I have had many relatives that have served the military with distinction, but I would like to pay tribute to my 2nd great-granduncle J. George Farber, who reputedly fired the last shots of the Civil War. A number of members of my family fought in that bloody conflict. Two of George's brothers, Louis and Charles, fought. Their father Joseph Farber led the way. He volunteered to fight for the Union cause at 42 years of age.
Obituary from The Scranton Tribune, September 6, 1900, Morning, Page 5:
Hon. George Farber Dead
Petersburg's Leading Citizen Dies
After a Brief Illness -- Fired
the Last Shot of the Civil War
The man who fired the last shot in the civil war, Hon. J. George Farber, died last evening at 5.15 o'clock, at his home in Petersburg, after a three months' illness of dropsy.
The deceased was born in Allebach, Prussia, May 28, 1840, and was brought to this city by his parents in 1845. Since 1851 he lived in the Petersburg portion of the city. He worked in the mines until the breaking out of the civil war, when he and his brother Louis enlisted in Company B, Ninth Pennsylvania cavalry. His father had previously gone out with the One Hundred and Seventh Pennsylvania Infantry. The deceased was discharged in July, 1865, after four years of the most active service.
The incident by which he won the distinction mentioned in the opening paragraph occurred at Edwardsburg, N.C., just previous to Johnson's surrender. Mr. Farber and George Burkee, who still lives on Phelps street, were detached from their company of cavalry and assigned to artillery work. They were operating a large gun in a wooded place some distance from the main body and in this way continued firing after hostilities had been called off, they not knowing of the surrender. Mr. Burkee and George Schultz, Sr., brother-in-law of the deceased Mr. Farber, are the only survivors of the seventeen sturdy lads who went out from Petersburg with the Ninth Cavalry.
Mr. Farber was a commissioner and then a member of the select council from the Tenth ward from 1872 to 1878. In 1879 he was elected the first register of wills of Lackawanna county, but the supreme court declared the election illegal. In the following year, however, he was re-elected for the three years and served his term.
For twenty years he served on the Republican county committee and for a good part of that time on the city committee also, having once been its chairman.
He was a member of the Union lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, the Knights of Pythias, and Colonel Monies post 319, Grand Army of the Republic.
The deceased is survived by his wife and the following brothers and sisters: Frederick Farber, L.J. Farber, Mrs. Jacob Stark, and Mrs. Alonzo Price, all of this city.