Robert Morris Rides to D.C. – Day One
The following is a post by Valentine Brkich, RMU senior writer, who along with 27 other RMU staff members, students, alumni, and friends, is taking part in a 300-mile bike ride from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. Over the next five days, leading up to and in honor of Memorial Day, Val will be writing about each stop along the way and its connection to the Civil War, which began 150 years ago…
Boston (Pa.) to Ohio Pyle (Pa.)
Today is the first day of our five-day biking adventure to Washington, D.C. Our first stop along the way is Ohio Pyle—a quaint little town on a bend in the Youghiogheny River. In recent times Ohio Pyle has become known as a “trail town,” thanks to its location along the Great Allegheny Passage. It’s also a hot spot for whitewater rafting enthusiasts.
And, like many small towns across Pennsylvania, Ohio Pyle was not left untouched by the Civil War.
Take Ohio Pyle resident James Rowan (1810-1880), for example, who served in the war along with and four of his sons. James, husband of Catherine (Harbaugh) (1808-1893), enlisted in the 85th Pa. Volunteer Infantry, along with his son Leonard. Three other sons—David, Josiah and Jonas—all followed suit in various regiments.
Jonas (1833-1872) and his brother David (1845-1876) enlisted with Company F of the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Jonas was captured by the Confederates on Oct. 19, 1864, at Cedar Creek, Va. After the war he was sent to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where he was discharged on Aug. 24, 1865. In the winter of 1872, he contracted typhoid pneumonia and never recovered. David survived the fighting but was killed in a railroad accident in Fayette County in 1876, some 11 years after the war’s end.
Josiah (1833-1865) served in the 5th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company D, and died “on his way home from the war.” Nothing else is known of his service.
Leonard Rowan (1838-1862) enlisted with the 85th Pennsylvania Infantry and saw heavy action in the battle of Fair Oaks/Seven Pines, Va., on May 30-31, 1862. He also took part in the Seven Days’ Battle. On Aug. 18, 1862, while on a march from Harrison’s Landing, Va., he became ill and was transferred some 60 miles southeast to Hygeia General Hospital near Hampton, Va. He passed away shortly thereafter.
James, the father, died of heart disease on June 12, 1880, and is buried at the Indian Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in Mill Run (Fayette Co.) Pa., along with David, Josiah, and Jonas.
As I ride through this sleepy little town, people all around me biking and hiking and braving the rapids of the Yough, I think about the sacrifices made by the Rowan/Harbaugh family almost 150 years ago, and it makes me appreciate how truly lucky I am today. So to them I say thank you.
Now, if my legs recover by morning, it’s off to Cumberland…
Source: minerd.com; Author: Mark A. Miner