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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Inscription of Edwin Hartshorn on side of Hovey monument- misnamed as Edward
Individual stones for Sarah, right, and Edwin Hartshorn. As you can see, his is virtually illegible.