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Mayor and Civil War vets barely escape injury in Dallastown memorial parade

Tuck postcard, Scott Mingus collection
Vintage Raphael Tuck & Sons postcard of a Civil War veterans parade (Scott Mingus collection)

After the Civil War, many veterans across the reunited nation strove to keep the memories of their fallen comrades, both blue and gray, alive for future generations. Veterans organizations such as the Grand Army of the Republic and its several Confederate counterparts, as well as individual regimental associations, usually had memorialization and commemoration at the core of their respective missions. Here in York County, Pennsylvania, like so many other communities, that effort extended to grass-roots efforts by small groups of veterans to keep their heritage alive.

One such example comes from the pages of the June 1, 1908, York Daily. The veterans of that town held a parade to remember their fallen comrades.

It happened in Dallastown in southeastern York County.

And, it almost turned tragic.

Dallastown vet article

“Seventeen veterans, all of the survivors of the civil war, residing in this neighborhood, paid tribute, on Saturday, to thirty-one of their comrades in arms who now rest in the five cemeteries in this immediate vicinity. Four of the survivors were, however, unable to take an active part on account of disability. Thus leaving only thirteen in line.

The sick are William Spotts, William Butcher, Henry Shermyer and Benjamin Sites; the survivors, Jacob Grim, Charles Kramer, Zechariah Shaw, Rufus Grim, Pius Minnich, Jacob Minnich, Enoch Hartman, John Rieker, Abel Hartman, of Dallastown; Levi C. Frey, Eli Rheam, from the county; John Sowers, Yoe, and H. W. Etter, Red Lion. Several of these were unable to walk and were taken in carriages.

The parade was one of the best in years. There were two bands in line, the Red Lion, which accompanied the Leo fire company, of that place, and the Dallastown Association, which headed the Rescue fire company. The veterans and members of the Order of Independent Americans led the procession. Five cemeteries were visited — Rome, Union, St. Paul’s Reformed, Catholic, and Blymire’s, but the principal services were held at the Union, where prayer was offered by the Rev. H[arry]. L. Eichinger and dirges rendered by the bands. Prayer was also offered up by the Revs. W. E. Brillhart and S. F. Greenhoe at other points. Tonight the Rev. W. E. Brillhart delivered the memorial address at Trinity U. E. church to a packed edifice.”

However, not everything went well for the participants. One of the dignitaries, Michael Hose, Jr., the Republican chief burgess of Dallastown since 1907 and a prominent local cigar and cigar box manufacturer, escaped what could potentially have been a disaster in a freak buggy accident.

“During the memorial parade Burgess Hose was thrown from his buggy, but escaped injury. His horse, which was well reined up, was confronted by a large flag in the hands of a parader and went down. The burgess held on to the lines, and when the animal came up it reared against the vehicle, toppling it over. Mr. Hose went backward, turned a somersault and landed upon his feet. The harness was along damaged by the accident. The horse was sent to the stable and the burgess took his place in line and went over the route on foot.”

That was not the only threatening incident.

The newspaper article continued… “Another team containing four veterans, scared at the trolley and tore lo[o]se from the traces, leaving the vehicle on the track. Prompt action of the motorman prevented a collision, he stopping the car within a foot of the team.”

For Michael Hose and the Civil War veterans, it had been a close call that day.

The parade and ceremonies went on.

To read more of the rich Civil War history of York County, pick up copies of history bloggers Scott Mingus and Jim McClure’s joint books, Civil War Voices from York County and Echoing Still: More Civil War Voices from York County, Pa., available from the authors or from the gift shop of the York County History Center.


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