Civil War vet was New Castle postmaster
Decoration Day, Tuesday, will long be remembered by the old soldiers of New Castle and vicinity, and (by) many of our citizens who did not take the part of a soldier or sailor in the War of the Rebellion. – “Decoration Day,” New Castle News, June 3, 1893 Christian Nicholas Adolphus Hahn believed in the unity of the United States. So deep was this conviction, that Hahn, at the age of 17, answered President Abraham Lincoln’s first call for soldiers to join the Union’s Civil War forces. Hahn was a young man of strong character. The Civil War made him stronger.Hahn was born to German immigrants in Baltimore, Md., in 1843. The family moved to Glenrock, Penn., where young Christian (who often was known as Nicholas) received a public school education and also learned the carpentry trade. He was employed as a cooper when the tensions between the north and the south erupted into war.On April 20, 1861, Hahn enlisted in Company K of the 16th Pennsylvania Infantry. Three months later, he enlisted in Company K of the 87th Pennsylvania Infantry. Over three years, he participated in 54 battles from Virginia to Maryland to West Virginia. In 1862, he was wounded in his left leg. By the time he mustered out in October 1864, the constant blast of cannon fire caused total deafness in his left ear.After the Civil War, Hahn continued his military career in Omaha and Fort Kearney, Neb., and then at La Junta, New Mexico Territory. In 1871, he married Ellen Urquhart, an accomplished artist and musician. In 1879, the couple moved to Leadville, and in 1887, to New Castle.The Hahns were some of New Castle’s prominent citizens. Nicholas built the Albany Hotel at Sixth and Main streets, from which he sold real estate and insurance. When Hahn became New Castle’s postmaster in 1894, the town’s post office was located in the Albany. After his election as mayor in 1895, a room at the Albany served as the mayor’s office.In 1890, Hahn was instrumental in the organization of the General Shields Post No. 78 of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) in New Castle. This fraternal organization worked for the causes of Union Army war veterans. Memorial Day observations were one of many services performed by the G.A.R.Hahn died in 1928, but left behind a stronger country and community through service, duty, and love of country. “Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Summer hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 945-4448.
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