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Guide to the Civil War Homefront Experience
Of the Extended Meinert-Minerd-Minard-Miner-Minor Family

 

Guide Page Soldiers Regiments Bloodiest Battles Casualties POWs Freed Slaves

 

Christian-based Humanitarian Relief

During the war, Amos Potter Leonard was a Methodist pastor at Sardis, PA, but felt the call to duty. When General Grant occupied Richmond, Amos was appointed head of the city's U.S. Christian Commission. This role also took him to Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Richmond's Castle Thunder and Libby Prisons. The Commission distributed stores of goods to army camps and hospitals, circulated reading matter to sailors and soldiers, visited the sick and wounded, and helped soldiers write letters. It also helped military physicians to move the wounded to hospitals and assisted chaplains in their ministries.

Reporting the News

William Taylor Davidson was publisher of the Fulton Democrat in Lewistown, IL and covered the famed Lincoln-Douglas debates. During the war, the pages of the Democrat were filled with all sorts of related news and political cartoons. Of knowing Lincoln and Douglas (the latter whom he preferred), he wrote: "I would not take one star from the deathless diadem of Abraham Lincoln. He was the gentlest, sweetest, truest soul the earth has known since Christ. His fame fills all civilized lands and grows brighter with the fleeting years."

   

Letters from Home

In his Civil War diary, convalescing soldier Ephraim Miner tallied the number of letters he received from family, friends and fellow soldiers. As such, 28 names appear in the back of the diary for the year 1865. The most were from women back home, Mary Ann Dumbauld (23), Joanna Miner (17) and Louisa Kreger (16). He also received letters from new friends he met in towns where he was posted, such as Nelly Mulcahy in Albany, NY. Some enclosed money, including from Frederick Dumbauld ($13) and H. Walter ($15). The diary has been published in the book Well At This Time.

Failed Farms

The war was very difficult on farmers such as John and Sarah (Ansell) Minerd, of Kingwood, PA, from economic as well as emotional points of view. Five of their sons and sons-in-law served in Pennsylvania regiments during the war, strong, able-bodied men who otherwise would provided labor on the family farm. One son-in-law lost an arm at Gettysburg. Because of the shortage, it would have been nearly impossible for the 60-year-old John to cultivate and manage his farm alone. In 1864, he and Sarah sold their farm to a neighbor and relocated to nearby Normalville, PA.

   

Protecting Home and Family

In July 1863, a bold Confederate cavalry unit of 2,500 mounted men, dubbed "Morgan's Raiders," invaded Ohio after sweeping through Kentucky and Indiana. They pushed eastward rapidly, along a 1,000 mile path, directly toward Pennsylvania. Citizens panicked, fearing the worst. But on July 26, 1863, they were stopped at West Point, OH, just 12 miles southwest of the home of Jacob and Juliana (Forney) Minor.

In Lawrence, KS, David Shirar's future wife Mary F. Snyder -- at the age of 12 -- helped save her father's life when their town was raided in August 1863. Led by Confederate Capt. William Quantrill and his band of armed, partisan guerrillas including Jesse James and his brother Frank, the raid killed more than than 180 civilians and destroyed 185 buildings and has been called a "massacre."

New Families for the Fatherless

A baby was born on July 8, 1865, in New Creek, WV, the son of Samuel and Sarah Ann (also known as "Mary") Martin. While the birth took place three months after the war ended, the father was gone, having been captured during a Confederate raid of their home and never seen again. The baby was adopted by Leonard and Maria (Eicher) Harbaugh Jr. and taken into their home in Mill Run, PA. He received a new name, "Ulysses S. Grant Harbaugh." Ironically, while popular and talented, Grant died at the age of 23 due to typhoid fever and kidney heart failure and rests today in the cemetery of Indian Creek Baptist Church.

 

 

Civil War Soldier Orphans Schools

Pennsylvania, Ohio and other states organized formal schools to educate their thousands of fatherless children. Students were eligible if their fathers had been lost in the war itself, years later if legally underage at the father's death or if the fathers were unable to provide support. Known soldier-school students and teachers in the family included:

Elvira Cross - stepdaughter of Mary Ann (Minerd) Crayton Cross - Uniontown, PA - father unable to support.

Blanche Cross - stepdaughter of Mary Ann (Minerd) Crayton Cross - Uniontown, PA - father unable to support.

John C. Cross - stepdaughter of Mary Ann (Minerd) Crayton Cross - Uniontown, PA - father unable to support.

Sherman P. Cross - stepdaughter of Mary Ann (Minerd) Crayton Cross - Uniontown, PA - father unable to support.

Andrew Brison Devan - son of Mary Ann (Minerd) Devan - Uniontown, PA - father died a month after the war's end.

Ella Emeline Johnson - daughter of Rebecca Catherine (Martin) Johnson Moore - Phillipsburg/Monaca, PA - father drowned at war.

Mary Allene Johnson - daughter of Rebecca Catherine (Martin) Johnson Moore - Pittsburgh and Phillipsburg/Monaca, PA - father drowned at war.

Minerva Jane Johnson - daughter of Rebecca Catherine (Martin) Johnson Moore - Pittsburgh and Phillipsburg/Monaca, PA - father drowned at war.

Thomas Henry Johnson - son of Rebecca Catherine (Martin) Johnson Moore - Phillipsburg/Monaca, PA - father drowned at war.

Mary F.V. Minerd - daughter of James Minerd Jr. - Uniontown, PA - father wounded/unable to support.

John L. Minerd - son of James Minerd Jr. - Uniontown and Scotland, PA - father wounded/unable to support.

Mary Minerd - daughter of James Minerd Jr. - Uniontown and Scotland, PA - father wounded/unable to support.

George Elmer Minerd - son of James Minerd Jr. - Chester Springs and Scotland, PA - father wounded/unable to support.

Walter Scott Strauch - son of Mary Hester (McKnight) Strauch - Uniontown, PA - underage at the father's death in 1894.

William Henry "Petey" Strauch - son of Mary Hester (McKnight) Strauch - Uniontown, PA - underage at the father's death in 1894.

J. Harvey Younkin - son of Jacob M. Younkin - Jumonville, PA - age 11 months when his father was killed in action.

Teachers

Martha Gaumer - daughter of Jonathan Gaumer - taught at the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailor's Orphan Home in Xenia and Muskingum County, OH.

Mary (Gaumer) Dean - daughter of Jonathan Gaumer - taught at the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailor's Orphan Home in Xenia, OH.

 

Copyright 2019 Mark A. Miner. Reproduction forbidden without permission.