22 December 2017 
Volume 2 Issue 10
Stories from Prospect Cemetery
Small town history is recorded in its cemeteries. Every stone, every inscription represents a person and the stories their life generated. The role of a local history organization is to collect and preserve those life stories. Sometimes we can put the stories together from newspaper accounts, from obituaries and from public records. If we are really lucky we find a diary or letters and hear the person's own voice telling the story. That's the best.

Civil War prison camps, both north and south, were a horror. These stories bring that experience home to Mansfield.
Prospect Cemetery
1876 An Andersonville Prisoner's Experience

Published in the Elmira Advertiser in 1876, Abijah Reynolds of Sullivan and later Mansfield details, not only his own experience in Andersonville Prison during the Civil War, but that of other of his townspeople who were with him. A sad episode in his narrative involves Orson Spurr of Mansfield who helped him when they were paroled March 1865.

"We were shipped the 2d for Camp Parole, Annapolis, Md., arriving there on the 4 th, ... I took cold while in the bath house and had a relapse of the fever that I had while in Florence, as I had not entirely recovered from it. And expecting every day to get my parole furlough kept me up, and when it did come I got within a hundred feet of the train and dropped helpless, and was put on and helped through from Camp Parole by one of my old comrades, Orson Spurr, to Troy, Bradford Co., Pa., and was so low that I was left within ten miles of my home in Sullivan township, this county. Dr. A. D. Robbins, then of Mainesburg, this county, and Dr. Rockwell, of Troy, held a council over me and concluded to have me removed on a feather bed the remaining ten miles, and when I reached home I would not have weighed over ninety pounds, .... So you see it was by the skin of my teeth that I reached home. And this Orson Spurr that helped me through as far as he could, and appeared while in prison to be one of the strongest ones, died the second day here in Mansfield, after reaching home in apparent health. And I doubt if there is one Andersonville prisoner in a hundred that is not left with some old chronic complaint that will, in all probability, shorten their years. "

Military records tell us that Orson was a miller before enlistment. Orson and Abijah are buried in Prospect Cemetery only a few rows apart. Abijah's account may be the only record of the story of Orson Spurr. Mansfield did not have a newspaper at that time, and Pennsylvania did not keep death records until decades later. It would have been a lost tale without this memoir, a yellowed and brittle newspaper clipping found in a scrapbook in an attic and sent to us.
Mansfield Soldiers Spent Time at Andersonville
Stephen Godfrey Mudge
Francis Mation Shaw
Stephen Godfrey Mudge (1844-1927) and Francis Marion Shaw (1931-1895) both spent time in Andersonville Prison. They both returned to Mansfield and spent the remainder of their lives here.
Lyon Brothers of Salisbury Prison
Augustus Lyon kept a diary at Salisbury Prison where he died.
Andrew Klock lived until 1923 and also wrote his memoirs of prison life. Both accounts are on this page linked at right.
G.A.R. Mansfield Post #84
Biographies of our local Civil War veterans from the G.A.R. records include many instances of imprisonment. They are available from the button above.
Coming in the Next Issue
A Century ago Mansfield's High School Class of 1918 launched their lives from our town. Where did these 44 Mansfieldians go? What did they do? Where did their lives take them? Look for the story in our next issue due out in January.
Drop us a note to tell us what kinds of programs you'd like to see at The History Center.
Memberships and Donations make our work possible preserving and presenting Mansfield's stories and the memories of its people. Help us keep going and growing. Renew your membership for 2018 or become a new member. Thank you.
This Christmas card was sent to Merle Garrison of Mansfield in 1913. Merle's postcard album and contents were donated to The History Center by Merle's son, Ben Garrison.
Christmas Cheer
The History Center on Main Street