When first researching the Margaretta Bowen Wissler letter, I originally thought the letter was written by Wissler's niece, Margaretta Kendlehart (1847-1934). As such, I began to explore the Kendlehart family and found the Gettysburg family fascinating. I've included some of that initial research (below), which stemmed from the search for Margaretta Kendlehart.
Like his father, John Kendlehart, David Kendlehart(1813-1891) became a shoemaker. In Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, David built a successful general boot and shoe store in which he both manufactured and sold footwear. In 1841, he married Eliza Ann Bowen (1815-1902), daughter of James Bowen.The store was successful enough that it sustained his family for forty years and allowed David and Eliza to retire in comfort.
David was also civic-minded and served as the president of the Gettysburg city council, among other positions for which he received no pay. Kendlehart was serving in this capacity when Confederate General Jubal Anderson Early (1816-1894), made demands upon the borough to provide his army with money, clothing, and food. As stated in The History of Cumberland and Adams Counties, Pennsylvania,
This was the first sight of an army that had come to destroy and subdue, and no one but those who were here enjoying the fruits of their hard labors, can express the prevalent feeling when asked to surrender their own to the would-be destroyers of our Government.*
Kendlehart maintained his cool in the face of the intruders and in a letter dated June 26, 1863, he responded to Early's peremptory request:
Sir: the authorities of the borough of Gettysburg, in answer to the demand made upon the same borough and county by you, say their authority extends but to the borough; that the requisition asked for can not be given, because it is utterly impossible to comply. The quantities required are far beyond that in our possession. In compliance, however, to the demand, we will request the stores to be opened and the citizens to furnish whatever they can of such provisions, etc., as may be asked. Further we can not promise. By authority of the council of the borough of Gettysburg, I hereunto, as president of said board, attach my name. D. Kendlehart
On July 4, 1863, Kendlehart in company with his sons John and James William and George Arnold, Esq. were able to get through Union lines to General George Meade (1815-1872) where they supplied as much information as they could about Early's army.
This incident was not the only event which lends to describing Kendlehart's character. David Kendlehart was out-spoken against slavery and the following anecdote demonstrates his commitment to his beliefs. A Mr. Hartman drove into town and asked Kendlehart where he could find a Justice of the Peace. Kendlehart heard that Hartman was holding an African American woman with the intent of returning her to her owner. Once Hartman was involved with the JP, Kendlehart persuaded the woman to run. When Hartman came out and began looking for the escapee, Hartman sent him looking in the wrong direction. It was rumored that she met up with her husband, who had escaped a short time before her own flight. Due to Kendlehart's actions they were able to break "their chain of slavery." Best, Pat
In 1841, David Kendlehart married Eliza Bowen (d/o James Bowen). They had the following children:
Mary Cecelia Kendlehart (1842-1937)
Sarah Louisa Kendlehart (1844-1924)
Margaretta B. Kendlehart (1847-1934) (married William Parkinson McCartney 1843-1916)
John L. Kendlehart (1850-1919) married Annie Bailey (1852-1932)
James William Kendlehart (1854-1990) married Anna Catherine Grund (1860-1942)
*The anecdotes about the Kendlehart family were found in History of Cumberland and Adams Counties, Pennsylvania. Warner, Beers & Co. Chicago, 1886 pp 357-358.
Additional Links to information about the Kendlehart family:
To Preserve, Protect, and Defend, Jacob Ross 2015
Evergreen Cemetery Part 11 With Licensed Battlefield Guide Deb Novotny (Contains a Picture of David and Eliza Kendlehart's Gravestone)