Capt. William F. Harpst (USA)

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William F. Harpst, CPT

Birthdate: (94)
Birthplace: Bellefonte, PA, United States
Death: September 26, 1931 (94)
Greenville, PA, United States
Place of Burial: Greenville, PA, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Philip Harpst and Sarah Fay Harpst (Cole)
Husband of Emma Harpst (Yeakel) and Lewissa Harpst (McWha-Smith)
Father of Henry E. Harpst; Frederick Meade Harpst; Dr. Sara Blanche Jackson (Harpst); Grace Hepfinger (Harpst) and Alice Narosly (Harpst)
Brother of George Henry Harpst; Mary O'Day (Harpst); Joseph Andrew Harpst; Mary Jane Harpst; Daniel Harpst and 5 others
Half brother of John Burris Fay

Occupation: Printer and Publisher
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Capt. William F. Harpst (USA)

From ~"History of Mercer County: It's Past and Present..."

           Chicago, IL.:1888, pages 795-796.

Capt. W.F. Harpst, one of the editors and proprietors of the Greenville "Progress", was born in Half Moon Valley, Centre County, Penn., July 13, 1837. He is a son of Philip and Sarah Harpst, and a grandson of [Andrew] Harpst [1], a Revolutionary soldier, who was serving under Washington when Cornwallis surrendered his army at Yorktown, Va. The parents of our subject removed to Meadville, Penn., when he was two years old, and he there grew up and attended the common schools of the town. At the age of sixteen he became an apprentice in the printing office of the "Spirit of the Age", of Meadville. In April, 1856, he left Meadville to try his fortunes in the West, and for over three years he worked at his trade in Wisconsin and Minnesota. In September, 1859, he went South, where he followed the occupation of a typo in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi till April 1860, when, finding that the political atmosphere in the South was getting rather warm for Union men, he returned to Meadville. and worked at his trade till August 1862, when he enlisted as private in Company C, One Hundred and Fiftieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, for the nine months service. On arriving at Harrisburg it was found that the nine months quota was filled, and his command then enlisted for three years, and subsequently joined the army of the Potomac. Capt. Harpst participated in all of the battles in which his regiment was engaged during its service except Chancellorville, when he was sick in hospital. He was mustered out with his regiment June 23, 1865, with the rank of first sergeant, and returned to Meadville. He there resumed the duties of his trade, and in September. 1865, came to Greenville. and began working in the "Argus" office. He continued in that office till November, 1870, when he formed a partnership with W.H.H. Dumars and Amos A. Yeakel, for the purpose of establishing a new paper, and on January 7, 1871, the first number of the Greenville "Advance" was issued by them. The following April Capt. Harpst sold his interest in the paper to J.C. Brown, Esq., but remained in the office as foreman and assistant local editor till January 1, 1879. On that date he became a compositor in the office of the Greenville "Progress", in which capacity he served till May 2, 1881, when, in company with Frank C. Huling, he purchased the office from A.D. Gillespie, Esq., and then became half owner of the paper. Capt. Harpst was reared a Whig, but cast his first vote for Douglas in 1860, and has ever since been a stanch adherent of the Democratic party. In 1876 he joined Company K, Fifteenth Regiment National Guards of Pennsylvania; participated with his regiment in quelling the railroad riots the following year; was commissioned second lientenant of his company February 18, 1878; first lieutenant, March 24, 1883, and captain, February 2, 1885, which position he has filled up to the present. Capt. Harpst was married at Greenville, Penn., October 30, 1867, to Miss Emma R., eldest daughter of Edward and Matilda Yeakel. Five children have been born of this marriage: Mary E. (deceased), Freddie M. (deceased), Sadie B., Matilda G., and Alice L. [2]

[1] Daniel was erroneously listed as the father of Philip. Andrew is the correct name according to documents at the DAR and "The Biographies of Philip and Sarah Cole Fay Harpst" written by William F. Harpst c.1895, a few years before his parents both died in 1898. It is presumed he received the detailed information from them.

[2] Other records show a child Henry E., so the name Mary E. may be in error.Sadie B. is Dr. Sara Blanche Harpst Jackson, Matilda G. is Matilda Grace Harpst Hepfinger, and Alice L. is Alice Lorraine Harpst Narosly. Mary E./Henry E. died in infancy and Frederick Meade Harpst died at age 12. William served under Gen. Meade at Gettysburg, and perhaps his son's middle name was in honor of Gen. Meade. _______________________________________________

150th PA Regiment Organization, Service & Battles

   Organized at Philadelphia and Harrisburg September 4th, 1862.
   Moved to Washington, D.C., September.
   Attached to Defenses of Washington to February, 1863.
   2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 1st Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to December, 1863.
   1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 1st Army Corps, to March, 1864.
   3rd Brigade, 4th Division, 5th Army Corps, to June, 1864.
   1st Brigade, 1st Division, 5th Army Corps, to September, 1864.
   1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 5th Corps, to June, 1865.
   Guard duty in the Defenses of Washington, D. C., until February, 1863.
   (Co. "K" bodyguards to President Lincoln until mustered out.)
   Ordered to join Army of the Potomac in the field.
   Reported to 1st Army Corps at Belle Plains, Virginia, February, 1863 until April 27th.
   Chancellorsville Campaign April 27th-May 6th.
   Operations at Pollock's Mill Creek April 29th-May 2nd.
   Battle of Chancellorsville May 2nd-5th.
   Gettysburg Pennsylvania Campaign June 11th-July 24th.
   Battle of Gettysburg July 1st-3rd. Pursuit of Lee July 5th-24th.
   At Bealeton Station until October.
   Bristoe Campaign October 9th-22nd.
   Advanced to line of the Rappahannock November 7th-8th.
   Mine Run Campaign November 26th-December 2nd.


   Demonstration on the Rapidan February 6th-7th, 1864.
   Duty near Culpeper till May.
   Rapidan Campaign May 4th-June 12th.
   Battles of the Wilderness May 5th-7th.
   Laurel Hill May 8th.
   Spottsylvania May 8th-12th.
   Spottsylvania Court House May 12th-21st.
   Assault on the Salient May 12th.
   North Anna River May 23rd-26th.
   Jericho Ford May 25th.
   On line of the Pamunkey May 26th-28th.
   Totopotomoy May 28-31.
   Cold Harbor June 1-12.
   Bethesda Church June 1st-3rd.
   Before Petersburg June 16th-18th.
   Service & Battles - 1865
   Siege of Petersburg June 16th, 1864, to April 2nd, 1865.
   Mine Explosion, Petersburg, July 30th, 1864 (Reserve).
   Weldon Railroad August 18th-21st.
   Poplar Springs Church September 29th-October 2nd.
   Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher's Run, October 27th-28th.
   Warren's Raid on Weldon Railroad December 7th-12th.
   Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run, February 5th-7th, 1865.
   Ordered to Baltimore, Maryland., February 10th.
   Then to Elmira, New York until June.
   Mustered out June 23rd, 1865.


   The Regiment lost 4 Officers and 108 Enlisted men killed and
   mortally wounded, and 1 Officer and 94 Enlisted men by disease.  Making the
   total loss during their service - 207  



Chancellorsville, VA., May 1st to 5th, 1863 ***

Gettysburg, PA, July 1st-3rd, 1863

Wilderness, VA., May 5th-7th, 1864

Laurel Hill VA. (or Todd's Tavern) May 8th-11th, 1864

Spottsylvania, VA., May 12th, 1864

North Ann River, VA., May 23, 1864

Tolopotomy, VA., May 28th-31st, 1864

Bethesda Church, VA., June 1st-6th, 1864

Petersburg, VA., June 18th-August 15th, 1864

Weldon Railroad, VA., August 18th-21st, 1864

Hatcher's Run, VA., October 27th-28th, 1864

Hatcher's Run, VA., Feb 5th-7th, 1865

  • **Chancellorville was the only battle in which William F. Harpst did not participate since he was sick in the hospital.

The PA 150th Regiment served a pivotal role in the early battle of Gettysburg. At the McPherson Farm and adjoining Herbst Woods, they held off the advance of the Confederate troops giving time for additional Union troops to arrive at Gettysburg. They suffered great losses and all their officers were killed or wounded in this early battle. On the second day, the remaining 150th troops were stationed at Cemetery Ridge. On the third day, they were positioned at the famous Pickett's Charge which was the determining battle of Gettysburg. The flag of the 150th was captured by Confederate troops and later given to Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy. After the war, it was found among his personal possessions and returned to Harrisburg PA. William F. Harpst contributed to the publication of "The History of the One Hundred Fifttieth Pennsylvania Regiment". It can be read in its entirity on

The original name of the Harpst family was Herbst, but the Herbst Woods was located on the farm of descendents of Johan Heinrich Herbst, a Hessian soldier who deserted during the American Revolution and settled in York PA. This family has not been linked to the 4 Herbst brothers who immigrated around 1750 to Berks County, unless they were related in Germany. _______________________________________________

DEATH OF CAPTAIN WILLIAM F. HARPST Died Sept. 26, 1931 Published in "Meadville Tribune Republican" Sept. 28, 1931

Captain William F. Harpst, one of the oldest Civil War veterans in Mercer County, being in his 95th year, died Saturday afternoon at his home in Greenville after a long period of invalidism.

Captain Harpst was born at Belefonte, Centre County, Pa., in July 1837, and when an infant was brought to Meadville by his parents, the late Philip and Sarah Harpst. At the age of 14 he entered the office of the Cussewago Chronicle, a weekly paper, to learn the trade of a printer. At the age of 24 he enlisted as a union soldier, and remained in the service until the close of the war in the Spring of 1865. He resumed his work along the newspaper lines, and finally located at Greenville, being connected with the Argus, a weekly newspaper, and the year 1877 started the Daily Progress, a Democratic newspaper, which finally became a weekly publication, which he edited for many years.

Captain Harpst has held the office of Jury Commissioner. He was prominent in military matters for a long time, being interested in all that pertained to the welfare of the Grand Army of the Republic and kindred organizations. Surviving are his second wife and three daughters: Dr. Blanche Harpst, Duquesne, Pa.,and Mrs. Alice (Narosly) and Mrs. Grace Hepfinger, both of Cleveland, also one brother Frank Harpst of Meadville. Among other surviving relatives is a niece, Mrs. John A. Yocum, Catherine Street, this city.

Funeral from the home at 2 o'clock Tuesday afternoon. Interment in the Shenango Valley Cemetery.

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Capt. William F. Harpst (USA)'s Timeline

July 13, 1837
Bellefonte, PA, United States
July 26, 1868
Age 31
Greenville, Mercer, Pennsylvania, United States
May 29, 1870
Age 32
Greenville, Mercer, Pennsylvania, United States
May 27, 1875
Age 37
Greenville, Mercer, Pennsylvania, United States
July 25, 1880
Age 43
Greenville, Mercer, Pennsylvania, United States
September 17, 1885
Age 48
Greenville, Mercer, Pennsylvania, United States
September 26, 1931
Age 94
Greenville, PA, United States
Greenville, PA, United States