Although Jacob Fritz has never been documented as a citizen of the U.S.A. he is recorded as enlisting in the Governor's Guard in La Crosse, Wisconsin on 1 August 1873, age 29. This was the first year the Guard was organized. His family was still living in Lansing, Allamakee Co. Iowa at this time, where the first four children were born. The family moved to La Crosse, Wisconsin some time prior to 1879. Jacob had enlisted in the Governor's Guard, Company B, 3rd Regiment, La Crosse in 1873.
The Guard, or State Militia, began to organize after the Civil War, in the early 1870's. It wasn't until 1878-1879 that it began to show progress. In 1880 the Wisconsin National Guard was clothed in the same uniform for the first time and no longer was the Governor's Guard. The muster roll of Company B shows 57 members. Jacob Fritz is shown as a corporal on the 26 April 1881 muster. Jacob was appointed Third Sergeant on 22 January 1885. He was discharged 23 April 1888.
The members of Company B organized a social aid society as a natural off-shoot of organized military activities. A constitution was written and accepted on 9 January 1878. This unit was unique in that it was composed primarily of members with German-ethnic backgrounds. Company records and the original constitution were handwritten in German script.
After Jacob was discharged in 1888, age 44, he stayed very active in the Governor's Guard Association. Membership dues were 35 cents per month and a $1 Death Benefit assessment per member paid upon death of an active member to form a survivors' aid fund. When Jacob died in 1916, three pallbearers were from the Association. Members of the Association also were reported to be in attendance at the funeral. The Association celebrated the centennial of its state charter as a non-profit social aid association in 1978.
-contributed by Jacob O. Fritz, grandson
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