Grand Army of the Republic, and Women’s Relief Corps
E.W. Hollingsworth Post, No. 210, G.A.R.
By Rev. I.H. Riddick
Soon after the close of the Civil War, an organization was formed, by the survivors of the Union Army, called the Grand Army of the Republic. Gen. John A. Logan was elected Commander-in-Chief. State and local organizations were formed, called Departments and Posts. The object was to develop fraternity, care for the needy and the sick, and to bury the dead.
General Logan issued an order designating May 30, as a national “Memorial Day” for public exercises and the decoration with flowers of every departed soldiers grave, to be preceded by a Sunday service.
E.W. Hollingsworth Post, No. 210, G.A.R. Dept. of Michigan, was organized with twenty-nine charter members, December 26, 1883, and “was named after Lieut. Col. E.W. Hollingsworth, the first field officer to die from the city of Albion, the home of the post.” Willard C. Durkee, who died on May 15, 1928, was the last surviving charter member. Rienzi Loud was elected first Commander of the Post. The membership grew until 217 had been mustered in. Their meetings were carried on with a degree of military spirit, guns figuring in the hands of certain officers.
Camp-fires, suppers, birthday observances of members and of Lincoln, Grant and others were observed. Decoration Day was observed each 30th of May. A public address was given, the band headed a procession, consisting of the veterans, marching to the cemetery, followed by the W.R.C., school children, with banners, fraternal organizations and citizens. At the cemetery each soldiers grave was decorated, by comrades, with flowers provided by the W.R.C. and generous citizens.
In later years when their ranks became diminished and strength failed, the Spanish and World War veterans and the Boy Scouts, in the kindest manner assisted them and finally relieved them of all responsibility of this loyal service.
There are memorable facts, in that the E.W. Hollingsworth post, in the year, 1913, furnished the National Commander, the Hon. Washington Gardner and who was later Commissioner of Pensions at Washington, D.C. On July 4, 1928 a large Memorial Boulder was placed in Victory Park, and dedicated. Later, a Memorial Monument was placed and dedicated on the G.A.R. lots in Riverside Cemetery. On this monument are recorded the names of all the comrades of the Post from the beginning, numbering 217 in all.
In 1929 the hall was sold to the M.E. Church, of Albion, for $1800. $1000 was donated by the post to the Albion Public Library, the annual interest to be used in the purchasing of books, $100 was also donated to the W.R.C.
In 1931, the organization was reorganized informally and still exists with the following membership and their ages recorded: Cyrus Hungerford, 87; John S. Kikendall, 90; William Muffley, 85; Jacob H. Perine, 91; Charles William, 93; Alva Counterman, 81; Levi Wiselogel, (Florida).
Note: This history of the G.A.R. was written especially for this volume by our late president Rev. I.H. Riddick, and contributed several weeks before his death. In the above group of G.A.R. veterans, four have passed away since the pictures were made by Mr. Ludwig, Rev. I.H. Riddick, William Muffley, Charles Williams and Cyrus Hungerford. These pictures were a part of the G.A.R. exhibit when the Old Picture and Antique Exhibit was held in Mr. Ludwigs studio, August, 1929.
G.A.R. Veterans Living in Albion in 1931
John S. Kikendall
Rev. I.H. Riddick
Jacob H. Perine
Source: Krenerick, Miriam. Albion’s Milestones and Memories. Albion, MI: Art Craft Press. 1932. 95-96