The Family Fahnestock
Before the battle, the Fahnestock Brothers’ store was the largest in town and might have been the town’s center of commerce; new businesses frequently referenced it as a landmark in their opening announcements.
As well, the brothers were prominent in politics, associated with the Republicans and with the Know Nothings, and they were occasionally embroiled in collections conflicts with local businesses, including with a particular carriage business owned by C.W. Hoffman that took Wesley Culp south and out of the Union.
During the battle, the Fahnestock building might have been the most critical landmark to shape the three days: young Daniel Skelly, brother of Jack Skelly and a Fahnestock employee, led General Oliver Otis Howard to its roof where Howard selected Cemetery Hill as the fallback point for the Union. In the battle’s aftermath, the U.S. Sanitary Commission used the store as its supply base.
Within a few years of the battle, the brothers scattered to different ends of the country for often curious reasons, and at least in one case of a Fahnestock son, Gates, suicide might have been the final fate. Find out more about the Fahnestocks: