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Sentimental Sunday: Abram F. Springsteen, Part 2

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Abram F. Springsteen
Abram F. Springsteen, possibly c1867?
Abram F. Springsteen, possibly c1867?

So what does one do when their military career is over at age 15?

Abram Furman Springsteen returned to Indianapolis to attend a private school after the Civil War. He later worked as a brickmason in Indianapolis after learning the trade from his uncle, also named Abram Springsteen (1825-1895).

Abram F. also worked as a clerk in the Federal Pension Department in Washington, D.C. War Department, then transferred to Los Angeles, CA c. 1915. He did receive a pension for his military service, as he was disabled “by Bronchitis and lung disease, contracted between Marietta and Atlanta Ga- between the 8th & 17 July 1864.”

Abram Springsteen married Laura May Longfellow on 11 Jan 1872 in Huntington County, Indiana. The Rev. C. M. Cain married them; Abram was 21, and Laura just 19. They had a child together on 20 Mar 1873, but Laura May died just 24 days after the birth of their daughter, 13 April 1873 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Possibly childbirth complications?)

Laura May (Longfellow) Springsteen- Headstone, Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana
Laura May (Longfellow) Springsteen- Headstone, Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana

Abram was living with his parents, brother, and a household servant when the June 1880 US Federal Census was taken. He was listed as a “Clerk in a C. Store.” His daughter Laura Grace Alien Longfellow Springsteen, was not living with them, and we have been unable to find where she was living at that time.  Sadly, she too died at a young age, even younger than her namesake- Laura was just 12 in 1885 when she passed away at her grandparent’s home, on 29 March.

Springsteen-Coombs Wedding Announcement, after 22 Jul 1885; family newspaper clipping so source unknown.
Springsteen-Coombs Wedding Announcement, after 22 Jul 1885; family newspaper clipping so source unknown.

Four months after little Laura’s death, Abram remarried. The Rev. J. Walter officiated at the wedding of Abram and Emma Isola Coombs (1866-1938) on 22 July 1885 at St. Patrick’s Church in Washington, D. C.

Emma Isola Coombs
Emma Isola Coombs

Emma and Abram had three children: Walter F. Springsteen (1886-1886), Ruby Marie born 4 July 1887, and Perry Harrison born 6 June 1891. Abram and Emma divorced 28 June 1912 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

On 30 October 1912, in Indianapolis,  Abram married Birdie Crozier.  This was her second marriage, as her first husband, Charles B. Rosengarten, died 12 January, 1911.

Abram Springsteen, 1919
Abram Springsteen, 1919

Abram and Birdie had about eighteen years together before he passed away August 6, 1930 in Sawtelle Military Hospital, Los Angeles, CA. He was a resident of Santille, CA at the time. He is buried in Los Angeles National Cemetery.

Abram Springsteen and Birdie Crozier Rosengarten Springsteen in Hermosa Beach, California.
Abram Springsteen and Birdie Crozier Rosengarten Springsteen in Hermosa Beach, California, probably late 1920s.

Birdie (1873-1932) outlived Abram and collected his pension after his death, $20 per month. She died 10 January 1932 with her residence listed as Hermosa Beach, CA.

Abram Furman Springsteen's headstone in Los Angeles National Cemetery
Abram Furman Springsteen’s headstone in Los Angeles National Cemetery

Abram was very patriotic, and even when very advanced in years, would walk up and down the street or boardwalk playing his drum on patriotic holidays and in parades. He was very sentimental- not just on Sundays- and very proud of his service to his country.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Family photographs, ephemera, bible.

2) 1880 US Federal Census, Jefferson Springsteen as head of household (indexed as Jeffers. Springstime on Ancestry.com)- Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana; Roll: 295; Family History Film: 1254295; Page: 244D; Enumeration District: 114; Image: 0190. Accessed 7/5/14.

Sibling Saturday: Happy Birthday, Abram F. Springsteen! Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Abram F. Springsteen
"The Hoosier Drummer Boy," Abram F. Springsteen, 15 Oct 1861
“The Hoosier Drummer Boy,” Abram F. Springsteen, 15 Oct 1861

Family stories become a part of one’s being if one listens closely. Growing up, I always heard the story of Abram Springsteen, “the youngest drummer boy of the Civil War.” Mary T. Helbling remembered going to the museum in Indianapolis, and said his portrait was there, with the same claim. She was just 14 and had gone to Indianapolis with her family for the funeral of  Abram’s sister, Anna Missouri Springsteen Beerbower. We always wondered what had happened to his drum, but the branches of the family had not kept in touch, and no one of our branch knew its disposition.

Fast forward many years- and a phone call to Edgar Helbling in his final years which amazingly produced a shoebox with newspaper clippings and obituaries that gave more information about Abram and confirmed his parentage, plus some clues for follow-up. (Major brick-wall breakthrough in those days before internet genealogy.) Many more years passed- sadly, too many, as by then Alzheimer’s had a death-grip on Mary’s usually sharp-for-details brain; she probably did not really understand my excited phone call about finding Abram’s descendants through Ancestry.com.

Today is the anniversary of Abram’s birth, and since this is a patriotic weekend, it is appropriate to tell his story. He too fought for our freedoms, and was an incredibly patriotic man throughout his life.

Abram F. Springsteen was born 5 July 1850 in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York, to Jefferson Springsteen and Anna Connor, the fourth child of their eight boys and girls. Jefferson Springsteen had lived in Indianapolis, Indiana when it was just a few houses back in 1835, before he moved and married in Brooklyn. The family moved to Indianapolis in 1852 when Abram was just 2 years old.By 1850, Indianapolis had grown to a city of about 8,000. There already was a significant Irish population in the city by then (Anna Connor was Irish), and Germans (Jefferson Springsteen’s heritage) began populating more heavily in mid-century, driving the population to over 18,000 by the time of the Civil War.

Jefferson Springsteen was an active Democrat and elected Town Marshall, so the children grew up around political discussions- he was serving in a local office while Benjamin Harrison, future President of the United States, was also serving, so probably knew him. Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States on March 4, 1861, but seven southern states had seceded after his election the previous November. On April 12, 1861, the first shots were heard at Fort Sumter, and four more southern states quickly became a part of the Confederate States of America. Lincoln requested troops but it took three months for Congress to call for 50,000 men to fight the rebels. Abram enlisted three months later, on 15 Oct 1861, in Co. A 25th Indiana Regiment as a drummer boy; he was only 11 years, 2 months old at the time. His parents consented to the enlistment as it was believed he would only be a member of the Home Guard, and his drumming would be beneficial to the cause.

When it became clear that his regiment would be sent off to fight in the south, his parents demanded that he be discharged, which was done 23 Dec 1861.

Just eight months later, when Abram was all of 12 years old, after beating the drum about the streets of Indianapolis while a regiment was being recruited, Abram re-enlisted 9 August 1862 into Co. I of the 63rd Indiana Regiment. He did have parental consent, perhaps because his father had run away to the circus when he was a young lad, and he thus understood the yearning of a young boy for the excitement of new places and war. His parents probably realized that they could not deter Abram from military service any longer.

Co. I of the 63rd Indiana Regiment moved south, with Abram alongside the column, drumming commands and encouragement to the troops day after difficult day. When drummer boys were not needed for signaling the troops, they were stretcher bearers, wandering among the fallen and trying to get the soldiers the medical care they required. Abram was captured with a wagon train at the battle of Spring Hill, Tennessee, 29 Nov 1864, but he escaped after dark as he was small enough to hide under a wagon and elude his captors. Family stories tell of how popular he was with his fellow soldiers, as his small size and swift feet helped him to sneak into farm areas such as chicken coops unnoticed, steal eggs and hide them in his drum, then return safely to his comrades with a feast. Company engagements included “Buzzard’s Roost”, Resaca, Burnt Hickory, Kennesaw Mountain, Altoona, Chattahoochie, Atlanta, Lost Mountain, Jonesboro, Cassville, Columbia, Franklin, Town Creek, Fort Fisher, and Willmington.

Abram’s diary and other documents claim that he was quite a wheeler-dealer while in camp with the other soldiers. He apparently had little trouble holding his own despite his age and size, for he was able to use his meager salary of $13 per month (if he indeed received a standard soldier’s pay) and parlay that into goods highly desirable to the troops, thereby making a good profit for himself.

Abram was lucky to survive the war. Of the 63rd Indiana, 3 officers and 53 enlisted men were killed, but another 2 officers and 130 enlisted men died from disease, for a total of 188 from the company. A total of 620,000 men died in the Civil War from both sides. It has been the deadliest war our country has ever experienced.

Abram was discharged 21 June 1865.  Lee had surrendered at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, and in May the final Confederate troops surrendered. The Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution that had been passed by Congress on January 31st of that year was ratified on December 6, 1865, and slavery was abolished in all the United States. Our kin, little Abram Springsteen, helped to make that happen, offering to sacrifice his life in order that others could be free.

 

And the drum? The wonderful cousins I found through Ancestry.com have the drum- it has been handed down to the oldest male in each generation. It is not Abram’s original drum, as that was confiscated during one of his captures. This drum was given to him by his company, grateful for the little drummer boy who guided them through battle, helped them to medical care, and often provided them with food, necessities, and maybe even a laugh at his antics.

Abram Springsteen's Drum, taken c1960s?
Abram Springsteen’s Drum, taken c1960s?

 

[Abram’s life will be continued in my next posting.]

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Family photographs, ephemera, bible.

2) Civil War Trust: http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/faq/

3) Want to read more about how the troops ate during the Civil War? Here is a quick look: Desecrated Vegetables: The Hardships of Civil War Eating. (http://www.history.com/news/hungry-history/desecrated-vegetables-the-hardships-of-civil-war-eating.) See also Hard Tack and Coffee: Soldier’s Life in the Civil War, by John D. Billings, an accurate account of Union soldier life written in 1888 by a veteran of the war. The National Park Service has a good website too: http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/civil_war_series/3/sec2.htm

4) Abram F. Springstein pension papers from National Archives (XC2631939)

5) 25th Indiana: http://www.civilwararchive.com/Unreghst/unininf2.htm#25th

6) 63rd Indiana: http://www.civilwararchive.com/Unreghst/unininf5.htm#63rd

7) The 63rd Indiana guarded Washington D.C. until August, 1862, when Abram enlisted. There is no Co. I in the above reference (#6) for this company, but the battles listed in the southern campaign are the same as those recounted by Abram in his account of his time in the war as well as in his pension records.

8) Some of his pension papers state he was in the 35th Indiana reg., but these are all later papers, c. 1915.

9) Other drummer boys were as young as Abram- see http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/kidspost/drummer-boys-played-important-roles-in-the-civil-war-and-some-became-soldiers/2012/01/31/gIQA3cKzRR_story.html

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
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It’s July 4th- Do You Know Your Revolutionary War Ancestors?

 

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson working on the Declaration of Independence, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1900.
Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson working on the Declaration of Independence, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1900.

It was July 2, 1776 in hot Philadelphia, and a group of delegates to the Second Continental Congress had just committed a treasonous act- they had declared their thirteen American colonies as sovereign states, independent of Great Britain. That treasonous act included a unanimous vote for independence, using a document that had been drafted by a group of five, including Thomas Jefferson, the primary author.

The Assembly Room in Philadelphia's Independence Hall, where the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.
The Assembly Room in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, where the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.

Most of the delegates to the Continental Congress signed the document that same day, but it was not until July 4th that the remaining delegates approved the document that we now know as the Declaration of Independence. (Some historians believe it was not signed by all until August 2, 1776.)

Original US Declaration of Independence- note differences in wording from today's version.
Original US Declaration of Independence- note differences in wording from today’s version.

The Declaration was read to the public on July 8th, 1776, accompanied by a parade of the battalions participating in the Revolutionary War, which had already been going on for over a year. Gun salutes were punctuated by cheers from the crowds who believed in the revolution. (I assume Loyalists were not in attendance… at least, not for long.)

Pulling Down the Statue of King George III after the Declaration of Independence was read by George Washington to the troops and public in New York City. British gunboats sat in the harbor. By Johannes Adam Simon Oertel.
Pulling Down the Statue of King George III after the Declaration of Independence was read by George Washington to the troops and public in New York City. British gunboats sat in the harbor. Painting by Johannes Adam Simon Oertel, ca. 1859.

John Adams, one of the instigators of revolution, wanted us to celebrate our independence on July 2nd. In a letter to his wife Abigail Adams, on July 3, 1776, he wrote:

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

A large celebration did not occur until the first anniversary of the signing. In Philadelphia on July 4, 1777, fireworks, bonfires, 13-gun salutes from harbor ships, patriotic music, candles in the windows of houses, and church bells sang of our new country,  and its promise that:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

 

Tombstone of Heinrich Horn, Horn United Methodist Church Cemetery, Alum Bank, Bedford County, Pennsylvania.
Tombstone of Heinrich Horn, Horn United Methodist Church Cemetery, Alum Bank, Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

There are many Revolutionary War heroes in our family, and probably many more than we know. Wartime is particularly difficult when it takes place in ALL the areas that people live, as it did during the Revolution- few areas were spared from battles or troop movements. It was a brother vs. brother war as well, because so many of the colonists, including many of our ancestors, were native to England. Following are brief bits of info about three of our Revolutionary War heroes. More details about their lives will be found in upcoming posts.

Daniel-Hemphill (George A. Roberts) Family:

Capt. Audley Paul (1728-1802)- Born in Ireland, he served from 1754 in the French-Indian War through the close of the American Revolution. He was an Ensign in the Virginia Colonial Militia in 1758.

McMurray-Benjamin-Horn Family:

Jonathan Benjamin (1738-1841)- Private, received pension for his service from Licking County, Ohio.

Heinrich Horn (1758-1845)- Born in Germany, Heinrich has a very interesting story that will take a bit to tell in a future post. He did receive a Revolutionary War pension.

I do not know of any portraits of our own Revolutionary War ancestors- any who survived into the 1840s may have had their picture taken.

Time Magazine has a wonderful webpage, Faces of the American Revolution,  that includes some portraits of Revolutionary War soldiers. Additionally, Maureen Taylor, “The Photo Detective,” has written two books that include similar portraits and the stories of these heroes: “The Last Muster: Images of the Revolutionary War Generation” (Vol. 1) and “The Last Muster. Vol. 2  Faces of the American Revolution.” Her article “Ghosts of the Revolution”  about these 80+ year old soldiers was published in the DAR’s American Spirit magazine. She also had a Kickstarter campaign that raised money to make these books into a film, “Revolutionary Voices”: A Last Muster Film.

It is really amazing to see the faces of those who fought and endured so that the United States of America could be a free and democratic country. Two hundred and thirty-eight years later, today is a good day to celebrate, and remember that freedom is never free.

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Declaration_of_Independence. Accessed 7/4/14.

2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Day_(United_States). Accessed 7/4/14.

3) See details of the painting “Pulling Down the Statue of King George” at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Johannes_Adam_Simon_Oertel_Pulling_Down_the_Statue_of_King_George_III,_N.Y.C._ca._1859.jpg. There is a fair amount of ‘artistic license’ in this painting. Accessed 7/4/14.

4) Time Magazine: Faces of the American Revolution at http://lightbox.time.com/2013/07/03/faces-of-the-american-revolution/#1. Accessed 7/4/14.

5) Maureen Taylor’s website: http://www.maureentaylor.com. Her books are available in bookstores as well.

6) “Ghosts of the Revolution”: http://www.maureentaylor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/ghosts_of_the_revolution.pdf

 

 

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Wordless Wednesday: Lee Family Clock

Lee Family Clock, St. Louis, Missouri
Lee Family Pillar Mantle Clock, St. Louis, Missouri

The family oral history is that this clock sat on the fireplace mantle in the household of Samuel Lenton Lee (1849-1932) and later his son, Samuel J. Lee (1879-1964), and then grandson, Lloyd Eugene “Gene” Lee (1907-1991). It is known positively that it belonged to Samuel J. Lee and Gene Lee, but not verified that it was owned by the elder Samuel Lee. The two younger Lees lived on Alamo in St. Louis, Missouri.

Lee Clock- Detail
Lee Clock- Pillar Detail

Inside it has printing on how to use and regulate the clock, and states “Made and sold by Seth Thomas, Plymouth Hollow, Connecticut. Warranted  Good.”

Lee Clock- Face
Lee Clock- Face

The clock is a wood veneer, possibly rosewood, with ebonized pillars and gold at the cap and base of the pillars. It appears that the clock face has been replaced as it has little wear. Note the “S” and “T” on the hands of the clock.

Further research is needed to date the clock. My very brief research suggests it may be from 1870-1875 or so.

The clock has not worked for more than a day or two since it has been in our possession, despite numerous rides to the clock repair shop.

Samuel Lenton Lee immigrated to Bunker Hill, Illinois in 1870, per censuses, at age 21, from his birthplace in Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire, England. (Family oral history stated the year as 1856, but he would only have been 7 at the time.) He arrived in New Orleans and took passage on a boat up the Mississippi to Macoupin County, Illinois. On 7 Oct 1878, he married Louisa Marie Brandenberger- perhaps the clock was a wedding gift? Samuel died in Bunker Hill, and his son Samuel J. moved to St. Louis, Missouri, sometime between 1906, when he married Dorothy Adele Aiken (1884-1953) in Bunker Hill, and 1910, when he is found in the US Federal Census in St. Louis, Missouri.

 

So okay, I really cannot do a Wordless Wednesday post, and this will be my last. But what good is seeing an artifact if one does not know the history to make it a family treasure?

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Family  treasure.

2) Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Bunker Hill, Macoupin, Illinois; Roll: 324; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0051; FHL microfilm: 1240324. Ancestry.com. Accessed 7/2/14.

3) Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: St Louis Ward 23, Saint Louis City, Missouri; Roll: T624_821; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0355; FHL microfilm: 1374834.

4) Dating clock: https://www.antiqueclockspriceguide.com/labelstrademarks.php?lm=Seth%20Thomas

5) See also Five Family Photos for Friday- Samuel J. Lee of St. Louis, Missouri  and That Place Thursday: Samuel J. Lee and Son Pharmacy, St. Louis, Missouri.

 

 

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.