Bruce Butgereit, Civil War Historian & Preservationist – Two Lectures

February 24th, 2018 by National Genealogical Society Blog Editor

Lecture Title: The Lincoln Highway: The First National Memorial to Abraham Lincoln

Session: T214, Time & Date: Thursday, May 3, 2018, 9:30 AM

The Lincoln Highway was the first improved transcontinental highway in the United States, stretching 3,389 miles from Times Square in New York to Lincoln Park in San Francisco. It predates the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., by nine years.

As the first improved automobile road across America, the Lincoln Highway brought prosperity to hundreds of cities, towns, and villages along the way and became known as “The Main Street Across America.” Today that old Lincoln Highway still exists, and for many it holds the same allure that it did in its heyday during the 1920s and 1930s. This presentation shares the history of the highway, including how the roads you travel today can be traced back to the Lincoln Highway.

Keeping Green the Memory: Post-Civil War Legions, Armies, and Orders

Session S417, Time & Date: Saturday, May 5, 2018, 9:30 AM

On April 15, 1865, as word of President Abraham Lincoln’s death spread throughout the country, three Union Army officer friends met in Philadelphia to discuss the tragic news. Rumors of a conspiracy to destroy the Federal government by assassination of its leaders prompted the three officers to form an organization to help thwart future threats. The Philadelphia officers met again after Lincoln’s funeral to establish a permanent organization of officers and former officers patterned after the Society of Cincinnati. The name they chose, the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, first appeared in a notice calling a meeting on May 31, 1865 at Independence Hall.

Groups of men began joining together – first for the camaraderie and then for political power. Most powerful among the emerging organizations was the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), which by 1890 would number 409,489 veterans of the “War of the Rebellion.”

Founded in Decatur, Illinois on April 6, 1866, membership was limited to honorably discharged veterans of the Union Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or the Revenue Cutter Service who had served between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1865.

The G.A.R. encouraged allied organizations which would aid them in their objectives. They endorsed the Sons of Veterans of the United States of America (later to become the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War) as its heir. Women’s organizations, including the Woman’s Relief Corps (W.R.C.) and the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic (LGAR) vied for the title “official auxiliary to the G.A.R.”

Later organizations included the Auxiliary to the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (ASUVCW) and the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War (DUVCW). The lecture will discuss the history of these organizations and available research resources.

Bio: Bruce B. Butgereit is the Executive Director of History Remembered, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3 located in Grand Rapids, MI. After years of presenting stories about history, Bruce began saving it in 2000 by restoring Civil War monuments and memorials. He has coordinated restoration of 14 such memorials in Michigan.