Summary

Birth:
01 Feb 1831 1
Norwich, NY 1
Death:
18 Nov 1913 1
Jaffrey NH 1
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Full Name:
Philinda Ensworth Smith Humiston Barnes 1
Full Name:
Philanda Barnes 1
Also known as:
Philinda Ensworth Smith Humiston Barns 1
Birth:
01 Feb 1831 1
Norwich, NY 1
Death:
18 Nov 1913 1
Jaffrey NH 1

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Stories

American Civil War notable. Mrs. Barnes was the widow of Sgt. Amos Humiston of the 154th NY Infantry, whose unidentified body was found on the field at Gettysburg holding an ambrotype of their three children. The poignant image, dubbed "Children of the Battlefield", launched a newspaper campaign throughout the North to discover the fallen soldier's identity, in addition to inspiring the establishment of a home in Gettysburg for orphans of the war. In November 1863, after learning of the ambrotype from a church publication, she was able to confirm that the unidentified soldier was her husband, missing since the first day of the battle four months earlier. Born Philinda Betsy Ensworth in Western New York, she was the daughter of Tracy and Harriet (nee Williams) Ensworth. Her brief first marriage, to Justin Smith (a cousin of the famous Mormon, Joseph) ended with his death not long after their wedding. The young widow then wed Amos Humiston, a fellow Upstate New Yorker who'd returned from a stint at sea on a whaling ship. Three children were born to the couple between the years 1855-59, and Sgt. Humiston's letters attest to the happiness of the marriage. His death left Philinda widowed for the second time, and with three young children to support, worried about their future. In 1866 the fatherless family left their home in Portville, New York, to take up residence in the new orphanage in Gettysburg, where 35-year-old Philinda had accepted a position as housekeeper. Unhappy in the battle-scarred town, possibly because she had begun to have doubts about the integrity of her employers, in 1869 she married Asa Barnes, a retired clergyman who was 24 years her senior, and moved to Massachusetts, where each of her children, Frank, Alice, and Fred, rejoined her after finishing their respective schooling. Widowed a third time, she spent her final years in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, where Frank had a thriving medical practice. Devastated by his untimely death in December 1912, she died less than a year later at age 82. Her daughter Alice and younger son Fred were among her survivors. 
 

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