BELLEFONTE, Pa. (WHTM) — At the intersection of South Allegheny Street and Cherry Lane in Bellefonte is a Pennsylvania State historical marker for the birthplace of the 15th Governor of Pennsylvania, Andrew G. Curtin.

Just a block away, in front of the County Courthouse, a statue of the Governor stands as a centerpiece to their Soldiers and Sailors monument.

A similar statue stands in Camp Curtin State Park on Sixth Street in Harrisburg. All three sites commemorate the governor who saw Pennsylvania through America’s greatest crisis-the Civil War.

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As Curtin was entering office, southern states were leaving the Union. Four states had already seceded when he became governor on January 15, 1861. Ultimately eleven states would form the confederacy.

Curtin was a strong Union man, who had helped Abraham Lincoln win the nomination for President. After Fort Sumter was attacked on April 12, Curtin responded to Lincoln’s call for troops. So many showed up in Harrisburg the state fairgrounds were turned into a receiving station-and named Camp Curtin. Over 300,000 troops would pass through there, the most of any recruiting point in the North.

In 1862 he hosted a conference of Northern governors in Altoona, to shore up support for the war after a series of Union losses on the battlefield.

When Confederate troops invaded Pennsylvania in 1863 Curtin called out the militia and worked with the military to coordinate a defense.

After the battle of Gettysburg he spearheaded the effort to create a National Cemetery on the battlefield, and was there at the dedication ceremony where Lincoln made, as requested, “a few brief remarks”

And throughout the war, Curtin advocated for the soldiers, pressing for more and better equipment, better food, better medical care-pretty much better everything.

He also turned his attention to the smallest victims of the war soldiers’ children. He founded a system of state-funded for orphans of Pennsylvania soldiers. Over forty of these schools were established.

Curtin served two terms as Governor. After the war he served as ambassador to Russia, then three terms in the House of Representatives. But he will always be remembered for his service as Governor, and by the nickname, he acquired during the war,”the soldier’s friend”.