Rebecca Greenawalt

REBECCA GREENAWALT, nee McGrew, is the daughter of Archibald and Susanna (Gilbert) McGrew, both of Quaker stock. She is one of three children surviving of eleven. Her father, the son of James McGrew, was born in Sewickley township, and lived there throughout his life. He was a farmer and one of the well-known men of that section of the county. Politically he was a Democrat, but took no active part in political affairs; in his religious faith he was a Quaker.

In 1860 Rebecca McGrew married Jacob W. Greenawalt, second son of Henry Greenawalt. He was born in Westmoreland county, October 27, 1837, and attended the common schools of that county, then entered Union College, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. He went west after leaving college and began to read law, and was admitted to the bar at Mount Pleasant, Iowa. In the spring of the year i86o he returned home and November 22, 1860, was admitted to the practice of law in the several courts of Westmoreland county. Early in April of the following year he entered into a law partnership with James H. Hunter, Esq., a member of the Greensburg bar. A few days after, April 17, 1861, in response to a call from the president for 75,000 men, he, with Richard Coulter (afterward colonel of the Eleventh Regiment), raised a company which became Company I, Eleventh Regiment. He was elected second lieutenant, was subsequently promoted to first lieutenant, and was mustered out of service with his company August 1, 1861. Immediately after his return home he energetically set about raising a company for three wears' service, and this company was mustered into the army as Company E, One Hundred and Fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers. Upon the promotion of Captain Dick to the rank of major of the regiment, Lieutenant Greenawalt was raised to captain, September 20, 1861, and on the resignation of Major Dick, he was promoted to major. November 29, 1862. His next promotion was to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. May 4, 1863, and he was with his regiment through all the battles in which it participated. He was wounded at the battle of Fair Oaks, and while in command of his regiment at the battle of the Wilderness, fell mortally wounded. May 4, 1864. and died a few days after. May 17. 1864. His remains were brought home and interred with military honors in the presence of-a great concourse of his old friends and neighbors at Mars Hill, a quiet country churchyard. He left a widow to mourn his untimely end but no children. Colonel Greenawalt was immensely popular with his men, treating them with kindness and consideration. and avoiding all display of authority or the use of harsh language, which too often fell upon the ears of the private soldier. He had the warm esteem of his fellow-officers and the confidence of his superiors. Brigadier General Graham, in a letter to Governor Curtain asking for the promotion of Major Greenawalt to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in his regiment, speaks of his conduct at the battle of Chancellorsville, saying, "he exhibited the firmness and knowledge of a veteran." One who knew him well says of him, "he was an earnest, brave, patriotic man, knowing no fear and entering into whatever he did with his whole soul-the longer he was known the more was he respected and beloved, in all the relations of life." Colonel Greenawalt was a consistent Christian, a worshipper in the Baptist church. His widow is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, an accomplished woman who is held in great esteem within the circle of her friends and acquaintances.  

Source: Page(s) 239-240, History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed August 2008 by Nathan Zipfel for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (

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