Madison County


Note 1: If you are looking for your ancestor's GAR record, go back to the Military Index page, find them in the alphabetized lists of Civil War veterans, and click on their rank.

Note 2:  If there is an indication that you ancestor was injured during Civil War service, there is a good probability that there will be pension application records at the National Archives that will be helpful to your research.

 GAR History

To honor the memory of their fallen comrades and to help the war's impoverished veterans, widows and orphans, a veteran's organization was formed called the Grand Army of the Republic. The first post was organized at Decatur, Illinois in 1866 and consisted of 13 charter members. Eligible veterans included those who served in the Union Army, Navy, Marines and Revenue Cutter Service during the period of the Civil War and who were honorably discharged. It was the GAR who organized the first Memorial Day on 30 May 1868. For more details on the formation, organization, aims and objectives of the Grand Army of the Republic, see the web site for the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.


GAR in Madison County

There were five posts of the GAR in Madison County: Leander Pitzer Post 55 in Winterset; John Miller Post 158 in St. Charles; J. D. Craven Post 198 in Macksburg; John P. Jones Post 278 in Earlham and Jonathan J. Roby Post 449 in Truro. The posts were all named for deceased comrades in arms. 

Although the GAR was formed in 1866, the first post in Madison County, Pitzer Post 55, was not organized until 25 Aug 1881.  The post members were mustered in by A. B. Hazeltine of Des Moines.  The charter members of the Pitzer post inducted at the 25 August meeting were:

Burt, Edwin O. McQuinney, Michael
Butcher, John Marion (Quartermaster Sergeant) Myers, Samuel
Cherry, Samuel B. (Surgeon) Oliphant, Joel
Clark, George G. (Senior Vice-Commander) Price, Hiram C. (Officer of the Day)
Danforth, Charles Roberts, Hugh M. (Chaplin)
Goodale, Charles C. (Sergeant Major) Shannon, Joseph R.
Hughes, Stephen F. Shannon, William T. (Junior Vice-Commander)
Jones, C. T. (Quartermaster) Shriver, William R. (Adjutant)
Leonard, Sylvester R. Sprecker, Henry S.
Mardis, Thomas F. Stone, Mel (Officer of the Guard)
McDaniel, Jesse Weeks, Albert W. C. (Commander)

The GAR membership peaked in the early 1890s and then fell off as the veterans became enfeebled and died.  Many of the posts closed down for lack of members in the first decade of the 1900s. The Pitzer post appears to have gone on into the 1920s.

GAR Records

Some GAR records contain a wealth of information useful to genealogists.

The Iowa Historical Library at Iowa City has, on microfilm, a complete set of GAR personnel records for all counties. At a minimum, these records contain the GAR member's name and military service. But, many of these records contain far more including the veteran's birth, death and burial records; wife's maiden name; mother's maiden name; father's name; children's names including married names and children's birth dates. The 5 GAR posts in Madison county comprise just under 600 records. Click here to see the list of veterans for whom GAR records exist. If your ancestor is in the list, their record can be found by clicking on their rank in the alphabetized veterans lists.

The Madison County Historical Society has a few GAR membership applications. A typical application can be seen at the following two links: GAR 1 & GAR 2.

It was evident in reviewing these records that a few members of the Madison County GAR posts resided in adjacent counties and joined the nearest post. If your ancestor should be but cannot be found in the Madison County GAR records, you might look in the adjacent county if they lived close to a county border.

The Madison County Historical Society holds two volumes containing all of the meeting minutes of the GAR Pitzer Post 55 from the charter meeting held on 25 Aug 1881 through the last meeting held in 1907.



aintained by the County Coordinator

This page was created on October 10, 2004.
This page was last updated Thursday, 13-Apr-2017 14:54:53 EDT .