Friday, June 28, 2013

Heritage Trail: Mendells in Pennsylvania

Our two generations of Mendell ancestry in Pennsylvania make up the lone not-German line, and in fact has its own ethnicity mystery. Civil War vet George Henry Mendell (my second-great-grandfather) was raised in Ligonier where his parents, Colonel Noah Mendell and Mary were innkeepers. Massachusetts- born Noah presumably gained his title in the War of 1812, when he was 22, although I haven't found any evidence of that, and he is of old New England descent. Mary is our Indian legend; born in Nebraska in 1800, on DNA testing she matches with names like "Long Crane Chocsaw" but the ethnicity match is Spanish/Italian/Portugese, and her son George has blue eyes. Conquistador heritage? We came no closer to solving the mystery, although I was tempted to exhume the grave for more info :-)  

Ligonier is a charming town which almost resembles a movie set. A library, city hall, and churches surround a central grassy area with gazebo, fountains, and statues. Fort Ligonier, an outpost from the French and Indian War, is located right there, and the main cemetery is across the highway on a hill (but that's not the right one to find).  

Ligonier town square 
Fort Ligonier
Our Mendells are buried in the Old Ligonier cemetery, which is behind the Covenant Presbyterian Church.  Their headstones are deteriorating rapidly.

both headstones together, about middle of the lawn
Noah Mendell's headstone

Mary S Mendell's headstone
George, orphaned at a young age, married his childhood sweetheart Margaret Miller in Laughlintown, which is just a few miles down the road from Ligonier. He then served in the Civil War as a Union soldier, and was reportedly wounded at Gettysburg (still trying to sort out some conflicting military records).  

remembering our own soldier
The Mendell family eventually settled in Nebraska, where George and Margaret are buried.  
Perhaps he connected with his mother's heritage there?

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