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Biography of Samuel Hopper Ewing 1834-1912

Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia of the Juniata Valley
Comprising the Counties of Huntingdon, Mifflin, Juniata, and Perry, Pennsylvania
Volume 1, J. M. Runk and Company, Publishers 1897
Transcribed and Submitted by
Karen Miller, Wilmette, Illinois


Samuel Ewing, undertaker and wagon builder, Newton Hamilton, Mifflin County, Pa., was born February 19, 1834, in County Tyrone, Ireland. He is a son of William and Margaret (Hopper) Ewing; and a brother of Captain Ewing, of Newton Hamilton. He was brought to this country at two years of age by his parents, who settled at Newton Hamilton. He attended the public schools of Wayne Township, and a select school taught by an old Irish lady named Mattie Kilpatrick, an excellent teacher. At the age of nine, he began to work for his father on the canal, on the boat "Here I Am." He was thus employed for three summer seasons, going to school in the winter months, and hauling wood. He then obtained employment with the Pennsylvania railroad, as a team driver; two years later he was promoted to section boss. After six months in this position, he returned to the canal, working for his brother, Capt. William Ewing, on the boat "John A. Lemon," until 1854. At this date, abandoning forever the canal and railroad, he began to learn carriage building, at Newton Hamilton, with Benjamin Norton, spending four years as apprentice and three as journeyman. He then rented his former master's shop, and conducted the business three years for himself. In 1861, he removed to Mount Union, Huntingdon County, where he continued in wagon building. In July, 1861, Mr. Ewing enlisted at McVeytown, in Company K, Forty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers. Being forwarded to Harrisburg, thence to Washington and thence to the Army of the Potomac, he participated in his initial engagement. From that time on, Mr. Ewing's experience was of the most thrilling character. Most heroically did he endure the ordeal through which he was called to pass. He participated during the war in thirty-two battles, some of the most prominent of which were: Yorktown, Va., in April and May, 1862; Williamsburg, Va.; Gannets Hill, Va.; Golden's Farm, Va.; and other engagements comprised in the famous ''Seven Days' Fight," Savage Station, White Oak Swamp, and Malvern Hill; Crampton's Gap, Md.; Antietam, Md.; Fredericksburg, Va., in December, '62, and in April, '63; Salem Church; Gettysburg, Pa.; Funkstown, Md.; Rappahannock Station, Locust Grove, and Mine Run, Va.; and the Wilderness. He was wounded at the battle of the Wilderness, in May, 1864, having his leg broken below the knee. He lay on the field for ten days, and was then captured and taken to Richmond, where for three months he endured cruel treatment and starvation fare. At one time, he watched for three hours for a chance to kill and eat a rat, to satisfy to some extent his gnawing hunger. Exchanged, in August, 1864, he was sent to Camp Parole, at Annapolis, Md., where he spent a short time, after which he was sent home on a sixty days' furlough. Being sent back to the camp at Annapolis Junction, he was assigned to hospital duty, being ward-master for a short time, and division ward-master. He was finally discharged in July, 1865. After returning home, Mr. Ewing removed to Bloomington, Ill., where he worked at his trade for six months, at the expiration of which time, he returned to Newton Hamilton. Building a shop, he engaged in business for himself, at which he has continued ever since, carrying on undertaking also in connection with wagon building. He is the only undertaker in the town.

Mr. Ewing was married in 1856, at Shirleysburg, to Matilda Ewing, a native of Perry County. They have two children: Wilson M., a stock raiser, residing in Colorado; and Samuel T., who died, young. The wife died in 1860. Mr. Ewing was again married, in March, 1867, to Catharine E. Wharton, who was the widow of Thomas I. Drake, and the mother of D. S.

Drake, of Huntingdon. To this union were born five children, as follows : Robert B., secretary and treasurer of the Drake Telephone Company, Huntingdon; Annie B.; Maggie I., deceased; Myrtle B., wife of Harry Clark, a foreman on the Pennsylvania railroad ; and Mabel G.

Mr. Ewing has acceptably filled numerous offices; he was for sixteen years a school director; was chief burgess for one term; borough treasurer for two terms; a member of the town council for several terms; and has also frequently served on election boards as judge and inspector. Mr. Ewing is a prominent member of Aughwick Lodge, No. 472, I. O. O. F., at Newton Hamilton, in which he is deputy grand master. He has also been treasurer of the lodge for thirty years, besides filling numerous other positions. He is a member of Lewistown Encampment, I. O. O. F., at Lewistown. Mr. Ewing is also prominent in Surgeon Charles Bower Post, No. 457, G. A. R., at Newton Hamilton. He has been a member of the Order of Rebecca, Improved Order of Red Men, Sons of Temperance, Independent Order of Good Templars, and other organizations. He is a consistent member of the Presbyterian Church, in which he has been an elder for many years.

He has taken a deep interest in the Sunday-school, having been a teacher, and for thirty years a superintendent. He is a staunch Republican.