Friday, August 11, 2017


Schuylkill County and the American

Indian Wars.



     On June 2, 1860 the Pottsville Miners Journal ran an article about the capture of  a local resident by the Commanche Indians.

Captivity Among the Commanches-Return After Thirteen Years Absence.

     The St. Joseph Journal of the 16th ult. States that Mr. George Brubaker, a citizen of Lancaster County, Pa. Reached that city the previous day, on his way home. He was captured by a band of Commanches while on his way to California in 1847, thirteen years ago, and has just escaped from them. There were but three of the party captured alive, George Richardson, of Schuylkill, and Peter Demy, of Dauphin County, Pa. Both of whom were afterwards burnt at the stake for attempting to escape from the savages.

     After becoming acquainted with the language and habits of the Indians, he was made a medicine man, and in that capacity did a great deal of good among them, and has succeeded in converting over two hundred to the Christian religion. It was only after the most solemn promise that he would return that they allowed him to depart, and he will go back as soon as he has seen his family, who have mourned him for years as dead.

     It was probably in the quest for the new found Gold fields of California that drove Mr. Richardson in that direction, only to have his dream of wealth, ruined by being killed by the Indians.



     July 6, 1865 the Pottsville Miners  Journal posted this article concerning A Capt. A. H. Halberstadt. A.A. I. Gen.. 1st Cavalry Division, ( Bufords old Division) was in town this week. We learn that the Captain has been assigned to duty upon the staff of Major General Gibbs, who is ordered to report to General Sheridan in Texas. Captain H. Sailed on Wednesday last for his field of duties. It is satisfactory to the many friends to know that the Captain rendered valuable service during the war, and has won the esteem of  his general officers.



     The Pottsville Miners Journal November 24, 1866. Ran an interesting article concerning the career of one of its local residents Captain. Edward L. Hartz .


     Captain Edward L. Hartz, we are pleased to learn, has been reinstated as Captain in the regular service. The news must be equally gratifying to the many friends here of the Captain, who admire his many excellent social qualities, and recognize his capacity for military command. A brief sketch of the Captain’s military career mat not be uninteresting. We subjoin it:

     He entered West Point in 1851, and graduated in 1855 as a first Captain of the Corps of Cadets. He was appointed brevet-second lieutenant in the Seventh Infantry, and shortly after advanced to second Lieut. In the Eight Infantry. After temporary services as a topographical officer of several expeditions. July 26, 1856, he was gazetted for gallantry in action against the Indians. In 1857-8 he commanded Infantry escort to Captain now Major General Pope, in the Artesian well expedition in the Llano Estacado and in New Mexico. During the summer of 1859 captain Hartz conducted the experiments upon the adaptability of the camel for military service. During the winter of 1859 he served with his company in the expedition against Cortinas, the Mexican bandit. March 1861, he was appointed adjutant of his regiment, the Eight ; on the 14th of May, same year Captain, and on the 17th captain on staff. From July 1861 to January 1864 he was chief A.Q.M. department Washington. From the latter date until April, 1864 he was confidential sea-service, when he was assigned to duty as chief A.Q.M., department of the Cumberland, and was placed in charge of the depots of Chattanooga and of the supplies of the armies of the Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland, combined, combined under Sherman. He was the originator and founder of the United States Mortuary, record and burial system.




     The Pottsville Miners Journal for  March 30, 1867 ran this article concerning one of the Military Surgeons from Schuylkill County.

     Brevet Major H. R. Silliman, Assistant Surgeon, United States Army, who during the past few months has been stationed at Fort Wadesworth, Dakotah Territory, has in the consequence of ill health, been ordered to report tot he retiring board. We understand  that he was so severely prostrated by sickness at his post lately, that grave apprehensions were entertained for his life, and that Dr.  Charles  Woodmitt, late of this borough, but now of De Pere Wisconsin,  had gone for the purpose of bringing home the Doctor to his home in this borough. Wheter he will attempt the fatigues of so long a journey at this inclement season of the year we have yet learned.


     Also on the 30th Brevet Major H. C. Parry,  Asst. Surgeon United States Army, has been transferred from the department of the East to the department of the Platte., also Lieut. William W. Parry has been promoted to a First Lieut. In the Thirty fourth U.S. Infantry.



     On May 11. 1867 The Miners Journal reported that a familiar named person was once against he news. William H. Werner of the late 2nd California Cavalry, during the war was off again for another adventure.

Left For Colorado.

     On Monday last Henry son of Mr. John Morris, Valentine Guss and Harry Slater, of this Borough started for Colorado. On Tuesday  Mr. W. H. H. Werner son of John T. Werner,Esq. Who for the last eighteen months has been a clerk in the Miners Life Insurance and Trust company, of this Borough, also started for the same destination. Mr. Werner crossed the plains in 1850, when he was about 17 years old, and was for some time in gold diggings of California. During the rebellion he served in the Second California Regiment, for three years. He returned home to Pottsville in 1864, in which place he resided up to the time of starting for Colorado. We wish these energetic young men success in their future enterprises in the distant West.



     On July 29th The Journal had a follow up article on the young men who left for Colorado. Entitled:

Reached Colorado.

     William W. H. Werner, J.C. Guss, Henry Morris and Harry P. Slater, who left this Borough on the 7th of May, reached denver City, Colorado, on the 30th of the same month. All are well. In consequence of the Indian War, and the necessity of the citizens taking up arms to defend the territory, they all enlisted on the 8th, for sixty days’ service against the savages. These troubles have caused a complete stagnation in business in Colorado, and is not advisable to emigrate there at the present time.



     July 28th 1867 The Miners Journal reported a story about another son of Old Schuylkill:

General William A Nichols

     General William A Nichols, USA, who has been during the past fortnight on a visit to this Borough, sojourning at the residence of his brother, Mr. H.K. Nichols, went to Washington on Thursday last. The General will return to this Borough on Tuesday next, and in a few days thereafter start for St. Louis, which is the H.Q.  of the Department of Missouri. We never see the soldierly figure of Gen. Nichols here amid scenes familiar to his youth and early manhood, with out thinking of the noble stand he took when General Twiggs, his commanding officer in Texas early in 1861, dishonored the uniform he wore by becoming a traitor. Intimations of Twiggs disloyalty had reached the Secretary of War, Holt, and on the 18th of January, in a general order was relieved from the command of the Department of Texas, and it was turned over to Col. Carl A. Waite, of the First Regiment of Infantry. But the suticipated mischief was accomplished before the order could perform its intended work. When the Rebel Commissioners were informed of its arrival at Twiggs headquarters, at the Alamo, in the city of San Antonio, they took measures to prevent it reaching Col.Waite, whose headquarters were at least sixty miles distant, on the Verde Creek, a branch of the Guadeloupe River. But the vigilance and Activity of General ( then Colonel) Nichols who was Twiggs asst. Adjutant-General, and who watched his chief with the keen eye of full suspicion, foiled them. He duplicated the order and sent two carriers by different routes. One of them was captured and taken back to San Antonio, and the other reached Waite with the order, on the 17th of February. At that period when every inducement was held out to officers and men in the department, to desert the colors, Col. Nichols wrote a letter to a friend in Pottsville, in which he used the following patriotic language. “ If but one State remains to float the flag of the Union I will remain with that state, be it Maine or Texas.”

     We refer to these interesting reminiscensenses with greater pleasure as General Nichols is a son of Schuylkill, in whose career we feel a natural interest. The General now goes west in an important Military position and his many friends here wish him continued health and Prosperity in the future.

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