I have spent time researching and writing about my maternal greats. Great Grandfather, Charles Stark and Great Grandmother, Wilhelmine Catherine Swartz, have been written about in separate blogs; however, I have not yet put the story together in one place. My Stark cousin, Kent Kretzler has done a enormous amount of research on the family, and in particular on our Great Grandfather's service in the Civil War. I will do my level best to do justice to the story in my blog.
Back in the day, when I began my genealogy search, I asked my Mom about her paternal grandfather, Charles Stark. She knew nothing. In fact, those who were alive, my Mom's cousins, did not know much about him. Apparently, he was rarely to never talked about. To be fair he died in 1895, when his own children were young, except his oldest son, my maternal grandfather and my mother's dad. Odd, she would have no idea about her dad's dad.
Wilhelmine is a different story. After Charles' death, the family moved to the borough of Avalon, Pennsylvania, just outside Pittsburgh. She lived around and with her children and grandchildren until her death in 1940. There are plenty of memories and recalled stories about Wilhelmine. My mother was the youngest of her grandchild generation, having been born in 1921. She was able to supply memories as were her cousins, Dorothy Cooper Richards and Lorraine Miller Kretzler.
Depending on the Civil War records and census reports for some documentation, my maternal great grandfather, was born about 1845 in Elberfeld, Wuppertal, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Elberfeld is listed as Charles' birthplace on the marriage certificate and some Civil War documents. The Civil War enlistment document lists Dusseldorf, Germany as his birthplace. Two separate places; however, both in Westphalia.This is believed to be my maternal grandfather's immigration record. His name is also seen as Carl on his marriage document. Charles physical attributes are listed in his Civil War Pension File. He was very short, 5 feet 3 inches tall, light complexion, light hair and blue eyes.
As mentioned in another blog, it is unknown why Charles Stark traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Did he have friends or relatives living there? I outlined in a blog the various addresses of Charles Stark, Tracking the Addresses of Charles Stark. So, rather than going into detail, I will just list them through the years. Details and maps are in the blog listed above.
Charles was not in the United States and Pittsburgh very long before he was swept up, as many immigrants were, in to service with the army in the Civil War. He enrolled as a private, on May 15, 1861 with Company D, 2nd Regiment Virginia Infantry. He mustered in at Wheeling, Virginia on June14, 1861 for three years. In April, 1863, Charles was promoted to the rank of Corporeal.
On January 4, 1864 Charles mustered out and reenlisted on January 5, 1864 as a veteran volunteer with Company D, 5th Regiment, West Virginia Calvary. On April 15, 1864, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, which he held until August 20, 1864. He was demoted to private until October 15, 1864 and back to Sergeant until October 31, 1864.
In 1865, Charles joined New Company H, 6th Regiment, West Virginia Calvary as a Sergeant. The 6th had a very interesting history. Following the war they did provost duty in Washington, DC and then were moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and further west to the Dakotas. Charles was demoted by special order to the rank of private on June 12, 1865. During the months of July-August 1865, he was in arrest in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In September, 1865 he was absent enroute from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Laramie and finally he was absent enroute during October, 1865 from Fort Laramie to Fort Casper, Dakota Territory. From January to April, 1866 he was present for service. He mustered out at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as a private on May 22, 1866.
It is assumed that Charles traveled back to Pittsburgh following his service. The first document is the 1869 Pittsburgh City Directory and Charles is listed as a clerk living on Penn Avenue in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
Charles lived and worked as a clerk in a shoe store in the Pittsburgh area from 1869 until he was sent to the City Home in 1890. There are city directories listing him also as residing in downtown Pittsburgh, Allegheny City as well as Lawrenceville.On October 5, 1872, Charles Stark became a naturalized citizen. The paper was filed in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
|Wilhelmine Catherine Schwarz|
Circa early 1870's
courtesy of Kent Kretzler
|Charles Stark and Wilhelmine Catherine Schwarz|
|1880 Pennsylvania Federal Census|
Allegheny City, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
June 14, 1880
|Cabinet Card of Wilhelmine circa 1877-1800|
Hendricks & Company
68 Federal Street
Allegheny City, Pennsylvania
|Charles Edward Stark|
Reproduced from a tin type
|Amelia Beatrice Stark|
photo courtesy of grandson, Kent Kretzler
|Close up of a 1879 O'Hara Township map|
Showing Claremont Station and the Poor House (City Home)
|1895 Death Record for Charles Stark|
- Theodore Charles Stark 1879-?
- Charles Edward Stark 1880-1945
- Amelia Beatrice Stark 1882-1956
- Alfred Walter Stark 1884-1962
- Lucy Wilma Stark 1886-1927
- Dora Maria Stark 1888-1964
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