John S. Dumser's medal from the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Col. John S. Dumser's Grand Army of the Republic memento in original cardboard box.

The Grand Army of the Republic or GAR was formed in Decatur, Illinois in 1866 by Benjamin F. Stephenson. It was the largest organization of Union veterans of the Civil War The organization promoted comradeship among veterans, worked to increase pensions and assist war widows and orphans, and maintained retirement homes for old soldiers. In 1868, the commander in chief of the GAR and Civil War General John Alexander Logan inaugurated the observance of Memorial Day to honor fallen soldiers. Membership in the staunchly Republican organization peaked at more than 409,000 in 1890. The last member died in 1955, and the GAR was discontinued in 1956. The Women's Relief Corp and Ladies of the GAR were initiated through the GAR, as well as organizations for sons and daughters of veterans. John Dumser (1847-1949) was a young private in the Civil War from Illinois. He became active in the GAR, moved to California in 1901, and served as national commander of the GAR in 1942-43. He died at the age of 102 in 1949, the year of the GAR's last national encampment.

Used: John S. Dumser ~ colonel | Grand Army of the Republic

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