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Jonas "Jonathan" Schell
Birth: Feb. 2, 1840
Death: Jul. 8, 1912
Union County
Pennsylvania, USA

My great great grandpa Jonas Schell (sometimes Jonathan, sometimes Shell) spent most of his life in Union County, Pennsylvania. Born February 02, 1840, as a lad of 22 years, he served as a private in the Civil War from October 28 1862 to July 31 1863. He was in Company G, 172nd Infantry Regiment, which was drafted militia. A timeline for his regiment is below.

One of my genealogical wishes is to find Jonas' parents. They are not with him in this cemetery, at least not marked. I have some suspicions, near the bottom of this memorial, moved down to allow Jonas' story to flow better.

I had long wondered how Jonas and his wife Susan had met, with her being from Lehigh County, and he seemingly from Union County. Kind contributor Leanne sent information that suggests that Jonas' forebears were pioneers in the Allentown/Lehigh County area which may explain the meeting. As you continue to read, bear in mind Jonas had both a wife and a daughter named Susan.

The father of my great grandma Susan Mabel Schell (Meckley) Dietrich (and many other children, see his wife's memorial for more info), Jonas was a farmer, and he and his wife and some children worked together in several places within Union County, PA over the years. His daughter Susan fondly recalled that at dinner, Jonas would go around the table and recite a two-line rhyme for each child. Hers was

"Susan Mabel,
Jumped over the table."

After his Civil War service, on May 31, 1884, Jonas requested a disability pension. It was the year his son Lewis would die in September, and a year after his daughter Susan was born. Lewis was Jonas' eldest son, and perhaps it was apparent that Lewis was going to pass away and his farming help would be lost, while there was another young mouth to feed.

When his daughter Susan was married in 1902, Jonas had to sign consent because Susan was considered underage at 19. He made his mark with an "X". The 1900 census stated that he could read, write and speak English, so it is unclear why he did not sign, and we are left to wonder if his unidentified disability affected him or if perhaps he'd had a stroke.

When Jonas died, his wife sought a widow's pension within five days of his passing. The pension was applied for July 13 1912 and he passed July 8 1912.

Huge thanks go to Neil Scheidt who located the burial card for Jonas, which finally told me where my great great grandpa was laid to rest. The card indicated Jonas' headstone is a family stone, so it was exciting to think others of his family were buried there as well.

Thanks are also due to Leanne who responded swiftly to a photo request for Jonas' grave. I had long hoped to find Jonas' grave for its own sake, but also to learn who else was in the family plot with him. It was my hope his parents might be visible there, and they are not. Jonas rests with his eldest son Lewis A. Shell (whose stone says merely "Lewis"), and with an unidentified person whose stone is marked simply "L. A. S.". Yes, I recognize the initials are the same as Lewis' but there are two separate headstones, so the initials are probably coincidental.

Still, in 2015 I gained access to state death certificates without having to go through the Bureau of Vital Stats and their fees. Jonas' death certificate states he is the son of John and Rachel (nee Boyer) Schell, his mother Rachel born in Berks County.

This is as far as I have been able to come, so for now can cite only the information above (and the timeline below) that I was able to find, and remember the sparkle in my great grandma's eyes when she spoke of her dear father Jonas.

Regarding the unidentified person rests in Jonas' family plot- the person may be a child or grandchild. Rather than leave this person unconnected to anyone, I will here link an unknown probable relative known only as "L. A. S.".

In an odd coincidence, another family member, albeit a distant one, served in Jonas' Company G, 172nd Infantry Regiment in the Civil War. It is questionable that the families ever knew one another later to recognize that connection, but it is true. Jonas' grand-daughter Fay would marry my grandpa Gilbert A. Romberger, the son of Daniel Romberger, whose first wife had been married to James Greenhoe. James' uncle Reuben Greenhoe is the gent who served in Jonas' outfit. Trying to tighten this up in a better genealogical way... my paternal great great grandpa Jonas served with my great grand uncle... I think.

1860 Census - West Buffalo Twp, Union County, PA - Jonas appears (as "Jonas Shell"), age 20, with apparent siblings Jacob age 17, Sarah age 12, John age 9, and Catherine age 5. These young people are in the home of Jacob (age 66) and Sarah (age 69) Boyer. It's probable these were his grandparents since Jonas' mom was a Boyer before marriage.

1870 Census - West Buffalo Twp in Union County PA, Jonas (farm laborer) is shown as Jacob, with wife Susan and children Maria, Louis, Annie, and George.

1880 Census - West Buffalo, Union, Pennsylvania, Jonas is shown as Johnathan (age 40) with wife Susan (36) and kids Kate, Lewis, Anna, George (all these kids matching previous census with Maria now called Kate) and now with Joseph, William, Charles, Ellie, and Daniel.

1890 Census of veterans and widows of the Civil War - Jonas "Shell" is in West Buffalo Township, and his dates of service given match the ones in the first paragraph above. His post office is given as Mifflinburg. At the time he made no claim of disability.

1900 Census - Limestone Township, Union County, Pennsylvania, Jonas' surname is misspelled as "Shell" but he is there (farmer, age 63) with wife Susan (age 55), and they report being married 36 years. Susan has given birth to 13 children, of whom 12 are alive, the deceased child is Lewis. Daniel E (b. Feb. 1878), James N (b. April 1885), Susan M (b, April 1883), and Maud E (b. Jan 1882).

1910 Census - Kelly Twp, Union County, Pennsylvania - Jonas (now age 70) lives with his wife Susan (now 65), son Daniel (age 30), daughter Susan (now Meckley, age 26, married, deserted, and now returned home with her daughter), Fay Meckley (age 7), and another grandchild, Orwig Schell.

There are several online timelines for Jonas' regiment, but they all run about like this:

The 172nd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment lost 13 enlisted men to disease during the Civil War.

1862 - October 27 to November 29
Organized at Harrisburg under Colonel Charles Kleckner, Lt. Colonel Thaddeus G. Bogle and Major M. T. Heintzelman

December 2
Moved to Washington, D.C.

December 4
To Newport News. Va.

December 10
Lt. Colonel Bogle discharged and replaced by Lt. Colonel James A. Johnson

December 12
To Yorktown, Va.

Garrison duty at Yorktown, Va. (until June of following year) assigned to 4th. Corps, Dept. of Virginia

1863 - April
Attached to West's Advance Brigade, 4th Corps, Dept. of Virginia

June 27-July 7
Dix's Peninsula Campaign. Attached to 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 4th Corps. This would have included the Seven Days Battles, as well as the terrible battle of Malvern Hill on July 1. Lee's troop movement was checked successfully, but the Union leader, McClellan was then ordered to not take the offensive, as his troops had been badly diminished, so the campaigned is sometimes deemed a Union failure.

July 9
Ordered to Washington, D.C.

July 14
Join Army of the Potomac at Hagerstown, Md. assigned to 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 11th Corps

July 19-25
Pursuit of Lee to Williamsport, Md. March to Warrenton Junction, Va. This was the following of retreating Rebel forces after Gettysburg. The contest here is generally deemed a draw in that there were strategic wins and losses on both sides. Many Rebels escaped by night via a newly built bridge.

August 1
Ordered to Harrisburg, Pa., and mustered out under Colonel Kleckner

Tidbit - July 3, 2013, a newspaper social mention was found for Jonas and his wife, which greatly surprised me as he has been so difficult to find out about. That newspaper mention is on his wife's memorial.

On finding Jonas' parents... for now I am stuck with supposition.

The first census showing individuals in a household, conveniently, is 1850 when my Jonathan aka Jonas would be 10. There is, in fact, a 10 year old "Jonathin Shell" in the right place, West Buffalo Township - perfect - except he's in the household of William and Matilda Young, apparently not his parents. On the other hand, the only other Shells in the township are in one household - that of John Shell age 30 - wife Rachael Shell age 29, Elizabeth Shell age 9, Jonathin age 7, Daniel age 5, Jacob age 3 and Sarah age 2. That Jonathin age 10 has been farmed out would make sense if he's the eldest child, but on the other hand, this household is reporting another son age 7 named Jonathin. Would they give two boys the same name? That seems a little doubtful.

In the meantime, over in New Berlin Township is Benjamin Shell's family - he's age 42, a constable, with wife Eliza, 38, Ezra J 12, David 10, Mary E 8, Adda L 4, and Elmyra 5 months. Could this be my Jonas' family? With another son age 10, David, that seems a little doubtful too. Yes, they could have been twins, but usually the simplest explanation is the right one.

I can spot Jonas on the 1860 census (as "Shell"), age 20, with apparent siblings Jacob age 17, Sarah age 12, John age 9, and Catherine age 5. These young people are in the home of Jacob (age 66) and Sarah (age 69) Boyer. There is another possible sibling, Daniel Shell, age 18 living with Samuel and Sarah Harman. There's also a Sarah Shell age 12 with older couple Michael and Magdaline Spotts, ages 74 and 66 respectively. All these Shell young people are in West Buffalo Township. Are they siblings? Is it mere coincidence that two of the chldren Jacob and Sarah carry the same names as the Boyer couple with whom they reside? Could these be the children's grandparents? Or is it just a matter of common first names?

There's sure a lot of name matching from the earlier census. Elizabeth is gone, possibly married. The previously 7 year old Jonathin would be about 17, and the now 17 year old is named Jacob, a name match. Daniel was age 7 and is now perfectly age 18. Sarah, then 2, is now perfectly age 12. It's really tempting to assume they are all siblings, and all originate from John and Rachel Shell from the 1850 census. I would kill to see baptismal certificates from the church where my Jonas is resting to put this matter to rest.

Over in New Berlin Boro is that Benjamin Shell, here age 52. The census image is terribly light and hard to read, but it looks like the household is his wife Charlotte, 48, Ezra J age 21, David age 19, Clare or Clara age 17, and two more females with unreadable names but whose ages are 13 and 11, and lastly, George, apparently age 8. Does this household connect with the kids over in Buffalo? Right now, it is hard to see a connection.

In case Rachel was widowed, I have looked at Rachels of the right age range in the 1860 census in Union County and saw four - Spees, Grove, Wunderlich and Deater. All are married but this census doesn't show how long a couple has been together. None of these couples have kids in them identified as Schell or Shell kids, or with any other surname than that of the head of the household. 
Family links: 
  Susanna Köenig Schell (1845 - 1926)*
  Lewis A Schell (1865 - 1884)*
  Kathryn M Schell Johnson (1866 - 1935)*
  Anna A. Schell Newman (1868 - 1946)*
  George E Schell (1868 - 1951)*
  Joseph Wagner Schell (1872 - 1943)*
  William J Schell (1872 - 1943)*
  Charles Jonas Schell (1875 - 1935)*
  Sarah Ella Schell Boorse (1877 - 1955)*
  Daniel E. Schell (1878 - 1962)*
  Frank Jacob Schell (1879 - 1966)*
  Susan Mabel Schell Dietrich (1883 - 1974)*
  James H Schell (1885 - 1926)*
  Maude E Schell Kolb (1888 - 1979)*
*Calculated relationship
Saint Peter's Church Cemetery
Union County
Pennsylvania, USA
Created by: sr/ks
Record added: Jan 25, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 47127900
Jonas Jonathan Schell
Added by: sr/ks
Jonas Jonathan Schell
Added by: Leanne Keefer Bechdel
Jonas Jonathan Schell
Added by: sr/ks
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- purple-lady
 Added: Oct. 11, 2014

- Diane Miller
 Added: Jul. 7, 2014

- Maja
 Added: Feb. 3, 2014
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