Michelle Ann Kratts

Archive for the ‘Finding My Grandfather’s War’ Category

One Union Soldier by Beverly Bidak

In Civil War, Family Scrapbook, Finding My Grandfather's War, Off to War on July 2, 2013 at 1:05 pm
Grave of Samuel McGee, courtesy Findagrave

Grave of Samuel McGee, courtesy Findagrave

When I started researching my husband’s and my family histories years ago, it was my intention to give my sons a look into their families past. To help them understand who they are and where they came from. While searching, I have learned that genealogy is not just about names, dates and places. It’s about people, our ancestors, our famlies and how they lived and left their mark.

With the help of a fellow researcher, I have uncovered the story of one interesting person from my past, my paternal great-grandfather. Samuel A. McGee was a third generation American of Scot-Irish descent. He was born on 9 April 1841 in Young Township, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania. He was the third of eleven children born to Robert and Catherine (Graffius) McGee and raised on the family farm. He was a farmer and lumberman.

When the American Civil War broke out in 1861, Samuel was 20 years old. He felt it was his duty to serve his country so he went to Pittsburg and enrolled in the Union Army on 3 September 1861. He was mustered in Company F of the 105th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers Infantry as a private on 9 September for a three-year term. The 105th was also known as the Wild Cat Regiment because the men were principally from the Congressional District popularly known as the Wild Cat District embracing the counties of Jefferson, Clarion and Clearfield. The regiment’s field officers were: Amor A. McKnight, Colonel; W.W. Corbett, Lieutenant Colonel; and M.M. Dick, Major. Captain Robert Kirk headed “F” Company.

The regiment was ordered to Washington in October of 1861 and assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Division III Corp. in Camp Jameson near Alexandria, Virginia. While in the winter camp, the regiment was carefully and rididly trained. Upon leaving the camp on 17 March 1862, the regiment took part in the siege at Yorktown and the battles of Williamsburg and Fair Oaks. After a month spent on picket duty, the 105th was again in action at Glensdale and Malvern Hill and, by the time it reached Harrison’s Landing, the ranks were so reduced by wounds and sickness that less than 100 men were fit for active duty. The 105th was at Fredericksburg, after which it spent the winter in camp near Brandy Station. In May 1863, the regiment was engaged at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Colonel McKnight and Captain were killed in that battle.

On 3 July 1863, the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Samuel A. McGee was wounded when a shell passed through his right thigh. He was treated at a field hospital and then transferred, as a private, to Company G, 11th Regiment, Veterans Reserve Corp (Invalid Corps) where he spent the remainder of his enlistment in the hospital until he was honorably discharged on 8 September 1864.

Samuel returned home and to farming. He married Mary Jane Crawford on 16 August 1866 in Suthersburgh, Pennsylvania. Mary Jane, a teacher, was born 8 March 1843 in Marchand, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Allen and Nancy (Brown) Crawford. The couple set up housekeeping in Bell Township, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. Samuel and Mary Jane bred and raised five chidren: William Clay (born 21 November 1867), Olive Murtle (born 13 May 1870), Crawford Herbert (born 16 July 1873), Robert Earl (born 2 May 1875) my grandfather, and Alice Bertha (born 2 June 1877).

The war injury disabled Samuel but did not incapacitate him. He stood tall at 5 feet 11 inches although the right leg was a little shorter than the left; he limped and suffered soreness and pain as the years went on. He filed for and received a small disability pension, $2.00 a month, in 1876 and he continued to work his farm and raise his family.

Samuel lost his wife in 1903. In November of 1910 he was admitted to and resided in the National Soldiers’ Home in Elizabeth City Clounty, Virginia, a national home for disabled veteran soldiers. In September 1911, Samuel took a 90 day leave of absence from the home and returned to Mahaffey, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, where he died on 17 November 1911. Samuel A. McGee and Mary Jane (Crawford) McGee are both interred at the Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Clover Run, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.

Part 1: Finding My Grandfather’s War

In Arthur E. Barthel, Finding My Grandfather's War, Off to War on December 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm


My grandfather, Arthur E. Barthel


One of the reasons that I have always pursued genealogy was because of my grandfather, Arthur E. Barthel.  I barely knew him, but the little bits and pieces of the stories I have heard about his war service have intrigued me since I was a little girl.

There were whispers about my grandfather.  He was depressed at times.  I can see that sadness in his eyes in the pictures I have of him.  Later I learned that my grandfather suffered emotionally as a result of his service during the war.  In fact there is a card that was issued by the VA with his name and disorder imprinted upon it.   The disability for which treatment is authorized–nervous disorder.  In other words, PTSD–Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  It was more of a secret than anything else back in those days.  Today it is more widely discussed as veterans return from our present wars suffering from the same disorder.  As a nation, we have finally come to a realization that war is a miserable affair.  Men and women inevitably have difficulty accepting the things that they have experienced during war.


VA Card 1 Nervous Disorder


Thanks to my aunt, who has recently uncovered an amazing treasure trove of information regarding my grandfather’s service, I may be able to find the details of this part of his life.  Researching World War II service is not easy.  It might be said that researching an individual who served during the Civil War is much easier–thanks to the huge fire of 1973 in which the majority of Army and Army Air Force Records were destroyed.

This series of stories will follow my search for my grandfather’s war and will hopefully aid you as you search for your grandfather’s war.

On Tuesday, January 15th, at 6:00, the Lewiston Public Library will be offering a free genealogy class to the public:  Searching our Ancestors Using Military Records.  This class, presented by Jim Lawson,  a FamilySearch Center librarian and expert in military records, will  include an in-depth look into locating and researching various American military records for genealogical purposes.  There will also be a presentation by the Daughters of the American Revolution. This will include details about membership as well as research methods for filling out the application.