Civil War hero to be honored at Pine Creek Cemetery
A weathered stone marker salutes Civil War soldier Richard Morrow Jr. at Pine Creek Cemetery in Hampton.
“The precise place of his grave is unknown,” reads the engraved monument.
A Union private wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness, he died May 6, 1862, at age 18 in a field hospital in Spotsylvania, Va.
Strangers then buried his body.
“This stone is a tribute of parental affection,” reads Morrow's marker.
His parents — Richard and Mary Morrow — presumably commissioned the marker long before their farm became part of Orchard Park, the 375-acre housing plan in Richland.
It's inscribed with a detailed and poignant account of their youngest son's military service and his unknown, final whereabouts.
“That's the part that just breaks your heart,” said Annette Robinson, president of the Orchard Park Neighborhood Association.
Morrow was 16 when he joined Company D of the Pennsylvania Volunteers 139th Regiment on Sept. 1, 1862.
On his first assignment, Morrow's unit helped to bury Union soldiers killed in the Second Battle of Bull Run in Prince William County, Va.
To mark the 150th anniversary of Morrow's death, members of Orchard Park Neighborhood Association plan to honor him and 20 other Civil War veterans buried in Pine Creek Cemetery at 1 p.m. May 4 in the cemetery.
Expected guests include the Rev. Dan Muttart of the First Presbyterian Church of Bakerstown — where Morrow's parents are buried — and Civil War re-enactors, including Jim Simpson of Greensburg and fellow members of the Blue and Gray Reunion Band.
Simpson, 70, a retired engineer, plans to tap out an authentic Civil War-era dirge on a drum once owned by Civil War field drummer Peter Guibert.
“We will of course play ‘Taps,'” Simpson said about the work originally performed on a drum before it became a bugled anthem.
Following the ceremony, Simpson will present a program on Civil War drum signaling and how field drummers relayed instructions to troops at 2 p.m. May 4 at the Depreciation Lands Museum, 4743 S. Pioneer Road, Hampton.
During the memorial service, Robinson plans to read aloud the name of each Civil War veteran buried in Pine Creek Cemetery.
“This all came about as a result of working on the history of Orchard Park,” Robinson said.
Robinson mined old maps and documents archived by the Sen. John Heinz History Center and University of Pittsburgh to learn about Orchard Park's origins as farmland owned by the Richard Morrow and John Ewalt families.
Along the way, Robinson learned that Richard and Mary Morrow — who moved from Ross Township to Richland in 1831 — originally belonged to the Pine Creek Covenanter Church, now part of the Depreciation Lands Museum. That church established Pine Creek Cemetery.
“So I went to the cemetery, which is the only thing left of the former church, and found the memorial stone they erected to their son,” Robinson said. “I was moved by the inscription on the back of the stone and decided we should honor him with a memorial service in 2014 on the 150th anniversary of the Battle of the Wilderness.”
Pine Creek Cemetery is off North Pioneer Road and behind the Quality Inn on Route 8 near the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Hampton.
For information on the May 4 service to honor Richard Morrow Jr. and other Civil War veterans in Pine Creek Cemetery, call 724-444-6314.
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.