The GAR In Tuscola County
Fifteen GAR Posts

The Grand Army of the Republic was formed in Decatur, Illinois in 1866 and expanded, swiftly across the country through latter half of the decade and the one following. After an earlier false start, the Department of Michigan was chartered in 1879. Fanning out from the southwest part of the state, the GAR spread like wildfire eastward, northward and into the "Thumb" of Michigan. In community after community Union veterans of the Civil War petitioned the Grand Army Department of Michigan for a charter and creation of a local Grand Army Post.

The GAR came to Tuscola County in the spring of 1883 when Tuscola, then a thriving logging town, was granted a Charter for the Harper Post #102. Quickly, in the following months, Vassar would open two Posts and Caro one. It couldn't have been known then but the Whiteside Post #143 in Caro would, years later, be the last surviving GAR Post in Michigan, closing only with the death of Michigan's last Civil War veteran, Comrade Orlando LeValley in 1948.

The main swell of GAR expansion was at hand. In the following year,1884, Millington, Cass City, and Mayville would open local Posts of the Grand Army. By the end of the decade another five Posts would open to serve Gagetown, Unionville, Reese, Kingston, and Akron. Later, a third Post would open in Vassar to absorb the membership of the two earlier Posts which had closed. Next, Fostoria would get a Post to serve the extreme southeast corner of the county and, finally, in 1900 a Post would open in Kingston to replace the ill-fated Madison-Price Post which had only lasted four years.

Some of these Posts would last but a few years while others existed for decades, working for patriotic causes, soldier's pensions, and benefits for the the widow and orphan of their fallen Comrades. As the Boys In Blue entered their eighties and nineties the last of the Posts, one by one, surrendered their Charters and passed from existance. By 1935, seventy years after the conclusion of the war, only two Tuscola County Posts would remain--the Lonson Post #255 in Mayville and the Whiteside Post #143 in Caro. The following year, with only two Comrades left, the Lonson Post would close. Caro's Whiteside Post would continue another twelve years, becoming Michigan's last surviving Post of the Grand Army of the Republic.

Below, the Posts of Tuscola County are listed in the order of creation.

Grand Army of the Republic Posts of Tuscola County

Tuscola Harper Post #102 1883-1896
Vassar W. W. Wheeler Post #142 1883-1893
Caro Whiteside Post #143 1883-1948
Vassar Averill Post #171 1883-1891
Millington Wm. Richardson Post #214 1884-1926
Cass City Milo Warner Post #232 1884-1909
Mayville Lonson Post #255 1884-1936
Gagetown T.B. Myers Post #357 1886-1913
Unionville R.A. Morford Post #359 1886-1896
Reese VanFliet Post #368 1886-1917
Kingston Madison Price Post #387 1887-1891
Akron Burlingame Post #402 1889-1929
Vassar Wm. T. Sherman Post #410 1891-1925
Fostoria Spencer Post #439 1897-1907
Kingston Harlow Pelton Post #453 1900-1926