Grand Army of the Republic collection

Collection
Part of: Lebanon County Military Collection > LCMC Civil War > Grand Army of the Republic collection
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Repository
Lebanon County Historical Society
924 Cumberland Street, Lebanon, PA, 17042
Material Type
Manuscripts
Date
1867 – 1933 Inclusive date(s)
Description
The Grand Army of the Republic collection contains the organizational records of Sedgewick Post 42 (Lebanon, Pa.), Coleman Post 467 (Annville, Pa.), Sons of the Union Veterans Sedgewick Camp No. 42 (Lebanon, Pa.) and the Woman's Relief Corp Sedgwick No. 132 (Lebanon, Pa.). The collection consists of bound volumes that include minute books, descriptive rolls, account books, national and departmental encampment publications, ritual and ceremony books and manuscripts that include official reports and returns, correspondence received by Post 42, materials relating to individual members of the posts, and orders and circulars from the GAR National Headquarters and the Department of Pennsylvania.
Extent
9.00
Extent Units
linear feet
Creators
Brian C. Kissler ()
Grand Army of the Republic. General John Sedgwick Post No. 42 (Lebanon, Pa.) ()
Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War. General John Sedgwick Camp No. 42. (Lebanon, Pa.) ()
Woman's Relief Corps (U.S.). General John Sedgwick Post No. 42. (Lebanon, Pa.) ()
Administrative/Biographical History
The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was founded on April 6, 1866 as a national organization with membership open to honorably discharged Union veterans of the Civil War. The GAR served as a fraternal, social and patriotic association for its members but also was politically active in advocating for federal pensions, founding soldiers' homes and supporting Republican party candidates. At its height in 1890, the GAR had over 400,000 members. The national organization was divided into Departments by state and into posts at the community level. Posts in Lebanon County belonged to the Department of Pennsylvania established in Philadelphia in 1867. Each post was generally named in honor of a deceased person and assigned a sequential number by its Department. At least eight posts were active in Lebanon County from 1866-1923: General John Sedgwick Post No. 42 (Lebanon), 1867-ca. 1923; Post No. 76 (Annville), 1867-1869 and reformed as George D. Coleman Post No. 467 (Annville) 1874-ca.1922; Captain William Tice Post No. 471 (Myerstown), disbanded ca.1911-1912; John A. Wiemer, Sr., Post 494 (Lebanon), disbanded ca. 1919; Post No. 82 (Jonestown), 1867-ca.1874 and Post No. 85 (Palmyra) that disbanded prior to 1870. Annual national and department encampments were multi-day events featuring social and formal activities. Representatives from posts and departments met at encampments to create and modify the organization's rules and governance. The 1893 Department of Pennsylvania encampment was held in Lebanon, Pa. The final national encampment of the GAR was held in 1949. Lebanon County posts appear to have disbanded during the mid to late 1920s. The Sons of Veterans of the United States of America began as a Cadet Corp created by the Grand Army of the Republic in Philadelphia in 1878 and formed as an organization in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on November 12, 1881. Initially a military organization, the Sons of Veterans trained and served along with state militia units during the Spanish American War. In 1925, the Sons of Veterans was designated the succesor organization to the Grand Army of the Republic and changed its name to the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War. The Woman's Relief Corp was formed as an auxilliary organization to the Grand Army of the Republic in July 1883. Both the WRC and the SUVCW remain in existence.
Scope and Content
Series I: Post 42 and Post 467 records contains two minute books, a descriptive roll, nine account books and miscellaneous financial records including invoices and receipts, a visitor registry, Adjutant and Quartermaster returns, post bylaws and materials concerning individual post members including membership applications, proceedings and charges brought against members, personal records and resolutions. Series II: Post 42 correspondence contains letters received by Post 42 from its members, other GAR posts, the Sons of the Union Veterans and the Women's Relief Corps, the Department of Pennsylvania and various community organizations within Lebanon County. Members' letters are concerning dues, charitable relief, transfers of membership and resignations by officers. Letters from other organizations are largely invitations to the Post to attend GAR and auxiliary functions, memorial services, parades, patriotic celebrations and other community events. Several letters refer to burial applications and headstones for Civil War veterans. Five folders contain correspondence (Oct. 1892-Feb. 1893) relating to the Department of Pennsylvania encampment held February 28-March 1, 1893 in Lebanon. These letters are from GAR posts and auxiliary organizations throughout Pennsylvania concerning lodging for delegates and representatives attending the encampment. Series III: Orders and circulars contains official general and special orders and circular letters of the GAR National Headquarters and the Department of Pennsylvania received by Post 42. These letters were not specific to Post 42 but issued to all GAR posts in Pennsylvania or the nation. The orders and circulars list memorials for deceased members, information regarding encampments, rule and regulation changes within the organization, political issues with which the organization expressed concern and general news and activities of departments and/or posts. Included in this series are orders and circulars from the national and Department of Pennsylvania headquarters for the Woman's Relief Corp (1 folder). Series IV: National encampment proceedings and Department of Pennsylvania roster contains the printed publications of the National organization and the Department of Pennsylvania resulting from the national and state annual encampments. These publications show the events and delegate attendance at specific encampments, the formation and actions of committees within the organization, the internal governance of the organization and the adoption or changes to its rules and regulations, and listings for departments and posts. Series V: Miscellaneous contains contains general organization materials from Post 42 including song and lyric sheets, an 1883 edition Ritual book, and a catalog for GAR arms and supplies. This series also contains two programs for GAR memorial events outside Lebanon County, rosters and regulations for William B. Tibbet Post 141 (Troy, NY) and H. Thomas Post 2 (Dept. of California), and materials relating to Soldiers' Orphan schools. Series VI: Woman's Relief Corp Sedwick No. 132 and Sons of the Union Veterans Sedgwick Camp 42 records contains records for the Woman's Relief Corp and Sons of Union Veterans auxiliary organizations of Sedgwick Post 42. The WRC records consist of four quarterly reports, a financial report and an undated list of members. The SUV records include quarterly reports, four minute books, two descriptive books, an account book for the camp death benefit association, a membership roll book, a volume containing general orders, and ritual books.
System of Arrangement
The collection is arranged into six series: Series I: Post 42 and Post 467 records Series II: Post 42 correspondence Series III: Orders and circulars Series IV: Encampment books and programs Series V: Miscellaneous Series VI: Woman's Relief Corp Sedwick No. 132 and Sons of the Union Veterans Sedgwick Camp 42 records Series II, III, IV, and VI are ordered chronologically, with series I and VI ordered topically by record type.
Existence and Location of Copies
4 boxes, 34 volumes
Subjects
Grand Army of the Republic, Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War, Pennsylvania, Societies, etc., Veterans