June 21, 2020

FOUND: A Father-Son Photo with Lt. Col. John H. Duchman

CDV of Lt. Col. John H. Duchman and Lt. Jacob S. Duchman (presumed)
Photo by Harmany & Eberman, Lancaster (vws collection) 
In honor of Father's Day, I'm happy to share a photograph of a father-son pair who served in the same theater of war. It also happens to be the first image -- at least that I can recollect -- showing the officer second-in-command of the 79th Pennsylvania for the first year of the war, Lt. Col. John H. Duchman.

CDV Verso
While the image isn't identified, Lt. Col. Duchman is an obvious conclusion for the older man with oak leaves on his shoulder straps (denoting a lieutenant colonel) is in this early-war photograph taken in the Lancaster studio of Harmany & Eberman. Born in 1796, he also has the distinction of veteran status for the War of 1812(!). He would raise Company B of the 79th Pennsylvania and get elected as lieutenant colonel at the age of 65. The identity of the other soldier is then almost surely his son, Jacob S. Duchman, who served as a second lieutenant in Company K, 77th Pennsylvania.

Lt. Col. Duchman resigned after the arduous race back to Louisville just before the Battle of Perryville on October 8, 1862, where the 79th Pennsylvania fought gallantly and sustained heavy casualties. Rumors in Lancaster disparaging Duchman's character apparently circulated after Perryville, but the newspapers quickly sprung to his defense -- and his advanced age should have been more than enough of an excuse.

The younger Duchman took a more circuitous route with his Civil War service. The Bates PA card file lists him as an early enlistee in his father's original company before promotion, Company B, 79th Pennsylvania. He apparently took an opportunity to jump for a position as an officer in what become a Company K, 77th Pennsylvania (which was originally supposed to be the tenth Lancaster company of the 79th Pennsylvania). His resigned on May 1, 1862, which would have been a few weeks after the 77th Pennsylvania played a supporting role in the Battle of Shiloh. The card file indicates that he then reenlisted as a private in Company K, 77th Pennsylvania, in which he served through the end of the war and beyond as the 77th Pennsylvania served in the Department of Texas. It would be interesting to see if any newspaper records or soldiers' letters provide context to the decision to resign and reenlist.

At least two other father-son combinations exist within the set of Lancaster soldiers serving in the Western Theater: Oscar M. Johnston and Charles M. Johnston of Company F, 9th PA Cavalry, and Henry M. and Joshua W. Geiter of the 79th Pennsylvania. Both are worthy of their own stories. I believe that Oscar M. Johnston got involved with some company controversies in 1862 that resulted in disciplinary action. Joshua Geiter was killed in action at Chickamauga, and his father would write to the Intelligencer under the pen name "Ajax" in 1864 and 1865. These are just pairs that I have run into in research. It's likely that there are several more.

Here's the biography of John H. Duchman from the 1872 collection of Lancaster biographies by Alexander Harris:

DUCHMAN, Col. John H., was a prominent citizen of
Lancaster city for many years. He was, by occupation, in
his younger years, a hatter, and carried on this business for
years. He kept for a number of years the Leopard hotel,
in East King street. Early in life he became captivated
with military glory and volunteered in the war of 1812-14.
He served as first Lieutenant of the old Lancaster Fencibles,
then under command of Capt. John K. Findley, which was
famed for its admirable discipline, and which was disbanded
about the breaking out of the Mexican war. Some years
after this Col. Duchman raised a new company, also named
the Fencibles, of which he was elected Captain. It was this
company which escorted James Buchanan to Washington in
March, 1857, at the time he was inaugurated President of
the United States. This company remained in existence up
to the breaking out of the rebellion in 1861. and became
Company F of the 1st Pennsylvania regiment. Owing to
ill health, Capt. Duchman was unable to march with his
company, and 1st Lieutenant Emlen Franklin succeeded to
the command. For some years he was clerk in the Lancaster
bank. During James Buchanan's administration he held a
position in the custom house in Philadelphia. Shortly after
the breaking out of the rebellion he raised a company for
the 79th Regiment, P. "V. of which he was chosen Lieutenant

On account of advanced age and the rigors of the field, he
was compelled to retire from active service after having
served about one year. He died October 8th, 1866, in the
70th year of his age.

May 1, 2020

More Info on Binkley's Mill Covered Bridge

Location: New Holland Pike, Pennsylvania, USA
Self-described covered bridge buff Thomas Kipphorn found an old blog post of mine with stereoviews (below) by William Gill showing Binkley's Mill and Bridge on the New Holland Pike where it crosses over the Conestoga. He kindly sent me some of his research on the site, offering it for publication on this blog.
"Binkley's Mill and Bridge" (vws)
"Conestoga at Binkley's" (vws)
"Binkley's Bridge" (vws)
PA/38-36-80x Christian / Milo / David Binkley's Mill / Printer's Paper Mill Bridge- Was Big Conestoga #17, and then state owned. The site is now abandoned. It was a two span Double Burr Truss 306' long, with a clear span of 295'8", a 16' roadway, a 12'6" clearance and at 25', this was the highest built above water in the county except for Susquehanna River intercounty structures. The covered bridge had replaced an earlier multi-arch stone bridge that had been washed away. It was built in 1869 by Elias McMellen at a cost of $1,650.00.

It was located between East Lampeter and Manheim Townships, oriented east-northeast to west-southwest on what is now called Pennwick Road on the East Lampeter Township (east) side and Papermill Road on the other (T555 both sides), but formerly an old section of what is now Route 23, SR0023 or the New Holland Pike. On Saturday, November 25, 1882, the adjoining mill caught fire. Flames spread to the bridge and both were destroyed.

The Columbia Iron Bridge Company built a new two span wrought iron Pratt through truss bridge on the old abutments and center pier and that lasted until an overweight truck dropped one of the spans, killing the driver, on Thursday, September 29, 1929. After this, the road was relocated about 550' downstream (south), mainly to eliminate two right angle bends set in opposite directions of each other on the Pennwick Road end, which put the new road on the downstream side of the former Lancaster to New Holland trolley bridge (empty abutments now gone), in 1930, to a new two span steel pony truss bridge. This bridge was replaced in 1989 -1990 by the present four span concrete bridge at the same site. The two right angle bends of Pennwick Road, which can be seen in a Penn Pilot aerial photo dated to April 29, 1940, still exist behind a barricade, but there is no trace of the old abutments or center pier of the covered bridge.

A local resident says the stonework from the abutments and pier were used to build cofferdams to lay the foundations for the 1930 steel bridge. However, the foundation of the center pier can still be seen in low water. Coordinates are taken off the pier foundation: 40° 4.4723'N, 76° 15.5693'W.

June 8, 2019

The Rev. Charles A. Baer's Civil War

The Rev. Charles Alfred Baer
From album of Lutheran pastors in the
archive of LTS Philadelphia
While the Civil War has been thoroughly documented through lenses such as regiments, battles, and cities, how religious communities experienced the war is somewhat of an open question. Perhaps the minutia of congregational life and how people lived out religious commitments over the entire 19th century hasn't received too much attention, but the intense experience of the Civil War provides a natural focal point. Not long ago during a trip to the archives of the Lutheran Theological Seminary, I found a reference to the diaries of the Rev. Charles Alfred Baer conveniently published in the 1950 Bulletin of the Historical Society of Montgomery County, which are a fantastically interesting account of the Lancaster native's duties and how he cared for members of his congregation in Norristown.

The battlefield-home front connections are rather direct. He visited both the Antietam and Gettysburg battlefields, as well as the camp of the 122nd Pennsylvania. Trinity Lutheran Church in Norristown seems to be most connected with the 51st Pennsylvania, famous for charging across Burnside's Bridge at the Battle of Antietam. A role on the Board of Directors of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg brought him to Gettysburg after the battle, which makes sense as much planning for repairs would have needed to take place after the intense battle on Seminary Ridge on July 1, 1863. The trip to Gettysburg -- and, presumably, the time that he spent visiting battlefield hospitals -- caused his unexpected and much-lamented demise a few weeks later.

Baer was born on May 28, 1831, to John and Frances Baer in Lancaster. John Baer was a prominent publisher in Lancaster who might be best known for a farmer's almanac that is still published today. After studying in Lancaster under Prof. F. A. Muhlenberg, he went to Yale, which was actually the setting for a spiritual awakening. He proceeded to the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg and ended up as the pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Norristown in 1859. His diaries ended up in the hands of someone named Kirke Bryan, who published selections in successive issues of the 1950 Bulletin of the Historical Society of Montgomery County. I don't know where the diaries are now. Just a few examples of the rich content that stuck out to me include:
  1. On August 15, 1862, he received a letter from his brother, Benjamin F. Baer, who was going off to war as a captain in the 122nd Pennsylvania. Charles Baer rushed to Lancaster to see him off, but missed seeing his brother. Charles Baer stuck around to visit with the Sunday schools on August 17 and preach a sermon entitled, "A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ," that evening in Holy Trinity.
  2. On August 27, he was back in Norristown talking to the Sunday school assembled for a picnic. To impress the young people, he borrowed a sword from the Schall family -- which had several sons as officers in the 51st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry -- that had seen use in Burnside's North Carolina Expedition: "The exercises opened with singing several pieces and prayer, after which I made an address. I took with me a sword which I borrowed from Schalls' which had been used in battles in North Carolina. It attracted the attention of the scholars. From the 'carnal weapon' I led them to the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and showed them how they must use that weapon to keep them safe from the assaults of the Devil." 
  3. From Sunday, September 21, 1862: "Just as the people were gathering to churches several of our wounded men of the 51st Regiment came up the street, returning home. One of them was Mr. John Freedley, who was wounded in the battle of Antietam. He had been reported dead, but his family had the gratification to meet him alive." Also, "Evening services were well attended. I preached on the parable of the Good Samaritan, and made an application of it to the duty of caring for our wounded soldiers."
Some other links and notes: 

The charge of the 51st Pennsylvania across Burnside's Bridge at the Battle of Antietam
Many of Pastor Baer's parishioners served in this regiment.
Sketch by Edwin Forbes (source)

June 7, 2019

"Bride of a Month" -- The Tragic Death of Emma Greenwald

Location: 501 S Queen St, Lancaster, PA 17603, USA
Gravestone of Emma Greenwald in Woodward Hill Cemetery
As you travel on the path that winds through Woodward Hill Cemetery, a particular phrase on a tombstone will likely stand out to you in the cemetery's easternmost section. One tombstone, which already catches the eye as it's a horizontal stone (is altar stone the correct term), is emblazoned with the words, "Bride of a Month." The mind might dart to a Wilkie Collins novel or Tim Burton film, but let's investigate the real story.

The gravestone marks the final resting place of Emma Greenwald. Behind her stone is that of her parents, Levinia and the Rev. Emanuel Greenwald, who served as Holy Trinity Lutheran Church's pastor from 1867 until 1885. Emma was born on October 25, 1852, which would be when her father was serving a Lutheran church and college in Columbus, Ohio. In a memorial volume written by the Rev. C. Elvin Haupt after Pastor Greenwald's death in 1885, Haupt described the roles of Emma and her sister, Ada, in the early years of Pastor Greenwald's pastorate in Lancaster:
During these years two faithful daughters had been the diligent aids of their father in the midst of his duties. Emma and Ada were wont to be seen accompanying their father, or taking prominent parts aiding the missionary operations, both at home and abroad. It seemed a peculiar delight for Emma to join her father in his visits to the needy, the sick or the missions; and, although it began to be very evident that her strength was failing, and that an insidious pulmonary trouble was more and more asserting itself, the nobility of the Christian womanhood that was in her could not be quenched. She had previously become the betrothed of Mr. B. Frank Saylor, well known and justly prominent as a photographer, of the city of Lancaster, and a very active member of the Church of the Holy Trinity. At her desire and knowing that her remaining days were but a few, the marriage of this beloved daughter occurred. It was not long after that those who watched about her saw with regret that the end was fast approaching. Emma Saylor died as the bride of a month. The joy of her parents, her sisters, her husband and hosts of loving friends, her life work was complete. Her tomb rests surrounded by those of many whom on earth she loved, and among the changing shadows of the beautiful Woodward Hill cemetery of the city of Lancaster. 
Cabinet Card by B. F. Saylor (vws)
The Rev. Emanuel Greenwald in center
A good guess for the cause of Emma's death based on the description would seem to be tuberculosis. To compound the tragedy, it would appear that Emma's niece, who was named after her, died a few months before Emma and only a couple of days after Emma's wedding.

Emma's husband, Benjamin Franklin Saylor, would remarry, and his second wife would help raise money for a memorial window dedicated to Pastor Greenwald at Christ Lutheran Church in the 1890s. In my collection -- an eBay find -- is a cabinet card by Frank Saylor of Pastor Greenwald and his various assistant pastors that is a collage photo of the portrait photographs that he took.