Thursday, July 30, 2015

1st Lieutenant Israel S Stonesifer

Earlier this week I introduced you to Joseph Bernard Stonesifer. Today I'd like to tell Aunt Katherine and you a little about Joseph's father, Israel S. Stonesifer (1839-1928).

Israel was born on 12 April 1839 at the Silver Run community in Carroll County, Maryland. His parents were Benjamin and Susan (Freed) Stonesifer. Israel was baptized at Saint Mary's Lutheran Church in the same community. By 1850 his parents had moved their large family north across the Mason-Dixon Line to Conewago, Pennsylvania.

At the age of 23 he was drafted at Gettysburg into the 165th Pennsylvania Drafted Militia as a 1st Lieutenant, one of five brothers to fight in the Civil War. His term of military service was to be nine months. The regiment moved to Washington, DC, shortly after it was formed and then on to Suffolk, Virginia, in December of 1862 where it remained until December 1863. They likely participated in the siege of the city from 11 April to 4 May 1863 which had been captured earlier in the war and was a federal garrison. The 165th were involved in several other battles and skirmishes in southern Virginia in 1863 before being moved back to Washington, DC, where the officers and soldiers were mustered out.

Israel S. Stonesifer in uniform; photograph courtesy of Find A Grave
volunteer David Hann

Israel returned to Conewago and married Sarah Amanda Walter, Aunt Katherine's first cousin two times removed, on 19 October 1873 at the Sacred Heart Basilica. The couple had four children during the first eight years of their marriage and the family lived for a time in Littlestown, Pennsylvania, where Israel worked as a butcher. He was elected to the town council in 1878.

Later the family settled permanently in Gettysburg. There Israel was elected as the Democratic Register of Wills and Record of Deeds for Adams County. He was re-elected many times without opposition in a staunchly Republican stronghold, a marked tribute to his popularity.

He became the Assistant Superintendent of the Gettysburg National Military Park in 1894, the year before the protected land on which the Civil War battle raged over three days officially became the Gettysburg National Military Park. He served in that capacity until 1920.

Civil War Veterans Picnic, Hershey Park, Pennsylvania, 3 September
1927. Sarah Amanda (Stonesifer is the woman sitting fourth from the
right; photograph courtesy of the Adams County Historical Society

He joined Jack Skelly Post No. 9, Grand Army of the Republic and was active in many veterans' activities before his death on 24 September 1928. He was interred at Evergreen Cemetery in Gettysburg. He wife died eight years later and was buried beside him.

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