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Alexander Sympson Corps No. 70, Woman's Relief Corps

Identifier: MS-BC12


Founded in 1887 in Carthage, IL as the woman’s auxiliary to Alexander Sympson Post No. 455 of the Grand Army of the Republic in order to aid the Post in their efforts to aid and assist Civil War veterans and their families. The GAR was formed amidst the turmoil of Reconstruction in an effort not only to aid and assist the veterans who had fought for the cause, but also to affect political action for the veterans. Dr. Benjamin F. Stephenson who had been a surgeon with the Fourteenth Illinois Infantry was instrumental in the founding of the veteran’s group. During the winter of 1865-66 he was discussing plans for a secret society of veterans. He and a friend studied the rituals and constitutions of other veteran’s groups and secret societies. The first meetings were held in Springfield, but the first chartered post was formed in Decatur, Illinois in April of 1866. The declaration of principles for the organization promised to preserve fraternal feelings, aid needy or disabled comrades, and provide support and education of soldiers’ orphans and maintenance for widows. It also promised to seek public recognition for the claims of veterans and to encourage allegiance to the United States and its constitution. The posts flourished and by October of 1866 there were 157 charters in Illinois and had formed departments in many other states. The first post in Carthage was the fifth post in the state but it did not survive. It was re-chartered in 1884 as Post 455 and was named after a local lieutenant colonel. In 1881 the National Encampment of the GAR, voted to allow women’s auxiliaries to form relief corps to assist in aiding soldiers’ families. In 1887 the Carthage post issued a request for the women of the city to form such an auxiliary and Women’s Relief Corps No. 70 was formed with 27 charter members. There was not a lot of relief work to be done in Carthage so the women did a lot of work at the Quincy, Illinois. Soldiers and Sailors Home and provided aid to the victims of fires or floods in that area along the Mississippi.

Minutes, account books, dues books, list of 1885 reunion attendees and bylaw book. The bylaw book for the 1884 post with all of its original member signatures. Dues books and account books for the post. A list of all of the soldiers and sailors who attended a 25 year reunion in Carthage in 1885. Minute books for the corps from 1892-1898 and 1922-1931. Account books for the corps from 1899-1909.


  • 1884 - 1931


.63 Linear Feet (1 + 1/2 manuscript boxes)

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Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collection Repository

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Springfield IL 62701 US
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