Submitted by Jerome J. Dittman.
Owens Run In Civil War Days
By James Clinton Burns
Wind Ridge, April 2, 1911
Rising out of the dividing ridge which separates the waters in Greene County (PA) that flow into the Monongahala, from those that flow into the Ohio, there is a small stream called Owens Run. So named after the first settlers that built his cabin on its banks more than a century ago.
That stream rises on the farm of David Braddock, and meanders northwest, through a dozen farms and flows into the Enlow branch of Wheeling Creek at Ackley's Bridge.
From the farms of this little stream and its branches there entered the Union Army from 1861 to 1865 no less than 37 men.
Simon Houston was the only man of military age living on the stream who did not volunteer and he had a family of small children. He was drafted but furnished a substitute. It is doubtful if any other region in all the north furnished such a large proportion of it's inhabitants to the Union cause as did this little stream. It gave all it had.
At the head of the stream lived Silas Day, whose son William belonged to Company C 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry. He was captured by the forces under General J.E.B. Stewart in Richmond Virginia. There he starved to death in a Confederate prison.
Just across the field from Silas Day lived Edward Murphy. Both of his sons entered the Union Army. Dennis served in the 18th PA Cavalry. One of Sheridan's raids he followed the gallant Col. Dahlgren within the very fortifications of Richmond. His brother William Murphy served in the lst West Virginia Infantry and participated in all the battles of this gallant regiment. A half mile down Owens Run was a farm owned by William Burns. His son John entered the service and rose to the rank of Captain of Company A 140th PA Volunteers. On April 9, 1865 he had charge of the gate in the skirmish line through which the venerable Lee passed as he rode back to the McLean House where he surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to General U.S. Grant.
On the farm of William Burns there stood two tenant houses. One was occupied by Mr. Elliot and the other by Mr. Fisher. Mr. Elliot and three sons entered the service. Amos was discharged on account of defective eyes. George served in the 18th PA Cavalry. He was captured and died in a Confederate prison in Richmond in February 1864. The youngest son Van Elliot enlisted towards the close of the year, but saw considerable service.
George Fisher enlisted in the Cavalry Regiment and disappeared while on a raid through Virginia and was never heard of afterwards. He was probably killed or captured and died in prison. His brother John Fisher a mere lad was a member of Company A 140th PA Volunteers. He left his regiment on three separate occasions, was tried by court martial and condemned to be shot. His friends, neighbors, and afterwards his Captain John A. Burns drew up a petition then stating the mitigating circumstances secured the signatures of the officers of his company and regiment. This petition was sent to President Lincoln, who granted full pardon. John Fisher afterwards made a faithful soldier, receiving a wound in the battle of Petersburg. An Irishman by the name of McMahon also entered the service from one of Mr. Burns tenant houses.
The next farm north of Mr. Burns belonged to John Swart. Mr. Swart, his son-in-law and his tenant all entered the 140th PA. This was a great fighting regiment. The rate of death in battle was only exceeded by two regiments in the entire Union Army, having 200 killed out of 1100 enlisted men. It is said of Mr. Swart, that in the battle of the Wilderness, a bullet lodged in the muzzle of his rifle. He took out his knife, set amidst a rain of shot and shell, deliberately cut the bullet out and went on in the battle. His son, James, was in the battle of Chancellorsville, in the Wilderness, in the Bloody Angle, at Spotsylvania, in the awful slaughter at Cold Harbor, also on the siege of Petersburg, and in the Appomattox Campaign. Mr. Swart's son-in-law, John Jones, was in all the battles of his gallant regiment. Where the bullets flew the thickest, where the stain of blood was reddest, there was John C. Jones! Mr. Swart's tenant, John W. Paden, laid the costly sacrifice of his own life upon the alter of his own country in the battle of the Wilderness.
The adjoining farm north of Mr. Swart, belonged to James Allum. Parker Allum, the oldest son was a member of Company B 1st W. Virginia Cavalry (More Info) . He rose to the rank of Lieutenant. At the battle of Port Republic Mack Carroll had his horse shot and was severely wounded in the throat. Lt. Allum took Carroll on his horse behind him and carried him off the field of battle. The back of his coat was thoroughly saturated with Carroll's blood. His youngest brother, John Allum, entered the nine month service and served a year (More Info).
On the farm of Mr. Burns, the Owens Run divides, coming from the present residents of Stephen Stickles. Mr Stickles served in the 1st W. Virginia Cavalry and took part in all raids and skirmishes, and battles of his famous regiment. (More Info). During the Civil War period Sgt. Spears lived on this farm. Spears enlisted in the 1st W. Virginia Infantry. The exposure of camp life and marching brought on rheumatism and he spent the remainder of his short life with drawn limbs and crooked body.
Adjoining the farm of Mr. Burns, on the west, was the farm of Warren Burns who served as a teamster of ammunition train in the 140th PA Volunteers. When Pickett made his famous charge at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, Warren Burns drove a load of ammunition to the cannoneers, while doing so a leg of his horse was shot away by a Confederate cannonball.
Warren Burns' tenant, Thomas Hayes, also served in the Army from 1863 to the close of the war. On the farm adjoining Warren Burns, on the west, lived Levi Sollars. Sollars and his sons joined the army. Mr. Sollars was sixty years of age and was unable to endure the hardships of army service and was discharged before the end of the war. His son, Wesley, was a member of Company D lst W. Virginia Cavalry. He followed the gallant Col. Farnsworth in the glorious but disastrous charge upon the Texas Rangers behind the stonewall at foot of Round Top, at Gettysburg. Levi Sollars second son, Britain Sollars, was a member of the 16th Pennsylvania Infantry. He gave the last full measure of devotion to his country. His remains were brought home and was buried with honors of war in the family burying ground just opposite the house of Levi Sollars.
On the farm of Hamilton Teagarden, lived Barney Hughes. He entered the services of the lst W. Virginia Infantry and had an honorable record.
The farm below Mr. Sollars' was owned by Mr. Dille. Mr Dille's two sons and tenant, George Doman, entered the service. Addison Dille was among the first men to enlist in the neighborhood. He served in the lst W. Virginia Infantry. His brother, Leonard, served three years and reenlisted and served until the end of the war. George Doman was a member of the famous 140th PA Regiment. He had two fingers shot from his right hand while in the service.
From the farm adjoining Mr. Dille's, on the south, went Joseph Kettler to war. He served in the 18th PA Cavalry. On the west lived James Daily whose sons enlisted in the army. Elisha Daily and James Daily, Jr. fought for their country in some of the most important battles of the war.
The farm adjoining Mr. Dille's on the west was owned by John Cummins whose two son-in-law, James McDonald and William Fox fought for the Union cause. McDonald was a member of the 18th PA Cavalry and participated in all the battles of that veteran Regiment. Mr. Fox served in Company B 1st W. Virginia Cavalry and had an honorable record.
From the adjoining farm west of Mr. Cummins went Issac Teagarden and son Abraham. Issac Teagarden was an old man nearly sixty years old but he left his farm and his family and Joined the gallant 35th PA Cavalry. He was with McClellan in the Peninsular Campaign and with Gen. Burnside in the North Carolina Campaign. The hardships of the campaigns broke his health and he returned before the close of the war. His son, Abe, enlisted in Company K 16th PA Cavalry. He had the honor of surprising a Confederate soldier who was mounted and trying to escape in Shepperdstown. Abe wanted this fellow and being haply mounted he considered it his duty to bring this him back, which he did. He was wounded in the battle that followed and died in a few days. His body was returned home and was buried in the family burying ground.
The last on this little stream was a farm owned by Daniel and Joshua Ackley. Joshua Ackley was an intensely patriotic man. Four of his sons entered the Union Army. Parker became a Lt. in the 1st W. Virginia Cavalry. His health broke. He came home and died and was buried in the old family burying grounds (More Info). John S. Ackley served in the 18th PA Cavalry and on the 19th of October 1864 he was with Sheridan at Cedar Creek, Va. and took part in the charge that made Sheridan famous throughout the endless years (More Info). His brother, James B. Ackley, served in Company K 16th PA Cavalry. His company served in most of the important battles of the war. On the night of April 1, 1865, he carried dispatches from General Sherman to General Grant announcing the capture of the Southside Railroad which controlled the evacuation Richmond. He was also promoted to the rank of Corporal for bravery and service (More Info). Avery Ackley, a younger brother, also served in the Civil War.
Of the 37 men enlisted, 7 of them: William Day, George Elliot, John Paden, George Fisher, Britain Sollars, Abe Teagarden, and Parker Ackley laid the costly offering of their lives upon the alter of their country they loved so well. While others, until the day of their death, bore upon their mortal bodies the scars of this great conflict.