Sunday, June 19, 2011

Richard Baxter McDanel

The McDanel family, probably around 1900
Photograph and digital image in possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp
This is a photo of my great-great-grandparents, Richard Baxter McDanel and Lydia Ann Marquis McDanel, and their children. Richard and Lydia are the two older people seated, and my great-grandfather, Frederick, is in the back row on the left, with the wonderful mustache. A distant cousin has written me and identified her relation, Bertha, as the daughter seated on the far left. Here is a close-up shot of Richard taken from the photo above:

Richard Baxter McDanel
Born September 4, 1844 in North Sewickley Township, Beaver County, PA
Died November 21, 1912  in Beaver County, PA
Father: Abram McDanel, born 1802 New Brighton, Beaver Falls, PA. Died 1853 or 54
Mother: Hulda Hasen
Siblings: William, Samuel, Mary, Isaac
Wife: Lydia Ann Marquis McDanel, (1842-1928)
Buried in Grove Cemetery, Beaver County

Children of Richard Baxter McDanel and Lydia Ann Marquis McDanel:
1. Frederick born Sept. 1, 1868. Married Effie Braden. Children: Marion and Helen
2. Lewis (died young)
3. Bertha – Married Henderick LaVern Heesen
4. Frank S.
5. Orrin Palmer, born Feb. 8, 1879
6. Richard B.
7. Elizabeth – Married S. S. McCudy
8. Anna – Married A.C. Kirk

In Genealogical and Personal History of Beaver County Pennsylvania, Volume II, (1914) author John W. Jordan writes:
“Richard Baxter… attended the public schools of New Brighton, but had not yet completed his education when active hostilities between the North and South broke out. Closing his school books, he hastened to enlist as a private in Company C, 63rd Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, although he was compelled to add a year to his age to gain admission to the ranks. His term of service began in 1861 and continued three years, during which period he engaged in some of the bloodiest and most hotly contested conflicts of the war, deporting himself under all conditions as a gallant and brave soldier.

“Returning to Beaver County, he searched among the arts of peace for a suitable and congenial occupation, and finally deciding to learn the carpenter's trade. This he did, and from journeyman employment became the proprietor of a lumber and planing mill. Controlling, as he did, a source of supply, and with a thorough practical knowledge of his trade, he engaged in contracting and building. Beginning under such favorable circumstances, his enterprises met with profitable success, and he became one of the most prosperous business men of the county. Honorable dealing and strict consideration for the wishes of those for whom he was conducting operations gained him many clients, and universal satisfaction followed his extensive dealings.

“With the capital acquired in this line he entered the field of oil producing and in this, as in his previous experience, he prospered, acquiring a comfortable competence.  He was a shrewd financier, far-sighted and conservative in his investments, and during his connection with the Union National Bank as director was largely responsible for the successful career of that institution.

“For over forty years he was a member of the Methodist Protestant church, to which his wife and children also belonged and for many years of that period was a member of the official board. He married, March 19, 1868, Lydia, daughter of James and Elizabeth (Sawyer) Marquis, the Rev. H. Colhoner, of the Methodist Protestant church, performing the ceremony.”

R.B. McDanel Co. lumber, after the Beaver River flooded March 27, 1913.
Photograph and digital image in possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp
The clipping below is from an unknown source, given to me by a distant cousin who is the grand-daughters of Bertha McDanel, R.B. McDanel’s daughter. It has photos of Baxter, and four of his sons (Frederick, Frank, O.P., and R. B., Jr., who helped run the company, as well as a gorgeous interior staircase from a residence, and the exterior of an unidentified church (the caption may be cut off).

A closer shot of R.B. McDanel, Sr. from the clipping
Text from the clipping: R. B. McDanel & Sons, contractors and builders, located on the corner of First Avenue and Eleventh Street, New Brighton, are among the best in their line in western Pennsylvania. R. B. McDanel, the head of the firm, served three years in the 63rd Pennsylvania Volunteers in the rebellion, and was discharged in Pittsburg in 1865. He then went to work at anything that turned up, finally drifted into the carpenter business, learned the trade, and in 1876 started in business as a contractor and builder. In 1880 he associated with Hiram McClain and started a planning mill, under the firm name of McDanel & McClain. During the ten years of their business career together they did a large business, extending from Eastern Ohio to Pittsburg and Allegheny. In 1890 R. B. McDanel purchased the interest of Mr. McClain, and since [then] the business has been run under the firm name of R. B. McDanel & Sons, taking in the boys as soon as they were through school. They are all graduates of one or more colleges, but that did not make them afraid of hard work, as each one started in the business at the bottom and is working his way to the top and success if hard work and close …in business will do it. The firm keeps abreast of the times by constantly adding the latest machinery to the plant, and employing the most skilled mechanics. A run through their mill shows they are giving a great deal of attention to fine finish and stair work, nearly one-half of the space in their large plant being taken up with that class of work. …in this line is demonstrated by the fact that they have built stairs in some of the finest residences in Beaver, Rochester, Beaver county and also in the Sewickley valley…The also do a large business in slate and slate roofing, keeping always on hand slate of all kinds. They will make your plans and specifications and take a contract to build your house from cellar to finish, or any part of it in their line, and you can rest assured that the work will be managed by competent men.

Caption under interior shot: Interior of A.S. Mease’s (?) residence, Beaver, PA, R. B. McDanel & Sons, Builders

Internet records for Company C (“recruited at Pittsburg”) indicate that Richard “mustered in” on August 1, 1861 as a Private, served for three years, and “mustered out with Company, August 1, 1864.”
“Company C was organized in New Brighton, Beaver County, in the early part of August 1861. After completion of organization the company left New Brighton for Pittsburgh, Pa., amidst a large delegation of prominent citizens: fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, wives and sweethearts bidding a sad farewell to their loved ones.

“After arriving in Pittsburgh, the company went into camp at Camp Wilkins. In a short time orders were received that all men should be sent to Washington, D.C. Accordingly, on the 26th of August, two companies, under command of Captains Berringer and Kirkwood, and several squads temporarily organized in two additional companies, in all about four hundred men, including Company C, proceeded by rail to the National Capital without arms, uniforms, or equipments.

“During the early part of September 1861, a sufficient number of men had arrived in camp to complete a regiment, and toward the close of the month were transferred to Washington, where they joined the battalion which had preceded them. Their first camp was known as Camp Sprague. On September 28th they crossed the Potomac, and landing at Alexandria, Virginia, marched about two miles out the Leesburg Pike, where they encamped at what was known as Camp Shields. On October 14th they again moved, going across Hunting Creek to the farm of James Mason, on the Mount Vernon Road, and into winter quarters at Camp Johnston. From there they embarked on transports for Fortress Monroe, and began the memorable Peninsular campaign, followed with subsequent campaigns to the expiration of their term of service, September, 1864.

“Known as the “Hanna Guards”, the officers of Company C were:
  • Jason C. Hanna, Captain
  • Jos. A. Schonlaw, First Lieutenant
  • Charles W. Taylor, Second Lieutenant
  • Henry Hurst, First Sergeant”
Source:   Gilbert Adams Hays, Captain. Under the Red Patch: Story of the Sixty-third Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1864. Published by the 63d Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment Association. Pittsburg: Market Review Publishing Company, 1908.
letter written 26 December 1861 by Richard “Baxter” McDanel
Document and digital image in possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp
 The following is my transcription of the letter shown above:
26 December
Camp Jonston [Johnston]
I receved [received] your letter to day and was glad to hear from home [.] we ar [are] all well at preasant [present] [.] we had a nice day Chris mus [Christmas] if a person did not cair [care] what he said[.] we was routed out of bed that morning about 4 oclock [o'clock] and we started to Pohiek [Pohick Church, VA] once more and when we got their [there] they the rebbles [rebels] I mean had left[.] I supose [suppose] they wanted to draw us in to a trap but they was not sharp enough[.] we staid [stayed] there about to [two] hours when they shoad [showed] them self [themselves] on ahil [a hill] about to [two] miles off[.] when our artilery [artillery] threw a shel [shell] among them they scatered [scattered] like sheap [sheep] but they wood not fight[.]

So we had to come home and you may juge [judge] whether their [there] was enny [any] swerring [swearing] or not for we had thirty miles to march through as mudy [muddy] roads as ever you seen[.] So you know what kind of a Chris mus [Christmas] we had and I supoze [suppose] that new years will be the same and I expect that we will git [get] paid about the fifth of next month after the hollow days [holidays] or over and if thur [there] is a Box coming soon you will oblige me by sending a bottle off [of] Whisk [Whiskey] for I hant [ain't] had nothing to drink since I came out hear [here][.] the Boys are all giting [getting] fat sinc [since] cold wheuther [weather] came and iff [if] I ant [ain't git in [getting] fat I arta [ought to] for I eat all my ration at to [two] meals and have to buy grub for the other[.]

you wanted to know about that Box[.] well I was on gard [guard] the day it came and I did not see enny [any] but my one and it was all right and I did not hear enny Buddy [anybody] complaining I am very mutch [much] obliged to uncle for that to Baca [tobacco] he sent me[.]

well I havnt [haven't] got mutch [much] to say this time[.] we ar [are] giting [getting] along verry [very] well[.] we have one drill a day and that last [lasts] from six in the morning til Supertime [suppertime] So we have to wright [write] after knight [night] and if you cant [can't] read it you must not blame me[.] Give my best respects to all the girls[.]
Br McDanel
The following information is copied from the website for the 63rd Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers:
During the late summer of 1861, one hundred men from Beaver County, Pennsylvania banded together and enlisted en masse in the United States Army.  Their aim was to preserve the United States by helping to put down the confederacy.  This military unit was first called "Hanna's Light Guards," named for their commanding officer.  Later, they mustered in as Company C of the 63rd Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers.
The regiment embarked for Washington in August of 1861 and remained in camp there, transforming themselves from citizens into soldiers.  During this time recruiting continued in Pittsburgh until the regiment reached a full compliment of one thousand men.
The first time the men faced their enemy occurred at an obscure place called Pohick Church, Virginia. Three men were killed in this fight.  The regiment did not fare as well at all other battles for the remainder of the war.
The 63rd Pennsylvania embarked on General George McClellan's Peninsula Campaign during the spring of 1862.  Here, they fought in the Battles of Fair Oaks, Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Malvern Hill.  The 63rd lost one half of its men to battlefield casualties and disease during its first year of service.
The 63rd next participated in the Second Battle of Bull Run. At this engagement, the men charged an unfinished railroad cut that a rebel brigade had taken refuge behind.  After charging this position three times, the regiment finally gave ground. Of three hundred and fifty men who went into this fight, seventy-eight remained to answer roll call that evening. Among the casualties was Colonel Alexander Hays, who was severely wounded.
The next battle in which the 63rd found itself was at Chancellorsville. The regiment lost over one-third of its men through their valiant fight at this engagement. During the Battle of Gettysburg the 63rd found itself on the front lines and performed gallantly throughout the second day's fight.  Alexander Hays, now promoted to the rank of General, commanded a division that helped throw back the ill-fated Pickett's Charge.
During the fall of 1863, the 63rd received a large number of drafted men to swell its depleted ranks.  However, it never again reached the 1,000-man strength it had just sixteen months before.
During the spring of 1864, the regiment participated in General Grant's overland campaign to take Richmond.  They fought in the Battles of the Wilderness, Cold Harbor, Spotsylvania, and Petersburg.
On September 9, 1864, the three-year term of enlistment for the 63rd Pennsylvania officially ended, and the men were mustered out of service.  Of the one hundred and three men who left Beaver County in 1861, thirteen remained present for duty.  One dozen of their comrades, who made up the remainder of the company, lay seriously wounded in field hospitals.
I’m not sure if I have all my facts straight yet, but it looks like Richard’s great-grandparents, Rachel (1750-1824) and Archibald McDanel (1751-1819), immigrated to America from Scotland sometime before the Revolutionary War.

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    Richard Baxter McDanel was my Great Great Grandfather also, via his daughter Bertha. Bertha married Henderick LaVern Heesen. (not Heston)
    Joe Miksch