Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
Harness maker Amos Homiston enlisted in the 154th New York Infantry unaware that one photograph would launch him so firmly into national fame there would one day be a monument to him on the battlefield where he died.
Philinda Homiston Barnes, mother of 3 children orphaned July 1st at Gettysburg, twice widowed by 1880 ( or 1881 ) second husband Asa Barnes died.
So came across this from September, 1865. Please no one run screaming up a wall, I'm not saying it's true- I am asking ' What on earth?? ' The glaring inaccuracy in the article where Amos Humisted's hometown moved to another state- ( the 154th New York wasn't a Pennsylvania regiment ) could be thought a ' clew ', those making stuff up generally throw quite a few clankers in the mix.
The faces that launched a million tears. The uber famous Homiston children, Frank, Frederick and Alice
Author of this piece claims Amos arrived home from a Confederate prison and takes a good swipe at the family, implication being some kind of fraud for money.
Author has a few things down, gets a big whiff on what the photo looked like AND Amos's home town.
But where does the story come from? Considering how beloved this previously unknown family had become to an entire country, what a huge risk to claim it had been a mistake and follow that up by implying anyone had a financial stake in it. IF the story had been true, how in blazes would husband or wife had known a. There'd been some ginormous error and b. Been able to perpetrate a ruse?
' Mustered out ' July 1st, why a casualty would be listed this way is anyone's guess. Record from Ancestry, there must be an official notation somewhere.
Initially buried as ' Unknown ' in the National Cemetery, 154th New York's Sergeant Amos Humistead-Homisted's stone now bears his name. I'm unsure how this transpired, how someone knew which Unknown was Humisted but you can pull up his marker on Find A Grave. His rending story, dying while clutching an image of his children and the search for who this family might be absorbed a nation, evoked a famous poem and seems to have resulted in widow Philinda's involvement in Gettysburg's famous/infamous, ill-fated orphanage. We don't speak much of the orphanage- not a good subject although hardly the widow's fault.
Unclear also is where and when Philinda married her second husband. Asa Barnes seems to have been 20 years her senior and from Massachusetts, where he took his bride and step children. He died without a will, under a heavy load of debt. Frank, Fred and Alice all wierdly owed their stepfather the exact, same amount of money at the time of his death. It's tough ascertaing which Asa Barnes is which too- one seems to have died in 1880, another 1881. Only one Asa has a previous family or can be found on previous census although in a day when names were spelled so variously that means little. Widowed when wife Marcia died, there's no mention in his estate of two children from that marriage.
Here they are in 1860, cannot find Philinda in 1870, in 1880 one Asa Barnes was here, another, same age, also Mass., with wife Maria.
NO idea what may have evoked this report from September, 1865. It's out of a Gettysburg newspaper, too, so must have caused quite a firestorm- and please, no ' the press ' snark. Coverage of the battle both as it happened and in ensuing years was really extremely good.