RANDOLPH - When 43 Randolph enlistees boarded the train in this small village Sept. 7, 1861, en route to Elmira for duty in Co. B, 64th NY Infantry at the beginning of the long Civil War, few realized they would suffer deaths, wounding, imprisonment and bad living conditions beyond their imagination.
Those returning home after their nightmare would try to resume normal lives.
David L. McGowan, a business man and Civil War buff from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was speaker at the November meeting of the Randolph Historical Society and reviewed his book A Ticket To the Dance , a novel of a Civil War soldier's trip to Hell and back.
Photo shows author David L. McGowan with his photo collection of Civil War soldiers from 64th NY Infantry. Insert, top left, is Albert Marsh and his gravestone, top right, in the Randolph Cemetery.
P-J photo of speaker by Jack Berger
When fictional nineteen year old James Boyden left the restricted village of Randolph for what he expected to be a short adventure to see the world, his trek led him instead to the infamous Andersonville Prison four years later.
Randolph's Jane Arrance provided much information for McGowan's book, pointing out the eight names from Randolph fictionalized in the book were Frank Shannon, David Cooper, Henry Morgan, Lemuel Owen, James Boyden, Franklin Higbe, Franklin Jones and Albert Marsh, a Medal of Honor soldier who had his leg amputated after the battle of Spotsylvania.
Marsh enlisted as a Corporal and was promoted to Sergeant and later to a Second Lieutenant.
His Medal of Honor came from capturing the enemy's flag on May 12, 1864 at the Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia.
He died in Randolph at the age of 64 and is buried in the Randolph cemetery.
The nearly 50 members and visitors attending the meeting were spellbound with McGowan's knowledge and his unique down-to-earth writing about a part of this country's tragic war.
McGowan's 200-page book lists Randolph an estimated seventeen times as well as Conewango, Randolph Academy, Bowen, Carr Corners, Sinclairville, Coldspring, Napoli, Silver Creek, Onoville and ... "Steamburgh."