Sleeping Heroes: Glasco Grade School
Glasco is a unique place. It is a small town built from the 1860s to the early 1900s to provide goods and services to the surrounding agricultural area in the Solomon Valley. Glasco is a significant place as an example of the rural communities now vanishing from the plains and prairie.
The principle period of settlement was immediately after the Civil War, with Civil War veterans establishing homesteads in the Solomon Valley. U.S. Senator Edmund Ross came to the area in 1869 to establish a post office. By coincidence, it was our interest in Edmund Ross’s role [students read the book Many a Voyage by Lula Grace Erdman] in preventing the conviction of Andrew Johnson that led to our project, tracing the role of Civil War veterans in Glasco’s settlement.
We had no idea of Glasco’s connection to the Civil War—and really, we found, our families and community did not know about it either. We helped preserve the foundation story of Glasco, as shown through the lives of the Civil War veterans. Without their courage and determination, there would be no Glasco today. We found these settler-veterans came from 14 states. They were both Grand Army of the Republic and Confederate. We found we were researching our great, great, great grandfathers and relatives of people in town. This is important history for us, and for them.
Our role was to first locate the grave sites of each veteran and photograph them. There are 13 in our class, and we each had 6 or 7 veterans to concentrate on. We organized all the information we could find on our veterans, using obituaries, county histories, news articles, and journals. We found what units they enlisted in, the battles they fought in, and what they did in Glasco. We used homestead maps to locate and go to their homesteads.
We wrote biographies of all of the veterans that will be published and put in the Glasco City Library, the Glasco Grade School and High School libraries, and the Cloud County Historical Museum. We each chose one of our veterans to get to know very well—and we enacted that veteran when we shared our project with our whole school and community on April 30th.
We presented our project at the Annual Meeting of the Kansas Association of Historians at the Eisenhower Library in Abilene. Our notebooks will be used by the college professors who were there.
We learned that preservation is hard work—we spent many weekends working on our notebooks, and many classes writing. We found the community wanted to help once we showed them what we were trying to do. And we found they wanted to hear what we discovered. They respected our findings—from Andersonville prison to the Kansas Legislature, farmers, even the stone mason who built the first of Glasco’s important buildings. These are now part of Glasco’s Historic Downtown District, placed on the National Register of Historic Districts in 2002.
We know our Civil War veterans and we can begin to tell their stories.
Carrie Brayton, Kylie Cool, Laura Darnall, Tyler Pinnell, Cy Schmidt, Abbi Cox, Percilla Gilmore, Michael Lubbers, Frank Waite, and Madison Davis