John S. Gathany, Co. H, 4th Pennsylvania Reserves

John S. Gathany, a faithful defender of the Union during the Civil war, and for many years a highly-respected citizen of Liberty township, Susquehanna county, was born October 12, 1836, in Middleburg, Schoharie Co., N. Y., a son of Peter and Emma (Post) Gathany, also of the Empire State.

Our subject’s paternal grandfather, Pedro Gathany, was born in the City of Rome, Italy, and on his emigration to America located in Maine, making his home there until the war of 1812, when he and his two sons, James and Peter, entered the United States service. The father and son James were killed at Queenstown Heights, while Peter, our subject’s father, was captured and held a prisoner at Quebec for three years. He served as a musician in his regiment. After the war he drifted to Schoharie counthy, N. Y., where he married, and engaged in farming until his death. His wife is also deceased. They left two children of whom our subject is the elder. His sister, Ellen, married Nathan Wells, and resided in Albany, N. Y., for some years, but finally removed to Detroit, Mich. In their family were two daughters.

Our subject lived with his uncle, Jacob Post, about six months. After this he worked at the shoemaker’s trade, which he followed for some years. In July, 1861, at the age of twenty-four years, he enlisted, at Great Bend, Penn., becoming a private in Company H, 4th Pennsylvania Reserves, 2nd brigade, McCall’s Division. He was in active service until March, 1862, when he was taken ill with typhoid fever and confined in the hospital at Georgetown, D. C., for six weeks. The following August he was again taken sick, and after spending some time in the field hospital at Fredericksburg, he was transferred to the hospital at York, Penn., being off duty at this time for four months. He was honorably discharged January 18, 1864, at Martinsburg, W. Va., but the following day re-enlisted in the same company and regiment. After spending some time at home, on furlough, he was transferred, in march, 1864, while near Winchester, to Company E., 54th P. V. I. In May, 1864, at Meadow Bluff, he volunteered to serve in the 1st Kentucky Light Artillery, as a gunner under Capt. Glassic. On rejoining his regiment he served with the Army of the James until the war ended. The engagements in which he participated were the battles of Dranesville, Mechanicsville, Gaines Mill, the seven-days fight, the battles of Charles City Cross Roads and Malvern Hill, the second battle of Bull Run, the battle of South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, the first and second battles of Winchester, Fisher Hill, Cedar Creek, Weldon Railroad, siege of Petersburg, and the battles of Petersburg, Burksville Junction, High Bridge and Hatcher’s Run. At High Bridge, he was taken prisoner, held four days, and the paroled and sent to parole camp. The war having ended, and his services being no longer needed, he was honorable discharged at Annapolis, Md., May 31, 1865, and returned to his home in Great Bend. His brother-in-law, George Osterhout, was taken sick with typhoid fever at Alexandria, Va., during his service , and was sent to Washington, D. C., where he died.

In 1865, Mr. Gathany married Miss Fannie Osterhout, of Great Bend, who was born in 1844, and was educated int eh schools of that place. Her parents were Abram and Jane (Kelder) Osterhout, the former of whom is still living in Great Bend, at the advanced age of seventy-six; her mother died in 1888. Our subject and his wife began house-keeping at Great Bend, Mountain Valley, where they continued to reside until 1898, while he worked at the stone mason’s trade, but they are now residing in Lestershire, New York.

To Mr. And Mrs Gathany were born fourteen children, of Frederick, George, William, Alva, Eva and Emma all died young. The others, all born in Great Bend, are as follows: (1) Charles, born in 1868, received a district-school education, and married Eva Brown, of Great Brown, where he is engaged in business as a stone cutter. They have four sons, John, Nathan, Peter and Dewey. (2) Wallace A., born in 1873, is a resident of Hallstead, Penn., engaged in stone cutting and mason’s work. Like the other members of the family he attended the district schools of Great Bend. (3) Eugene P., born in March, 1875, is now extensively engaged in the stone quarry business at Great Bend. In October, 1896, he married Eva Gage, a daughter of E. I. and Phoebe Gage, representatives of prominent pioneer families of Silver Lake township, Susquehanna, and one son has been born of this union, Hermon. (4) Melvin A., born in April, 1878, is now a student in Windsor Academy, Broome Co., N. Y., where he is preparing himself for the teacher’s vocation. (5) J. Madison, born in 1879, was also a student at Windsor Academy, and is now preparing to enter the Baptist ministry, at Mt. Hermon, Mass. (6) Arthur F., born in 1880, attended the Harford Soldiers Orphans School for two years and later the Windsor Academy. He is now living in Lestershire, N. Y. (7) Merrill O., born in 1881, pursued his studies at Great Bend and Harford, later attended the Soldiers Industrial School at Scotland, Penn., and then entered the Windsor Academy, remaining there until he was eighteen years old. He is now in Binghamton, N. Y., where he is fitting himself for the work of a beekeeper. (8) Benjamin F., born in October, 1884, is being educated at the Harford and Scotland Soldiers Industrial Schools. Parents and children are all consistent members of the Baptist Church, of Hallstead, and the family is one of prominence in the community where they make their home. Politically, Mr. Gathany was formerly a Republican, but being a strong advocate of temperance he now supports the men and measures of the Prohibition party.

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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.