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History Grand Army Republic


The Grand Army of the Republic- a fraternal charitable and loyal organization; composed of soldiers who served in the United States Army between April 13, 1865.

This organization was first instituted at Decatur, Illinois, the founder being Dr. Benjamin F. Stephenson.

After the information of the Post at Decatur, Illinois, other Posts were instituted in Central Illinois, but Doctor Stephenson did not seem to think there was the enthusiasm or attention paid to the organization that should have been. Shortly after the organization of the Illinois Posts a committee from Indiana, consisting of General Robert S. Foster, Major Oliver Wilson, and Captain James R. Carnahan, visited Doctor Stephenson and they were enthusiastic over what had been done and wanted to bring the organization to Indiana. They talked with Doctor Stephenson regarding the matter and he finally pledged these men to secrecy and gave them a Ritual which he had written for the government of the Grand Army Posts. This committee went to Decatur upon the suggestion of Governor Oliver P Morton of Indiana [who had the good of the soldier at heart]. He knew that an organization such as the Grand Army of the Republic would be beneficial to them.

The committee returned to Indianapolis with the Ritual and took into their confidence a printer by the name of Rollin C. Irwin, who was afterward Post Commander and a loyal and energetic worker of the Grand Army of the republic, belonging to George H. Thomas Post No. 17, Indianapolis, Indiana.

The ritual was printed and the organization of the Posts throughout the State of Indiana was begun by different soldiers in the different districts, and finally every county in the State of Indiana had one or more Posts within its boundaries. In November, 1866, and General Stephen A. Hurlburt was elected Commander-in-chief.

The organization was kept by these Posts, beginning with 1866 and lasting until in the early seventies, when on account of politics that membership began to decline until there was but one Post left in Indiana, and that was at the small town of Newtonville in Spencer County. It finally disbanded.

The Illinois Department held its organization, as did a great number of organizations, in the middle and eastern states. In 1879 Morton Post No. 1 of the Grand Army of the REPUBLIC AT Terre Haute, Indiana, applied for a charter from the Department of Illinois and received it. Shortly after General

Canby Post No. 2 at Brazil, Indiana, was organized under the authority of the State of Illinois. This was followed by Post No. 3 known as Logan Post (now Logan-Taylor Post), of Layfette, Indiana; John C. Fremont Post No. 4 at Covington, Indiana; Pap Thomas Post No.5, Greensburg, Indiana; James H. Emmett Post No. 6, Wabash, Indiana; McPherson Post No. 7, Crawfordsville, Indiana; Auten Post No. 8, South Bend, Indiana; General Steele Post No. 9, Rockville, Indiana; Captain Floyd {Post No. 10, Annapolis, Indiana; Greencastle Post No. 11, Greencastle, Indiana, and Sugar Creek Post No. 12, Macksville, Indiana.

The above Posts petitioned for a charter to the national organization, the charter being granted by the National Headquarters at Dayton, Ohio, October 3, 1879. Jonathan B. Hager was Department Commander.

Through the efforts of the Department and the Post Commanders of the different Posts the organization spread throughout the State of Indiana until every county in the state was represented by one or more Posts until the Department numbered 593 Posts. The high-water mark of membership in Indiana, as well as in the national organization, was in the years 1889 and 1890, when the total membership in the

national organization was 409,000, and in the Department of Indiana was over 28,000. Since that time there has been a gradual decrease in membership.

The Grand Army of the Republic aimed to instil the spirit of patriotism in the youth of our land and have done a great deal to stimulate good citizenship within the boundaries of this country.

We have lived to see the United States government the greatest government in the world.

The War of the Rebellion accomplished two things, namely; saved the republic and freed the race.


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