Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

DECORATION DAY

Morning Star, May 29, 2005, pg. 9

Coming up on Monday, May 30, on the “true” day for Memorial Day at 10 a.m, is our Memorial Day parade and ceremony at the bridge over the Kalamazoo River, and at the Veteran’s Memorial Stage at Riverside Cemetery. We hope to see our local citizens support this event which honors the memory of our veterans interred here who have served our country. The American Legion is still taking orders for named bricks to add to the Veteran’s Memorial Stage. Give them a call for details if your would like the name of your veteran included on this very popular landmark.

Decoration Day, as it was originally called, was once a major event in our community to honor the memories of those who had served in the Civil War, and previous wars, by placing flowers and flags on their graves. The local Post No. 210 of the Grand Army of the Republic was in charge of the ceremonies for many years, before it was handed over to the American Legion in the late 1920s. Decoration Day ceremonies at the cemetery were conducted for many years in the GAR lot, located just south of the Monroe Mausoleum where there is a large GAR monument today.

In a quirk of local history however, Decoration Day in Albion was not started by the GAR. The first Decoration Day here was held on May 30, 1882. It was conducted by the local Knights Templar Masonic Lodge, as the local GAR post had not yet been formed (December, 1883). Albion Republican newspaper editor Benjamin Baxter Bissell wrote an historical account of this first parade/ceremony in Albion, which we are sharing with our readers this week in our Historical Notebook.

Bissell wrote, “There was then no Grand Army post here, and it does not appear that the old soldiers had any part in it except in common with other citizens. The exercises of the day were under the direction of the Knights Templar, who were reinforced by a large accession from Marshall. The committee of arrangements was composed of Frederick W. Sheldon, Robert J. Frost, Augustus J. Gale, Charles W. Dalrymple, and F.A. Alsdorf.

The procession did not form until 3 o’clock. It was headed by the band and Knights in full uniform, presenting a very attractive appearance. The Ancient Order of United Workmen, the fire department and several other organizations were also in the column, including as many of the veterans of the War as could be got together.

The teachers and pupils of the schools marched on the sidewalks and made a lengthy procession of which the twenty little misses selected to scatter flowers upon the graves were complimented by one of the speakers as the flowers in full bloom. For the entire distance, to the cemetery, the sidewalks on both sides of the street were crowded with citizens, while the street was filled with carriages two and three abreast for a distance of a quarter of a mile. ‘One thousand persons,’ stated a local paper, were counted as they passed a given point returning from the cemetery.

The address was given by Dr. Lewis Ransom Fiske, president of Albion College, and a poem was red by Professor E.C. Thompson, superintendent of the city schools. The graves of 17 soldiers were decorated,” wrote Bissell.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the G.A.R. monument in Riverside Cemetery. The large plaque contains the names of all of the members of the local E.W. Hollingsworth Post No. 210. For this internet version we are also presenting a close-up of the plaque containing all the names.


The G.A.R. Monument in Riverside Cemetery


Close-up of the Plaque on the G.A.R. Monument

Next: ALBION 100 YEARS AGO--JUNE 1905

Here are the 214 names on the G. A. R. Plaque:

In Honor of the Members of E. W. Hollingsworth Post No. 210 Dept. of Michigan G. A. R.

Charles T. Adams
Chas. A. Aikin
John Aikin
E. W. Allen
Francis N. Austin
Harley S. Austin
Robert A. Babcock
Erastus Bailey
James J. Baker
Ranson Ball
David Ballenger
John O. Banks
Frank Barber
Clinton L. Barnhart
William Bennett
Samuel S. Berry
Benj. B. Bissell
Wm. H. Bliss
Martin Bollers
David Boyd
Warren E. Brezette
S. H. Bristol
William H. Brockway
Geo. W. Brownell
Job Brownell
Almon G. Bruce
Smith D. Brundage
Martin Bullock
Wm. Burmingham
Evander L. Caldwell
Albert B. Calkins
Geo. W. Camp
Garrett W. Carr
Smith Chatfield
James H. Clifton
Edward Coffin
Henry Conant
Benj. B. Cook
Alva Counterman
John Cowlin
William H. Cox
Melvin W. Coykendall
Frederick A. Cutler
Charles S. Daskam
Charles A. Davis
Nathan Davis
John J. Dayton
William Delbridge
Manley Durkee
Willard C. Durkee
Nelson F. Dyer
Edgar Earle
Ortus C. Eaton
Arthur K. Faurot
James Fenton
Ezra Florence
James Florence
Chas. A. Ford
John N. Ford
Robert J. Frost
A. F. Fuller
Washington Gardner
L. M. Garlick
Seymour Gay
Henry F. Gilbert
Edward B. Gildersleeve
Geo. L. Gildersleeve
James W. Gillespie
Philip F. Glascoff
Decatur H. Goodenow
Emory E. Goodenow
Geo. H. Graves
Phineas Graves
Wallace Green
Newton V. Gregory
Jacob T. Hafford
Charles E. Haight
John Haines
Leander C. Handy
James Harrington
Ezra Hart
Hiram L. Hartson
William Hastings
Hiram Herrick
J. P. Hetgel
James Hicks
Elliott W. Hollingsworth
Samuel M. Horton
Oscar G. Hubbard
Daniel Huffman
Sylvanus Hull
Cyrus B. Hungerford
Ira A. Hutchinson
William A. Hutchinson
Ezra Inman
Henry Johnson
Henry D. Jordan
Michael Keck
Frederick Keinmer
John Kelly
John S. Kidendall
James D. Kincaid
Russell R. King
Newton T. Kirk
Everett G. Knapp
Charles A. Lamb
Emory Lamb
E. H. Leach
George Lincoln
Henry Lincoln
Martin Linebaugh
George F. Lipps
Wm. M. Loder
William Lofthouse
Ezra G. Lonsberry
Rienzi Loud
Frank S. Ludlow
Elnathan H. Lyndon
Francis Magennis
Benson Manchester
Robert Manning
John H. Matson
Jacob Mays
Charles A. McGee
Richard McNeil
Reuben H. McWethy
Wm. A. Messacer
Chas. E. Miller
Elanson B. Miller
John A. Miller
Tenant W. Mills
George Minard
Oliver Monroe
William P. Morgan
William H. Muffley
Jacob Nerber
Joseph O'Connor
Willoughby O'Donoughue
Thomas O'Hara
James H. Ott
Reubin Page
Frank E. Palmer
Clarence Parker
Lorain Parmelee
James J. Peachy
Daniel W. Peck
Lerando A. Pennell
Jacob H. Perine
George Phelps
Charles Pickett
Casner Pike
Adam Poor
George Pratt
Frank Putman
Lafayette G. Rafter
William Rall
Jack Reynolds
Benj. F. Richardson
Isaac H. Riddick
Abram Ringler
Joseph L. Roberts
Robert R. Robinson
Ferdinand D. Rodenbush
Henry Roether
Eli R. Rood
James R. Rosignol
Ira Ross
Joseph Ruff
Joseph C. Sampson
Thomas C. Saxton
Carl B. Scheffler
James A. Sherwood
Charles E. Shumway
Isaac L. Sibley
William H. Simmons
Geo. B. Simons
John Sind
James S. Smart
Ansel Smith
Calvin T. Smith
Henry D. Smith
Nelson W. Southworth
Carl Steinkraus
Ferdinand Steinkraus
Spenser Stevens
Wm. B. Swan
Joseph T. Sykes
Joseph L. Thomas
Judson A. Thomas
Jeremiah Tibbits
Charles L. Toner
Alonzo Travers
Edmond Upright
James I. Vandenburg
Burger Vanderwater
William Vromon
Geo. W. Warner
Levi S. warren
Robert L. Warren
Bradley Waterman
John W. Watson
Philip Weitzel
George B. Welden
Benj. W. Wheat
Cornelius N. Wheaton
John Whitehouse
James Wickwire
Sanford D. Wiley
Charles H. Williams
Geo. A. Williams
Louis Wiselogel
James H. Wood
Simeon R. Wright
Albert Youngs
Marcus F. Youngs

Next: ALBION 100 YEARS AGO--JUNE 1905

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