Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
George B. Abbott
1887 / 1888 and 1888 / 1889

The following article on 7th National Encampment of the Sons of Veterans is taken from an August 15, 1888 article from The Wheeling Intelligencer. It was submitted by Virginia Simms Toney, Houston, Texas, April 19, 2000.

RECEPTION OF THE SONS OF VETERANS to the nail city. Delegates from Nearly Every state in the Union. A fitting Reception to the Commander-in-Chief. The Commandery-in-Chief to meet to day. A large Number of distinguished Members of the Order. Interesting details of Tuesday's Receptions-A roster of the Members of the Encampment.

The city is full of Sons of Veterans'gallant sons of honored sires. Every train yesterday brought delegations from various States of the Union, and many delegates to the meeting of the Ladies' National Aid Society also arrived. Everything is in readiness for the opening session of the Commandery-in-chief this morning at the grand Opera House. The meeting, which is a very important one, will continue for three days. The McLure and Stamm hotels were the scenes yesterday of the greatest gathering of the delegates who have arrived, the latter house being the headquarters of the Ladies' Aid Society, and the former the headquarters of General G.B. Abbott and staff, the Commander-in-Chief of the order. The McLure and Stamm hotels are handsomely decorated, and the lobbies of these two houses presented a scene that reminded one of the reunion of the Society of the Army of west virginia last august. Brilliant uniforms, smiling faces and hearty had grips made up a picture that could not be painted on canvas. The age of many and the youth of the majority would not give a stranger in the country a cue as to the time the greatest conflict in the world took place. Yesterday morning, the Commander-in-Chief and about forty western delegates arrived from Chicago. They were met at the depot by a detachment of the G.A.R. men and the sons of Veterans' reception committee, headed by the Opera House band, and escorted to the headquarters. Other western and Eastern delegations arrived during the day, and were greeted by the proper committee. Several of the western delegations at an early hour.

Flung to the Breeze, from their headquarters, banners on which were pictured the coat of arms of their States and inscribed with various devices. The Ohio delegation, which boasts that "Ohio is always on top", insisted upon being quartered on the top floor of the McLure Hotel, and no sooner were they rested than they exhibited from the windows of their rooms banners bearing the legend, "Ohio on Top." There they hung all day, exciting much comment among observant pedestrians on Market street. Last night the Massachusetts delegation got the laugh on the Ohio boys, however, by mounting the roof of the hotel and nailing their banner just above Ohio's ensigns. At a very late hour the delegates from the latter State were skirmishing around for a flag staff to place on the roof, upon which they intended to run up an Ohio banner, so that early riser this morning need not be surprised to see Ohio still "on top." Of course, this will provoke the Bay State boys to a greater effort to outdo the Buckeyes, and there is no telling where the good-natured rivalry will end. It is possible that the residents of Wheeling will yet be greeted with the sight of many flag staffs on the roof of the McLure, of lengths ranging from two or three feet up to no telling how many feet. Each State delegation vows that it will be "on top," if it takes the tallest tree to be found in the forest of West Virginia.


The headquarters of the Ladies'Aid Society are at the Stamm House, though many of them are quartered at private boarding houses in the city. The Society is a valuable auxiliary of the Sons of Veterans and deserves more than a passing mention. The order is well represented by many of its most efficient and handsomest members. On her arrival yesterday, one enthusiastic young lady made a splendid stroke of policy by pinning two Wheeling stogies on her breast. In the afternoon, the Minnesota delegation, which, by the way, is one of the most interesting of the Commandery-in-Chief, conceived the idea of tendering to the ladies of the aid society a reception in the parlors of the Stamm House, and at 5 o'clock the delegation, accompanied by about fifty of the delegates from other states, and Col. A.A. Franzheim, of the Governor's staff, formed in line at the McLure House and marched to the Stamm House. About twenty of the ladies, who had previous notification of the ovation, were in waiting.

When the sons of Veterans arrived they marched directly into the parlors and were formally received by Mrs. O'Brien, the President of the National organization. Col. E.H. Milham, commanding the Minnesota division, on behalf of the delegation from his state, in a brief but appropriate speech presented the ladies with a number of beautiful bouquets. In his speech he took occasion to say that, although the State of Minnesota, had no camps of the ladies aid, the "Sons" of that state were in sympathy with the aims and objects of the order and hoped at no distant day to have a branch established there to which they would pledge their hearty support. Gen. Leland J. Webb was then introduced and made some eloquent remarks on behalf of the delegates of other States who were present, assuring the ladies of the hearty co-operation of the National body of the sons of Veterans in their good work and tendering on their behalf congratulations upon the prosperity of the order. Mrs. O'Brien gracefully acknowledged the compliment the delegates had paid her and her companions, in a brief speech. These formalities, being over, some time was spent in hand shakings and introductions. The hour was thus occupied, during which the scene was a most brilliant one, the fifty or sixty officers present being in full regimentals. The charming hostesses presented each of their guest with an orange colored badge, and a small wooden bottle, the contents of which, they stated must be taken in lieu of the "something stronger," which is usually offered on such occasions. On opening the bottles, they were found to contain candy!

The Minnesota delegation, to which is due the credit of carrying out this pleasant features of the Encampment, is "one of the liveliest" in the procession." They were one of the first to hang their banners on the walls of the McLure House, proclaiming to the citizens of West Virginia that "Minnesota is all right." The delegates are Col. E.H. Wilham, Adjutant Geo. H. Shelre, Quartermaster George. W. Martin, Major A.S. Morgans, Serrgeant Geo. P. McGuigan and sergeant D. W. Evans. Col. C.B. Cook of Dakota, is also with the party. Many pleasant incidents of the reception occurred. When Col. Milham, inquired in a voice calculated to he heard a distance something less than two or three squares, "What's the matter with Minnesota?" the response from the representatives of every State was "Oh, she's all right!" Then came another from the same powerful pair of lungs, "What's the matter with the Ladies Aid?" and the response "Oh, it's all right!" The Massachusetts delegation , which up to this time had modestly stood back, was not to be outdone. A stentorian voice inquired, "What's the matter with Massachusetts?" and the many stentorian voices responded, "Oh, she's all right!~" Like inquiries and responses came from other delegations. The crowning incident was the three cheers and a tiger that were given for the Ladies aid by all they guest just before their departure.


The council in chief began its session at 2:30 yesterday at the headquarters, at the McLure house. This meeting is mainly routine in its nature, the reports of the executive and financial officers being presented to the body for examination and approval. The meeting was well attended, nearly all the members being present and participating. The council has not yet completed its work, and nothing has, as yet been given out for publication.


A largely attended meeting was held in G.A.R. hall last night, the occasion being the exemplification of the secret work of the order by Inspector General Hall. A new Wheeling camp, to be known as Hancock camp, was mustered in by General Mustering Officer Maccabe, of Boston. The camp is composed of Sons of Veterans from South Wheeling, and gives promise of a healthy life.


Last night Captain Sam Harrison, chief clerk at the McLure House, exhibited his patriotism and his intense interest in the occasion by setting off a quantity of red fire on the corner of Twelfth and Market. The decorations on the business houses are so far very meagre, {sic} but it is said that before the parade of Friday they will be more elaborate. A movement is on foot among the citizens to repeat the natural gas display, so successfully made during the soldiers' reunion last year.


At half-past ten o'clock last night about two hundred of the visiting delegates and the local camp, headed by the Opera House band marched from McLure House to the Baltimore & Ohio depot for the purpose of receiving Lieut. Gen. Frazee, of Cleveland, Ohio, who was expected to arrive on the 10:45 train from the east. Quite a large crowd of citizens were attracted to the depot by the music, and everything was in readiness to give the General a handsome reception. He failed to be on that train, however, and the procession returned to the McLure House, where the band played several appropriate airs, and after a few remarks by Col. Jake Kemple the crowd dispersed. Gen. Frazee is expected to arrive sometime in this morning.


The following is a complete list of the members who will compose the encampment:
G.B. Abbott, Commander-in-chief, Chicago
Henry Frazee, Lieutenant general, Cleveland, Ohio
J.J. Speaker, Major Genera;, Independence, MO
C.J. Post, Adjutant General, Englewood, ILL
A.H. Easter, Quartermaster General, Chicago
Henry M. Russell, Chief of Staff, Philadelphia, PA
M.E. Hall, Inspector General, Hillsdale, Mich.
J.B. Maccabe, Chief Mustering Officer, Boston, Mass.
R.H. Freer, Judge Advocate General, Ritchie, O.H.
{C.H.?} W.Va.
M. Retel, M.D., surgeon general, Buffalo, N.Y.
Clay D. Herod, Chaplain-in-Chief, Erie, Kans.
Council-in-Chief- J.W. Anderson, Pittsburgh, PA; J. L. Rake, Reading, PA; G.B. Smith, Harford, Conn.; A.B. Cook, Arlington, Dak.; A.M. Applegate, Tecumseh, Neb. Past Commanders-in-Chief- A.P. Davis, Frank P. Merrill, H.W. Arnold, Walter S. Payne, L.M. Wagner.
Constitutional Life Members- General W.E. W. Ross, Col. R.N. J. Reed, Maj. A.P. Davis, Dr. Eldridge, Gen. John A. Thompson, J.A. Rodrigo, Gen I.S. Bangs, Gen. William H. Pierpoint.
Past Commanders of grand Divisions I.S. Bangs, T.H. Challis, H.P. Kent, R.N.J. Reed, J.A. Rodrigo, William E. W. Ross, John A. Thompson, Raphael Tobias, Charles S. Crysler, Leland J. Webb.

(ED NOTE: In the interest of space, except for West Virginia, only the states rather than officers are listed) California, Colorado, Connecticut, Dakota, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Indians, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, WEST VIRGINIA- Past Colonel, R.H. Freer; Colonel, H.B. Staggers; Delegate, D.K. Frazier; Alternates, Ezra M. Pierce, Frank Manoun. Wisconsin. In addition to the regular delegates, there are in the city prominent members of the order from several States.


"Ah, there! He's all right!"

The hotels and restaurants are doing a rushing business. Only the first day and the town well filled already. What will it be by Friday?

Major Aberdeads, of Kentucky, has made host of friends since his arrival here.

Every residence and place of business in the city should be decorated for the parade of Friday.

Col. A.A. Franzheim, of the Governor's staff, presents a nobby appearance in his new uniform.

Col. J.E. Russell of Romney, a member of Governor Wilson's staff, arrived last night. He is in full regimentals.

The Ladies' Aid societies from the different states send some beautiful young delegates, all of whom seem to be enjoying themselves.

The Massachusetts delegates have a neat little refrain they sing in a truly characteristic style. It goes something like this: "Beans for breakfast, beans for dinner, beans for supper; bah!"

Mr. H.M. Beecher, who is here with his daughter, Miss Ada P. Beecher, of New Haven, Conn. was here twenty-six years ago with Connecticut cavalry, camped on the old fair grounds. He visited the old camp yesterday, and at the request of several comrades, secured pieces of the old fence they use to shoot at.

Gen. U.S. Grant Camp, of this city, received yesterday the new banner purchased by their lady friends. It cost $100, and was made in Chicago. It is of blue silk, upon one side being the coat of arms of the State, and upon the reverse side that of the order. The banner is a beautiful piece of work, and will ornament the stage at the Grand Opera House during the camp-fire this evening. The camp fire occurs this evening, and a cordial invitation to the public is extended, particularly the ladies. Brief addresses will be delivered by distinguished members of the order and by local talent. The Opera House band will furnish the music. Among the local speakers will be Judge Cochran, Judge Melvin, Mr. C.B. Hart, Capt. B.B. Dovener, Hon. G.W. Atkinson, Dr. Logan and others. Col. J. B. Taney was also invited to be one of the orators of the occasion, but is unable to attend, as he will be absent from the city.


The election of officers of the Commandery-in-Chief of the Sons of Veterans promises to be exciting, as there are four candidates in the field. The present incumbent, Gen. G.B. Abbott, of Illinois is a candidate for re-election, and there seems to be a greater opposition to him than it was at first thought there would be. Lieutenant General Frazee of Ohio, Colonel H.H. Milham of Minnesota, and Hon. Leland J. Webb of Kansas, are the other candidates. The contest will be a lively one, and already electioneering has begun.


Yesterday a reunion of Colonel Curtis' old company, "Co.D" was held at West Liberty. About twenty of the survivors answered roll call. Altogether about 400 persons were present. Many interesting short speeches were made, one of them by Capt. B.B. Dovener. The affair was altogether happy and memorable.

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