The Ride


Sunday, 26 Jul 1863, started like any other Sunday during the war in Georgetown, PA.  Rev W Brown conducted the morning service at the Methodist Episcopal ChurchThere was also a goodly congregation assembled at the United Presbyterian Church in Hookstown listening to the sermon of Rev Marcus Orman. [1]  By days end it would be remembered as the most warlike day in South Side Beaver County during the Civil War. 


In the spring of 1863, guerrilla warfare had raged in remote areas of West Virginia and throughout Maryland.  Rumors of rebel patrols heading for Pittsburgh abounded.  By June, news of Gen Robert E Lee’s impending invasion of the North heightened the sense of fear.  It was also rumored that Gen John Hunt Morgan and his cavalry rode somewhere in Ohio.  









John Alexander Trimble  (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)

John Alexander Trimble (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)


On this hot July Sunday word reached Georgetown that Morgan’s Raiders were riding through eastern Ohio near the Ohio River.  The Georgetown ferry boat was scuttled to prevent Morgan’s army from crossing the river.   According to Harriet Amanda Calhoun who would become the wife of Capt Thomas S Calhoon, a messenger came to the Methodist Episcopal Church and handed the minister a note.  Rev Brown announced that Morgan was expected to pass through Georgetown.  After a passionate prayer, Rev Brown pronounced the benediction and the congregation scattered to defend the village.  The women were told to secret their valuables and take their children to a safe place.  





My great grandfather, John Alexander Trimble of Georgetown, made a Paul Revere like ride to Hookstown to warn the residents.  John A Trimble rapped on the church window and asked for his brother James.  Hearing the news, James rushed to the pulpit to speak with the minister.  From the pulpit, Rev Orman announced that Gen Morgan was a prisoner at Smith’s Ferry, but that he did not think it was necessary for the service to end.  By that time, James Trimble had reached the door of the church.  Whirling around, he said, “You dern fool.  He is there with his army.”


 There was no benediction that day.  Everyone rushed home.  Farmers ate their dinners, cleaned their rifles, and readied their horses. The roads were filled with men on horseback heading to defend Georgetown.   It was reported that you could hear rifles firing all over the county.  [2]


Hookstown women baked all afternoon to provide for their men.  In the evening, they started with a wagon loaded with food, but they did not get to Georgetown before they met their returning heroes.  Gen Morgan had been captured near Lisbon, OH a mere 25 miles away. 



Mollie Ebert Trimble and John A Trimble ca 1910 (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)

Mollie Ebert Trimble and John A Trimble ca 1910 (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)



The news of Morgan’s cavalry was telegraphed to all the stations along the railroad on the north side of the Ohio River.  From these points messengers were dispatched to all the local communities.  Since it was time for church services, the reports sent were the equivalent of an emergency radio broadcast today.


The enlisted men of the Confederate prisoners went to prison camps in Indianapolis and Chicago while the officers were sent to Columbus, OH.  The Columbus facility did not have room to accomodate all of the officers so some were sent to Western Penitentiary in Allegheny City. 








[1]  Robert M Bryan, Historical Events of South Side Beaver County, Pennsylvania, Robert M Bryan Publisher, p 34.

[2]  Ibid.





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