Just before the outbreak of the American Civil War, on January 8, 1859, Joseph Pierce Layman was born to Michael Layman and Elmira Elizabeth Raymond in Airville, York County, Pennsylvania. He was the seventh of nine siblings: Jacob, Sarah, Uriah, Mary, Elmira, Charles, Lillian, and Theodore. Joseph was born during the commencement of the Civil War and was middle-named after president Democratic Franklin Pierce.

A short buggy ride away in Chanceford, York County, Pennsylvania, Rebecca Jane Overlander was born to Jacob Warner Oberlander and Sarah Ann Gipe in October of the same year. She was the fifth of eleven siblings: Luther, Sarah, Edward, Adeline, Caroline, Samuel, Margaret, Emaline, Barbara, and Jacob.

Joseph was raised in Airville (McCalls Falls/Bald Eagle Post office), so probably attended Brogue One-room school house, Muddy Creek Forks Road, until at least age fourteen. His siblings all seem to have attended school longer than most contemporaries and he was fully literate, although his parents were only moderate literate.

Rebecca was raised in Airville (Bald Eagle/Chanceford post office), so probably attended Brogue One-room school house, Muddy Creek Forks Road. Later she may have attended the newly opened Orson Run One-room school house, Woodbine Road, Airville. She was in school until age 12 or longer. Her siblings all seem to have attended school. She was fully literate, as were her parents. Joseph and Rebecca, according to the 1900 census return, were literate, able to read and write.

Joseph and Rebecca both grew up in Lower Chanceford Township, relocating to Sunbury about 1890 to raise their own children. Joseph and Rebecca rented a home at 209 Third Street, Sunbury and in early 1900’s they moved to a home their son Lee rented in Chicago.

Pennsylvanians were strong sympathizers with the Union during the Civil War, sending more than 36,000 men to the battlefields for the North. Joseph’s father was one of the many who fought to end slavery and reunite the United States of America. York County sent five companies: Worth Infantry, York Rifles, Marion Rifles, Hanover Infantry, and the York Volunteers to fight for the cause. The 87th Regiment was composed of almost entirely York men. Joseph’s father may have been in one of these regiments…… (see ‘The Chronies’ for entire narrative)

American Pioneer Chronicles:

Colonial Narratives

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