When we hear that final bugle call … may the rising youth be ready to take up our mantles

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Grand Army of the Republic markers still grace the graves of Old Soldiers across the U.S.

Editor’s note: I’ve been reading about the history of Lyndon in the Annals of Lyndon of Green’s Historical Series, and read a chapter about Lyndon’s celebration of the G.A.R.’s 25th anniversary in 1891. It reminded me of Lyndon’s American Legion Post, its recent efforts to re-energize, and its years of continued dedication to community service. It also shows Lyndon’s and Osage County’s history of honoring veterans for their service to the country. The Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal organization composed of Union veterans who served in the Civil War. Though the GAR was organized for veterans’ advocacy, like the American Legion, its foundation was on community service. Please enjoy C.R. Green’s speech below. -W.A.W.

Note: At a Camp Fire held April 6, 1891, in the Opera house to celebrate the Silver Anniversary of the Grand Army Order, the following sketch was prepared and read at the request of the Post by C. R. Green, Historian.

ORGANIZATION AND HISTORY OF
LYNDON POST, NO. 19,
DPT. OF KAN., G. A R.

Steps to permanently organize Lyndon Post, No. 19, Dpt. of Kansas, were taken by Comrades resident here, early in the year 1880.

March 27, J. T. Underwood, now residing at Florence, Kan., having received the proper books and authority, called a meeting and J.M. Whinrey was elected the first Post Commander.

The following is the list of the Charter members: J.M. Whinrey, Jas. Kennedy, Wm. Haas, J. T. Underwood, F.A. Downs, John Sowell, Andy B. Wire, J. W. Hammond, H. H. Murray, and W.A. Cotterman.

We are indebted to Comrade Downs for a complete record of these first meetings, as he was chosen by Comrade Whinrey to serve as the first Adjutant.

The place of meeting in those days was the Averill Hall over D. F. Coon’s Clothing Store; they afterward met in a hall over Horace Clark’s Hardware Store; in 1885, they were able to occupy the present G. A R. Hall in Mr. Howe’s building.

There seems to have been a hitch somewhere in the growth of the order in the earlier years of its history in this place; not until 1882 did the boys seem to become thoroughly interested. Not being a member then, I will ascribe all hindrances to a Kansas drouth. But in 1882 and ’83 we had a bountiful harvest; 26 joined in ’82, and 27 in ’83. Since that time the old Boys have from far and near connected themselves with the Post, until our books show 118 names with about one half that number in active connection with the Post at this time. Justice should however be granted to a large number in our midst, who, though not paying members, come very promptly to our aid in the times of work, and upon public occasions when it is desirable that all the Boys in blue should fall in line.

There are about 100 old Soldiers residing in the township, but we have members in Olivet, Melvern, Agency, Junction, and Fairfax townships, who gather with us at different times during the year.

While we decorate 26 old Soldiers’ graves in our Lyndon and Valley Brook Cemeteries, this Post, strictly speaking, has never buried but one of its own members, viz., Geo. Hufford. We have, however, assisted in the burial of a good many old Boys, and we are grateful to the Heavenly Father who has spared our lives and supplied our wants thus far on this march of life; and when we, too, hear that final bugle call to cross the Jordan, may the rising youth be ready to take up our mantles.

Comrades and Friends, you have been familiar during all these 11 years with the workings of our Post. It has played no small part in public doings here. We have helped you to celebrate our National anniversaries of Independence. We have twice pitched our old Soldiers’ Reunion Camp beside the village. We have striven to care for the sick and afflicted among our soldier friends. Decoration Day has never passed without a proper observance of its spirit, and how often has the day drawn friends together from all over the country to strew flowers o’er the graves of their departed. We, as a Post, labored in your midst to inaugurate the movement which culminated in our Auxiliary, The Woman’s Relief Corps, now such a popular and useful order among our wives and daughters. We have all along during these years given you treats, in Camp Fires and G.A.R. sociables; and, it would be unnecessary for me to further enumerate our work. But amid all these years the fact must not be forgotten that a Post, to be successful, must have devoted, energetic officers. The finances must be kept up, the proper books and reports made out, and over and above all, the Commander must keep a vigilant eye. This order has no salaried office. Fraternity, Charity, and Loyalty, is our motto, and no one labors in vain for the possession of these virtues.

Commander J. M. Whinrey was followed by W.A. Cotterman as Commander. J. H. Howe was the next successor and he was continued in office four successive years. Sol Bower served one term and was succeeded by Howe, who served one term, going out of office last January in favor of the present incumbent, Comrade Hollingsworth. Such, in brief, are the essential features of our Post History. How few nowadays realize that it is 26 years since the close of the war, and that not until several years after, was the city of Lyndon founded, and that only a few more years, and this place will know us no more. Then, Comrades and Friends, lend us a kindly hand as we endeavor to keep up this order in our declining years.

From Annals of Lyndon, First Book, Being Vol. 4, Green’s Historical Series, Published by C. R. Green, Olathe, Kan., Dec. 1913, pgs. 162-164.


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