Local soldier engaged rebels retreating from battle at Gettysburg
PENN TOWNSHIP – Many men’s lives were interrupted by the Civil War including Penn Township native and life long resident John Robert Stevenson. The shoemaker enlisted twice, first time as a drummer with Company D, 177th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, so said great-grandson Robert Robb who spoke in honor of his ancestor at Mt. Zion Cemetery during a program by the East Lycoming Historical Society.
Stevenson’s first enlistment found him at Washington, D.C. and in Virginia at Newport News, Suffolk and Great Bridge. His detail engaged the rebel army in July 1863 as they retreated from Gettysburg, a time soon to mark the battle’s 150th anniversary. A month later he was honorably discharged at Harrisburg.
As time wore on and the struggle continued, Stevenson re-enlisted in February 1865. He served as a Private joined to Company B, 103rd Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry at New Bern, North Carolina. After arduous duties in that vicinity and with hostilities concluded, he was again discharged on June 25, 1865.
In 1885 at age 54, Stevenson joined the organization known as the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) with Bryan Post No. 503 at Hughesville, PA.
The veteran died July 3, 1920 and was interred at Mt. Zion Lutheran Cemetery with wife Rachael Freeman beside gravesites of his in-laws, John and Jane Freeman.
In addition to speaker Robb of Richmond, Virginia, other descendants of soldier Stevenson attending were great-great-granddaughters, Kathy Wynn, Debi Wynn and Patti Wynn Ferguson, all of Baltimore, MD.
As the soldier’s parents were Henry and Hannah Sones Stevenson, relatives of Sones who gathered to meet and greet their out-of-state cousins were Ruth Bogart Wallis, Scott Ritter, Wesley Sones and Dale Sones, all from Muncy. Also attending were Sandra Watts Putney, Watsontown; Carol Ritter Mordan, Muncy Valley; James Faus and daughter of Orangeville; Krystna Shetler Yarish, Turbotville; and Carol Sones Shetler, Hughesville.
In front of an audience of 70, many of the previously named participated in the service as did bagpiper Thomas Taylor, LaPorte, and readers Barbara Houseknecht, Picture Rocks and Les Gordner of Muncy.