This journey is going to lead me down the path of the Birch's and all those other names that have joined them. I know this will take me to England, Germany, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois and elsewhere. The men in this family will be working as coalminers, railroad brakemen and Laborers in Saw Mills.

The common name "birch" is derived from an old Germanic root, birka, with the Proto-Indo-European root *bherəg, "white, bright; to shine."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sepia Saturday ~ Writings from Irvin A Horner

This week's Sepia Saturday presents the photo to the left  as a way to inspire others to write something historical through their own photographs.  The picture presented is of a group of men possibly finishing a game of "hurling".  Also showing on that photo are some writings.  That photo inspired me to write about a Great Grand Uncle in which I recently have found some photos of.

Irvin Horner  was the oldest of nine children born to Ananias J. Horner and Sarah Eash on March 20, 1886 in Somerset, Pennsylvania.   At the age of 14, in 1900, Irvin doesn't appear to be attending any type of school but instead he is a Farm Laborer. 

At the age of 24, in 1910,  he is working in the coal mines and maintaining a job known as a "trip rider" or a brakeman. In this job he would have to operate or throw switches; couple and uncouple cars; and assist motormen in the transportation of loaded coal cars from switches or sidings in the mines to the shaft.


Here is a photograph of a number of men, one who is Irvin, all in some type of uniform. On the back of this photograph is the writing to the right where you can see "Irvin" is writing to his "Aunt" on May 1, 1918, making Irvin about 32 years old.    I can't tell from these uniforms what they represent.  Irvin writes about possibly not being able to write for a while and tells his Aunt not to worry and that the photo is of his "sunday school class" when he was in "319".    I have no idea what he is referring to.  Does anyone else know?  The sign in the back of them says "Co.D". 

I did a bit of research and came up with this from Wiki: The 1st Battalion 112th Infantry Regiment draws its origins from Civil War era units, including the 13th, 15th, and 17th Regiments and still maintains the right to possess the silver bands and battle streamers awarded for battle service in the Peninsula and Virginia 1861–1863 campaigns and for participation in the battles of Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Spottsylvania. On 22 November 1878, the battalion was organized as the 16th Regiment, Pennsylvania National Guard. The Regiment consisted of companies from Erie, McKean, Venango, Elk, Warren, and Crawford counties. The units were located in Erie (Co A), Bradford (Co C), Oil City (Co D), Cooperstown (Co E), Franklin (Co F), Ridgway (Co H), Warren (Co I), and Titusville (Co K).

Going by the dates of Irvin's writing on this postcard, May 1918, I would link him to this ....  not sure if others would agree as I'm grasping at straws but this seems to make sense to me.

 World War I (1st Battalion)
On 3 July 1916, the regiment was called to service for Mexican border duty. The unit was transported to and garrisoned at El Paso, Texas for training, but was never utilized due to the ending of hostilities. The unit was mustered into federal active service on 16 July 1917 for service in World War I. On 11 October 1917 the 16th Regiment was re-designated as the 112th Infantry Regiment, became part of the 28th Infantry Division, and was the first war-strength National Guard regiment in the United States. The regiment reached France in May 1918 as part of the American Expeditionary Force. It went onto the line, 4 July 1918, in the Second Battle of the Marne. From that day on, the names Fismes, Fismette, Fond de Mezieres, and Argonne will never be forgotten. Company G and H lost a combined total of 200 men out of 230 when cut off at Fismette and fended off a frontal attack by a thousand German soldiers. The 112th Infantry Regiment returned home in April 1919 and was mustered out of federal service on 6 May 1919 at Camp Dix, New Jersey. The regiment was awarded battle streamers marked Champagne 1918, Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, Oise-Marne, Lorraine 1918, and Meuse-Argonne for their service in France.

Unfortunately, I don't know which of the men in that photograph is Irvin. Here's a photograph of him with his wife Hattie - date unknown.  Irvin and Hattie May Blough were married on June 9, 1912. 

What a cute couple they are.  I'm having a hard time seeing what they are holding up for the camera.  A box with cards on it?   This picture is taken in Pennsylvania and it looks like summertime with the full foliage on the trees.  I zoomed in and still can't tell what they are so proudly showing us.  Maybe you know. 

Warm Regards,