My Addendum to the Second Marker Application

Major A. G. Happer
Major A. G. Happer

Here is the addendum I wrote for the second Major A. G. Happer application. Clearly, it is evident that Happer easily meets the requirement of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Remember, there was only ONE requirement that they claim that Happer did not meet. The famous #2. Statewide and\or National impact.

The following is a brief outline of the Statewide and National impact that Major A. G. Happer had during his lifetime. This is in addition to and part of the application. This outline provides additional detailed information absolutely necessary to understand the full impact of why Major Happer deserves a state historical marker and it is vital that the Commission understands the contents of this addendum. We are confident that the PHMC will realize the historical impact that Major A. G. Happer had upon the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States of America.

Citizens National Bank

Citizens National Bank was organized by Major A. G. Happer and some of his business friends on September 125, 1885 in Washington Pennsylvania with an opening capitol stock of $100,000.00. Citizens was the third National Bank organized in the County. By October first, it had deposits of $25,864.34, and resources of $92,426.43. When the bank was organized, Washington was still a small town, but the bank quickly became a huge factor in the accommodation of both local merchants and the encouragement of manufacturing and industrial operations.

Soon after the bank opened, oil was discovered, and the town boomed with prosperity. Incidentally, Major Happer was heavily involved with that oil discovery and the development of what became the largest oil industry in the country until the Spindletop strike in Texas. Washington PA was the center of the world's oil industry for many years. Citizens Bank was instrumental in assisting the oil men in prospecting and building up the industry.

Major Happer was the founder and served on the bank's Board of Directors for many years and was heavily involved with its operations. With sound management, by 1908 the bank boasted profits and surplus of over $1,000,000.00, and resources of over $4,225,848.20, making it at that time the largest financial institution in relationship of surplus to capitol, in Washington County, the eighth largest in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the eleventh largest in the United States of America. Citizens Bank prospered all through its existence, even during the Great Depression. Finally, it was purchased by banking giant Mellon Bank in 1948.

Washington Trust Company

The Major wasn't finished there. He also founded the Washington Trust Company. Trust institutions are chartered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and although they do operate a general banking business, they also act as trustees, administrators of estates, and executors and other fiduciary activities. The Washington Trust became the most successful trust in the county, and ranked among the largest in the entire state of Pennsylvania. The Board of Directors had some of the same people as did Citizens Bank, and that included of course Major Happer. At one time, Washington Trust owned the largest building in the county, at the corner of Main and Beau streets. So as we see, the two examples above show a clear statewide and national impact. But there's more, much more to come.

The Fishing Creek Confederacy

The summer of 1864 was one of turmoil in Pennsylvania. In the central part of the state, there was widespread resistance to the military draft of 1863. Some 618 citizens were drafted, but very few reported for service as ordered. There were also a significant number of army deserters in the area. An initial search for these men was conducted in Columbia County by a Lieutenant Robinson and several civilians. They could not find the men they were looking for but the alarm had gone out about the search & a group of citizens opposed the searchers. One thing led to another and there was an exchange of gunfire. Lieutenant Robinson was wounded and later died.

When this news reached Harrisburg, a detachment of 48 soldiers was sent to the mouth of Fishing Creek near Bloomsburg to round up the deserters. Two days later, 250 more soldiers arrived along with Major General Darious Couch arrived. By August 21, 1864, there were about a thousand soldiers in the party. Scouring the county, the soldiers ransacked farms looking for the so called disloyal men and their supposed fort. 
 Major General George Cadwalader arrived to take charge of events. Some 45 people were arrested and charged and sent to Fort Mifflin. As late as November, people were still being rounded up as deserters. On Election Day 1864, soldiers guarded polling places in Columbia County.

Military commissions were formed to try the accused prisoners. Over time, there were three courts set up for the trials. On January 10, 1865 the third court was seated to try a man named Valentine Fell. The court consisted of Lt. Colonel George Zinn, Lt. Colonel John Murray, and (then) Captain A. G. Happer. This entire series of events was a major story statewide, with newspapers fanning the flames on both sides of the issue for years. Even decades later, the discord was still evident. It also had a major effect on the 1864 local and state election. Large numbers of citizens who supported the draft resisters were denied their right to vote in many polling places by the soldiers posted there. These events are little known today, but were a major issue in the state at the time. This was included in the Histories of Columbia and Montour Counties published in 1887, The History of Columbia County From The Earliest Times, 1888, Civil War Dissent in Columbia County, 1991. The entire episode was also published in a well known book named "The Fishing Creek Confederacy" buy authors Richard A. Sauers and Peter Tomasak. A. G. Happer is mentioned in the book for his part in the story. Here is part of the description from authors Sauers and Tomasak.

“Governor Andrew Gregg Curtin of Pennsylvania was a staunch supporter of the Lincoln administration. The commonwealth supplied more than 360,000 white soldiers and 9,000 black soldiers during the conflict. However, there was sustained opposition to the war throughout the state, much of it fanned by the pens of Democratic newspaper editors. Though most opposition was disorganized and spontaneous, other aspects of the antiwar sentiment in the state occasionally erupted as major incidents.

In The Fishing Creek Confederacy, Richard A. Sauers and Peter Tomasak address the serious opposition to the draft in Columbia County, 
 Pennsylvania, in 1864. Egged on by the anti-Lincoln newspaper editors, a number of men avoided the draft and formed ad hoc groups to protect themselves from arrest. The shooting of a Union lieutenant confronting draft evaders in July 1864 resulted in military intervention in the northern townships of the county. The troops arrested more than one hundred men, sending about half of them to a prison fort near Philadelphia. Some of these men were subjected to military trials in Harrisburg, the state capital, that fall and winter. The arrests led to bitter feelings that were slow to die. The military intervention eventually impacted a Pennsylvania gubernatorial election and led to a murder trial.

Sauers and Tomasak describe the draft in Pennsylvania and consider how Columbia County fit into the overall draft process. Subsequent chapters take the reader through the events of the summer of 1864, including the interaction of soldiers and civilians in the county, the prison experiences of the men, and the trials. Later chapters cover the August 1865 Democratic rally at Nob Mountain and the effects of the draft episode after the war was over, including its influence on the 1872 election for governor, the 1891 murder trial..."

Court Martial Board

Major Happer also served on the Pennsylvania Court Martial Board while still recovering from his horrendous wounds and ordeal. So once again we see a statewide impact of Major A. G. Happer.


The Pennsylvania House of Refuge had been in what was then Allegheny, Pa; right across the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh, since 1854. Created as a reform school, it had, by 1872, outgrown the surrounding area. The Major became interested in helping the children and young people that were there and soon to be displaced. Appealing to Pennsylvania Governor John Hartranft, and using some five hundred and three acres of what was a part of the old Colonel Morgan estate named “Morganza,” Happer was able to move the school there. There was to be a main building, a girls department, a boys department, a church, and workshops. In July of 1873, the cornerstones were laid amid much ceremony which included a speech by the Governor. By fall 1876, four main buildings were completed and by December the institution was officially moved to Morganza, with Major A. G. Happer serving as President of the Board of Managers, a post he held until he retired in 1911.

In 1907, the Pennsylvania legislature made an appropriation to increase the size of the school. After seeing how well the school handled the education, training and social development of the children, Other Counties soon sent children to Morganza to take advantage of the excellent facilities available there, making it a statewide influence. According to the "History of Washington County" "The boys of the school have done a vast amount of work within the last few years, forming thereby habits of industry and learning, at the same time useful trades." During Happer's tenure there, the school had available an industrial department, stenography, typewriting, telegraphy, bricklaying, blacksmithing, mechanical and architectural drawing, woodworking, printing, and domestic science. It also provided religious instruction. A farm was established and the residents learned agrarian skills. They also had a band that marched in parades, sports teams and participated in pageants ad other social events. In the years following Major Happer's death, the school fell into decline and was eventually taken over by the state and 
its reputation suffered dramatically. Treatment became harsh and it was used for purposes other than what Major Happer had envisioned. Later, it was even used in the feature film "The Silence of the Lambs” and finally closed for good in the year 2000.

The entire facility was raised in 2012. Even the hill upon which it stood has been leveled. All that is left today is a small and lonely cemetery holding vigil in a neglected patch of weeds. Once again, this is evidence of the statewide impact that Major Happer had during his remarkable life.

Washington Hospital

Washington PA in the late 1870’s was a hub of activity. The National Road ran right through town, linking the “other” Washington (DC) with Ohio and the west. One of the constant and major problems however, was there was no major medical treatment to be had between Pittsburgh, some thirty-five miles to the north, and West Virginia. There simply was no viable medical care anywhere in the area. One had to travel long distances to find a hospital of any size to provide treatment for serious and emergency needs. There had been an attempt by several doctors to start a hospital in Washington, but they were only able to raise a few dollars and the effort soon fizzled out. Miss Nellie Reed who had aided the effort left their meager funds with Major Happer in case there was ever enough interest to revive the project.

In early 1897, three physicians renewed the call for a hospital. This time however, the Major jumped on board with several others and wouldn't let the idea die. A charter was granted to Washington Hospital. There was to be a board of directors to run the hospital. The first order of business was to secure a building. The board had no money to either build or purchase one. It was decided to purchase the A. W. Acheson homestead on Acheson Avenue for $10,000. The Major used the money left in his care as seed money and with several other men, advanced their own personal funds to purchase the building. The property was deeded to A. G. Happer first as he advanced the most money, also John Slater, Henry Schoenthal, Dr. George Kelly, Dr. J. Y. Scott, and J. B. Brittain as trustees until the debt could be paid off. Which it was, and in only two years, March of 1900.

The Washington Hospital opened in May of 1898. It was very small, only twenty beds in all, with no real operating room. Surgery was performed in a spare room. Individuals and institutions were allowed to establish rooms for public use that they were responsible for maintenance and upkeep. They had their names painted on the door. There was a door with the name Happer.

First Washington Hospital

Major Happer was Board President for many years and oversaw the day to day operations of the hospital. During his tenure, the hospital prospered and successfully served the population of the entire region. Later, a larger building was built and the facility grew large enough to treat patients from all over Pennsylvania.

With locations throughout western Pennsylvania, Washington Health System Washington Hospital and its staff of more than 350 primary care and specialty physicians make it their mission to improve the health and well-being of the community. Their vast list of services and specialties include cardiovascular diagnostics and surgery, orthopedics, neurosciences, women’s health, cancer care, children’s therapy, rehabilitation and advanced imaging, among many others. Washington Health System Washington Hospital utilizes the most advanced medical technology in its state-of-the-art facilities.

Washington Health System has been awarded a HAP Achievement Award. HAP is a statewide membership services organization that advocates for nearly 240 Pennsylvania acute and specialty care, primary care, subacute care, long-term care, home health, and hospice providers, as well as the patients and communities they serve. Additional information about HAP is available online at haponline dot org.

Washington Health System was chosen as one of three winners in the “Excellence in Care” category for our program: Ambulatory Heart Failure: Pathway to a Better Life. Winners were also chosen in the categories of Community Champions, Optimal Operations, In Safe Hands, and Living the Vision. Altogether there were 12 winners, including WHS, from among 91 entries. Entries were evaluated by a 16-judge panel. The panelists, drawn from Pennsylvania and across the nation, represented the public and private sectors, business organizations, consumer groups and renowned health care quality institutes.

Today, Washington Hospital, now known as The Washington Health System has become one of the largest and most advanced healthcare facilities in Pennsylvania. Nationally known for excellence in cardiac care, patients from across Pennsylvania and America come to Washington Hospital for care. Another example of the statewide and national scope of Major Happer’s impact.

Without the forward thinking, initiative, and sound management of Major A. G. Happer, Washington Hospital would not be here today.

The Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln

The President of the United States was assassinated at Ford’s Theater in the evening of April 214, 1865. Captain A. G. Happer was not yet recovered from his wounds suffered in the service of his country. Never the less, he had finished his duty serving as a judge in the Fishing Creek Confederacy trials and was serving in Harrisburg Pennsylvania in the Mustering Out department as Post Adjutant and on the Court Martial Board.

Plans had been made for the departure of the President to be taken home to Springfield on a special train called the “Lincoln Special.” The train would travel from Washington City to Baltimore then to Harrisburg Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and on to New York and various other cities westward, taking the slain President back home.

As the train entered each new state, that state’s Governor would embark with his own staff and invited guests if any. On April 21, 1865, Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin would have the train make an unscheduled stop on the PA border at about 5:30 p.m., where he would board with his staff of the following men. Adjutant General A. L. Russell, Inspector General Lemuel Todd, Surgeon General Joseph G Phillips, Major General Cadwalader commanding the Department of Pennsylvania, Colonel R. B. Roberts, Colonel S. B. Thomas, Colonel Frank Jordan, and Colonel John A. Wright. Not noticed or paid attention to by reporters, being a mere Captain lost in a virtual sea of politicians and Army brass, was A. G. Happer.

Captain Happer was personally invited by Governor Curtin to accompany him on the Lincoln Special as recognition of his arduous and outstanding service. His painful and extraordinary ordeal being severely wounded and left on the battlefield for dead and then unable to even sit up much less stand and walk, and thrust into the hands of the enemy for six long months of confinement in Libby Prison with little or no medical treatment. Governor Curtin did not invite any other soldiers in this way. There was only one. Captain A. G. Happer.

The Lincoln murder and subsequent funeral train was a singular event in America’s history. There was only one President Lincoln and one Lincoln funeral train. A Pennsylvania Governor only once in all of history had an opportunity to honor the slain President Lincoln by riding on such a train as this. Only one time in history has the state’s Chief Executive had an opportunity to invite a soldier to help represent the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in such a way. That soldier was Captain A. G. Happer. Happer was not there performing any assigned duties. He was there as a dignitary, representing Pennsylvania along with Governor Curtin.

There were indeed other soldiers on that train. All of them were performing their duty in whatever capacity they had, or invited by some other official from another state. The train arrived in Harrisburg at about 8:30 p.m. in a pouring rain. The streets were packed with people as the honor guard bore the President to the State House. Captain Happer was there through all of it.

The next day, at 11:15 a. m. the train pulled out of the station with Captain Happer on board for the long trip to Philadelphia’s Broad Street Station, then on to Independence Hall. The coffin was placed there in the east wing where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Happer remained with Lincoln until the train left Pennsylvania on April 24th then he returned to his duties in Harrisburg. For the rest of his days, Happer said this duty was the greatest honor of his life.

Sept. 1, 1865
Brig. General E.L. Townsend
Asst. Adj. General USA

General, I have the honor to recommend Capt. A. G. Happer of the late 11th PV for the appointment to the rank of Major by brevet. I know of no officer in the volunteer service of his rank who has a better record or is more justly entitled to promotion. 
He entered the service as a private soldier at the commencement of the war, passed honorably through every grade to his present rank non-commissioned included and participated with gallantry in the battles First Bull Run, Dranesville, Thoroughfare Gap, Second Bull Run, Chantilly, South Mountain, Antietam at which battle he was wounded, but refused to leave the field on account of being left in charge of his regiment as senior officer with the rank of 1st Lt. Fredericksburg, Burnside's Advance, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Mine Run, and the first and second days battles of the Wilderness in the latter day of which he was severely wounded and left on the battlefield for dead, fell into the hands of the enemy and suffered all the barbarities of Rebel imprisonment for several months. While still suffering from wounds, he was ordered to this post for duty and acted in the capacity of post adjutant for some time. I take great pleasure and consider it my duty to report him as a most competent, faithful and gallant officer, and respectfully insist that he receive in justice to him and the government he has so faithfully served, the promotion above recommended. 
I have the honor to be very respectfully 
Your obt servant

J B Kiddoo 
Col 22nd U S colored troops 
Bvt Brig Gen Vols 
Comdg Post

The recommendation was quickly approved by order of Lieutenant General U. S. Grant on September 21, 1865. Captain Happer was now Major Happer. Not long after this, on October 20, 1865 Major Happer was finally mustered out of the service. He returned home to Washington County, PA and having already faithfully served his state and country, started the next phase of his life. Service to his city, county, region and state.


With the tremendous amount of evidence presented herein, clearly showing Major Happer’s enormous and long standing historical impact upon his country, state, region, county, city and his neighbors, we respectfully ask and expect that this application be readily approved by this Commission. A permanent historical plaque has been approved by Washington & Jefferson College for placement inside the Happer home which is now owned by them. Also, The Washington County Historical Society will induct Major Happer into the Society’s Hall of Fame.




Court Martial Board
Court Martial Board
Citizens National Bank
Citizens National Bank
Washington Trust Building
Washington Trust Building
General J. B. Kidoo
General J. B. Kidoo