Inventory
 

GAR Morton Post No. 1, and auxiliary organizations, Part One
Dates: 1862; 1880-1938
Accession Number: 20011030
Donor: Nelson Eddy
Description: 8 document cases, 3 flat storage boxes
 

Part One:  General Histories of the GAR, Morton Post No. 1,
                            and Memorial Hall., Content and Scope of the Collection;

                    Document Cases 1-4

Part Two:  Document Cases 5-8;

                    Flat Storage Boxes 1-3

General History

The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a national organization of Union Army veterans from the American Civil War (1861-1865). The GAR was founded in April, 1866 in Decatur, Illinois by Dr. Benjamin Franklin Stephenson, a surgeon in the Union Army. The first national encampment of the GAR convened in Indianapolis in November, 1866.

Chapter I, Article IV of the GAR's Rules and Regulations stipulated that "soldiers and sailors of the United States Army, Navy or Marine Corps, who served between April 12th, 1861, and April 9th, 1865, in the war for the suppression of the Rebellion, and those having been honorably discharged therefrom after such service, and of such State regiments as were called into active service and subject to the orders of the U.S. General Officers, between the dates mentioned, shall be eligible to membership in the Grand Army of the Republic. No person shall be eligible to membership who has at any time borne arms against the United States."

The GAR adopted the phrase "Fraternity, Charity, Loyalty" as their official motto and abbreviated the phrase to F.C.L. as a salutation in correspondence. The three qualities that comprised the motto were the guiding principles that the GAR members adhered to in the conduct of the organization and the causes that it advocated. First, as a sign of fraternity with fellow members, businessmen were encouraged to give first consideration to veterans when filling jobs in their business concerns. The GAR also advocated veteran preference in government employment. Second, the GAR operated as a charitable organization, taking up collections for members and their families in need and raising money for the operation of Soldier's Homes for convalescent and disabled veterans. Third, the GAR took on the responsibility of inculcating patriotic feeling in the nation by encouraging patriotic curricula in the schools. The GAR also recognized and honored the sacrifices of Union veterans in the Civil War by raising money for the construction of statues and monuments to notable citizens and rank-and-file soldiers and sailors. The most enduring contribution in the GAR's tradition of loyalty was their advocacy of Decoration Day/Memorial Day and Flag Day as occasions for patriotic remembrance.

The Grand Army of the Republic closely paralleled a military organization in its structure. The GAR's operations were carried out through a hierarchy of headquarters (national level), departments (state level) and posts (local level) which conducted business meetings using military rituals, terminology and discipline. The GAR held yearly National Encampments (conventions) at which its members elected a Commander-in-Chief for the coming year. As in wartime, the new Commander-in-Chief issued "General Orders" to the state-level Departments, utilizing the first General Order of his tenure to announce the location of the headquarters for the coming year and to appoint staff to represent the national organization around the country. In turn, Departments transmitted General Orders from the national headquarters to their member chapters at the local level and also issued their own general orders. Individual branches were known as Posts and named after individuals prominent in the Civil War.

By the late 1940s, the GAR membership was being rapidly reduced by death. In 1948, only 12 GAR posts remained in existence with a total of 28 members. These members agreed that, due to their advanced age, their 1949 encampment in Indianapolis would be their last official reunion. By the time of this 83rd encampment, the surviving membership had been reduced to sixteen members and only 6 of those members, ranging in age from 99 to 108, were able to attend. Albert Woolson of Duluth, Minnesota, the last survivor, died August 2, 1956 at the age of 109, and the organization was officially disbanded in October, 1956. (Final Journal of the Grand Army of the Republic. House Document No 114, 85th Congress. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1957)

Even though its rules limited membership to Union veterans, the GAR encour-aged the formation of auxiliary organizations by their wives, sons, and daughters. Two of these organizations were the Sons of Veterans, U.S.A., and the Woman's Relief Corp. The GAR was also affiliated with other organizations of Civil War veterans, including the Union Veteran Legion and the Union Veteran Union.
 

History of Morton Post No. 1 and Memorial Hall

According to the History of the Grand Army of the Republic (SpC 369.151 B), "Morton Post No. 1, Terre Haute, organized with fifty-six charter members, May 11, 1879 as Post 51, Department of Illinois. Captain John B. Hager, a prominent citizen and business man, was chosen as Post Commander, and in sixty days, the Post was recruited to 300 members." The earliest adjutant's report in this collection dates from 1880 and lists over 300 members. The post was named in honor of Oliver P. Morton, Governor of Indiana at the outbreak of the Civil War.

According to the records of the Morton Post's Woman's Relief Corps, by 1940, there were only three surviving members of Morton Post No. 1. "Comrade Chapelle" died on December 20, 1940 and "Comrade McKinney" died on July 18, 1941. James Hutchinson, the last surviving member, is mentioned several times in the 1943-1948 minute book of the Morton Woman's Relief Corp. Upon Hutchinson's death on July 10, 1944, Morton Post No. 1 automatically disbanded. Hutchinson's obituary is in the Inventory folder for the collection.

As with other GAR posts, Morton Post No. 1 was very active on behalf of veterans and their widows and orphans. However, their most enduring contribution to Vigo County and Terre Haute was the restoration of Memorial Hall at 219 Ohio Street.

The former Memorial Hall is one of the oldest buildings in Terre Haute and the only example of Greek revival architecture in the city. From its opening in the mid-1830s until the 1880s, the building housed two banks, the Indiana State Bank and Terre Haute First National Bank. The latter bank relocated to a more thriving area of the business district and the building was sold to the Kussner family which owned a music shop next door. The Kussners bought the building with the intention of attracting high quality commercial interests to occupy the building. Unsuccessful in their efforts, the Kussners first leased the building to a junk dealer and then to a dealer in second-hand merchandise. As the business district expanded even further east of 219 Ohio Street, the building was abandoned and later inhabited by passing vagrants. By 1910, the building, known as "The Old Curiosity Shop" following its occupancy by second-hand and junk dealers, was becoming an eyesore to the community but still was salvageable.

From its establishment in 1879 until 1910, the members of Morton Post No. 1 met on the first and third Thursdays of every month, mostly in the Savings Bank Building on 7th Street. Around the turn of the century, the members of Morton Post and Baird Post No. 592, began to see the need for finding their own building in which they could provide more comfortable surroundings for their aging members to gather for their biweekly meetings and other social occasions. Purchase and renovation of Memorial Hall was the most practicable solution available.

The opportunity to occupy the State Bank Building/Old Curiosity Shop came to fruition in 1910 as a result of financial windfalls enjoyed by Morton Post No. 1 and by the Vigo County Monumental Association. Morton Post No. 1 had amassed $2,200 of profit from the entertainment and concession proceeds as host chapter of the annual encampment of the GAR's Indiana Department. The Vigo County Monumental Associa-tion's successful efforts to erect a Civil War statue on the courthouse lawn, in 1909, led to a $2,500 surplus which the association agreed to contribute toward purchase of Memorial Hall. The remainder of the money needed to purchase and renovate Memorial Hall was contributed by several leading members of the Morton Post and its affiliated organiza-tions augmented by donations from the remainder of the memberships of the Baird and Morton Posts and the citizens of the surrounding community.

The purchase and renovation was put in the hands of a Memorial Hall Association consisting of 12 members: 3 citizens-at-large; 3 members from the Vigo County Monu-mental Association; one member each from Morton Post No. 1, Baird Post No. 592, the Union Veteran Legion and the Sons of Veterans; one member to represent the City of Terre Haute; and the chairman of the Executive Committee of Entertainment for the 31st encampment of the Indiana GAR.

According to a newspaper account of the time, the Memorial Hall Association spent $4,500.00 on the purchase and $5,000.00 on the renovation of the "Old Curiosity Shop". Shortly after the Memorial Hall Association purchased the building, the GAR placed its initials as an inscription over the entrance and the building became formally known as the GAR Memorial Hall. The front room of the building was designated as the club room and a second room was set aside as a museum of Civil War artifacts and pictures. In recognition of its former and future occupants, the Memorial Hall Associa-tion commissioned paintings of former bank officers and famous Civil War veterans in the dome of the ceiling. In 1921, the Memorial Hall Association added a large meeting room to the rear of Memorial Hall.

The members of Morton Post No. 1 and its affiliate organizations began to meet in Memorial Hall in 1911. From that time until the 1980s, several groups used Memorial Hall as a meeting site including the Disabled American Veterans, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Vigo County REACT, the Friendship Home Economic Club, and several church groups. The building has been privately owned since the 1980s.


Content and Scope of Collection

This collection contains items created by and received primarily by Morton Post No. 1, Department of Indiana, Grand Army of the Republic. The collection also contains items from four auxiliary organizations: the Sons of Veterans, the Union Veteran Legion, the Union Veteran Union, and the Morton Woman's Relief Corp. The following materials are represented in the collection: membership applications and transfer certificates for members and officers of the Morton post; financial records of the post and its auxiliary and affiliated organizations; general orders and circulars issued both at the national and department (state) level of the GAR; proceedings of GAR National Encampments, ritual books for the GAR and its affiliated organizations; and routine correspondence and other material pertaining to the affairs of the GAR and its affiliated organizations.

This collection also contains two items pertaining to Camp Dick Thompson in Terre Haute and documents pertaining to 3 notable Hoosiers: Lew Wallace, Eugene Debs, and Benjamin Harrison. A letter to the widow of Lew Wallace, a Union General and author of Ben Hur, is in Document Case 3, Folder 15, Resolutions on the death of . . . . - Surnames P to Z. A certificate signed by labor leader Eugene V. Debs granting the Morton Post a burial plot may be found in Document Case 5, Folder 2, Miscellaneous files: Cemeteries.

Document Case 1

 

Folder 1A

Camp Dick Thompson - Muster Roll of Captain Dyer's Company,  71st Indiana Regiment

Aug. 10, 1862

 

Camp Dick Thompson - Election of Officers in the Company of Captain John Stearns, 71st Indiana Regiment

Aug. 12, 1862

Folder 1B

Membership Applications: Abbott-Attmore

Folder 2

Membership Applications: Baden-Barnes

Folder 3

Membership Applications: Barnett-Berny

Folder 4

Membership Applications: Berry-Boggs

Folder 5

Membership Applications: Bolton-Brotherton

Folder 6

Membership Applications: Brown-Byderman

Folder 7

Membership Applications: Cahill-Casto

Folder 8

Membership Applications: Cavanaugh-Compton

Folder 9

Membership Applications: Conover-Cowgill

Folder 10

Membership Applications: Cox-Cusick

Folder 11

Membership Applications: Daily-Degman

Folder 12

Membership Applications: Deming-Durham

Folder 13

Membership Applications: Earl-Ellison

Folder 14

Membership Applications: Evans-Ferris

Folder 15

Membership Applications: Finley-Foxworthy

Folder 16

Membership Applications: Frank-Goad

Folder 17

Membership Applications: Godfrey-Greenleaf

Folder 18

Membership Applications: Greenup-Hall

Folder 19

Membership Applications: Hamilton-Harrison

Folder 20

Membership Applications: Hartley-Herrington

Folder 21

Membership Applications: Hess-Hoctor

Folder 22

Membership Applications: Hoff-Hudson

Folder 23

Membership Applications: Hughes-Johnson

Folder 24

Membership Applications: Jones-Keyes

Document Case 2

 

Folder 1

Membership Applications: Keylon-Kunz

Folder 2

Membership Applications: Lackey-Lewis

Folder 3

Membership Applications: Lloyd-McClintock

Folder 4

Membership Applications: McClure-McKinney

Folder 5

Membership Applications: McMillan-Martin

Folder 6

Membership Applications: Mason-Miccum

Folder 7

Membership Applications: Miller-Moore

Folder 8

Membership Applications: Morris-Nicholson

Folder 9

Membership Applications: Niemeir-Owen

Folder 10

Membership Applications: Parks-Price

Folder 11

Membership Applications: Pritchard-Reed

Folder 12

Membership Applications: Reeves-Roll

Folder 13

Membership Applications: Romine-Rusk

Folder 14

Membership Applications: Ryan-Sharp

Folder 15

Membership Applications: Shaw-Slusser

Folder 16

Membership Applications: Smallwood-Sondles

Folder 17

Membership Applications: Spain-Stephenson

Folder 18

Membership Applications: Stevens-Swartz

Folder 19

Membership Applications: Tallman-Turner

Folder 20

Membership Applications: Utter-Wallace

Folder 21

Membership Applications: Wallis-White

Folder 22

Membership Applications: Wildy-Wittenberg

Folder 23

Membership Applications: Wolf-Zoellen

Folder 24

Membership Lists

Folder 25

Transfer Cards: A-H

Folder 26

Transfer Cards: J-M

Folder 27

Transfer Cards: N-W

Folder 28

Transfer Cards - Requests

Document Case 3

 

Folder 1

Reinstatement of members after suspension from the GAR: Rules of reinstatement

 

Folder 2

Reinstatement of members after suspension from the GAR: Correspondence

 

Folder 3

Honorable Discharge from the GAR:  Certificates of discharge

 

Folder 4

Honorable Discharge from the GAR: Lists and correspondence

Folder 5

Honorable Discharge from the GAR: General information

Folder 6

Honorable Discharge from the Union Army

Folder 7A

Members delinquent in payment

Folder 7B

Members suspended and dropped from the GAR: Correspondence

 

Folder 8

Members suspended and dropped from the GAR: Lists

 

Folder 9

Remittal of Dues for Indigent Members

Folder 10

Inquiries about former members

Folder 11

Deceased members of the GAR

Folder 12

Death notices

Folder 13

Resolutions on the death of . . . - Surnames A to G

Folder 14

Resolutions on the death of . . . - Surnames H to N

Folder 15

Resolutions on the death of . . .. - Surnames P to Z

Membership information may also be found in Flat Storage Box 1

 

Folder 18

Audit Committee Reports

1882-1907

Folder 19

Quartermaster Receipt Books

1896-1898;

1900-1906

Document Case 4

 

Financial Records (Folders 1-15)

 

Folder 1

Invoices and receipts

1879

Folder 2

Invoices and receipts

1881

Folder 3

Invoices and receipts

1884-1885

Folder 4

Invoices and receipts

1894

Folder 5

Invoices and receipts

1897-1898

Folder 6

Invoices and receipts

1899

Folder 7

Invoices and receipts

1901

Folder 8

Invoices and receipts

1902

Folder 9

Invoices and receipts

1903

Folder 10

Invoices and receipts

1904

Folder 11

Invoices and receipts

1905

Folder 12

Invoices and receipts

1906

Folder 13

Invoices and receipts

1907-1908

Folder 14

Financial Records: Invoices and receipts

n.d.

Folder 15

Financial Records: Expenditure lists

n.d.

Financial information may also be found in Flat Storage Box 2.

General Orders (Document Cases 4 and 5)

 

Folder 16

General Orders: Headquarters (Philadelphia)

Nov. 1880-
May 1881

Folder 17

General Orders: Headquarters (Boston)

June 1881-
Nov. 1881

Folder 18

General Orders: Headquarters (Omaha)

Feb. 1883-
May 1883

Folder 19

General Orders: Headquarters (Philadelphia)

Aug. 1883-
Dec. 1883

Folder 20

General Orders: Headquarters
(Lynn, Massachusetts)

Dec. 1893-
Sept. 1894

Folder 21

General Orders: Headquarters
(Rockford, Illinois)

Sept. 1894-
July 1895

Folder 22

General Orders: Headquarters (Omaha)

Jan. 1897-
Aug. 1897

Folder 23

General Orders: Headquarters (Philadelphia)

Aug. 1897-
Sept. 1898

Folder 24

General Orders: Headquarters (Philadelphia)

Sept. 1898-
Sept. 1899

Folder 25

General Orders: Headquarters (Philadelphia)

Sept. 1899-
Nov. 1899

Folder 26

General Orders: Headquarters (St. Louis)

Jan. 1901-
Aug. 1901