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Alexander J, Pentecost was born November 18, 1835, at Pittsburgh, Pa. When five years old, his father died, and in 1845 his mother moved to Allegheny. Since that time he has been a resident of the latter city.
At the age of twenty years, having served an apprenticeship at the machinist's trade, he became a member of the firm of Pentecost, Graham and Bole, engine builders, Allegheny. lie disposed of his interest in this business, and three years later, when the discovery of gold at Pike's Peak created so much excitement, started west in search of fortune, doing by way of Leavenworth, Kansas, and across the plains, he arrived at a point about fifteen miles from the base of the "Rockies" in the month of June, 1859. Here he found an Indian lodge, and met General William Larimer, a Pittsburgh banker, who had taken up his abode in an old log hut near-by. Upon this spot the beautiful city of Denver, Colorado, has since arisen. Continuing their journey to the mountains, young Pentecost spent several months exploring the "wild west " and prospecting for gold, and returned home in the spring of 1860.
When Sumter was fired upon, and President Lincoln's call for troops was issued, Mr. Pentecost was among the first who responded to that call. It was his intention to recruit a company at Neville hall, but the city guards, under the command of Colonel Alexander Hays, had taken possession of the hall, and his plans were frustrated. Pentecost then enlisted with the Washington Rifles, afterward Company A, being recruited at old Lafayette hall. This company, in response to a call from
Governor Frank H. Pierpoint, of Virginia, went to Wheeling and entered the service of Virginia. They were ordered into service soon after muster, taking charge of the B. & O. railroad. At this juncture Corporal Pentecost was detached from the regiment to assist in organizing a quartermaster's department at Grafton, Virginia. In September, 1S61, he was ordered to the Kanawha valley, and returning to Wheeling in December, reported to Governor Pierpont. The latter desired him to assist Colonel Harris recruit the Tenth Regiment of Virginia Infantry at Clarksburg; but prefering to remain with his regiment, which was then in winter quarters on Cheat Mountain, he immediately reported at regimental headquarters, was assigned to the quartermaster's department, and July 7, 1862, was commissioned first lieutenant and regimental
quartermaster, vice Lieutenant W. A. Stephens, resigned.
Lieut. Pentecost rendered active and efficient service in the following, and several other notable battles: Rich Mountain, Gauley Bridge, McDowell, Cross Keys, Cedar Mountain, Kelly's Ford, White Sulphur Springs, Waterloo Bridge, Gainesville, Second Bull Run, Beverly, Rocky Gap, Droop Mountain, Cotton Mountain, Cloyd Mountain and Jackson River. He is the possessor of numerous commendatory letters, complimenting him upon his valor on the battlefield, from which the writer has selected the following on account of its brevity:
A. J. Pentecost, Esq.
Sir: It affords me great pleasure to say, that while you were under my command in West Virginia, acting as Regimental Quartermaster of the Second Virginia Infantry, you discharged your duties with energy and marked ability, and that at the battle of Droop Mountain you participated in the action with great gallantry, contributing much to the success of your regiment, although your legitimate duties might have been a reasonable excuse for not taking part therein. The reports of your regimental commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Scott, were always most complimentary to you. Wishing you every success in civil life, I remain,
Your Obedient Servant, Wm. W. Averell, Late Brig. Gen'l, U. S. V.
He comes of a military family, being the great grandson of Colonel Dorsey Pentecost, who took active part in the revolution, commanded the military forces of Washington county in 1 7S1, was one of the first justices of the peace at old Fort Pitt, a member of the supreme executive council of Pennsylvania 1781 to 1783, and president-judge of court of common pleas of Washington county. Colonel Dorsey was also the great grandfather of Colonel Jos. H. Pentecost, commander of the One Hundredth Pennsylvania Volunteers, who was killed in battle at Fort Steadman, March 25, 1865.
In civil life, Mr. Pentecost has occupied numerous positions of public trust, and has been most successful in business. He is a member of the Masonic Fraternity on the retired list, having been made a mason at Allegheny City in 1867. March 13, 1865, he was brevetted captain, U. S. V., by the President of the United States for gallantry and meritorious conduct during the war, and in 1S67 was commander of Post 91, G. A. R., department of Pennsylvania. October 31, 1873, he was commissioned major and aid-de-camp of the National Guards of Pennsylvania, by General John F. Hartranft, and assigned to the Eighteenth division. In 18SS, at the annual meeting of the Society of the Army of West Viiginia, held in Columbus, Ohio, he was elected one of the vice presidents, and in 1SS7-S9 was appointed treasurer of his regimental association. He was a member of Allegheny city councils in 1874, has at different times held the offices of president and treasurer of the third ward school board, and in 1887-89, was a member of the high school committee, and member of the board of school controllers of Alle- gheny City for twelve years.
Mr. Pentecost has been married twice and has four sons and four daughters now living. April 2, 1863, he wedded Miss Virginia H. Andrews at Pittsburgh. Three children Grant Meigs, Alexander J., and Daisy V., were the result of this marriage, but the mother and daughter both died.
His second, and present wife was Miss Emma P. Marcy, a relative of the late General R. D. Marcy, and of Mrs. General George B. McClellan. They were married in Allegheny City in January, 1874. The children of this marriage are three sons Howard M., Dorsey D., Frank Pierpont; and five daughters Nellie S., Adelia R., Bessie B., May B., and Emma D.
He has a beautiful and happy home in Allegheny City, ranks among the most successful real estate dealers in Pittsburgh, commands the honor and respect of all who know him, either in business, public or social life; and his many old comrades who peruse this volume will be glad to know that in health and physique he is perfect. A most entertaining and witty conversationalist, he can relate innumerable interesting anec: dotes of both the sorrowful and amusing phases of a soldier's life, as well as of the bravery and endurance of the "boys in blue."