IAGenWeb Project

Shelby County


By Marvin Martens

General W. T. Sherman Camp No. 213, Sons of Veterans was organized at Shelby on May 28, 1890 by Captain Schofield of Harlan Camp. The first meeting was held at the K. of P. Hall that June, then after a period of years the organization disbanded. In May, 1918, many of the former members formed the Sons of Veterans Memorial Association at Shelby for the purpose of continuing the annual Memorial Day services as they had been carried on in previous years by the G.A.R. Eventually, the age of the G.A.R. members and thinning ranks necessitated the enlistment of their sons to commemorate the memory of their departed comrades. The Ladies Auxiliary, as the successor of the Women's Relief Corps, contributed their share to the observance of Memorial Day.

The following is the program for Memorial Day commemoration in 1924.


Assemble at J. W. Cook's office at 10 o'clock A.M. Line of march in charge of Marshal as follows:

Firing Squad
Civil War Veterans in cars
Ladies of Relief Corps
Spanish-American War Veterans
Sons of Veterans
American Legion and all World War Veterans and Nurses
Sunday Schools and all children


Address-Rev. Thomas
Decoration of graves


all school children
Prayer-Rev. Thomas
Recitation-Hugh Linn
Short Address-Mr. Brett (Supt. Of School)
Decoration of Unknown Soldier's grave
Song-"Falling One by One"
Male Quartet
Benediction-Rev. Newlin
Taps-Max Brown

(at Methodist Church - 2:30)

Call to order-Chairman
Invocation-Rev. Newlin
Solo-Mrs. M. E. Clapp
Selection-Male Quartet
Address-T. F. A. Williams, Lincoln, Nebraska
Benediction-Rev. Thomas

The Sons of Veterans organization was faithful in its responsibility to continue the work begun by their fathers. From their minute book of May, 1945 comes this excerpt.

The program for Memorial Day this year was prepared and carried out by Shelby Post of the American Legion, with Sons of Union Veterans advising in preparation for the observance of the day with the committee from the Legion.

In 1933 the Adjutant General's office of the state of Iowa compiled a record of the graves of all soldiers buried in Iowa. The Sons of Veterans were assigned the task in Shelby. Researchers found that the Shelby G.A.R. and Sons of Veterans organizations had kept such careful records that they were able to furnish accurate information. W. F. Bohlander, as President of the Sons of Veterans, received commendation from the state office for a job well done.

From the Sons of Union Veterans minute book of May, 1948:

"No participation in the Memorial Day exercises by the Sons of Veterans Memorial Association this year, the American Legion being in charge of the entire program. All preliminary arrangements were carried out by the Legion Post . . . The Ladies Auxiliary made the sprays used in decorating the graves. There was no band or music for the occasion. May 30th falling on Sunday this year, the exercises were held on that day, which was the first time in Memorial Day history in Shelby. The G.A.R. and the Sons of Union Veterans, which succeeded the G.A.R. in 1918, always observed the following day when Memorial Day came on Sunday. However, the program was very good and it was an ideal day.

William F. Bohlander, Pres. S.O.U.V."

Thus came to an end the organization that had carried on the work of their fathers, as they relinquished their task to a group of veterans of more recent wars. Sons active in 1935 were George Battey, Chas. E. Best, Dave McFadden, Charles McFadden, Chris Mowry, James Smith, P. L. Brown, Wm. F. Bohlander. Grandsons assisting (Grandfather's name in parenthesis): Harold Brown (M. T. Keeney), Everette and Bert Starner (C. P. Foster), Lawrence Rink (John Rink and George W. Newman), Willard and Ralph McLaughlin (Harry H. Buckley), Jake Linn (Jacob B. Linn), Orville Coker (George W. Ickes), Ralph H. Watkins (Hiram Watkins), Millard Chipman (John Mowery), Williams Rohrs (Philip Bohlander), Lawrence Slaughter (J. C. Mansfield), Sherman Haas (Henry P. Gertz), and R. Max Brown (Samuel Maxwell).

Transcribed by Denise Wurner from "100 Years in Shelby Iowa 1870-1970 Proud of Our Past - Planning Our Future", pp. 161-162.

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