LYON COUNTY GENEALOGY
GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC
The only Grand Army of the Republic Post within Lyon County is Dunlap Post. No. 147. Department of Iowa, mustered in March 20, 1883, by Capt. C.L. Davidson at Rock Rapids, Iowa. This post was named in honor of Lieut. Col. C.W. Dunlap, of the Twenty-first Iowa Infantry, who was killed at Vicksburg, Miss. May 22, 1863, during the great Civil war. The post was organized with the following thirty charter members, all of which but four still survive:
James M. Webb James H. Wagner Wm. M. Carroll J.K.P. Thompson John T. Alexander Wesley W. Norris Thos. C. Thompson Washington W. Gardner Geo. A. Shipman L. Jaques T.B. Goold E.J. Greaves W.B. May F.B. May F.P. May N.H. May John Thompson Chas. Miles Jacob Alspaugh Lewis Vanderwerker James McCallon Ira M. Aldrich Chas. D. Manning C.W. Williams W.M. Chatfield A.J. Rutter F.M. Thompson S.A. Shively G.C. Wood Geo. W. Stoops
The total number enrolled as members of Dunlap Post is one hundred and thirty-one.
This post at first met at the court house, but shifted from one place to another and finally secured their present headquarters in Knights of Pythias hall, more in keeping with the character of their order. Fire burned all their records several years ago.
The post has been ably represented in the Department of Iowa by Col. J.K.P. Thompson, as commander. Capt. W.W. Gardner, as assistant quartermaster general and Col. F.M. Thompson as aide de camp on the department commander's staff, and is assistant inspector-general on the staff of the commander-in-chief.
In June, 1890, seven years subsequent to a similar reunion. Rock Rapids was chosen the meeting place of the Northwest Iowa Veterans' Association. It proved a big affair. Cheap railway rates, good weather, a delightful camp ground all conspired to make a successful occasion. The site of the camp was on the picturesque island in the river, hard by the city. A large number of tents were pitched, ample accommodations were provided and the whole surroundings wore an air of genuine military life. Excellent bands played, concerts were daily had and the "camp-fire" never glowed more brightly. There was on exhibition the famous table owned by Col. J.K.P. Thompson and upon which many a soldier boy, after the battle of Port Gibson, was stretched out while the surgeons operated in the amputation of their limbs. The blood stains after more than thirty years were still visible. It was a hard wood, extension dining table taken from a planter's residence by the Union forces, and accidentally found in use, and purchased as a relic by Col. Thompson, about 1885. It was a great reminder to the battle-scarred heroes as well as a rare curiosity to the younger generation.
Up to the present time, no greater old Civil war soldiers re-unions have been held than two held by the Northwestern Iowa Veterans' Association, and that of the Twenty-first Iowa Infantry, held at Rock Rapids. The last named was held in September, 1894, when large numbers of this famous old command came in from all parts of the country. They come with war-like words, but peaceable intent. The following notice was sent in true military style and pomp to the local commander, J.K.P. Thompson, by Capt. J.F. Merry, of Illinois Central fame, who was a member of this regiment:
CAMP MERRILL, SHELDON, IOWA, SEPTEMBER 11, 1894
I demand an unconditional surrender. Unless I hear from you by 8 a.m., will attack you front and rear. My forces are strong and anxious for an attack. Nothing can stand before our great gatling guns. I will be re-enforced from Cherokee. There is no possible escape for you and your command. I await your reply.
Later in the day he telephoned as follows: "I am re-enforced by troops from LeMars, Sioux City and Spencer and other points. Army in best possible condition. Will give you until 10 a.m. in order that you make preparations and care for the women and children. If by that time you have not surrendered our entire artillery commanded by Col. Geo. D. Perkins (Sioux City Journal Editor) will be turned against your fair city."
Capt. J.F. Merry
Commander J.K.P. Thompson of Rock Rapids sent this in reply.
"Camp Dunlap (name of G.A.R. Post) 9 a.m. Capt. J.F. Merry, commander of Bushwhackers--my forces are well supplied with meat and drink and can stand out an indefinite time. Our cause is just--we rely on the God of battles! Viva la, old Glory!
"J.K.P. Thompson Post Commander."
The town welcomed the comrade visitors and was in a patriotic attire of flags and bunting. Appropriate speeches were made and all passed off in good order to soldiers and civilian. Special interest was seen and taken at the "Camp Fires," assisted by the Womens' Relief Corps of Rock Rapids, Grand Army of the Republic Post.
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