Cleeland brothers

William M. and Arthur K. Cleeland, U.S. Civil War

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Young boy acquires original Civil War regimental history
When I was a boy growing up in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, I loved books--any kind of books--and collected them. My dad took me to the estate auction of a man who had been murdered somewhere in the vicinity of Sandy Lake and Stoneboro. There was a card table that was covered with old books, and it also held an antique Ouija board. I bid 50 cents on the lot, and then a grown-up bid 55 cents against me. The auctioneer yelled "I DON'T TAKE NICKEL BIDS! SOLD!", and I was suddenly the proud new owner. Another grownup came over and asked me what I would take for the old Ouija board, and I promptly sold it for 50 cents.

When I got home and looked over my new treasures, I found that one of the books was an original copy of Amos Judson's 1865 book "History of the Eighty-Third Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers", and another was an original copy of the 1864 book "Soldier's National Cemetery, Gettysburg". Reading these two books as a youngster turned me into a history buff. Click Here to view a large (10,696 KB) PDF of the regimental history book (it may take a minute or two to download). After I loaned the books to my history teacher, he offered me $100.00 for them, which was a lot of money in the 1960s. I declined.

Judson's book was one of the first Civil War regimental histories that was written. The Eighty Third Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers was one of the finest Union regiments, according to General McClellan. It encountered much hard fighting, including an important role on the second day of the battle of Gettysburg. It suffered the second highest number of deaths (282) of all Union Regiments in the Civil War. For more information on this regiment, and its role beside the 20th Maine at Gettysburg, see the 1913 book "The Attack and Defense of Little Round Top" by Oliver Willcox Norton.

My copy of the regimental history was originally owned by Cyrus McElwain, a member of Company B, who wrote his address in the book as New Vernon, Mercer County, Pa; click here to see the inscription. According to the roster in the book, he enlisted at Meadville PA on February 23, 1864 and was wounded at Hatcher's Run on February 6, 1865. He was mustered in as a private on the same day he enlisted, at which time he was only 17 years old [2]. He is identified as a 5' 4" farmer, with a dark complexion, who was born in Mercer County, PA [2]. He was discharged on May 19, 1865 [2]. The 1890 veteran's schedule of Mill Creek and New Lebanon, Mercer County, Pennsylvania (Roll 89, Page 3, Enumeration District 69, provided by Robert Osborne) indicates that Cyrus had suffered a wartime "Gun shot of left wrist". He died November 11, 1893. Click here to see a February 3, 1894 military document that references his wife Phebe's widow's pension application (provided by Robert Osborne).

One book contained photos of two Civil War soldiers
Inside the regimental history were photographs of two Civil War soldiers, which I have reproduced below. One of the soldiers was Arthur K. Cleeland of Company F, Eighty Third Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers. The photo of the other soldier was labeled "Morrison Cleeland". For many years I wondered who these two men were, and what their relationship to each other was. In 2007, I decided to try to research them, and to print the pictures on a web page. Robert Osborne, a great-grandson of Morrison Cleeland living in Tempe, Arizona, found the web page and provided far more information than I could have ever found on my own, including all of the material in the bulleted list of links included below. A number of others have also made significant contributions, and the web page has evolved into a document that honors the remarkable patriotism and sacrifice of one Hadley area extended family during the Civil War.

William Morrison Cleeland
The "Morrision Cleeland" in the photo is the William Cleeland / W. M. Cleeland who is listed on the National Parks Service Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System as being with Company G of the 155th Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry, and who is also listed as William M. Cleeland with the 2nd Battalion, Veteran Reserve Corps. According to page 822 of the book "History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5", William Cleeland was mustered into service with the 155th regiment on August 22, 1862, served in Company G, transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Veteran Reserve Corps on July 1, 1863 and was discharged on June 24, 1865. The Veteran Reserve Corps was originally called the Invalid Corps.

General Order 202 of the Adjutant General's Office of the War Department reads "The following named non-commissioned officers and privates, having been duly examined and declared unfit for further field service, but fit for duty in the Invalid Corps, are hereby transferred from their respective Regiments and Companies to the Invalid Corps, to take effect July 1, 1863, and from and after that date will be dropped from their Regimental rolls. Commanding Officers of Companies to which these men have heretofore belonged will at once furnish the Provost Marshal General, at Washington, a descriptive list, clothing account, and complete military history in each case: ". Sergeant William M. Cleeland, Company G, 155th Penn Infantry was listed in the order. The reason for the transfer was "by reason of Injury to Right foot from jumping off R.R. Car".

The Veteran Reserve Corps is described on pages 143 to 146 of Bruce Catton's 1953 book "The Army of the Potomac: A Stillness at Appomattox". According to that book, the Veteran Reserve Corps was divided into two Battalions, based on level of disability. The less disabled men were placed into the First Battalion. The men who were too disabled to freely ambulate or to carry a musket were assigned to the Second Battalion.

W.M. Cleeland's daughter Mabel married western artist Olaf Carl Seltzer in Helena, Montana. Seltzer is commemorated in Mildred D. Ladner's 1979 book "O. C. Seltzer Painter of Old West". O.C. Seltzer used his father-in-law William Morrison Cleeland as the model for his western watercolor of a blacksmith that is titled "Cowboy Smith". This painting appears in Ladner's book, which mentions the W.M. Cleeland family living in Breckenridge, Fort Abercrombie and McCauleyville Minnesota, and also Great Falls and Basin Montana. The book indicates that W.M. Cleeland was a blacksmith and cabinet maker.

According to page 299 of the 1881 book "History of Upper Mississippi Valley", William M. Cleeland was one of the original Masonic officers of the Sherburne Lodge, No. 5, AF, which was chartered by the Grand Lodge on the 9th of January , 1872. While living in MCauleyville in 1883, William M. Cleeland applied for a patent on a hoof trimmer, which issued as U.S. Patent 271,038. While living in Great Falls in 1893, he applied for a patent on a curling iron, which issued as U.S. Patent 507,108 later that year.

Robert Osborne informed me that William Morrison Cleeland is buried at Hadley Cemetery in Perry Township, Mercer County, Pennsylvania in John Pattison's Lot. John was a Civil War soldier, who was married to Maria, a sister of W. M. Cleeland. I visited the cemetery in 2007. If my paces are still equal to about a yard, W. M. Cleeland's tombstone is about 120 yards down from the cemetery crossroads at the top of the hill. The tombstone is to the left, immediately beside the road. Click here for a general view of most of the Pattison cemetery lot, and click here for a picture of John Pattison's tombstone (John's tombstone is to the left of the large Pattison marker, and is not visible in the general view of the Pattison lot).

The Cleeland family is described in the "History of Butler County Pennsylvania"
Pages 752-753 of the 1895 book "History of Butler County Pennsylvania" state "John Cleeland, eldest son of Robert and Phoebe (Wimer) Cleeland, and grandson of Arthur Cleeland, was born July 16, 1811, upon the old homestead in Muddy Creek township, Butler county, Pennsylvania. He learned the blacksmith's trade, and commenced business in a shop on the home farm, whence he removed to Portersville, where he carried on business fourteen years. In 1854 he located in Perry township, Mercer county, where he conducted business until 1879, and then removed to Sandy Lake, and continued business at that point until March, 1892. At that time he retired from active life, and now resides with his son, David L. of Butler. He has always been connected with the Whig and Republican parties. In religion, he is a Presbyterian, and one of the early members of the Portersville church. Mr. Cleeland married Betsey, daughter of William Morrison, of Muddy Creek township. She died in 1883, the mother of eleven children, whose names are as follows: Robert, deceased; William M., a resident of Great Falls, Montana; Phoebe, who married Lewis E. Clark, and after his death J.R. Snyder; Sarah, wife of Jacob Kibler; Maria, wife of John Pattison; Arthur K., who was a member of Company F, Eighty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, died from exposure while in the service, and was buried at Harrison's Landing; Isaac, deceased; John S.; Hamilton, deceased; David L., and Lizzie, wife of C.M. Farrah, of Sandy Lake." (emphasis added). According to, the 1860 census of Mercer County shows John Cleland as a 48 year old farmer in Perry Township with a 22 year old son "William M." and a 16 year old son "Arthur K.". For a photo of John Cleeland, and three of his daughters, click here. For an article about John Cleeland from a 1902 issue of the Presbyterian Banner, click here.

Arthur Kelty Cleeland
Arthur Kelty Cleeland enlisted at Meadville on August 19, 1861, and died of disease at Harrison's Landing on August 5, 1862. He is buried in plot B-47 at the Glendale National Cemetery, Richmond, Henrico County Virginia.

In the above history book quote, Arthur's sister Sarah is listed as the wife of Jacob Kibler, and Robert Osborne confirms that the name was actually Kibler. The rear of Arthur's photograph (below) was originally addressed to Sarah Kibler in pencil, and Sarah's name was later over-written in ink to document Arthur's death. (Although the pencil writing on the photo appears to read "hibler", the Spencerian style lower case cursive k & h of that era were nearly the same.) Click here to see a photo of Sarah when she was a young woman. The Mercer County Cemetery index indicates that a Sarah Kibler, 1842 -1929, is buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Sandy Lake Township.

Jacob and Sarah Kibler's daughter Elizabeth Jane Kibler married Silas Edwin "Ed" Coulson. Silas and Jane lived in or near Stoneboro, and Wallace Brooks Coulson (born November 20, 1897) was one of their children. Wallace, a Stoneboro area bachelor farmer, was murdered on January 6, 1967. Mr. Coulson was age 69 when killed. His murderer went on to kill a 16 year old Grove City girl three days later. Sarah Kibbler's great-grandaughter D. Heasley wrote to me in 2011 about Wallace's murder, and now 44 years after the auction I finally know the name of the man who owned the book and photos before me. Obviously, Wallace Coulson inherited the photo of Arthur Kelty Cleeland that once belonged to his grandmother Sarah (Cleeland) Kibler. [1] K. Vanco wrote the following to me in 2011: "We were neighbors of Wallace and he was, often, at our house helping my dad and vice versa. I was 9 when Wallace was murdered. January 6 is my dad's birthday; Wallace was invited to our house for cake and ice cream to celebrate. I remember watching Lassie and then going off to bed wondering where he was and why he hadn't arrived. He was found near the bend in the road, I am sure having started out to walk to our house. I have a picture of Wallace helping my dad load one of our pigs to go to market. I fondly remember him." In 2022 I learned that a classmate of mine from the Lakeview school district named his son after Wallace Coulson, and I gave the Civil War books and photographs to him to give to his son.

Click here to read an 818 KB PDF of Arthur Cleeland's Jan. 20, 1862 letter to his father John Cleeland and his brother John Slemmons Cleeland. (The copy of the letter was donated by Ted Karle ( of Mentor, Ohio, who is a collector of 83rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry materials.) From the letter one can see that Arthur Cleeland was a conciencious young man with a good sense of humor. Arthur's brother John Slemmons Cleeland was too young for the Civil War, and became a doctor and later became an oil developer. Click here to read a more extensive set of Arthur's letters that were provided by Robert Osborne (transcribed by Mertie Tempe in the 1970's, and donated to the Richmond National Battle Park archives by K.Steinlight.

Click here to read Captain McCoy's casualty report concerning the death of Arthur Cleeland. The death report describes Arthur as "Aged 18 years, 6 feet 1 inch high, fair complexion, blue eyes, light hair and by occupation a farmer...".

Three cousins died in the 83rd regiment-Arthur K. Cleeland, Hosea Morrison & William J. Morrison
Robert Osborne wrote to me in 2007 that Arthur Kelty Cleeland, and his two cousins William J. Morrison and Hosea Morrison, all joined Company F of the 83rd Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers at the same time in Meadville (August 19, 1861), and all died during the Civil War. Robert also indicated that Morrison family records have Hosea Morrison dying August 1, 1862, which is four days before Arthur K. Cleeland. The regimental history indicates that Hosea Morrison died of disease, and William J. Morrison was wounded at Gaines' Mill, Bull Run and Gettysburg, and was killed at Petersburg on June 19, 1864.

Thomas C. Morrison died in the Civil War
Robert Osborne informed me in 2009 that Thomas C. Morrison, the older brother of Hosea and William J. Morrison, also died in the Civil War. He was mustered in to the service on January 22, 1862, was a private in Company K of the 111th Pennsylvania Volunteers, and was killed at Chancellorsville, Virginia on May 3, 1863 (see page 360 of the 1903 book "Soldiers The True Story of the One Hundred and Eleventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, and of its Campaign in the War for the Union 1861 -1865"). Robert also informed me that Samuel H. Cleeland, a first cousin to Arthur K. & Willam M. Cleeland, died in the Civil War.

Allan and Nancy (Cleeland) Morrison lost three sons
Robert noted that "John Cleeland was married to Allan Morrison's sister Elizabeth and Allan Morrison was married to John's 1st cousin Nancy Aanan Cleeland.". As noted above, Allan and Nancy (Cleeland) Morrison lost three sons during the Civil War: Thomas C., William J., and Hosea Morrison. John and Elizabeth (Morrison) Cleeland lost one son: Arthur Kelty Cleeland. What a horrible tragedy for these two families. For an 1873 map that shows where these two Hadley-area families lived during and prior to the Civil War, click here. In 1858 John Cleeland purchased 50 acres in Perry Township from Allan Morrison and his wife Nancy. Others in the extended family were also involved in the Civil War; click here to read about Stephen Morrison (uncle to Arthur K. and William M. Cleeland, and Hosea, William J, and Thomas C. Morrison), and to read about Stephen's nephews S.S and Enoch Morrison (first cousins of Hosea, William J, and Thomas C. Morrison) who both died during the Civil War. Elizabeth (Morrison) Cleeland's first cousin Joseph Washington Morton also served in the Civil War.

Hadley-area veteran Stephen Feather also enlisted on August 19, 1861
The same day Arthur K. Cleeland and his cousins William J. Morrison and Hosea Morrison joined Company F of the 83rd Infantry Regiment, Stephen Feather, David Patterson, William W. Ayers, and James R. Carringer--all from Perry Township--also joined. The 83rd PV regimental history indicates that Feather was "Discharged at Newark, N.J., Feb. 27, 1863, by reason of wounds received at Bull Run, also wounded at Malvern Hill." Robert Osborne found a List of Pensioners on Roll, January 1, 1883 in Mercer County, Pennsylvania that shows that Stephan Feathers had a monthly pension of $4.00 for a gunshot wound to the left leg. The date of original allowance was August, 1863. In the 1883 list, Feather's address is given as Hadley, PA. At least two Feather residences appear on the 1873 map that is linked above (east of the Allan Morrison property). The 1908 book "Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Encampment Department of Pennsylvania Grand Army of the Republic--Erie", indicates that Stephen Feathers, P.C. was a member of the Elijah Thompson Post No. 417, Sheakleyville, Mercer County, Pennsylvania. contributor Theodore J. "Ted" Karle wrote an article about Stephan Feather for the February 1992 issue of the "Civil War Times Illustrated". That article, briefly summarized in this paragraph, includes a photo that shows Feather in the fancy French uniform that was issued to the 83rd P.V. early in the war. The 6' 4" tall Feather was 21 years old when he enlisted. At the second battle of Manassass (Bull Run) in August 1862, he received a bullet wound to the left calf, and on February 27, 1863 he received a surgeon-ordered medical disability discharge [3]. On June 15, 1863 he enlisted in the 55th Regiment Pennsylvania Militia, serving as a First Lieutenant in Company H. Feather went west to Iowa, and reputedly served as a Captain in the Iowa State Militia for the duration of the war [4]. He returned to Hadley in 1870, where he farmed, married, and served in several public positions. He died in August 1925, at age 84, and is buried in Hadley.

William and Arthur Cleeland's brother-in-law John Pattison was also a member of the 55th Regiment Pennsylvania Militia, as revealed by his tombstone. The 55th was organized for emergency duty during the Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania, and the men were discharged on July 18, 1863 and August 26, 1863. Cyrus McElwain was also a member of Company H before his enlistment in the 83rd P.V., as shown by Bates' published version of the 55th Regiment's roster.

Families were original members of the Hadley Presbyterian Church
Click here to see an article provided by Robert Osborne that shows that Mr. & Mrs. John Patterson, Mr. & Mrs. John Cleland, Mr. & Mrs. Allen Morrison and Steven Feather were among the original members of the Hadley Presbyterian Church, which was organized in 1875. The article is from page 570 of the book "History of Mercer County, Pennsylvania: Its Past and Present" (Brown, Runk & Co, 1888).

Links to other Cleeland-related documents

  • William M. Cleeland's GAR transfer certificate (93 KB PDF)

  • William M. Cleeland's obituary (230 KB PDF)

  • William M. Cleeland's death certificate (88 KB PDF)

  • Pension documents, Arthur K. Cleeland's parents (5 pages, 260 KB PDF)

  • 1915 photo of William Morrision Cleeland

  • William M. Cleeland pension application and regimental attendence records (743 KB PDF)

    Conclusion (based on information from Robert Osborne)
    Obviously this was a patriotic area, and these were very patriotic families. In addition to their son Steven Morrison, William Morrison and Sarah Slemmons had ten grandsons in the Civil War:

  • William Morrison Cleeland, 5' 10" tall

  • Arthur Kelty Cleeland, 6' 1" tall [*]

  • Thomas C. Morrison [*]

  • William J. Morrison , 6' 2" tall [*]

  • Hosea Morrison [*]

  • Enoch Boston [*]

  • Samuel S. Boston, 6' tall [*]

  • John Albert Boston, 6' tall

  • Levi Morrison

  • Junius Morrison (5.2 MB file, loads slowly)

    According to Robert Osborne, the average Civil War soldier was 5' 8-1/4" tall. The heights listed above (provided by Robert) show that these soldiers were significantly taller than average. This may be due to their Slemmons ancestry. Robert Slemmons, the Revolution War soldier, had one son who was 6' 2" tall, and another who was 6'4" tall.

    On their paternal side, William M. & Arthur K. Cleeland had one 1st cousin in the Civil War:

  • Samuel H. Cleeland [*]

    On their paternal side, William M. & Arthur K. Cleeland had six second cousins in the Civil War:

  • Dr. Arthur Kelty

  • William H. H. Kelty

  • Thomas Kelty [*]
    and David Cleeland's sons:

  • Addison Cleland [*] Addison is buried at the Porterville Church Cemetery. His tombstone says he was born on May 10, 1840, was a member of Co. C, 100th regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, and died February 1863.Click here to see a photo of Addison's tombstone on another website.

  • James McClymonds Cleland

  • William J. Cleeland Click here to see a photo of William's tombstone on another website. William's tombstone says he was born in 1846 and died in 1900.

    On their maternal side, William M. & Arthur K. Cleeland had at least one second cousin in the Civil War:

  • Joseph H. Slemmens
    [*] died in the Civil War

    Arthur K. Cleeland, Company F, Eighty Third Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers.
    Photo of Arthur K. Cleeland, found in the regimental history book

    Arthur K. Cleeland, Company F, Eighty Third Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers.
    Rear of the photo of Arthur K. Cleeland

    Photograph of Morrison Cleeland
    Photo of Morrison Cleeland, found in the regimental history book

    Rear of the photo of Morrison Cleeland.
    Rear of the photo of Morrison Cleeland

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    [1] The information about Wallace Coulson is primarily based on material provided by D. Heasley and Robert Osborne in 2011. Also see the article "Brother vs. brother: Tangled case of Grove City teen's killing in 1967 goes to trial again" in the May 21, 2001 issue of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

    [2] Based on a document provided by Robert Osborne from the Pennsylvania State Archives and a summary of information in Samuel P. Bates' "History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861--1865".

    [3] Ted Karle reports that this medical discharge date is based on Feather's Certificate of Disability, and other records that agree with the date.

    [4] Ted Karle reports that the basis for the statement on Feather's Iowa service is page 1121 of the 1888 "History of Mercer County" 1888, which states, "He was commissioned captain August 14, 1864, in the Iowa state militia, by Gov. Stone, of Iowa, which position he held until the close of the War." Ted reported that he "had considerable correspondence with several sources in Iowa that could not find a record of his service in an Iowa regiment or its militia."