol, has also written a song of his own to be sung in welcome of the Holy Family on Christmas Eve.

Tim has taken a traditional Irish prayer of welcome and added additional verses and a refrain. His song, An Nollaig Theas, begins as follows:


Dia do bheatha 'dir asal is damh gan riar
Dia do bheatha id' leanbh, id Fhlaith gan chiach
Dia do bheatha ód' Fhlaithis go teach na bpian
Dia do bheathasa 'Íosa.

Dún do shúil a Rí an tSolais, dún do shúile ríoga
Dún do shúil a Shaoi an tSonais, dún do shúile síoda.



Translated to English, the words are:


God's greeting to you untended 'tween ox and ass
God's greeting to you Child and Prince serene
God's greeting to you from heaven to the hour of pain
God's greeting to you dear Jesus.

Close your eyes oh King of light, close your regal eyes
Close your eyes oh fount of happiness, close your silken eyes.


You can find the rest of the lyrics to the song on Tim Dennehy's website.

If you choose to light a candle in your window this Christmas Eve and would like to follow Irish tradition, remember that it requires that the candle be left burning throughout the night. Oh, and it must only be blown out by one having the name of Mary! Or was that the youngest child in the family? Actually it might have been the youngest child who would, of course, be named Mary.

No matter. As long as you get the candle in the window I think any Irishman or woman would be feel welcomed at your home on Christmas Eve, not to mention Mary, Joseph and the Infant Jesus.


This article previously appeared here at Small-leaved Shamrock as part of Thomas MacEntee's GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2008 and 2009. I've republished it this year in celebration of footnoteMaven's Blog Caroling event. Merry Christmas to all!

Image thanks to DoChara.com.

Friday, December 20, 2013

One-hundred and twenty years ago today: The death of Ann Cowhey, 1893

It was just five days before Christmas in the year 1893 that Ann Cowhey left this life. Her obituary says she died at home and was in her 90th year. Other records indicate she may have been closer to eighty. If she did as some of her great-granddaughters were known to do, she may have underestimated her age when she had the opportunity.

Ann's obituary also states that she was a "lifelong resident of East Mt. Carbon". I know that to be untrue. She and her husband started their family in New York City. More than likely Ann (whose maiden name I have not yet determined) also immigrated to New York from Ireland, as did her husband Patrick (who came to New York City at age 15).

Patrick and Ann resided in New York City's fifth ward and more than likely attended Old St. Patrick's Catholic Church on Mulberry Street. (The city registry listing their firstborn son's death at age 4 in 1836 indicates that he was buried within St. Patrick's cemetery. Unfortunately, the church could not find any sacramental records for the family.)

After living in New York City, Patrick and Ann arrived in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania with their two surviving young children. They spent the rest of their lives there and Ann gave birth to six more children (including two sets of twins). Of the four children who survived her, however, only one remained with her in Mount Carbon at the time of her death: her youngest son John.

~

I was privileged a couple of years ago to have the chance to hold in my hands the family Bible that first belonged to Ann. In this Douay-Rheims translation Catholic Bible published by Edward Dunigan in New York in 1844, she and other family members chronicled the births, marriages and deaths of many Cowhey family members. The year that her husband Patrick (and therefore she) became a naturalized U.S. citizen is also handwritten into the Bible. This book is a true family treasure: a small tangible glimpse into the life of my 3rd great-grandmother.


On this, the 120th anniversary of Ann Cowhey's death, I'd like to share copies and transcriptions of the three newspaper announcements that appeared in the Pottsville Republican Herald at time of Ann's death:

Announcement of Ann Cowhey's death (published December 20, 1893)
COWHEY - At East Mt. Carbon, on Wednesday morning, December 20, 1893, Mrs. Ann Cowhey, in her 90th year. Funeral on Saturday morning. High Mass at St. Patrick's church, at 9:30. Interment in No. 3 cemetery. Friends and relatives respectfully invited.

Obituary for Ann Cowhey, age 90 (published December 21, 1893)
Mt. Carbon Briefs.  
Mrs. Ann Cowhey, a lifelong resident of East Mt. Carbon, died at the residence of her son, John Cowhey, yesterday, in the 90th year of her age. The deceased has been ill for some time, and her old age enfeebled her, so that she was unable to leave the house. She leaves to survive her two sons and a daughter, viz: John, the Pinedale Park hotelkeeper; Thomas, at the Soldiers' home, Dayton, Ohio, and Mrs. Charles McWilliams, of New Haven, Conn. Another son, Engineer William Cowhey, was killed at Connor's Crossing by the explosion of an engine about a year ago.

"The funeral offerings were two sheaves of wheat." - Ann Cowhey's funeral description (published December 26, 1893)
Deaths and Funerals.
The funeral of Mrs. Ann Cowhey took place Saturday morning from her late residence at East Mt. Carbon, at 9:30 o'clock. Requiem High Mass was celebrated at St. Patrick's church by Rev. F. J. McGovern. The floral offerings were two sheaves of wheat. The pall bearers were Thomas Dobbins, Jere Sullivan, Michael Sullivan, John McCarthy, Ed. Brehony and James McGovern. R.A. Waldron, funeral director.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

On Christmas bazaars, ping pong tables and a pleading daughter

If you are reading this because the title intrigued you, you may be surprised to learn that this article is about Christmas ornaments. More specifically, it is about a woman, her dedication to the year-round crafting of such ornaments, and her grown daughter's desire to be the recipient of some of those creations.


Let me begin by introducing the woman herself (my Nana): Anne (Cowhey) McCue. When our story begins Anne is in her sixties and in ill health. She has raised her children to adulthood, though one still lives at home. She has more time on her hands than she has had for many years. Although she finds some days challenging because of her physical state, Anne has taken on a monumental task for herself: to design, craft, and sell loads of felt Christmas ornaments to raise money for the church bazaar at her parish: St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Massapequa (Long Island), New York.

Anne (Cowhey) McCue, 1978
Anne takes regular walks at the local mall, hiding a small sketchbook in her purse. Whenever she sees a character or other design that she thinks would make a good ornament, she takes a few minutes to sketch it, watching over her shoulder for clerks who might not appreciate her "stealing" an idea. She sketches figures of all kinds, including newly popular characters (this is before the age of the internet, so she can't go look Ziggy or the Hobbit up online when she decides to make them into felt ornaments).

Before too much of each year goes by, Anne's brainchild design ideas have been crafted into touchable felt ornaments. Where to store all these treasures while they await the annual parish bazaar? Her solution is her basement: on top of the ping pong tables that take up residence down there. Visiting grandchildren who love to play ping pong get ousted certain months of the year when the ornament population is high. The church bazaar takes precedence!

Speaking of visitors, one visitor and great admirer of Nana's ornaments is her eldest daughter. Whenever she is in town during peek ornament season, she enjoys taking the steps down into the basement to admire her mother's work. Walking around the ping pong tables, she admires the many characters, mentally choosing the ones she'd like for her own Christmas tree. But her wishes are in vain - her mother has dedicated herself to raising money for the church bazaar. Quantity counts, so the ornaments must remain in inventory!

Over the years, Anne's daughter is able to procure a very small collection of her mother's ornaments: sweet little winking mice, teddy bears, Santas, puppy dogs, even a Nativity ornament. Her collection, which is just a small sampling of her mother's work, is a family treasure enjoyed by herself and her children each year as they set up their Christmas tree many states away from Nana and her ornament workshop.


Anne McCue died in 1985 at the age of 71. Yet Nana is still fondly remembered in a special way each year at Christmas in my household and the households of other family members who were lucky enough to receive a few of her ornaments. When I unpack Santa (pictured above) each year, I can't help but think of Nana and wonder whose Christmas trees might also be graced by some of her handiwork and who might have benefitted from the church funds raised because of her valiant effort to fill a basement with Christmas cheer in the form of felt ornaments.

Nana with some of her larger hand-crafted friends
 ~

As Nana's eldest grandchild, I had the privilege of getting to know her better than many of my siblings or cousins. (Here I am with Nana and Mommy on my second birthday. Notice me eyeing the cake.)


Not only did I have the joy of getting to know Nana, but since I was old enough when she began making her famed Christmas ornaments, she spent some time teaching me how to make them. I made a handful of her designs with her help, and even created a few new ones myself. I still have some of Nana's unfinished ornaments in the box in which I keep my little treasured collection. Maybe someday I'll take up ornament-making again and finish the work she started. But I can't imagine filling up even one ping pong table-full (not without a team of little elves!).


This article is part of a series written in celebration of the Advent and Christmas seasons. It will be included as part of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2013, Day 9: Christmas Crafts and Day 15: Christmas Tree Decorations. For more Advent and Christmas memories here at Small-leaved Shamrock (going back to 2007), scroll through these articles or stop by my Pinterest page. Visit this preview for more details about the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories and to get some inspiration to get yourself in the holiday spirit!

Monday, November 25, 2013

"Clearing the Wreck: Around the Scene of the Locomotive Explosion", November 15, 1892

News traveled fast in 1892 of the train engine explosion that killed my great-grandfather. By the next day, details of the accident were published in the New York Times and various other city newspapers throughout the country. Yet, the most detailed coverage can be found within the local paper: the Pottsville Daily Republican.

Two weeks ago on the 121st anniversary of this horrible accident, I published an article describing the event and sharing details of my great-great-grandfather William Cowhey's funeral, which was fit for a hero. Within this article and one last Monday, I have shared with Small-leaved Shamrock readers the two articles that appeared within the Pottsville Daily Republican two consecutive days after the accident. I have transcribed them for easier reading. This second article appeared on page 1 of the paper on Tuesday, November 15.



The Pottsville Daily Republican ran this article on page 1 the day after the accident, Tuesday, November 15, 1892. The three scans above overlap slightly, but by enlarging them you can read the text of the full article which I've also transcribed below.

CLEARING THE WRECK 
Around the Scene of the Locomotive Explosion. 
AWAITING DOBBIN'S RECOVERY! 
The Inquest Will Not Be Held Until He Is Able to Testify - His Conditions Improving Slightly - Particulars Coming Out Slowly. 
John Day, a well preserved man of over 70 years of age who ran an engine for over thirty years and has worked on the railroad ever since [1862?], was the watchman on duty Sunday night where the engine exploded on the Reading railroad, at Conner's, a small station three miles south of here, whereby five men were killed outright and one very probably fatally scalded. Day says it was 12:15 when engine 563 pulled up and stopped just south of his watch-box, where the wagon road between Cressona and Schuylkill Haven crosses the railroad, and sorted out a long string of cars onto the side track. Owing to difficulty experienced in getting out some bent coupling pins they laid there fully twenty minutes, after which they started north again for Palo Alto with the balance of the train but they had trouble starting and they made very poor headway, and he judges that they had allowed the steam to run down. They made several starts and stops before they could get by his place, and when they had gone beyond it a little over 100 yards, they stopped again, and immediately thereafter the explosion occurred. 
He was [?] stunned himself and greatly bewildered and when he was starting to go up to the head of the train, brakeman Dobbins came running to him with his clothes all afire and crying to him to help him extinguish the fire on his person. Day aided Dobbins in tearing off the burning clothes, afterwhich at his request he gave Dobbins some water with which he washed the dirt out of his eyes and from his face and hands. Dobbins said to him: "They are all killed; oh, see if you can't help Harry Allison." By this time men came running up from the Mine Hill junction dispatcher's office and the Schuylkill Haven railroad yards, and after sending out flagmen to stop all trains search was made for the victims of the catastrophe. Cowhey and Moyer were found on the south bound track just above his watch-box, where they had dropped after being blown against a wall of rock several hundred feet high. Engineer Allison and his fireman, Mackey, were found underneath the engine, and Kendricks, the conductor of the ill-fated crew, was blown several hundred yards into a field to the east of the tracks. Before the accident the engine was headed north, and by the force of the explosion it was turned upside down the tracks on top and heading to the south, virtually making a back somersault to the east of the track. The cylinder head and front of engine were a hundred feet still further south. 
The explosion occurred directly beneath the long iron bridge of the Lehigh Valley and Schuylkill railroad which crosses the Pennsylvania railroad, turnpike, canal, the junction railroad river, valley and Reading tracks at a height of about 50 feet. This bridge was not injured in the least. 
The bodies of the victims were gathered together and taken into Day's watch-box and after being viewed by the Coroner were sent to their late homes. The faces of all but one were unrecognizable and their identity was disclosed by the clothing and bodily appearances alone. 
At six o'clock last evening all evidences of the wreck had been cleared away excepting the frame of the immense boiler and fire box, which was lying along-side the track. Company officials were early on the ground and thoroughly examined into the cause of the accident, and this was made plain late yesterday afternoon when they loaded up the crown sheet and sent it to Palo Alto. 
On the crown sheet is unmistakable evidence that the explosion was caused by low water as the iron is badly burned to a deep blue color and the marks show just how high the water was. Friends and all railroad men, after seeing this, acknowledge that there was no other cause. It is thought that in the excitement in trying to get the bent coupling pins out and shorten the delay on the siding as much as possible, that unintentionally the water was allowed to get low. 
Day says that Dobbins told him that when the engine stopped, at Allison's request, he had got down on the tank to get a bucket of water with which to extinguish a fire that had started on the jacket, and that Allison had just started his pumps. 
THE VICTIMS.

Harry C. Allison, the engineer of No. 563, was a native of Panther Valley, a short distance west of Cressona, where he was born about 44 years ago. He early went to railroading, and was one of the most careful of the many engineers in the employ of the company. He was a Union soldier during the Rebellion, and was a member of Gowen Post No. 23, G.A.R., and Seneca Tribe No. 41, I.O.R.M. he leaves a widow and a married daughter, the wife of Bert Nimbleton, to mourn his loss. His only son was buried a little over a week ago. His funeral will take place on Thursday afternoon from his late residence, 606 Bacon Street, Palo Alto. 
Charles J.C. Mackey, fireman, resided at Port Carbon. He was about 28 years of age, and leaves a widow and one small child. He was a prominent and active member of the following organizations: W.C, No. 134, P.O.S. of A; Grant Commandery, No. 36, P.O.S. of A; Golden Rule Castle, K. of P.; Schuylkill Lodge, I.O.O.F., No. 27, and of the Port Carbon Band. He was the efficient secretary of the latter organization. 
Charles H. Kendrick was also a resident of Port Carbon, and was about 32 years of age. He, too, leaves a widow and four small children to mourn his loss. He was the conductor of the ill-fated train.  
William Cowhey resided at Mt. Carbon, and was in his 59th year. He was twice married. Four grown up children blessed by that union survive him. His second wife he leaves a widow, with eight small children ranging from 14 years to an infant of but a few months old to mourn his sudden death. The deceased was a soldier on the Union side in the late rebellion, and a prominent member of Gowen Post No. 23, G.A.R. 
William H. Moyer is a native of Summit Station, on the S. and S. R.R., where he was born about twenty-six years ago. He engaged as a railroader about five years ago and removed to Palo Alto three years after accepting the employment as fireman. He leaves a widow and two small boys, aged 4 years and 19 months respectively. His funeral will take place on Wednesday. Interment will be made at Summer Mountain cemetery. He was a member of the Summit Station Lodge of the I.O. of O.F. 
THE SCENE OF THE EXPLOSION. 
The explosion occurred immediately under the overhead bridge of the L. and S. V. railroad. The engine 563 was of the L class, which are used to draw freight. Although she was running north the force was so great that she was lifted completely from her frame and turned southward, in the opposite direction. Everything about her has been shivered to pieces and she was, to use a "railroaders" term, "turned completely inside out." The railroad track for a short distance was also torn up. It is truly wonderful when the wrecked condition of the engine is taken into consideration that the bodies of the victims were not more badly mutilated. Excepting Cowhey and Moyer, whose bodies and faces were somewhat battered, the others were not so badly mangled or defaced. 
THE CORONER AT THE SCENE. 
At four o'clock this morning, Deputy Coroner, Dr. H.G. Weist, of Schuylkill Haven, was aroused and immediately summoned a jury. The Coroner B.C. Gulgin, also appeared as early as possible and they with the jury viewed the scene of the accident. No testimony will be taken for a day or so to await the condition of the injured man, Michael Dobbins. 
The jury consists of Messrs. Hock, Fry, Greisinger, Jones, Brown and Brennan.  
The steam crane which is used to remove debris and other material in the event of a collision or any other accident on the railroad, was broken a few days ago, and the wreck crew was therefore very much hampered in removing the wreck. The wreckers under Yardmaster Wm. Sabold worked very faithfully notwithstanding their great drawback. 
A THEORY 
The Reading railroad has been very unfortunate during the past year, with the number of explosions of locomotives which have occurred. One old railroader this morning assigned the following as the prime cause why these engines have exploded. He said in substance the crews are compelled to run their engines at a very high pressure to draw the very heavy trains which are put behind them for the past year. That to keep up the great pressure of steam and the quantity used the fires are forced and the exterior of the boilers are burned out, and something must give way, he added.

This article has been posted in honor of the 121st anniversary of William Cowhey's death on November 14, 1892. I have also shared it as part of Amanuensis Monday, a Geneabloggers Daily Prompt dedicated to the transcription of important documents such as this newspaper article detailing the accident that took William Cowhey's life.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"Last full measure of devotion...": Honoring the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

"...It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." 
- Closing words of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863

Abraham Lincoln's iconic Gettysburg Address, given 150 years ago today in honor of the dedication of the battlefield cemetery that would become Gettysburg National Cemetery, lives large within the historical conscience of our nation. So it should. It is a brief and simple message, yet its beautifully written call to honor the dead and continue the work of preserving the nation for which they died still has the power to stir patriotism in Americans today.

On this anniversary of the address I have enjoyed reading many tributes to Lincoln and his carefully crafted speech. I could not help but be inspired again by his stirring call "to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought [at Gettysburg] have thus far so nobly advanced".

Why do his words continue to reverberate throughout history? Lincoln's speech was pure poetry, as Grant Oster at Hankering for History has explained so well:
"Because of its brevity and poetic flow, the Gettysburg Address has become one of the most repeated speeches to date."
"If you listen and analyze the speech, it is poetic – from start to finish. With its conciseness and abundance of literary devices, Lincoln’s speech would contain many characteristics of common day poetry, such as: allusion, alliteration, antithesis, grammatical parallelism, and repetition."

As a dedicated historian and a great lover of poetry, I pause to celebrate the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's brilliant speech. May his words continue to echo down the centuries, stirring new generations to take up his call to preserve the memory and continue the work of those who gave their lives for this nation's freedoms.

~


Monday, November 18, 2013

"Terrific Explosion! Another Reading Locomotive Blown Up", November 14, 1892

News traveled fast in 1892 of the train engine explosion that killed my great-grandfather. By the next day, details of the accident were published in the New York Times and various other city newspapers throughout the country. Yet, the most detailed coverage can be found within the local paper: the Pottsville Daily Republican.

Last week on the 121st anniversary of this horrible accident, I published an article describing the event and sharing details of my great-great-grandfather William Cowhey's funeral, which was fit for a hero. Within this article and an upcoming one next week, I would like to share with Small-leaved Shamrock readers the two articles that appeared within the Pottsville Daily Republican two consecutive days after the accident. I have transcribed them for easier reading. This first article appeared on page 1 of the paper on Monday, November 14.



The Pottsville Daily Republican ran this article on page 1 the day of the accident, Monday, November 14, 1892. The three scans above overlap slightly, but by enlarging them you can read the text of the full article which I've also transcribed below.

TERRIFIC EXPLOSION! 
Another Reading Locomotive Blown Up. 
FIVE OLD RAILROADERS KILLED! 
Another Fatally Injured - Gathering Up the Mutilated Remains - Sketch of the Victims - A Big Loss Entailed Upon the Company - Details of the Occurrence. 
It is our sad duty today to chronicle another explosion of a locomotive of the Philadelphia and Reading railroad company, which occurred this morning near Conner's Crossing, about three miles south of this place in which five strong able bodied men were blown into eternity, and one seriously if not fatally scalded. 
The ill fated engine was known as one of the L class and was No. 563. 
The killed are the following: 
HENRY C. ALLISON, of Palo Alto, aged 44 years; married, leaving a widow and a married daughter; engineer of the ill-fated engine. 
CHARLES J. C. MACKEY, of Port Carbon, aged 28 years; married, leaving a widow and one small child; fireman of the ill-fated engine. 
CHARLES H. KENDRICK, of Port Carbon, aged 32 years; married, leaving a widow and four small children; conductor. 
WILLIAM COWHEY, of Mt. Carbon, aged 59 years; married, leaving a widow and twelve children. Engineer of locomotive No. 73. 
WILLIAM H. MOYER, of Palo Alto, aged 26 years; married, leaving a widow and two small children; fireman of engine No. 73. 
The injured man is: 
MICHAEL DOBBINS 
of Mt. Carbon, single. Badly scalded, and unconscious. 
The ill-fated engine, with a large draught of empty cars and manned by Engineer Allison and Fireman Mackey, were on their way from Port Richmond for Palo Alto, and after arriving near the overhead bridge of the Lehigh and Schuylkill Valley R.R., a short distance this side of Conner's Crossing, the locomotive exploded with the above horrifying results. 
THE CAUSE A MYSTERY. 
It is difficult, yes, impossible, at this time, if it ever can be done, to give the true cause of this very disastrous explosion. Michael Dobbins, the only surviving witness up to noon, lay suffering and unconscious at the residence of his parents at Pinedale or East Mt. Carbon. The attending physician regards his condition so critical that he has placed the patient under chloroform to alleviate his sufferings and has refused any to see him excepting those in attendance upon him.  
Persons who were in close proximity, however, say that the train stood still at the time because the engine had run out of steam. The blower had been put on to accelerate her steaming up and it was during this process that the boiler exploded. Dobbins alighted prior thereto and evidently it was to this cause that he escaped being hurled into the future, as were the rest of his more unfortunate companions.  
Cowhey and his fireman, Moyer, had just returned from a trip from Reading, for which place they left about 10 o'clock yesterday morning. They had, shortly prior to the accident, taken their engine, No. 73, and placed it into the round-house at Cressona. After their return trip, and, as was their custom, they went to the office at Schuylkill Haven to board the first engine north bound, so that they could ride to their respective homes, which they, however, never reached alive. Their bodies, with the other victims, now lie cold in death, with the bereaved widows and orphans gathered about their biers, whose only support and heads of families have gone forever. The scene is heartrending. 
THE VICTIMS.

Harry C. Allison, the engineer of No. 563, was a native of Panther Valley, a short distance west of Cressona, where he was born about 44 years ago. He early went to railroading, and was one of the most careful of the many engineers in the employ of the company. He was a Union soldier during the Rebellion, and was a member of Gowen Post No. 23, G.A.R., and Seneca Tribe No. 41, I.O.R.M. He leaves a widow and a married daughter, the wife of Bert Nimbleton, to mourn his loss. His only son was buried a little over a week ago. His funeral will take place on Thursday afternoon from his late residence, 606 Bacon Street, Palo Alto. 
Charles J.C. Mackey, fireman, resided at Port Carbon. He was about 28 years of age, and leaves a widow and one small child. He was a prominent and active member of the following organizations: W.C, No. 134, P.O.S. of A; Grant Commandery, No. 36, P.O.S. of A; Golden Rule Castle, K. of P.; Schuylkill Lodge, I.O.O.F., No. 27, and of the Port Carbon Band. He was the efficient secretary of the latter organization. 
Charles H. Kendrick was also a resident of Port Carbon, and was about 32 years of age. He, too, leaves a widow and four small children to mourn his loss. He was the conductor of the ill-fated train.  
William Cowhey resided at Mt. Carbon, and was in his 59th year. He was twice married. Four grown up children blessed by that union survive him. His second wife he leaves a widow, with eight small children ranging from 14 years to an infant of but a few months old to mourn his sudden death. The deceased was a soldier on the Union side in the late rebellion, and a prominent member of Gowen Post No. 23, G.A.R. 
William H. Moyer is a native of Summit Station, on the S. and S. R.R., where he was born about twenty-six years ago. He engaged as a railroader about five years ago and removed to Palo Alto three years after accepting the employment as fireman. He leaves a widow and two small boys, aged 4 years and 19 months respectively. His funeral will take place on Wednesday. Interment will be made at Summer Mountain cemetery. He was a member of the Summit Station Lodge of the I.O. of O.F. 
THE SCENE OF THE EXPLOSION. 
The explosion occurred immediately under the overhead bridge of the L. and S. V. railroad. The engine 563 was of the L class, which are used to draw freight. Although she was running north the force was so great that she was lifted completely from her frame and turned southward, in the opposite direction. Everything about her has been shivered to pieces and she was, to use a "railroaders" term, "turned completely inside out." The railroad track for a short distance was also torn up. It is truly wonderful when the wrecked condition of the engine is taken into consideration that the bodies of the victims were not more badly mutilated. Excepting Cowhey and Moyer, whose bodies and faces were somewhat battered, the others were not so badly mangled or defaced. 
THE CORONER AT THE SCENE. 
At four o'clock this morning, Deputy Coroner, Dr. H.G. Weist, of Schuylkill Haven, was aroused and immediately summoned a jury. The Coroner B.C. Gulgin, also appeared as early as possible and they with the jury viewed the scene of the accident. No testimony will be taken for a day or so to await the condition of the injured man, Michael Dobbins. 
The jury consists of Messrs. Hock, Fry, Greisinger, Jones, Brown and Brennan.  
The steam crane which is used to remove debris and other material in the event of a collision or any other accident on the railroad, was broken a few days ago, and the wreck crew was therefore very much hampered in removing the wreck. The wreckers under Yardmaster Wm. Sabold worked very faithfully notwithstanding their great drawback. 
A THEORY 
The Reading railroad has been very unfortunate during the past year, with the number of explosions of locomotives which have occurred. One old railroader this morning assigned the following as the prime cause why these engines have exploded. He said in substance the crews are compelled to run their engines at a very high pressure to draw the very heavy trains which are put behind them for the past year. That to keep up the great pressure of steam and the quantity used the fires are forced and the exterior of the boilers are burned out, and something must give way, he added.

This article has been posted in honor of the 121st anniversary of William Cowhey's death on November 14, 1892. I have also shared it as part of Amanuensis Monday, a Geneabloggers Daily Prompt dedicated to the transcription of important documents such as this newspaper article detailing the accident that took William Cowhey's life.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A horrifying end and a hero's farewell, November 1892

He was only fifty-eight years old, but some would argue that he had already led a full life. Born on April 29, 1834 to Irish immigrant parents Patrick and Ann Cowhey in New York City, William Cowhey had spent the latter part of his childhood in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. He worked on the canals until the Civil War broke out, then served along with his younger brother Thomas as one of the initial three-month volunteers for the Union in Schuylkill County's Company I, 16th Regiment. Following this short term, he re-enlisted in Battery L, Fifth U.S. Artillery and served for most of the duration of the war, seeing action in the 2nd Battle of Winchester. After his discharge, William became a prominent member of the G.A.R. veterans' organization (Grand Army of the Republic) for the duration of his life.

After the war, William married Catherine Regan. The couple had five children before Catherine's untimely death from consumption in the lungs in October 1876. As a 44-year-old widower with five young children, William was quick to marry again. He and 22-year-old Margaret Foley wed in St. Patrick's Church of Pottsville on February 28, 1878. They went on to have ten children of their own. William supported his family by working for the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad.

By the year 1892, William Cowhey had worked his way up from fireman to engineer. In the dark just after 2 a.m. on November 14, 1892, he had just hopped aboard another engineer's engine no. 563 in Cressona to get home to Mount Carbon after his shift had finished when two minutes into the ride the train's boiler exploded as they passed through Conner's Crossing just north of Schuylkill Haven. The horrifying blast sent William and four other railroad men to their deaths (with one more later dying from his injuries). William was killed instantly as his body was thrown onto rocks and according to the newspaper report, all of his bones were broken.

The accident was written up in local newspapers and city papers throughout the nation, including the November 15, 1892 New York Times (which I've transcribed here).


For details on the possible cause of the accident, see The Pottsville train explosion: How & why?. Though its passengers did not, Philadelphia and Reading engine no. 563 survived the blast. Here is its photograph circa 1930s (it's wooden cab was replaced by a metal cab):

Thanks to Ronald Bailey for this photograph from the collection
of the archives of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

The accident occurred at Conner's Crossing, where a huge viaduct (trestle bridge) built in 1890 allowed Lehigh Valley Railroad train tracks to cross over the valley below where two other rail lines passed: the Pennsylvania Railroad on the west, and the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad on the east (on which engine no. 563 was travelling northward to Pottsville).

Conner's viaduct showing rail line passing below. Photographer William Rau.
Photo thanks to Jim Bohrman's Lehigh Valley Railroad, Pottsville Division website

Conner's viaduct looking westward, 1953. Photographer Lew Hoy.
Photo thanks to Jim Bohrman's Lehigh Valley Railroad, Pottsville Division website

The huge viaduct was dismantled in 1953. The remains of one of the brick piers that formed the base of the structure still stands, perhaps a fitting monument to William Cowhey's life on the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, and his death at its hand.

This surviving brick pier of the Conner's Crossing viaduct was part of the east side
of the great structure. It is located in what is now the parking lot of the Cressona Mall
on Route 61. Photo thanks to Jim Bohrman's Lehigh Valley Railroad, Pottsville Division website.
~

The day after the explosion, November 15, 1892, the Pottsville Daily Republican ran the following announcement of William Cowhey's upcoming funeral. I have transcribed it below.


"The funeral of William Cowhey, who was killed by the explosion at Connor's on Monday morning, will take place from his late residence, East Mt. Carbon, on Thursday morning at 9 o'clock, to proceed to St. Patrick's Church, where a Requiem High Mass will be celebrated at 10 o'clock. The deceased leaves a wife and twelve children to survive him. William Cowhey, the dead engineer, enlisted in the first three months' service in Co. I, 16th Regt., Capt. Joseph Anthony, and when his term of service expired re-enlisted in Battery L, Fifth U.S. Artillery, serving three years. He was a member of Gowen Post No. 23, G.A.R., who will attend his funeral."

Two days later, November 17, 1892, the Pottsville Daily Republican detailed William's farewell: a funeral deserving of a hero complete with distinguished guests from several states and members of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) as pall bearers.


"The funeral of William Cowhey, of East Mt. Carbon, one of the engineers killed on Monday morning by the explosion of locomotive 563 at Connors, took place this morning at 9 o'clock. A large delegation of Gowen Post and Guards was present as an escort to the remains. The funeral cortege proceeded to St. Patrick's church, where a Requiem High Mass was celebrated by Rev. W.A. Duffy, the rector of the church. The attendance was very large, including friends from New Haven, Conn.; New York and Washington, D.C. The pall bearers were: N.W. Buck, James Madison, Abraham Kuhn, Abraham Nagle, members of Gowen Post; James Vail and Matthew Kerber. The cortege was under the supervision of Commander Samuel Holmes of Gowen Post. The floral offerings consisted of an anchor, wreath and two sheaves of wheat. The interment was made in No. 3 cemetery."

It is hard for me to imagine the suffering endured by William's wife Margaret, his children, family and friends caused by such a horrific tragedy. It is heartening to see how the town came together to mourn his loss.

The report of the funeral that was published in the newspaper described the three floral offerings that decorated William's funeral: an anchor, a wreath and two sheaves of wheat representing the hope of eternal life. May God's peace be with the soul of my great-great-grandfather. Requiescat in pace, William Cowhey.

~

This article has been posted in honor of the 121st anniversary of William Cowhey's death on November 14, 1892. I have also shared it as part of Thriller Thursday, a Geneabloggers Daily Prompt dedicated to thrilling stories of our ancestors including accidents such as the one that took William Cowhey's life.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Seeing double! Twins in the family and the need to study genealogical records with a careful eye

About fifteen years ago I was thrilled to connect with a Cowhey family cousin who sent me a typewritten family tree that another cousin had created. It listed, among other names, our shared immigrant ancestor Patrick Cowhey and his wife and children. At the end of the list of nine children: twins! 

This typewritten family tree provided valuable clues to the
Cowhey family's story but turned out to have many errors.
I had heard the rumor through my grandmother that twins supposedly "ran in the family", so this was an interesting bit of information. I had also heard about the existence of a Cowhey family Bible. How I would love to find that someday! What clues it might hold to our family's history!

Fast-forward to a couple of years ago, when I had the chance to meet the son of the cousin who had sent me the family tree. We had corresponded for quite a few years, so it was a joy to finally meet in person. As he walked up the path to meet my family and I on the grounds of the guesthouse where we were staying, I noticed that he was carrying something under his arm. It turned out to be a dream come true for me: the supposedly long-lost family Bible. We took some photos that day, and after our visit he took the Bible home and scanned the record pages for me.

Ann Cowhey's Bible: this treasure has been in the family since the 1840s
Births, deaths, marriages, even the date of naturalization of our immigrant ancestor! This family Bible was more than I could have hoped to find! What a family treasure.

I've looked over the images of those pages many times since I received them, and have intended to write a series of blog posts about them and the Bible itself. With my excitement for this discovery, you'd think by now I would have each page memorized! Imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago I realized that I had missed a very important piece of information that was hiding right before my eyes on the page listing the births of Patrick and Ann Cowhey's children.

I had read this page many times, but as I transcribed what I read there I made a new discovery. If you look at the list of the children's names and birth dates, you can see that beginning with the second child, William Cowhey, the birth year is listed on the line below. In some cases, this makes it look as if the birth year for the previous child actually applies to the child listed below. When I had input this data into my genealogy software, I must have accidentally put the wrong birth year for daughter Elisabeth Cowhey.

Patrick and Ann Cowhey had nine children.
Sadly, only five would live until adulthood. 

When I looked more closely as I transcribed the entire page, I realized that Elisabeth and Johanah were born on the same day of the same year: twin girls born two years before their twin brothers John and Michael!

By not taking the time to transcribe the Bible's list of births in its entirety,
I had completely missed the fact that two sets of twins had been born
within a two year period. 

The creator of the handwritten family tree had made a similar mistake and missed this fact also. Partly because we weren't looking for another set of twins (and would never have imagined it!), and partly because we didn't take the time to carefully transcribe the complete record at one time, we had missed this amazing discovery entirely.

~

Sadly, Ann Cowhey never had the chance to see her two sets of twins playing happily together. By the time the twin boys were born, both twin girls had passed away. Elisabeth died at age 6 months in April 1845. Johanah died at age 1 year in October 1846: two months before the births of her twin brothers, Michael and John. Of all four twins, only John would live past childhood. After the deaths of several of her other children in adulthood, and the move out of state of one of her daughters, John was the only one of her children remaining with her at the end of her life. He never married. He and his mother Ann shared a home in the years before she passed away in 1893.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Gettysburg's 150th: "Every name a lightning stroke to some heart"

On my first trip to Gettysburg several years ago I was struck by the incredible number of monuments: tributes to men who fought to save the Union during the south's first (and only) invasion of a northern state.

Gettysburg now lives in our memories as a field of death: a place where 11,000 men lost their lives and another 40,000 were wounded, captured or missing. Spend time poking around this small Pennsylvania town today and you'll see:

Large, towering monuments -


Small, humble monuments -


Monuments on roadsides -


Monuments on walking paths -


Monuments tucked within forested hideaways -


The military units and men of all titles who fought on what is today considered hallowed ground around this little Pennsylvania town are memorialized in numerous ways. It is touching and sobering to drive and walk around Gettysburg, trying to gain a grasp on what this place must have suffered during that horrible battle 150 years ago today.

I had long admired the towering State of Pennsylvania monument: the largest stone tribute on Gettysburg's battlefield. It was an honor to be able to see it up close and climb to the top. 


It was at the end of a long day of driving around the battlefield and reading many stone inscriptions, that I found on this large monument a tribute that touched me in a special way. Under the archway, just to this left of the statue of General Andrew Curtin (below)...



is this plaque -


It reads:
TO THE LOYAL WOMEN
WHO THROUGH FOUR YEARS OF WAR, ENDURED
SUFFERING AND BEREAVEMENT 
THIS TABLET IS DEDICATED
IN GRATEFUL RECOGNITION OF THEIR PATRIOTISM 
BY THE MEN OF PENNSYLVANIA
WHO SERVED IN THE ARMY AND NAVY OF THE UNITED
STATES DURING THE WAR OF THE REBELLION.

As a wife, mother, sister and daughter myself, I can only imagine the suffering that the women in my own family must have undergone as the watched their sons (and brothers) go off into service in those early days of April 1861, and waited anxiously for their return. (In the case of my great-great-grandfather, that return would come almost four years later). It was gratifying to see this meaningful though humble tribute to the women in my family and to countless other women who stayed behind as they watched the men in their family go off to serve their country.

As the Gettysburg Compiler newspaper wrote so eloquently about those killed and wounded during this horrific battle:
“Every name… is a lightning stroke to some heart, and breaks like thunder over some home, and falls a long, black shadow upon some hearthstone.” - July 7, 1863
For the men who died 150 years ago on Gettysburg's fields, and for the women who felt "a lightning strike to their hearts" and the falling of "a long, black shadow upon their hearthstones", let us always remember July 1 through July 3, 1863, and the war for which they gave so much.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

150 years ago today: William Cowhey sees his first action in the Civil War

"Everything was quiet [at Winchester] until Saturday the 13th of June 1863. The weather was fine and balmy. We wished we were at home to help the farmers plant corn; something else turned up."
Thus wrote Union private Lorenzo Barnhart of Company B, 110th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The "something else" that suddenly "turned up" for himself and his fellow Union soldiers is now known to history as the Second Battle of Winchester: a three-day conflict that resulted in a devastating loss for the greatly outnumbered Union forces. This was part of the Gettysburg campaign: the Confederate attempt to invade the north for the first time (and what would be the only time). The Confederates greatly outnumbered the Union boys in blue: about 19,000 to 6,900. By June 15, the Union forces had been routed, paving the way for what would become the infamous Battle of Gettysburg.

Virginia's town of Winchester was, according to the Encyclopedia of Virginia,
"the most contested town in the Confederacy during the American Civil War,
changing hands more than 70 times." (This drawing depicts Jackson's Confederate
Army in Winchester in 1861. The building is the Taylor Hotel which would later
serve as Union Army headquarters during the 2nd Battle of Winchester.) 
~

This weekend is the 150th anniversary of the Second Battle of Winchester, and it has special significance to me. My great-great-grandfather Private William Cowhey served for three years in the Union army within Battery L, 5th U.S. Artillery. This battle was the first time his regiment saw action in the war, and it was not a pretty sight. When the three day skirmish was over, Confederate General Richard Elwell had lost only 270 of his 19,000 men, but had captured 300 wagons, hundreds of horses and twenty-three artillery pieces. The Union forces had lost close to 5,000 of their greatly outnumbered 6,900 men and the rest had been sent running for their lives.

Sketch of the 2nd Battle of Winchester by Jedediah Hotchkiss
It was a disgraceful moment for the Union. As a result of the defeat, Union General Robert Milroy was relieved of his command. The men under his charge had scattered in different directions, many of them heading to Gettysburg. There they would play a role in the most critical turning point of the war. Many would be numbered among the dead within that battle, which was to be the cause of more casualties than any other in the Civil War.

William Cowhey did not go on to fight at Gettysburg. Along with the other survivors from Battery L, 5th U.S. Artillery, he moved on to Camp Barry and served in the defense of Washington D.C. for a year from July 1863 to July 1864. Later he moved on to other action, including the Third Battle of Winchester (also known as the Battle of Opequan) in September 1864.

William Cowhey's "Declaration of Recruit" that he signed as
he enlisted in the Army's 5th Artillery at age 28 in January 1862.

~

Below are a few more excerpts about the Second Battle of Winchester from Private Lorenzo Barnhart's diary.

About Saturday, June 13, 1863 -
"We did not know what force was coming against us out on the Winchester and Strawberry Pike. We were ready for them. Our pickets engaged them. I was on the picket line myself. It was the first engagement we ever were in, and we seen how they fought. We matched them at their own game. They kept hid behind Cedar and Pine bushes and Field rock and stumps..." 
About Sunday, June 14, 1863 -
"...My company B of the 110th was sent to guard a battery of canons...Everything was quiet on Sunday the 14th. The boys were laying on the parapets in the sun. We came to the conclusion the confederates had all went to Church to get Religion, but they were only fixing to kill all of us. There was a pine mountain off about a quarter of a mile [to the west]. All at once, Oh! here came a shower of shot and shell. The boys tumbled off the parapets like turtles drop off a log into the water. The pine mountain fairly blazed with canon. They sent showers of shot and shells at us. We could not reach them with our small rifles. It seemed they let loose about 50 or 60 canons. [We] could do nothing to them. They shot our little guns wheels off, and upset them. Then they ceased firing off the pine mountain, and our officers gave us orders to fix bayonets and [get] our guns loaded, and watch over the fields in front of us. We would see the confederate infantry come out of the brush, out of a ravine. We would get to shoot only one shot, then use our bayonets and club with our guns. They came in desperate order. We gave them a volley low down in their legs. They dropped out of ranks. We made large gaps in their lines, but they did not stop for they closed the gaps shoulder to shoulder. They had been in such scraps before. They gave us a volley, then came onto us with bayonets and a yell like Indians..." 
To read more visit this webpage about the 110th Ohio Volunteer Infantry: Letters, Accounts, Oral Histories.

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