Capt. Andrew Ivory, Sr.


CAPT. ANDREW IVORY, Sr., was born at Brownsville, Fayette Co., Pa., May 31, 1825. His parents were Francis Joseph Ivory and Mary (Parsons) Ivory. He was named for his grandfather, who was a silk weaver in the city of Dublin. His father came to this country in 1812 and followed his trade as a jeweler and watchmaker in and about Pittsburgh until his death, in 1854. His mother, who was of English and French descent, was born near Chambersburg, Pa., and lived until 1862. Their family comprised four daughters and one son, the subject of this sketch. Most of Andrew's life, until he reached his majority, was spent in Pittsburgh. He worked for men in business and in shops, and all of his earnings were needed to assist in supporting the family. In 1846 he concluded to choose the life of a farmer, and made his purpose known to Caleb Lee, who was the owner of 1,100 acres of land known as the "White Oak Levels," lying near Hulton and Oakmont, in Allegheny county. He was employed, and later became a tenant of Mr. Lee on one of his best farms. He cleared forty acres of heavily timbered land and fenced and cultivated it. In July, 1848, he married Catherine (Schroeder) Rigby, and thus formed a union which continued for more than fifty-six years. Mrs. Ivory's father, John Henry Schroeder, came from the city of Amsterdam, Holland, to this country, and was a son of the well-known historical family of that name. Her mother was born in York county Pa. In the spring of 1857 he purchased farm near White Rock station, in Armstrong county, and removed to that place, known as the "Forks" section of this county. He was a very strong, active, energetic man, at his work early and late, and soon made his labor count in the appearance of the farm and its products and made many friends. One incident of his thrift may be noted: During the year of the blighting frost, which killed the wheat throughout this county, his crop was so advanced as to not be injured, and he garnered over 225 bushels in his harvest that year. Instead of speculating on his neighbors' misfortune, nearly all of his wheat crop was loaned out to them for seed, and returned the next year bushel for bushel.

In politics he was a Whig and Republican, and a strong supporter of the candidacy and administration of President Lincoln. He was a pronounced and radical Unionist. When the war of the Rebellion broke out his family consisted of wife and six children, the youngest an infant and the eldest less than thirteen years. His loyalty and duty to country and his affection and duty to family caused him great anxiety, and he was sorely tried, for it seemed almost cruel to leave his helpless little family. The country's call and patriotism prevailed, and committing all to God's care, one September morning in 1861, he left the loved ones and hastened to join the Army of the Potomac, enlisting in Capt. S. M. Jackson's company, "G," 11th P. R. V. C., then at Camp Pierpont, on the Potomac. The history of that regiment is his history for many months subsequent. In the "On to Richmond" movement those brave boys realized all that war means. At the seven days' fight his regiment was captured, and he with others suffered the horrors of Libby and Belle Isle. He often referred to this time as "While I was boarding with Jeff Davis." His family did not know whether he was living or dead. At this period, in July, 1862, his mother died, while he was a prisoner. He was finally exchanged, and again in active service at the battles of Antietam and South Mountain, where he was slightly injured and almost lost his life. Here he was elected from the ranks to be second lieutenant of the company, and owing to the disability of the captain and first lieutenant he acted as -and was always so called thereafter�captain, until the battle of Fredericksburg, where he was severely wounded in the right leg while at the head of Company G, charging the enemy; he was so disabled that in June of the following year he was honorably discharged after being promoted to and receiving a commission as first lieutenant of his company. His commissions were issued to him by Pennsylvania's great war governor, Andrew G. Curtin, who knew him personally.

At the time he was wounded Captain Ivory realized that the charge on the enemy's works would not succeed. He had led forty-six men of Company G into the battle and only seven remained, the others either killed or wounded. At the time he enlisted, George Jack, son of Andrew Jack, who was a near neighbor, went with him and entered the same company, and they were messmates. By reason of being at the time in the hospital George had not been captured in the seven days' battle. Both were wounded at the same time, while crossing a railroad at Fredericksburg, and had fallen in the ditch below the level of the tracks and lay side by side. The Captain spoke to George, who was moaning greatly with pain, and asked him where he was George, pointing to his left leg, said his knee was shattered; the Captain then told him that they must get back out of that place, there were no supports coming up and they were bound to be captured, and that he had all of "Jeff Davis"' boarding that he wanted; George said he could not go and on being urged that it was the only hope of safety said he was not able to do so. Soon afterward he was captured, his leg amputated and he was taken to Richmond, where he died nine days later.

Maj. John Hill, of the same regiment, was also wounded at the same time in the arm, and was nearby, and seeing the Captain crawling back went to him and said, "Captain, if you must go back I'll help you all I can and took hold of his arm saying I have one good arm left." They went a few paces only when a minie ball passed through his head, and with a moan of "Oh my!" he sank to the ground dead. But the captain was determined not to be captured again, and though suffering intense pain and weak through loss of blood, he persisted until he had crawled back nearly a mile, and by this brave action and foresight no doubt saved his life. He was taken to Washington (D. C.) hospital, where he had the good fortune to be attended by a surgeon of superior ability, who was able to save his limb from amputation. Here he had the pleasure of frequently seeing and shaking the hand of the famous and loved President Abraham Lincoln.

There was great joy over the home coming. In 1864 he sold the farm and in 1865 purchased another near Slate Lick, in this county, where he lived until 1884. He then retired from the farm and lived in Kittanning. In 1889 he moved to Clarion, Pa., and in 1893 moved to Oakmont, where he and his wife celebrated their golden wedding July 27, 1898, and she lived until Jan. 1, 1903. When Mrs. Ivory's death broke up their happy home, he soon after returned to Kittanning, where he lived with his daughter, Mrs. J. F. Keener, until his death, May 9, 1908. He was buried beside his wife in the cemetery at Oakmont, in sight of the farm where they began their long happy married life together. They were members of the Presbyterian Church, in which he was a ruling elder for several years. He was a member of the G. A. R.

It may be truthfully recorded of Capt. Andrew Ivory that he was loyal to family, to friends, to country and to God, and was ever ready and willing to serve these to the best of his knowledge and ability. His honesty and integrity of character were as genuine as it is possible to find in humanity, and their children and those who knew them revere and honor their memory and rejoice in the unceasing influence of their lives. The following named children survive these parents: Alfred L. Ivory, Esq., of Kittanning, Pa., who married Harriett E. Morrison, daughter of William B. Morrison, of Slate Lick, Armstrong Co., Pa.; Mary Ann, intermarried with Jacob Frantz Keener, of Kittanning, Pa., who was born and raised near Slate Lick, Pa.; Andrew E. Ivory who married Mary E. Larkins, since deceased, and Georgia E. Steele, who was born and raised near Monterey; Francis Joseph Ivory, who married Dora E. Hodges; Robert B. Ivory. Esq., who was married to Mary E. Galbreath, of Winfield township, Butler county, and who died in October, 1913 (the three brothers last named are residents of Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Ella Jane, intermarried with Alfred C. Gray, of Columbus, Ohio.

Mrs. Ivory, who had been previously married, brought her little daughter, Amelia Savilia Rigby, with her into the home, and she too became one of Captain Ivory's family. Before the war she was married to J. Wade McLaughlin, of Unity Station, Allegheny Co., Pa., where she still resides. These children above named have been and are recognized and respected as among the best citizens and useful members of society in the respective places where they reside. They are a long-lived, industrious and honorable race of people, lovers of home, worshipers of God, and loyal and true to the duties of life and their native land.

Source: Pages 752 - 754, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed February 1999 by Doris Rizza for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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