52 Ancestors in 53 Weeks

52 Ancestors in 53 Weeks
Amy Johnson Crow, on her blog No Story Too Small, has challenged fellow bloggers to post 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Click on the image to navigate to the blog site.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

52 Ancestors #4 - PS Bancroft – 3 Careers and a War (my mother's great grandfather)

Peter Sanford Bancroft B. 24 Dec 1830 Canaan, CT D. 16 May 1916 in Butler, PA
M. April, 1865 Isabell (Belle) S Brinker, youngest daughter of Jacob Brinker B. 1846 Butler, PA  D. 1874 Butler, PA
1 * Flora Gertrude Bancroft 1867-1949 *my great grandmother
2 Earl D Bancroft 1868-1927
3 Grove Graham Bancroft 1869-1899

 When 8 years old Peter Sanford Bancroft came to Western Pennsylvania with his parents, who settled on a farm near Meadville, PA. His father was the Rev. Earl Bancroft, a retired minister and local preacher of the Methodist church. His mother was a daughter of Grove Pinney.

PS Bancroft worked on the farm, attended county schools and then Allegheny College, from which he graduated in 1855 magna cum laude
Career 1 - Professor of Greek & Latin
For the next few years he was Professor of Greek and Latin at Madison College (now part of Waynesburg U). 
In September, 1861, he joined the army of the Union and was made Second Lieutenant in Company E, One Hundred Eleventh Regiment, PA Infantry.
On September 17, 1862, in the battle of Antietam, his right arm was shattered by a bullet. While in hospital suffering from this wound he was promoted to the rank of Captain.
March 16, 1863, he resigned and was discharged on surgeon's certificate of disability.
In Apr. 1863 the U.S. War Department created the "Invalid Corps" made of worthy disabled officers and men who had been in the army. It was variously called Invalid Corps or Veteran Reserve Corps, and Bancroft signed on and he was appointed First Lieutenant in the Veteran Reserve Corps. In December he was appointed Captain and later assigned to the Third Regiment of that corps. This appointment was confirmed by the issue of a Captain's commission with 'the advice and consent of the Senate' and signed by President Abraham Lincoln. His grandson Charles Tilton had possession of the commissioning signed by Lincoln until he sold it to antiques dealer in the 1900's.  

Bancroft continued in the service with the Invalid/Veteran Reserve Corps until February, 1866, nearly a year after the close of the war.

Capt. PS Bancroft

Marriage &  Career 2

In April, 1865, in his 35th year Bancroft married 19 year old Bella S. Brinker,  youngest daughter of Col. Jacob Brinker, a former sheriff of Butler County. They were were farming the Meadville farm when Belle (Brinker) Bancroft died in 1874, leaving 3 small children.
Bella (Brinker) Bancroft

Career 2 - Witherspoon Institute
In 1877 PS Bancroft and his family moved to Butler. In the wake of his personal economic struggles and the nationwide postwar recession, he decided to go into education.  He took the Withspoon Academy, a school begun as a Presbyterian school and subsequently bought by Lutherans, and turned into a non-sectarian private school.  His reorganization grew as the newly re-formed Witherspoon Institute, and he was for a number of years Principal (manager and administrator). 
Career 3 - Newspaper Editor

While running the Witherspoon Institute, he was also a staunch supporter of the cause for which he fought. He'd become a member of the (fairly new) Republican Party. Eventually former war veterans who were fellow Republicans felt they needed a publication. 
In March, 1889, he entered newspaper work in the office of The Butler Eagle, and October of 189 [?}, he became associate editor of the Butler County Record.

He worked as the Associate Editor until May 6, 1916, ten days prior to his death, when he was taken ill.

PS Bancroft was living with his daughter Flora, her husband William Tilton, and his grandson, Charles Bancroft Tilton in Butler at the time of his death.

PS Bancroft (73 yrs) Charles Tilton (14 mos) Dec 1903
Further Reading:

The Butler Citizen, Thursday, November 26, 1908 - Under "Butler School History"
On Dec. 11 1819, a literary and religious institution was established by the Allegheny Presbytery and called Witherspoon Institute. Rev. Loyal Young was the first principal and David Hall assistant. School opened May 13, 1830, in the basement of the Presbyterian church, and the following year the first Institute building was erected on Main Street [in Butler, Pennsylvania]. In 1865 the Butler Academy and the Witherspoon Institute were united. It cos continued until 1877 when the property was sold to the First English Lutheran church for $6000. In 1879 Witherspoon Institute was turned into a non-sectarian school with  Prof. P S Bancroft at the head of it and J C Tintsinan [sp?] associated with him. The school flourished under the leadership of these two able instructors, and in 1882 boasted of 172 pupils. Prof Bancroft continued until 1887 when he closed it and took up other work.


The Butler Eagle was established in February, 1870, as a Republican journal.  A company, the greater number of the members of which were veterans of the War of the Rebellion, was organized with the object of giving to the county a newspaper which would expound the ideas of the soldier or military element of the Republican party, and inculcate lessons of patriotism from their point of view….under the management of Robinson & Carson, (While) they did not surrender a single Republican idea, they made politics, even in bitter campaigns, agreeable; for they surrounded attacks on the opposition with credits for the good parts of the enemy, and thus, giving justice where due, won respect.
The Eagle is credited in Rowell's Newspaper Directory with a weekly circulation of 1,800. It is well printed and edited, while its news columns tell of the thorough effort made by the publishers to gather the news items.
From March, 1888, to October, 1889, Professor Bancroft held a position in the local department of this paper.
On removing the office to Butler, the name was changed to the Butler County Record, and the first number, under this new name, was issued June 6, 1888.
On October 1, 1889, Prof. P. S. BANCROFT, formerly of the Witherspoon Institute, and later in the local department of The Eagle, was engaged as associate editor—a position he still holds.
Messrs. Herr and Bancroft are earnest workers in the newspaper field and aim to make their columns as interesting and newsy as they were in the lively days when the great Petrolia oil field yielded up its surprises, jokes and tragedies daily.
It is now a neatly printed journal of thirty-six columns, politically independent and carefully edited. The certified circulation is 1,700.
Source: History of Butler County Pennsylvania, R. C. Brown Co., Publishers, 1895

1 Ancestry.com
2 Fold 3
3 Photos Collection of ACharity Higgins (NYS)
4 Education: Ancestry.com
5 Internet Archive
6 Most information about adulthood was sourced from the genealogical and historical information held in Butler County Library, Butler, PA. Thanks to the

volunteers and librarian in the Butler Library for being so helpful.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

52 Ancestors: #3 - John Levi Cook - Mass Regiment, Drummer (2nd great grandfather of husband)

John Levi Cook 2nd great grandfather of husband

son of John Cook (b 1805) and Cynthia Metcalf
    B - abt 1841 in Ashburnham, MA
    D - 28 Nov 1910 in Bath, Maine
   Wife: Christiana L Petts (2nd great grandmother of husband)
     B 1845 in Stoddard, NH
     D 30 Sep 1871 in Keene, NH * she had given birth in late June in Keene NH of this year*
   Son: Don Ferdinand Cook (great grandfather of husband) 
     B 24 Jun 1871 Keene, NH 
     D 16 Dec 1939 in Keene, NH

John Levi Cook's Story
Civil War duty
John L. Cook of the Union Army was assigned to the 21 Massachusetts Infantry (21st Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry), Company G. 
His rank when he came in: Musician and his rank when he mustered out: Principal Musician (he was a drummer)
A family source (Bob Cook said in 1990s: "His drum is still owned by the family.”)


John L Cook was involved in guard duty to protect railroads in Maryland, quite possibly in Baltimore secured by Union troops as it had a large number of Confederate sympathizers. The General who led this was from Massachusetts as was his regiment.
North Carolina/VA border  

He was then in North Carolina under General Burnside – likely in the opening phase of what came to be called the Burnside Expedition at the Battle of Roanoke Island, an amphibious operation of the American Civil War, on February 7–8, 1862.  
This was fought in the North Carolina Sounds only a short distance south of the Virginia border.
After this, John L Cook was with General Pope's fought at Sulphur Springs at what is called “The First Battle of Rappahannock Station” in August 1862, in Culpeper County and Fauquier County, Virginia. 
The two armies fought a series of minor actions along the Rappahannock River, including Waterloo Bridge, Lee Springs, Freeman's Ford, and Sulphur Springs.

He then went back a bit further north and west to:
1- The Second Battle of Bull Run or Second Manassas, Virginia, August 28–30, 1862,
2 - then on, over the border, to the Battle of South Mountain, MD, September 14, 1862
3 -  and over to the Battle of Antietam in Maryland-a very bloody battle on September 17, 1862.

Then they turned south again: 
Fredericksburg -Wounding, Capture & Mustering Out
In late November 1862, his army went to the Rappahannock River opposite Fredericksburg, VA. The Confederate army   established a strong defensive position across the river in the town. After waiting for 6 for the the arrival of pontoon bridges, the Union general finally began to look for places to cross the river to attack. Not until December 11 did the Union cross the Rappahannock to attack the Fredericksburg.  December 13, 1862 - Lee defeated the Union army at the Battle of Fredericksburg. The Union retreated back across the Rappahannock River under cover of night. 

But, John Levi Cook was shot in the knee at Fredericksburg and captured – likely in December 13, 1862 during the battle.
City of Fredericksburg from Union side

John L Cook is freed on the field. Probably not a dramatic escape but a parole.  The armies usually didn't have the time or the resources to handle prisoners; they were “paroled.” Parole was a sort of solemn promise to not return to your Army until you were exchanged for another prisoner. 
However, in practice it meant most men took their papers and went home permanently. 
Pontoon Bridge across Rappahannock
John Levi Cook mustered out of service in 1863, but since it was December 1862 when he was captured then loosed, he probably formally mustered out once he made his way out of Fredericksburg. 

North, Marriage and Maine!

At some point he made his way back north. Born on the Mass/NH border, he may have been in Keene NH when he met Christiana Petts, as it was a large city of the time. She came from north of Keene, and he from the Mass, but it is speculation. They wed and she had a child, but died only a few months after childbirth in New Hamsphire. Later he remarried Abbie Everline Clifford. Why he went to Maine, we don't know. However, he worked in a store in Winnegance, Maine like this one pictured (owned by the Perrys in Winnegance, Maine). Later in life he was the postmaster in Phippsburg, Maine.

1 Family information: Ruth Antilla Johnson (1st hand knowledge) and Bob Cook
2 Ancestry.com
3 National Park Service, Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, 1861-1865, M544 roll 9 and Fold 3 --military service informtion
4 Photos: Public Domain, historical photos
5 Store: Family sources, Ruth Antilla Johnson & Bob Cook

Friday, January 24, 2014

52 Ancestors: #2 - Charles J Tyson Gets Busy with Gettysburg & Other Work

Charles J Tyson abt1885

Charles and Isaac Tyson established the photography studio in Gettysburg, and hired a young assistant- a William Tipton. Charles and Maria Griest of Menallen Township get married in April 1863, shortly before the battle of Gettysburg. They moved to town and were settling in as a newly-marrieds when they were forced to flee Gettysburg for the countryside. They returned to find their house had been occupied. 
Charles & Isaac and Tipton get on the road to take photos in the after the battle. However, their photos exclude many of the sort later arrivals took: of corpses on the battle field. War is not part of the Quaker tradition, and it’s been said that taking photos of the dead, especially those in battle, glorifies what is repugnant to the Quaker spirit. The Tysons (& Tipton) took many photographs of the battle. Many photos which they sold were later imprinted with another photographers name (common practice). For more information on this, it is well told in the book: Gettysburg: A Journey in Time by William A. Frassanito. Here is a Tyson Bros photo of the Camp Letterman Hospital Tent from the National Archives.

On November 19, they made their way to the ceremony in which President Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery, a photographing the crowded road in front of the platform. The tree (a honey locust), was called the Witness Tree, to both the battle and the famous speech, was about 150 feet from the speakers platform. (The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York now holds this photo).
Gettysburg Address, Gettysburg, PA Tyson Bros
Charles was quite energetic; the newspaper wrote of him, that he “possessed a progressive spirit which he carried into all his undertakings. He was not satisfied with any kind of doing but his effort was to excel. It was not in the spirit to have things better than others, but to have them done as well as they could be done.” and,  “His influence was always for better conditions. He took an active interest in everything involving the advantage and benefit of the community. Indeed, Menallen Township and Bendersville have in many ways felt his influence for better things.”
The brothers parted--Isaac also married and moved to Baltimore where he continued in photography, meanwhile Charles was a busy man.
He held his interest in the photography studio until 1865 when he sold it. He continued buying and selling a share in the studio 873 with William Tipton (who named his first born son Charles Tyson), and eventually disposed of it all together to Tipton in 1880. 

In 1864, he bought 1/3 interest in Springdale Nurseries, Cyrus Griest & Sons (his father-in-law).
In 1865 he moved out of Gettysburg, to Flora Dale, near Menallen Meeting and in 1867 bought the entire interest in Springdale Nurseries. In 1869 he bought the farm of 167 acres and a house named “Mapleton” in Flora Dale, PA.
Then, in 1881 he became a charter member of Susquehanna Fertilizer Co of Baltimore, and eventually became President of the plant. The fertilizer plant had its financial ups and downs, but generated more income than the nursery business.

He was big supporter of the building of the Gettysburg & Harrisburg Railroad.  He built an enormous barn and started a 1000-acre orchard.  He had the first bathtub with running water in Adams County, and when his father, Edwin Comly Tyson, became a widower, he stayed with Charles and Maria.

Charles was generous with his children. To Chester (my great grandfather) he gave a “house to fill with Tysons”, to his daughter Mary Tyson Peters, a house, and to son Edwin (Ned), he gave Mapleton.  He and Maria moved into a house in Guernsey (Loma Vista).
Mapleton 1890
[The next two postings will have two other men-and a bit of what went on in their lives around the Civil War.]

1 Photo Charles J Tyson, Collection of ACharity Higgins (NYS)
2 Photo by Tyson Bros of Camp Letterman Hospital Tent (National Archives, USA)
3 Photo by Tyson of Crowd at Dedication o Soldiers National Cemetery [where Lincoln gave Gettysburg Address] (Metropolitan Museum Of Art, NY, NY, USA)
4 Photo of Musselmans Mapleton Barn, newspaper photographer, Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, PA, USA)
5 Photo of Mapleton House, Collection of Margaret B Walmer (Aspers PA}