Monday, August 18, 2008
Schuylkill County's Last Civil War Veteran
Last Schuylkill County Civil War Veteran.
Found this article in the Pottsville Journal of April 24, 1944 while researching soldier stories from World War 2. How I ever missed this important story is still a mystery to me. Anyway Thank you Private John J. Kohler, I wish I could have talked to you.
On April 23, 1944 Schuylkill County lost its last Civil War Veteran. John J. Kohler, 97 was Schuylkill last surviving veteran of the Civil War. He died at 3:05 a.m. at the Pottsville Hospital where he had been a patient since February 12. For twenty years Mr. Kohler has lived with the Dechant family, at 13 north sixth street.
He was the son of the late Jacob and Dorthea Super Kohler and was one of eight children. He was born in Pottsville and for a number of years was employed as a blacksmith and machinist for Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, and for a shipping company.
He was the oldest member of Trinity Lutheran Church. His wife, the former Miss Jane Robson, preceded him in death thirty three years ago. He is the last of his immediate family. Dr. James B. Heller is the only surviving nephew. The following nieces also survive; Mrs. D. W. Kaercher, Mrs. W. J. Schmidt, Mrs. Clarence Meade, Miss Helen Krebs, Mrs. Emma Kohler, of Pottsville; Mrs. Alice Foster and Mrs. A. E. Ballentine.
The funeral will be held on Wednesday afternoon from the Chapel of the Resurrection, Charles Baber Cemetery, at 2:30 o’clock, with the Rev. Dr. Emil Weber of Trinity Lutheran Church officiating... Friends may call at Oliver A. Bittle Funeral Home on Tuesday evening. Burial will be made in Charles Baber Cemetery.
Members of the Robert Woodbury Post of the American Legion, and members of the veteran’s organizations in Pottsville will accord Mr. Kohler in military honors.
He first entered service in the Union Army at the age of 14 years as a drummer boy and was sent home when his real age was revealed. Later when he reentered the service he was a member of Company C, 194th Regiment and participated in several important engagements in the Civil War.
When survivors of the 48th Regiment, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry Association met in Pottsville annually until the death of Charles W. Horn the last survivor, in 1941. Comrade Kohler attended the reunions as a guest. Though not a first defender, he attended that groups annual banquets for years as a Civil War survivor.
Mr. Kohler was closely associated with Robert B. Woodbury , Post No. 67 American Legion, and was the guest of post members at the time of his birthday each December 23.
Symbol of the swindling ranks of the “boys in Blue”; he rode in an open automobile in patriotic parades, touching his cap in response to salutes by bystanders. For a number of years he was a special guest at community patriotic meetings and veterans banquets, invariably responding to the call of his name with a hearty salute.
Within the past year he became more feeble and was assisted in walking. He attended the annual Legion party at the Armory last fall, however, and maintained lively interest in the activities.
John Kohler's Pennsylvania Card File For The 6th Pa Militia, as a Drummer Boy , says he was 15 but was only 14 and only 4' tall?