Joseph Pfaffenberger was the first child of Andrew and Catharine to be born in America. Joseph was born on December 19, 1837, just three months and three days after his parents and older siblings had completed their journey from Germany to the United States.1 Joseph lived his first three to five years in or near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before moving with his family to Jackson County, Indiana. In late 1842 his father purchased a farm on Chestnut Ridge, in Washington Township, which would be home for the remainder of his life.
Although his first language was likely German, Joseph probably learned English simultaneously.The 1840's and much of the 1850's were spent growing up on his father'sfarm. His playmates probably included Eliza McCrary, Joel and Almon Cox, Atha Love and Branton Stogsdill.2
Joseph was 17 when his brother John Conrad married, leaving him the only son on the farm on a full time basis. With his father and mother well into their sixties, Joseph's efforts were key to the success of the farm.
However, he could not ignore the events occurring in the country. Shortly after the 1860 presidential election, the southern states began seceding from the union. This litany continued through June of 1861. On April 12 of that year Confederate Troops fired on Fort Sumpter in Charleston, S.C. During the period late August through early October of 1861, the first Union Troops were mustered from Jackson County. As hostilities between the North and South heated up, many young men Joseph's age were champing at the bit to join the fray.
Although he passed the 1861 muster, when the call went out in the summer of 1862, he joined up. He became a member of Company G, 67th Regiment. The 67th Regiment was mustered into service on August 20, 1862, in Madison, Indiana. Almost immediately the 67th was ordered to Louisville, Ky. and then on to Munsfordville, where they engaged an advance of Bragg's army on September 14. The 67th was defeated and surrendered. Losses included forty three men killed and wounded. Bragg's army paroled the 67th and it returned home and remained there until December, when it was re-outfitted.19
Before the 67th could be sent back to battle, Joseph died.1 Because Joseph was single, there is little information available to indicate the cause of death. Since he died in Indianapolis, one conclusion could be that he died in a facility designated for military sick and wounded. However, the Jackson County and Indianapolis newspapers seemed to ignore the event.
Joseph was the first to be buried in a Pfaffenberger family plot in Chestnut Ridge Cemetery.
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