September 14, 2011

Research Surprises:
Millersville University and the "Normal Rifles"

Location: State Route 3009, Drumore, PA 17518, USA
Upon receiving the photograph album that was the subject of yesterday's post, curiosity about the people in the album led to simple Google searches of names penciled beneath the photographs.  I expected to find simple genealogical information, but, much to my surprise, upon querying "Sallie Eva Bolton" I found a collection of letters Sallie wrote to her mother while working basically as a teaching assistant in the formative years (1855-1858) of the institution we now know as Millersville University.  Exploring her letters and the album further, we also encounter connections to the 79th Pennsylvania's most literate company, Company E--the "Normal Rifles"--recruited mainly from the teacher's college (i.e., the "normal school") at Millersville. 

Cartes-de-visite of Sallie (Bolton) Pyle
Image by Bishop's Photographic Gallery, Philadelphia, c. 1861-4 (vws)

Sarah "Sallie" Eva (Bolton) Pyle

Born in 1836, Sallie was raised by Quaker parents in nearby Chester County, home of her mother's extended family (Brosius).  Her father, Evan Bolton, grew up in Liberty Square, Drumore Township.  In 1855, Sallie found herself in the village of Millersville, where the Lancaster County Teacher's Institute had located and established the Lancaster County Teacher's Institute.  Under the leadership of education proponent J. P. Wickersham, this became the Millersville State Normal School in 1859, the first of many such schools for teachers in the state. Upon the war's outbreak, Wickersham helped raise Company E, 79th Pennsylvania, and his brother Morris D. Wickersham took its captaincy. 

Sallie's letters to her mother record her duties as a student and teaching assistant, as well as the usual and unusual events of the world in which she lived.  The letters convey a pattern of life defined by her studies, visits with extended family members, and occasional trips into Lancaster city to shop or visit friends.  She also interacted with J. P. Wickersham fairly regularly, so the letters are indispensable for anyone wanting to know about academics and student life during Millersville University's early years.  Fortunately, sixty-three letters (even some with the instructions for her mother to burn) ended up in Millersville University's Special Collections.  You can view the transcriptions at this link: Sallie E. Bolton papers.  Some excerpts:
January 18, 1856: It is half past two o'clock in the afternoon. The wind whistles dolefully like a sound of repressed vengeance, as it hastens over the plain and forces itself in through every crevice of the Normal windows. The snow is driven in fierce blasts before it, like heralds of wraths to warn a surviving people. Mercury stands at only two degrees above zero. I have been thinking of thee, almost all day wondering how thee gets along such days as this. I have just been reading "Dred: A Tale of the Dismal Swamp" by Ms. Stowe, the author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin". I have just finished it. Dred was a high spirited slave who escaped from his masters and lived in the dismal swamp and so strong and daring was he that eluded the watchfulness of the slave hunters and built him a lodge in a fertile spot of the swamp, which was surrounded by such thickets that the blood hounds could not reach it. God was his master, God was his guide and protector. He lived alone read his bible, communed with nature, preferring a life of utter loneliness rather than slavery. On the whole I do not like the work as well as "Uncle Tom's Cabin", nor does anyone else with whom I have conversed about it. Though it has really some fine points.

May 11, 1856 [on the occasion of the wedding of George Lamborn and Sarah Coates, with George and many of the guests pictured in the album]: We arrived at Alban Cutlers about 10 oclock. The second waiters had not arrived so I helped Philena Cutler arrange the table. This done the next business in order was to dress the bride and myself. This performed it was time to go down to the scene of action. By this time the company were all there. So we young folks went down, sat a few minutes and they said the ceremony. George was calm as ever but Sallie trembled violently. Uncle Jason took the place his father would have taken had he been living. There were 39 that signed the certificate. I will mention some of them. The young people who were coupled were first waiters. J. G. Moore and Sallie E. Bolton, second waiter Aguill B. Lamborn and Mary E. Walker from Christiana Daniel Webster and Lizzie T. Shoemaker + George Webster and Annie Shoemaker. The married couples were Em and Jo, Ike and Anne, Ed and Margaret, Uncle Jason and Aunt Anna, Thomas Moore and wife, Thomas McGwigon and lady, Alban and Mary. Those not coupled were Abigail Pricilla Parry, Aunty, Hannah Shoemaker, Amanda Brosius, Ben Cutler and his two sisters, Nancy Martin, Mary Long Elwood, Billy, Lizzie and Sallie Lamborn and some children also a few I did not know.

Next morning those who were coupled went with the bride and groom to the river. We rode along the banks down to Peach Bottom and then turned back. The beauty there is beyond description. The rafts are floating lazily down the stream all the time and the hills are covered with wild flowers of almost every hue. We returned took dinner at Albans and dispersed. Moore and I went with George and Sallie to a home which is new to her. Her goods were all there before. I helped her unpack some dishes. Em and Jo were there to welcome us. Those little girls seem to be very fond of Sallie. They could hardly wait till we came. Mr. Moore went home to see his folks that night and left me there next morning George took me up to Auntys. I had a nice little visit there with them. Just before dinner, Moore returned and he and Uncle Jason ate dinner with us. I got that money from Uncle Jason and paid Aunty. That business fixed we started and went down to Georges to get our things left there, found Lowell had just got home cold and tired. Bade all goodbye and left. Came through Lancaster got supper there at a hotel and arrived here a little after sunset.

November 11, 1856:  Yesterday morning Kate and I went into Lancaster with Mr. Hobbs, Mr. Wickersham went also. Mr. Hobbs drove two horses and we almost flew. I told Mr. Hobbs that he was the right man to ride with on a cold day, for he drove so fast. Oh, said Mr. Wickersham, is he not always a gem of a little man, at which Mr. Hobbs laughed very heartily. Kate and I went to Dr. Parrys and I gave him my note of introduction, he read it and said all was right, and he would take a walk with us, so we all went to Adiss to get my likeness taken. I sat four times but the daguerreoty first said none of them were good, so he would not let me have them, by this time. Dr. was getting uneasy about dinner as it was 1 oclock so we went and got dinner, he at his house and we at the relatives of Kates. He wanted us to dine with them but we had promised to go to the other place so we went and had a good dinner, and afterwards all went back again to the daguerrean gallery. I only sat once more and it proved to be a most excellent picture, the only good one I ever have had taken, so if I die, there is a good resemblance of me in existence. Dr. paid for it, as he is going to Philadelphia next third day and will take it right to Joe. He had Joes for me so I brought it with me. It is also a very good one. Dr. Parry is a very funny old man, he made me feel at ease in spite of myself, though he protested that I looked mischievous and when I came away he said he would remember the miss-chief. I bought a dress in town, not a merino for I could not, as I had not enough money without getting more right away, so I got some kind of stuff I forget the name. It is very glossy and changes in the light like silk. It looks very much like silk. It is between a silver and light lead color with a worsted figure in it rather in form of a stripe and it is almost a yard wide. I paid 2 cents per yard. It will do to wear almost any season. We started from Lancaster just before sunset last we, and came almost like the wind. I wore Kates black dress yesterday or I could not have any likeness taken. It fit me as well as my own could.
Sallie later married James Pyle, and taught at a normal school in Bucks County.  A cartes-de-visite album belonging to Sallie is now in possession of Swarthmore College's special collections, but I haven't seen it yet.  One post on a genealogy forum claims she later went to Nebraska to educate Indians before returning to Drumore Township and a farm by the Susquehanna River.  Sallie died in 1916 and is buried at the Drumore Friends Meeting cemetery.

Cartes-de-visite of William Lewis Lamborn, Co. E, 79th Pennsylvania
Image by Bishop's Photographic Gallery, Philadelphia, c. 1861-4 (vws)

William Lewis Lamborn

Another person included in Annie Shoemaker's family album was William Lewis Lamborn, Sallie's cousin from the Liberty Square branch of the family.  Born in 1839, Lamborn received an education at Millersville and became a teacher.  In September 1861, He enlisted in Company E, 79th Pennsylvania--the "Normal Rifles"--which was comprised mostly of men connected to the Millersville State Normal School.  From William T. Clark's diaries, we know that Lamborn also had the important task of carrying Clark's diaries home when Lamborn received a disability discharge in 1863.

Upon returning to Lancaster, Lamborn began a farm adjacent to Clark's father's farm in Drumore Township.  Lamborn died on July 4, 1876, and was buried at the Drumore Meeting House cemetery.  He had been working on a Lamborn family genealogy, which was later published and is available here.  Here is part of Lamborn's entry in that volume:  
Born a member of the Society of Friends in Lancaster county, Pa., January 6th, 1839. He received his education at the select schools and the State Normal School at Millersburg, now Millersville, Lancaster county, Pa. In 1858 he taught school in East Earl township, Lancaster county. September 23d, 1860, he enlisted in Company E, 79th Regiment, Pa. Vol., and was in the battle of Stone River and several skirmishes, march-ing over the greater part of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama; he received his honorable discharge March, 1863. During the winter of 1863, he purchased a small lot in Drumore township, where he resided until the spring of 1866, when he emigrated to Currituck county, N. C, and purchased a farm; here he planted several thousand peach trees, and was largely engaged in fruit-growing until 1869, when he moved to Kent county, Maryland.

In 1870 he moved to Philadelphia and engaged in the sale of fertilizers. November of the same year he moved to Riverton, N. J., then to Steelton, Pa. , where he was employed as clerk in the steel works.
During his stay at Steelton he invented a railroad frog; also a railroad indicator, a machine to register the time that each train passed the station. It was operated by the car wheels in passing the "indicators" which were to be stationed at different points along the road. He was offered a large sum of money for both of these machines, but placed too high a value upon them, and missed the opportunity. In 1874 he entered into partnership with George Bent, at Harrisburg, to manufacture his invention, and traveled over the greater part of the country to introduce it.

He was a firm believer in spiritualism, and did not hesitate to express his views thereon. In looking over some of his letters to his wife we find the following: "I have more hopeful views of heaven and God than the orthodoxy; I feel that when we leave this body, our existence will be sublime and blessed ; our employment then will be works of love, and aiding from that spiritual condition those still in earthly form, particularly those nearest us in wordly relationship."

Cartes-de-visite of Elizabeth (Lamborn) Hambleton
Image by Horning, Philadelphia, c. 1861-4 (vws)

Mary Elizabeth (Lamborn) Hambleton

To make one final connection to the 79th Pennsylvania, we also have William L. Lamborn's sister, Elizabeth (Lamborn) Hambleton, who married another veteran of Company E, Thomas B. Hambleton, in 1871.  Both are buried at the Drumore Friends Meeting cemetery.  I don't know anything about Elizabeth, but here is Thomas B. Hambleton's biography (source):
Thomas Benton, b. Jan. 4, 1836; enlisted in the war of the rebellion, July 30, 1861, in the 97th[sic] Penna. Vols., and re-enlisted Feb. 9, 1863, in the same reg.; belonged to first div. 13th corps, army of the Cumberland; participated in all the battles of Gen. Thomas'corps, and served under Buel; Rosecrans in his Stone River and Chicamauga campaigns, and Sherman at Atlanta and in his "march to the Sea," thence through the Carolinas to Richmond and Washington; taught school from 1858 to 1871, except when in the army; now a general merchant; res. Drumore, Pa.; a Hicksite Friend in belief; m. Oct. 19, 1871, Mary E. Lamborn, b. June 22, 1840; no issue

1 comment:

  1. Wow! You're one blog post alone has taught me more than I have learned so far in college! Thanks Mr. Vince Slaugh!