Glen Rock claimed youngest Civil War soldier from York County
Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, has a long and storied history. A young English immigrant, William Heathcote, visited the area in southern York County and liked it so much he decided to make it his home. In March 1837, he purchased a 93-acre farm from a man who was planning to move to Ohio. Heathcote constructed a water-powered woolen mill along the Codorus Creek and began shipping wool on the new Baltimore & Susquehanna Railroad to York and Baltimore.
Heathcote plotted a village and sold lots to prospective home builders. By 1843, the village had grown to the point of having a post office. Heathcote chose the name Glen Rock, based upon some readings from one of his favorite authors, Sir Walter Scott, from his home country. A school and later a church were erected and the small village prospered. A local caroling group soon came into being in 1848 (and the modern Glen Rock Carolers still entertaining crowds to this day).
Heathcote and his brothers in 1851 built a larger woolen mill and sold off his earlier one, which another businessman converted into a grist mill. The railroad attracted other industry, including a machine and tool shop. In 1859, with population of about 200 people, Glen Rock became a borough.
In January 1847, Glen Rock’s Henry and Eva Seitz Dise had a baby boy they named Uriah Seitz Dise.
Little could Uriah dream as he grew up that he would later hold the distinction of being the youngest Civil War soldier from all of York County.
And, by some accounts, the youngest infantryman carrying a musket in the entire North.
According to a pair of vintage newspaper clippings graciously sent to me by John Huffnagel of the Glen Rock Historic Preservation Society, young Dise was only 14 years old when he enlisted. [editor’s note: blogger Scott Mingus’s great-great-grandfather, Johnny Sisson, enrolled at age 15 as a drummer boy in the 51st Ohio Volunteer Infantry.]
Apparently there had been some controversy as to the youngest soldier from York County in the late war, with East Hopewell Township claiming the honor. The editor of the Glen Rock Item decided to set the record straight in the October 4, 1889, edition of his paper when a new claimant came forward, a local man.
“Glen Rock Claims the Youngest Soldier
“In our last issue will be found that East Hopewell Township claims the youngest soldier that carried a musket in the late war, in the person of D. A. Miller, of Co. C, 130th Regiment, P[ennsylvania]. V[olunteers]., who was born March 19, 1847, and enlisted August 6, 1862. Since then we have been informed that our town boasts of that honor as U. S. Dise, our clever cabinetmaker, claims to be the youngest soldier to shoulder a musket in defence of his country during the late struggle. He was born January 10, 1851, and enrolled February 20, 1865, Co. E, 101st Pennsylvania Volunteers, being fourteen years old at the time of his enlistment.”
According to researcher Dennis W. Brandt, when Dise enlisted in the army in the winter of 1865 he was living with Henry and Leah Seitz Tyson in Springfield Township. Dise was then 5′ 6″ tall, with light hair and gray eyes.
On July 11, 1913, the Item ran this additional story, expanding the claim to Dise being the youngest soldier in the entire Union army during the war.
“Mr. U. S. Dise, Pleasant Street, who spent last week at the Veterans’ reunion at Gettysburg, was probably the youngest soldier in the Northern army during the late Civil War. At the time he was mustered into service he was just a month more than fourteen years of age. There were boys in the army as youthful or even younger in years, but they served as drummer boys and were not carrying a musket in the ranks as Mr. Dise did from the time of his enlistment.
“Army men and those given to historical research have for years attempted to locate the most youthful soldier in the ranks of the Northern army and there has been much discussion regarding this question and many claims made for this one and that one. Quite frequently papers have published the fact that the youngest soldier had just died. Mr. Dise has never attempted to get recognition as the youngest volunteer of the Civil conflict, but he was more youthful at the time of his enlistment than any of those so far named in print for this honor. There is little doubt that if all historical data and army records were available the fact would be established that Mr. Dise, our own townsman, was the youngest lad that carried a musket in the ranks during the war between the states.”
After the war, Dise married married Elizabeth Roser on March 30, 1875, in York. The couple had seven children: Alma Eva (b. 06/01/77), Curvin Edgar (b. 03/07/80), Bertha (b. 9/15/1882), Clarence C. (b. 6/27/1885), Edna May (b. 04/07/88), Jennie Catherine (b. 09/12/90), Harvey Daniel (b. 02/03/93), Paul Henry (b. 08/26/95), Esther A. (12/12/1897, and a daughter who only lived two days (b. 05/04/03, d. 05/06/03). Dise was a noted cabinetmaker and woodcrafter.
Uriah Dise died on June 15, 1923. He is buried in Glen Rock’s Lutheran (Chestnut Hill) Cemetery.
Feel free to share the stories of your York County Civil War ancestors with blogger Scott Mingus for possible future publication! Simply send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org.