Boy drummer Simon McDermott 69th.Pa. Infantry. U.S.Marine Corps.

In an article in the Milwaukee Journal May 7th 1937 the following information is given on an article on Simon plus his photograph.

To this valient claim a little wizened old man at soldiers home has hitched his star clinging to it with the thread of life weakened only as 96 years can wear bare its fibres. And cling to it he will through many more years to come if his hoping heart can keep apace with his love of life for he is ever repeating that now famous Marine motto."Once a marine always a marine".
Lying in his humble cot in Ward 22 of Annex 2 scarcely enough strength left to raise his head his memories of his drummer boy days in the Union army flitting through his fading memory like an ill rembered dream of the night before, he pays little heed to the visitor who stops to read the "dog tag"at the foot of his bunk.

Simon McDermott
Simon McDermott drummer boy 69th Pennsylvania Inf.Union Army.
United States Marine Corps.
No known friends or relatives

But he does hold sacred two documents which probably cannot be duplicated bym any other living persons two honourable discharges one from the Union Army dated July 3rd 1865 the other from the United States Marine Corps dated April 23rd 1892.
And today the spard of hope that keeps him going in that by some quip of fortune he may be able to attend the annual midwest Marine Corps reunion at the Pfister Hotel June 3rd and 4th. The World war marines coming here for their festivities plan to honor him at the meeting.The Badger detachment of the Naional Marine Corps leagues one of the sponsors at the reunion has given him an honorary life membership in the organisation.
Marine McDermott does't recall much about his early life.
"My memory seems to have slipped a cog or two" he said "but what differencs does it make? I must have been a boy once and I am just as happy and proud now as the day I signed up as a drummer boy in Co. I Pennsylvania Infanty. After all who is there to care about these things long passed? Its the days to come that are impotant.
McDermotts military record is kept intact the early accurate information of his life.He was born in Philadelphia in 1849. Sixteen years later he was a drummer boy in the 69th Pennsylvania but he served only a few months before his discharge.Then he learned the brass finishing trade at which he worked until his enlstment in the Marine Cops May 5th 1887. He served one five year enlistmnt seeing duty "from the halls of Mestezuem to the shores of TripolI"
Marine McDermott who still boasts that he was just a buck private. First entered the soldiers home in 1907 remaining there three years.His next entrance was in 1923 and he has been there ever since. His wife died in 1922.

Here are a few additional notes on him.
McDermott Simon Boy musician Mustered in Mar 16th 1865 3 Yrs Mustered out with Co. July 1st 1865 end of the war. He was discharged at Munsons Hill Va. Joined aged 16 thus born 1849. .However he re-enlisted aged 38 5th. May 1887 in the U.S. Marines at Philadelphia as a private and was discharged 4th. May 1892 at Wash. D. C. a period of approx. 5 years. He had enlisted in the Marines aged 38 which seems quite an advanced age! Amongst Simons assignment records is one dated late 1887 when a muster roll on the U.S. Naval sloop “Jamestown”. Simon McDermott is listed as being in a detachment of about 30 Marines on board and the detachment under the command of 1st. Lieut J. R. Benson. This muster roll taken at the Navy Yard Norfolk Va. NOTE. The “Jamestown” a Naval sloop played a fairly major part in the sinking of quite a few Confederate ships during the Civil War in American waters and also at a time served in the Pacific area in anti Confederacy shipping supply chains. Simon would appear to have developed poor health towards the end of his service according to his records he was discharged April 25th 1892 in poor health. In his records aged 53 he is listed as still being a brass finisher was living in Chicago Ill and was a married man his wife Margaret and they living at 405 W. Adams St. Chicago. This would have been circa 1902. Gave his faith as Catholic. Died 1940 aged 91. He had fair complexion height 5ft 3 ¾” , brown eyes , dark air and was a brass finisher by trade. He is then found in the Philadelphia 1930 census as aged 79. He had come back home to Philadelphia.. Simon died Oct 14th 1940 in Milwaukee Wisc. Old Soldiers home. Buried Wood National Cemetery Milwaukee Wisc. Plot 51- 0 - 39A.

Private James Elliott Co.D 69Th Pa. Born Conafanogue townland Maguires Bridge Co. Fermanagh Ireland 1836. Died of disease Andersonsville Prison Ga.

This young mans life story makes harrowing reading. Archibold Elliott and Annie Harte were married in the Church of Ireland church in Maguires Bridge in rural Co. Fermanagh in 1833.The family were from the local townland of Conafannoge.What Archibold was employed as we do not know but it would be reasonable to assume that he was at best a small farmer but more likely was a labourer on one of the many estates in the area. The townland of Conafanogue (The spelling varies) is on the modern road the B535 between the small towns of Temple and Maguires Bridge. James is born to Archibold and Annie on May 1st. 1836. James would appear to have been their only child as per James's Civil War files. Annie the mother of James died Feb 1847 in Irish famine era times probably in her late 30's. James would have been aged about 12. The next trace we have of James is when he turns up in Philadelphia in 1861. As to what year he went to America there is as now no record. What we do know is that his father did not accompany him to America as he claimed a pension for his son from his home in Fermanagh after James died. It would be a fair assumption that a young James Elliott would have accompanied a group of emigrants heading off for America after his mother's death in 1847 probably via the port of Derry or Belfast. However as now it would be impossible to say accurately which port. Prior to his joining the 69th. Pa. Infantry I would be of the opinon that he worked as a labourer in and around Philadelphia like thousands of his fellow countrymen did. Joining the 69th was perhaps an opportunity for him to enlist with some of his fellow countrymen and above all be paid for his efforts.
James was allocated to Co. D. of the regiment a unit in which he would find many other men from his own country. He would have fought in all the major engagements that the 69th.Pa, took part up to the battle of Gettysburg in early July 1863. He had been lucky but alas on 3rd July his luck changed. Lucky perhaps not to have been killed he was captured by the Confederates. Perhaps relieved at not being killed he probably thought his luck was holding. Not so. He and many others captured with him soon found themselves on the march to the notorious Confederate prison at Andersonsville Ga. Here he like so many other prisoners due to neglect, poor or little food etc soon found himself sticken down with an acute form of dysentry. Scores would die. Sadly James also caught the disease and no doubt died a lingering horrible death. One can only guess the pain of his father being told of his death and of the memories that must have flooded through James mind as he lay dieing in a far off land. No longer looking at the verdant fields of Co. Fermanagh but the walls of a death house.

Private Patrick H. Lydon Co. H 69th. Pa. Inf.1864-1865 Civil war.
Corporal. 30th Regt. Co. B. Regular Army post Civil War.
Born Co. Galway Ireland 1846. Died Wash. D.C. March 2nd. 1928 aged 82. Buried Pittston Luzerne Co. Pa.

Reading the history of many of the units of the American Civil War when one looks at the listings of the soldiers in each company it is generally assumed that their service was primarily on a patriotic basis and the renumeration was a secondary consideration. However it must be kept in mind that amongst those enlisting there were others though possibly patriotic to their new country had material needs to support their families. There were those whose sole need was an income irrespective of patriotism and others who would combine the needs of family support and the best deal available. In the case of Patrick Lydon from his papers I kind of thing he fitted into the latter grouping. Patriotism probably but the best deal available. I base this assumption on his initial listing Substitute File where his initial particulars are recorded. In a column in his Paid Bounty and Advance Pay file it shows that Yes he would receive the $100 bonus but that he also had two advance pay payments of $25 and $6. Patrick was immediatly in debt to the Army and they still controlled his bounty $100. It kind of looks like Patrick had financial problems when he joined the Army. The scenario during the Civil War years 1860-65 is that by early March 1863 an act called The Enrolement Act also known as the Civil War Military Act was enacted. Its purpose was to input new soldiers into the ranks of the Army. Basically the numbers were being depleted and replacments had to be found from somewhere and by different means. By 1863 people would be aware that being a soldier in a "real" war was something more dangerous than being employed as a soldier in peacetime. Basically The Draft to American ears or Conscription to European ears was basically the government calling the shots. If drafted and fit enough etc a man who would fight was the bottom line requirement. However The Enforcemnt Bill mentioned above had within it leglislation that would allow men to put themselves forward for additional payment to take the place of someone else also a conscriptee thus allowing them to avoid active service. Reading the history of this facility soon shows it up to be very controversiall for obvious reasons and I will leave the reader to make their own determinations. I am simply recording two men coming from very different social backgrounds doing a deal that was mutually beneficial. In 2016 I have been lucky enough to have been in contact with descendant members of each person the substitute Patrich H. Lydon a poor Irish emigrant and a young up and coming lawyer Charles Dorrance Foster. Thankfully both men survived the Civil War Patrick living until he was 82.
Looking at a time scale of Patrick H Lydons life We have little information on his early life. We know that he was born in Co Galway on the west coast of Ireland in 1846 at the height of the Irish famine. Counties Mayo and Galway would suffer devastating consequences in this era. For him and his family it was either emigration or death. Survival would be the fare to America, probably the six week trip on a coffin ship to Philadelphia. It is just possible he had some family members with him or he was joining family members already there.There were probably other emigrants from his area with him all heading to the anthracite mines of Pennsylvania. The family settled in Pittston Pa. a small mining town on the anthracite belt of Pa. Let us look at his life line dates.
July 11th 1846
Patrick H. Lydon born in Co Galway Ireland. It states this on his enlistment papers that he was born in Galway Ireland. As exactly where in the county is unknown as now. The name Lydon is fairly common in Co.Galway. Nothing is known on his formative years in Galway. However the first trace of the family recorded in America is in the 1860 census which states that the family were living in Pittston Pa. a mining town about 100 miles north of Philadelia between Scranton and Wilkes Barre. Patrick would be aged 14. Cenus details are conflicting but it would appear that Patrick had a brother William and a sister Catherine. Did they come with him or were they already in America?. We shall probably never know.
July 11th 1864
Patrick enlisted into Co. H. 69th. Pa. Infantry enlisteing as a substitute in the Union Army he was aged 19 and stated that his trade was that of a shoemaker. In due course he would be able to collect the $100 bonus for this plus his army pay. The man who he substitued for was an up and coming young lawyer Charles Dorrance Foster. His enlistment papers noted that he was 5ft 5 and half inches tall with a dark complexion, blue eyes, dark hair. The image to the left shows some of his enlistment details. The most interesting is that it names who he enlisted in place of and also the name and rank of the army officer who enrolled him, a Capt. Bradford. It would appear that this Capt. Bradford was a facilator for the deal and perhaps drew a fee for doing so from one or both parties. There would appear to have been different facilities available for this service during the Civil War. Would the two parties to the deal have met? I think extremely unlikely.
July 11th 1864 until July 1st 1865.
In this year Patrick would have taken part in all the action that Co. H.of the 69th. Pa. took part in his year of active service.This company was a very active company and fought in every battle. He would have fought at the 2nd battle of Hatchers Run, Farmville and Appomatox and the small clean up operations that took place until the end of the war and his muster out at Munsons Hill Va.
July 1st 1865.
Patrick Lydon musters out at Munsons Hill Va. July 1st. 1865.It would appear that he would have gone back to Pittston and had some time to relax and perhaps go back to his old trade of shoemaker?. However some six months later he would appear to have had other thoughts and was soon attracted back to what was now the regular army .
18th. Dec. 1865
Patrick Lydon enlists for three years in what by now was the regular army. One wonders just why he enlisted just a week before Christmas?. He enlists in the 30th. Regt. Co B. as a private. Was it perhaps for the steady pay or for the adventure as many of the army regiments were going to serve in the Western Plains as the population of America expanded rapidly primarily due to the thousands of incoming immigrants from Europe.They were looking for space and land. The Indians of the Great Plains would be the losers.
From what information I have at hand Patrick Lydon's service in the West was primarily at two main forts being built at the time to protect the Union Pacific railroad heading west across Wymoing over the N. Platte river. These were Fort Russell near Cheyenne Wyoming and then at Fort Fred Steele in Carbon Co. also in Wyoming. From the dates that the forts were being built I feel that his service was primarily involvement in the protection of the forts and its teams of builders. It would be fair to assume that he was required to do many duties such as guard, local foot patrols as well as labouring duties in and around the fort. As a pivate soldier he had to do what was required of him. No doub the local Indians did not take too kindly to seeing fortified forts being built on what was their land. I feel his life was a round of foot patrols, guard duties and labouring duties whatever was required to get the forts up and operational. If however the Indians decided to attack the fort which they sometimes did he would have to apply himself as a "real" soldier likewise any cavalry men on base would have to do the same. It was an all hands to the pump scenario. The 30th Regt and is various compamies were basically a garrison Regt. of the newly forming post Civil War army. They would do garrison duties wherever they were sent. They had at the same time be fully flexible and obey the orders they were given as would the associated cavalry units. Hollywood would in later times have great fun making movies about the forts, events and characters of what they deemed "The Wild West" and make out the Indians of the Plains as the baddies for resenting the appropriation of their ancient lands.
Dec.19th 1868
Patrick Lydon ends his service in the West. He returns home and picks up civilian life again. He had been by this time prompted to Corporal.

Fort Fred Steel North Platte River Wyoming 1868.
Patrick Lydon served here until late 1868. View well known to him.

Dec.1868 until retirement
Patrick spent his working life working in the anthracite mines in and around Pittston working in both the mines and the railroads linked to the coal companies. He was always very active in the G.A.R. and in one article by the Post stated that he was one of the youngest to enlist which was a substitute for Charles Dorrance Foster in 1864. He would appear to have had a lifelong association with the Nugent GAR Post No.245
Patrick Lydon married a Winifred Martin 1874. Winifreds family were Mayo stock with connections to Castlehill near Crossmolina. They went on to raise a large family in Pittston.
March 25th 1915
According to Pension Claim No.730431 dated and signed March 25th.1915. Patrick Lydon states and signs that he was born in Ireland July 11th 1846.That he had served in the 69th. Pa.Inf. and also the 30th U.S. Infantry.
Patrick H. Lydon died 5th March 1928.
Aged 82 the young man from Co.Galway died in the U.S. Soldiers Home Hospital in Wash. D.C. He had lived the life that thousands of Famine era emigrants did. The majority emigrated by necessity and indeed to exist. Many would be become very successful in their new homeland but the greater number found a fair to good existence and were proud of their new homeland but few would forget the Four Green Fields of Ireland. Few of the famine era emigrants would speak of the land from whence they came. Only a relative few would ever return home
No doubt Patrick found common ground with the hundreds of other Irish immigrants working in the coal mines of Pennsylvania.
Notes: In some of his enlistment files it is recorded that Patrick had the trade of a shoemaker. In others he is listed as a labourer and in some as a miner. He is buried in the cemetery of St. John the Evangelist in Pittston Pa.
The H in his name is thought to stand for Henry.

With thanks to two descendant family members of the Lydon and Foster families for their information and comments. Much appreciated.

With thanks to Mayo N. Heritage Center.

Private Hugh Bradley 69th. Pa. Co. D. from Ballinascreen. (Draperstown) Co. Derry. Died Gettysburg July 1863.

This man though his service in the 69th. Pa. was of a very limited period he left behind some history worth noting.
Hugh Bradley was the son of a marriage that took place in the parish of Ballinascreen (Draperstown) Co Derry between a Hugh Bradley and Jane Conway who were married in Ballinascreen 19th May 1821. They were married by Dean James Murphy the long time Parish Priest there (for some 31 years). As to what Hugh Bradley worked at I have no information. At best he would have owned a small farm or more than likely was a labourer. Though this Bradley name is linked to Ballinscrteen it is likely that the family lived some distance from the actual town but within the parish. There are numerous Conways and Bradleys living to this day along the Sixtowns road running from Ballinascreen (Draperstown) towards Omagh to the west along the Sperrin hill range where so many of the other 69th. Pa. soldiers came from.
Son Hugh (junior) the soldier to be was born in 1838 according to the age of 23 years given on enrollement at Danville Pa. on 10th. Sept. 1861. He mustered in at Camp Observation Md. 31st 10th 1861.

The grave marker at Straw chaple Draperstown of Dean James Murphy. This man married Pvte. Hugh Bradley's parents Hugh Bradley and Jane Conway 10th. May.1821.

NOTES; Dean James Murphy who married Hugh Bradley's parents in 1821 was born in Lavey close to the town of Magherafelt Co. Derry in 1753 just as the Penal Laws were being relaxed but some years before the United Irishmens rebellion of 1798. He was ordained in 1780. Between 1781-1783 he was Parish Priest of Desertmartin, 1783-1805, he was Parish Priest of Lavey and in the years 1805-1834 he was Parish Priest of Ballinascreen and died 4th. Feb 1834 at Ballinascreen. Buried Straw chaple Ballinascreen {Draperstown). See marker image above. (info thanks Bishop Daly's book The Clergy of the Diocese of Derry

From pension records it is seen that Janes husband the said Hugh died in May 1841 leaving her with no less than nine children to support,a near impossible situation in a poverty stricken pre 1848 famine era Ireland. What to do? Like so many others Jane decides to emigrate to America as so many others were doing at the same time. Two years afther her husband's death Jane and her nine children headed off to America in 1843 no doubt part of a larger group of emigrants from around the area she lived in. Looking at a later pension claim in 1863 two people a Simon McColagh (more likely McCullagh) and a Bridget Bradley state that they had known Bernard Bradley and Jane Conway for ten years in Ireland. It would be fair to assume that there is the possibility that Bridget may well have been a relative of the now deceased Hugh and may well have accompanied Jane and her children to America in a large family group.This was a very diffiult and dangerous sea voyage in a sailing ship of the time, a journey of up to six weeks across the N. Atlantic. Jane's son Hugh the soldier to be would be aged 5 when he and his mother, brothers and sisters headed off. Most likely to Philadelpia via Derry.
As to what Jane Bradley did to support her family one can only speculate. More than likely she worked as a servant or perhaps in a mill. In any case life would be a struggle for her to raise her children. All traces available show that the family settled in the Phoenisville-Danville area on their arrival in 1843.
In the 20 years of their marraige 1821-1841 Jane and Hugh Bradley produced 9 children. On average one ever two years. Assuming the first was born 1822 then by the 1841 when the family left for America the eldest child would have been aged 19. Then steps and stairs down to Hugh the soldier who would have been 5 as from his enlistment age given (aged 23 in 1860) he would have been born in Draperstown circa 1837-38 leaving for America aged 5. There may have been one younger child after Hugh. So leaving for America this large family of 9 ranged approximately from the eldest aged 19 to the youngest possibly aged 2 or 3 with Hugh aged 5. If we then fast forward to the start of the Civil war in 1860 we see the eldest aged 36 and the rest down in steps and stairs until we find Hugh the soldier 5+17=22 which ties up well with the age of 23 which he gave when he enlisted. As to what became of the rest of the family I have no information or to their sex. One wonders why Jane Bradley was so forceful in using a claim based on her sons death at Gettysburg and making statements that basically he was her only means of support. So many questions. She made so many applications for a pension it might appear that the pension office were not at all happy with her applications.
What the young Hugh Bradley the soldier did in the years 1843 when he was aged 5 into his teenage years and early 20's I have no exact information. However as he enlisted in Danville aged 23 he may well have been working in the Iron works at Danville and Phoenixville in a low skilled job possibly as a puddler. I am of the opinion that Jane Bradley had a struggle to support her children. They would have had little education. It would appear that the young Hugh Bradley working in the local steel mills was of great support to her.
Why did Hugh join the Army?. Though many joined for patriotism and seeing so many of his fellow Irishmen join it is also very likely he joined so that he could use the pay to support his mother and some of the family.
Hugh Bradley's moment of glory would appear to have taken place at Gettysburg on July 3rd 1863 when he seems to have left a memory of his leading from the front at the Wall with his fellow soldiers of the 69th.Pa. in the mortal combat which took place there at the Wall on that fateful day. The fighting was fierce hand to hand combat so close that many of the soldiers resorted to using their rifles as clubs. Some sources state that Bradley was a "savage sort of fellow" as he lashed at the rebels all around him with his rifle butt. Alas however he was over powered and he himself was clubbed down and killed by the enemy. His war was over but his memory would live on in 69th Pa. history.

The grave marker for Pvte. Hugh Bradley Co.D 69th Pa. in the churchyard of St. Marys of the Assumption Phoenixville Chester Co. Pa.

This painting by the renown American artist Peter Rothermmel 1870 is said to have been inspired by the action of Hugh Bradley and his fellow soldiers at the Wall Gettysburg 3rd.July 1863.

St.Columbas Chaple Straw Ballinascreen (Draperstown) Co. Derry.

Fr. Arthur Michael McGinnis. Curate St. Francis Xavier church Gettysburg 1861-Oct 1863.

Born Dorsey area of Co.Armagh Sept. 28th. 1835. Died Philadelphia May 21st. 1871. Buried Old Cathedral Cemetery Philadelphia.

Though not a combatant in the war this man had links to both Philadelphia and very likely to the men of the 69th dieing at Gettysburg. This man knew well the background of the Philadelphia soldiers and may well have known some of them and their families.
Arthur Michael McGinnis was born as far as is known in the Dorsey area (Cullyhanna village area) of Co. Armagh. Born Sept 28th 1835 by 1856 he arrived in Philadelphia. He would be aged 21. It would appear that he immediately attended the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia to study for the priesthood. I do not know the circumstances of his family at the time but it might well be that his going there was not unknown to the likes of Archbishop Hughes of New York. This was an era when Irish born senior members of the Catholic church were in very prominent positions of influence in the development of the Church in N. America. As to who subsidised his journey to America or paid for his education there I can only hazard a guess. The name James McGinnis on the headstone is probably that of his younger brother James who went to America earliee and set up a funeral business.

Fr. McGinnis buggy as now in the Ulster American Folk Park Omagh Co.Tyrne.

Finishing his studies a young Fr. McGinnis was ordained a Catholic priest in Philadelphia by Bishop Wood of Philadelphia on the 3rd of June 1860 just as the clouds of the Civil War were gathering. His first appointment was to Manayunk. However things would soon change for the young man and his second assignment was to rural Pennsylvania, no less place than Gettysburg, to the parish of St. Francis Xavier. By June 1863 he had served about a year in his new parish. Probably a young man full of hope and expectation.
However by June 1863 two great armies were assemblying and moving the Confederates coming from roughly the south and the Union army from the north. The focal point of their confrontation would be Gettysburg then a small town of about 400-500 people. Fr. McGinnis was apparently the first clecric in the area to offer his church as a temporary hospital/ shelter for the wounded and dieing of both sides. Whilst his church was being used he was facilitated for his services by members of his flock. War over he was moved back to the Philadelphia diocese. Sometime is late 1863 or in 1864 he was transferred to St Peters Church Columbia Pa. and he was again moved to St. Joseph's church in Danville Pa. close to his family I think. Here he built a new church costing about $50,000 dollars. Sadly he suddenly died there a very young man of only 38. One wonders if the carnage of Gettysburg had left its mark on him.
His buggy nevertheless made its way back to Ireland with some of his relatives who came home and as now is held in a safe venue in Co. Tyrone. Not Co. Armagh but no story has a perfect ending!.
Some research on the markings on the buggy suggest that it was possibly built before the Civil War and he may have taken it with him to Gettysburg from a previous parish.
One note of interest on the above vehicle is that the name Dalzell is marked on the Wheel axle hubs. As a matter of interest a David Dalzell started off life as a carriage painter in Albany and Hudson New York. A skilled trade at the time but along the road one of his employees suggest he diversify and make axles which were fairly primitive at the time and failed frequently. This was of course the era that still made great use of horse drawn vehicles. Prompted to buy a metal lathe Dalzell started to manufacture hubs and axles to a very high standard. The Civil war came just in time for his business and by 1861 Dalzell had a very substantial hold on the American axle and wheel hub business. No doubt these axles and hubs were expensive and it would be a fair assumption that this buggy was a quality vehicle of the day.

Fr. McGinnis Obituary notice from Sadlers Catholic Directory 1875

The old Francis Xavier Church Gettysburg 1835 where Fr. McGinnis served and which he opened up as a hospital for both sides during the battle of Gettysburg.

Headstone of Fr. McGinnis in Old Cathedral Cemetery Philadelphia. The James McGinnis probably his younger brother.

As to how the buggy found its way back to Ireland I can only rely in what appeared in the public domain recently. We know that Fr. McGinnis died a young man. His brother James the funeral business owner inherited the buggy suggesting that it had been brought back by Fr. McGinnis from Gettysburg and now in Philadelphia. This James the funeral busines owner inherited the buggy and when he passed on he left it to his two sons of his sister an Arthur and James Mailie who also inherited the funeral business. Arthur apparently visited Ireland frequently and in the process married a local girl Eileen McKee and returned to Philadelphia. Around 1922 Arthur retired from his funeral business and he and his wife returned to Ireland and brought the buggy home with them. It appears that though there were motor cars around even in rural Co. Fermanagh in the mid 1920's Arthur preferred to drive his buggy drawn by his black trotting horse Beauty. Arthur died in 1925. However his widow Ellen kept the buggy safe and when she died in 1954 the buggy was passed on to the male line of the family a member of whom donated it to the Ulster Museum. Quite an incredible story and an item with an incredible histoy.

Sergt. John O'Connor Co. G. Born Urney townland near Strabane Co.Tyrone. Killed Gettysburg 3rd July 1863. Buried National Cemetery Gettysburg Plot Pa. B-68

Sergt. John O'Connor was born Urney townland on the Tyrone Donegal border near Strabane Ireland to John and Margaret O'Connor. When the family emigrated to America I have no record or if he had any sisters or brothers. Their route to America would have been via Derry to Philadelphia. On May 5th 1861 John enlisted in Co. G of the 69th. Pa. Infantry and mustered in the same day for 3 Yrs. He was aged 25. He would have fought in the battles of Yorktown, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and his last battle Gettysburg where he was killed July 3rd 1863. John had initially served in Co. G of the 27th Pa. Inf. His parents John O’Connor and Margaret Boyle married circa 1823 in Ireland in the parish of Urney. John was also born Ireland before family emigrated. John no doubt took part in all the operations that Co.K participated in from the day he mustered in until he met his end at the battle of Gettysburg. John was subsequently buried in the National Cemetery at Gettysburg amongst so many others of the 69th Pa and other Union Regt. soldiers killed that day. Back home in Philadelphia his mother later went through the numerous applications required to obtain a pension on the death of her son. Reading through the old files of applications, turn downs, rejections for trivial matters does not make pleasant reading. No doubt that there was then as now people making false or inaccurate claims but the general sense I have is of a system that was hardly on the applicants side and where I get the feeling that the dice would be loaded against the applicant, a personal opinion. The major volume of file exchanges being hand written by people whose writing skills and command of English would appear to have been poor to woeful. One can imaging such men sitting an high chairs, drunk with their own power and having the authority to give or dismiss an application from a poor widow perhaps a famine emigrants wife with few or no assets. In the case of pension claims by soldiers born in Ireland there was a further impediment. They had to provide information as to their marriage state back in Ireland. Not always an easy task to prove from an Ireland still reeling from the mid 19th century famines and the state of education and literacy in the country. Reading the files of many Irish born soldiers the fact that they ever got a pension relied in the case of the Catholic soldiers on the records kept by these local parish priests and the birth, marriage records held in the parishes. Needless to say that some of these records were good and some non existent. Getting confirmation of these documents was the luck of the draw, John O'Connor was an example of a better scenario. Let us look at this.
After John was killed a Father James Connolly the priest in the parish of Urny corresponded with the Pension office in Wash. giving details of what he knew about John's parents marriage. This cleric was heavily involved helping famine victims in the 1848 Irish famine. He himself was born and raised at Moyard Ballinascreen (Draperstown) Co. Derry. He most certainly would have known some the numerous 69th soldiers whose families came from that area. He himself is buried in St Columbs church cemetery Castlefin Co. Donegal on the Tyrone Donegal border. Johns marker in the Natonal Cemetery at Gettysburg is wrongly transcribed but proven in Jan 2016 that it is indeed John O’Connor's grave.

Images above: Sergt. John O'Connor grave plot National Cemetery Gettysburg on the left and the headstone of Father James Connolly at St. Columbs church graveyard Doneyloop Castlefin. Co.Donegal on the right.Here is headstone insciption.

Pray for the Soul
Very Rev.James Connolly
Parish Priest Urney
Born in the Parish of Ballinascreen 1820
Ordained Priest 1846 Appointed to Urney
Where succesively as Curate Administrator and Parish Priest he laboured until his death
Died 11th January 1903
In memoria aeterna erit Justus Ps.111.7
{Translation from Latin; "He will be remembered for ever"}

When a pension application was made by the close family of a soldier killed or perhaps dieing from disease when in the service of the Army a pension application was made. Thia generally to the Pension Office in Wash. D.c. In the case of men born in Ireland and had been married or survivors with links to Irish relatives proofs had to be established. In the case of a soldier who had been married in Ireland proof of the mariage had to be established. In most cases in the case of the 69th Pa the majority of the soldiers were Catholic so the Pension Office generally wrote to the parish priest in the parish where the soldier had married. Once filled in the local parish priest would forward, in this case to the American Consul Office of the United States based in the port of Londonderry (Derry) to be verified and signed by the Consul of the United States in that city with his comments as to authenticity of content etc. I am not sure whether each Irish port would have a specific American Consul member of staff in place. It may have been the person named was probably a local person of standing appointed of by the Government in Wash. D.C.

The above is the signature on a official document to the Pension Office in Wash. D.C. authenticated by the American Consul in Derry by the Rev. James Connolly the Parish Priest of Urney in Co. Tyrone about the status of, in this case the marriage of Sergt. John O'Connors parents in Ireland. A lot would depend on these communications. In the case of the 69th Pa. as many of its soldiers were Catholic most requests were back to the local parish priests. However in the case of Colonel Dennis O'Kane the request after his death was to the local Protestant landlord at Park village Co. Derry close to his home.

Private John Campblell Co. D. Born Belfast 1823. Killed near Petersburg Va. June 22nd 1864. No known grave.

The 69th Pa Infantry is generally known as having a very Irish and Catholic ethos which makes John Campbell interesting. John Campbell enlisted aged 41 at Philadelphia on Mar. 24th 1864 for the usual three year stint. He mustered in 24.3. 1864. He was born Belfast Ireland: Killed at Petersburg June 22nd 1864 on the Jerusalem Plank Road. Hit on head by shrapnel during a charge against the enemy. John had been a weaver in Belfast. He was 5ft 6ins tall blue eyes and brown hair. Married wife Catherine Taylor in Rosemary St. Presbyterian church Belfast Aug 18th 1840. Daughter Jane born Sept 16th 1857. Lived 1629 South 2nd St. Philadelphia. Married in Belfast by the infamous cleric Rev. Dean Hanna. John has no known grave as many of the dead in that battle were simply buried in pits in many cases and follow up after the war was very limited. John may well have enlisted for the generous join up bonus towards end of the war. John was the son of a John Campbell who lived in the then famous and still famous Sandy Row near Belfast city center a notorious area of Orange /Protestant support then and still is. One wonders how he fitted into a very Irish and Catholic regiment the 69th Pa.

Ulster-American Folk Park Omagh Co.Tyrone for image of Fr. McGinnis buggy. Much appreciated.
The current website of St.Francis Xavier Parish Gettysburh for image of the old 1865 church that Fr. McGinnis served in and where the wounded and dieing soldiers both Union and Confederate were attended to by him and his helpers. Thanks to ACW facility.
Sadlers Catholic Directory 1875.
Link St.Columbas Church Straw website
Thanks to Fold 3 infomation.