John Lyle Dougherty 1842-1924
John Lyle Dougherty, my maternal great-grandfather was born in Lackawaxen, Pike County, Pennsylvania in 1842 to William L. Dougherty and Jane E. Westfall.
I had been aware, since forever, that grandpa Dougherty’s father (John Lyle) had fought in the civil war. There was a set of books in the living room in the Dougherty house in Davis, California that were all about the Civil war. Wish I had those books today. I think they were Shelby Foote’s The Civil War.
When I started this quest my cousin Ron gave me copies of letters he had, that had been written during the civil war.
These letter spoke of his healing amputation, overall health and what he could do after the war.
My mother remembered her grandfather having a peg leg. When my mother became a double amputee, due to poor circulation in her legs from rheumatoid arthritis, she spoke of having a greater understanding of her grandfathers coping for so much of his life with the lack of a limb. My mother had retired from teaching several years prior to her becoming an amputee, and all of use kids were adults.
Back to John Lyle, he married after the war, went on to raise 6 children, run a truck farm, and lived to be 82.
The question became how did John come about having his leg amputated?
The journey we took to answer this question took several years. Since this quest was prior to Ancestry.com or even the general use of the computer, We wrote lots of letters. I wrote to the US Archives in Washington, D.C. for a copy of John L. Dougherty’s war records. We knew he was in the 18th Pennsylvania Calvary. What I received was quite a few pages regarding his military service during the civil war. In these papers where the muster rolls that showed were he was during each of the quarters of his service.
It shows that John had been wounded in Hagerstown on July 6, 1863. That his leg was amputated and he spent much of the following year in hospital. From the letters we know that later he had more amputated due to infection.
Madeleine (my sister) and I had planned a trip to visit our maternal Uncle Walt and his wife, Aunt Iris in Kansas City, MO. Knowing of our interest in genealogy Aunt Iris called and said that maybe while there we might like to go the library in Independence that was reputed to have a very good genealogy section, The Mid-Continent Public Library. So we took our family history notes along.
It was a great library and we did return there several more times on our visits to Uncle Walt’s. In 2008 the library relocated the genealogy collections to their new facilities the “Midwest Genealogy Center”. http://www.mymcpl.org/genealogy
The library had quite a collection on civil war records, there I had the opportunity to read the Action accounts written by the officers. I actually found the account of the incident in Hagerstown where John Lyle was shot.
Several years later Madeleine, her husband, my husband, and myself made our first big trip for genealogy to Pennsylvania, there were several ancestral places we wanted to visit. We went to Gettysburg and Hagerstown, Pennsylvania. Gettysburg was quite an educational experience. There we found a large monument for Pennsylvania with the 18th Pennsylvania Calvary roll, with John Lyle Dougherty’s name.
We also visited the area in Pike County, Pennsylvania were John Lyle was born and grew up. We visited Libraries, the Court House, Museums, and Cemeteries. What other nuggets of information we found I will talk about when I tell some of the other stories.
Come back next week for the poultry farmer/University Professor’s story.