Monday, July 8, 2013

Thomas A. Braden (1844 - 1911)

Thomas A. Braden, age 18
photo courtesy of Jack Braden

Thomas A. Braden
Born: July 1844 in Pennsylvania
Father: James Braden, Sr. (1812-1888)
Mother: Ellen "Elinor" Elliott (1814-1895)
Siblings: Mary (1837-1903); Margaret (1838-1917); Rachel A. (1840-?); William John (1841-1908); James Braden, Jr. (1842-1880); Arabella B. (1846-1916); Anna M. (1848-1886); Rebecca J.(1849-?); Susan Mariah (1853-?)
Children: James A. (1868-1891); Effie Frances (1869-1939); William John (1870-?); Charles H. (1872-?); Blanch (1874-?); Pearl (1876-?); Nellie S. Braden (1883-?)
Spouse: Mary E. Gorshorn (1844-1903), married 1865
Died: 26 January 1911
I just got this photo (above) from a distant cousin, Jack Braden of Allentown, PA, whom I did not know before. He discovered my genealogy blog when he googled our g-g-grandfather's name. 

It shows our great-great-grandfather, Thomas A. Braden, at age 18, about the time when he entered the Union Cavalry (17th Cavalry, 162nd Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers; Company A from Beaver County, PA) Sept. 6, 1862 at Harrisburg. He rode under General Buford, who was the first to engage the South at Gettysburg in a twelve-hour battle. They gave them stiff resistance and when they were nearly out of ammunition, they were relieved at the last moment. We think that Thomas fought in approximately 42 battles, all in PA, WV, VA and MD. His brother-in-law, a Potter, was killed next to him in battle. Thomas was "discharged by General Order on June 12, 1865." The company mustered out on June 16. 

According to the website Civil War Archive:

17th Regiment Cavalry (162nd Volunteers)
Organized at Harrisburg September to November, 1862. Left State for Washington, D.C., November 25, 1862. Attached to Cavalry Brigade, 11th Corps, Army Potomac, to February, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, Army Potomac, to August, 1864, and Army Shenandoah to March, 1865. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, Army Potomac, to June, 1865.

SERVICE.---Camp at East Capital Hill, Defenses of Washington, until December, 1862. Skirmish at Occoquan, Dumfries, Va., December 19. Occoquan December 19-20 and 27-28. Frying Pan, near Chantilly, December 29. Wiggenton's Mills February 6, 1863. Kelly's Ford April 28. Chancellorsville Campaign April 26-May 8. Rapidan River April 29. Chancellorsville April 30-May 6. Brandy Station and Beverly Ford June 9. Upperville June 21. Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 1-3. Williamsport, Md., July 6. Boonsboro July 8. Benevola or Beaver Creek July 9. Funkstown July 10-13. Falling Water July 14. Kelly's Ford July 30-August 1. Brandy Station August 1. Expedition from Leesburg August 30-September 2. Advance to the Rapidan September 13-17. Brandy Station and Culpeper C. H. September 13. Raccoon Ford September 14-16. Reconnaissance across the Rapidan September 21-23. Jack's Shop, Madison C. H., September 22. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Raccoon Ford and Morton's Ford October 10. Stevensburg October 11. Near Kelly's Ford October 11. Brandy Station or Fleetwood October 12. Oak Hill October 15. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. Parker's Store November 29. Demonstration on the Rapidan February 6-7, 1864. Kilpatrick's Raid on Richmond February 28-March 4. Fortifications of Richmond March 1. Ashland March 1. Reconnaissance to Madison C. H. April 28. Rapidan Campaign May-June. Wilderness May 5-7. Brock Road and the Furnaces May 6. Todd's Tavern May 7-8. Sheridan's Raid to the James River May 9-24. North Anna River May 9-10. Ground Squirrel Church and Yellow Tavern May 11. Meadow Bridge May 12. Line of the Pamunkey May 26-28. Hanovertown May 26. Hanovertown Ferry and Hanovertown May 27. Crump's Creek May 28. Haw's Shop May 28. Totopotomoy May 28-31. Old Church and Mattadequin Creek May 30. Bethesda Church, Cold Harbor, May 31-June 1. Bottom's Bridge June 1. Sheridan's Trevillian Raid June 7-24. Trevillian Station June 11-12. Newark or Mallory's Cross Roads June 12. White House or St. Peter's Church June 21. Black Creek or Tunstall Station June 21. Baltimore Cross Road, June 22. Jones' Bridge June 23. Demonstration on north side of the James at Deep Bottom July 27-29. Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign August 7-November 28. Toll Gate, near White Post, August 11. Near Newtown August 11. Cedarville, Guard Hill or Front Royal, August 16. Summit Point August 21. Kearneysville and Shepherdstown August 25. Leetown and Smithfield August 28. Smithfield Crossing of the Opequan August 29. Berryville September 6. Sevier's Ford, Opequan Creek, September 15. Battle of Opequan, Winchester, September 19. Middletown and Strasburg September 20. Near Winchester and Smithfield September 24. Fisher's Hill September 29 and October 1. Newtonia October 11. Winchester November 16. Expedition from Winchester into Fauquier and Loudoun Counties November 28-December 3. Expedition to Gordonsville December 19-28. Madison C. H. December 21. Liberty Mills December 22. Near Gordonsville December 23. Sheridan's Expedition from Winchester February 27-March 25, 1865. Occupation of Staunton March 2. Waynesboro March 2. Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9. Dinwiddie C. H. March 30-31. Five Forks April 1. Scott's Cross Roads April 2. Tabernacle Church or Beaver Pond Creek April 4. Sailor's Creek April 6. Appomattox Station April 8. Appomattox C. H. April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. Expedition to Danville April 23-29. March to Washington, D.C., May. Grand Review May 23. Consolidated with 1st and 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry to form 2nd Provisional Cavalry June 17, 1865.

Regiment lost during service 6 Officers and 98 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 128 Enlisted men by disease. Total 232.

Thomas was descended from our ancestor James Braden, who came to America in 1760. He was an Ulster Scot (Scots-Irish) immigrant from County Down, Ireland. His cousins were attacked, and one scalped, by Shawnee near the PA/Ohio border, and James formed a militia in 1782 to drive the Native Americans out. Fascinating history. To learn more, go here.

Thomas married Mary E. Groshorn in 1865, at age 21. They lived in New Brighton, PA, and had seven children: 
James A. 1867-
Effie Frances, 1869-1939
William John, 1870-
Charles H., 1872
Blanch, 1874-
Pearl, 1876-
Nellie S., 1883- 

We think this is a photo of Thomas A. Braden later in life.
Photo courtesy of Jack Braden
Thomas worked part of his life in the iron mill of Jones & Laughlin at Woodlawn. It was there that he sustained what must have been a fairly severe head injury that left him in constant pain, and was perhaps partially responsible for his taking his own life in 1911. His suicide was chronicled in the Beaver Falls Tribune on Jan. 27, 1911:

Clipping courtesy of Jack Braden
Here is the transcription:  
Brighton Veteran Commits Suicide
Thomas Braden of New Brighton went to this room in the Clyde House, turns on the gas and is dead when found an hour later
Was in poor health
Had been in poor health for several years due to a fall at the Jones & Laughlin Works when he was injured about the head
Well “Good bye” were the last words uttered by Thomas Braden of New Brighton as he left his friend Aaron Smith in the office of the Clyde house, New Brighton, yesterday afternoon and walked up to his room and committed suicide by the gas route.

Mr. Braden who was a well known resident of New Brighton, had been spending a few days in Pittsburg and returned on Tuesday. He was seated in the office talking to Mr. Smith and rising walked over to the key rack and took the key to his room No. 9 and with the above remark walked upstairs about 4:30 o’clock, which was the last seen of him alive.

As he had been a boarder at the hotel for several yeas nothing was thought of his actions but shortly after six o’clock the odor of escaping gas became quite strong and Proprieter Wm. Leckemby went upstairs to investigate and on walking along the hall found that the gas was coming from room No. 9. The door was forced and they were horrified to find the body of Mr. Braden lying on the floor.

That the suicide was premeditated was proven by the care with which it was carried out in detail. He had taken off his coat and laid it along the bottom of the door, then removed the hose from the gas stove, placed the hose in his mouth, turned on the gas, lay down and pulling a blanket over his head was dead when found.

Dr. Painter was summoned but his efforts were unavailing as the man was beyond human aid. Couch’s ambulance was called and the body removed to the morgue. No cause can be assigned for the rash act expect that of melancholia as Mr. Braden had been in poor health for some time and it is supposed he decided to end it all. Some time ago Mr. Braden sustained a bad fall from an open hearth furnace at the Jones & Laughlin works at Woodlawn and since that time had complained that his head hurt him greatly. He was 67 years of age and was born in Raccoon township in 1844. He had been a resident of New Brighton for many years and for the past two years had made his home with his daughter Mrs. Fred McDanel on Sixth avenue. He was a veteran of the Civil War, having been a member of the Seventeeth Pennsylvania cavalry. He is survived by three daughters Mrs. Fred McDanel and Mrs. Walter Harvey of New Brighton, and Mrs. Miles of Allentown, Pa. Two sons, William and C. H. Braden of Allentown, also survive.

Funeral services will be held from the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Fred McDanel at an hour to be announced later.

James Braden, Thomas’ cousin,
who moved to Missouri after the war.
Photo courtesy of Jack Braden

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