GAR Records are some of the most valuable records that descendants of Union Civil War veterans can use. However, they are often difficult to come by. Now, the White River Valley Historical Society has posted an extremely valuable GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) book. Following is their news release:
“One experience of thrilling interest was my holding the throat of Col. Palmer of the 8th Iowa, who was wounded at Shiloh, for several hours until daylight to keep him from bleeding to death, and until the surgeons could take up the artery,” related Warren H. Barker, on detail as a nurse on the hospital beat with Company F, 8th Iowa Infantry Volunteers during the Civil War.
With these simple words, readers are given a brief glimpse into the reality of the war. Barker’s remembrances, along with many others, are captured in Personal War Sketches of the Members of Rob’t F. Lowe Post No. 167, which was located in Sigourney, Iowa. The original 1899 book from the Grand Army of the Republic was recently donated to the White River Valley Historical Society, Forsyth, MO, and is available in its entirety on the Society’s website at www.wrvhs.org/research.
Mary Farris, Regent of the Taneycomo Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and Corresponding Secretary Becky Roberts were instrumental in coordinating the donation of the book by owner Patricia Seals to the 52-year-old historical society, where it could be safely housed. Gail Hinshaw, Managing Partner of the Mountain Complex in Branson, donated imaging of the book, using custom-built, low-impact equipment designed specifically for these types of items.
“Donor Pat Seals felt strongly that this book should be available to as many people as possible, and with the wonderful images provided by the Mountain Complex, we were able to place the entire volume on our website,” stated WRVHS Managing Director Leslie Wyman. “We also have indexed every legible name mentioned, as well as the various battles listed, so genealogical and historical researchers can search for specific information. Visitors to our research library who are not computer users can view a printed version; however, we plan to give them some hands-on training on the computer if possible so they can enjoy seeing the full-color images of the original pages.”
“Many people don’t realize that several regiments from Iowa passed through this area during the war. At least one of the sketches mentions that the soldier fought in both Wilson’s Creek (Springfield, MO) and Pea Ridge (AR). He, and this unit, may very well have passed through Taney County, perhaps even participating in a minor skirmish along the way,” Wyman continued.
“Grand Army of the Republic records often provide detailed information about the lives and military service of Union Civil War veterans, but in many cases these records haven’t survived or they’re not indexed,” confirmed Dennis Northcott, Associate Archivist for Reference with the Missouri History Museum and Library Center, St. Louis. “This indexed Personal War Sketches volume of the Robert F. Lowe Post will be a valuable online resource for genealogists and Civil War researchers.”
The White River Valley Historical Society’s research library houses a large assortment of photographs, books, deed abstracts, school yearbooks, indexed newspaper clippings, church records, business ledgers, and archival collections, including the Jerry and Opal Gideon Family Collection. In addition, the WRVHS was designated as the sole source provider to assist with the archival collections held by Taney County, and is currently in the process of indexing images of the late 1800–early 1900 court cases. Researchers can access these records, as well as marriage licenses, deed records, and more at the Society utilizing the County’s “Docuware” program.
The WRVHS (417-546-2210) is located at 297 Main Street, Forsyth, across from the Judicial Center, with a museum and bookstore in addition to the research library. Hours are Monday–Friday, 10:00–4:00. The Society’s Branson Centennial Museum (417-239-1912) is located at 101 Veteran’s Blvd (corner of Business 65 and W Hwy 76), and features the Jim D. Morris Gallery, as well as a bookstore/gift shop. Hours at the Centennial Museum are Monday–Saturday, 10:00–4:00. There is no admission charge at either location. For more information send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.