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Pvt Levi Schlegel

Pvt Levi Schlegel

Birth
Death 27 Sep 1932 (aged 91)
Burial Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania, USA
Memorial ID 68081670 · View Source
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‘This really was fate': Relic hunter unites Civil War soldier's ring with Pa. relatives
John Blue, of Manassas, Va., found a silver ring at a construction site in 2005 belonging to a Union soldier. Several years later, he tracked down the relatives of Levi Schlegel, who fought in the 1860s.
By Erik Ortiz / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, April 11, 2013, 1:49 PM

John Blue and Ernie Schlegel hold a ring during a ceremony at Charles Evan Cemetery in Reading, Pa. Blue found the ring at a construction site in 2005, and the ring belonged to Schlegel's distant relative, who is believed to have lost it nearly 150 years ago.
Susan L. Angstadt/AP
John Blue and Ernie Schlegel hold a ring during a ceremony at Charles Evan Cemetery in Reading, Pa. Blue found the ring at a construction site in 2005, and the ring belonged to Schlegel's distant relative, who is believed to have lost it nearly 150 years ago.

A Civil War soldier's ring has finally made the long march home.

Relic hunter John Blue this week reunited the artifact he discovered in Fredericksburg, Va., in 2005 with distant cousins of the ring's owner in Reading, Pa. — 200 miles and almost 150 years later.
"This is truly a hero's journey," Ernie Schlegel, a relative of Union soldier Levi Schlegel, told the Reading Eagle newspaper.
Blue presented the jewelry to Ernie Schlegel at a ceremony at Levi Schlegel's gravesite in Reading.
While getting to that point wasn't easy, it sure seemed like kismet, Blue told the Daily News on Thursday.

"A lot of times you run into dead ends," said Blue, of Manassas, Va. "But this really was fate."

Blue found the ring while hunting at a construction site with a metal detector — an activity he's been doing for about 30 years.

As a Civil War enthusiast, he normally finds bullets and buckles. Rings are a rarer find.
John Blue (left) and Ernie Schlegel (right) hold a ring at Levi Schlegel's grave in Charles Evans Cemetery during a ceremony Tuesday in Reading, Pa.
Susan L. Angstadt/AP
John Blue (left) and Ernie Schlegel (right) hold a ring at Levi Schlegel's grave in Charles Evans Cemetery during a ceremony Tuesday in Reading, Pa.

But this glinting token caught his eye.

It appeared to be silver, and on the outside of the band was a name: Levi Schlegel. The soldier's unit was also engraved — "Co. G., 198th P.V.," for Pennsylvania Volunteers — although one of the numbers was faded.

"I was overwhelmed really. I didn't know what it was at first, but after cleaning it off and seeing that it had a name on it — that was an awesome feeling," Blue said.

He was able to confirm Levi Schlegel's identity in a database.

But unsure of how to track down his descendants, Blue tucked the ring away. The story could have ended there, but the history behind the band continued to haunt him several years later.

Recently, with the help of a genealogist, Blue traced Levi Schlegel's origins to Berks County, Pa., where the unit recruited soldiers. The local library was the obvious place for info — and it turned out Ernie Schlegel sat on the library's Board of Trustees.

He also studied his family's lineage, and discovered that he is related to a Levi Schlegel — his sixth cousin, four times removed.

Levi Schlegel was first drafted in November 1862 in Pennsylvania, and joined the G Company headed for Petersburg, Va., two years later, Ernie Schlegel told the Reading Eagle. He was there when Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox Court House, Va.
This ring belonged to Levi Schlegel, a Reading, Pa.-area native who is believed to have lost it nearly 150 years ago at an encampment near Fredericksburg, Va., during the Civil War.
Susan L. Angstadt/AP
This ring belonged to Levi Schlegel, a Reading, Pa.-area native who is believed to have lost it nearly 150 years ago at an encampment near Fredericksburg, Va., during the Civil War.

With the war over, Levi Schlegel, a carpenter, had 11 children with his wife. He died at the age of 91 in 1932.

It's likely he simply dropped the ring while he was camped in Virginia.


"As a veteran, I know the importance of fighting for freedom, and I'm proud to know the Schlegel family did its part," relative James Schlegel told the Reading Eagle.

Blue said the identification ring is probably worth about $1,500 and is in much better condition than other similar ones.

The ID rings range in price depending on what the soldier did, Blue added. Jewelry of more prominent Civil War fighters can be worth as much as $3,500.

In his career searching for artifacts, Blue has come across tens of thousands of items. But identifying their owners is usually next to impossible.

"What amazes me is that we actually found the family," Blue said. "This one tells a real story."

eortiz@nydailynews.com


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  • Created by: N.D. Scheidt
  • Added: 8 Apr 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 68081670
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Pvt Levi Schlegel (21 Jan 1841–27 Sep 1932), Find A Grave Memorial no. 68081670, citing Charles Evans Cemetery, Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by N.D. Scheidt (contributor 47099775) .