Thursday, February 18, 2010

GAR and a Cane


The American Civil War (1861–1865) both shattered and formed the United States. After the war, Union veterans formed a group that became the most influential political organization in the US for the next fifty years. It was called "The Grand Army of the Republic" (G.A.R.), and the chapter (or "Post") of this powerful organization in Three Rivers was named after Edward M. Prutzman, who was killed during a battle in Resaca, Georgia, in May of 1864.

His name has appeared again in the local news. As reported in an article this week by Elena Hines of the Three Rivers Commercial-News, a man cleaning an attic in Pennsylvania found an elaborate gold and mahogany walking stick that had been presented to Edward M.'s father, A. C. Prutzman, by "The Citizens of Three Rivers, Michigan, Sept. 23, 1893".

A. C. Prutzman was a promoter of Three Rivers as early as 1838, when he built the giant flatboats called "arks" that were used for shipping on the St. Joseph River. He also owned warehouses along the rivers, and became wealthy through his shipping businesses. A. C. was the city's chief librarian, and also served six terms as state senator. He died in 1899.

Many men from the Three Rivers area died in the Civil War, and the finding of the cane has been a chance for people today to re-learn the stories of the lives of both the father and son. The G.A.R. began declining in influence as its membership aged; and it was officially disbanded in 1956 after the death of its last Civil War veteran member.

The photo shows a gravesite of a G.A.R. member, marked when the organization was still active, with the name "Ed. M. Prutzman Post" clearly marked.

11 comments:

Jacob said...

What a fascinating story. Thanks!

By the way, your comments always fill me with "cheeryness"!

Lily Hydrangea said...

Such interesting history. Nice it's not forgotten.
I wonder if most places in the U.S. could use an organization like that today as well.

Louis la Vache said...

Very interesting post. Thank you for this bit of history.

magiceye said...

fascinating....

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

What a find...and thanks for the history lesson.

Sue

Lois said...

Fascinating history! This marker reminds me of one I posted a picture of last year near a Confederate soldier's grave at a cemetery here in Tallahassee. You can see it here: http://tallydailyphoto.blogspot.com/2009/02/csa.html

Kaori said...

I love a good history lesson! And I also had no idea that St Joseph River runs through Three Rivers. I used to live right by it further south (I think) in Berrien. Thank you for the lovely post :)

B SQUARED said...

Very interesting.

VP said...

This sign is interesting and full of history. I thought to know a lot about Civil War but I ignored of GAR, so thanks for the information and for giving me an the idea for further study.

cieldequimper said...

Though a history fan, I will admit to knowing next to nothing about the Civil War, so this is very interesting.

Ilse said...

I have always been interested in the history one can find in a cemetery.