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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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SAMUEL AKINS, a veteran of the Rebellion, and ex-coroner of Montgomery county, is a native of Upper Merion township, where he was born October 5, 1832. At the age of one year he was placed with a woman by the name of Harriet Davis, remaining with her until he was eleven years of age. Many years have passed since Mrs. Davis’ death, but her motherly care and kindness are still as fresh in Mr. Akins’ memory as though it were yesterday.

In 1843 he went to live with Mark Brooke on a farm in Radnor township, Delaware county, living with him until he had attained the age of sixteen years, and had learned farming very thoroughly. He then became impressed with the idea that it would be well to learn a trade, and he accordingly went to Chatham, in Chester county, and apprenticed himself to a Friend named Jackson, to learn the trade of machinist. According to their agreement, young Akins was to have board and clothing until he had learned his trade. He remained with Friend Jackson but a short time, on account of being extremely homesick and lonesome. He left Chatham and returned to Mrs. Davis, remaining there, however, but a little while, when he entered the employ of David Rambo, a farmer in Upper Merion, staying with him until his death which occurred about 1850.

Being again thrown on his own resources, young Akins sought and obtained employment with David Roberts, also a farmer. He remained with Mr. Roberts two years, and then drifted from place to place until he entered the employ of John Coats, and was with him three years, driving team. He then went to Philadelphia, where he was engaged in various capacities until 1860, mostly in the store of his brother-in-law, John Eppelsheimer, a dealer in leather.

In 1860 he returned to Upper Merion, working for a short time for William Epright, a cousin. When the war of the Rebellion broke out, he was engaged in lime burning in Upper Merion township. He was at work when the beating of the drums of the recruiting officers, who were filling the call for 75,000 volunteers for three months, attracted his attention. He listened a moment, and then threw down the tool he was using, and started for Norristown, where he at once enlisted in Company A, Fourth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Captain William J. Bolton’s Company, of Colonel John Frederick Hartranft’s regiment.

On the 16th of April, 1861, the company started for Harrisburg. On its arrival at the state capital, he was mustered into the United States service for three months. This was on April 20.

The regiment was at Camp Curtin, near Harrisburg, for a few days, and then went to Washington by way of Philadelphia, Perryville and Annapolis, Maryland. At the last-named place, the regiment lay two weeks, and then went on to Washington, being quartered for a time in a Congregational church. From the church the men went to Camp Montgomery, and from there to Centreville. At Wapping’s Heights Mr. Akins saw his first skirmish. The time of the regiment having expired, the men went back to Washington, were then sent to Harrisburg, and there mustered out of the service of the United States in July, 1861.

Mr. Akins had an attack of typhoid fever about the time of his being mustered out of service, and was sick for some weeks. On his recovery he obtained employment on a farm, remaining with his employer until August 8, 1862, when he enlisted in Company C, One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Captain George W. Guss, commanding the company, and Colonel Simewalt commanding the regiment. On the 20th of August, the regiment was mustered into the United States service. The regiment encamped at Harrisburg for a short time, and then went to the Relay House, near Baltimore, where they were camped nearly a year, guarding the Baltimore and Washington Railroad, his company being at a place called Dorsey’s Switch.

In July, 1863, the regiment joined the Army of the Potomac at Maryland Heights, and after two weeks, marched to Washington, and were there but an hour or two when they boarded a car and went to Monocacy, Virginia. They were in different skirmishes with the Army of the Potomac, being under fire in their first battle at Locust Grove.

During the winter of 1863-4 Mr. Akins was with his regiment at Brandywine Station, and in May, 1864, accompanied the Army of the Potomac on the Wilderness campaign. He was in the battle of the Wilderness on May 5, and the next day in making a charge, he was wounded in the left arm by a minie ball. He was taken back to Washington and placed in Douglass Hospital. On the 28th of June his arm was amputated some distance above the wrist, and in August following he was transferred to Philadelphia Hospital, at Twenty-fourth and South streets. After his recovery he did light duty about the hospital until he was transferred to a similar institution at Chester, Pennsylvania, where he remained until May 30, 1865, when he was mustered out of the United States service, the war being over.

Mr. Akins then returned to Montgomery county and secured employment in the Philadelphia and Reading Railway as a signal man. He was located at the signal tower at Spring Mill. He remained in this position for six years and a half, leaving it to accept an appointment as policeman for the borough of Bridgeport. He was the first police officer in Bridgeport, and received a better salary than in the position of signal man. Having been on the police force two years, in 1874 he engaged in huckstering. In 1876 he went to Kansas for a short time. On his return he was tax collector for nine years for Bridgeport. He was elected coroner of Montgomery county in the early eighties, and re-elected on the Republican ticket, serving six years very acceptably. He was also constable for four years. For many years he has been a delegate to Republican county conventions. He has also been judge of elections twice, having been appointed by the Court on one occasion. He is a member of Zook Post No. 11, Grand Army of the Republic, Norristown, and has been for many years, having been its sergeant major, and a trustee for many years. He has also been on the grave-marking committee.

In the army Mr. Akins was a corporal, and was appointed to the position of color sergeant. He was carrying the flag when he was shot down. He has been a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen for over twenty years. He is a member of the Baptist church.

In September, 1865, he married Hannah Lyle, daughter of Charles Lyle, and they had two children: Harry W. Akins, who is now clerk of courts of Montgomery county, who married Miss Mary Taylor, and Mary Elizabeth, married Abraham Prince. Mrs. Hannah Akins having died, Mr. Akins married (second wife) Mrs. Isabella Campbell, daughter of William and Elizabeth (Lindsay) Brown. She is a native of Scotland, having come to America in July, 1855, with four sisters and one brother, and located in Montgomery county. By her first husband she had two daughters: Sarah E. and Annie B., who are unmarried, and employed as matrons in the Williamson Trades School, in Delaware county. She has also two children by the marriage with Mr. Akins: Alice A. and William S.

William Brown (Mrs. Akins’ father) was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, in the town of Nucunic, where his ancestors had resided for many generations. They were farmers, and at one time the owners of a valuable estate known as Launfeen, located near a town called Darble. They are Scotch Presbyterians of the old-fashioned faith, and endeavored to live up to it. Their children: William, Agnes, John, James, Ann, Hugh, Jane, Elizabeth, Isabella, and Maggie, of whom Agnes, John, William, James, Hugh and Elizabeth are deceased. All the survivors now live in America.

Mr. Akins’ father served in the Mexican and Indian wars.

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This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

View additional Montgomery County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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