Historical Association of Tobyhanna Township

HATT | PO Box 2084 | Pocono Pines, PA 18350-2084

July 14, 2016



July 14, 2016 • 5:30 p.m.
Clymer Library, 115 Firehouse Road, Pocono Pines, Pa.

Attendees: 52 members and guests
Speaker: John Abel, “In the Shadow of History, the Story of John Summerfield Staples”

The meeting was called to order by Rick Bodenschatz at 5:35 p.m. Rick led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Rick announced that the next HATT meeting will be our annual picnic on August 11, 2016. This event will begin at 11 a.m. at the Blakeslee Park located on Route 115, one mile south of Route 940 (Second entrance nearest Interstate 80.) This rain-or-shine picnic will include chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs. Attendees whose last name begins with the letter A through L should bring a salad and those with the last name beginning with M through Z should bring a dessert. Russ Cramer will present a program entitled, “Survival in a Post Ice Age World.”

Rick said Scarlett Rehrig is continuing to organize artifacts in the basement of the library. Soon the archival system will be up and running and items will be noted on our web site.

Rick told of the “Lutherland Video” from the 1950s that has been made into a color CD. The movie was originally made as a recruitment tool. The CD will be on sale at the library for $5. Also for sale will be a reprint of the “Lutherland Book” written by Ted Suttmeier, also for $5.

SPEAKER: Rick introduced John Abel who presented “In the Shadow of History, the story of John Summerfield Staples.”

John Summerfield Staples was born in 1845 in Stroudsburg, one of 11 children from a wealthy family. As a young person he fished and hunted.

At the start of the Civil War, the Monroe County area was highly Democratic and very much against Lincoln and war. There were many Quakers here, and the area became a haven for draft dodgers.

In 1862 at the age of 18, John became a Company C volunteer and received $500 to serve as a substitute soldier for the uncle of his future wife, Rachael. In 1863 he developed typhoid fever and was honorably discharged from the service.

In May of 1864, John went to Washington, D.C., to become a part of Lincoln’s Representative Recruit Program, which was designed to provide substitutes for any individual not eligible to serve in the military. President Lincoln gave John $60 in addition to the $500 he would also receive to act as Lincoln’s substitute.

John served in that non-combat position until 1865. While serving in this position, Lincoln was known to check on John’s status.

Following the war, John moved back to this area, married Rachael, and after her death married for the second time. He moved to New York, but in 1882 he came back to the Poconos to have help caring for his children. He applied for a military pension in 1885, but his files were lost so he did not receive it.

In 1888, at the age of 43, John died and was buried in Stroudsburg. Beginning in 1933 and again in 1955 a bridge and plaque were dedicated to John, but because of storms the bridges and plaques were destroyed.

Following a question-and-answer period, John Abel received a plaque of appreciation for his HATT presentation.

BUSINESS MEETING: Rick talked with the attendees about the help we need to continue HATT.

In September 2016, HATT will only have two board members left out of the eight that are needed. The by-laws require five board members at meetings in order to have a quorum, and thus conduct business. The positions needing to be filled are: president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and two directors. Rick as past president will act as a mentor.

Also needed is a program chairperson who is responsible for setting up eight programs each year. Typically in October, the board has an organizational meeting where a list is compiled of 10 potential speakers for the following year. The chairperson contacts and schedules the speakers. No position on the board requires more than about 10 hours per year.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Jeanne Dyer, secretary