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Robert Pickworth

Civil War Service

Robert Pickworth -- 20 April 1861 as a private enrolled in Co. G, 3rd Regiment PA Volunteers, Discharged as a sergeant Co F, 21st Regiment PA Cavalry Volunteers

Information written by Mary Pyle Palmer    June 3, 2010

Robert Pickworth was the son of John and Mary Rankin Pickworth, born June 2, 1838 in Johnstown. John came from England to United States in the late 1820's and settled in Johnstown, Cambria County, Pennsylvania.  Mary Ranklin emigrated from Scotland and settled in Johnstown also. On April 6, 1831 John and Mary were married in Cambria County by Samuel Douglas a Justice of Peace. John operated the first packet boat between Johnstown and Pittsburgh. Working together they bought a large parcel of land and built a large brick house. (This house located on Bedford Dale Borough opposite the Beulah Church, burned down in 1977. The area is now used as a parking lot for a bank). Later the land was sold off and developed into streets, one of which was named Pickworth Street. Today there is only a small section of the street left. The rest was cleared to build a road to Geistown. Mary Rankin died before 1850. John later married Elizabeth Cook.

Robert Pickworth worked with his father on the canal boats until the time the railroad was developed and the canal boats became obsolete. On January 31, 1861 Robert and Matilda Beam were married  at the First Baptist Church in Johnstown by the Rev. C. H. Gesford. Matilda was the daughter of John and Ann Haynes Beam. (Both the Haynes and Beam families operated businesses in Johnstown--both also had ties to family in Somerset County.)

Shortly after their marriage, Robert entered the Army during the Civil War. He served in Company F, 21 st Regiment, Pennsylvania Cavalry Volunteers. He attained the rank of sergeant.  When he was discharged Robert was considered 2/3 disabled.

Robert and Matilda had eight children. Only five lived to adult age. Robert's health had been affected by his time in the Cavalry.  He suffered slight deafness in ears, catarrh and disease of the heart (enlarged).

For a time, they lived in Johnstown and Robert worked in a steel mill. Between the mill and his war afflictions, his health deteriorated. They decided to leave the city and return to Jenner Township, Somerset County, which had been Matilda's home area. They purchased land at the base of the eastern side of the Laural Hill Mountain. With health and financial problems Robert and Matilda were unable to stay on the farm more than a few years. They moved to Pitcarin where their son Frank lived. Their oldest son, Milton and his wife Sue (Ross) Pickworth remained on the farm.

In 1890, Congress passed an invalid pension act. After much red tape, Robert was declared two-thirds disabled and received a pension of $12 a month from September 28, 1891 until his death in 1906. During January of 1906, Robert was employed at the Pennsylvania Rail Road car shop in Pitcarin as a painter.  He was on a ladder painting a car, when someone released a set of wheels (called a truck) from a hump above him. The truck upset the ladder, Robert fell sustaining multiple injuries. He was carried home.  The railroad doctor attended him.  Within a few days he developed pneumonia and died February 3, 1906.

Matilda was left a widow with no income.  After months of letters and sworn statements, she was able to collect a small widow's pension from the Army until her death on July 18, 1920.  After her husband's death, Matilda lived with her daughter and son-in-law, Edith and Harry Green at Freeport, PA.  She would visit for periods of time with her children---Emma in Altoona, Milton on the farm near Jennerstown, Frank in Pitcarin and John in Streator, Illinois.  She belonged to the Methodist Church. When possible she attended quilting bees held by the ladies of the church. She would walk to the meetings. Matilda died July 19, 1920 in Greensburg, PA. She was buried at Grandview Cemetery July 20, 1920.
Robert was buried at Sandyvale Cemetery in Johnstown on Feb 6, 1906. On March 26, 1907 his remains were moved to Grandview Cemetery in Johnstown.  Their plot is near the section called the Unknown from the Johnstown Flood of 1889.  

Obit from Pitcarin Pa paper

Robert Pickworth an old and prominent citizen of Pitcarin died at his home on Second St last Saturday morning as a result of internal injuries received on Jan 23 by being knocked from a step ladder while at work at the paint shops.

Funeral services were held at the family residence on Second street on Sunday afternoon, Rev. C.H. Reckard of the M. E. Church conducting the services assisted by Rev. Dr. Phanon S. Kobler of the Presbyterian Church,  Rev. George W. Downing of the Baptist Church,  Rev. A.B. Bauman of the Reform Church, Rev. T.L. Jamieson of the U.P. Church, and Rev. Jamieson of the U.B. Church.

Secretary W.M. Callender of the P.R.R.Y.M.C.A.made a touching address on the many services of Mr. Pickworth to the Y.M.C.A,.and telling of his association with him.  The funeral arrangements were in charge of T.A. Russell of town.  The funeral party left for Johnstown on the 8:30 train Monday morning. Interment took place in the Sandy Vale Cemetery of that place. Emery Fisher Post G.A.R. of which he was a member acted as escort.

Mr. Pickworth was in his 68th year and was born in Johnstown where he had lived for many years moving to Pitcarin 9 years ago.  Since which time he has been prominent in Church and P.R.R.Y.M.C.A. work He was president of the board of Trustees of the M.E. Church for a number of years and was re-elected to the position only a few days before his death. He had long been a member of the church and for a number of years a very active member of the Religions Work Committee of the P.R.R.Y.M.C.A. and was well known to many of the members of the organization, having been assistant secretary and done much other work in the interests of the organization.

Mr. Pickworth served with distinction through out the rebellion, enlisting at the outbreak of the war for 8 months and re-enlisting in Company F,.21st Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry he was promoted to Sergeant.                                                                               

His father was one of the early canal boatmen and Mr. Pickworth also followed the old canal, the forerunner of the P.R.R. and he and his wife were members of the Canal Boatmen's Association.

Mr. Pickworth was married to Miss Matilda Beam 40 years ago and eight children five of whom are living were the result of this union. The children living John B. instructor in manual training in the Streator Ill High school, Milton of Jennerstown Somerset Co., Frank of town, Mrs. J.H. Green of town and Mrs. W.H. Houck of Altoona.  



Funeral of Robert Pickworth

The remains of Robert Pickworth, the former Johnstowner who died Saturday 03 Feb 1906 at Pitcarin, arrived here on the 10:17 train this morning and were conveyed directly to Sandyvale Cemetery, where after short services at the grave , conducted by the pastor of the M.E. Church at Pitcarin, they were interred.  The immediate cause of Mr. Pickworth's death was pneumonia , superceded by falling from an eight foot ladder while at work in the P.R.R. car shops.

Robert Pickworth who was a son of the late Capt. John Pickworth, a prominent figure in canal days, was born in Johnstown sixty-eight years ago.  He was employed as a young man on the Canal, and later served an enlistment in the Civil War.  He left here about twelve years ago to engage in farming in Somerset County, but later entered employment of P.R.R. at Pitcarin. Forty-five years ago he was united with Miss Matilda Beam, a sister of Mrs. George Rhinebolt, of the South Side.

Besides his wife, he is survived by the following sons and daughters: Milton of Jenner Township, Somerset County; John of Illinois; Frank of Pitcarin; Edith wife of Harry Green of Pitcarin; Emma, wife of William Houck, of Altoona.  Three sisters also survive; Mrs. William F. Cook. of Bedford street; Mrs. Maria Wayland, of Strayer street, and Mrs. Joseph Hummel , of Dale. Mr. Pickworth was a member of  the Old Boatmen's Association, the G.A.R. and the Methodist Church. 
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