History of the Town of Schaghticoke

the results of research about the history of the town of Schaghticoke

Tag Archives: GAR

Lt. Lee Churchill

 

Lee Churchill earns a place in this volume since he served as 2nd Lieutenant of Company K, from February to December of 1863, hence through the time of Gettysburg. Lee was born in Troy in 1836, the son of Joseph and Sarah Churchill. Joseph was a grocer in Troy. He and Sarah also had a daughter, Jane, and another son, DeWitt, a couple of years younger than Lee. The 1860 US Census showed Lee, 23, as a clerk in a shirt factory. The Regimental History of the 125th states that he began as a clerk for his father, then worked for his brother, who had a shirt factory.

Lee enlisted in the 2nd NY Infantry Regiment in Troy in April 1861 as a Lieutenant. I do not know what experience he had to earn him that spot. Nor do I know why he resigned his commission in June. He reenlisted in Company F of the 125th Infantry Regiment in August 1862, beginning as a Sergeant. His muster card described him as a clerk, with grey eyes and light hair, 5’7” tall, aged 26. He was promoted to First Sergeant by early 1863, then followed McGregor Steele as Lieutenant of Company K. His records are voluminous and confusing.

LeeChurchill muster card

One of a number of N.Y.S. muster cards for Lee Churchill

 

LeeChurchill letter

Letter attached to the muster card of Lee Churchill

 

Several sources say that Lee was “wounded in four places at Gettysburg”, but the circumstances are not recorded. Whatever the wounds, he was not hospitalized for long, and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and moved to Company B in December 1863. Just after our local Lieutenant George Bryan was killed before Petersburg, Lee was wounded again, this time in the arm, with an artery severed, on June 21, 1864. He resisted having his arm amputated and did recover, but not enough to go back into action. He was mustered out on October 14, 1864. He was promoted Captain and Brevet Major after he was wounded.

lee churchill ny cartes de visite (2)

Illustration from  NYS Cartes de Visites, on ancestry.com

The 1870 US Census for Troy listed Lee back home. His father, now 72, was working as a letter carrier. Lee, 33, and his brother DeWitt were “paper collar makers.” Lee married in 1874 and applied for an invalid pension in 1878. His arm must have been giving him trouble.

On the 1880 US Census his new family still in Troy. He was a 42-year-old collar manufacturer. He and wife Ellen, 30, had one son, LeGrand, aged 7. A daughter Nellie, was born in 1883.  I did not find him in the 1890 Veterans Schedule for Troy, but the entries seem quite chaotic. He was involved in the writing of the history of the 125th, so definitely participated in Veterans’ activities.

By the 1900 US Census Lee was working as a watchman. Both children were at home: LeGrand, 26, was a clerk, and Nellie, 16, still in school. The Troy “Times” reported that Lee was the Vice-President for Ward 6 for the Rensselaer County Veterans Association in 1904. Ellen applied for a widow’s pension in August 1905, pinpointing his death date pretty closely. She survived until 1928.

lee churchill oakwood

Tombstone of Lee Churchill at Oakwood Cemetery, Troy, thanks to find-a-grave

 

 

Captain Edwin A. Hartshorn

 

I need to include Edwin Alonzo Hartshorn in the list of Schaghticoke veterans. He never lived in town, but he worked here, and the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Civil War veterans’ association, was named for him. Edwin was born in Petersburg in 1841, the son of farmer Sanford and his wife Susan Matteson Hartshorn. According to the Regimental History, he was a teacher by age 19, and very involved in the recruitment of Company E. Certainly as a result, he enlisted as a 1st Lieutenant in Company E of the 125th in August 1862, in spite of his young age.  He was promoted to Captain of Company E by November, recommended by Colonel Willard on the basis of his actions during the “very trying” march from Harpers Ferry to Annapolis following the surrender of the Regiment in September 1862. He must have been an outstanding and charismatic young man.

During the spring of 1863, his wife got to visit him at the camp in Centreville. Unfortunately, Edwin was taken very ill at that camp that summer. He returned to duty, but his health was so impaired that he had to be discharged from the Army on November 2, 1863. It is unclear to me from the record if he participated in any of the battles of the 125th. Both Gettysburg and Bristoe Station occurred before he was discharged, but I think he was hospitalized most of that time.

edwin a hartshorn muster card

 

NYS Muster Card for Edward (sic) A. Hartshorn. The date when he was “absent sick at Georgetown, D.C.” is given as June, 1862, which is certainly incorrect, as he didn’t enlist until August. If it is really June 1863, then Edwin probably missed the battle of Gettysburg.

 

Edwin returned to Troy after the war. In the 1870 US Census for Troy he was listed as a twine merchant, age 38 (incorrect- he was 29), living with wife Sarah, 28, and daughter Jessie, 3. When the Cable Flax Mills were incorporated in Schaghticoke in 1871, E.A. Hartshorn was the Secretary, that is one of the major executives.

edwin hartshorn images

 

Photos from the Regimental History of the 125th

 

By the 1880 US Census, still living in Troy, he was listed as a manufacturer of twine. He and Sarah had added a son to their family, Edwin S., now 5. Sarah died that year.  Edwin was named President of the mills in 1881, but he was much more than that.  Edwin was active in Republican politics, becoming friends with future President William McKinley, and serving on the Common Council in Troy. He was a leader in the American Protective Tariff League- which made sense for a textile manufacturer- and gave numerous speeches all around the state and country recruiting new members.  He also wrote books on the subject. He was an active member of the State Street Methodist Episcopal Church in Troy, and a member of the “Troy Praying Band.” He and his family had a summer cabin at the Round Lake Methodist Camp. Edwin was a public speaker on Methodism and Temperance, and on U.S. Imperialism.

edwinalonzonhartshorn

Photo from his obituary

 

As I said above, when the Schaghticoke G.A.R. post formed in 1884, it was named for him.  His local prominence as a politician and civic leader in Troy, added to his position as President of the biggest local employer, must have been enough to prompt naming the post for him. The G.A.R. was very active in Republican politics- as was Edwin. He also was intimately involved in organizing the reunions of the 125th Regiment and in promoting the writing of the regimental history. Historian Dick Lohnes had in his collection a little pamphlet of a speech by Edwin in 1889 at a local convention of the North River Hemp Growers. Hemp was also used to make twine by the Cable Flax Mill.  Edwin was the driving force behind the North River group, signed up local farmers to grow hemp, and invented a new hemp brake and method of processing hemp to make his company more successful. He wore a hemp suit when he spoke to the group.

Edwin remained in Troy until 1890, where his Civil War service was recorded in the Veterans Schedule. He had married Nancy Mann Vedder, a wealthy widow, after the death of Sarah. She died in 1890 on a train in Utah, en route home from spending a couple of months in California with a brother. Around 1895, Edwin moved to New York City, where he was the agent for the Cable Flax Mills, in addition to continuing as the President of the company. He certainly travelled back and forth often. Edwin was elected a trustee of the Round Lake Association in 1897.

In 1898 Edwin remarried, a woman named Annie, born in 1850. She had been Annie Valentine, and had three children by her first marriage. Also in 1898, Edwin was named Assistant Appraiser of Merchandise for the Port of New York by his old friend, now President, William McKinley. He served in that position for nine years. The 1900 US Census lists the family lived in Manhattan. He and new wife Annie had one servant and one boarder, in addition to her three children: Morris, a 24-year-old music teacher; Herbert, 20; and Emma, 16. Edwin’s son, Edwin S., had followed his father into the Army, eventually becoming a General. Edwin, Sr. applied for a pension based on his Civil War service on August 4, 1905.

By the 1910 US Census, now 68, Edwin was back to being a flax manufacturer. Step-son Morris continued to live with the couple. The family lived on 131st Street in New York City. The New York State Census for 1915 showed Edwin still at work as a twine salesman. Annie’s daughter Emma, and her husband, Raymond Knopel, a lawyer, lived with them.

Edwin died in 1916, and Annie applied for a pension immediately. All of the New York papers printed his obituary as “Captain Hartshorn.”  The “New York Times” called him a “textile expert.” All of the papers recalled his friendship with William McKinley and his service as Assistant Appraiser of the Port. The report of his Civil War service took an interesting turn. One paper said that he became a Captain because “Many of the officers were killed or taken prisoner,” another that he “won his Captaincy because of his bravery.” Neither of those is true, as he was promoted while the 125th was in internment camp in Chicago.

Two papers reported that he served until the battle of Chancellorsville, when he was captured, and one added that his health had been compromised by his time in Southern prison camps. All of that is false, as the 125th did not participate in Chancellorsville. Edwin’s record card reports no imprisonment. And he didn’t apply for a pension until the time when they were awarded solely based on old age. Who inflated his war experiences? Edwin? His son? His widow- who hadn’t known him while he was in the war? This makes me think that he didn’t participate in either the battle of Gettysburg or Bristoe Station, as either of those experiences would have been worthy of note.

Edwin Hartshorn must have been a very impressive guy- he rose from being a farmer’s son in very rural Rensselaer County to an industrialist, politician, prominent speaker, friend of a President, and Manhattanite. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in the family plot of his first wife’s family. His grave is in poor shape, but a G.A.R. marker was recently added by the Sons of Union Veterans.  His widow Annie continued to live in the Bronx with her son-in-law and daughter, at least until 1920. I could not find her after that.

Hartshorn lot elmwood

Plot of the Hovey family at Oakwood Cemetery, Troy.  Sarah Hovey was Edwin Hartshorn’s first wife. His inscription is on the left side of this monument.

This is in section N, just as one enters the part of the cemetery parallel with Oakwood Avenue, on the right.

Hartshorn, elmwood

 

Inscription of Edwin Hartshorn on side of Hovey monument- misnamed as Edward

Hartshorn individual headstones elmwood

Individual stones for Sarah, right, and Edwin Hartshorn. As you can see, his is virtually illegible.

 

 

 

 

Beroth Bullard Crapo: From Schaghticoke to Arizona

 

I discovered this Schaghticoke-born Civil War soldier from his obituary in the Schaghticoke “Sun” in August 1897. B.B. Crapo was a pillar of the town of Prescott, Arizona. He was the son of John Knickerbocker and Sally Bullard Crapo, born in Schaghticoke in 1841. John was the son of Peter Crapo, who though born in Massachusetts had fought in the Revolution in a New York Regiment. I have found no connection to the Knickerbocker family, so it seems John was named for a man that Peter admired, perhaps Colonel John Knickerbocker, first Colonel of our local Revolutionary War regiment.

In any event, I did find Beroth, called B.B. in his obituary, in the 1850 US Census for Schaghticoke with his parents. He enlisted in Company E of the 17th Connecticut Infantry Regiment in Weston, Connecticut. He was listed as a machinist. I cannot find him in the 1860 US Census, but perhaps he had moved there for work.  The occupation of machinist implies he was working in a mill.

The 17th Connecticut arrived from the North in Baltimore, Maryland on September 3, 1862. It fought in the battle of Chancellorsville May 1, 1863, when B.B. was both wounded and captured. However he was paroled a couple of weeks later. Did he recover in time to serve with the Regiment at the battle of Gettysburg on July 1-3? We don’t know. Next the regiment served in South Carolina, in actions against Fort Sumter and Charleston. It stayed on the coast, moving on to St. Augustine, Florida by the end of the war in April 1865. In January 1864, B.B. was promoted to Corporal.  He was discharged with the rest of the regiment on July, 1865 at Hilton Head, South Carolina.

B.B. married Jennie Davidson in Prescott, Arizona in 1867, according to Arizona marriage records. Jennie was born in Scotland in 1849. I don’t know how B.B. and Jennie ended up in Arizona at what was basically its founding. He was certainly a pioneer, probably crossing the country by wagon, as the transcontinental railroad was not completed until 1869. I think that he and Jennie returned to Rensselaer County for a time, before returning to settle and farm in the Skull Valley area, near Prescott, Arizona. I found Beroth, 29, working in an axe factory in Pittstown, living with Jennie, 21, and baby son David, 8-months-old, in the 1870 US Census. His parents lived nearby with their son George and his family.

beroth crapo skull valley AZ

Skull Valley, Arizona

The 1880 US Census listed the family back in Yavapai County, Arizona: B.B., 39, a farmer, plus Jenny, 29, and David, 10; Cora, 6; and Alice, 3. It seems amazing that anyone could farm in Skull Valley, but it does get 19 inches of rain a year- still not much. We would love to know how the farming went. In 1881 B.B. applied for a Civil War pension, at the point where they were only awarded for disability. According to his obituary, he was a member of the Masonic Lodge and the G.A.R. in Prescott. He had been a member of the Victor Lodge in Schaghticoke as a young man. The obituary also stated that he had moved to Arizona in 1869, but the public documents, of his marriage in Arizona in 1867, and the 1870 Census in Pittstown, tell a different story.

beroth bullard crapo arizona

Tombstone of B.B. Crapo

B.B. died in Prescott in 1897. He clearly had maintained a connection to Schaghticoke, as his obituary was published a month later in the “Sun.” The obituary says he was buried in Prescott, but Find-a-grave states that he and his wife Jennie, who died in 1912, are buried in San Bernadino, California. I don’t know why there is this difference,but the pictures seem clear. The tombstone also states he was born in Valley Falls and died in Skull Valley. Wouldn’t we like to talk to this couple about their amazing life experiences?