John Andrew Culp and Isabella Reed

Isabella Reed

John Andrew Culp was the great-grandfather of Florence Mosier. He was born on November 18, 18281 in Marble Hall near Barren Hill, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania,2 a few miles northwest of Philadelphia. He was the son of John Culp and Rebecca Vandike.3

Around 1875, John Andrew Culp married Isabella Reed who was born about 1841 in Philadelphia. She was Florence Mosier’s great-grandmother. No image of John has been found, but he is described in his army enlistment papers as being 5 feet 9 inches tall with hazel eyes, dark hair and a fair complexion.4 A portrait of Isabella is shown on the left.

Prior to his marriage to Isabella, John was apparently married to Louisa [surname unknown].5,6,7 John A. Culp, age 23, and Louisa Culp, age 19, are found in the 1850 U.S. census in Shaler Twp., Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Louisa, like John, stated that she was born in Pennsylvania. John’s occupation was listed as “Boiler”.8 He was probably a worker in one of the Pittsburgh area iron mills and may have been a member of the “Sons of Vulcan” organized in 1858 as part of the first union movement in Pittsburgh’s iron industry.

At the time of the 1860 U.S. census, John and Louisa were living in Penn Twp., Perry County, Pennsylvania. They were the parents of four children, all of whom were born in Pennsylvania: William A. (9), Elmira W. (7), Noah R. (4) and Rebecca E. (2). John’s personal estate was valued at $130, and his occupation was now listed as “Pudler”.9 A puddler was a highly skilled iron worker in charge of a reverberatory furnace used in the process of converting pig iron into wrought iron; it was a dangerous occupation requiring physical strength, stamina and sustained concentration.10,11

John served briefly in the Union Army during the Civil War. He enlisted on May 27, 1861 and, on June 4, mustered into the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves.12 This was a federal regiment organized at Harrisburg, and John served in Company B as 1st Lieutenant. This regiment was also known as the 42nd PA Regiment, 1st PA Rifles, and “Kane’s Rifles”.13 It was also known as the “Bucktails” because the regiment consisted largely of hunters and woodsmen who wore male deer tails pinned to their caps as a symbol of their shooting skills.14 John mustered out as 1st Lieutenant on November 1, 1861, with remarks on his record stating only: “resigned.”15,16 No reason for the 1861 resignation can be found in John’s compiled military record, but it may have been related to the birth of daughter Ann who was born in 1861.17

In July 1863, John’s name appeared on a list of all persons in Class II (married men between the ages of 36 and 44) residing in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania who were eligible for the draft. Although John was actually 35 years old at the time, his age was shown as 39 on the list. His occupation was shown as “puddler.”18

On March 23, 1865, John Culp re-enlisted for a 1-year term in Company I of the 67th Regiment of Pennsylvania Infantry. His enlistment papers indicate that he had been born in Philadelphia and that he was currently a resident of Shaler Twp. in Allegheny County, that he was 37 years of age and by occupation a “Boiler”. He mustered in as a Private in Allegheny City on April 14, 1865, whereupon he received credit for a U.S. Bounty of $100. At Camp Curtin in Harrisburg, he was paid a Local Bounty of $500 on April 21. The Company Muster Roll dated June 30, 1865 indicates that John had been appointed Sergeant on April 18. He mustered out in Washington D.C. on July 14, 1865 as a 2nd Sergeant with Distinguished Service.19,20,21

Following his discharge from the Army, the available records suggest that John did not return to his family and that he may, in fact, have abandoned his wife and children.

“John A. Culp, puddler” was listed in the 1866 Pittsburgh city directory22 and in both the 186723 and 186824 Philadelphia city directories. He cannot be located in the 1870 census. Later, when applying for pension benefits related to his service in the Civil War, John does not mention Louisa or their children.

Louisa Culp can be found in the 1870 U.S. census residing in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, at which time she declared herself to be a widow. She was living with her six children: William (19), Ellen (16, “Elmira W.” in the 1860 census), Noah (14), Elizabeth (12, “Rebecca E.” in the 1860 census), Ann (9), and George (6).25,26 George would have been born about 1864, the year before John re-enlisted in the Army. In the Harrisburg city directories between 1876 and 1884, we find a listing for “Louisa Culp, widow, John A.”27 In the 1880 U.S. census for Harrisburg, Louisa is listed with four of her children (Noah, George, Elizabeth, and Annie) and four boarders.28 From 1885 until 1895, Louisa is listed in the Harrisburg city directories as “Mrs. Louisa Culp” and is shown in most years as operating a boarding house.29 She cannot be found in the 1900 U.S. census or later and cannot be found in Harrisburg (or any) city directories after 1895; thus it is inferred that her death occurred about 1895.

Prior to her marriage to John Andrew Culp, Isabella Reed was married to Thomas Cougle who died in 1872.30 Isabella and Thomas had two sons: Will (b. 1868, d. ?) and Frances (b. 1874, d. 1897).31 In the 1870 U.S. Census, Isabella and Thomas Cougle are found residing at 2005 Orianna St. in Philadelphia with son “Willie”, age 2.32 Nothing is known about Isabella’s parents. The 1850 U.S. Census, however, includes a John Reed residing in the 6th Ward Kensington in Philadelphia. John Reed’s household includes his wife, Martha, and three children: John (age 13), Eliza (age 10), and Isabella (age 8). Both John and Martha state that they were born in Ireland.33 Isabella’s age on the date of the census (8/2/1850) indicates a birth year of 1841 or 1842. It is quite possible that John and Martha Reed are the parents of the Isabella Reed who married John Culp.

John and Isabella apparently married around 1875. They had one child, Anna Martha, born on June 1, 1876.34 The Culp family is found residing at 3118 Wharton St., Philadelphia, in the 1880 U.S. Census. Listed with John and Isabella are Anna (age 4) and Isabella’s sons Will and Frances Cougle (ages 12 and 8). Isabella indicates that both her parents were born in Ireland. John indicates that both his parents were born in Spain, but this is obviously a falsehood; in the 1910 census, he indicates that both his parents were born in Pennsylvania, and the record is clear that his immigrant ancestor was part of the German Immigration of the 1700’s. John’s occupation is listed as “Pudler”, and Isabella is shown as “keeping house”.35

Isabella died on December 28, 1884 at 31 Oakford St. in Philadelphia. The cause of death was pneumonia. Her death certificate shows her age as 43 and her birthplace as Philadelphia. Isabella was buried on December 31 at Greenwood Cemetery in Philadelphia.36

On September 11, 1895, John Culp married Helena Hartlieb in Camden, NJ. John was 67 years old and Helena was 36. She was the widow of John C. Breschel of Reading, PA,37 with whom she had 9 children. John and Helena Culp had two children: Albert Ramon, born on October 15, 1895 and Mabel, born on January 16, 1897. John and Helena separated in 1898.38

In February 1892, John Culp had begun drawing an invalid soldier pension benefit of $6 per month. John applied for an increase to $8 per month in 1898, stating that he “can do no manual labor for past 2 years” because he suffered from “the following disability, incurred in the service, viz: chronic rheumatism, dyspepsia, catarrh of head, disease of eyes, broken breast bone, injury to spine, heart disease.” The doctor performing a medical examination on July 1, 1898 certified that John, “age 70 years, was Pudler. Palms slightly roughened, fairly nourished, healthy looking for his years.” For the most part, the doctor confirmed John’s injury and other ailments, and the pension increase was granted. At the time of his death, John was receiving a benefit of $22.50 per month.39

In 1910, the U.S. Census shows John Culp living alone as a boarder at 326 Franklin Street in Philadelphia. He was 82 years old and listed his occupation as “pensioner”.40 In 1913 he became ill enough to require constant care, and on December 13 he moved to his daughter Anna’s home at 1011 Buttonwood Street where he died on January 16, 1914 at the age of 86. John was buried on January 20, 1914 at Fernwood Cemetery in Lansdowne, PA.41


Notes & Sources:
1St. Peter’s Lutheran Church (Barren Hill, Pennsylvania), Baptisms 1768-1848, p. 66, baptism of John Andrew Culp; photocopy of church record, Historical Society of Montgomery County, Norristown, Pennsylvania.
2Mosier family traditions regarding birthplace of John Andrew Culp (born 1828), Anna Williams Mosier, compiler and granddaughter of John Andrew Culp, (MSS notes, ca. 1979; privately held by Judith Perrault Delmar [address for private use], Orlando, Florida).
3St. Peter’s Lutheran Church (Barren Hill, PA), Baptisms 1768-1848, p.66.
4Compiled service record, John A. Culp, Sgt., Co. I, 67th Pennsylvania Inf.; Civil War; Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780s-1917, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, DC.
5John A. Culp (Sgt., Co. I, 67th Pa Inf., Civil War), Widow application no. 1077230, certificate no. 824858 [merged with Invalid pension application no. 1093809, certificate no. 842856], Case Files of Approved Pension Applications, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C., Application by daughter Anna Boyd for reimbursement of funeral expenses includes statement: “1st Mrs. Culp died; 2nd wife Isabella Culp died Dec. 27, 1884.”
6John A. Culp Civil War widow application no. 1077230, certificate no. 824858 RG 15, NA-Washington; letter dated 16 Sept. 1912 from Mrs. Lizzie Zimmerman of Harrisburg, Pa. seeking information on whereabouts of her father John A. Culp.
71850 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Shaler Township, p. 96 (back), dwelling 187, family 198, John A. Culp household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com), citing NARA microfilm publication M432 roll 747.
81850 U.S. census, Allegheny Co., PA, pop. sch., p. 96 (back), dwell. 187, fam. 198, John A. Culp.
91860 U.S. census, Perry County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Penn Township, page 681 (stamped), dwelling 229, family 285, John A. Culp household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com), citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 1150.
10Puddling Furnace definition at Fine Dictionary, http://www.finedictionary.com.
11A “boiler” and a “puddler” seem to have been closely related workers in an iron mill and may have been synonymous terms. See: James J. Davis, excerpts from The Iron Puddler: My Life in the Rolling Mills and What Came of It, (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1922), Chapter XIV, BOILING DOWN THE PIGS at ExplorePAhistory.com.
12“Civil War Veterans’ Card file, 1861-1866 Indexes.” Database and images. Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; (http://www.digitalarchives.state.pa.us/ : accessed 28 May 2009); entry for John A. Culp, B-13 Res 42 Regt.
13Wikipedia. 13th Pennsylvania Reserve Regiment.
14ExplorePAhistory.com. “The Bucktails” Historical Marker.
15John A. Culp Civil War invalid pension no. 1093809, certificate no. 842856, RG 15, NA-Washington.
16“Civil War Veterans’ Card file, 1861-1866 Indexes.” Database and images. Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; (http://www.digitalarchives.state.pa.us/ : accessed 28 May 2009); entry for John A. Culp, B-13 Res 42 Regt.
171870 U.S. census, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Harrisburg Ward 1, p. 125 (stamped), dwelling 419, family 426, Louiza Colp household [indexed Lorenza Colp]; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com), citing NARA microfilm publication M593 roll 1334.
18“Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com), John A. Culp registration, Pennsylvania, Dauphin County, Harrisburg, no. 19 (top page numbering), line 4; citing Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registrations, 1863-1865. NM-65, entry 172, 620 volumes. Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War), Record Group 110. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
19Compiled military service record, John A. Culp, Sgt., Co. I, 67th Pa. Inf., Civil War, RG 94, NA-Washington.
20John A. Culp Civil War invalid pension no. 1093809, certificate no. 842856, RG 15, NA-Washington.
21“Civil War Veterans’ Card file, 1861-1866 Indexes.” Pennsylvania State Archives, entry for John A. Culp, 2d I 67 I.
22“U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989,” database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 31 May 2013); Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1866, p. 97, entry for John A. Culp, puddler.
23“U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989,” digital image, Philadelphia, Pa., 1867, p. 367, entry for John A. Culp, puddler.
24“U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989,” digital image, Philadelphia, Pa., 1868, p. 430, entry for John A. Culp, puddler.
251870 U.S. census, Dauphin Co., Pa., p. 125, dwell. 419, fam. 426, Louiza Colp.
26Note that John A. Culp had four sisters: Mary Ann, Elizabeth Ann, Rebecca, and Elmira; it would seem that John and Louisa named their daughters after his sisters. John’s youngest brother was named “George.”
27“U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989,” digital image, Harrisburg, Pa., 1876, p. 127, entry for Louisa Culp, widow, John A; also subsequent years by same title: 1878 (p. 93), 1880 (p. 93), 1882 (p. 105), 1883 (p. 105), 1884 (p. 105).
281880 U.S. census, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Harrisburg, ED 97, p. 408-D (stamped), dwelling 230, family 243, Louisa Culp household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http:/www.ancestry.com); citing NARA microfilm publication T9 roll 1124.
29“U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989,” digital image, Harrisburg, Pa., 1885, p. 105, entry for Mrs. Louisa Culp; also subsequent years by same title: 1888 (p. 131), 1891 (p. 148), 1892 (p. 148), 1893 (p. 175), 1894 (p. 174), 1895 (p. 176).
30Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates Index, 1803-1915 [database on-line] (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011), FHL Film Number: 2021081, Thomas Cougle; Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com).
31Mosier family traditions regarding previous marriage of Isabella Reed Culp (born abt 1841), Anna Williams Mosier, compiler and granddaughter of Isabella Reed Culp.
321870 U.S. census, Philadephia County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Philadelphia Ward 19 (2nd Enum.), p. 54 (penned), number 2005 Brianna St., Thomas Cougle household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com), citing NARA microfilm publication M593 roll 1432.
331850 U.S. census, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Kensington, Ward 6, p. 433 (back), dwelling 430, family 516, John Reed household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com), citing NARA microfilm publication M432 roll 807.
34Mosier family traditions regarding birth of Anna Culp, Anna Williams Mosier, compiler and daughter of Anna Culp.
351880 U.S. census, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Philadelphia Ward 26, Div 24, ED 567, p. 767C-D (stamped), dwelling 28, family 33, John A. Culp household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http:/www.ancestry.com); citing NARA microfilm publication T9 roll 1185.
36John A. Culp Civil War widow application no. 1077230, certificate no. 824858 RG 15, NA-Washington; photocopy of certificate issued by Phila. Dept. of Public Health and Charities, Bureau of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, Death Certificate #21286, Isabella Culp.
37John A. Culp Civil War widow application no. 1077230, certificate no. 824858 RG 15, NA-Washington; Copy of Certificate and Record of Marriage, New Jersey, Bureau of Vital Statistics, certifying marriage of John A Culp and Helena Hartlieb in Camden, N.J. on 11 Sep 1895.
38John A. Culp Civil War widow application no. 1077230, certificate no. 824858 RG 15, NA-Washington; affidavits by Helena Culp and John A. Culp.
39John A. Culp Civil War invalid pension application no. 1093809, certificate no. 842856 RG 15, NA-Washington; application for increase in pension benefit.
401910 U.S. census, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Philadelphia Ward 13, ED 189, sheet 3B (penned), dwelling 44, family 73, Harry Davis household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http:/www.ancestry.com); citing NARA microfilm publication T624 roll 1390.
41John A. Culp Civil War widow application no. 1077230, certificate no. 824858 RG 15, NA-Washington; application by daughter Anna Boyd for reimbursement of funeral expenses.