Posts Tagged With: Civil War

For the Record: Hattie Wiand 1922 Obit

Harriet (Sperling) Hammersley Wiand

Great-Great-Great-Grandmother Harriet (Sperling) Hammersley Wiand

Harriet (Sperling) Hammersley Wiand: 1843-1922

Rounding out a week of Ley genealogy posts, we again return to the Sperlings and Hammersleys, ancestors of Great-Great Grandmother Minnie (Hammersley) Ley.

Thanks to the generous genius genealogists at, we’ve managed to get our first glimpse of the “vintage visages” we’ve been missing from our family record. Namely, fourth-great-grandparents Abraham and Catherine Sperling, and today, their third daughter, my great-great-great-grandmother, Harriet “Hattie” Hammersley Wiand.

Harriet was fourth of Abraham and Catherine’s 10 children. Some were born in New Jersey, where Abraham and Catherine met and lived before moving to Ohio, probably around 1838. We think their second child, daughter Anna, was born in Port Washington, and The History of Tuscarawas County, 1884, credits the family as being among the first to settle in the Ohio town about 10 miles south of where I grew up.

Harriet married fellow Port Washington resident James Hammersley on March 29, 1863. He was a Civil War soldier and son of Andrew Hammersley and Catherine Stocker. Now… it has been close to 7 years since I have fully examined the foliage on this section of the tree, but in 2008 I had petty reliably — if quickly, in a competitive frenzy with my wife’s cousin — traced the Stockers back to my 10th great-grandfather in 1600’s Switzerland. At the time, I may have even thought Catherine Stocker’s mother, Mary Ann Stophlet, was born in 1895 in Gnadenhutten — about as early Ohio as you can get, and Moravian to the core.

Now, it seems more likely that Mary Ann Stophlet and Christian Stocker met and married in Northampton, Penna., as this excerpt on their son, Christian, from Tuscarawas County biographical sketches relates:

CAPE CHRISTIAN STOCKER, farmer. P. O. Lock 17, was born in Salem Township December 13, 1817. son of Christian and Mary (Stophlet) Stocker, who emigrated from Northampton County. Penn., to Salem Township, this county, in 1816. Christian was there raised on a farm. and received his education in the common schools. He was married, in 1840, to Harriet Houghtling, of Bradford County, Penn. She was born June 9, 1822. They have not been blessed with children, but have raised three boys and three girls, four of where are now married. The two now living at the home of Mr. Stocker are the children of one of the girls be raised. Mr. and Mrs. Stocker were formerly members of a Regular Baptist congregation, until that organization perished, and Mrs. Stocker is at present a member of the Moravian Church. Mr. Stocker has resided in Clay Township since 1841. He has held various township offices, and for sixteen years, from 1851 to 1867. was a captain on the Ohio Canal.

Whatever James’ family origins, the Hammersleys and Stockers and Sperlings were well established and well acquainted in their Ohio hamlet. Hattie and James had three children together. Henry, born 1864, died that year; Minnie, born 1865; and Myra Bell, born 1869. Tragically, James would not live to see his youngest child’s second year. Historical records indicate he died at 27 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The cause of James’s death had been a mystery (to me, anyway) since I first started recording this branch of the tree in 2008. But some sleuthing this weekend has turned up a tragic report from the Fremont, Ohio Weekly Journal of July 2, 1869:

Capt. James Hammersley, of the canal boat Mazeppa, after a hard days work loading his boat at Cleveland, on last Friday, lay down upon a beam on the lock to rest, fell asleep, and soon after rolled off into the canal, his head striking against some stones in the fall. He was supposed to have been killed by these injuries, as he did not rise to the surface. His body was subsequently recovered, and a frightful cut found near the right temple, as well as several smaller cuts on the right side of his face. He belonged at Port Washington, Tuscarawas County, and leaves a wife and two children.


Hammersley siblings Maria, Hattie and Anna, with Anna’s husband, William Riley, circa 1898.

Hattie Hammersley Remarries

A widowed mother of two at 25, Hattie didn’t look far or long to find love again.

In November 1871 she married Christian Wiand, a native of Carroll County, Ohio, then living in Uhrichsville. The couple returned to Port Washington, making their home at the north corner of Main and High streets.

Christian ran a hardware store for more than 50 years, eventually passing the business on to his son with Hattie, Curtis Wiand, who would follow the husband of his half-sister, (my great-great-grandmother Minnie (Hammersley) Ley), into politics, serving as Tuscarawas County Commissioner to Charles Ley’s county treasurer role (though much later).

Hattie passed away in 1922 at age 78, just 7 years before her daughter, Minnie, died at a young 62 following a fall and fractured hip. Chris would outlive her by 12 years, dying in 1934 at age 89.

Read Hattie’s full obituary here.

Below, check out a picture of Hattie and Chris’s house in Port Washington as it appeared in 1880, and how it appears today, via Google maps. Thanks again to Mac Wilcox and his family at Kin-Connection for the fine pics.

Wiand Residence, Port Washington, 1880

Wiand Residence, Port Washington, 1880

Wiand House, Port Washington, 2013

Wiand House, Port Washington, 2013

Hattie Sperling Hammersley, second from right, and her siblings.

Hattie Sperling Hammersley, second from right, and her siblings.

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In Good Countenance #11, Catherine Sperling

Fourth-great-grandmother Catherine (Voorhees) Sperling

Fourth-great-grandmother Catherine (Voorhees) Sperling

Catherine (Voorhees) Sperling

The other day, we caught a rare glimpse of Great-great-great-great Grandfather Abraham Sperling, thanks to some distant relatives who’ve shared their research on

Today we meet the other (better?) half of this 19th-Century Port Washington, Ohio power couple, wife Catherine Sperling.

Catherine Voorhees married Abraham Sperling back in New Brunswick, NJ, where she bore their first of 10 children, eldest daughter Maria, in 1834. But by 1838 they were settled in Port Washington, Ohio, where they were among the first to call the eventual Ohio-Erie Canal hotspot home.

They are parents to Third Great-Grandmother Hattie Hammersley — whose obituary I’ll share tomorrow — and grandparents to Minnie Eillene (Hammersley) Ley, wife of Charles Ley.

Abraham led a bustling life, working as cobbler, butcher, auctioneer and serving as soldier during the Civil War, but he succumbed to death in his mid-60’s. The May 11, 1876 edition of The Ohio Democrat reports in its Port Washington dispatch: “The death record in our community for the last week has been quite unusual. … Mr. Abraham Sperling, after a long siege of suffering, died of dropsy on last Wednesday evening.”

Catherine outlived Abraham by 17 years. She ran the household in Port Washington as late as 1880, according to the federal census, and is still listed as a resident there in the pensioner record of 1890, three years before her death.

Abraham and Catherine are buried in the old section of Union Cemetery, Port Washington.

Sperling Abraham Catherine Old Union Port Washington

Fourth great-grandparents Abraham and Catherine Sperling are buried in Old Union Cemetery, Port Washington, Ohio.


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In Good Countenance #10: Abraham Sperling

Sperling Abraham

Fourth Great-Grandfather Abraham Sperling


Abraham Sperling | Ley Family History

It’s been a few years since I’ve had the chance to tromp around the old family stomping grounds in Tuscarawas County and come face to face with haunts of ancestors close and far-flung. Distant Foutz cousin Dawn James and I like to refer to this practice as “full-contact genealogy.”

I dunno, there’s something a bit more tangible than juggling JPEGs and squinting at old clippings or the botched transcriptions of barely coherent hobbyist genealogists when you go foraging through cemeteries that seem as if they haven’t seen visitors in the last year. But then you see recently-laid flowers on the headstones of relatives from extended branches of the tree and it’s an arm-tingling, goosebumpity feeling: the blood that runs through you still runs through this place, too. And will, long after you move away and longer still, when your bones repose in some similar hillside.

One of my dispatches from a visit home in 2013 saw me sharing the stories of fourth great-grandparents Abraham and Catherine Sperling, who found their way to Port Washington, Ohio from New Jersey in the middle part of the 1800’s. He was a shoemaker, butcher, auctioneer and soldier (in his 50’s during the Civil War!), among other occupations, and she bore him 10 children, 8 of whom survived into adulthood.

Their fourth child (and third daughter) was Harriet “Hattie” Sperling, who went on to marry James Hammersley and was mother to Minnie Eillene, whom members of our Ley family may know better as Minnie Ley, wife of great-great grandpa Charles.

I’ll share more in a couple days about Hattie, who remained a devout member of the Moravian Church and remained in Port Washington even after the young death of James in 1869. For now, feast your eyes on the “vintage visage” of Abraham, courtesy of Mike Parker’s tree on and curated by Mac Wilcox and his genealogist-sleuth brothers at Props for their excellent work and generosity — looking forward to see what more they turn up!


Abraham Sperling

Another pic of fourth-great-grandfather Abraham Sperling, not dated.

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Places of Rest & Remembrance #9 | Abraham & Catherine Sperling

Sperling Abraham Catherine Old Union Port Washington

Fourth great-grandparents Abraham and Catherine Sperling are buried in Old Union Cemetery, Port Washington, Ohio.

Abraham & Catherine Sperling | Old Union Cemetery

Trying to envision the Port Washington of my great-great-great-grandparents’ day engenders a feat of imagination that is often best aided by aerial maps.

To walk the streets of “Port”, as I knew it growing up 20 miles north on I-77, is to search in vain for any traces of the old canal. The blocks that ran along the industry-sparking waterway have altered their shapes. The shops and the shop buildings are long gone, including Augustus Ley’s dry goods store.

Oh, there’s a post office, still, on the square. And big guns befitting the majesty of the war memorial. A gazebo so new you can just about hear the wood squeak. These are artifacts of a more recent vintage.

But if you let your eyes wander… upwards, along the treeline, the blurred ridges encircling the region like an upturned collar, then the steadfast spires of the churches in town seem to waver if you squint your eyes just right, and time, too, can seem to slip a bit. The churches have been there a long time. And the hills so long it makes you dizzy to think about it.

So when I try to get a feel for life a century and a half ago in Port Washington I turn away from its square and the subtly sunken bed of its yards where the canal once flowed and walk southwest along Arch Street. Even three blocks out from the square the houses give way to open fields stretching off to the treeline and the ridgeline and the hills, and down a little lane in the midst of that open land are great groves of trees, clusters of shadowy green where the town for two centuries has buried its dead.

Walking the lane, farthest back is the newer cemetery, where family names of teachers and friends give off a watery glisten, engraved in the newest stones planted there. Closer in, the names of relatives four, five generations back, and their contemporaries: Stocker, Hammersley, Sperling, Ley. It was in the newer Union Cemetery where my mother, moved by the regimental arrangement of family stones in the large Ley burial plot — from the rose stone obelisk of Karl and Caroline (Vogelsang) Ley, first to America from Germany; through the upward facing blocks of Augustus and son Charles Ley’s families, arranged in lines from the hulking C.H. Ley headstone — imagined twirling in a circle and opening her eyes to find people strolling the streets in Victorian gowns and top hats.

Off to the right of the lane lies Old Union Cemetery. The branches crowd closer together here, the ground is clotted with brambles in places, the stones more weathered, some broken. In the shadows of the great tree near the front, almost at the entrance to the older burial ground, we find the resting place of my fourth-great-grandparents, Abraham and Catherine (Voorhees) Sperling.

Abraham Sperling – Cobbler, Butcher, Soldier

Natives of New Brunswick, N.J., Abraham and Catherine (Voorhees) Sperling were among the early settlers of Port Washington, according to The History of Tuscarawas County, published 1884. They were parents to 10 children — 6 boys and 4 girls, including two twin brothers, Alvin and Allen, born next-youngest on Dec. 24, 1854.

Eight of their children survived into adulthood. Their connection to the Leys would be cemented through their fourth child, daughter Harriet Sperling, whose daughter Minnie Eillene Hammersley would become bride to my great-great-grandfather Charles Henry Ley, son of Port Washington dry goods store owner Augustus.

Maria, the eldest of Abraham and Catherine’s children, was born in 1834 in New Jersey, where the Sperling and Voorhees families had laid down roots in Colonial times. By 1838 and the birth of Anna the couple has settled in Port Washington, which counted just over 100 residents in the 1840 census.

Abraham served the village as shoemaker and butcher. The 1870 census reports his occupation as auctioneer.

In 1861, at age 52, Abraham enlisted in the 58th regiment of the Ohio Infantry. During his seven-month term of service, the regiment served as a “school of the soldier,” and was based at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio, before moving to Cincinnati in early 1862, according to a regimental history.

Abraham’s rank was private, according to pension records. He served the 58th as teamster and wagoner.

Abraham was joined in service during the Civil War by his oldest son, John, who as a Lieutenant was one of the commanders of Ohio’s 59th Colored Infantry, after earlier serving with distinction in the 53rd regiment from 1861-1863. He retained his commission in the 59th regiment through the war’s end in 1865.

The May 11, 1876 edition of The Ohio Democrat reports in its Port Washington dispatch: “The death record in our community for the last week has been quite unusual. … Mr. Abraham Sperling, after a long siege of suffering, died of dropsy on last Wednesday evening.”

Catherine outlived Abraham by 17 years. She ran the household in Port Washington as late as 1880, according to the federal census, and is still listed as a resident there in the pensioner record of 1890, three years before her death.

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Honoring Our Family’s Veterans | Joseph Burkey

Burkey Joseph Civil War 1

not Third-Great-Grandfather Joseph Burkey served in the 126th Regiment, Company B, of the Ohio Valley Infantry during the Civil War. He is buried in New Cumberland Cemetery near Atwood Lake, Ohio.

Places of Rest & Remembrance #4 | Joseph Burkey

Like the life and times of Fifth-Great-Grandfather — and Revolutionary War vet — Jacob Crites, the details of the childhood, married life and final days of Joseph Burkey are mostly elusive.

But we’re pretty clear on his war record and the activities of his company during the Civil War.

Joseph Burkey is Colt’s Third-Great-Grandfather, related on the Johnson side. He’s the father of Anna Burkey, who would marry Clement Johnson. The line continues thus:

Joseph Burkey/Amanda Stevenson – Anna Burkey Johnson – Charles Johnson – Erma Johnson Foutz – Fred Foutz – Colt

Joseph was born May 18, 1840, probably near Guernsey, Ohio, where the Johnson clan called home. In the 1850 census there is a Joseph Burkey Sr. there in Oxford, born in 1805, with a wife named Jane and a bustling household, of which an 8-year-old Joseph Jr. is part. The dates almost line up — in the vein of census inaccuracies and subsequent leeway.

Joseph is next found in a Guernsey County census in 1860, in the home of James and Emeline Scott, listed as a laborer. Joseph and Jane Burkey appear as neighbors on the same census page, a couple households higher up.

In between is the great Civil War. And in 1880, we again catch up to Joseph Burkey in Guernsey County, this time farming and married to a Mary J. Burkey, born about 1830 and 10 years his senior, with a household of five young children, including Sarah E. A., age 13. A 75-year-old Joseph Burkey senior is also among the family.

What makes the three records hold at least loosely together are the birthplaces of Joseph Burkey’s father in Pennsylvania and mother in New Jersey, the consistent ages of the particulars, the birth year of Mary J., which is consistent with Amanda Stevenson’s in family lore, and the 1867 birth year of Great-Great-Grandmother Anna Burkey Johnson.

As to the rest, and the latter details of Joseph’s life, it’s a bit murky. We don’t know when Amanda died. An 1890 census that was largely destroyed by fire keeps us from catching up with Joseph again until shortly before his death in 1900. By then he is living in Warren Township, Tuscarawas County, and remarried to Clara (Kerr) about 5 years. She is 47 and childless; he is 60. He works as a farm laborer and owns the house he’s living in. Again — this record matches up with birth year and with parents born in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, respectively.

We also match the couple to Joseph’s pension record, which lists Clara as dependent. There is the curious notation next to invalid status, in March 1885, and records Clara’s widowhood in December 1901, a full year after Joseph’s death. But who knows with bureaucracy and paperwork?

Joseph is buried in New Cumberland Cemetery, near Atwood Lake, Ohio. Clara is there, too, — her stone bears a death date of June 26, 1911. The grave of Amanda Stevenson is nowhere to be found.

Joseph Burkey – Civil War Service

What we do know is that Joseph Burkey enlisted as a private in Company B of the 126th Infantry on May 17, 1864 at age 23. He was drafted, according to Army records.

He was mustered out at the same rank on June 19, 1865 in Baltimore, Maryland.

The record of his Ohio regiment is set forth below. Joseph would have seen action the year’s worth of battles throughout Virginia, just after Spotsylvania Court House.

Regimental History
(Three Years)

One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Infantry. – Col., Benjamin F.
Smith; Lieut.-Cols., William H. Harlan, Aaron W. Ebright, Tho-
mas W. McKinnie; Majs., George W. Voorhes, William G. Williams.
This regiment was organized at Camp Steubenville from Sept. 4
to Oct. 11, 1862, to serve for three years and was sent to
Parkersburg, W. Va., a few days later. It remained in the
western part of Virginia during the succeeding winter and
spring, and in June was engaged in a brisk skirmish at Martins-
burg, in which Co. I was captured entire by the enemy. At
Bristoe Station in October the regiment and its corps took part
in a fight with a portion of Lee’s army, and for many days
thereafter were engaged in skirmishing with the enemy up to
Centerville. After spending the winter at Brandy Station, the
regiment in April, 1864, went to Rixeyville, where it remained
until the opening of the grand campaign under Gen. Grant, in
his march on Richmond. It took part in every engagement of the
campaign, from the crossing of the Rapidan to the crossing of
the James. The loss of the regiment at Spottsylvania was 16
killed and 54 wounded, and in front of Cold Harbor it was in
the assault of Ricketts’ division, 6th corps, on the enemy’s
works, carrying and holding them under a heavy fire. After
crossing to the south side of the James the regiment partici-
pated in all the marches, skirmishes, etc., of the 6th corps,
up to July 2, when it went into entrenchments at the Williams
house, 5 miles south of Petersburg. Four days later it em-
barked for Baltimore, and there took cars for Monocacy Junction
where it played an important part in the severe battle of Mono-
cacy, in which it lost heavily. It marched in pursuit of Gen.
Early’s army and participated in engagements at Snicker’s gap,
Charlestown and Smithfield. It was in the battle known as the
Opequan, losing a large number in killed and wounded. In the
action at Fisher’s hill the regiment performed a conspicuous
part, losing 4 men killed and 17 wounded. Then it was engaged
in a number of marches and counter-marches, arriving at Cedar
creek just in time to take part in the memorable battle of that
name. In December it rejoined the Army of the Potomac and
spent the winter in the trenches around Petersburg. In a
charge on the enemy’s picket lines on March 25, 1865, the regi-
ment behaved with great gallantry, being the first to enter the
entrenchments. At 3 a. m., April 2, it went into position in
the front line of battle and participated in the charge which
was to dissipate the last hope of the Confederate States. The
regiment was mustered out on June 25, 1865. It lost during its
term of service 9 officers and 111 men killed; 10 officers and
379 men wounded; aggregate, 509.

Source: The Union Army, vol. 2

Battles Fought
Fought on 9 Oct 1862.
Fought on 14 Jun 1863 at Martinsburg, WV.
Fought on 15 Jun 1863 at Williamsport, MD.
Fought on 15 Jun 1863 at Martinsburg, WV.
Fought on 14 Oct 1863 at Bristoe Station, VA.
Fought on 27 Nov 1863 at Mine Run, VA.
Fought on 6 May 1864 at Wilderness, VA.
Fought on 7 May 1864 at Wilderness, VA.
Fought on 9 May 1864 at Spotsylvania Court House, VA.
Fought on 10 May 1864 at Spotsylvania Court House, VA.
Fought on 12 May 1864 at Spotsylvania Court House, VA.
Fought on 13 May 1864 at Spotsylvania Court House, VA.
Fought on 18 May 1864 at Spotsylvania Court House, VA.
Fought on 21 May 1864 at North Anna River, VA.
Fought on 30 May 1864 at Hanoverton, VA.
Fought on 1 Jun 1864 at Cold Harbor, VA.
Fought on 2 Jun 1864 at Cold Harbor, VA.
Fought on 4 Jun 1864 at Cold Harbor, VA.
Fought on 6 Jun 1864 at Cold Harbor, VA.
Fought on 19 Jun 1864 at Bermuda Hundred, VA.
Fought on 22 Jun 1864 at Weldon Railroad, VA.
Fought on 22 Jun 1864 at Petersburg, VA.
Fought on 9 Jul 1864 at Monocacy, MD.
Fought on 21 Jul 1864 at Snicker’s Gap, VA.
Fought on 9 Aug 1864 at City Point, VA.
Fought on 28 Aug 1864.
Fought on 19 Sep 1864 at Opequan, VA.
Fought on 21 Sep 1864 at Flint Hill, VA.
Fought on 22 Sep 1864 at Flint Hill, VA.
Fought on 22 Sep 1864 at Fisher’s Hill, VA.
Fought on 19 Oct 1864 at Cedar Creek, VA.
Fought on 12 Nov 1864 at Middletown, VA.
Fought on 25 Mar 1865 at Petersburg, VA.
Fought on 2 Apr 1865 at Petersburg, VA.

Burkey Joseph Civil War CLOSE

A star marks Joseph Burkey’s grave, for service in the Civil War.

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