George W. Shook Part 1

 

The 1850 U.S. Census includes Jacob Shook within the Borough of Greencastle’s enumeration, although he was a farmer, owning $7,000 worth of real estate. Jacob Shook and his family were recorded third to last, on the last page (27) of the Borough of Greencastle’s census. On the 1858 maps of Greencastle and Antrim Township, he owned property on the very northwest edge of the town. Until circa 1954, West Madison Street was two blocks in length and then just ended. Beyond that point, it became farmland. The road to Williamson began at the intersection of North Carl Avenue and West Madison Street, veering off in a northwest direction. Part of the original Williamson Road still exists. To the right of West Madison Street at Route 11, is the remnant of the beginning of the Williamson Road, where it left the borough limits. The original road continues on the opposite side of Route 11, and goes between the large, yellow brick Victorian house, on the hill, on its left and Sunnyway Diner’s parking lot, on its right. The site of the yellow brick house is where Jacob Shook’s original house stood.

 

 In 1850, Shook was 45 years old and his wife Anna was 31. They had five children: George (7), Martha (6), Marian (4) John (2), and David (1). Malinda Ling (14) was also living in the household; she most likely was a servant.

 

 Circa 1780, John Mitchell, an early pioneer settler in Antrim Township built the large limestone farmhouse at 431 Leitersburg Street, which is across from the school district’s ball field, along Leitersburg Street. By 1858, Shook was the owner of the Mitchell homestead and farmland. He still owned the previously mentioned farm at the end of West Madison Street.

 

 The 1860 U.S. Census, in Antrim Township, was taken at the end of August and beginning of September. The real estate value of Jacob’s farm, on Leitersburg Road, was $24,900 and the Shooks’ personal estate was $2,198. Within the interim ten years, Jacob and Anna had two more children – Anna (8) and Charles (1). Marian, John, David, and Anna were all attending school. Emanuel Hawbecker (18), who was included in the household, was working on the farm, as was, most likely, their eldest child George.

 

 During this time period, the large landowners of Antrim Township were the wealthiest group in the community-at-large. Jacob Shook was one of the prominent farmers of the era. His land, like that of many other farmers in Antrim Township, was used for encampments by both Federal and Confederate troops. During the April 2, 1862 election, Shook was elected as a school director for Antrim Township.

 

 On August 7, 1862, Jacob and Anna’s eldest child, George, enlisted in Co. K, 126th PA Regiment. On September 9, 200 men of the 15th PA Cavalry, dismounted, arrived in Greencastle and Antrim Township to perform reconnaissance assignments south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The state issued an order that permitted the dismounted cavalrymen to render into service, for the duration of their stay in the G-A area, horses belonging to Antrim Township farmers. Jacob Shook, a staunch Union supporter and well-respected in the community, accompanied the man assigned the duty of securing horses. Not everyone was a Republican. The farmers who were “Breckinridge Democrats” did not support the war and therefore would not allow the use of their horses. Shook allowed the men of the 15th PA Cavalry to camp in his field, through which the Tayamentasachta spring flowed from Jacob Stover’s property, across Leitersburg Road.

 

 December 13, 1862 is known in history books as “The Day of Slaughter” during the Battle of Fredericksburg. Casualties were approximately 17,929 men, with about 8,000 Union soldiers killed or wounded, in front of the Stone Wall on December 13, during the successive charges toward Marye’s Heights. Out of the 126th, there were 27 killed, 50 wounded, 2 missing, and one prisoner taken at Fredericksburg. There were seven men killed, on Saturday, December 13, from Company K; they were Adam Bert, George M. Byers, James Mitchell, Charles H. Shirey, Joseph Shatzer, Henry M. Spidell, and George W. Shook – Jacob and Anna’s eldest child. Out of the seven, the bodies of George Shook and James Mitchell were the only ones recovered and brought back home for burial. James Mitchell is buried in the Moss Spring graveyard. His Soldier’s Story was published April 14, 2014. None of the other five men are buried in any of the church graveyards or cemeteries in Greencastle or Antrim Township.

 

George W. Shook, born November 5, 1842, was mortally wounded, at the age of 20 years, one month, and eight days old, on December 13, 1862. George’s body was recovered and buried in one of the Greencastle church graveyards. Sometime after Cedar Hill Cemetery opened in 1870, his body was disinterred and reburied in Section K, Lot 5. His headstone says he died December 18, 1862, but all his Army records say that George was killed in action on December 13, 1862.

 

 During the Great Invasion of Pennsylvania in June 1863, Jacob and Anna’s farmland, along with Jacob Stover’s across the Leitersburg Pike, was used for Confederate encampments. It surely must have been a bitter experience for the Shook family.

 

 On March 4, 1865, the first board of directors, for the First National Bank of Greencastle, was elected. They were: Samuel Bradley, Jesse Craig, Jacob B. Crowell, J.C. McLanahan, John Rowe, John Ruthrauff, Jacob Shook, Melchi Snively, John Wilhelm, A.B. Wingerd, and George W. Ziegler. These men were leading farmers, industrialists, and merchants in Antrim Township and Greencastle. In 1865, the bank was operated out of a house owned by William C. Kreps, in the first block and on the west side of North Carlisle Street, next to the alley.

 

 The 1868 maps of Antrim Township and Greencastle show that Jacob Shook continued to own the farm on Leitersburg Road, and he also owned a home in Greencastle. The house was inside the borough limits, in the western most block of Madison Street.

 

 During the 1870 U.S. Census, all of the Shook children, except Martha the second oldest, were still living with their parents. They ranged in age from 10 to 23 years old. Jacob’s real estate increased to $44,921 and their personal estate was valued at $25,410.

 

 On January 9, 1879, Jacob and Anna lost their youngest son Charles. He was born on September 3, 1859 and died at the age of 19 years, four months, and six days. Charles and his oldest brother George are buried side-by-side, at Cedar Hill Cemetery, with matching headstones.

 

 Jacob was 76 during the June 21, 1880 census. Anna was 60. Their son, John H (36), was a bookstore keeper and daughter, Ann M (25) did not have an occupation. Rebecca Mathias (25) was a domestic servant for the Shooks and lived in the household.

 

 Jacob Shook was born on October 2, 1803 and died at the age of 79 years, five months, and 16 days, on March 18, 1883. Anna H. Shook was born on November 20, 1820. She died on January 31, 1892, at the age of 71 years, two months, and 11 days old. The Jacob and Anna Shook family burial plot is in Section K, Lot 5, Cedar Hill Cemetery, Antrim Township, Franklin County, PA. Also buried in the family plot, with Jacob, Anna, George, and Charles, is Annie M. the youngest daughter (June 2, 1853 to June 4, 1899), and their eldest daughter Martha Belle Burke (1844 to 1912).

 

 The Jacob and Anna Shook home, at 431 Leitersburg Street, was restored to its original beauty, during the 1980s, by the late Joe Henson. The home is listed on Pennsylvania’s Historic Register as well as the National Register of Historic Places, both of which recognize its importance as part of Greencastle-Antrim’s heritage and its significance during the Civil War – our history is American History.

 

 

 

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