The Belcher Brothers, Co. K, 6th Pennsylvania Reserves

CHARLES T. BELCHER. A better military record than that of the Belcher boys would be difficult to find in Susquehanna county. The subject of this sketch was one of the five brothers who grew to maturity. Of the five, three enlisted in Company K, of the 6th Penn. Reserves, and two served through the entire war, one of them winning a commission. Our subject, while assisting in repelling a fierce assault of the enemy at Antietam was blinded by a shot in the head, and was left for dead upon the battlefield. One brother was too young to enlist. The eldest, prior to the fall of Fort Sumter, had gone to the then distant mountains of Colorado.

This heroic military stock is pioneer as well. John Belcher, the representative of an old New England family, was born in Massachusetts. He moved thence to New York State and in 1794 came to Gibson township, Susquehanna county, and became one of the foremost settlers of the county. Later he removed to Lymanville, Springville township. By his first wife he reared a family of four sons and five daughters, and by a second marriage, to a Miss Lazure, he had two children, William, now a resident of Factoryville, and Helena. The children by the first marriage were as follows : John, the eldest child, was one of the first settlers of New Milford, where he died ; Hiram, who settled in Gibson; Michael, who settled in Lenox township; Ira, father of our subject; Katie married Merrett Hine, who lived near Poyntelle, Wayne county; Betsy, born in Gibson township, in 1795, said to have been the first white child born in that township, married Ezekiel Barnes, of Gibson, and lived to the age of eighty years; Polly married Amos Barnes, brother of Ezekiel above, son of Ezekiel, who came to Gibson township about 1800, and grandson of Nehemiah Barnes, a Revolutionary soldier; Hannah married Ebenezer Messenger, of Thompson township; and a daughter who married John Washburn, of Jackson township.

Ira Belcher, the father of our subject, was reared on his father’s farm in Gibson township, and received a limited education. He married Abigail Sweet, and settled on a tract of wild land in Gibson township, where he cleared up a good farm. In 1850 he removed to North Jackson and later went to live with our subject in South Jackson, where he died in 1869. His widow died in 1874, in Colorado, where she had gone to live with her children. Of the ten children of Ira and Abigail Belcher five died in childhood. The survivors were as follows: (1) Gilbert, born in 1835, moved to Wisconsin in 1859, where he married Miss Mary Baker, of that State. The same year he assisted in organizing a company which drove overland from Wisconsin to Pikes Peak, and when he arrived his possessions were his ox-team and twenty-five cents. Settling at Gold City he commenced Western life as a rancher. He prospered and later became interested in railroading. He was elected one of the managers of the Colorado Central railroad and rapidly became an influential citizen. He died in 1892, leaving a widow, and two children — Fred and Cora. (2) George W., born in 1839, married Miss Ellen Barnes, of Gibson township. On the breaking out of the Civil war he enlisted, in April, 1861, in Company K, 6th Penn. Reserves, and with it was first engaged at Dranesville, December 20, 1861. He participated in the Seven-Days’ fighting, and was at the second battle of Bull Run, August 30, 1862; South Mountain, September 14, 1862; Antietam, 1862 ; at Fredericksburg, December, 1862 ; at Gettysburg, July,  1863 ; at Bristow Station, October, 1863; Rappahannock, November, 1863; Mine Run, November, 1863; Wilderness, May, 1864; Caps Cavern, May, 1864; Spottsylvania, 1864; North Ann, 1864; and Bethesda Church, 1864. He re-enlisted, in 1863, as a veteran was transferred May 31, 1864, to Company E, 191st P. V. I. He was taken prisoner at Weldon Railroad August 19, 1864, was taken to Libby Prison and from there to Salisbury. He was liberated by Sherman’s army after nine months’ captivity ; while a prisoner he was commissioned first lieutenant November 1, 1864, and was honorably discharged May 27, 1865. Returning to his old home he remained there two years, then removed to Colorado, where he engaged in stock raising until his death, in 1892, leaving a widow. (3) Charles T our subject. (4) Oscar L., born in May, 1843′ enlisted in Company K, 6th Penn. Reserves, completed three years’ service, participating in its many fierce engagements, and when mustered out with the company, in June, 1864, re-enlisted in the Naval service. He was assigned to the “Dictator,” in which he served until the close of the war. Returning home he married Miss Johanna Shepardson, of Gibson, and moved to Colorado, where he engaged in ranching until his death, in 1886, leaving a widow and one daughter, Bertha, who is now married and resides in Colorado. (5) John Belcher born in June, 1850, was reared in Susquehanna county. Moving to Colorado, he was appointed deputy sheriff of Jefferson county, that State, and later was elected sheriff. He became an active and influential politician and is now a member of the Rocky Mountain detective force and resides in Denver. He married Miss Ida Strope, of Pittston, Penn., and has four sons.

Charles T. Belcher, our subject, was born January 18, 1841, in Gibson township. He grew up on the farm, attending the district schools, and at the age of twenty, in 186 1, he enlisted in Company K, 6th Penn. Reserves, under Capt. John Shull. The 6th was called from Harrisburg to_ the_ front and the first engagement was at Dranesville, in December, 1 86 1. Our subject was at the Seven Days’ fight, in the Peninsula campaign, the second battle of Bull Run, August 28 and 31, 1862; at South Mountain, September 14, 1862, and three days later at Antietam. There, while supporting the Bucktails [and] Fifth Reserves and driving back the enemy, our subject was severely wounded. He was shot in the head, losing his left eye, and was left on the field for dead. He was discharged from the service November 11, 1862, for physical disability. His record was that of a brave soldier, and the partial loss of his sight was sustained while gallantly defending the Nation’s flag.

Our subject returned to his native home, and there, in 1870, he was married to Miss Flora Griffith, who was born in Jackson township in 1848, daughter of Leander and Fidelia Griffith, old settlers of the county. In her early womanhood Mrs. Belcher had been’a teacher in the public schools of Susquehanna county. In 1873, on account of failing health, Mr. Belcher removed to Colorado and engaged in stock raising. He returned to Pennsylvania in 1877 and purchased his present farm in Jackson township, where he has erected new buildings and made other notable improvements^ He now owns one of the choice and well-cultivated farms of the township.

To our subject and his wife have been born five children, as follows : Clarence, the eldest, who died at the age of four years ; Frank, born in May, 1873; George, born in 1876; Bernice, born in 1881 ; and Lulu, born July 21, 1884.

Politically our subject has always been identified with the Republican party. He is a supporter of Prohibition principles. For two terms he has held the office of constable, and he has also been school director of Jackson. Himself and family are active members of the Baptist Church. He is regarded-as one of Jackson’s most worthy and prosperous citizens, and enjoys the high esteem of a wide circle of friends and acquaintances.

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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.