IAGenWeb Project

Shelby County


By Marvin Martens

The Dick Yates Women's Relief Corps and The Ladies of the Dick Yates Post of the G.A.R.

The Women's Relief Corps was organized at Shelby on February 5th, 1891. They were wives of Civil War Veterans, and their husbands were members of the Shelby Post of the Grand Army of the Republic. They formed their group to assist their husbands in the Memorial Services and the decoration of graves of Veterans and War Dead. The women also gave assistance when needed to families of veterans. Ladies of the group (as pictured left to right from back) at that time were: Mrs. Stevenson, Mrs. Joseph Boardman, Mrs. Jim Hadley, Mrs. Tom Brown, Mrs. John Watson, Mrs. Hiram Watkins, Mrs. T. Clarence Hendricks, Mrs. Sam Linn, Mrs. Daniel C. Cooper, Mrs. Nancy Larkins, Mrs. Demetrius Morris, Mrs. Benham, Mrs. Wm. Laughlin, Mrs. W. H. Brown, and Mrs. Clark Mansfield. These ladies were getting up in years when they organized, and so their ranks soon became thinned to the point of being non-existent.

Shelby G. A. R. Women's Relief Corps

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The Ladies of the G. A. R.

On August 15, 1915, the following ladies, Mrs. Keeney, Mrs. Watson, Mrs. Mary Long, Mrs. Buckley, and May Brown met and organized a society called the Ladies of the Dick Yates Post. Mrs. Keeney was chosen president; May Brown, Secretary and Treasurer. The following names were proposed and elected to membership: Jennie Von Eschen, Anna Smith, Mrs. Riddle, Olive Brown, Hattie Brown, Ida Brown, Emma Best, Anna Watkins, Emma Brown, Kate Frum, Carrie Buckley, Mrs. Mansfield, Mrs. Green, Mrs. Ickes, Mrs. Maxwell, Mrs. Snyder and Mrs. Lawson. Mrs. Haas and Mrs. D. K. Chesnut joined later. The object of the organization was to aid and assist the Dick Yates Post, to perpetuate the memory of the heroic dead, to maintain true allegiance to the United States of America, and to inculcate lessons of patriotism among the children. They made flower sprays, evergreen boughs, and wheat sheaves to decorate the graves. These were made in the Cemetery Chapel, and often numbered over one hundred pieces. These organizations gave outstanding service to the community for their duration, but again, thinning ranks gave way to another organized group, the Women's Auxiliary of the American Legion.

The following letter is in the files of the Ladies of the G.A.R. "Ladies of the Dick Yates Post--Accept our sincere thanks for the Sheaf of Wheat. We remember when mother was such an active member, and understand she was the last one, of the old organization. We remember so many of her dear old friends, so to you, their daughters, may the work of our Mothers be a sweet memory. Lovingly, the family of Mary Long--Laura Pool, Lester Long, and Glee Best Hamilton."

Transcribed by Denise Wurner from "100 Years in Shelby Iowa 1870-1970 Proud of Our Past - Planning Our Future", pp. 163-164.

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