CAPTAIN AARON SAGER, Co. G

WAS born November twenty fifth, 1833, in Guilderland, Albany county, N. Y. His ancestors were among the early Dutch settlers along the Hudson. About 1836 his father, Jacob Sager, moved with his family to the city of Albany, where the Captain spent his boyhood. His educational advantages were confined to district schools. 

At the age of thirteen he entered the office of the Albany SPECTATOR, as an apprentice, but failing health soon compelled him to abandon this occupation. His father, about this time, moved to Syracuse. At the age of seventeen the Captain commenced the study of medicine in the office of Drs. Hoyt and Mercer, where he pursued his studies nearly five years. He then changed his residence to Cortland village, where, after a short engagement as salesman, he, with a limited capital, opened a drug store of his own. 

The spirit of the rebellion about this time developing into actual war, he determined to abandon the pestle and mortar, and take up the sword in behalf of his imperiled country. He was among the first to aid in the organization of the Seventy-sixth Regiment. 

He was mustered in as First Lieutenant of Company G, September sixteenth, 1881. Upon the resignation of Captain Lansing, at Washington, D. C., the fore part of 1862, he was promoted to Captain. He remained in command of his company while at Fredericksburg, and on Pope's retreat, participating in the battles of Rappahannock Station, Warrenton Sulphur Springs and Gainesville. 

In the latter battle, while cheering his men forward against greatly superior numbers, he fell wounded in two places. One ball entered near the ankle joint, where it still remains. The other passed entirely through his body. He was so severely wounded that word several times reached his anxious friends that he was dead, as, through long, weary days, he lay writhing in pain, much of the time in a state of wild delirium. He finally partially recovered, and was, in 1863, discharged on surgeon's certificate of disability. 

As a soldier, Captain Sager was considered a " duty man." He was ever cheerful-on the march and in the bivouac, enlivening and cheering the humblest soldier as well as the officer, with his pleasing stories and amusing jests. While sharing even the last hard tack with the humblest private, with no appearance of authority, he was ever ready to enforce discipline did the occasion require it, fearlessly and impartially. Had he not been thus early "expended in the service," there is no limit to the position he might have reached in the Regiment. He deems, however, his wounds, and the blasting of his ambition at the very threshold of his experience as a warrior, nothing in view of. the mighty results which his efforts aided to accomplish.

He is now the proprietor of a drug store in Cortland village, N. Y.

- from the 1867 Regimental History by A.P. Smith

Envelope above from eBay auction. 


Aaron Sager

From "Grips" Historical Souvenir of Cortland, 1899

Sager & Jennings.-This is the oldest drug firm in Cortland, dating back to Centennial year, April 1, '76. The business to which they succeeded was established by the senior partner, A. Sager, Oct. 15, 1858, in the building No. 15 N. Main street, now occupied by Mr. James M. Churchill as a residence. Shortly after, he moved to a small building belonging to Mr. James A. Schermerhorn, next to the postoffice, which was then located on the present site of The National Bank. Here the business was continued until the fall of 1861, when it was sold to Dr. T. C. Pomeroy. 

After serving his country in the War of the Rebellion as a captain in the 76th Reg. N. Y. S. Vols. until March, 1863, when he was mustered out for disability from wounds, Mr. Sager again established himself in business on the corner of Main street and Clinton avenue, then Mill street, in a building known as the Barnard block. On Jan. it, 1869, a co-partnership was formed with Mr. T. W. Dalton, under the firm name of A. Sager & Co. Mr. Dalton withdrew from the firm in March, 1870, to engage in business in the oil region of Pennsylvania. On May 23, 1870, Mr. W. A. Pierce became a partner and the business was conducted under the same name as before for two years, when Mr. Pierce withdrew to engage in business in Syracuse in the firm of Smith & Pierce, druggists.

After this Mr. Sager was sole proprietor until April 1, 1876, when Mr. Emmett F. Jennings, who had been in his employ for three years, became a member of the present firm. By close attention to business and strict integrity in dealing with the public the firm has been successful from the beginning. For many years, paints, oils and varnishes have been an important addition to their business. They have been the sole agents for the sale of Harrison Bros.' ready mixed Town and Country paints. Their line of drugs, proprietary medicines and druggists' sundries is complete. In fact everything will be found here kept in a well-equipped city drug house.

The senior member of the firm, Maj. A. Sager, is a native of Albany county. His boyhood was spent at the capital of the state. During the year 1848 his family moved to the city of Syracuse, N. Y. In 1855 he began the study of medicine in the office of Hoyt & Mercer, Prof. Alfred Mercer of Syracuse university being a member of the firm. In June, 1856, he took up his residence in Cortland, but still pursued his studies until he embarked in the drug trade. He became a prominent member of the New York State Pharmaceutical association, having been elected successively to the offices of third and first vice-presidents, and in 1888 to the presidency of the association. Mr. Emmett F. Jennings was born in the town of Palermo, Oswego Co., N. Y. He graduated from the Mexico academy, after which he took a thorough course of chemistry in the University of Illinois. Mr. Jennings is a careful and reliable pharmacist, and has paid special attention to the prescription department of the establishment. Mr. A. F. Sager, son of the senior member of the firm, is in their employ. He has had several years of experience in one of the most popular retail drug stores in Syracuse. Mr. Harry Greenman has been in their employ for several years. The store of Sage & Jennings is located on the corner of Main street and Clinton avenue, the center of the trolley system, and here a large proportion of the passengers from our neighboring villages alight from the cars. The store affords a convenient and comfortable waiting room for them.


Captain Sager married Julia Grover, daughter of Major Andrew Grover of the 76th NY, on 16 Jan 1884.

Photo from 1886 Gettysburg reunion, courtesy Jeff Kowalis


Sager died on December 7, 1901, according to an obituary in the New York Tribune of December 8th: 

Syracuse, N. Y., Dec. 7 - Major Aaron Sager, of Cortland, a druggist, dropped dead in his store there today. He was a member of the 76th New York Volunteers in the Civil War until the second battle of Bull Run, when he was so seriously wounded that he was invalided home. He was commended for gallantry in this battle. He was a former president of the State Pharmaceutical Association. 


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- Last Updated May 31, 2005