Newspaper Article on the 72nd Reunion of the Roundheads held Aug. 20, 1937, New Castle News, (Transcribed by Tami McConahy)

(Author's note: as of this reunion, there were just 5 Roundheads surviving)

New Castle News Friday, August 20, 1937

Three Survivors At Roundhead Reunion

Survivors and descendants of the 100th (Roundhead) Regiment held their 72nd annual reunion at the Y. W. C. A. building Thursday afternoon.

After dinner, at 12 o’clock, a short program was given, with Fred. L. Rentz presiding as toastmaster. Short addresses were given b Judge James A. Chambers, Mayor Charles McGrath, William H. Dunlap, and Rev. J. J. McIlvane.

Gives History

James P. Sankey, of Crafton, Pa., a member of the regiment told why it was given the name “Roundhead”. When the call for war was sounded in 1861 and President Lincoln called 175,000 volunteers, among the first to respond was a New Castle man, Dr. Daniel Leasure, whose military training especially fitted him for the service of recruiting soldiers. The companies of Lawrence Guards were comprised of first class young men from the town of New Castle and surrounding territory and their conduct was such as to win the favor of the people of Maryland and the government officers in Washington. After the termination of the three month period of service for which they had been taken, they went to the secretary of war and asked to be allowed to organize their own independent regiment. The secretary asked him if he could bring out as good men as composed those two companies guarding the bridges out on the Gunpowder. The captain replied that he had no other kind to bring. The general then said they would call them Roundheads, thus complimenting Secretary Cameron who prided himself on being a descendant of the Old English Roundheads.

The Roundhead Regiment, Penn- (missing lines on copy)

After three years, ten months and twenty-four days, it was mustered out.

Five members of the regiment are still living, three of whom were present at the reunion. They were: James P. Sankey, of Company K, Crafton, Pa.; John B. Rodgers, of Company E, New Castle, Pa., and J. S. Marshall, of Company M, Karns City, Pa. Jacob G. Womer, of Los Angeles, and William H. Floore, of Houston, Texas, did not attend.

There were also five sons, ten daughters and four grandsons of members present in addition to three widows: Mrs. R. M. Weller, of Chicago; Mrs.. M. K. McDowell, of Beaver Falls, and Mrs. Offutt, of New Castle.

The deaths reported for this last year were William H. Huffman, of Company D, a sergeant from 1861 to 1865, who died in New Port Ritchey, Fla., on November 17, 1936; Archibald Barnes, of Company H, served from February 21, 1864, until honorably discharged on July 24, 1865, who died in Sandy Lake on September 24, 1936; and T. Bert Wagner, a vice president of the organization, son of Philip Wagner, of Company H, who died April 19, 1937.


Re-Elect Officers

This year’s officers were all re-elected. They are: President, James P. Sankey, of Crafton; vice presidents, William H. Dunlap, James A. Chambers; chaplain. Rev. William H. Floore, Houston, Texas; secretary and treasurer, Miss Anna Gilliland of New Castle; honorary secretary, Miss Laura Stevenson of New Castle; chairman of history committee, Dr. Gyla McDowell of Geneva College, Beaver Falls; chairman of membership committee, Miss Frances McDowell of Beaver Falls. Dr. Gyla McDowell is writing a history of the regiment.

While looking through some old papers recently, Honorary Secretary Laura Stevenson, discovered a sermon delivered in the Rich Hill and Leesburg churches on June 1, 1865, by Rev. Samuel A. Huges, (sic Hughes) the pastor. The subject “Why Was President Lincoln Assassinated?” The text was taken from Deuteronomy” the 29th chapter, 24th verse, which reads, “Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land.”

The decorations and flowers for the event were donated by Mrs. Norman Patton, a granddaughter of Richard Gardner, a member of Company I.

Thos who attended the reunion from out-of-town were Mr. And Mrs. Bert Stevenson of San Juan, Porto Rico. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Westlake of New Cumberland, W. Va.; Mr. And Mrs. W. A. Hobbs and Dr. Laura Hobbs of Miami, Fla; Mr. And Mrs. Paul Clark of West Middletown, Pa.; Mrs. Jennie Henderson, daughter of Mr. Sankey of Crafton; Mrs. J. M. Walker of Slippery Rock; S. W. Armstrong of Zelienople; Miss Nettie Sharp of New Wilmington; Dr. Gyla McDowell of Beaver Falls; Mrs. Wills of Erie; Mrs. Hanna Sort of Dallas, Texas, and Walter Stevenson of West Newton.

Miss Laura Stevenson, of State St. who is honorary secretary of the Roundhead Reunion Association received the following two letters from the two members of the Roundhead Regiment who were unable to attend their reunion Thursday at the Y. W. C. A.

One if from Jacob D. Womer of Los Angeles: “I want to extend my best wishes to all those attending the annual reunion of the Roundheads. I would like to be there but it is a long trip and I do not feel up to it. I was 89 in March and except for a few days in May, have been exceptionally well. I will be with you on the nineteenth in thought and spirit. And so again, greetings and best wishes from an old comrade.”

The other is from the Rev. William H. Floore, who was a Methodist minister for over fifty years in Houston, Texas; “As it will be impossible for me to attend the seventy-second annual reunion of the Roundhead Regiment, I hereby send a word of greeting to each member who is able to be there. I trust this will be a happy event for all and especially would I enjoy meeting the Hon. William Dunlap, son of a member of my old company. My health has failed until I am now unable to leave the house, but I still find the South a pleasant place in which to live. My children were reared here – nine men and women of the South – proving that there need be no longer any ill feeling between us. In all, life has been kind to me. I shall look forward with keen interest to the reading of the news report of this reunion and may it be for each of you the very happiest.”


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