GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC
MEMORIAL HALL AND MUSEUM
James B. Brainerd Post #111
The James B. Brainerd Post #111 was chartered March 14, 1883. The Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Post was named for James B. Brainerd who enlisted on June 19, 1861 and was mustered on August 20, 1861 as 1st Sergeant in Company H, 6th Michigan Infantry (later Heavy Artillery), for 3 years at Eaton Rapids, Michigan. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on September 1, 1862. He died as the result of typhoid pneumonia on June 3, 1864 at New Orleans, Louisiana, aged 23 years, 8 months, and 6 days, leaving no widow and no children. James was one of three Brainerd sons who enlisted and the only one who did not return home. A Memorial Record of James B. Brainerd is attached.
The G.A.R. building, located at 224 South Main Street in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, was constructed in 1886 for use by the James Brainerd G.A.R. Post 111, James Brainerd Womanís Relief Corps #38, and the Phil Sheridan Sons of Veterans, USA Camp #47. The G.A.R. building served as the meeting headquarters for 47 years for over 450 G.A.R. members and as a location for Eaton Rapids social gatherings, musical events, and dances until 1922.
Presented below are the 55 Charter Members and the Post Commanders of the James B. Brainerd G.A.R. Post 111:
Charter Members of the James B. Brainerd Post #111
H. J. Milborn C. M. Loree William M. Gleason A. M. Nelson S. L. Bentley W. M. Toles William Gilman George Jessup P. M. Hale William Spicer Lee Henderson William D. Brainerd George Hazelton G. E. Griffen A.H. Wheat J. V. Stowell J. H. Hamlin Josiah Milborn George B. Meseroll S. Porter George W. Norton G. L. Wilcox Lacey Disbrow Samuel D. Webber H. C. Norton M.H. Sprinkle L. A. Bentley William Summermix Parker Orr Edwin P. Knight G. W. Dewey V. Smith Liberty Bell Hicks B. E. Shaw Hiram Grant C. H. Preston Phineas Disbro James Williams Elijah Dunbar M. Cronan C. S. Dunbar Uriah Miller T. J. Milborn William Decker Frank M. Brainerd A. K. Stone Henry Shattuck N. A. Merritt H. F. Hoyt I. W. Bottomley James McAlllister Alva Snyder H. A. Swift John Rank A. Markham
James B. Brainerd Post #111 Commanders
1883 - 1929
John H. Hamlin James Umbarger Alonzo Cheney George B. Noble Henry B. Olmstead William Bierbower Samuel M. Wilkins Gorham B. Blair Nathan J. DeBar Joseph Rolph Charles B. Fowler William D. Fuller John J. Holmes Luman A. Fowler John C. Thompson William D. Brainerd Eli Cook Lucian W. Ramsay H. J. Milbourn Frank M. Brainerd Loren D. Chapman George W. Norton Denois M. Beman John M. Putnam William Spicer Roswell West
The G.A.R. Post also served as the headquarters of the Eaton County Battalion, which was composed of James B. Brainerd Post #111, Alpheus .S. Williams Post #40 (Charlotte), Tim Lewis Post #107 (Diamondale), Earl Halbert Post #108 (Grand Ledge) , John Cryderman Post #112 (Mulliken), Austin Blair Post #163 (Vermontville), James B. Mason Post #213 (Bellevue), Lewis Clark Post #275 (Olivet), Samuel M. Grinnell Post #283 (Sunfield), and Orlando B. Jackson Post #326 (Potterville).
To the east of the G.A.R. Hall located in the middle of the Grand River is a large island. At the request of the James B. Brainerd G.A.R. Post #111, the Eaton Rapids City Council changed the name of the island in 1909 to G.A.R. Island Park. Annual encampments of the G.A.R. Eaton County Battalion took place on G.A.R. Island Park until 1929 when there were too few veterans in the county to carry on and the encampments were discontinued. The James B. Brainerd Post #111 and the Eaton County Battalion were disbanded in 1929.
Two Civil War era cannon (30-pound and 100-pound Parrett Rifles), which were donated by the U.S. Government to the Brainerd Post, reside on the island as Silent Sentinels in tribute to all those who served in the Civil War. In 1915, a G.A.R. Monument to Our Fallen Heroes 1861-1865 was moved to G.A.R. Island Park from its former location in the cityís Rose Hill Cemetery. The monument had been purchased in 1893 by the James Brainerd Woman's Relief Corps #38 at a cost of $400.00.The Eaton Rapids G.A.R. building currently is the home of Michiganís G.A.R. Memorial Hall and Museum. The museum has in its archive collection several of the James B. Brainerd Post 111 and Eaton County records books, including the Memorial and Descriptive Books of the James B.Brainered Post 111 and the Minutes Book of the Eaton County Battalion. All of these documents have been scanned and are available for downloading.
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