From Pittsburgh Streets

George T. Fleming. "Names recall Civil War heroes: Soldiers of national and local fame well commemorated in Pittsburgh: Battles also live." Pittsburgh Gazette Times, May 30, 1915, sec. 5, p. 2. 85758872.

Soldiers of National and Local Fame Well Commemorated in Pittsburgh.

Today by the calendar is Memorial Day, more often spoken of as Decoration Day, a designation clearly inadequate. To be sure, the decoration of the graves of the heroes of our Civil War is a feature of the ceremonies of the observance of the day.

The primal and paramount feature is commemoration, an annual solemnity in honor of those who fought in the great war. May 30 is distinctively a day of memories.

But we have other and ever-present commemorations. They have become so fixed and so well known that we are heedless of the stories behind them or wrapped in them. These commemorations are in street designations and in various other ways. They embrace the surnames of many famous leaders on the side of the Union in the great war and the names of momentous battles in that war. We find this phase of commemoration prominent in geographical nomenclature throughout the nation.

This is true of the South as well as the North. Counties, towns, townships, postoffices and streets have been given names made prominent by reason of the Civil War.

A curious instance of anticipating a name which did not become fixed is found in a map published in a series of sectional maps of the United States published in London about 1892 in which North Dakota is marked Lincoln.

Name Not Used.

The name so deserving and the commemoration so expected that the publishers took it for granted it must be. But the land of the Dakotas stands with the addenda North and South. A copy of this map is in possession of the writer.

Pittsburgh has Lincoln commemorated in a well-known avenue. Old Allegheny had also, but owing to duplication the North Side name had to go. There are Lincoln streets or avenues in many of our surrounding boroughs.

There are places that bear the name Lincoln bestowed before the beloved Abraham arose. These mainly in commemoration of Gen. Benjamin Lincoln of revolutionary fame.

We have prominent also Stanton avenue for the secretary of war in Lincoln's cabinet, a national character once a resident of Pittsburgh and a practicing attorney at the Allegheny county bar.

But we have no Grant street within the city limits distinctly named for the great commander. The North Side had, but it became a duplicated name, conflicting with that of our downtown street of historic significance.

So, with the North Side Lincoln, the North Side Grant avenue had to go and we have Galveston avenue instead, a city by no means in touch with Pittsburgh.

Yet the name had one essential feature. It begins with G. While inappropriate, it lacks that namby-pamby character of so many recent bestowals of street names. Galveston is a decidedly American name, even if it did wipe out remembrance of Ulysses S. Grant. Here at least was one case where the affectedly pretty or weakly sentimental in names did not prevail.

Change for the Worse.

We find on looking it up that Lincoln avenue, North Side, is now Lynndale avenue; nary a lynn or a dale in sight. The name is so utterly without merit that it does not remain in memory and probably only those whose duty it is to remember it, can name it offhand. Most of us have to have recourse to a street directory.

However, from the great war we have some streets that are altogether commemorative, so given and intended to remain as lessons to posterity recalling men of heroic lives, some of whom fell in battle. We have so far kept these, and with them we have names of some battles. But in neither instance is there the uniformity that is desirable as to locality.

We have those beautiful thoroughfares in the Homewood district, McPherson, Meade and Thomas, named for successful leaders, of whom McPherson fell "dead upon the field of honor."

We have in the Highland avenue district Rippey, Black and Hays in memory of Oliver H. Rippey, Samuel W. Black and Alexander Hays, all former citizens of Pittsburgh and colonels of the Sixty-first, Sixty-second and Sixty-third Regiments of Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Civil War.

All three fell in battle; Ripey [sic] at Fair Oaks, May 31, 1862; Black at Gaines' Mills, June 27, 1862, and Hays in the Wilderness, May 5, 1864.

All three men were veterans of Mexico, and all sleep in the beautiful Allegheny Cemetery. An ordinance changing these designations was vetoed by Mayor Bernard McKenna.

Names of Battles.

We have streets named for battles as follows: Fair Oaks, Shiloh, Antietam and Gettysburg. We have Merrimac street on Mt. Washington and Monitor street in the Greenfield avenue district.

We have Sherman avenue on the North Side and Sheridan avenue in the East End.

We had Sherman street in Lawrenceville, running from Forty-second to Forty-fourth streets, duplicating Sherman in the avenue on the North Side. Of these the latter stands, the other changed to Sherrod street.

And prominent among all these and as distinct as Lincoln, we have Ellsworth avenue, recalling Ephraim Elmer Ellsworth, colonel of the Eleventh New York Volunteers, the numerical designation entirely lost in the better known "Ellsworth's Zouaves."

The tragic fate of the too sanguine Ellsworth set the nation again aflame and he too has gone numerously into geographical nomenclature widely spread, and how many thousands of men have been named Elmer Ellsworth in the decades since only the census records can reveal.

We have Collier street, too, in the Homewood district, but a contiguous street is named Sterrett. We rightly infer that these designations were given in commemoration of long and honorable service on the bench.

Yet in the commemoration of Judge Frederick H. Collier, we must not forget his services in the field as colonel of the One Hundred and Thirty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers.

We have also Slagle street, for Major, later Judge, Jacob F. Slagle.

We have Reynolds street, too, and at once John F. Reynolds, that noble Pennsylvanian and ideal soldier, comes to mind; and, properly, Gettysburg street is close by. At Gettysburg he fell at the opening of the great battle, July 1, 1863.

Well Loved Commander.

Then there is Sedgwick street, on the North Side, in the old Sixth Ward of former Allegheny. It commemorates another ideal soldier, the well-beloved commander of the old Sixth Corps, Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick, who fell at Spottsylvania, May 9, 1864. The street directory informs us that Sedgwick street runs from Pennsylvania avenue to Sunday alley.

It may be well to state that the terminal was called for the seventh day of the week and not for the Rev. "Billy."

We find Sickles on the list for our streets, plainly for Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Sickles, who died in 1914, aged over 90, a striking figure in public life for generations.

And we should remember Gen. Sickles, for in his original command, there served two Pittsburgh companies, the Friend Rifles and the Pittsburgh Zouave Cadets, who went to New York early in 1861, and were incorporated into the Excelsior Brigade which Sickles raised and took to the front. In this famous brigade our Pittsburgh companies became respectively Company E of the Seventh New York Volunteers or First Excelsior Regiment, and Company A, of the Seventy-fourth New York Volunteers, or Fifth Excelsior.

Hence it is fitting and proper to honor Gen. Sickles in Pittsburgh where he was highly esteemed by those who served under him, and whose vicissitudes and troubles in his advanced years found sympathy for him in the hearts of the few remaining aged men he had led to battle in their youth, more than one of whom will have flowers placed on their graves for their first memorial observance tomorrow—dead within the year.

Governor Remembered.

In the commemoration of statesmen Pennsylvania's efficient war governor, Andrew Gregg Curtin in a South Hills street, Curtin avenue, extending from Warrington avenue to Chalfonte in the old Thirty-eighth Ward now the Eighteenth, the district by car routes known by the old borough name, Beltzhoover.

William H. Seward, Lincoln's strongest competitor for the presidential nomination in 1860 and who served as Lincoln's secretary of state, has not been forgotten altogether. His fine diplomacy and sensible course in the crisis that arose with Great Britain during the Civil War, entitled him to front rank among the world's diplomats.

Then too, his farsightedness in picking up Alaska as a bargain has enriched the nation with the wonderful wealth and resources of that marvelous region. We have Seward street from Grandview avenue to a property line on Duquesne Heights.

The navy is also well commemorated by the bestowal of the patronymic, Farragut to an East End street. At the mention of the name we renew reverence to the memory of our renowned Admiral David G. Farragut, a loyal Tennesseean high up in the temple of fame.

Statesmanship of the Civil War period finds a commermoration [sic] in the name of Everett, applied to a street in the East End. This commemoration may be taken as divided between statecraft and literature.

Edward Everett was the running mate of John Bell, representing the Union party in the quadrangular presidential contest of 1860.

We will name the candidates—real old-timers will be glad to read them again: Lincoln and Hamlin (Rep.); Douglass and Johnston (North. Dem.); Breckinridge and Lane (South Dem.); and Bell and Everett, the Union party desiring that the Union at all events be maintained.

Then, too, we have a very close association of Edward Everett with a historic occasion. He delivered the oration at the dedication of the Gettysburg battle monument in November, 1863, a polished and eloquent tribute to the heroic dead, as fitting as rhetorical art and research could aid and the graces of oratory thrill. The beauty of tropes and volume of learning in Everett's lengthy effort have been swept away in the few sentences uttered by Lincoln, known to the world as Lincoln's Gettysburg address.

We once had an Everett School in Pittsburgh in the old Moorhead district, dedicated with appropriate ceremonies under the auspices of the late Nannie Mackrell, then principal of the district. The name has been taken away and the street name Miller applied in its stead.

These questions arise: Who was Miller? How much of a statesman was he? How much of an orator? How great a schoolman? Where did he live?

Let us hope we can keep the name Everett in the street. Everett deserves commemoration. He was one of America's great men—justly to be ranked among the immortals.

We have some further commemoration of local soldiers, though some of it is divided by the application of family names of pioneer and prominent people of Pittsburgh. Thus we find Negley avenue, recalling Maj. Gen. James S. Negley of Pittsburgh and the Army of the Cumberland; Denniston avenue, also reminding us of Maj. Joseph F. Denniston, city and county treasurer, who came back from his services with the Excelsior Brigade minus a leg and with a shattered arm to suffer until death relieved him.

Cavalryman Recalled.

We have also Childs street in the old Twenty-third Ward, Squirrel Hill district, and there comes to mind that loved and gallant commander, James H. Childs of Pittsburgh, colonel of the Fourth Pennsylvania Cavalry, killed at Antietam September 17, 1862.

The Fourth Cavalry is further commemorated in Covode street, in the same locality, and we think of another of our heroes who fell in battle, George H. Covode, son of John Covode, member of Congress, who represented the Westmoreland county district in Congress before and during the war days. A brother, Jacob Covode, was for many years a prominent citizen of Sharpsburg.

Col. Childs was succeeded by Lieut. Col. James H. Kerr, and Kerr by George Covode.

Tomorrow the few surviving members of Col. Covode's original Company D of the Fourth Cavalry will gather at his grave in the Methodist graveyard at West Fairfield, in the upper end of the beautiful Ligonier valley. They will place flowers on his last reposing place and tell how he fell at St. Mary's Church June 24, 1864, and how his body was disinterred in the night some time after the battle by a band of gallant spirits under the command of Lieut. John C. Paul, with Sergts. "Billy" Slick of New Florence and Henry M. Kerr of Boston, Allegheny county; how they went 30 miles within the enemy's territory and brought safely within the Union lines the body of their well-loved colonel and had it sent to his old home for reinterment.

Three Famous Names.

Paul and Slick and Kerr have all passed away, and they, too, come in for remembrances and flowers tomorrow.

We find Hampton street in the East End list. Uncertain whether for the Hampton family, once well known here; that of Judge Moses Hampton, remembered and honored in Hampton township, or Capt. Robert B. Hampton, commander of Hampton's Pittsburgh battery. The name, however, will serve to recall now the heroic death of Capt. Hampton at Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863, like Childs' at Antietam, terribly mangled by a solid shot.

We have further local commemoration in Rowley street on the Hill, from Roberts to Devillier street. This is in honor of Maj. Gen. Thomas A. Rowley, who was born in that neighborhood and who spent his entire life there, with the exception of his army services in Mexico and during the Civil War.

Colonel of the Thirteenth and One Hundred and Second Pennsylvania Regiments raised in Pittsburgh by Gen. Rowley, for three months and three years service respectively, attaining high rank, commanding a division at Gettysburg, he was one of Pittsburgh's best known soldiers, living to an advanced age in our midst.

Among local family names we have Herron avenue, from the pioneer family of Herrons settling there, and in this we recall Maj. Gen. Frank J. Herron of Iowa, brother of the late William A. Herron of Pittsburgh, and a former resident here.

Borough and Street.

We note Montooth street, in the former borough of that name, now the Eighteenth Ward, the street running from Warrington, formerly Washington avenue, to the city line. This is in memory of Maj. Edward A. Montooth, adjutant of the One Hundred and Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, a leading attorney for many years, a gentleman by instinct, an eloquent orator and a friend that typified all that is to be conveyed by the word friendship.

We had several Warren streets, the name commonly arising from the continued and widespread use of that patronymic in commemoration of Dr. Joseph Warren, who fell at Bunker Hill in the Revolution, so that we cannot claim recognition of an honor to Maj. Gen. Governeur [sic] K. Warren, the revered commander of the Fifth Corps of the Army of the Potomac in 1864–65, in which corps so many of our Western Pennsylvania soldiers served.

Other wars save [sic] given us local names. We have Scott street—not much of a street, but an old one on the "Hill," named for Gen. Winfield Scott, who served in three wars, 1812, Mexico and in 1861.

The war with Mexico gave us many names, especially on the North Side—Resaca, Palo Alto, Buena Vista, etc., and we have Montezuma in Homewood that came later.

In the North Side plan formerly called Mexico, laid out by Gen. Alex Hays after his return from California, where he went on his return from Mexico, he gave these names also to streets in that plan: Monterey, Fremont and some others, but some of them have gone.

The Spanish war of 1898 gave us many names, Dewey predominating. We have names of streets in Pittsburgh as have been noted in these columns from our French and Indian wars, the Revolution and War of 1812, Tannehill and Decatur marked examples of the latter war origin.

The military funerals of Capt. Hampton, Cols. Rippey, Childs and Black, and Gen. Alex Hays were notable though extremely sad events in Pittsburgh. The bodies of all except Black were sent home as soon as they could be prepared for burial, and their obsequies were held publicly prior to interment in the Allegheny Cemetery.

Col. Black's body was disinterred from where he had been buried on the field of Gaines' Mills more than two years later and brought to Pittsburgh. Strange to say it was in good condition—even the clothing had not decayed, and from an inner pocket in his coat was taken the photograph from which the picture presented here was made. The photograph is now in possession of the Colonel's daughter, Mrs. William J. Moorhead of St. James street.

Col. Black's funeral services were held in the old First Presbyterian Church on Wood street near Sixth avenue. The writer well recalls them and the terrific downpour of rain that continued throughout the day. This was in July, 1864.

Shiloh street commemorating a battle is perhaps from locality and as a main street on Mount Washington, more in the public eye than the quiet residential street, Gettysburg, Fair Oaks and Antietam—these, too, far removed from the business section.

Street Named for Battle.

Shiloh street named soon after the war in the former borough of Mt. Washington, was called for the battle and not directly from Shiloh a city prominent in Israelitish history. We know that Joshua removed there with the Tabernacle and Ark from Gilgal. We are not concerned with the etymological or historical renderings of the meaning of the word, nor the mystery arising from the prophecy, "until Shiloh come." Our Shiloh came on April 6 and 7, 1862.

Many years before that time some good people of Harding county, Tennessee, hewed timber from the surrounding forests and builded for themselves a house of worship in the woods. This lowly temple was erected on the main road to Corinth, Miss., about two and a half miles from Pittsburgh [sic] Landing on the Tennessee River. Here in their primitive way these good builders peacefully assembled from week to week for many years to worship the Lord of Hosts. They called the rude edifice Shiloh Church.

For 53 years the name has been emblazoned upon the pages of history, the title of one of our great battles, up to the time one of the most fiercely contested battles of modern times. It gave fame to one Ulysses S. Grant also.

Shiloh field is by act of Congress approved December 27, 1884, a National Military Park, embellished with many imposing and beautiful monuments. Among them only one from Pennsylvania, that of our Seventy-seventh Infantry Volunteers, commanded by Col. Frederick G. Stumbaugh of Chambersburg, succeeded on promotion by Col. Thomas E. Rose of Pittsburgh.

Of the original regiments, two companies were from this city—B, first under Thomas E. Rose, succeeded by Lieut. John W. Krepps, and E, Capt. William A. Robinson. Some of this company were from Mercer county. Allegheny county had also a large representation in Company K, Capt. Fred S. Pyfer.