Thomas Lerch

Teamster Thomas Lerch (1817-1891)

Thomas Lerch, great-great-grandfather of Past Camp Commander Thomas L. Grund, Jr., was born in East Allen Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania on December 14, 1817. His parents were William Lerch and Moriah (Messinger) Lerch.

Prior to the Civil War, Thomas worked as a carpenter. When the war started, he was employed as civilian teamster in the Quartermaster Department, U.S. Volunteers. He was employed on August 19, 1861 at Frederick, MD by Wagon Master Samuel Kashon. He received a monthly salary of $25, nearly double that of private. He served under Captain A. W. Putnam until September 7, 1862, and then under Captain J. J. Dana until February 24, 1862.

Soon after he was hired, Thomas was involved in a serious mishap near Frederick, MD. According to his pension files, he was thrown from his mule and fell between the saddle mule and the wagon tongue. There he was trampled and had several ribs broken, along with other injuries. He spent the rest of his service in the hospital, and was discharged for disability on February 24, 1862. He returned home around the middle of March, 1862.


Thomas married Hannah Reph, date unknown. Hannah was born on May 28, 1826, Mercer County, PA and died 2 September 2, 1900 (aged 74), Northampton County, PA. Their marriage produced ten children:

  • Allamanda Aravesta Lerch
  • John Lerch
  • Elinor Lerch
  • Alexander Lerch
  • David Thomas Lerch
  • Cecelia C. Lerch
  • Wilson Lerch
  • Alice Lerch
  • Emma Lerch
  • Maria Lerch

After the war Thomas returned to carpentry, but he continued to struggle with his wartime injuries. He applied for a disability pension on August 23, 1883. His claim was rejected on April 4, 1884 on the grounds that he was a civilian employee and not eligible for a service member's pension under the laws at that time.

Thomas Lerch died on February 15, 1891 and was buried at Schoenersville Cemetery in Lehigh County, PA. Hannah died on September 3, 1900 and was buried with Thomas.