Find a Grave

Search for cemetery records in Saint Clair Cemetery, PA at by entering a surname and clicking search:

Restrict search to


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Ustick? Is That You? You, PA 149th You

Part 2 in the series You, PA 149th You

Ustick ROTHROCK, Lewistown, Mifflin, PA

Ustick ROTHROCK.  Now, that's a name not to forget.  Ustick caught my attention when it was first seen in the February 1863 letter written by Frank C DORRINGTON of Co. D of the PA 149th.  In the letter, cousin Frank encloses a picture taken with some buds in Washington, DC, as the regiment was on duty in defense of Washington, DC.

ROTHROCK b. 1836 was son of Joseph and Mary ROTHROCK.  His father, Joseph, was a stage driver and is found in the 1850 in Lewistown, Mifflin, PA.  Life carried on and then war broke out in America.  Ustick, a blacksmith at the time of his enlistment in August 1862, according to his wife's pension application in his name, volunteered.

ROTHROCK was the bugler for Co. D of the PA 149th Bucktails.  In addition, he was a sharpshooter who performed his duty well.  In the history of the regiment by John Nesbit, ROTHROCK escaped the war without wounds or sickness.

From Nesbit's book on the History of the Regiment

After he mustered out with the regiment in 1865, he settle into normal life.  He married Margaret SMITH and had three children; Cora b. 1875, Florence b. 1879 and Grace b. 1884.

Somehow, I am convinced the injuries he suffered were unseen by the general public.  As we of today know, the atrocities of war can lead to lasting issues such as depression, nightmares and end in suicide.  ROTHROCK was at Gettyburg for that fateful battle as well as all the other battles the regiment saw action.  He witnessed many of his friends fall and perish on the battlefield.  Some estimates say up to around 75% of the regiment fell in battle.  Did he have survivor's guilt?  Could he just not shake the images of the past when Americans fought and killed Americans?  He had a good job.  He had a home.  He had his demons of the past.

Did his demons lead to the label of lunatic for the last 26 years of his life?  After a two month complaint of acting insane, he was declared insane and confined to the Hospital for the Insane at his inquisition.  Even in the inquisition papers, it refers to ROTHROCK as "the lunatic."  It saddens me that we won't know the truth, although I suspect he had PTSD.

Corporal Ustick ROTHROCK passed away November 29, 1916.  While he appears to have had a sudden stroke, he also had the official diagnosis of manic depressive psychosis.

Why am I looking at him?  The 1863 letter of cousin Frank states he had a picture made with him and four others.  Looking at the picture, I see the bugle in the hands of PA 149th soldier number one.  It corresponds with Frank's words  " No 1 Ustic ROTHROCK, our bugler, No 2 Dave PHILLIPS, No 3 Boy MAY, 4 I.B. MOMYER, 5 Sam PHILLIPS, No 6 your humble servant."

Is this the picture of these men?  Look at the features of man number one and the later picture of Ustick.  The eyebrows, cheeks and nose are similar.  Could it be?

Ahh, genealogy.  The sands of time pass after war, but the memories are forever.  Would he have been able to live with his demons if he had stayed in Pittsburgh after the war and been able to talk with his comrades?  Rest in peace, Ustick.
And thanks to all veterans of America.

Part 1 of the series:  Military Monday: Frank?  Is That You? You 149th Bucktail You 

 Sources: 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.
Original data: Seventh Census of the United States, 1850; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M432, 1009 rolls); Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
Nesbit, John W. General history of Company D, 149th Pennsylvania volunteers: and personal sketches of the members University of Pittsburgh, University Library System., Digital Research Library.;c=pitttext;cc=pitttext;idno=00hc08553m;q1=rothrock;submit=Go;didno=00hc08553m;rgn=full%20text;view=image;seq=0001;node=00hc08553m%3A1

©2016 ASEldredge

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Thank youy for sharing Ustick's story. It is an important reminder that PTSD and other "invisible" wounds are not just a modern phenomenon. What a wonderful photo, too.