Oscar Jewell Harvey.

A history of Wilkes-Barré, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania : from its first beginnings to the present time, including chapters of newly-discovered early Wyoming Valley history, together with many biographical sketches and much genealogical material (Volume v.4) online

. (page 64 of 71)
Online LibraryOscar Jewell HarveyA history of Wilkes-Barré, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania : from its first beginnings to the present time, including chapters of newly-discovered early Wyoming Valley history, together with many biographical sketches and much genealogical material (Volume v.4) → online text (page 64 of 71)
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and the club, with its excellent facilities for healthful recreation has gained
nation-wide fame. The report of Mont W. Waters, recorder of the Temple
for the year 1927 indicated a living membership of 7,215, assets of more than
three-quarters of a million dollars and gross income of one hundred forty thousand
dollars for the year, thtis making Irem one of the outstanding Shrines of the
country in point of activities, membership and resources.

Two events of more than local import held attention through the W3^oming
Valley in the early months of 1898. First was the Lattimer trial at Wilkes-
Barre; the second a declaration of war against vSpain.

The winter of 1896-1897 had been an open one; slackness in work around
the mines resulting. Natural dissatisfaction with such conditions resulted, to


be further intensified when operators of the Hazleton district asked for certain
readjustments in wages until more promising markets were in prospect. Some
of the men accepted terms of the operators. Others, dominated largely by leaders
of the foreign element, protested. Early in September 1897, trouble resulted
at Yorktown, McAdoo, Silver Brook, Jeansville, Crystal Ridge, West Hazleton,
Lattimer and other mining operations. Sheriff James Martin of Luzerne County
was appealed to by operators and men alike who desired to continue operations
On September 8, word reached the Sheriff that the dissatisfied element had taken
possession of the settlement at Beaver Meadow and had shut down the breaker
there. Successful in this instance, and with their numbers greatly augmented
by others from neighboring mining committees, leaders of the strikers began a
march on other breakers in the district with apparent intent to stop operations
there. On the way to West Hazleton, the Sheriff and a small posse discovered
the marching body and went out to meet its leaders. A proclamation was read
to them and the marchers soon afterward disbanded. Next day, however,
a still larger body of marchers stormed the Cranberry breaker. This gathering
was broken up by the Sheriff and posse by a show of force, but without bloodshed.
On the 10th, Sheriff Martin, with his posse increased in number, failed to halt
by peaceful means a mob apparently bound toward Lattimer. He then moved
his deputies toward that point and again went out to meet the approaching
marchers when, as was shown at the trial, he was set upon by leaders of the body
and beaten. Someone, his identity was never established, at this point gave
an order to fire. The consequences of that order broke the spirit of the mob,
but at the cost of nineteen killed and thirty-eight wounded.

Excitement, as a result of this violence spread over the entire anthracite
district, and popular feeling against the Sheriff and his deputies ran high as a
general opinion at first prevailed that officers of the County had exceeded their
authority under the circumstances. At a subsequent session of the grand jury.
Sheriff Martin and sixty-seven others, including deputies, officials of coal com-
panies and individual citizens were indicted for murder. The trial which began
on February 2, 1898, naturally attracted national attention. Perhaps no trial
ever held in the county summoned an array of better known counsel. For the
Commonwealth appeared District Attorney T. R. Martin, Attorneys James
Scarlet, John McGahren and John Garman. The defense was represented by
Attorneys George R. Urquhart, C. W. Cline, George Troutman, J. B. Woodward,
George S. Ferris, F. W. Wheaton, John T. Lenahan and Henry W. Palmer.

The case was vigorously presented and ably defended and has been cited
wherever similar cases have come up for trial. Judge Stanley Woodward de-
livered his charge to the jury on March 9, 1898.

On the next morning, while crowds stormed the court house in their eager-
ness to know the result, the jury announced a verdict of not guilty. No verdict
of the period was more extensively commented upon by the press generally.
It was praised or denounced as the sympathies of writers moved. But the case
itself stands as a classic in American jurisprudence.

Of later interest was a claim made by the Austro- Hungarian government
for an appeal from the verdict so that its nationals might present claims for
indemnity. This involved questions of wide importance. Based on a report of
the trial made by Hon. Henry M. Hoyt to the Attorney General of the United


States, the government's case seemed so strong, that Aiistro- Hungary finally-
decided not to prosecute its claim further.

Scarcely had excitement attending the Lattimer trials subsided before
talk began of a possible war with Spain in aid of Cuban insurrectionists. Public
indignation knew no bounds when reports of the destruction of the battleship
Maine on the night of February 14, 1898, were flashed to all parts of the United
States. The battleship, lying in Havana harbor on a mission of courtesy, was
blown up by an external explosion; two officers and two hundred and fifty eight
of her crew being killed outright. There was no evidence, then or later adduced,
which connected any one concerned in the exercise of Spanish authority with
even a knowledge of plans leading to the disaster. Not alone was the destruction
of the vessel intensely resented by press and public, but war sentiment was
kindled by the hot impatience of many in high places, the whole ugly Cuban
business being a basis of attack.

President McKinley maintained a dignified composure. He attempted
to induce Spain to alter the course of her treatment of Cuba. The island was
nearby and special writers made the most of opportunities to color the news.
Finally on April 11th, the President asked Congress for authority to put an end
to the hostilities in Cuba. On the 18th, Congress declared the Cuban people
free and independent and authorized the President to use the military and naval
forces of the United States to compel the government of Spain to relinquish its
authority and government of the island. The Spanish minister at Washington
thereupon asked for his passports and on April 25, 1898, formal declaration of
war was made.

The Ninth Infantry, N. G. P. with headquarters at Wilkes-Barre, was one
of few state militia organizations only partially prepared for such unexpected
emergency. In fact, from Civil war days to that period, the military spirit of
the Commonwealth had been at low ebb and its militia practically dissolved.

Here at home a few organizations, the Wyoming Artillerists among them,
preserved their identity and continuity. Then came that bitter experience of

1877, the riots at Pittsburg, Scranton, and other places, which disclosed the in-
efficiency of the State Guard, and brought upon the Commonwealth contumely
and disgrace. It was found necessary to perfect a military system which would
prove effective in time of need. The Wyoming Artillerists was the onl^ military
organization in Wilkes-Barre after the reorganization of 1878. There was a
company at Pittston, known as the McClellan Rifles, which was later attached
to the 9th Regiment. The real starting point of the 9th Regiment, N. G. P., was
the Wilkes-Barre Fencibles, later Co. B., 9th Regiment, which had its birth on
the northeast corner of Market and Franklin streets in the fall of 1878. Henry
Crandall, a Dane, conducted a wholesale cigar and tobacco business here, and
was a military enthusiast. He instituted the preliminary proceedings for the
Fencibles by securing the names of young men to an enlistment roll. This
application was forwarded to Harrisburg, and an order dated November 15,

1878, was issued, authorizing Captain Thomas C. Parker, of the "Artillerists"
to muster in a company. Captain Parker ordered the companv to assemble on
November 28, 1878, when fifty-one men paraded for muster, and Oscar J. Harvey


was elected Captain.* Through their influence and endeavors several other
companies were formed, and the formation of a new regimental organization
was at hand. George Murray Reynolds was elected Colonelf, and the Regiment
was organized as the Ninth Infantry, N. G. P. in June, 1879.

The "market house" property, on Northampton street, afterwards for
more than a quarter century known as the "street car barn" became the first
armory of the newly organized Ninth Infantry In response to what seemed to
be a general demand for a market place in the central city, no building for that
purpose having been available since the tumble-down structure on the Public
Square had been removed in 1855 — a movement took shape in 1870 to secure
a market house. The Wilkes-Barre Market House Company was the result.
In 1871 with funds available from the sale of capital stock, the building, costing
some forty thousand dollars was dedicated as a public market.

From the start of the enterprise, however, it proved unpopular. The
Record of the Times, November 5, 1874, had this to say about the newly con-
structed building:

"It is not a pleasant sight to see such a fine building as the Wilkes-Barre market house
going to rack. In front, several window jambs have been broken, and the pavement looks dingy
and forlorn. The interior has only two occupants. A butcher occupies one stall — -Messrs Day
and company a rear stall. Both of these parties look lost in the mazes of the building. The trouble
was that persons of no business capacity originally filled the stalls and they had not tact enough
to draw custom."

Through the effort of Captain Parker of the Artillerists the building was
finally turned over to him "for the use of his Battery and with the understanding
that should any other military organizations be recruited in future, they shall
be accorded equal favor."

The flag stone floor of the erstwise market was covered with pine flooring,
and the building partitioned to provide various headquarters rooms, drill space
and storage for quartermaster supplies. Then followed a severe blow to the
Regiment early in 1886 when announcement was made of the sale of the building
to traction interests, an annulment of the lease following. Col. Morris J. Keck
had but recently assumed command of the Regiment when the need for new
quarters was thrust upon him. He immediately appointed Lieut. Col. B. F.
Stark the head of a committee of officers to devise ways and means of securing
suitable new quarters. After lengthy discussions it was decided to hold a fair
in the old Metropolitan rink on South Main street. With Colonel Reynolds
selected as general chairman and Mrs. William L. Conyngham as lady manager,
the interest of the whole community was speedily aroused in the undertaking.
The fair held from May 20th to 30th, 1886, was a signal success.

The event opened with a mass meeting at which Judge Stanley Woodward
presided and each day of the ten was attended by some important civic or mili-

*The muster roll of the Fencibles when mustered into the Ninth Infantry as Company "B" was as follows:
Captain, Oscar J. Harvey; First Lieutenant, Henry Crandall; Second Lieutenant, Arthur D. Moore; First Ser-
geant, Frank D. Krebs; Second Sergeant, Steuben J. Polen; Third Sergeant, Gus A. Benkhardt; Fourth Sergeant,
John B. Feuerstine; Fifth Sergeant, Edward B. Trively; First Corporal, Edward F. Joslin; Second Corporal, Luther H.
LeGrand; Third Corporal, Josiah Trumpore; Fourth Corporal, Charles H. Fell; Fifth Corporal, John M. White;
Sixth Corporal, Benjamin Krouse; Seventh Corporal, James S. Lee; Eighth Corporal, William L. Raeder.

Privates — Anthony Bauer, Enos J. Barber, John E. Dow, Edward J. Espy. Edward N. Easterline, James M. Frace,
Addison F. Farr, John G. Fry, Henry B. Fisher, David R. Gates, John C. Horton, Rudolph C. Hitchler, Samuel B.
Herring, Warren W. Hinds, Milton C. Kocher, John H. Kridler, Frederick Kepner, Isaac E. Long, Norman Marshall,
John J. McCormick, Charles Miller, John W. Oplinger, Charles L. Peck, Alfred Ruger, William Reese, Frederick
Sengfelder. George F. Snyder, Charles W. Speece, Charles H, Sauermilch, William vSites, Frederick Sligh, John N.
St. John. Charles Weidaw, James R. Winlack, Charles R. Wood, William vScott, Walter S. Marshall, William Eicke,
Otto J. Schrage.

fColonel Reynolds completed his staff appointments, as follows: — Surgeon, Major Olin F. Harvey; Quarter-
master, First Lieutenant Irving A. Stearns; Commissary, Captain Oscar J. Harvey; Paymaster, Captain Frank N.
Day; Assistant Surgeon, First Lieutenant S. L. Holley; Assistant Surgeon, First Lieutenant Frederick G. Newton;
Sergeant Major, S. C. Struthers; Quartermaster Sergeant. William O. Coolbaugh; Commissary Sergeant, Frank D.
Koons; Hospital Steward, W. J. Renniman; Principal Musician, W. L. Carey.



tary event. On Friday, May 21st, the entire Third Brigade of the Guard, com-
manded by General Gobin, came to Wilkes-Barre and paraded the streets.
Financial statements of the event indicated that the sum of thirty-nine thousand
dollars had been the gross receipts, that expenses of the undertaking were ap-
proximately nine thousand dollars and the Regiment had a comfortable balance
«^f some thirty thousand doilars on hand.

On August 9, 1886, the Wilkes-Barre Armory Association was formed in
order that title to property proposed to be purchased could vest in some author-
ized body. This organization was chartered by the Court and title acquired to
a lot on South Main street at a price of $8,919.82. In order to complete a build-
ing suited to the many uses of an Infantrv^ regiment, the Board authorized a
loan of $15,000 to be placed against the building. M. B. Houpt was then author-

Armory, 9th Regiment. N. G. P.

ized to proceed with the building at his bid of $44,583. The corner stone was
laid with impressive Masonic ceremonies on Thanksgiving day, 1886. The
dedication was fixed for October 26, 1887, at which time a great concourse of
people assembled.

Governor James A. Beaver and Ex-Governor John F. Hartranft reviewed
the military and civic procession which was a feature of the dedication. A ball
on the Armory floor which concluded the festivities of the day, was described
by the press of the time as "the most brilliant and notable event of the kind
which ever occurred in Wilkes-Barre." A proviso in the deed to the Armory
makes its future at the date of writing (1928) somewhat uncertain in view of
the fact that the 109th Field Artillery, successor to the old 9th Infantry, has a
magnificent new Armory in Westmoor built partly by the Commonwealth and


partly by large contributions from the County of Luzerne. This proviso names
the Home for Friendless Children and the Wilkes-Barre City Hospital as re-
siduaries in case the building is sold by reason of non-use for military purposes.
In January 1929, Judge B. R. Jones by opinion awarded the old Armory
property to the institutions named.

The following account of the service history of the Ninth during the
Spanish-American war was consolidated from the files of the Wilkes-Barre
Record by its editor, Eugene T. Giering. The present writer believes it is the
most complete account of this portion of the Ninth's career and is quoted in
part with the consent of Mr. Giering:

"During the year 1898 the Ninth Regiment, N. G. P., was called to serve in the war with
bpain, but, although the boys were m camp for over five months, during which time thev suffered
very much from disease, they were not ordered into active service. Typhoid fever however was
as deadly as Spanish bullets.

AT 1^- \^^f ^*",*^ Regiment left Wilkes-Barre April 27th in response to the call of President
McKinley for volunteers and the orders of Governor Hastings for the National Guard of the State
to mobilize at Mt. Gretna. The largest crowd that ever assembled in Wilkes-Barre gathered to
see the regiment off. The Pittston, Parsons and Plymouth companies came to Wilkes-Barre
and met the home companies at the Ninth Regiment armory and about 8 o'clock in the evening
th° march to the station was begun. The whole populace had become excited at the outbreak
ot the war and as nothing had yet
occurred to show the relative
strength of the two nations, it was
expected that the regiment would
see active service, and the un-
certainty as to its fate, of course,
increased the public interest on an
occasion like this. It is estimated
that there were one hundred and
thirty thousand people in Wilkes-
Barre to see the regiment off. All
along the line of march to the
station was a jam of people and
Public Square was one mass of
humanity, so dense that the regi-
ment had great difficulty in making
its way through. Quite a number
of women and children were injured
in the crush. Judge Stanlev
Woodward delivered a farewell
address from the steps of the First
National Bank Building and pre-
sented the regiment with a flag.

"The regiment was of the
following strength when it left;
Officers, 44; Co. A, 61; Co. B, 59-
Co. C, 60; Co. D. 66; Co. E, 53-
Co. F, 54; Co. H, 53; Co. I, 50;
total, 456 men.

"On May 1, great crowds
gathered in front of the Record
office to read the news that came
piecemeal regarding the destruction
of the Spanish fleet at Manilla by
Admiral Dewey's ships.

"At Mt. Gretna the mem-
bers of the Ninth Regiment were
given an opportunity to enlist in
the volunteer service of the United
States for two years and all but
fifty-three answered "ye.ss" when

the^r names were called^ Pvery member of Co. F of Wilkes-Barre ^Captain McCleery) and
1 of Plymouth dedin-^d Flannery) volunteered and only one in Captain Pierce's Co.,

charge "o7nintl^nL^°-r '^^''^ ^^ Mt. Gretna a recruiting office was opened in Wilkes-Barre in
camn to fiTl n, ^^ ""^ -^""^ "^u"'^ ^^'^^ hundred additional men were enlisted and sent to

iHddkion to^th^fif?"!^"''^' 1° the war footing. These recruits left Wilkes-Barre May 8th.

'"rvtforaccou'nt'orpty'c'altLor^^^^ '° ^"'^*' ^'°"^ '^^' ^ '°^^" ^^'^ ^^^^^^^^ ^'"^^ ^^^

Colors of the 9th Regiment


"On May 10th a United States recruiting office was opened in the Chahoon block on West
Market street, in charge of Lieutenant Dentler, for the purpose of enlisting for the regular army.
A couple of hundred readily joined the service and were sent South, many of whom saw service
in Cuba, Porto Rico and Manila.

"May 17th the regiment left Mt. Gretna for Camp George H. Thomas, Chickamauga
Park, Georgia, and on the way South the boys received a regular ovation. Crowds were at nearly
every station and employes from factories threw scores of pounds of tobacco into the cars. Women
also came with coffee and other refreshments. May 19th reached Chattanooga, Tennessee, and
immediately went to camp, twelve miles distant.

"May 20th, Col. C. Bow. Dougherty, of the Ninth Regiment, was made acting brigadier
general of the Third Brigade, Third Division, 1st Army Corps, U. S. V., he being the senior
colonel of that brigade, no commander having yet been appointed. He retained this office about
a month. Lieut. Col. Wallace was in charge of the Ninth in the meantime.

"June 10 Ijeutenant E. D. Camp was sent to Wilkes-Barre and Lieutenant George Buss
to Pittston to recruit 248 men to fill out the ranks of the first and second battalions and they had
no difficulty in securing them. About the middle of June orders were issued by the War Depart-
ment, increasing the Ninth to a three battalion regiment. Major John T. Flannery was sent from
Chickamauga to recniit and muster in companies at Towanda (Co. M); Bethlehem (Co. K);
Summit Hill (Co. L) ; and Co. G. was mustered in at Reading.

"June 24 the Wilkes-Barre companies of the new State provisional guard of the Seventh
Regiment were mustered in, Asher Miner being later elected colonel of this "Home Guard"
regiment. The other companies of the regiment were mustered in soon after."

"July 8 the Wilkes-Barre Board of Trade actively took up the work of relieving needy
families of soldiers at the front and aided about fifty families in Wilkes-Barre and surrounding
towns, money being solicited from
the public; vSecretary Garrett Smith
and President Walter Gaston super-
vising the plan. This was con-
tinued until the regiment was
mustered out.

"July 3, occurred the death
of the first victim of typhoid fever,
private James Gilmartin of Pittston,
and burial took place at his home
with military honors. This was the
beginning of an epidemic of the
disease, which lasted for three
months and carried off by death
three captains, twenty-five privates
and one civilian, Thomas P. Ryder,
who went as correspondent of the
A ecord.

"Out of the thirteen hundred
members of the Ninth at Chicka-
mauga fully half of them contracted
typhoid and malarial fever, the
disease attacking officers in their
tents, others in the Regimental
Hospital and still others at the
Third Division Hospital, Leiter
Hospital and Sternberg Hospital.
Many others were sent home on
furlough when they became ill and
developed the disease while at
home. The cause of the epidemic
was attributed to several sources.
The latrines were located so near
the mess tents that swarms of fles
carried the typhoid poison from
them to the food the boys ate.
Then again the camp was located
in a low, wooded place and was
damp most of the time, the boys
sleeping upon the ground. The

water used was taken from wells and from Chickamauga Creek, both of which sources of supply
were afterwards condemned, ever for bathing purposes. Added to this, the heavy rains washed
the excreta, which at first had been deposited on the hillside, into the camp. The real situation
was not realized at home until July 15, when Mrs. C. Bow. Dougherty returned from camp and
reported that there were one hundred and fifty cases of typhoid in the Ninth and that a great many
things were needed. A meeting of the ladies was immediately called and they formed themselves
into a relief association. The Young Ladies Sewing Society also set to work making needed
articles for hospital use, and several boxes were filled. The public in general also sent in con-
tributions of clothing, etc., and these were packed in boxes and sent to camp. Festivals and
entertainments were held and the proceeds were applied to the same purpose. In the meantime

Maj. Gen. C. Bow. Dougherty


the Board of Trade received subscriptions and purchased wholesale lots of quinine pills, clam
broth, condensed milk, etc., and the societies of ladies contributed for the same purpose. In
this way the regiment was kept well supplied. The sickness and many deaths in the Ninth cast
a pall over the whole community and the local military and veteran organizations were kept
busy arranging for and attending the funerals.

"July 10 services were held in Wilkes-Barre churches in accordance with President Mc-
Kinley's proclamation of thanksgiving for victories on land and sea.

"News of the fail of Santiago was received with enthusiasm in Wilkes-Barre July 14,
the court house bell rang for twenty minutes and a salute was fired from the G. A. R. cannon on
the river bank.

"August 10 three members of the Ninth Regiment died in one day of typhoid fever; Leonard
Deegan and Jonah A. Jenkins of Wilkes-Barre and Joseph Detweiler of Reading.

"Owing to continued illness. Chaplain Johnson resigned from the Ninth August 10 and
Dr. W. G. W^eaver, as assistant surgeon the day following.

"The first hospital train from Chickamauga, bearing sick members of the Ninth, arrived in
Wilkes-Barre August 22. Another train came at 3:30 a. m. August 25 and despite the night hour
the station platform was crowded. Eleven ambulances and physicians and nurses were on hand
and the boys were carried on stretchers from the train. Several of them died in their homes after-
wards. Most of the boys were taken home, but some went to the two hospitals. Pathetic scenes
were witnessed at the station as the stretchers were placed in the ambulances. August 27 a third
hospital train came with fifty-six more; August 30 a fourth with a fifty-three and September 9 a
fifth with thirty-three.

"The Ninth Regiment left Chickamauga August 25 for Camp Hamilton at Lexington, Ky.,
and here conditions were found to be quite different than those at the former camp. The location
was much better and had the regiment remained any length of time the health of the boys would
undoubtedly have been much better.

"The 1 9th day of September the regiment arrived in Wilkes-Barre from camp, after
strenuous and finally successful efforts on the part of Congressman Morgan B. Williams to have
the regiment mustered out. The crowd that was in waiting was only exceeded by that which
thronged the streets when the regiment left. The time of arrival was uncertain and hundreds of

Online LibraryOscar Jewell HarveyA history of Wilkes-Barré, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania : from its first beginnings to the present time, including chapters of newly-discovered early Wyoming Valley history, together with many biographical sketches and much genealogical material (Volume v.4) → online text (page 64 of 71)