Civil War Voices from York County, Pa. Now Available at York County Heritage Trust
Popular authors Scott Mingus and Jim McClure, in conjunction with the York Daily Record/Sunday News, York County Heritage Trust and Pennsylvania Civil War 150, have just published Civil War Voices from York County, Pa.: Remembering the Rebellion and the Gettysburg Campaign. They used letters, diaries, oral histories and newspaper accounts to tell the stories of York County area Civil War soldiers and civilians, of their experiences on the battlefield and here at home during the Confederate invasion. The book is now available at York County Heritage Trust Museum Shops at 250 East Market Street and at 217 West Princess St. Both shops are open every day except Sunday and Monday.
Diaries and letters are invaluable windows into the past. The writers recorded what was happening at the moment. They often wrote their innermost thoughts, allowing us to know them better now than their families, friends and comrades at arms, who surrounded them knew them then.
There are quite a few photos of soldiers and others in the book, many passed down through the families. The Lewis Miller drawing, courtesy of York County Heritage Trust, on the cover is part of a larger scene depicting York troops at the train station, ready to depart in September 1861. (The whole scene has been reproduced on a larger scale as one of the Murals of York, painted by Justine Landis and Lori Straup, in Cherry Lane in downtown York.)
The authors were kind enough to credit me with editing the manuscript, even though it was more a case of proofing for the occasional typo. I did enjoy the opportunity to preview each story and marvel at the events experienced by those York countians of not so long ago. The lives of many of us today were influenced by those experiences. One story, on page 26 of Civil War Voices certainly affected my family:
The family story goes that Ovid Pinney “Jerry” Reno was born in Beaver County in western Pennsylvania. When the Civil War broke out he was a boatman on the Mississippi River and forced to join the Confederates. Captured by the Federals, he was allowed to go back to Pennsylvania and enlist in the Union Army. Instead of Beaver County, he came with a friend to Chanceford Township to enlist. He was wounded in a troop train wreck in Virginia and came back to York County to settle after the war. Jerry was my husband’s great-grandfather. If it was not for the twists and turns of Jerry’s life because of the Civil War, a very large number of Reno descendants would have never existed here, and I would have never had one to marry.