WILMINGTON — The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), created by the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) in 1881, became the legal heir to the GAR when the last Union Civil War soldier died in 1956.
The SUVCW has tasked themselves to identify and mark the grave site of the last surviving Union Civil War soldier in every county in the nation. The Ohio Department of the SUVCW has identified the last surviving Union soldier in 87 of Ohio’s 88 counties.
According to Joe Daugherty, Commander of Henry Casey Camp 92, the Ohio Department SUVCW has assigned the local camp four counties. They have marked two and have two more to mark.
A bronze plaque the size and shape of the grave markers issued by the United States government is placed at the grave site of the county’s last surviving Union Civil War soldier identifying him as such, and listing the military unit he served in. The cost of the plaque and having it installed at the grave site is about $1400.00.
In accepting the VFW’s generous donation, Patriotic Instructor Cox noted the SUVCW’s Congressional Charter challenges the organization to promote and preserve the heritage of the GAR and the men who helped preserve our Union of States, and this project exemplifies that goal.
Clinton County’s last surviving Civil War soldier was Thomas Benton Baldwin, who died January 8, 1943 at the age of 99, and is buried in Blanchester. He served as a Private in Company G, 175th Ohio Volunteer Infantry,
Those wishing to assist with this project are encouraged to contact one of the camp officers or members. David Meister is the camp senior vice commander; Kelly Hopkins is the Junior Vice Commander; Robert E. Grim is the treasurer and Shane Milburn is the secretary.
Membership in the camp is open to any male descendent of a Union Civil War veteran who served the nation honorably.