Nineteenth regiment originated in the National Guards, of
Philadelphia, a uniformed regiment of the State militia. It was
originally a single company, organized on the 11th of December,
1840, under Captain Thomas Tustin, succeeded in 1844 by Captain Stephen
B. Kingston, and the latter in 1847 by Captain Peter Lyle. It was
recruited for the Mexican war; but more troops volunteering than
were needed, its services were not accepted. The company held a
volunteer encampment of eight days' duration in July, 1856, near
the city of Lancaster, and again the year following at Bethlehem.
NON SIBI, SED PATRLE, was adopted as its motto.
In 1858, it had so increased in numbers-having one hundred and
twenty members as to be unwieldy on parade with other companies of
only the minimum strength. It was accordingly divided and a
battalion of four companies formed from it. Still maintaining a
steady growth, on the 11th of December, 1860, a full regimental
organization, with eight companies, was effected. Experiencing much
inconvenience for the want of suitable Headquarters, the National
Guards' Hall was erected on Race street, Philadelphia, at an
expense of one hundred and ten thousand dollars.
The Guards were in line at Harrisburg on the 22d of February, 1861, on
the occasion of the reception of Abraham Lincoln, President elect,
on his way to the National Capital. Upon the outbreak of the
rebellion, the regiment was held in readiness, and on the 16th of
April, 1861, its services were tendered to the Governor. On being
immediately commenced, and on the 27th of April, with full ranks,
it was mustered into the service of the United States, as the
Nineteenth Pennsylvania volunteers, and the same field officers,
who had commanded the Guards, were commissioned: Peter Lyle,
Colonel D. W. C. Baxter, Lieutenant Colonel; J. W. Fritz, Major; H.
A. B. Brown became Adjutant. Upon opening the books for recruits, men
flocked to its standard, largely in excess of the number which the
government would accept, and consequently many were rejected. So
great was the desire to belong to this organization, that it was
regarded as a personal
favor to be accepted.
On the 10th of May, the regiment was ordered to Baltimore. Landing at
Locust Point, it marched to the neighborhood of Fort McHenry, and
encamped just outside the Fort, in Camp Pennsylvania. The thorough
drill to which the National Guards from their first organization
had been subjected, and the large experience of its officers,
rendered the discipline of the recruited regiment easy, and it was
soon brought to a high state of proficiency. There were few better
drilled organizations, at this time, in the service.
The command of the Department of Annapolis, with Headquarters at
Baltimore, had been given to General Cadwalader; but upon being assigned
to the command of a division in General Patterson's army, he was
succeeded by General Banks. The latter soon discovered that
unlawful combinations of men existed for the purpose of thwarting
the operations of the government in its attempts to subdue armed
rebellion, and that Marshal Kane, chief of police, was not only
aware of their existence, but in contravention of his duty, and in
violation of law, was both witness and protector to the
transactions and parties engaged
therein. It was rumored that these hostile organizations were soon
to assume the offensive, and seize the Custom-House, Post-office,
Telegraph, and a large amount of Coin in transit. Acting under
instructions from his government, he determined to arrest the
This delicate and possibly difficult duty was assigned to the NINETEENTH
regiment. Leaving two companies in camp, Colonel Lyle made the following
disposition of the remainder of his force: selecting from each
company five of the most judicious men and skillful marksmen, he
placed them upon the sidewalks, with orders to keep abreast of
their respective companies which were formed in platoons of ten in
little after midnight, the command moved quietly into the city, and in
order to prevent any disturbance, and to cut off the possibility of
an alarm being given, the troops were ordered to seize all persons
found on the line of march, whether policeman or civilians, place
them in the center of the column and compel them to march
noiselessly along. Arriving at
the residence of the Marshal, he was found and taken in custody,
having had no suspicion of a purpose to capture him. He was taken
to the Fort and placed in safe keeping, and the captives found upon
the streets were dismissed. For several days succeeding this event,
a portion of the regiment was on duty in the city, and upon its
return, the regular routine of drill and camp life was resumed.
While stationed at Camp Pennsylvania the command received many favors
from friends in Philadelphia, among others, a printing press and
materials. In the ranks were not only printers and literary men,
but skilled designers and engravers, and the publication of a camp
newspaper, the NATIONAL GUARD, was commenced. It had an elaborately
designed and neatly engraved head, with the words "NATIONAL
GUARD" in scroll, with groups of flags displayed at either end, the
regimental coat of arms with the motto NON SIBI, SED PATRLE
entwined, the whole having been executed in camp. The first number was
marked Volume II, Number 1, the first volume having been issued in
the encampment at
Lancaster in 1858. One number was profusely illustrated, delineating
many ludicrous scenes in camp life, in which a pair of dilapidated
army shoes and breeches came in for a share of ridicule.
General Banks was succeeded in the command of the Department by General
Dix. As the expiration of the term of service of the three months,
troops drew near, be was in danger of being left without a command.
He accordingly made an earnest appeal to the several regiments to
stay with him until their places could be filled by other troops.
When he came to
the camp of the Guards, they were massed in his front, and he urged
his suit in a few well timed and eloquent remarks. It was a time to
try the feelings of the officers. Anxious as they were, that their
men should remain, they were still uncertain of the temper which
would prevail. At the signal for a decision, there was not a
dissenting voice, a result which
excited the pride and satisfaction of every member of the regiment and
elicited the compliments of the General. They were, however,
detained only four days beyond their term of enlistment, and were
mustered out at Philadelphia, on the 29th of August, 1861.
H. Shearman soon went back to war. He was commissioned
as a First Lieutenant in Company E, Pennsylvania 88th Infantry
Regiment on October 22, 1861.
Eighty-eighth Infantry Regiment, three companies of which were
recruited in Berks county and the remainder in Philadelphia, was
known as the Cameron Light Guards and was mustered into the U. S.
service at Philadelphia in September, 1861 for a three years' term. It
was ordered to Washington on October 1, and assigned to guard duty
at Alexandria, where it received its arms and equipment. On February
18, 1862, five companies were detailed for garrison duty in forts
on the Potomac, and on April 17, the regiment, reunited, moved to
Cloud's mills, to guard the line of the Orange & Alexandria
railroad from Bull Run to Fairfax Court House. May 7, the command
was ordered to report to Gen. McDowell and assigned to Gen.
Shearman resigned his commission on June 18, 1862, before his unit went
into action. He returned to his wife and family. William Shearman and
his brother-in-law Abraham Lower apparently moved to Camden
in the 1860s, and became volunteer firemen. William Shearman's
daughter, Dollie Amanda Shearman, married William
S. Davis in late 1869 or early 1870.
opposition, on September 2, 1869 City Council enacted a municipal
ordinance creating a paid fire department. It provided for the annual
appointment of five Fire Commissioners, one Chief Marshal (Chief of
and two Assistant Marshals. The City was also divided into two fire
districts. The boundary line ran east and west, starting at Bridge
Avenue and following the tracks of the Camden and Amboy Railroad to
the city limits. District 1 was south of this line and District 2 was
north. The commissioners also appointed the firemen who were
scheduled to work six 24 hour tours per week. William
Abels, from the
Weccacoe Hose Company No. 2 was appointed Chief Marshal with William
W. Mines, from the Independence Fire Company No. 3 as Assistant Marshal
for the 1st District, and William H. Shearman as the Assistant Marshal
for the 2nd District. Abels
had served with the volunteer fire
departments of Philadelphia, Mobile, Alabama and Camden for sixteen
years prior to his appointment as Chief of the paid force.
stated above William Shearman was a charter member of the Camden Fire
Department, entering service as Assistant Marshall on December 7, 1869.
His brother-in-law, Abraham Lower, also was an original member, as an
extra man with the Hook & Ladder Company, known to day as Ladder
Company 1. His son-in-law, William
S. Davis, was appointed to the Fire Department in December of 1870.
H. Shearman lived at 406 Pine Street when he joined the Fire Department. He
was a stone cutter by trade.
By the time the
1870 Census was compiled, William Shearman was living in Camden's Middle
Ward with his wife Amanda and daughters Caroline and Mary. Camden Fire
Department records give his address in 1871 as 112 North 6th Street.
1878 City Directory has a listing for the Camden City Marble Works,
Kripps & Shearman, proprietors, located at Arch and Federal Streets.
Webster Kripps of 533 Arch Street was William Shearman's partner in this
business. The Directory shows "William Sherman, marble
cutter", at 2 Haddon Avenue.
1880 census lists William Shearman as "William H. Sherman" at
3 Haddon Avenue
with a wife named Almira and no children. He may well
have lost all of them to illness. William and Almira Sherman had wed in
1877. William H. Shearman was still working as a stone cutter. The
Shearmans moved down the street to 33 Haddon Avenue
prior to the
compilation of the 1882-1883 City Directory.
1882-1883 and 1883-1884 City Directories show William Shearman had taken
a post as Health Inspector for the City of Camden, and was also
Commissioner of Highways. These positions had ended by the latter half
of 1885, with a change in the political winds in Camden. William
Shearman went into business as a contractor, and remained in that line
of business the rest of his days.
Shearmans were still at 33 Haddon Avenue by the time the 1900 Census was
compiled. The census states that William H. Shearman was then in
business as a paving contractor.
his last day a resident of 33 Haddon Avenue,
H. Shearman passed away on April 28, 1904 and was buried at Evergreen
Cemetery. He had long been a member of the Thomas
M.K. Lee Post No. 5, Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R) and he
received Grand Army honors at his burial.
H. Shearman's widow Almira applied for
and received a Civil War veteran's widow's pension in May of that