Apollo and The Civil War

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General Samuel M. Jackson

Being a small town in western Pennsylvania, you wouldn’t think Apollo has much of a connection to the “War of Rebellion”.  However, you’d be surprised!  First, we have General Samuel M. Jackson who enlisted as a drummer boy at age 12 and worked his way up to Brigadier General.  You can read more about him on his page  General Samuel M. Jackson.

One of the founders of the Apollo Cemetery in 1868 was General Jackson.  The cemetery was the original resting place of General Jackson, as well as 85 other Civil War veterans.  Now General Jackson is laid to rest in a mausoleum in the Riverview Cemetery.   In 1908, Riverview Cemetery was laid out to the north of the Apollo Cemetery, and through the years the two have grown together.  Sixteen Civil War veterans are buried in the Riverview Cemetery.  Two other local cemeteries, Spring Church and South Bend are the final resting place of 23 Civil War veterans each.

  In the years following the Civil War, veterans across the country established Fraternal Organizations known as Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Posts. On January 21, 1878, Post Number 89 of the G.A.R. was organized in Apollo with 29 members. The post was named after Corporal Charles S. Whitworth who was killed in the Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia on October 19, 1864. There were five G.A.R. Post 89 members still living in 1916 when Apollo celebrated its Centennial.  In 1907 G.A.R. Post 89 of Apollo erected this memorial to honor those who served in the “War of Rebellion” as it was commonly called then. The granite base holds a Dahlgren Naval Gun pointing skyward. This gun, weighing 4,521 pounds, was made by the Cyrus Alger & Company, Boston, MA in 1866, and used a 32-pound shell. Service of these guns was entirely naval, and they were not used on land. Several markings can be seen on the gun including an anchor and initials of naval inspectors.  The Circle of Honor behind the gun includes the graves of Civil War veterans Eaden Eakman, James A. Saltsgiver, Daniel R. Keiflin, Jeremiah Brubaker, Daniel McClain, Benjamin F. Shearer, Andrew H. Sheasley, and Alexander Long.

The men in the Circle of Honor are as diverse as the citizens of Apollo itself.

Eden Eakman, of Peg Town, a substitute who was paid $ 100.00 to serve for another man. He also collected a pension of $ 6.00 a month in 1890 for service-connected disabilities.

Daniel McClain, a Black Soldier, who served in the 39th United States Colored Troop, USCT, 39th Regiment Company I.

Andres Sheasley, who deserted from the 204th Regiment 5th Artillery Co M but because he came back and served out his time, no charges were ever brought against him, and he was honorably discharged. He was granted amnesty by President Lincoln.

Jeremiah Brubaker, who was a prisoner of war and survived the POW camp at Salisbury, NC.

James Saltsgiver was drafted and Alexander Long served in a Militia Unit, a unit where they served from 2 weeks to 90 days.

Benjamin Shearer served in the 103rd Regiment Company C, described by some as the unluckiest unit in the Army and died at an Old Soldiers Home in Erie, Pa.

Daniel Keiflin served in the 74th Regiment Co G.

Two other soldiers not buried here, but should be mentioned, are, John B. Guthrie, who formed Guthrie’s Unattached Militia and James Hunter, 159th Regiment 14th Cavalry Company M who has a cenotaph, a memorial in another cemetery. His is at the notorious Andersonville National Cemetery in Georgia, marker 11219, under the name Ames Hunter, they forgot the J on his tombstone. He died of Scorbutic Scurvy.

These 8 men who make up the Circle of Honor and the other 2 all had one thing in common, they came from here, they returned here, and they loved their hometown.

The Apollo Area Historical Society maintains the grounds around the Memorial and would like to do more in the old Apollo Cemetery.  If this is a project you are interested in, won’t you consider joining the AAHS or if you’re already a member, attending our monthly meetings?  We meet at 7:00 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month at the WCTU Building on N. Second Street, Apollo.

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