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Collection Civil War Soldier in the Wild Cat Regiment: Selections from the Tilton C. Reynolds Papers

Reynolds Family

Tilton C. Reynolds was born to Thomas and Juliana Reynolds of Winslow Township (later Reynoldsville), Pennsylvania, on October 26, 1843. He was the eldest of seven children. Upon the organization of the 105th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers (known as the "Wild Cat Regiment" because recruits came largely from an area of individual oil explorations known as "wildcat" operations) in September 1861, seventeen-year-old Reynolds enlisted and was assigned as a private in Company H. After initial training Reynolds was detailed as a clerk at the headquarters of the First Division, Third Army Corps. He kept this post until the Battle of Fair Oaks on May 31, 1862, where he fought and was one of three members of his company taken prisoner. He was exchanged in September 1862, after serving time in prisons in Libby and Belle Isle, Virginia, and Salisbury, North Carolina. Reynolds had a leave of absence before rejoining his company in December 1862 and remained in its service until the end of the war. He was promoted to sergeant-major on September 23, 1864, and commanded Company H after receiving a captain's commission on November 25, 1864. Captain Reynolds was mustered out with the soldiers of the 105th Regiment on July 11, 1865.

Reynolds returned to Jefferson County, Pennsylvania after the war. On April 16, 1878, he married Ida McCallister, with whom he had two children. In Reynoldsville he was known as a staunch supporter of the Republican Party, and he served as an officer in the Pittsburgh Commandery of Masons. In the early twentieth century Reynolds was employed as a member of the state capitol police force in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He died in 1913 and is buried in Beuhela Cemetery in Reynoldsville.

During the Civil War, Tilton Reynolds corresponded extensively with his family, especially his parents. Thomas Reynolds Sr. (1807-1881) and Juliana Smith Reynolds (1828-1888) were married in 1842. Thomas opened the first store and was named the first postmaster in Winslow Township. The town was renamed Reynoldsville for him in 1850.

Besides their eldest, Tilton, Thomas and Juliana Reynolds had six other children: Arthur Park Reynolds (1845-1874), Clarinda (Clara) Emiline Reynolds (b. 1848), Margaret (Maggie) Jane Reynolds (1850-1920), Thomas Reynolds Jr. (1856-1911), John (Johnny) Dougherty Reynolds (1858-1866) and William (Willie) Reynolds (1859-1903).

Thomas and Juliana Reynolds had an extensive family in Central and Western Pennsylvania, many of whom served in the Wild Cat Regiment during the Civil War. Many of their letters appear in this online collection. Orlando Gray (dates unknown), the husband of Emiline Smith, Juliana's sister, entered Company H of the 105th Pennsylvania Volunteers as a first lieutenant on August 29, 1861. He was appointed adjutant on September 15, 1861, but resigned from service due to poor health on August 26, 1862. John S. Smith, Juliana's brother, is believed to have been a member of Company G of the 105th Pennsylvania Volunteers from October 25, 1861, to February 23, 1863.

Juliana's nephew, Dr. David Ramsey Crawford (dates unknown), joined the 105th Pennsylvania Volunteers on October 23, 1861, and served as a hospital steward until receiving a discharge on September 25, 1864. Two of Juliana's cousins also joined Company H of the 105th Pennsylvania Volunteers. Hiram P. Sprague (d. 1862) joined on September 1, 1861, but was killed on May 31, 1862, at the Battle of Fair Oaks. John Conser (1823-1864) joined on September 9, 1861. He was promoted to captain of Company H on April 20, 1863, commissioned major on May 6, 1864, and killed at Boydton Plank Road, Virginia, on October 27, 1864.

Little is known about the friends who corresponded with the Reynolds family except Joseph F. Green (b. 1842), a family friend who joined Company H of the 105th Pennsylvania Volunteers on August 29, 1861. He was captured at Boydton Plank Road on October 27, 1864, and died in a Confederate prison.