Lieut. Charles Smith
Civil War


Lieut. Charles Smith
of Johnstown

Written and Contributed By Lisa K. Slaski

Charles Smith was born about 1833 in NY. He enlisted in the Civil War serving first in company C of the 32nd NY Infantry and later in company I of the 142nd NY Infantry. He mustered out of the 142nd as a 2nd Lieutenant. After returning home, he married Amelia R. Leonard, daughter of Hiram M. Leonard and Roxanna Stanley. Amelia was born in Johnstown in Jun 1848. In 1870, they are living with her parents and he is working as a Glove Manufacturer, same as her father. Charles died before 1880 leaving Amelia with two young children. About 1886 Amelia married Leonard B. Yale, a jeweler, and died unexpectedly on 12 May 1897. The following articles were published in a local newspaper:

May 21st 1894

Recalled by the Arrival of an Old Sword Captured from a Gallant Gloversville Soldier.

An old, battle-worn relic, its pristine brightness dimmed by time, and around which are clustered memories of the Great Rebellion, arrived in this city a few days ago and now occupies an honored position in the home of Leonard B. Yale. It is the sword, with the time-stained belt attached, which was worn in battle by Lieut. Charles Smith of the 142d New York volunteers, and surrendered by him at the time of his capture while serving under General Butler at Fort Fisher on Christmas, 1864. Lieut. Smith is kindly remembered by many residents of Gloversville, his old home, where he died some years after the close of the war, of a disease contracted through exposure while making his escape from the southern prison pen to the Union lines. The sword referred to is a present to his wife, now Mrs. L. B. Yale, and the donor is S. V. Daniel of San Marcos, Texas, the Confederate officer who captured Lieut. Smith and retained the sword until its transfer to Mrs. Yale.

In a letter which accompanied the gift, Lieut. Daniel tells the store of the capture.

The Federal troops had hurriedly landed on the beach opposite Surgar Loaf in the afternoon of Dec. 25, 1864. Lieut. smith was sent out in charge of skirmishers. Col. Sharp's (Confederate) regiment was at Sugar Loaf, distant about three-fourths of a mile, and marched in double quick to a position near the Federal troops who were landing, deployed as skirmishers. Lieut. Daniel's company was on the left and did not connect with the other troops. The Federal transport fleet was in their immediate front and so near that orders given on board could be heard by the soldiers on land. After the troops had landed they were hidden from view of the Confederates by a dense thicket, except toward the left, where was a narrow opening extending to the beach. Lieut. Daniel first saw Lieut. Smith advancing alone through the opening, and, mistaking him for Col. Sharpe, went to meet him. The mistake was quickly discovered, and Lieut. Smith, being caught too near the enemy to escape, passed into their lines a prisoner, his only comfort being, as expressed by himself, that he had surrendered to his equal in rank. He was passed to the rear in the custody of C. E. Landis, a Confederate soldier. His men, in the meantime, escaped to the boats.

Lieut. Smith was lodged with other prisoners in the lunatic asylum yard at Columbia, S. C., where he remained until the 14th of February, suffering untold hardships. On that date Lieut. Smith, with other prisoners, were packed into cars, 25 in a car, to be taken to Saulsbury penitentiary. Frequent attempts to escape had been made, by tunneling and otherwise, but all had been foiled, but some, including the lieutenant, had determined to make a final effort aboard the cars and succeeded. A kind-hearted negro had supplied them with an old case knife with raw teeth cut in the back, and with this crude implement they had cut a hole through the bottom of the car before they were 10 miles out of Columbia. Thirty miles out the train stopped where there was no station and down through the hole went the men who had worked so hard for freedom. Some were caught and put back by the half-frozen guards, for the night was bitter cold and rainy, but several escaped and took the road to Columbia, toward which they knew Sherman was approaching. Among the successful ones were Lieut. Smith, of the 142d N.Y.S.F., Lieut. Crosby of the 115th Pennsylvania, Capt. B. B. Porter, Lieut. Thomas Johnson and Capt. David Getman of the 10th New York cavalry. The details of the escape are graphically related by Capt. Porter in the "History of the 10th regiment Cavalry," but for the present purposes, let it suffice for us to say that Lieut. Smith, Capt. Getman and their party endured great hardships while, half-clad, cold and hungry, they traveled stealthily at night, hiding while day lasted, through woods and dismal swamps, until the night of the 20th of February, 1865, they heard the welcome challenge of a union sentinel, once more found themselves among blue-coated friends and in the morning feasted with joyful gaze on the beautiful stars and stripes floating proudly in the breeze.

This is the history revived by the old war relic which Mrs. Yale now has in her possession.


12 May 1897

Dropped Dead at Johnstown This Afternoon.

A telephone message was received at The Leader office from Johnstown at 4 o'clock this afternoon announcing that Leonard B. Yale of the firm of Yale & Dillon of this city, had dropped dead at the home of Isaac Scott on South William street between 3 and 4 o'clock. Mr. Yale's family and his partner, H. A. Dillon, were quickly notified and friends went to Johnstown at once.

Mr. Yale came to Gloversville from Rome 30 years ago and worked for several years with A. D. Norton until eight years ago, when he formed a partnership with Mr. Dillon. He was about 50 years of age. He was married eleven years ago to the widow of Captain Charles Smith and one child, which died in infancy, was born of the union. His wife, mother and two sisters, the latter living in Rome, survive him. Undertaker Keiner has gone to Johnstown for his remains, which will be brought to his home in this city to-night.

Mr. Yale was a man of many excellent qualities and none knew him but to honor and respect him. His sudden death will be a blow to his many friends in this city.


14 May 1897

Last Tributes of Affection and Respect Paid by Friends of Leonard B. Yale To-Day.

The funeral of Leonard B. Yale was held at three o'clock this afternoon from his late residence on South Main street and was attended by a large number of the relatives and friends with whom he had been intimate in his business and social life. The services were conducted by Rev. W. E. Park who preached a very impressive sermon, extolling the character of the deceased and calling attention to the many traits which had made him honored and respected by everybody. AT the conclusion of the services at the house the remains were taken to Prospect Hill cemetery, where interment occurred. The body rested in a square, hand carved chanceller casket, covered with English broadcloth, and lined throughout with cream satin. It was also fitted with silver extension bar handles and a silver plate which bore the inscription, "Died, May 12, 1897. Leonard B. Yale. Aged 50 years." The bearers were Harry Dillon, Wm. Wilson, W. E. Whitney, John Richardson, S. H. Shotwell, C. E. Sweet and R. Delamater. [handwritten: & C. K.? Roser]

The beautiful floral remembrances were as follows: Roses and ferns, Mrs. Wm. Gilmour, Utica; roses, Mr. and Mrs. S. H. Shotwell; roses, Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Burr; roses and pinks, Wm. Wilson and Wm. Walker, employes in the store; roses and ferns, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Owen, New York; large wreath, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Dillon; carnations, Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Sweet.

Undertaker Keiner, who had charge of the funeral, arranged the surroundings of the grave in a very tasty manner, the latter being lined with white muslin, with cherry blossoms around the edge, and the ground in the immediate vicinity was covered with white canvas.

Referring to the death of Mr. Yale, the Rome Sentinel says:

Deceased was a son of Mrs. Sarah H. and the late B. Yale. He was born in Utica 51 years ago and came to Rome with his parents when a child. His boyhood and young manhood were spent in Rome. He attended the public schools of this city, and afterward learned the trade of watchmaker and jeweler of George J. Leach, who then conducted business in the store now occupied by E. P. Bevillard. He was afterward employed by C. H. Norton, who was in those days engaged in the jewelry business here. About 28 years ago he went to Gloversville, where he was afterward engaged in the jewelry business. Mr. Yale was a genial disposition, making friends easily and holding them firmly. Although so many years away from Rome he always retained a lively interest in the welfare of this city and his old friends and acquaintances. All who knew him here will be shocked and pained to learn of his death.

Amelia was registered with the Daughters of the American Revolution. Her father was the son of Abner Leonard (1786-1869) and Candace Owen (b. 1789). Abner was the son of Josiah Leonard (1750-1818) who was married in 1772 to Elizabeth Hillard (1748-1820). Candace Owen was the daughter of Hezekiah Owen (d. 1854) and Elizabeth Thrall (1769-1836). Elizabeth was the daughter of John Thrall (1728-1791) who was married in 1748 to Rebekah Davis (d. 1758). Josiah Leonard served in 1780 as a private in capt. Jacob Pool's company, Colonel Jacob's Massachusetts regiment. He died in Kingston, NY. John Thrall was a lieutenant in 1779 in the 2nd company, 18th Connecticut regiment.

Amelia's grandfather, Abner Leonard, is found in the online database by the Mohawk Valley Web Development "Gloversville, NY - Prominent citizens and families of 1859" based on the book "Gloversville: the Model Village," by Horace Sprague published in 1859:

The Leonards constitute one of the most numerous and most respectable family connections of the first inhabitants of Kingsboro. The present families are, descendants of some of the following six brothers. Rufus, Reuben, Josiah, Daniel, Abner, Harvey.

LEONARD, ABNER, born June 4, 1786 ; married to Candace Owen, who was born Aug. 14, 1789. Second wife: married to Susan Mills, Dec. l8, 1839. Children?Candace E., Alvin H., Josiah C., Elizabeth T., Jason S., Hiram M., Andelusia E., Harriet E.

Charles Smith and Amelia Leonard had the following children:

  1. Harry M. Smith, born about 1791 in Johnstown, NY.

  2. Charles Leonard Smith, born 3 Oct 1874 in Johnstown, NY.

In the 1850 census, Amelia's grandfather, Hezekiah Owen is living with her family along with a younger Owen relative. Amelia had one sister, Candace O., who was born about 1844 and married Willard Burton. In the 1870 census, Charles and Amelia are living with her parents along with her sister and husband and their young son, Hiram Burton, born in August of 1869.

In 1870 and 1880 Leonard Yale is in the town of Johnstown, a jeweler and single.

Amelia's son, Charles Leonard Smith, was married about 1904 to Pearl W. (last name not known) and though he registered, as required, for WWI he was not listed as a veteran in the 1930 census. He worked in a bank for quite a few years before he finally became a glove manufacturer, like his father and grandfather before him. By 1930 he owned his own glove factory. Charles and Pearl had two children: Robert W. Smith (b. about 1914) and Charles E. Smith (b. about 1920).

Anyone interested in more details of this family should obtain the pension records filed by Amelia and the Revolutionary pension records of Josiah Leonard and John Thrall.


  1. Articles are from a turn of the century scrapbook made by an unknown person, saved from the garbage heap by William Weaver of Lake Pleasant. Many articles appear to be about the history and people of Gloversville and surrounding areas. Most of the articles are poetry, faith and other non-genealogical material. Dates were handwritten.
  2. The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Volume 112 page 160: Mrs. Amelia Leonard Yale, DAR ID Number: 111488
  3. Civil War Pension applicaton:
    Smith, Charles
    widow Smith Amelia L.
    minors, Leonard, Hiram M.
    C 32 and I 142 NY Inf.
    widow pension 11 Oct 1880 appl 278480, 204784
    minor pension 11 Jun 1884 appl 316898, 215918
  4. 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 Federal Census records for Johnstown, Fulton county, NY.
  5. Mayfield Central Presbyterian Church marriages, 1834-1854 (on this site):
    Hiram LEONARD, Johnstown Roxana STANLEY, Johnstown Sept 15, 1842
  6. 1869-70 Johnstown Directory (on this site)
    Charles Smith is associated with Leonard, H. M. & Co., Glove and Mitten manufacturers
  7. 1888 Gloversville Directory (on this site)
    Leonard, H. M. is listed as a Glove manufacturer.
  8. WWI draft registration
    Charles Leonard Smith
    67 second Ave, Gloversville
    b. 3 Oct 1874
    Banker at City National Bank, Gloversville
    relative: Mrs. Pearl Smith
  9. Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System from the National Park Service - an online index.





Back to Fulton County NYGenWeb

Back to New York State GenWeb

Copyright 2005 Lisa Slaski, Jeanette Shiel
All Rights Reserved.
This site is a county site of the USGenWeb Project!


Last updated Tuesday, 13-May-2008 13:37:42 PDT