The annual reunion of the old soldiers of Comanche and adjoining counties for 1898 was held in Snare's Grove, at Wilmore, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week.
There may have been some who questioned the ability of the executive committee and of the people of Comanche county to secure a good attendance and furnish a good program at this meeting. If so, their doubts would have been quickly dispelled by lingering for awhile at the reunion grounds on either of the three days.
The weather was perfect in every respect, although slightly cool during the first evening for those on the grounds who happened to be scarce on bedding. An ample supply of tents arrived and were put up on Tuesday evening. The attendance on the first day was better than is usual on the first day of such occasions. Several families arrived during the day with their camping outfits and secured comfortable tents. When everything was in place in the tents, many of them presented quite a cozy and homelike appearance. On every hand were barrels and boxes, all filled with good things to eat.
Early Wednesday morning people began to arrive from all directions. They came on the morning train from the west, on horse back, in buggies and in wagons - whole wagon and buggy loads of people, all happy and expecting to spend a day or two in a real sociable and friendly reunion with the old soldiers - and they did.
By noon the crowd numbered between eight and nine hundred people. The forenoon was spent principally in social converse with an occasional diversion of some kind. A happier gathering was probably never assembled in Comanche county, than the one that sat down (possibly a few stood) to tables groaning with tempting viands on Wednesday.
At 2:30 p.m., most of the crowd assembled about the speaker's platform and
Capt. B. M. Veatchintroduced Hon: S. M. Jackson of this city, who delivered the address of welcome. The words which he spoke were eloquent and patriotic and conveyed a most hearty welcome to all present. We will give his speech in full next week. Mr. Jackson was followed by E. F. Reser of Kiowa county, who responded to the address of welcome and also spoke for a half hour or more on Grand Army matters. His speech was well received and was heartily applauded. Judge R. M. Painter of Meade county, was next introduced and for half an hour held the close attention of the audience with his eloquent and patriotic words. Capt. Veatch made a short talk at the close of Judge Painter's address, after which the audience was photographed by F. M. Steele, the reunion artist.
Quite a number of the large crowd of Wednesday stayed over night and until the afternoon of Thursday. The dancing platform was well patronized during the evening. That and the social chats among the vets and their friends constituted the principal part of the program for Wednesday evening. Thursday was somewhat a repetition of Wednesday, except the crowd was not so large. Judge Painter made another address, which abounded in patriotic utterances. Stirring speeches were also made by G. Rodgers of Ashland, Capt. B. M. Veatch of Coldwater, and others.
So closed one of the most enjoyable and successful G. A. R. reunions ever held in this part of the state.
HURRAH for the Grand Army of the Republic!
Patriotism received quite a boom this week.
Where's the unfortunate person who wasn't there.
Snare's Grove is a model place for a reunion.
Isn't it fun to live in a tent - for a few days.
Coldwater and Protection each sent a large delegation on Wednesday.
Thanks, Comrade Snare, for the use of your beautiful grove and for other kindness.
Jerry Simpson and Chester I. Long failed to come, but their places were filled by other speakers.
We heard of one accident and one runaway. Ask Dr. Purdon for particulars in regard to the latter.
The committee which had the arrangements in charge deserve three cheers which we heartily propose.
Among the Kiowa county comrades present we noticed Judge Douglass, O. J. Greenleaf, Wm. Henderson and E. A. Reser.
The STAR editor shared the hospitality and splendid dinner of the families of Elias Willard and
J. W. Yorkon Wednesday.
Frank Willard and Will Myers were the representatives present of the present war. They are still in the employment and subject to the orders of Uncle Sam.
J. W. Marrs, whose home in near Belvidere and who was among the earliest settlers of this county, was present and exchanged army and pioneer experiences with "the boys."
Clark county was represented at the reunion by S. H. Hughes, of Lexington, Robt. Chrisman, of Protection, G. Rogers and A. McMains, of Ashland and Geo. Gillam, of Englewood.
The cooking and serving of the beef and potatoes, coffee, beans, bread, etc., by the Grand Army was a great success. Much credit is due those who had that department in charge. Abundance of eatables were furnished free to all.
J. A. Jarnagin and family and Uncle John Fulton and family, both old soldiers, attended the reunion at Wilmore.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for transcribing and contributing the above article for use on this web page!
According to a list of the Grand Army of the Republic Posts in the State of Kansas, Post# 427, the J. H. McWilliams Post, was located in Nescatunga; Post# 398, The Scott Post, was located in Coldwater; no posts were listed for Buttermilk, Protection or Wilmore.
-- Civil War Veterans, Comanche County, Kansas.
The "Comrade Snare" referred to in the above article was
Oliver Hazard Perry Snare, 16 May 1847 - 09 October 1915. From his obituary in The Western Star, October 15, 1915: "As a Union soldier, Mr. Snare made an honorable record during the Civil War. He was a member of Co. K., Twenty first Ohio Infantry. He was mustered into the service in 1863. He was at the battle of Chickamaugua, Lookout Mountain and a number of other engagements along the line of Sherman's march to the sea. A portion of the time he did scout duty under Gen. Sherman. His devotion to his country and his loyalty to the flag were unquestioned. Six comrades of the Civil War acted as pall bearers at his funeral. They were: Owen Connaughton, W. H. Kimple, J. A. Jarnagin, D. F. Edmonds, Elias Willard and W. E. Fisher."
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This page was created 03 Sept 2003.