Abner B. Pipes
Pvt. 140th Pennsylvania Infantry
Abner Pipes was born on August 4th, 1842, the son of Washington and Cinthyanne Pipes of Greene County, Pennsylvania. Abner was the third son of seven sons born between 1839 and 1855 in the area of Morrisville in the far Southwest corner of the Keystone State. I have little information on his childhood except to say that he was a farmboy whose great grandfather was a soldier in the revolution and whose great uncle Joseph Pipes was also a soldier in the revolution and somewhat of a legend in that part of the country for his many adventures with the indians in his frontier days. No matter what his background, shortly after passing his 20th birthday, Abner entered the event that changed so many lives in so many ways.
On August 18th, 1862 he enlisted with his brother James Milton and they were both made members of Company "A" of the 140th Pennsylvania Infantry. You may read here of the story of his brother James, who became a Captain, was wounded twice, lost an arm in Virginia and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions. Abner's story is a contrast in the great picture that is the Civil War. His is a portrait of the more common soldier, stricken with medical problems that plagued him the rest of his life. His pension and military records depict a man who was disabled for the rest of his life, physically for sure and perhaps mentally as well, for he does seem to be very unhappy about his inability to provide for his family and seems to bridle at the doctors and government officials who were prone to question his disabilities.
The first few months of service went quickly, James was promoted to Orderly Sergeant and the 140th found itself at Chancellorsville, part of the Army of the Potomac and ready for a late April battle that marched them across the Rapahanock and pushed them back several days later. The battle was the high water mark for Abner who found himself at the Judiciary Square General Hospital in Washington D.C. His life seems to change forever at that point as he contracted a severe cough, lung congestion, diahrrea, and what was then called neuralgia or chest pains. Medical examinations of his condition for the rest of his life point to no one cause of his condition but mention angina pectoris, and heart palpitations and offer little in the way of treatment. His brother James mentions in one affidavit that he thought Abner was going to hemmorrage his lungs as they marched after the battle. He was never ill a day in his life until suffering those fearful days at the end of April in Virginia.
He left the hospital to re-join his unit as they marched towards Gettysburg in late June of 1863. His part in that battle is not mentioned in any of the records but he and his brother both mention meeting in the field hospital where James was suffering from a wound received on the second day. They both talk of being transported away, Abner back to Baltimore and James to Philadelphia.
Abner spent the rest of the war in Baltimore, working at a place called "Camp Distribution" and was the assistant store keeper for the Christian and Sanitary commission there. He received an honorable discharge in June of 1865 and rejoined his father's family in Cameron, West Virginia.
A letter written by Abner and copied into his pension application papers from the archives, details his life from 1865 to the mid 1880's. The letter was written to persuade the authorities that he was entitled to a pension and that he was physically disabled after Chancellorsville. He describes working at many jobs; a railroad switch tender, farmer, store owner and merchant, never holding any one job for very long because of his physical condition.
Physical condition or no, he met and married a Pennsylvania girl in1772. Her name was Intha Estella Hinerman and they were married in the little town of Aleppo in Greene County, Pennsylvania on January 19th. Aleppo is only about 10 miles from Cameron, West Virginia and just across the border. Abner and Intha brought seven children into the world in the next 16 years:
Alois J. born November of 1873 and died before 1920
Emmet B. born November 27, 1873
Jennie May born June 17, 1875
William Ward born May 30, 1877
Byrda born April 22, 1883 ( This appears to be her real name, as it was mentioned in a funeral notice for her sister Celia)
Sallie born November 13, 1885 ( She must have been the first child born in Kansas)
Celia born October 14, 1888
Abner moved his family to the state of Kansas in 1884 and his health is reported to have improved. He worked for a time as a carpenter, then did some farming and lived a fairly uneventful life, raising his children and getting by the best he could. His obituary in 1922 indicates that he had indeed made a very good recovery and actually prospered in Graham County. He was a Justice of the Peace there for about 20 years, owned and ran a hardware business, drilled wells and may have done contracting for building several of the local buildings.
His records do not tell much until the early 1920's when he fell and broke his hip and needed medical assistance. The papers indicate that his wife passed away in 1915 and do not say if he lived with his children or alone. He is described as being 78 years old, 5'11'' at 168 pounds with fair complexion, hazel eyes and gray hair.
Abner passed away in Denver, Colorado on September 10, 1922. He was reportedly thrown from a carriage and died instantly while in an accident. He was probably visiting his children there as at least two of them, Celia and Byrda, were living there.
His obituary reads thus:
Two obituaries were printed in Graham County, Kansas after Abner's death.
The Hill City Republican
Hill City, Graham County, Kansas
- September 14, 1922:
"A message was received Monday by L. Messick that bore the sad tidings that A.B. Pipes had been instantly
killed Sunday evening in Denver by being thrown from a buggy. Later reports say the remains will be brought
to Hill City this (Thursday) morning for burial.
Obituary next week.
Mr. Pipes was one of the early settlers in Graham County and was known by the majority of our citizens,
having been in business in Hill City and has drilled wells in nearly every locality in years gone by."
- September 28, 1922:
Abner Pipes was born August 4, 1842, in Green County, Penn., and died at Denver, Colorado, September 10,
1922, aged 80 yrs 1 month and 6 days.
He was married to Intha Estella Hinerman June 24th 1890. To this union were born eight children, 4 sons
and 4 daughters. His war record shows that he enlisted August 19th,1862 in Co. A, 140th Infantry, and served to the close
of the war, was mustered out in 1865. He identified himself with the G.A.R. Post in Hill City, Kansas July 7th, 1888, and was
a member in good standing at the time of his death.
Mr. Pipes built the building now occupied by the American Legion and I.O.O.F., and was engaged in the
hardware business in Hill City, was active in business and politics, having served as justice of the peace
for 20 years. The records show but few of his decisions reversed by higher courts.
He settled on school landing adjoining the town in 1885, and still had it as his home at the time of his death.
Funeral services were conducted at the Federated church Thursday, Saturday 14, by Rev. R. J. Wallace,
assisted by Rev. Cunningham, the American Legion and the GAR Post, in the presence of a large congregation
of friends and neighbors.
The remains were laid to rest in the Pipes lots in the Hill City Cemetary.
Those from a distance attending the funeral were Mr.and Mrs. Dillon and son, of Kensington, Kansas; Mr.
and Mrs. Thompson of Gooding, Idaho; Mr. and Mrs. Cody and Miss Byrdie Pipes of Denver, Colo.
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