Allison-Antrim Museum

Harrison Seabrook

 

Harrison Seabrook was born to George and Leah Seabrook on July 5, 1840.  In 1850, the family was living in Quincy Township, Franklin County.  They had five children:  George A. – 19, Oliver – 15, Mary Jane – 14, Harrison – 10, and Susannah – 6.  All five children had attended school within the 1850 census year.  George A., the oldest, was also listed as a laborer, helping to contribute to the family income.  George, the father, was a scrivener – someone who could read, write, and made their living by copying written material, such as legal documents and historical records.  Scriveners were the “copy machines” of the 19th century, and earlier.

 

In 1860, George, Leah, and Oliver were still living in Quincy, in one household; but I have been unable to find Harrison Seabrook in an 1860 or 1870 U. S. Census.  Through the Pennsylvania Civil War Veterans card file, we know that Harrison Seabrook, at the age of 23, was enrolled on October 16, 1862, in Chambersburg, with Co. E. 158th PA Volunteers.  He was mustered in, as a private, on November 1, 1862.

 

According to the records of the 158th PA Volunteer Infantry, the regiment’s duty included:  encampment at Suffolk, VA, until December 28, 1862; they were on the move to New Berne, N. C., from December 28 to January 1, 1863; they remained there until June 1863, with various expedition assignments within North Carolina.   The regiment was ordered to Fortress Monroe, VA, the beginning of June.  The 158th participated in Dix's Peninsula Campaign July 1 to 7 and moved to Harper's Ferry July 7 to 9, and then on to Boonsboro, MD, where the regiment reported to Gen. Meade on July 11.  At this time, the 158th joined other Union regiments in the pursuit of Lee, from July 11 to 24, 1863.  The regiment was ordered to Harrisburg, PA on August 3 and was mustered out on August 12, 1863.  During their tour of duty, the regiment lost 45 men from disease, but there were no battle casualties.  The Draft Act of 1863 required registration of all qualified men during June 1863.  The men who were in active service, such as Harrison, were registered in Class III, in the registry books.

 

Within two months of Harrison’s muster out, he was drafted and mustered in to Co. H, 149th PA Infantry Regiment, on October 14, 1863.  The 149th and 150th PA Regiments are often called the Second Bucktails.  The “First” Bucktails were sharpshooters and snipers who well-earned their reputation.  From the book, The 149th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Unit in the Civil War, by Richard E. Matthews, “Governor Curtin enthusiastically supported the concept of a Bucktail Brigade of four regiments and the secretary of war authorized Roy Stone to proceed with recruiting in early July of 1862.”  Only two regiments, the 149th and 150th, were raised due to the Second Battle of Bull Run or Second Manassas, on August 28 - 30, 1862.  The 149th had a minor role in the Battle of Chancellorsville but was heavily engaged during the Battle of Gettysburg.  As Harrison was not mustered into the regiment until October 14, 1863, he did not participate in the previously mentioned battles.  After Harrison was mustered in, the 149th participated in small engagements during the fall.  In December, the regiment set up winter quarters.

 

In 1864, the 149th’s service included the following engagements, which were listed in the History of the 149th Regiment:  duty near Culpeper until May; the Rapidan Campaign May 4 to June 12, which included the battles of the Wilderness May 5 to 7,  Laurel Hill on May 8,  Spotsylvania from May 8 to12, Spotsylvania Court House, May 12 to 21,  and the assault on the Mule Shoe Salient May 12; North Anna River, May 23 to 26; on line of the Pamunkey May 26 to 28; Totopotomoy from May 28 to 31; Cold Harbor June 1 to12; the Siege of Petersburg, June 16, 1864 to April 2, 1865; the Mine Explosion, Petersburg, July 30, 1864 (the 149th was held in reserve); Warren’s Raid on the Weldon Railroad August 18 to 21; Poplar Springs Church, September 29 to October 2, 1863; Hatcher's Run, October 27 and 28; Warren's Raid on Weldon Railroad, December 7 to 12; Dabney's Mills and Hatcher's Run, February 5  to 7, 1865; ordered to Baltimore, MD on February 10; then to Elmira, NY and duty there until June; mustered out on June 24, 1865.  The regiment’s losses for this tour of duty were 4 officers and 160 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 172 enlisted men by disease.  The total was 336.  Although the regiment was mustered out in June 1865, Harrison Seabrook was mustered out on May 30, 1865.

 

On Thursday, May 12, 1864 during the full-on assault by the Federal troops against the Confederates, who were dug in around Mule Shoe Salient, during the Battle of the Spotsylvania Court House, Harrison was wounded and lost the middle finger on his right hand. Harrison evidently recovered from his wound and returned to his company and regiment to complete his tour of duty.

 

In 1870, on the U.S. Census recorded in Quincy Township, George (79) was listed as a retired merchant and Leah (70) was keeping house.  Again, Harrison has not been found on an 1870 census record, possibly due to the spelling of his first or last names.

 

Harrison’s brother, Oliver, was living with his family in Quincy Township.  He and his wife Georgiann had three young children, two boys and one girl.  Oliver named his second son after his brother, Harrison.  Oliver was listed as a carpenter.

 

On September 22, 1879, Harrison filed for disability under the Veteran’s Pension program.  He was listed as an invalid.  Harrison’s father died between the 1870 and 1880 censuses, and Harrison was living with his 80-year old mother and his 45-year old sister Julia, in District 1 in Quincy Township.  Harrison was listed as a clerk in a customs house.  He had been unemployed for four months out of the census year.

 

To date, Harrison Seabrook’s name has not been found on the 1890 Veterans Special Schedule.  On June 1, 1900, Harrison (59) and another of his sisters, Mary Jane (56), were living in Greencastle on Washington Street.  His occupation was still listed as a clerk and he had been out of work seven months.  But, he owned his own home, free and clear of a mortgage.  Mary Jane and Harrison were both born in Pennsylvania, as was their mother Leah, but their father George was born in Baltimore, Maryland.

 

There always seems to be a discrepancy with records.  On May 1, 1900, Harrison was admitted to one of the national homes, Roseburg Branch in Hampton, VA, for disabled veterans.  He was 59 when admitted.  The registration book only lists his service, as a private, in the 158th PA Regiment.  It does not list his service in the 149th.  It is in this registration book that it lists his disability – missing a finger and a hernia on the left side, and that his disability was received on May 12, 1864, during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.  The registry book says that he was 5’ 8 ½” tall with a fair complexion.  He had gray eyes and hair.  Harrison’s occupation was listed as a messenger in a court house.  His nearest of kin was noted as Mary Seabrook, Greencastle, PA.  Harrison’s rate of pension, upon admission, was $12 per month.   Here is the discrepancy – Harrison’s discharge date is July 23, 1900.  The reason given for his discharge was “under 6 months rule.”  If he was discharged on July 23, 1900, did Harrison actually leave the home for the disabled, earlier, sometime during May, in time for him to get back to Greencastle, PA by June 1, 1900, to be recorded on the U.S. Census?

 

One additional official record was found for Harrison Seabrook – a U.S. passport application issued May 22, 1906.  It was printed and sold by John C. Clark Company, 230 Dock Street, Philadelphia.  Harrison was in the County of Philadelphia.  The document says: In support of the above application, I do solemnly swear that I was born at Quincy, Franklin County, in the State of Penna, on or about the 5th day of July, 1840:  that my father was a native of the United States:  that I am domiciled in the United States, my permanent residence being at 232 So. 4th St. Philada., in the State of Penna, where I follow the occupation of Customs laborer:  that I am about to go abroad temporarily; and that I intend to return to the United States, within two years with the purpose of residing and performing the duties of citizenship therein.  Harrison signed it twice and it was witnessed by William Jones, 125 Chestnut Street.  It was dated May 21, 1906.  In lieu of a photograph as identification, he was described as 65 years old, 5’ 8 ½ “ tall, high forehead, gray eyes, prominent nose, medium mouth and chin, gray hair, fair complexion,  and large face.  Why was Harrison going abroad?  Did he actually go and how long did he stay?

 

The Pennsylvania Veterans Burial Cards indicate that Harrison is buried in Section C, Lot 48.  When the Civil War veterans’ headstones were cleaned in the spring of 2003, Harrison’s grave was not found in Section C.  On Saturday, September 28, 2013, Cameron Emmett was looking for a comrade of Harrison’s, Frederick Besecker, who also served in Co. E, in the 149th PA Regiment.  Cameron is a member of the 149th Pennsylvania Bucktails Volunteer Infantry Regiment, a reenactment unit representing the original 149th PVI.  Cameron found Besecker in Section O, Lot 85.  In doing so, he discovered that Harrison is also buried in Section O, Lot 48.  A clerical error was made on Harrison’s burial card.

 

PA Death Certificates were released to the public in 2013 for genealogical research.  Harrison died in Memorial Hospital, 3rd & Spruce Street, Philadelphia, in the evening of December 11, 1924.  He was 84 years, four months, and six days old.  The certificate indicates Harrison was a widower, for which no information has been found to substantiate the fact.  He lived in Roxborough, a community in the northwest section of Philadelphia.  Harrison had been under a doctor’s care since September 22, 1920.  The cause of death was pneumonia but the contributory factor was heart disease.  Harrison was buried on December 13, 1924, in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Antrim Township, by an undertaker from Roxborough.  The family stone includes the names of Harrison’s mother Leah and his sister, Mary Jane.   There is a footstone for each of the family members.  Long lives lived, with only a hyphen between two years.

 

 

 

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