*** ONLINE AS OF AUGUST 5, 2011 ***
    



THE WHO. I am Jeff Bales Jr. and I was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania, back in 1967. My parents, Jeff Bales Sr. of New Castle and MaryAnn DeMarc of Chewton, met at Cascade Park as teenagers. My father soon joined the U.S. Navy and while growing up I lived in such places as Scotland, Morocco, Guam, and various places on the East Coast. My father retired in Maryland in the mid-1980’s and I have lived in the MD-DC-VA area ever since. I come from a family proud of our military and/or federal government service and I am a longtime law enforcement analyst with the Department of Defense (DoD). I currently live in the country just outside Culpeper VA. I am related to various folks in the New Castle area, most prominently to the Bales’ of New Castle, the LaPatka’s of Chewton, the DeMarc’s of West Pittsburg, and the Hake’s of Mahoningtown. Some of my relatives include the Robert Aiello of Wampum, former Koppel resident George Teck, Kay Migut of Ellport, the Reiber family of Hickory Township, Mike Perry Sr. of Michael’s Furniture in Ellwood City, Ray Bales Jr. of Slippery Rock Township, Carrie Gierlach of Neshannock Township, John Hake of Texas, Chuck Hake of New Bedford, Charles DeMarc Jr. of West Pittsburg, and Ronnie Teck of Austintown.
THE WHAT. This website contains a collection of photos, postcards, articles, stories, and other tidbits pertaining to the history of Lawrence County in western Pennsylvania and surrounding areas – particularly the northern portion of Beaver County to include Koppel and Beaver Falls. There is no real rhyme or reason to the information contained on this website and it’s mainly a collection of things that I find interesting.

THE WHEN. Despite the distance (about 4.5 hours one-way) I used to make frequent trips up to New Castle to conduct research and take photos. Prior to 2020 I made about 10-12 excursions per year, but usually avoided the months (Jan-Mar) when the inclement weather is quite prevalent in western Pennsylvania. Since 2020 other life events have occupied more of my time and the trips stopped. I made a trip to speak at the Ellwood City Historical Society in April 2022 and I hope to reinvigorate my visits during 2022-2023.

THE HOW. During my research trips I usually arrive at Al’s Corner Store in Koppel about 7:00am – get some snacks and use the restroom – and then off I go. After that I am all over the place exploring locations, taking photos, visiting relatives, and meeting new people. I often return home later that same day, but occasionally stay overnight with relatives in the area and return home the following afternoon. I do my best not to trespass on private property, but I also feel it’s important to go the extra mile to get the photos. During my outings I also meet a lot of people and they often provide me with valuable insight. This site is also supported by research I do on the internet and sometimes in the New Castle Public Library. Back at home I am also on constant lookout to add to my collection of old postcards, high school yearbooks, and other memorabilia that pertain to Lawrence County.

THE WHY. I have had a strong interest in general history from an early age. I started documenting my family history back in 1991. After a few years I started on other projects, but returned to my family history effort full bore in late 2006. It was after the unfortunate passing of my father in December 2008 that I realized how little I actually knew about my hometown – due to the lack of time spent there. I decided to rectify that situation and began in-depth research to find out all I could about Lawrence County. I feel it’s extremely important to document the things I discover for any interested parties, future generations, or history buffs or historians like myself. It’s not easy for some people to understand, but I absolutely love doing research. My mother, who passed away in July 2021, was a huge supporter and I’ll miss that dearly.

Thanks for stopping by, take care, and enjoy my site! Jeff

In 1815 pioneering settler John Nesbit laid out the village of Mount Jackson in North Beaver Township, in what later became Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. He named the settlement in honor of U.S. Army General Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson, a recent hero of the War of 1812 – who later ascended to serve as the President of the United States from 1829-1837. The small village grew with a post office, a school, several stores and mills, and two Presbyterian churches.

I believe a local pioneer named Jacob Bear, who came to North Beaver Township with his family in 1825, started efforts to found a Methodist congregation in the area. In about 1838 the Reverend Rufus Parker, spurred on by Bear, organized the Methodist Episcopal Church and initially held services in private homes. In 1842 the Methodists purchased land from John Nesbit that was located east of the village along the road to New Castle and erected a small wooden frame church. The building was located on a hill and around it the congregation started a cemetery as well.

On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces attacked the Union stronghold of Fort Sumter near Charleston, South Carolina, and set off the American Civil War. In the wake of this incident a local artillery unit known as the Mount Jackson Guards was formed and headed up by Capt. Henry T. Danforth, a veteran of the Mexican War. Word was circulated throughout the township and neighboring areas and dozens of men signed up. On June 8 seventy-seven men assembled at the Methodist Church in Mount Jackson and then went off by wagon to Enon Valley where they boarded a train headed to Camp Wright near Pittsburgh.

On June 28, 1861, the unit was inducted into state service. About a month later, on or about July 23, 1861, they were mustered in the U.S. Army as Battery B of the 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery, Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps. The unit was soon transferred east where it underwent training at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg and then in and around the Washington D.C. area. Danforth was promoted and tasked with transfer to another unit, but soon relinquished his commission to reenlist as a private so he could rejoin Battery B. He was soon promoted to lieutenant but meanwhile Capt. James H. Cooper had assumed command of the boys from North Beaver Township. The battery would have a normal strength of 100-130 men with four-six artillery guns.

On December 20, 1861, the unit, serving with the Army of the Potomac, saw its first action at the Battle of Dranesville in Fairfax County, Virginia. After a quiet winter Battery B was back in action in 1862 at such bloody skirmishes to include Second Bull Run, South Mountain, and Antietam. The unit suffered a great loss on June 30, 1862, during the Seven Days’ Battles near Richmond, Virginia, when former commanding officer Danforth and two other men were killed in action. These three men were later interred in the Westfield Presbyterian Cemetery in Mount Jackson. The unit also experienced its greatest triumph when during the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862, it held the line against great odds during a massive Union retreat. For his actions that day Capt. Cooper was called “the bravest man in the Army of the Potomac.”

The unit took part in many historic battles over the next few years including at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Courthouse, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg. At Gettysburg in early July 1863, the unit suffered three battle deaths but helped repel the famous action known as “Pickett’s Charge.”

Battery B was taking part in the Siege of Petersburg when the Confederate forces surrendered on April 9, 1865. The unit had a proud record taking part in twenty-seven engagements, including such famous battles as Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, Antietam, and Second Bull Run. Of the 332 men who eventually saw service with Battery B a total of twenty-one were killed and fifty-two were seriously wounded – an unusually high number of casualties for an artillery unit. The survivors of Battery B, or Cooper’s Battery as it was popularly referred to, were mustered out of service at Harrisburg on June 9, 1865, and returned home to Lawrence County.

In April 1869 the surviving members of Battery B gathered for a reunion in Mount Jackson in what became an annual event. The reunion, usually held on June 8, became a popular event for the community of Mount Jackson and was often attended by other Civil War veterans from around the area. The event – which featured a parade followed by a short veterans meeting and a community picnic – was usually held near the Methodist Church at Nesbit’s Grove, a popular picnic area now located in the Jackson Knolls residential area.

In August 1879 the veterans of the unit erected a small memorial pillar honoring Battery B at Gettysburg, and it was one of the very first monuments to be placed on the historic battlefield. It was placed on East Cemetery Hill, near where the unit held its ground during Pickett’s Charge. The pillar was marked with various inscriptions concerning the unit’s history. A second and much more impressive monument (topped with a carved cannon), its $1,500 cost made possible by state funding, was erected along the smaller monument on September 11, 1889. Another monument, a large stone tablet marking the unit’s position on the first day of action, was erected years later in 1938.

In 1905, during the thirty-six annual reunion, it was first proposed that a monument be erected in Mount Jackson to honor the men of Battery B. Less than a year later Battery B lost its former commander as James H. Cooper passed away in New Castle on March 21, 1906. He was laid to rest in historic Greenwood Cemetery in New Castle. Efforts for the monument continued to gain momentum and fund-raising efforts got underway a few years later.

During the reunion on June 8, 1911, on the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, over 1,000 people took part in the festivities at Nesbit’s Grove. A twenty-foot-high monument, to be fashioned in Vermont, was soon authorized. The four sides of the base of the monument would have panels that spelled out the history of the unit. Harry and William Zimmerman of Mount Jackson generously donated a quarter-acre lot on the Mount Jackson-New Castle Road for the monument site. After some investigation, it was determined the site would require work to get in into shape and a more desirable location was selected adjoining the Methodist Church property. This was a more symbolic location anyway as it was where the unit gathered before heading off to war in 1861.

Work on the foundation for the monument began in late May 1912 as the completed obelisk was shipped aboard the Pennsylvania Railroa (PRR) to Bessemer. The original plan was to unload the monument at Mahoningtown, but this plan was abandoned for some reason. From Bessemer, it was loaded onto large wagons and transported to Mount Jackson over the course of several days. The monument was put in place at the bottom of the large hill where the Methodist Church was situated. The annual reunion was delayed a few weeks to allow the work to be completed.

On Friday, June 28, 1912, during the reunion, the monument was dedicated before a large crowd of onlookers. It was unveiled by William E. Porter, a Lawrence County Judge and President of the Battery B Monument Association, and Mary Cooper, the daughter of Capt. James H. Cooper. The monument sat at the bottom of the large hill where the Methodist Church and its cemetery were situated.

Just three years later, on the morning of Monday, July 26, 1915, the Methodist Church was destroyed by a disastrous fire. The seventy-three-year-old church had recently been remodeled and its loss was put at $3,500. Only $1,000 of the damage was recovered in insurance claims. An article in the New Castle News of August 6, 1915, about vagrants spending the night in the nearby Westfield Presbyterian Church, revealed that the Methodist Church fire “…was possibly caused by an intruder, who probably accidentally set fire to the church building.” Efforts were soon underway to erect a new building at the same location, but for some reason, the Methodist Church was never rebuilt.

In April 1923 a Civil War-era cannon, provided by the Raritan Arsenal in New Jersey, was acquired to go on display next to the Battery B Monument in Mount Jackson. The 3-inch gun was believed to be an experimental rifled cannon cast in 1863 at the Harry N. Hooper & Company foundry in Boston, Massachusetts. In the spring of 1926 a campaign was started to relocate the monument and cannon to the top of the hill where the Methodist Church was once located. The cemetery association, which was also officially chartered at about that time, sought to acquire additional properties through several deals.

Ten members of Battery B attended the fiftieth reunion in June 1919 – in the wake of the Great War (World War I) – while at least one other surviving member was unable to attend. The annual reunions continued throughout the 1920s while the surviving members of Battery B slowly dwindled. The last two members were ninety years old when they died. They were George W. Pitzer of New Castle, who passed away on December 13, 1929, and David P. Needler of Edinburg, the last remaining survivor when he died on November 3, 1930.

The annual reunions continued in honor of Battery B until at least 1940 when I believe the developing events of what became World War II began to take precedence. Periodic events, especially on Memorial Day each year, continued to honor the men of Battery B and other local veterans.

Sometime in late 2010-early 2011, the cannon was refurbished and then relocated nearby to the North Beaver Township Municipal Building/Athletic Complex on Mount Jackson Road. In early 2011 local efforts were initiated to replace the original Battery B memorial in Gettysburg, the small pillar erected in 1880, which has weathered to the point that its inscribed panels are unreadable. Local historians are busy trying to scour records to figure out the exact wording of those inscriptions.

The old Methodist Cemetery along Route 108 just east of the heart of Mount Jackson, known more popularly as the Battery B Cemetery, is well maintained and is still in active use today. Among those buried, there are many local pioneers including those of the Bear, Brewster, Duff, Gilmore, Kerr, McClelland, Nesbit, and Shaffer families, a handful of military veterans of Battery B, and the former Assistant Superintendent of County Schools Professor Charles F. Ball.


In 1842 a group of local Methodists, led by the Reverend Rufus Parker, purchased land from John Nesbit just east of the village of Mount Jackson and erected a small wooden frame church (shown above). The church was situated on a hill along the road to New Castle and a small cemetery was also established around it. The Mount Jackson Methodist Episcopal Church was eventually lost to a suspicious fire on Monday, July 26, 1915. Fundraising efforts were initiated but the building was never replaced. (c1909)


This cropped photo depicts Battery B, armed with four 3-inch cannons, during a lull in action at the Seige of Petersburg, Virginia, in June 1864. Famous photographer Mathew B. Brady (1822-1896) is shown standing on a rock near the left of the photo. An assistant of Brady took this photo. (1864) Full Size


This is actually part of the above photograph, showing Battery B during the Seige of Petersburg. (1864) Full Size


Capt. Henry T. Danforth was the man who assembled the local volunteers at Mount Jackson in June 1861 and led them in training. He was soon promoted and assigned elsewhere, but took a reduction in rank to remain with Battery B. He was killed in action near Richmond, Virginia, in June 1862. This cabinet card was produced by the A. W. Phipps studio in New Castle. (c1890)


Capt. James H. Cooper assumed command of the Battery B in the fall of 1861. He led the unit throughout the Civil War and served with great distinction. He passed away in New Castle in 1906 and was laid to rest in Greenwood Cemetery. (c1895)


Local citizens and military veterans gather for the dedication of the Battery B Monument on Friday, June 28, 1912. It was unveiled by William E. Porter, a Lawrence County Judge and President of the Battery B Monument Association, and Mary Cooper, the daughter of Capt. James H. Cooper. Full Size


Old postcard of the Battery B Monument. (c1915)


The Battery B Monument at its dedication in June 1912.


Services are observed at the Battery B Monument on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, 1960. Full Size


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This is me examining the stone of Professor C. F. Ball, a local resident who served as the Assistant and/or Head Superintendent of Lawrence County Schools from 1918 until his death in 1932. (Jan 2012)


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The Battery B Cemetery sits on a hill along Route 108 just east of the village of Mt. Jackson. The yellow arrow marks the location of the Battery B Monument. (c2012) Full Size


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The dedication service of the new Battery B Monument at Gettysburg took place on Saturday, November 23, 2013. Bob Kirby, Superintendent of the Gettysburg National Military Park, prepares for the unveiling. (Thanks to Keith Foote for providing this photograph. The photographer was Nancy Olds) (Nov 2013)


The monument is unveiled. (Thanks to Keith Foote for providing this photograph. The photographer was Nancy Olds) (Nov 2013)


This photo depicts the Monument Committee comprised from left to: Dennis Dewalt, Scott Debo, Keith Foote, Greg Kline and to the far right Carol Schlegel. Barbara Mowery, standing in for Harry Readshaw, State Representative from Pittsburgh, is standing next to Superintendent Bob Kirby. (Photo provided courtesy of Keith Foote. Photographer was Nancy Olds) (Nov 2013) Full Size

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THE WHO. I am Jeff Bales Jr. and I was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania, back in 1967. My parents, Jeff Bales Sr. of New Castle and MaryAnn DeMarc of Chewton, met at Cascade Park as teenagers. My father soon joined the U.S. Navy and while growing up I lived in such places as Scotland, Morocco, Guam, and various places on the East Coast. My father retired in Maryland in the mid-1980’s and I have lived in the MD-DC-VA area ever since. I come from a family proud of our military and/or federal government service and I am a longtime law enforcement analyst with the Department of Defense (DoD). I currently live in the country just outside Culpeper VA. I am related to various folks in the New Castle area, most prominently to the Bales’ of New Castle, the LaPatka’s of Chewton, the DeMarc’s of West Pittsburg, and the Hake’s of Mahoningtown. Some of my relatives include the Robert Aiello of Wampum, former Koppel resident George Teck, Kay Migut of Ellport, the Reiber family of Hickory Township, Mike Perry Sr. of Michael’s Furniture in Ellwood City, Ray Bales Jr. of Slippery Rock Township, Carrie Gierlach of Neshannock Township, John Hake of Texas, Chuck Hake of New Bedford, Charles DeMarc Jr. of West Pittsburg, and Ronnie Teck of Austintown.
THE WHAT. This website contains a collection of photos, postcards, articles, stories, and other tidbits pertaining to the history of Lawrence County in western Pennsylvania and surrounding areas – particularly the northern portion of Beaver County to include Koppel and Beaver Falls. There is no real rhyme or reason to the information contained on this website and it’s mainly a collection of things that I find interesting.

THE WHEN. Despite the distance (about 4.5 hours one-way) I used to make frequent trips up to New Castle to conduct research and take photos. Prior to 2020 I made about 10-12 excursions per year, but usually avoided the months (Jan-Mar) when the inclement weather is quite prevalent in western Pennsylvania. Since 2020 other life events have occupied more of my time and the trips stopped. I made a trip to speak at the Ellwood City Historical Society in April 2022 and I hope to reinvigorate my visits during 2022-2023.

THE HOW. During my research trips I usually arrive at Al’s Corner Store in Koppel about 7:00am – get some snacks and use the restroom – and then off I go. After that I am all over the place exploring locations, taking photos, visiting relatives, and meeting new people. I often return home later that same day, but occasionally stay overnight with relatives in the area and return home the following afternoon. I do my best not to trespass on private property, but I also feel it’s important to go the extra mile to get the photos. During my outings I also meet a lot of people and they often provide me with valuable insight. This site is also supported by research I do on the internet and sometimes in the New Castle Public Library. Back at home I am also on constant lookout to add to my collection of old postcards, high school yearbooks, and other memorabilia that pertain to Lawrence County.

THE WHY. I have had a strong interest in general history from an early age. I started documenting my family history back in 1991. After a few years I started on other projects, but returned to my family history effort full bore in late 2006. It was after the unfortunate passing of my father in December 2008 that I realized how little I actually knew about my hometown – due to the lack of time spent there. I decided to rectify that situation and began in-depth research to find out all I could about Lawrence County. I feel it’s extremely important to document the things I discover for any interested parties, future generations, or history buffs or historians like myself. It’s not easy for some people to understand, but I absolutely love doing research. My mother, who passed away in July 2021, was a huge supporter and I’ll miss that dearly.

Thanks for stopping by, take care, and enjoy my site! Jeff

In 1815 pioneering settler John Nesbit laid out the village of Mount Jackson in North Beaver Township, in what later became Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. He named the settlement in honor of U.S. Army General Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson, a recent hero of the War of 1812 – who later ascended to serve as the President of the United States from 1829-1837. The small village grew with a post office, a school, several stores and mills, and two Presbyterian churches.

I believe a local pioneer named Jacob Bear, who came to North Beaver Township with his family in 1825, started efforts to found a Methodist congregation in the area. In about 1838 the Reverend Rufus Parker, spurred on by Bear, organized the Methodist Episcopal Church and initially held services in private homes. In 1842 the Methodists purchased land from John Nesbit that was located east of the village along the road to New Castle and erected a small wooden frame church. The building was located on a hill and around it the congregation started a cemetery as well.

On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces attacked the Union stronghold of Fort Sumter near Charleston, South Carolina, and set off the American Civil War. In the wake of this incident a local artillery unit known as the Mount Jackson Guards was formed and headed up by Capt. Henry T. Danforth, a veteran of the Mexican War. Word was circulated throughout the township and neighboring areas and dozens of men signed up. On June 8 seventy-seven men assembled at the Methodist Church in Mount Jackson and then went off by wagon to Enon Valley where they boarded a train headed to Camp Wright near Pittsburgh.

On June 28, 1861, the unit was inducted into state service. About a month later, on or about July 23, 1861, they were mustered in the U.S. Army as Battery B of the 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery, Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps. The unit was soon transferred east where it underwent training at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg and then in and around the Washington D.C. area. Danforth was promoted and tasked with transfer to another unit, but soon relinquished his commission to reenlist as a private so he could rejoin Battery B. He was soon promoted to lieutenant but meanwhile Capt. James H. Cooper had assumed command of the boys from North Beaver Township. The battery would have a normal strength of 100-130 men with four-six artillery guns.

On December 20, 1861, the unit, serving with the Army of the Potomac, saw its first action at the Battle of Dranesville in Fairfax County, Virginia. After a quiet winter Battery B was back in action in 1862 at such bloody skirmishes to include Second Bull Run, South Mountain, and Antietam. The unit suffered a great loss on June 30, 1862, during the Seven Days’ Battles near Richmond, Virginia, when former commanding officer Danforth and two other men were killed in action. These three men were later interred in the Westfield Presbyterian Cemetery in Mount Jackson. The unit also experienced its greatest triumph when during the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862, it held the line against great odds during a massive Union retreat. For his actions that day Capt. Cooper was called “the bravest man in the Army of the Potomac.”

The unit took part in many historic battles over the next few years including at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Courthouse, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg. At Gettysburg in early July 1863, the unit suffered three battle deaths but helped repel the famous action known as “Pickett’s Charge.”

Battery B was taking part in the Siege of Petersburg when the Confederate forces surrendered on April 9, 1865. The unit had a proud record taking part in twenty-seven engagements, including such famous battles as Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, Antietam, and Second Bull Run. Of the 332 men who eventually saw service with Battery B a total of twenty-one were killed and fifty-two were seriously wounded – an unusually high number of casualties for an artillery unit. The survivors of Battery B, or Cooper’s Battery as it was popularly referred to, were mustered out of service at Harrisburg on June 9, 1865, and returned home to Lawrence County.

In April 1869 the surviving members of Battery B gathered for a reunion in Mount Jackson in what became an annual event. The reunion, usually held on June 8, became a popular event for the community of Mount Jackson and was often attended by other Civil War veterans from around the area. The event – which featured a parade followed by a short veterans meeting and a community picnic – was usually held near the Methodist Church at Nesbit’s Grove, a popular picnic area now located in the Jackson Knolls residential area.

In August 1879 the veterans of the unit erected a small memorial pillar honoring Battery B at Gettysburg, and it was one of the very first monuments to be placed on the historic battlefield. It was placed on East Cemetery Hill, near where the unit held its ground during Pickett’s Charge. The pillar was marked with various inscriptions concerning the unit’s history. A second and much more impressive monument (topped with a carved cannon), its $1,500 cost made possible by state funding, was erected along the smaller monument on September 11, 1889. Another monument, a large stone tablet marking the unit’s position on the first day of action, was erected years later in 1938.

In 1905, during the thirty-six annual reunion, it was first proposed that a monument be erected in Mount Jackson to honor the men of Battery B. Less than a year later Battery B lost its former commander as James H. Cooper passed away in New Castle on March 21, 1906. He was laid to rest in historic Greenwood Cemetery in New Castle. Efforts for the monument continued to gain momentum and fund-raising efforts got underway a few years later.

During the reunion on June 8, 1911, on the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, over 1,000 people took part in the festivities at Nesbit’s Grove. A twenty-foot-high monument, to be fashioned in Vermont, was soon authorized. The four sides of the base of the monument would have panels that spelled out the history of the unit. Harry and William Zimmerman of Mount Jackson generously donated a quarter-acre lot on the Mount Jackson-New Castle Road for the monument site. After some investigation, it was determined the site would require work to get in into shape and a more desirable location was selected adjoining the Methodist Church property. This was a more symbolic location anyway as it was where the unit gathered before heading off to war in 1861.

Work on the foundation for the monument began in late May 1912 as the completed obelisk was shipped aboard the Pennsylvania Railroa (PRR) to Bessemer. The original plan was to unload the monument at Mahoningtown, but this plan was abandoned for some reason. From Bessemer, it was loaded onto large wagons and transported to Mount Jackson over the course of several days. The monument was put in place at the bottom of the large hill where the Methodist Church was situated. The annual reunion was delayed a few weeks to allow the work to be completed.

On Friday, June 28, 1912, during the reunion, the monument was dedicated before a large crowd of onlookers. It was unveiled by William E. Porter, a Lawrence County Judge and President of the Battery B Monument Association, and Mary Cooper, the daughter of Capt. James H. Cooper. The monument sat at the bottom of the large hill where the Methodist Church and its cemetery were situated.

Just three years later, on the morning of Monday, July 26, 1915, the Methodist Church was destroyed by a disastrous fire. The seventy-three-year-old church had recently been remodeled and its loss was put at $3,500. Only $1,000 of the damage was recovered in insurance claims. An article in the New Castle News of August 6, 1915, about vagrants spending the night in the nearby Westfield Presbyterian Church, revealed that the Methodist Church fire “…was possibly caused by an intruder, who probably accidentally set fire to the church building.” Efforts were soon underway to erect a new building at the same location, but for some reason, the Methodist Church was never rebuilt.

In April 1923 a Civil War-era cannon, provided by the Raritan Arsenal in New Jersey, was acquired to go on display next to the Battery B Monument in Mount Jackson. The 3-inch gun was believed to be an experimental rifled cannon cast in 1863 at the Harry N. Hooper & Company foundry in Boston, Massachusetts. In the spring of 1926 a campaign was started to relocate the monument and cannon to the top of the hill where the Methodist Church was once located. The cemetery association, which was also officially chartered at about that time, sought to acquire additional properties through several deals.

Ten members of Battery B attended the fiftieth reunion in June 1919 – in the wake of the Great War (World War I) – while at least one other surviving member was unable to attend. The annual reunions continued throughout the 1920s while the surviving members of Battery B slowly dwindled. The last two members were ninety years old when they died. They were George W. Pitzer of New Castle, who passed away on December 13, 1929, and David P. Needler of Edinburg, the last remaining survivor when he died on November 3, 1930.

The annual reunions continued in honor of Battery B until at least 1940 when I believe the developing events of what became World War II began to take precedence. Periodic events, especially on Memorial Day each year, continued to honor the men of Battery B and other local veterans.

Sometime in late 2010-early 2011, the cannon was refurbished and then relocated nearby to the North Beaver Township Municipal Building/Athletic Complex on Mount Jackson Road. In early 2011 local efforts were initiated to replace the original Battery B memorial in Gettysburg, the small pillar erected in 1880, which has weathered to the point that its inscribed panels are unreadable. Local historians are busy trying to scour records to figure out the exact wording of those inscriptions.

The old Methodist Cemetery along Route 108 just east of the heart of Mount Jackson, known more popularly as the Battery B Cemetery, is well maintained and is still in active use today. Among those buried, there are many local pioneers including those of the Bear, Brewster, Duff, Gilmore, Kerr, McClelland, Nesbit, and Shaffer families, a handful of military veterans of Battery B, and the former Assistant Superintendent of County Schools Professor Charles F. Ball.


In 1842 a group of local Methodists, led by the Reverend Rufus Parker, purchased land from John Nesbit just east of the village of Mount Jackson and erected a small wooden frame church (shown above). The church was situated on a hill along the road to New Castle and a small cemetery was also established around it. The Mount Jackson Methodist Episcopal Church was eventually lost to a suspicious fire on Monday, July 26, 1915. Fundraising efforts were initiated but the building was never replaced. (c1909)


This cropped photo depicts Battery B, armed with four 3-inch cannons, during a lull in action at the Seige of Petersburg, Virginia, in June 1864. Famous photographer Mathew B. Brady (1822-1896) is shown standing on a rock near the left of the photo. An assistant of Brady took this photo. (1864) Full Size


This is actually part of the above photograph, showing Battery B during the Seige of Petersburg. (1864) Full Size


Capt. Henry T. Danforth was the man who assembled the local volunteers at Mount Jackson in June 1861 and led them in training. He was soon promoted and assigned elsewhere, but took a reduction in rank to remain with Battery B. He was killed in action near Richmond, Virginia, in June 1862. This cabinet card was produced by the A. W. Phipps studio in New Castle. (c1890)


Capt. James H. Cooper assumed command of the Battery B in the fall of 1861. He led the unit throughout the Civil War and served with great distinction. He passed away in New Castle in 1906 and was laid to rest in Greenwood Cemetery. (c1895)


Local citizens and military veterans gather for the dedication of the Battery B Monument on Friday, June 28, 1912. It was unveiled by William E. Porter, a Lawrence County Judge and President of the Battery B Monument Association, and Mary Cooper, the daughter of Capt. James H. Cooper. Full Size


Old postcard of the Battery B Monument. (c1915)


The Battery B Monument at its dedication in June 1912.


Services are observed at the Battery B Monument on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, 1960. Full Size


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This is me examining the stone of Professor C. F. Ball, a local resident who served as the Assistant and/or Head Superintendent of Lawrence County Schools from 1918 until his death in 1932. (Jan 2012)


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The Battery B Cemetery sits on a hill along Route 108 just east of the village of Mt. Jackson. The yellow arrow marks the location of the Battery B Monument. (c2012) Full Size


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The dedication service of the new Battery B Monument at Gettysburg took place on Saturday, November 23, 2013. Bob Kirby, Superintendent of the Gettysburg National Military Park, prepares for the unveiling. (Thanks to Keith Foote for providing this photograph. The photographer was Nancy Olds) (Nov 2013)


The monument is unveiled. (Thanks to Keith Foote for providing this photograph. The photographer was Nancy Olds) (Nov 2013)


This photo depicts the Monument Committee comprised from left to: Dennis Dewalt, Scott Debo, Keith Foote, Greg Kline and to the far right Carol Schlegel. Barbara Mowery, standing in for Harry Readshaw, State Representative from Pittsburgh, is standing next to Superintendent Bob Kirby. (Photo provided courtesy of Keith Foote. Photographer was Nancy Olds) (Nov 2013) Full Size