April 24, 2013

George and Elizabeth Bittinger Hollabaugh - Great-Great Grandparents - Part 1

George Hollabaugh was born on July 11, 1808 in Pennsylvania, probably in Toboyne Township, Perry County.  He eventually moved to Adams County where he married Elizabeth (Betsey) Bittinger on March 15, 1834.  Elizabeth, born March 17, 1815 near Gettysburg, was the daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth Bittinger.

This story appeared in the Republican Compiler of Gettysburg, PA on February 18, 1829.
It might refer to our George, who would have been 20 at the time, but there is no way to really know ...
"A Bear Story -
On Wednesday the 21st ult., Mr. George Hollabaugh, of Toboyne township, started hunting and had not been out long when he came upon bear tracks, which he followed until he reached a cavern, in which, he judged, at least one Bruin had entered.
After a moment's hesitation, he entered the cave, but had proceeded but a short distance when he was obliged to retreat by the advance of something 'black as night'.  With gun prepared to meet the foe, he stood at the mouth of the cave, when the head of the family, a fine large Bear, made his appearance, and was laid low in the twinkling of an eye.  
Mr. H. reloaded as quick as possible, and had just time to think of the prize he had gained, when another of the sable tribe made his appearance from the mouth of the cave - he was dispatched in a moment.
Mr. H. started home for assistance, and on his return, was proceeding to carry off the animals, when the third bear made his appearance at the mouth of the cave, and having his trusty gun still at hand, this also, was added to the number of the slain.  So singular and extraordinary an instance in the history of successful Bear hunting we will venture to say, has seldom, if ever, occurred in this section of the country.  Perry Forester."
It's safe to say that that Hollabaugh family ate well in the winter of 1829.

In the first census after their marriage, George and Elizabeth were found in Cumberland Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania in 1840 when the census only named heads of households.  George was enumerated as a male between the ages of 30-40; George was 31.  In the household was also one woman, aged 20 - 30 (Elizabeth was about 25), and three girls under the age of 5 (Sarah, born 1836; Eliza Jane, born 1838, and Mary Elizabeth, born in 1840).  No other information was given on this early census.
Thought to be a photo of Elizabeth Bittinger Hollabaugh

By 1850, the family was in Franklin Township, Adams County.  The enumerator stopped by on September 27th and found George, 41, a farmer, and Elizabeth, 35, and their seven children: Sarah, 14; Eliza J. 12; Mary E., 10; Levi, 8 (husband's great-grandfather), George W., 6; David, 4; and Alice C. 10 months.

The family continued to grow and by 1860, little Georgeanna, 4, and Jacob, 8, completed the family.  In 1860, the last name was spelled "Hollebaugh" in the census.  George was 50 and Elizabeth was 45.  Great-Grandfather William was called Levi and he was 17.  George W. was 15, David 12, and Alice, 10. Also living with the Hollabaughs was Sarah Bittinger, age 38, who was probably Elizabeth's sister.  Sarah Bittinger was classified as an Idiot, which in the 1860 census, meant that a person had never had his or her complete mental faculties.  A person would be classified as such if they were mentally disabled from birth.

Sarah Hollabaugh, the oldest daughter at 23, was enumerated with the Harry and Marie Wattles family in Gettysburg.  The Wattles seemed to be a rather wealthy family with real estate and personal items valued at $5000 each.  No occupations are listed, but one might assume that Sarah was working as a domestic in the home. The Wattles had four children, ages 10 - 19.  
After going through the Gettysburg town census page by page for 1860, I was not able to find Eliza or Mary, but I did find a couple other possibilities.  I know that at least one was not married by 1860, so they could possibly have been in an outlying region as domestics.  I did find an Eliza Hollabaugh in Hanover, York County which is very close to Gettysburg.  She was living with August Schwartz and family and working as a seamstress.  The age is a little off, but it could have been that the reporter just made a guess at her age if she were not there at the time.  Just a possibility.  Mary Elizabeth was more difficult, and really I never did find her, even using the possible nickname, Polly.

Just three years later, in late June 1863, the Confederate forces made their way north into Adams County, Pennsylvania.  General Robert E. Lee amassed his forces, ready to move northbound, and Jeb Stuart's cavalry led the way into Pennsylvania to pave the way.  The History of Cumberland and Adams County, Pennsylvania, published in 1883, noted that by June 15th, Adams County residents were already alerted that the rebels were coming.  In preparation, citizens hid food and any valuable possessions or supplies that could be used by the enemy, and local banks shipped their money out of the area.

On June 26, a Confederate cavalry unit rode into Carlisle just north of Gettysburg, and took control of the town, closing saloons, posting guards around the public buildings, and demanding flour, sugar, salt, coffee and other staples or the sum of $5000.  The soldiers were under orders not to bother the townspeople, so their intent was not to harm the citizenry.  When the officers of the town said they had nothing to give, they weren't kidding...nothing visible, that is.  So the southern soldiers were put off and in the meantime, the local people tried to raise a militia to defend the town, but it was a pretty hopeless gesture.
A few days later, two thousand Union cavalry arrived and the Confederacy backed away a bit.  The people dug into their foodstuffs and supplies to aid the Union arrivals.
Gettysburg area home used as Gen. Meade's headquarters for the Army of the Potomac

The Battle of Gettysburg began on July 1st and ended July 3rd with the Rebel forces in retreat.  It was for the most part a hand to hand battle, especially on the last day, leaving the area covered with unburied soldiers and horses.  Crops were destroyed, fences torn down, smokehouses and barns emptied.  The people of the area were left with the task of burying the decaying bodies of the dead and somehow providing food and care for the masses of wounded soldiers, both Union and Confederate, left behind.

I believe the Hollabaugh family witnessed this; in fact, an eye-witness account of those days by one of the Hollabaugh children will eventually be referenced on this blog. If this son saw it, it would be hard to imagine that the rest of the family was sheltered from the sights and sounds of the battle.  It had to be so difficult for these families to move past the tragedy and horror they witnessed, as well as the decimation of their farms and businesses.

The history book mentioned above stated:
"The entire community became (hospital workers), cooks, waiters or grave-diggers.  In this wide expanse of Christian charity, rebel and Union sufferers were cared for without material distinction... Soon every wheeled vehicle was at work bearing its loads of bleeding agony...  Literally half the surface of the entire county was a hospital and every farmhouse, barn, stable, outbuilding, for twenty miles square, was full to overflowing.  The beds, the floors, the yards, everywhere, were they cared for...  What a ghastly harvest to  gather from the fair and peaceful fields of Adams County."

The last of the wounded, suffering patients were moved away in November 1863, over four months from the beginning of the battle.

To be continued...


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