George Hemminger (1840-1912)

George Hemminger was born on his family's farm west of Carlisle, Pennsylvania on September 8, 1840, the youngest son of twelve children of John and Eliza Heagy Hemminger. He went to local schools and to the Gleason Academy in West Pennsboro Township and then to Pennsylvania College at Gettysburg in 1861. Before he enrolled for his sophomore year, however, he went to Harrisburg with seven classmates to enlist as a private in what was to become Company B of the 138th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, then recruiting in several counties, including Adams.

Hemminger mustered in with his company at Camp Curtin on August 16, 1862 and his unit arrived in the Washington area soon after to guard communication lines and transport stores. Later, in 1863, the 138th began to engage in serious fighting and sustain casualties at Brandy Station, Mine Run, and Locust Grove. The following year saw even heavier action at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor. In defense of Washington at Monocracy, Maryland, Private Hemminger was among twenty-one men of his unit Confederate forces captured on July 9, 1864 and soon found himself in a prison camp at Danville, Virginia. He was transferred to the notorious Libby Prison in Richmond in February 1865 and was paroled in March 1865. He returned to his company in time to celebrate the end of the war and participate with the 138th in the grand victory parade in Washington on June 8, 1865.

Returning to civilian life, the young veteran taught school for a year and then, in 1867, entered Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania as part of the class of 1870 to complete the "partial course" in science in 1869. While at the College, Hemminger was elected to the Union Philosophical Society. He then went on to study medicine and gained a degree from the College of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan. After a time spent traveling the West and practicing in Newville, Pennsylvania and Baltimore, Hemminger returned to Carlisle in 1877 and opened a successful, popular, and long-lived medical practice. He also served for nine years on the U.S. Pension Board.

Hemminger married Annie Powell of Baltimore in February, 1875 and the couple had one son, George Reverdy. He was widowed and married a second time, in 1880, to Mary N. Oyster of La Grange, Missouri. George Hemminger died in Carlisle on January 20, 1912. He was seventy-one years old.

Author of Post: 
Dickinson College Archives
Date of Post: 
College Relationship: 
Alumnus/Alumna Class Year: