George W. Merrick, Co. H, 6th Pennsylvania Reserves

Martial Deeds of Pennsylvania by Samuel P. Bates. Philadelphia: T. H. Davis & Co., 1876. Part II, Biography, Chapter XIII. Pages 861-862; Tioga County History, 1897, Chapter 12 - The Bench and Bar.

GEORGE W. MERRICK, son of Israel and Julia Merrick, was born at Wellsboro, on the 27th of March, 1838. He was made Sergeant of Company H, Sixth regiment of the Pennsylvania Reserve corps, upon its formation, and served with it in the battle of Dranesville, upon the Peninsula, and in the Second battle of Bull Run, where the entire command was subjected to hard marching and the most desperate fighting. Sergeant Merrick was at the time of the latter battle on the sick-list, but kept his place, and marched and fought with the rest. For seventy-four fours he was without rations, and the suffering endured would have overborne a man less resolute. Finally broken by exposure and privation, in December, 1862, he was discharged on a surgeon’s certificate. He returned to the service as Captain in a six months’ battalion, and subsequently became Major of the One Hundred and Eight-seventh. In the desperate action on the 18th of June, 1864, at Cold Harbor, Major Merrick was in command of his regiment, and while leading it with the most determined bravery, was struck by a Minie ball just below the right knee, which fractured the bone and lodged in the knee-joint. He was carried from the field, and amputation was found to be unavoidable. This closed his military career. He is described by his associates as one of the bravest of the brave. And in his personal bearing the pattern of a gentleman and a soldier. He was married in 1866 to Miss Ione Butterworth, a niece of the late David Wilmot. Since the war he has studied law, and is in successful practice in his native place.

MAJOR GEORGE W. MERRICK was born in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, March 27, 1838, and is a son of Israel Merrick, Jr., and grandson of Israel Merrick, Sr., pioneers of Wellsboro. He spent his boyhood days in his native place, and was attending school when the Civil War broke out. In the spring of 1861 he enlisted as a private in Company H, Sixth Pennsylvania Reserve, and served with it in the battle of Drainsville, the Peninsular Campaign and Second Bull Run. In 1862 he was discharged on account of ill health. Before he had fairly recovered he recruited a company for the First Battalion Pennsylvania Volunteers, six months’ men, was chosen captain of the company and went to the front. At the expiration of his term he recruited a company for the three years’ service, which was mustered in as Company A, of the One Hundred and Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers. He was subsequently commissioned major and joined the army at Cold Harbor. Major Merrick was in command of the regiment in the desperate assault on Fort Hell, at Petersburg, Virginia, June 18, 1864, and received a gunshot wound in the right knee, rendering amputation of the leg necessary. This disabled him for further military duty and he retired from the service. Returning home he commenced reading law with Hon. Henry W. Williams, completed his studies under W. H. Smith, Esq., and was admitted to the bar in February, 1869. Major Merrick was appointed postmaster of Wellsboro, January 27, 1869, a few days before his admission to practice, and held the office over thirteen years, resigning June 14, 1882, to accept the nomination of the Independent Republicans for secretary of internal affairs. He opened an office in Wellsboro for the practice of his profession, and has since won a leading place at the bar as an honest, able and successful lawyer. In the famous case of Charlotte Howell, charged with poisoning Elizabeth Knapp, Major Merrick was the defendant’s principal attorney. After a very exciting trial, lasting twenty days, she was acquitted, mainly through the able and skillful defense made for her by her counsel. In politics he has been an ardent Republican since casting his first vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Believing in the open self-rule of the party, he has taken no part in party management, but in public discussions of principles and policies he has been active and influential. Major Merrick was married in November, 1868, to Miss Ione Butterworth, a niece of David Wilmot. Of four children born to them, one daughter, Louise Wilmot Merrick, survives.

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Currently a resident of Burke, Virginia - I'm originally from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have been a student of the Pennsylvania Reserves since 1997 and thoroughly enjoy telling their story. By trade I'm a former IT Professional but presently working as a Letter Carrier for the United States Postal Service.