Civil War veterans form GAR Post
When Rich Hill was being settled twenty years after the Civil War, settlers from both the Union and the Con federate armies moved into this city. Veterans who had fought under the stars and stripes soon became acquainted with one another. Before long they decided to meet and draw up a petition for a GAR post here in Rich Hill.
It was not long until the charter came through from the Department of Missouri, St. Louis, stipulating that the local organization would be known as General Canby Post No. 10 of the Department of Missouri, Grand Army of the Republic. Many of the people who were charter members were pioneers in the settlement of Rich Hill and continued to live here the rest of their lives.
These veterans knew that the organization had first been formed in 1865-66 in Illinois by Major Benjamin F. Stephenson, surgeon and Rev. J. Rutledge, Chaplin both of the 14th Infantry. This organization was so popular that within the next twenty years that membership reached more than half a million.
Each year the GAR held an annual encampment in different cities of the north. In 1883 the GAR held their encampment in Baltimore, Maryland. It was there that the organization gained national recognition. In 1885 more than thirty thousand marched in their parade in Portland, Maine. But by 1930 only twenty-one thousand names remained on the roll.
In 1948 the Encampment was held at Grand Rapids, Michigan, with only five veterans marching in the parade. It was then that they decided that this would be the last Encampment and singing of "Tenting on the Old Camp Grounds" while this organization no longer exists, the memory still lingers among descendants of that war.
The Rich Hill directory of 1883 gave information on the General Canby Post No. 10 GAR. The meeting for organi zation was held at McElroy's Hall located on the east side of sixth street between Walnut and Park Avenue. The directory also lists the following as the First Official Family of the local organization of the G.A.R.: S. G. Higgins,. Post Commander; R. H. Dale, Senior Vice Commander; J. B. Williams, Junior Vice Commander; S. B. Cole, Quarter master; George B. Huckeby, Adjutant; D.W.C. O'Neill, Chaplin; H. C. Jones, Officer of Guard; W. W. Wolfe, Officer of the Day; John W. Snider, Quarter master Sergeant; and John W. Scott, Sergeant Major.
Canby Post No. 10 GAR lasted more than forty years locally and it is estimated that more than 300 members had joined the local post. The last two members were A. B. Henderson and J. I. Brooks.
I recall that Mr. J. I. Brooks always had some one to place flags on the graves of veterans for Memorial Day.