Moses and Martha Pannebaker


Moses was born in Fermanagh Township, Juniata County, on February 7, 1842, the seventh child of Joseph and Polly (Wert) Pannebaker.1 He grew up in the homestead of his grandparents William and Elizabeth Pannebaker, and probably lived there until 1860, when he was living in the household of neighbor George Hower, working as a laborer.

Moses volunteered for the Union Army on February 23, 1865, at the age of 22 years. He had hazel eyes, light hair, and a dark complexion, was 5’ 5 ½” tall, and a blacksmith. He served in the same regiment as his older brother Daniel and his future father-in-law Simon Basem. Moses fell ill at least twice while in the Army.  He claimed later that “In April 1865 he galled his left shoulder and, taking a cold in it, it became sore and the surgeon blistered and treated it, from which he has never fully recovered, the shoulder and chest being weak and shoulder so tender that he cannot carry anything on it, nor bear it to be touched even. Also an injury to the testicle.” The records also show that on October 20, 1865 he was treated in quarters for “intermitant fever (Ter.)”, probably malaria. He was discharged a month later, on November 18.

He returned to Juniata County and on August 2, 1866 married Martha Hamlin Basom, the daughter of Simon Basom and Lydia Howe.2 She was born on January 25, 1849, and was seven years younger than Moses.3 In 1870 he and Martha were living in Mifflintown next to his brother John. Moses was 28 years old, working as painter for his father-in-law Simon. Martha was 26, and their first child, Jessie, was two. In 1880 Moses was still in Mifflintown, still working as a painter. By then he and Martha had four children.4 They would go on to have nine children. Ada LaPorte Long, granddaughter of Moses and Martha, remembered some stories about him. She said that he painted Pomeroy’s store in Harrisburg. He had money and two properties at one time, but lost it to his brother-in-law, who was a carpenter, and Martha’s half-sister’s husband.5

In 1883 Moses applied for a disability pension, and claimed that as a result of the war injury he was unable to work. Some of his fellow workmen testified that he complained of pain in his shoulder that prevented him from working. In 1897 he petitioned again, although he had little evidence of the injury, since, “A great part of the time no physicians attended him, he was then taking patent medicines.” Also the boss painter, Simon Basom, under whom he first worked, had died by then. In an affidavit, he swore that “he is poor, and in distressed circumstances, that he is in feeble health and unable to do any manual labor, or very little by which he can earn any money, also that his landlord threatens to seize his personal property for rent now due and because of his distressed circumstances and conditions he makes an appeal to the Commissioner of Pensions that you make his case special.” His landlord confirmed this, saying that Moses was back with his rent and unable to pay because of poor health.

A fellow workman testified that “he could not work up on a ladder or on a scaffold, nor could he work where he had to raise his hands above his head or paint overhead at a ceiling or anything of the kind, at such times he would get hoarse and choke up air, complain of pain under his ribs, and shoulders and that his heart was palpitating greatly. … He lost a great deal of time all these years, his disability increasing each year, especially the last six years he has been unable to do but little work.”6

By the 1910 census Moses was widowed.7  Martha had died of consumption, and had been confined to the house for a long time before her death earlier that year.8 Some of the children were still living with him: Boyd, Clarence, Alton and Bessie, as well as Frank Cashner, the husband of Bessie. Boyd was working at a hotel; Clarence was a stone mason; Alton did odd jobs; Frank had no occupation. Corbit lived close by with his wife Anna and three children Next door to Corbit, Mary Ella Borhman, widow of Lewis,  lived with her children: Daniel, John, and Rosy.9 Two years later Mary Ella would marry Moses as his second wife.10 She must have used the name Ella, as they were listed in the 1920 census as Moses and Ella.11 She had been married before and had at least one daughter, Mrs. Rose Wyland of Lewistown, whom she visited in 1916, “returning home by auto”.12

In 1921 Moses contracted gangrene in his left foot; he was taken to the Lewistown Hospital where they amputated the leg in hopes of saving him. The operation went well and he seemed to be recovering, but he died suddenly on Nov. 6, 1921.13 He was buried with his first wife Martha in the Westminster Presbyterian Cemetery in Mifflintown.14 In 1922 Mary E. Pannebaker applied for a widow’s pension. Children of Moses and Martha:15

Jessie May, b. May 1, 1868, d. 1953, m. Jan. 26, 1891 Harry W. LaPorte, son of Anson and Nancy of Tyrone, Blair County.16 Harry was a railroad man and got around the countryside. They moved to Osceola Mills, then to Tyrone. They had six children before Harry’s death in 1928. Jessie survived him by many years, living with her son Karl and his wife Katie. Jessie died in 1953 and is buried in Tyrone with Harry and all of their children. Children: Ada, Ira Foster “Foss”, Virgil, Richard, Harry, Karl.

Corbett Basom, b. Sept. 6, 1870, d. 1929, m. 1895 Anna Belle Rollman.17 A blacksmith for the Penna RR, lived in Mifflintown, buried at Westminster. Children: Mary Edna, Ralph, Geraldine.

Joseph Clinton, b. April 30, 1873, d. 1886. Buried at Westminster.

Van Irvin, b. Nov. 7, 1877, d. Jan 197318, m. Gertrude Morgan (d. 1951), lived in Tyrone, children Boyd, Ruth, Helen ; a blacksmith. Buried at Eastlawn, Tyrone.

Boyd Murray, b. Dec. 7, 1880, d. April 1950, no children. Buried at Westminster.19

Clarence Howe, b. Aug. 19, 1883, d. 1936, m. Aug 1882, Daisy Kaufman, one son who died at one year of age.20 Lived in Louisville, Kentucky, later returned to Pennsylvania. Daisy died in 1918, at age 24. In 1920 Clarence was widowed and a laborer at the RR shop in Blair Count. Buried at Westminster with Daisy and their son.

Blanche Wright, b. Jan. 6, 1886, d. 1954 in Dauphin Co, lived with Jessie & Harry in Tyrone in 1900. In 1910 (when her mother died), Blanche was described as Mrs. Blanche Casner of Danville, Pennsylvania. Her husband was probably the Frank Cashner in the 1910 census, although the record is ambiguous.[21] On October 9, 1911 she married Lewis M. Steele in Louisville, Ken. Could Cashner have married her sister Bessie Jane instead?tucky.21 They were still married in 1916 when they visited her father Moses.22 She may have divorced Steele, because in 1920 she was described as “Miss Blanche W. Pannebaker of Mifflintown.” This was at the time of her marriage to Austin Wescott, a pilot out of Cristobal on the Panama Canal. They were married 19 Nov 1920, and immediately left for the Canal Zone, “where the groom is employed by the government.”23 She died in 1954 and was buried with Wescott at Westminster, Mifflintown. Ada LaPorte, her niece, remembered her and said that Blanche was nearsighted and plain and resigned to being a spinster until she met a pilot on a train, going to the Panama Canal and married him and lived well, since he had money.

Alton Scholl, b. Oct. 22, 1888, d. October 1973 in Tyrone, m. Margaret Dry, ch. Alton C, Pauline, Mary, Robert, Richard, William. A laborer at West Va Pulp & Paper in Tyrone when he registered for WWI draft. Still there in 1930. Pauline died at age 36 unmarried.

Bessie Jane, b . June 22, 1893, died after 1953, probably in Florida, no children.24

  1. His date of birth is given on his PA state death certificate.
  2. When he applied for a Civil War pension, he was asked for the name of his wife and for their marriage certificate. He said that the certificate was lost, “through her mother moving west”. Martha’s mother Lydia Howe died young, in Juniata County. Perhaps Moses was using “moving west” as a locution for “gone west”, which is itself a locution.
  3. Her PA state death certificate.
  4. In the 1880 census he was still in Mifflintown (in the index as Panobecker), with Martha, Jessie, Corbet, Joseph and Van (Image 2).
  5. This was probably John W. Shirk, married to Martha’s half-sister Mary. He lived in Tyrone and was a house carpenter. Martha’s other half-sister Margaret was married to William Fought, and they lived in Fremont, Ohio. Martha also had a full sister, Hannah Jane, married to Samuel Showers. They lived in Mifflintown.
  6. Moses’ Civil War papers.
  7. Federal census of 1910, Mifflintown, Juniata County, indexed with Lack Township, Image 30.
  8. Obituary, 1910, East Juniata Herald, family file at Juniata Co. Historical Society; also her death certificate.
  9. 1910 census, Lack Township, Juniata County, Images 30 & 31. In the 1900 census Mary Ella had been a neighbor of Moses and Martha, living with her much-older husband Lewis Borhman. Born in 1865, she was also much younger than Moses.
  10. Her maiden name was Sweger.
  11. Moses was shown as age 76, with wife Ella age 63, no occupation and no children at home. They were living next to James R. North, age 51, who may have been a distant relative. The grandmother of Martha Basom, Moses’ first wife, was Hannah North
  12. Rose was born about 1889. By 1920 she was married to William Wyland, a machinist at the steel works in Lewistown. (1920 census, Derry Township, Mifflin County).
  13. Details from a newspaper clipping in the JCHS Pannebaker file, dated Nov. 6, 1921. Death certificate of Moses Pannebaker: Died in Granville Township, Mifflin County on Nov. 6, 1921. Born 2/7/1842.  Retired mechanic. He was survived by two of his brothers: John and Joseph, as well as six children.
  14. Records of Westminster Cemetery, Mifflintown. He is buried with wife Martha, with a note that he was a veteran of Co. G, 213 Regiment. His son Clarence is also there, with wife Daisy, and their son who died at one year old.
  15. The dates of birth are from his Civil War pension application in March 1915. Other information from census records, Ancestry trees, newspaper records, recollections of Ada LaPorte Long (daughter of Jessie May Pannebaker LaPorte).
  16. Newspaper clipping in the Pannebaker family file at Juniata County Historical Society.
  17. Obituary of their son Ralph, who died in Mifflintown in 1987. Also the Pannebaker family file at Juniata Co. H. S.
  18. Obituary index for the Altoona Library online
  19. Obituary index for the Altoona Library online
  20. A Clarence Pannebaker, either this or another of about the same age, married Annie Swails in 1910; she was a widow and her maiden name was Wileman. (Pannebaker family file at Juniata Co. H.S.)
  21. Kentucky County Marriages 1783-1965, Jefferson County, Image 310.
  22. Juniata Herald, no date except 1916, file at Juniata County Historical Society).
  23. Juniata Tribune, JCHS file. The canal had opened to world traffic in 1914 and was booming by 1920.
  24. Some records show her husband as a Hamer.

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