Names lost in haze of long ago remembered
MORELAND TOWNSHIP – “Congratulations, you’ve found Moreland,” was the greeting given to the 205 persons who gathered on June 15, 2015 at the Moreland Community Church. To be assured of the site for the program by the East Lycoming Historical Society (ELHS), many shared that they had previously taken a trial run.
This was the society’s seventh and final segment in a series marking the Civil War’s 150th anniversary. Bordering the church on three sides, markers of at least 16 soldiers dot the Lutheran cemetery, more than any of the township’s four burial grounds.
Personal and military histories of a few soldiers of the 199th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers were woven into vignettes. They were shared by Jared Snyder, Charles Lowe, Doyle Milheim and Les Gordner. Referenced were the soldier’s family, places of battle, and their return home from Richmond, Virginia, on June 28, 1865.
Reader Les Gordner gave a synopsis of the homecoming including names of soldiers from neighboring townships taken from muster-out rolls. They included William H. Belig, resident blacksmith at Clarkstown, Burgess Swisher, founder of Swisher’s store at North Mountain, and an oral account of Joshua Bogart that read as follows: “Bogart was thin, weak and emaciated. We helped him along until his Jordan Township farm was in sight. We later learned that Joshua’s father, Elmer Newton Bogart, was in the field building fence. Only after Joshua called out, did the father recognize his son.” Gordner also stated the regiment’s final statistics. “Our company’s losses included 32 killed or dying of mortal wounds; disease claimed another 52 for a total of 84 dead.”
Also in the program were seven re-enactors, five representing the 149th PA Regiment known at the “Bucktails.” Providing their brief biography was spokesperson Bruce Petro of Bloomsburg. A musical duet was given by fifer Chase Petro and drummer Mary Woodley. Also in the regiment and firing volleys was Mary’s brother Joshua. The Woodley’s of Bloomsburg traced their roots back to the East Lycoming area through the Snyder and Whitmoyer families.
For the program, each soldier’s family members were teamed by two. This resulted in some first time meet-ups including Gregory Brouse, Turbotville, with David Snyder, Hughesville. Both are direct descendants of Martin Bartlow of the 177th.
Charles Lowe, Muncy, met Stephanie Rossman of Hughesville, both relatives of Charles A. Lowe of the 199th. For Daniel Milheim, also of the 199th, Doyle Milheim of Muncy was introduced to cousin Kyle Milheim of Hughesville. Of interest to Kyle was that Daniel Milheim had fought in Virginia at the battle of Petersburg, his former residence.
Dusty Confer Miller and daughter Steph Sibeto stood for soldier’s William, Philip and Thomas Confer. In 1862, William and Philip joined the 178th. William died at Yorktown, Virginia. In January 1865, Thomas Confer of the 199th, died at Point of Rocks, Virginia. Only Philip survived.
Jared Snyder, Unityville and Abigail Staman, Montgomery, members of the Hill family, represented soldiers Daniel Hill and from the 199th, Frederick Hill.
For Matthew VanDine, killed at Antedum, were VanDine family descendants Liesel Stine and her grandfather Wayne Stine of Montgomery.
East Lycoming elementary students Addison Smith, and Luke and Nicholas Turner, adopted soldiers whose current families were unidentified. Those whose names the students called included Conrad, Craft, Laurenson, Poust, Warn and Weaver.
The 13 member Hughesville Community Choir was directed by Nancy Hodge and accompanied by Lena Carichner.
For emphasis on the poignant wording of the song “Now Praise We Great and Famous Men,” Toby S. Wagner read verses five and six, which are: “Praise we the glorious names we know, and they whose names have perished. Lost in the haze of long ago, in silent love be cherished. In peace their sacred ashes rest, fulfilled their day’s endeavor. They blessed the earth, and they are blessed, of God, and man, forever.”
Attendees exited to the cemetery and following the firing of volleys, all sang, “My Country Tis of Thee.”
Rev. John Lee, of Lewisburg, presided over the ‘Aspersion of Remembrance’ ceremony after which family representatives dipped pine boughs in water, then proceeded on to sprinkle their soldier’s grave stone.
Of special note was the appearance of 10 members from the brass section of the Repasz Band. Judy Shellenberger served as spokesperson while Bill Kear directed several patriotic selections.
Both the band’s namesake, Daniel Repasz, and members of the 199th were in Virginia at Appomattox Court House when the south surrendered. A century and a half later in Moreland, the society’s mission was accomplished when connecting current members of Daniel’s Repasz Band and relatives of soldiers from the 199th.
Eldest in attendance was 91-years-young Walter Brouse, a Bartlow descendant. Youngest were two-month-old twins, Jeffrey and Penelope, children of Joy and Jared Snyder. Youngest child dipping bough was 18-month-old Jaxon Milheim, son of Renee and Kyle Milheim.