Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Charles G. Schwenk

This is the tombstone for my 2nd great grandfather, Charles G. Schwenk, at Braddock Cemetery in North Braddock, PA. It was also known as Old Braddock Cemetery and Russell Cemetery. He died on 12 November 1893 and is buried in the G.A.R. Plot.

Charles was born in or near Norristown, PA and enlisted in the Civil War in July of 1861. He served in the 82nd Pennsylvania Infantry in both Companies A and C and mustered out in July of 1865. But this tombstone doesn't seem to be him, right?

After looking at many records, I do believe that this is my ancestor Charles. First, the stone is newer, definitely not from 1893, as are many of the stones in the G.A.R. Plot. Below is Charles' Pennsylvania Veteran Burial Card, which was dated 1935.

The information found in this record confirms what I learned from Charles' Civil War muster rolls and pension records. He mustered out of Company C on 13 July 1865 as a First Sergeant and died on 12 November 1893.

I have been unable to find Charles' death in a Pittsburgh death register nor an obituary in the newspaper, but all of his military pension records as well as his wife's widow's pensions list the same death date. In the 1890 Pittsburgh City Directory, Charles is living in Swissvale, right next to Braddock. In the 1895 Pittsburgh City Directory, his wife Mary is listed as the widow of Charles G.

In addition, Charles' wife Mary was buried at Braddock Cemetery as well (according to her obituary as there is no tombstone). Many of Mary's family are also buried at Braddock, including her daughters, niece and nephew.

Lastly, I checked the roster of Company D of the PA 82nd Infantry, just in case there happened to be a "Schwek" veteran who died on the same date and was buried at Braddock. There is no Schwek on the roster.

So with the information that I have compiled from his military records, as well as census records and city directories, I do believe that this is the tombstone for my ancestor and that a mistake was made at a time long after his death.

There is much more to write about Charles's time in the Civil War and afterwards when he lived in the Braddock area, but those will have to wait for future posts.

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