MILITARY ORDER OF THE LOYAL LEGION
OF THE
UNITED STATES

MISSOURI COMMANDERY

Welcome to the home page of the Missouri Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. As you will see, the Order is one of the oldest veterans/hereditary organizations still in existence in the country. Please read over our history and our role today. We would appreciate hearing from you and about your officer ancestors who helped save the Union in 1861 - 1865.

The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States is 501(c)(10) organization and is approved (1974) by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as an organization to which tax deductible gifts can be made pursuant to Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code, provided that said contribution are used exclusively for the Charitable purposes specified in section 170(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. The MOLLUS also maintains a Loyal Legion Memorial Fund Trust which is a 501(c)(3) organization and is approved (1967) by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as an organization to which tax deductible gifts can be made pursuant to Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Commandery Recorder
Douglas R. Niermeyer
Email: momollus@sbcglobal.net

Contents:

Missouri and the Civil War Missouri Commandery Projects:

 
Brief History

On 15 April 1865, as word of President Abraham Lincoln's death spread throughout the country, three Union Army officer friends met in Philadelphia to discuss the tragic news. Rumors from Washington of a conspiracy to destroy the Federal government by assassination of its leaders prompted the three officers to form an organization that could help thwart future threats to the national government.

A mass meeting of Philadelphia veterans was held on 20 April 1865 to pledge renewed allegiance to the Union and to plan for participation in the funeral arrangements for the President.  The Philadelphia officers, who served as an honor guard for President Lincoln's funeral cortege, met again after the funeral was over to establish a permanent organization of officers and former officers patterned after the Society of Cincinnati established after the Revolutionary War.  The name they chose, the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS), first appeared in a notice calling a meeting on 31 May 1865 at Independence Hall.

Since its inception, the MOLLUS membership has included nearly 12,000 Civil War officers. At its zenith, MOLLUS counted practically every prominent officer among its ranks.  Among them were Generals Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman; Lt. Generals Philip H. Sheridan, George Armstrong Custer, Nelson A. Miles and John M. Schofield; Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, George B. McClellan, Rutherford B. Hayes, David McMurtie Gregg and Grenville M. Dodge; Admiral David G. Farragut; Rear Admirals Bancroft Gherardi and George W. Melville. In addition to Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes, Original Companions Chester A. Arthur, Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley served as Presidents of the United States.

With the eventual aging of the Original Companions, membership within MOLLUS was eventually changed to provide for Hereditary Companions; descendants of eligible officers.  Many Original Companions of MOLLUS were also members of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR).  Similarly, many Hereditary Companions of MOLLUS are currently also members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the legal heir to the GAR.

The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States is composed of a National Commandery-in-Chief and individual State Commanderies.  There are currently 18 state Commanderies.  The Missouri Commandery was chartered in 1885.

 
Objectives of the Order

The principal objectives of MOLLUS are to foster military and naval science, promote allegiance to the United States government, perpetuate the memory of those who fought to preserve the unity and indivisibility of the Republic and to honor the memory and promote the ideals of President Abraham Lincoln.

Each year MOLLUS sponsors and participates in a variety of ceremonies and programs designed to promote its Objectives, including:

1. Programs to honor President Abraham Lincoln and events memorializing the Civil War and the men and women who were active in them,
2. Presentations of ROTC awards to further the studies of military and naval science,
3. Presentations of literary awards to promote further research and writing about Lincoln and Civil War subjects,
4. Erecting, restoring and maintaining plaques and monuments commemorating events and personalities of the Civil War,
5. Supporting efforts to preserve Civil War battlefields and sites,
6. Supporting the operation of the War Library and Museum of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States which was established by MOLLUS,
7. Publishing a quarterly historical journal, The Loyal Legion Historical Journal, and
8. Engaging in other patriotic and educational activities.

 
Civil War Library and Museum

In 1886, several Companions of MOLLUS began the formation of a Civil War Library and Museum to serve as a repository for their records, relics, memorabilia, souvenirs, artifacts and awards. A charter and Certificate of Incorporation were granted on 2 May 1888 for the War Library and Museum of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Companion Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States, was it first President. The collection was kept in various locations in Philadelphia until a house was purchased at 1805 Pine Street in 1922 to house the collection and to serve as the MOLLUS Headquarters. The collection is the result of over a century of acquisition an and conservation of a full range of artifacts. documentary material, books and memorabilia of the Civil War. The Library and Museum is now administered by an independent Board.Additonal information on the library may be obtained by writing to the Civil War Library and Museum, (1805 Pine Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103).

 
Missouri Commandery Activities

The Missouri Commandery was chartered in 1885 and has included many notable Missouri names including Generals Eugene A. Carr, John W. Noble (Sec. of the Interior of the U.S.), John Pope, William H. Powell, Missouri Governors Thomas C. Fletcher, and Thomas T. Crittenden, and Arkansas Governor Powell Clayton.  After a number of years of dormancy, the MO Commandery was reactivated at the National Congress held at Gettysburg, PA in October of 1996.  Since that time we have been restablishing our position working with other Civil War and military/hereditary organizations, building a membership with varied interests and backgrounds, and working to preserve the rich history of the Commandery and the Civil War in MO.Some of our recent activities include the publication of a quality quarterly newsletter, locating and indexing the collections of the Missouri Commandery which are now mostly in various libraries in MO, building homepages on the internet for the MO Commandery and National DOLLUS (our sister organization), building an "Index to the Civil War in MO" website which has become the premier website for the Civil War in MO with over 2,500 visitors in the first 3 months, as well as make plans for other programs and activities.The Index website contains nearly 450 links to the importance of MO in the Civil War which includes information on battles, battle sites, organizations, libraries with notable collections on the war in MO, special interest topics, and selected national links.We hope to make the Index website the premier website for education, preservation, and communication on the Civil War in MO.The Missouri Commandery has won the U.S. Grant Cup (largest percentage increase in new members) 1997-2001 and the Daugherty/Thompason Cup (largest total number of new members) in 1999 and 2001.CDR Niermeyer is also serving as National Commander-in-Chief 2003-2005.  The Missouri Commandery participates in various local and national annual programs and ceremonies; including, Memorial Day Services at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, MO; Lincoln Tomb Ceremony in Springfield, IL; Remembrance Day Ceremonies in Gettysburg, PA; and Lincoln Birthday Ceremonies in Washington, DC.

 
Membership

There are currently three categories of membership within the Missouri Commandery: Hereditary, Junior, and Associate.

Hereditary - Direct male descendants of the age of 18 years or more of a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, Navy or Marines who served during the War of the Rebellion, or male descendants of a brother or sister of any such officer.

Junior - Direct male descendants under age 18 years of an eligible officer or of a brother or sister of any such eligible officer.  Junior Companions cannot vote or hold office.

Associate - Male persons of the age of 18 years or more who are not known to be eligible for Hereditary membership and who subscribe to the Preamble, Principles, and Objects of the Order and who have demonstrated a serious interest in the War of the Rebellion, and whose membership will advance the objects of the Order.  Associates may vote and serve on committiees, but may not hold office.

Applications fees and annual dues for the Missouri Commandery are $30.00 and $20.00, respectively.  Membership inquires should be directed to: Douglas R. Niermeyer, Recorder, Missouri Commandery, MOLLUS at momollus@sbcglobal.net or write to THE MISSOURI COMMANDERY OF MOLLUS, 302 W. Springfield Ave., Union, MO 63084.

 
Links

  • National Home Page, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States
  • National Home Page, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
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