Brief Account of the Services Performed by Bedford and Somerset County Troops, war of 1812-15 - List of. Members of Capt. Sparks’ Company - The Amount of Pay Received by Each An Appraisement of Arms and Equipments - The Members of Capt. Hoff’s Company Capt. Rhoads’ Company - The Mexican War Volunteers - Capt. Samuel Taylor’s Company - Its Movements and Battles - List of its Members.

Soon after the declaration of war by the United States against England, in the summer of 1812, recruiting for soldiers to take the field, under the orders of the general government, was commenced in the counties of Bedford and Somerset. As a result, Capt. Solomon Sparks’ company, of Bedford county, and Capts. Hoff’s and Jonathan Rhoads’ companies, of Somerset, were organized. It is well known that the companies commanded by Capts. Sparks and Hoff marched through the wilderness to the Canadian frontier and, there performed efficient service. Of Capt. Rhoads’ company there is no record to prove that they were accepted or mustered into service. It is also claimed that two other companies were raised in Somerset county, but no mention of them is made in the "Muster-Rolls of the War of 1812-14," published under authority of the state.

From original rolls and the volume above referred to, it has been ascertained that the members of Capts. Sparks’, Hoff’s and Rhoads’ companies were as follows:


Names borne upon the "Pay Roll of Captain Solomon Sparks’ company of Riflemen, attached to the Second Regiment of Riflemen, commanded by Colonel William Piper, in the service of the United States, from the State of Pennsylvania, Brigadier General Adamson Tannehill commanding, commencing the 25th of September and ending the 24th of November, 1812 (both days included)."

Captain: Solomon Sparks.
Lieutenant: James Piper.
Ensign: David Fletcher.
1st sergeant: Joseph Armstrong. 2d sergeant: John Paxton. 3d sergeant: James Wilson. 4th sergeant: Philip Steckman.
1st corporal: John Mortimore. 2d corporal: James Sparks. 3d corporal: Volluntine (Valentine?) Steckman. 4th corporal: William Wilson.
Fifer: Solomon Whetstone.
Drummer: Samuel Lysinger.
Privates: Henry Stover, David Piper, Solomon Holler, James England, Henry Clinger, Frederick Young, John Steckman, Jacob Phillips, Philip Carn, Robert Hamilton, Joseph Morris, Joseph Sparks, John Hinish, David Swartz, Peter Barndollar, Reason Donaldson, Henry Wassing, Joshua Pickering, Samuel McCasling, Achor Henry, Daniel Casner, Samuel Smith, Edward Means, Jacob Casner, Jacob Runard, Abraham Sparks, Joseph Means, Henry Richey, Elijah Morris, Joseph Sparks, Sr., William Cook, Abel Griffith, James Gardner, Evan Griffith, Henry Smith, John Deal, David Runard and William McCarty, a total of fifty-one men.

The pay-roll further indicates that the pay per month for officers and enlisted men was as follows: Captain, $40; lieutenant, $30; ensign, $20; sergeants, $8; corporals and musicians, $7.33; privates, $6.66. Prior to the date of this muster for pay, however, and while at Meadville, Pennsylvania (October 21, 1812), en route for the seat of war on the northern frontier, an appraisement of arms, etc., carried by the members of the company was made. By scanning the results of this "appraisement" it appears that the captain, lieutenant and ensign, as well as the two musicians, carried rifles the same as the non-commissioned officers and privates. The most valuable weapon was owned by Samuel Smith. It was valued at $25. Capt. Sparks came next with one worth $23, while Solomon Holler shouldered a weapon worth but $8. The pouch and horn carried by each man were rated in value at from 75 cents to $2.50.


A pay-roll of Capt. Frederick Hoff’s company of Pennsylvania volunteers attached to the Fifth battalion, Second detachment, Pennsylvania militia, under the command of Brigadier-General Richard Crooks, in the service of the United States. Commencement of service, October 2, 1812; expiration of service, April 16, 1813, fifteen days volunteering including.

Captain: Frederick Hoff.
Lieutenant: Peter Huston.
Ensign: Jacob Saylor.
Sergeants: William Cooper, William McGinnis, Henry Tantlinger, Jacob Anawalt.
Corporals: Mathias Swinehart, William Larkins, Jacob Fields, John Fox.
Drum Major: John Lint.
Privates: William Gruber, John Kritzer, Levi Grible, Valentine Houpt, John Graft, Jacob Cover, Arthur Nelson, Jacob Saylor, Thomas Faith, George Kennedy, Samuel Jones, Jacob Serley, Henry Gray, Samuel Gray, Rush Ganet, Adam Snyder, Philip Nedrow, Peter Nedrow, Andrew Hipsher, John Cramer, John Sterner, Michael Lingafelter, John Houpt, James Pennel, David Stahl, Jacob Hartzell, Tobias Johnston, George Woods, John Whysong, John McKnight, John Drury, Joseph Bosh, John Cummins, David Howard, Alexander Linn, Elijah Wright, Peter Henry and John Davis.

I do certify on honor that the within pay-roll is correct and the remarks set opposite the men’s names are accurate and just. FREDERICK HOFF, Captain.

Of the foregoing list of members, Sergt. Henry Tantlinger and privates Jacob Serley, Samuel Gray, John Cramer and Jacob Hartzell were discharged at the expiration of six months’ service. Private John McKnight died at Upper Sandusky, Ohio, January 22, 1813. The remainder of the company served fifteen days longer than the specified term of six months.


A muster roll of Captain Jonathan Rhoads’ Rifle Company, attached to the First Battalion of the One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Regiment, who have offered their services to the Governor in substitution of the drafted militia from the One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Regiment, of the First Brigade, Twelfth Division, Pennsylvania Militia.

Captain: Jonathan Rhoads.
Lieutenant: Peter Bowman.
Ensign: Philip Zimmerman.
Privates: James Alexander, John Alexander, William Alexander, Christian Berkey, Daniel Bisacker, Frederick Bisacker, George Barron, Jacob Baunbrack, Henry Brucker, David Dinning, John Dinning, Joseph Emmert, William Faith, Peter Fleck, Henry Flout, John Frownhizizer, Peter Gardner, John Gohn, George Hess, Daniel Homer, Samuel Homer, David Howard, Philip Hoffman, Conrad Keiser, Henry Metzler, Adam Mowser, Jacob Rhoads, Elias Bittner, John Seese, David Shaver, Jacob Shoemaker, David Showman, Robert Smiley, Jacob Stahl, Matthias Stern, William Storm, David Tomm, Frederick Wright, George Youngman and William Yautzler.

We, the subscribers, officers of the above company, do respectfully offer our services to his excellency Simon Snyder, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as above stated. Witness our hands at Stoystown, Brigade Inspector’s Office, June 15, 1812.

During the war with Mexico Bedford county furnished one full company of volunteers, namely, Co. L, of the 2d regiment, besides a considerable number of men who were recruited for the regular army by Lieut. Crittenden, at Bedford, in the summer of 1846. Somerset county had a few representatives in Co. L, of the 2d regt. Penn. Vols., also in Ringgold’s, Bragg’s and the Washington (Carlisle) artillery commands.

The company styled the "Independent Greys" of Bedford, was recruited in the spring of 1847. "This fine company," said the editor of the Bedford Gazette, under date of May 21, 1847, "is now full and will march tomorrow for Pittsburgh, from which place they will proceed directly to the seat of war. Enrolled in this company are many of Bedford county’s noblest sons and bravest men. The company numbers about eighty men besides officers. It is useless to eulogize the officers of this company, suffice it to say they are of the very best material. The officers are Capt. Samuel M. Taylor (then county treasurer*), First Lieut. Levi W. Smith, Second Lieuts. David H. Hofius and John Keeffe."

On Saturday morning, May 22, 1847, the "Greys" left Bedford en route for Pittsburgh. Seated in wagons and carriages and escorted by a large number of their Bedford friends, the "boys" reached Stoystown, Somerset county the same day. From that point they journeyed on foot to Pittsburgh. A river steamer conveyed them to New Orleans in due time, and during one of the last days in June they landed at Vera Cruz, Mexico. After an arduous march from that city under the scorching rays of a July sun, meanwhile skirmishing daily with Mexican guerrillas, the command reached Puebla, and joined the main body of Gen. Scott’s army but the day before the march on the city of Mexico commenced. The "Greys" were then designated as Co. L, 2d regt. Penn. Vols., Col. William B. Roberts in command, of Quitman’s division. At Contreras and Churubusco, the 2d regiment occupied positions of much honor and no little peril, but its losses were trifling. In the storming of Chapultepec, however, and at the Gareta de Belen (Belen Gate) the 2d regiment was in the foremost of the fight. It won imperishable renown, and was the first regiment to enter within the walls of the Mexican capital. Afterward it was stationed at San Angel.

Of Capt. Taylor and his company a correspondent then wrote: "He has gained himself a name for bravery and coolness in battle which might be envied by any officer in the army. The Bedford men acted throughout the battles in which they were engaged with great credit, especially John Murray, a son of William Murray, of Bloody Run." Dr. Samuel D. Scott, of Bedford, then serving as assistant surgeon with one of the Pennsylvania regiments, in a letter addressed to his wife and dated city of Mexico, October 10, 1847, said: "The Bedford company was in the storming party at the battle of Chapultepec** and gained great credit for its bravery and promptness. Capt. Taylor acted gallantly and has proved himself one of the bravest of the brave. Lieut. Keeffe was wounded slightly in the right shoulder, but is now almost well. Lieuts. Smith and Hofius are well, as also Sergts. Davis and Harman. Alex. Jones, from Schellsburg, lost a leg, but is doing well. Sergt. Farmer was also wounded and is since dead. John Harman was shot through the knee at Churubusco and died a few days since. Lieut. Wm. Findlay Mann is at Puebla, where his company was left when we took up the line of march for this city." On the 16th of the same month Dr. Scott again wrote, saying: "The Bedford company, officers and men are doing well. There is not a more gallant and intrepid company in the army, and none are more esteemed for their deeds of daring at Chapultepec. None from about Bedford were killed in the battles except poor John Harman, who lingered nearly two months in the hospital. This is a great city, but about the meanest inhabitants that you could possibly conceive of. They are lazy, cowardly, thievish, Jewish, rascally, murderous scoundrels; these terms you may think too uncharitable, but I can assure you that as severe as they may appear, they will give you but a poor idea of this degraded people."

Col. Roberts died of disease in the city of Mexico on the 3d of October, 1847, and the command of the regiment devolved upon Lieut.-Col. John W. Geary, afterward governor of Kansas, major-general in the Union army, war of 1861-5, and governor of Pennsylvania. On the 6th of December, 1847, Capt. Taylor died in the city of Mexico after a brief illness. On the following day Nathan McMullin, in a letter addressed to his father, after mentioning the death of Capt. Taylor, said, "everything looks sad and gloomy— we are almost without officers, and I do not know how things will end. Every one is downhearted for the loss of our brave commander, and well we may be, for he was as kind to us as a man could be, and as brave in action as any man in the army. Lieut. Smith is getting him embalmed and will send him home to his friends. Dr. Scott will return home with the first train that leaves. Capt. Moore’s company arrived here today. Samuel Minnick, David Over and George Leader are well. Biven Davis will be lieutenant.

Lieut. Keefe reached home on Sunday, December 19, 1847, and on the 8th of January following he was the chief guest at a banquet, and the recipient of a handsome sword presented by his old friends and neighbors. Of the members of the Bedford company, he mentioned that besides his own injuries, Corporal A. J. Jones had his right leg shot off, and died of his wounds. William Grubb was killed, Yarn missing, private Smith died of his wounds, Thomas Davis wounded badly in head; Joseph Lutz in shoulder; Christ. Malone, James Stewart and Bishop wounded slightly; Eli Friend and George Reed had died of diarrhea.

Lieut. Hofius arrived in Bedford December 29, 1847, and Dr. Scott on Friday, January 14, 1848. During the same month Biven Davis wrote home that he had become second lieutenant, and Lieut. Smith captain, of Co. L. On the 29th of February, Abraham E. Schell, in writing from San Angel said: "Our company has been much reduced by disease and battles since we came to Mexico. We now number forty-five, including non-commissioned officers and privates. We report twenty-four men fit for duty." Five days later the same writer added, "We have lost fifteen of our men since we landed at Vera Cruz. To, tell you who in our company of the rank and file distinguished themselves would be impossible. All who were in the charge acted most gallantly. Somerset county may be proud of the noble conduct of her sons in our company. The motto of our little band was honor or death— honor to the last. Pennsylvania was at stake and gloriously did we see her through."

The regiment, with Col. Geary in command, reached Pittsburgh, via the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, on July 10, 1848. A few days later many citizens of Bedford drove out to Stoystown, there met the worn and weary survivors of Co. L, stopped the further progress of their march, and brought them home in triumph in wagons and carriages. Since that eventful day in the history of Bedford county, thirty-five years have elapsed. The surviving heroes of the "Greys" are now old men, and so few in number that they can be enumerated almost upon the fingers of one’s hand.
Lieut. William Findlay Mann, already referred to, with his brother, B. Franklin Mann, Esq., enlisted in the "Du Quesne Greys," at Pittsburgh, in 1846. This command ultimately became Co. K, 1st regt. Penn. Vols. After the capture of Vera Cruz, Franklin Mann became very ill. He recovered sufficiently to return home, but died soon afterward. Lieut. W. F. Mann, son of Hon. David Mann, and a grandson of Capt. Andrew Mann, of revolutionary fame, is still a respected resident of the town of Bedford.


This company was enrolled at Bedford, Pennsylvania, by Capt. Taylor, May 6, 1847; was mustered into the United States service by Lieut. Fields, at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 26, 1847, and was mustered out at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 14, 1848, by Maj. G. S. Wright of the 4th U.S. Inf.

Following is a list of its members (deserters excepted) as shown on a muster-out roll now or file in the office of the state auditor general:


Captains: Samuel M. Taylor, enrolled at Bedford, Pennsylvania, May 6, 1847; mustered into service at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 26, 1847. Died of disease in the City of Mexico December 6, 1847. Levi W. Smith, mustered out with company.

First Lieutenants: Levi W. Smith, promoted to captain after the death of Capt. Taylor. Biven R. Davis, mustered out with company.

Second Lieutenants: David H. Hofius, resigned November 1, 1847. John Keeffe, resigned February 11, 1848. Abraham E. Schell, appointed to take effect from December 7, 1847; mustered out with company. Nicholas Harman appointed to take effect from February 11, 1848; mustered out with company.


First sergeant: James A. Sipes. Second sergeant: Jacob Picking. Third sergeant: George Leader. Fourth sergeant William Bishop. All mustered out with company.

Corporals: John Feather, Allen Sleek, Robert Taylor and James Stewart. All mustered out with company.

Drummer: William Nulton, mustered out with company Fifer: Nathan McMullin, mustered out with company.

Archibald Bellville, Jacob Baker, James Cowan, A. J. Carney, Charles Daniels, Thomas Davis, Jesse Eckart, David Fore, Christopher Fable, William Faddick, Russell Findley, George Gardner, William Gates, Levi Hartman, Henry Helzell, George Linn, Joseph Lutz, Chris Malone, Solomon Miller, Daniel Miller, Paul Mock, Samuel Minnich, John Miller, Levi Miller, Peter Mortz, William Martin, David Over, Stephen Sigel, Jacob Smith, Nicholas Sleek, Solomon Snare and Henry Stuffier, all of whom were mustered out with the company.

A. W. Mower, drummer, at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 29, 1847. John McMullin, private, at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 29, 1847. Thomas Campbell, private, on surg. cer. of dis., at Perote Mexico. John M. Gilmore, sergeant, by Adjt.- Gen. Jones, December 1, 1847. Joseph P. Reed, sergeant, on surg. cer. of dis., a New Orleans, Louisiana, March 19, 1848. George W. McCulloh corporal, on surg. cer. of dis., at New Orleans, Louisiana, March 6, 1848. William Windus, private, on surg. cer. of dis., at San Angel, Mexico, April 11, 1848. ____ McKillip, date and place not stated.


Eli Friend, private, in hospital, San Augustine, August 30, 1847. George Donahoe, private, in hospital, City of Mexico October 6, 1847. William Grubb, private, killed at Gareta de Belen, September 13, 1847. A. J. Jones, corporal, died October 16, 1817, from wounds received at Chapultepec. George Reed private, at San Augustine, September 5, 1847. William Smith, private, October 10, 1847, from wounds received at Chapultepec. Casper Lambert, private, in hospital, City of Mexico, November 4, 1847. John Yarn, private, in hospital, City of Mexico, December 25, 1847. John Waskeller, private, in hospital, City of Mexico, November 20, 1847. Frederick Gabe, private, in hospital at Vera Cruz, time not mentioned. Francis Kittle, private, in hospital at Perote, Mexico, time not mentioned. Jacob Kuhle, private, in hospital at Perote, Mexico, time not mentioned. William Kegg private, in hospital at Puebla, Mexico, time not mentioned John Smith, private, drowned at New Orleans, Louisiana, in June, 1847.


During its brief term of service this company lost heavily by deserters, no less than seventeen privates being thus reported on the muster-out roll now before us. Some of them are still living. We believe that the major portion of them have since led honorable, upright lives; have, in some instances, occupied positions of trust and honor, and, in a great measure, have outlived the crime of desertion. We have no desire to arouse dormant recollections in this particular, hence, for obvious reasons, we omit mention of the seventeen men referred to.

* Lawence Taliaferro served as treasurer ad interim, during what proved to be the absence for all time of Capt. Taylor.
** According to the recollections of Lieut. Keeffe the Bedford company had but about thirty men in ranks at Chapultepec (the others having been detailed, temporarily, on some other duty), of whom nearly one-half were killed or wounded.

SOURCE:  History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties

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