Civil War veterans hall found on Clinton farm
The saying "History is everywhere" once again has proven to be true — this time in a pasture in Clinton Township.
John and Kathy Allen discovered their property, Armstrong Farms, holds the remains of a Grand Army of the Republic building, where Civil War veterans met starting in 1886.
All that's left of the G.A.R. — an organization similar to a VFW or American Legion, but whose members fought for the Union in the Civil War — is the building's foundation, but the historical significance is still there, John Allen said.
Allen also found two Civil War uniforms, complete with velvet collars, in the corner of his barn and is researching how to preserve the artifacts. Considering the uniforms sat in a barn for at least 40 years, they're in surprisingly good shape.
"I've always wanted to do something with them," said Allen, who bought the farm in 1967.
Local historian Drenda Gostkowski is researching the site and assembling a book about the G.A.R. She also founded the South East Butler County Historic Resources.
"The Civil War seems to have come alive again," she said.
Gostkowski and the Allens said they hope to preserve the site by placing a plaque near the remains, where they keep finding pieces of history in the soil.
A local man who uses a metal detector at historic sites for a hobby has found several artifacts in the pasture, including the top (finial) of a flag pole and a half dime, which was used before the nickel, she said.
The site was the James Harvey Post No. 514, which was organized March 25, 1886, at Clinton Township's Schoolhouse No. 2. The land was donated by John S. Love, whose farm bordered Harvey's. The two served together in the 137th Pennsylvania Regiment.
Gostkowski, who also runs the Web site Saxonburg Area Local History, said she believes the post was named for Harvey because he died before the building was completed. The G.A.R hall was part of a small village called Riddle's Crossroads along Westminster Road.
The building likely was only a one-room schoolhouse that looked like a shanty. But it was the place where Civil War veterans from the area could come together for outings and events and to reminisce about the war, Gostkowski said.
"Back then, you didn't run off to a therapist after you came back from war," she said. "This was almost like therapy."
Names Gostkowski has associated with the G.A.R. site included charter members William Harvey, John S. Love, John B. Cummings, J.P. Kirkpatrick, William Thompson, M. Thompson, G.P. Harvey, John Halstead, Mark Gibson, H.H. Halstead and E. Sefton. Other members included Adam Ekas, William Carson, A.B. Katz, Joseph Jones and W.J. Gillespie.Additional Information:
South East Butler County Historic Resources is looking for anyone whose ancestors served in the Civil War with the 137th Regiment, Company D; the 18th Pennsylvania Calvary, Company F; the 11th Pennsylvania Reserve, Company C; the 103rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment, Company K; the 78th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment and 169th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment, Company E. The historic group is seeking photos, documents, family histories and even family lore. Please contact Drenda Gostkowski by e-mail with any information.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.