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Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Kansas, Records

GARManuscript Collection no. 126

 

Introduction

The records of the Grand Army of the Republic, Kansas Department, held by the Kansas State Historical Society are important for their documentation of Civil War veterans, military pensions and benefits, and regional and national political issues in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This guide includes a history of the organization and a list of state department commanders, and descriptions of the administrative records of the state department and the records created by local GAR posts and their auxiliaries. Click the headings of the abstracts listed below for more detailed descriptions. A list of supplementary finding aids to this collection follows at the bottom of this page.

History

The Kansas Department of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) initially organized December 7, 1866, for the purpose of furthering the interests and preserving the memory of veteran Union soldiers in Kansas. The Veteran Brotherhood, State of Kansas, preceded the Kansas GAR and provided its initial foundation. After a period of delinquency, the Kansas Department reorganized March 16, 1880. The department held the first state encampment at Topeka in 1882 and by 1891 boasted more than twenty thousand members with over five hundred posts. The state encampment at Emporia, 1943, was the department’s last. In 1945, the state Legislature made its last annual appropriation to the Grand Army for publishing the commander’s reports, an appropriation it began in 1899. By 1957 the Legislature assigned custody of all Grand Army records and artifacts to the Kansas State Historical Society.

Administrative Records

Correspondence, subject files, committee records, court records, and fiscal records pertaining to the organization’s activities. The records include letter books; general correspondence; P H. Coney’s veteran correspondence; courts martial; meeting minutes of the Board of Managers, Memorial Building Committee, and reunion associations; reunion registers, transfer cards, and department and post accounts.

Post Records (Unbound)

Muster rolls submitted quarterly by each post, as well as correspondence between the post and the state headquarters. In many cases, the post records also contain applications for charters, as well as photocopies of the charter itself.

Post Records (Bound)

Descriptive rolls, memorial records, minute books, adjutant/quartermaster’s reports, financial ledgers, medical descriptive books, veterans’ rosters, burial records, pension books, honor rolls, visitors’ books, and transfers.

Charters

Original surviving charters of some local posts of the Kansas Department of the Grand Army of the Republic. The Kansas department issued the charters to local posts at the time of their organization.

Supplementary Finding Aids


Posts database: This database lists all known posts of the Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Kansas.

Necrology: This index includes over 13,000 individuals for whom a notice of death was published in the encampment proceedings of the Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Kansas.

Bibliography: This bibliography lists GAR publications and publications on Civil War veterans.

Civil War Veterans in Kansas: This database currently contains over 28,000 names of Union veterans of the Civil War who lived in Kansas after 1865 pulled from various sources.