Allison-Antrim Museum

William Quest


In light of the recent theft of veteran grave markers from Cedar Hill Cemetery, Greencastle; Green Hill Cemetery, Waynesboro; and Fairview Cemetery, Mercersburg, it seems apropos to revisit William Quest's story.   Although Gary L. Mason and Amber R. Mason of Mercersburg have been caught and charged with all the thefts, on numerous counts, and are incarcerated in the Franklin County jail, irreparable damage has been done to the graves of Franklin County veterans who served in many wars, including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, Civil War, the Spanish-American War, WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam and Iraq Wars.  Bronze markers were traditionally used until the more modern wars, when the transition was gradually made to aluminum markers, which were cheaper to produce.  Quest passed away on February 24, 1903, but the minutes of the GAR meeting on March 6, 1903 did not mention their comrade's death.  It may have been the result of their concern being diverted due to, "... all the markers in Cedar Hill Cemetery had been disturbed and displaced." November 3, 2014


In 1850, John Quest, 40, and his 16 year old son William were living in the household of Jacob and Hannah Long, in the 5th Ward of Moyamensing Township, in Philadelphia County.  Jacob, John, and William were brick makers, as were many of their neighbors.  Living on one side of Jacob and Hannah Long were Philip and Elizabeth Long.  Philip was also a brick maker.  On the same census page as Philip Long was the household of Henry and Susan Long, which indicates that there most likely was a family connection between Henry (35), Philip (25), and Jacob (34) Long.


The household next door to Jacob and Hannah, on the 1850 U.S. Census, was Charles Holloway, a manufacturer of bricks.  William Patterson, a few pages before John and William Quest were recorded, was also a manufacturer of bricks.  His real estate was valued at $3,000.


While 16 year old William Quest and his father were living in Moyamensing Township, Philadelphia County, in 1850, William (39) and Elizabeth (38) Long  were living in Antrim Township with their family – Levina, Sarah, William, Jeremiah, and George.  William Sr. was a laborer.


A decade later, in 1860, William Quest (with surname recorded as Crist on the 1860 census) was living in Antrim Township with the William and Elizabeth Long family.  Within the ten years, the Longs had two more children, Margret and Adline.   William Sr. was a sawyer and his personal property was listed as $120.   William Quest (24) was working as a laborer and he had married his wife Sarah, within the census year; she was 22.


It’s been more than two years since I originally wrote William Quest’s soldier’s story.  I was very confident that there was a closer connection to the Quest family (William and his father John) and the Long family of Philadelphia County and Franklin County, PA.  The proof was finally revealed on Wade Quest’s death certificate, which was not available when the original story was written.  Pennsylvania death certificates provide the mother’s maiden name – his mother was Sarah Long, daughter of William and Elizabeth Long, with whom William Quest was living, during the 1860 U.S. Census.


In early November 1862, both William Quest and Harrison Seabrook, from the September 28, 2015 Soldier’s Story, went to Chambersburg and enrolled in the 158th PA Volunteer Infantry.  Seabrook was mustered into Company E and Quest in Company D.  Quest’s Civil War index card in the State Archives indicates that Quest was drafted and he was mustered in on November 4, 1862 in Chambersburg, with Co. E, 158th PA Volunteers.  He was actually mustered in to Company D, as a private, on November 1 or 4, 1862.  Under “Remarks” is the notation, “deserted at Camp McClure 11-27-62.”  Another record says November 29.


There was a Union Camp McClure in Louisa, Lawrence County, Kentucky but that distance does not fit into the timeline.  Another Internet search yielded a paper written by Lee B. Hoover which was read before the Kittochtinny Historical Society on March 28, 1963.  Col. Alexander McClure owned 52 acres of land just north of Chambersburg, where Wilson College is situated today.  McClure was also the owner, publisher, and editor of the Franklin Repository newspaper, in Chambersburg.  During May and June 1861, McClure’s land was used as a campsite for at least three regiments.  That campsite, though, was called Camp Carbon.  Hoover goes on to say, “There was a Camp McClure nearby but not on the estate grounds.”  That was all that Hoover said about Camp McClure.  According to, “The camp of general rendezvous was at Chambersburg.”  The text continues, “Towards the close of the month, it was ordered to the front, and proceeded to Suffolk, Virginia.”  Therefore, it must have been during this time, at the end of November 1862, that William Quest deserted his company and regiment. Quest, and his wife Sarah, may have fled to Baltimore, MD because the “U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles” says that William Quest’s residence on December 21, 1863 was Baltimore.  That was the day he enlisted, as a private, in Co. D, Connecticut 1st Cavalry Regiment.  The source listed was “Connecticut: Record of Service of Men during War of Rebellion.”  The only regiment listed on his PA Veterans Burial Card is the 1st Connecticut.


The 1st CT Cavalry reorganized in Baltimore between January and March 1864, under command of Maj. Blakeslee.  The regiment was assigned to the Cavalry Reserve, Defenses of Baltimore, MD, 8th Corps, Middle Department.  On March 15, the regiment joined the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, at Brandy Station, VA.   By the end of the month, the men were in Stevensburg, VA.   During May and June, the 1st CT Cavalry participated in the Rapidan Campaign.  Forty men were lost during the Craig’s Meeting House battle.  On May 8, 1864, 35 prisoners were captured Alsop’s farm, Spotsylvania, VA.  At this time everyone in the regiment were issued Spencer and Sharps carbines to replace their Smith carbines.  At Ashland, on June 1, the regiment helped support Fitzhugh’s Battery, which was greatly outnumbered.  Between June 20 and 30, 1864, the 1st CT fought four battles, numerous skirmishes, and destroyed 60 miles of railroad track belonging to the Danville Railroad.  Notes say that the men never stopped for more than four hours, at a time.  July was a rest period for the regiment, during which time it was, “refitted, remounted, and entirely armed with Spencer carbines.”  During August 1864, the 1st CT was attached to the Army of the Shenandoah, Middle Military Division, during Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign.  On October 19, during the Battle of Cedar Creek, the 1st CT Cavalry was part of Custer’s charge on the right flank, which helped defeat the Confederates.   Weather conditions during the end of November and December were very cold.  One man froze to death overnight and 50 men suffered frost bite during a regimental march of 120 miles.


Between February 27 and March 25, 1865, the regiment helped defeat the Confederates, during which 1,300 prisoners were taken, along with 11 guns, and 18 stands of colors.  At Ashland, VA, in a charge against Longstreet, 17 men were killed.  At Five Forks, VA, on April 1, Gen. Custer held the 1st CT Cavalry in high esteem when he praised the men for, “being the first to leap the enemy’s breastworks, seize his cannon, and turn them on the retreating foe.”  On April 6 and 7, at Sailor’s Creek, the men took part in the raid on Lee’s wagons near Harper’s farm, during which time five guns and two stands of color were taken.


On April 9, 1865, the 1st CT Cavalry escorted Gen. Grant to the Appomattox Court House to receive Lee’s surrender.  Later in the month, the regiment was on an expedition to Danville.  On May 23, the men participated in the Grand Review in Washington City.  During June, the regiment was assigned to the Cavalry Division, Dept. of Washington. All the surviving men of the 1st CT Cavalry regiment, including William Quest, were mustered out on August 2, 1865 – 150 years and almost four months ago.  It was the only regiment allowed to return home mounted.  The men were discharged in New Haven, CT on August 18, 1865.  Four men from the 1st CT Cavalry were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.  William Quest redeemed himself after deserting the Army, through his year and eight months service in the 1st CT Cavalry.


During the recording of the 1870 U.S. Census, William (35) and Sarah (32) Quest were living in the Borough of Greencastle with their children – William Jr. (7), Martha B. (4), and Mary E. (3).  William’s occupation was a brick moulder.


Also living in town were William and Elizabeth Long, with whom William and Sarah were living in 1860, in Antrim Township.  William Long was still listed as a sawyer and his real estate was valued at $500.  William and Elizabeth’s son Barnet (17) was living with them.    The three older sons of William and Elizabeth, William (29), Jeremiah (24), and George (22), were all living next to each other, in Greencastle.  William Jr. was also a sawyer, like his father.  The other two sons worked in a machine shop.


In 1880, the Quests were living in Antrim Township.  William worked on a farm and his son William (16), also, worked on a farm.  William and Sarah had two more children, sons – Wade Hampton (4) and   Rench M. (1).


The 1890 Veterans Special Schedule notes that William suffered a hemorrhage to the head during his service in the Civil War.  In 1900, the family was living on Baltimore Street in Greencastle, two houses away from Henry Shorts (June 12, 2013 Soldier’s Story).  Quest was a brick maker, just as he had been at the age of 16 in Moyamensing Township, alongside his father.   At the time of the census, William had been out of work for 12 months.  William and Sarah rented their home and had been married for 40 years.  William could read but not write and Sarah could neither read nor write.  Their children were all educated.  Sarah had given birth to 10 children but only five were living in 1900.


Martha (34) and Mary (33) were living with their parents but were not employed.  Sons Wade (24) and Rench (21) also lived in the household.  They were both day laborers.  Wade had not been unemployed but Rench had been out of work for six months.  It appears that William and Sarah had moved more often than the census records indicate because Mary was born in Delaware on March 5, 1867 and Wade was born in Maryland on March 28, 1876.


William C. Quest was born on August 11, 1835 and died on February 24, 1903, at the age of 67 years, six months, and 13 days.  He is buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery, in Section L, Lot 30.  William and Sarah had been married for almost 43 years.


In the Corp. Rihl GAR Post #438 minute book, under the March 6, 1903 minutes, there is no mention of William’s death, but perhaps their attention was otherwise distracted.  “Comrades M. W. Kissecker and J. B. Byers reported that they had discovered that all the markers in Cedar Hill Cemetery had been disturbed and displaced.  Some having been placed on the wrong graves.  Some lying on the top of the ground    that they had gone to work and rectified 55 markers there, that number being the whole number in said Cemetery.  For their kindness in this matter the Post unanimously tendered them a vote of thanks.”


In 1910, Sarah (72) was still living on West Baltimore Street and was renting her home.  Living her was her child, Mary L, and Lilian (7), a granddaughter.  Mary had no income of her own.  Wade and his wife Lizzie L. Hart were living on Madison Street.   Lizzie was the daughter of John H. Hart and Sarah Bowers.  Wade was working at the electric light station on West Franklin Street and Carl Avenue.  They had had three children but none of them survived.  Rench (28) and his wife Lucy (24) rented their home on East Baltimore Street.   He was a laborer working odd jobs.  They had five children, four of whom were living – Rose E. (9), Susie J. (6), Lillie M. (3), and Carrie B. (six months).  Rench and Lucy separated between 1910 and 1920.  Lucy worked as a housekeeper, which also included room and board for herself and her youngest daughters, Lillie and Carrie.


Sarah Quest was 82 in 1920, during the recording of the census.  She and Mary (52) still rented their home on West Baltimore Street.  Mary was working as a housekeeper for a private family.  Her daughter Lilian was not living with them.  Sarah O. Quest was born on December 1, 1837 and she died on January 24, 1921, at the age of 83 years, one month, and 24 days.  She lived 18 years after the death of William.  She is buried alongside her husband William, in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Section L, Lot 30.  Multiple searches have not resulted in finding her death certificate.


Mary rented her home at 228 West Franklin Street in 1930.  She was 62 and was not employed.  Wade and Lizzie lived on South Carlisle Street.  He was a fireman and worked in the hosiery mill.  Wade’s death certificate listed his occupation as “fired boiler,” a different definition than fireman, as in fire fighter.  Rench (51) rented his home at 25 North Jefferson Street.  He was still making a living by working at jobs.  Rench and Lucy were still married but separated and in 1930 Lucy J. Quest was renting her home at 202 West Madison Street.  She was the head of household and her income came from a boarder.  Her daughters Lillie and Carrie and three grandchildren lived with her.   Lillie and Carrie worked as knitters in the hosiery mill on South Washington Street.


Wade H. Quest, the second youngest child of William and Sarah, was born March 28, 1876.   He died on August 4, 1950, of kidney failure with MS being a contributing factor.  Wade’s doctor was Dr. David R. Hess, Shady Grove.  His funeral service was conducted by Harold M. Zimmerman I, who also signed his death certificate.   Wade was buried in the family plot next to his parents, in Section L, Lot 30.


Lizzie was born June 30, 1885 (1886 according to her death certificate).  Lizzie died on January 28, 1961, of a heart attack, 11 years after her husband died.  Although her mailing address was 103 North Allison Street, Lizzie passed away in the Franklin County Home for Aged at Franklin Farms.  She was buried on January 31, 1961.  Harold M. Zimmerman I signed as the funeral director.  Lizzie was buried alongside her husband Wade.  Lizzie’s date of death was never chiseled into their headstone, perhaps because of bad winter weather, and then it was forgotten.


Allison-Antrim Museum, Inc

365 South Ridge Avenue                                    Copyright © Allison-Antrim Museum | All rights reserved.

Greencastle, PA 17225