The Warren County Historical Society Logo newly adopted January 2015. Copyright 2015 Warren County Historical Society, Queensbury, NY. Design by www.orangeolive.com
Warren County Historical Society Presents …
The Digital Version “REWIND”
August 16, 2015
From 1959 through 1965, Howard Mason dictated his local history column to his daughter who typed the material and sent it to the local newspapers for publication. Howard had the good fortune to live in the greater Glens Falls area during a time of great change. Warren County and the Town of Queensbury changed from an agrarian to a suburban environment. Through his columns, he was able to tell this story of change and recall the hundreds of people whom he met during his lifetime.
The Warren County Historical Society has reprinted Howard Mason’s books, Backward Glances, Volumes I, II & III into one volume. Fully indexed, the new volume includes some new photographs. It is available from the Historical Society for $30.00, tax included (add $5 for shipping and handling if you wish to have it mailed to you). Call 743-0734 for details or stop in the office on Tuesday or Thursday from 9 am – 5 pm.
With the country celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, we thought it was fitting to include Howard Mason’s stories of the Civil War, taken from his third volume of ‘Backward Glances.’
TALES OF THE CIVIL WAR
In his address before the Rotary Club at the Queensbury Hotel here recently, Enoch Squires pointed out that there are many “forgotten heroes” in this section whose memory should be honored during the Civil War Centennial observance.
As a boy 70 years ago I knew a great many of these veterans and was able to get first-hand information about the war. On the first farm north of ours, where Mannie Weller now lives, there resided Charles S. Pierson who served under McClellan in the Virginia theatre. My father bought this farm in 1904 and Mr. Pierson removed to Glens Falls where he lived at 32 Park Street until his death. On the next farm to the north lived Capt. Mason W. Covell, a tall man with a long flowing beard, an outstanding figure in Memorial Day parades. Going down the hill into Pattens Mills there was Amos Wheeler who will be remembered by oldsters for the war stories he related in the blacksmith shops and country stores.
About three miles north of Pattens Mills lived Jabez Green who had four sons who volunteered early in the war. Old “Jabe” himself tried in every way to enlist but was too old. So he went alone to Virginia as a one-man army. Since he was away from home so long, and told such believable accounts of his experiences, I think everyone believed he actually, reached the battlefields.
I learned more about the Civil War from one man than from any other source. This was Charles Mosher, who lived at Jenkinsville and worked for my father for six years when I was a boy, and who ate at our table three times a day. This man Mosher was with General W. T. Sherman’s army on that famous march from Chattanooga, Tenn, across Georgia to the sea at Savannah, then up to Columbia, South Carolina. He witnessed the burning of both Atlanta and Columbia.
Cutting loose from their base of supplies, burning every bridge and destroying every railroad in their wake, Mr. Mosher told how the army of 100,000 had to forage and find their own food as they went along, leaving a swath of devastation 50 miles wide behind them. No wonder Sherman said “War is Hell”.
Another Jenkinsville man whom I knew was Solomon King Stewart, great-grandfather of A. Robert Stewart of Pilot Knob. He served in the cavalry under Phil Sheridan I believe, and was at Appomattox to witness Lee’s surrender.
I was personally acquainted with many of the veterans of Warren, Washington and Saratoga Counties. To name some, there were Capt. James S. Garrett, my first dentist; Col. G. Frank Bryant who headed the Lt. Edgar M. Wing Post of the G.A.R. for many years; John Moriarty who kept a store at the Oneida, and the surgeon, Dr. Buel G. Streeter.
In 1913 I met and shook hands with General Daniel Edgar Sickles who was born in Glens Falls. General Sickles is credited by most historians with turning the tide of battle at Gettysburg. He lost a leg in that fight but lived to be nearly 100. He was 96 when I saw him.
Captain Hiram Hyde of Moss Street was also a close acquaintance and I knew James G. Kinne of Fort Edward very well. Mr. Kinne told me he met President Lincoln on three different occasions. I believe he was stationed in or near Washington during the war.
Lt. Edgar M. Wing Post of Grand Army of the Republic.
A Saratoga County veteran who deserves especial mention was Ranseford Densmore who founded the firm of Densmore and Son funeral directors of Corinth. Mr. Densmore was in the Battle of Gettysburg where he was shot in the side of the head. To the day of his death he had an open hole about the size of a dime where the bullet entered. In order to keep out the air he always kept a wad of cotton pressed in the opening. One day in 1910, while riding with him with his horse and buggy, he took out the cotton and let me look into his skull.
When the 22nd Regiment came home – those who were left, that is – all the farmers nearby went to Fort Edward with their horses and wagons to bring the war heroes back to Glens Fails. My grandfather went with his team. My father, who was about 12 years old at the time, said he wanted so much to go and see the boys come home but didn’t as he would have taken the space of one soldier.
When all those farmers with their rigs met the train, the soldiers refused to ride, preferring instead to march proudly in formation from Fort Edward to Glens Falls with their colors flying.
I attended General Grant’s funeral at Mt. McGregor with my father and mother. It was a terribly hot day and I remember my nose and face peeled the next day from exposure to the sun’s fierce rays while riding in an open buggy over those hot sandy plains. While there was a narrow gauge railway from Saratoga to Mt. McGregor, the funeral cortege was horse-drawn. My mother always told me I reached in the casket and touched General Grant’s beard before she could restrain me.
To give you an idea of the length of the procession, horses and carriages were still forming in line on Mt. McGregor, nine miles away, when General Grant’s casket was being placed on the train in Saratoga Springs.
I’ve never read this in any school book or other histories, but General Joseph E. Johnston, the great Confederate Army leader who opposed Sherman all the way to the sea, was a pallbearer at both Grant’s and Sherman’s funerals. This was a fine gesture on his part and showed that the animosity and misunderstanding of the past were being dispelled.
All the records show that little Warren County did its share, and more, in supplying men and money for the war effort. The Town of Horicon furnished more men for the Union Army relative to its size than any other town in New York State.
And they had big families up there in those days.
©August 1, 2015, Warren County Historical Society.
Rewind maintained by Gary Evans 1 August 2015