An organization of Union veterans from the Civil War, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was established early in 1866 in Springfield, Illinois. The organization's purpose was to provide relief to Civil War veterans and their dependents. The GAR was organized on a national level and consisted of state and local chapters. There was also an auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic called the Woman's Relief Corps, which was founded in 1883. Like the GAR, the Woman's Relief Corps was organized into state and local chapters, which provided relief and aid to veterans of the Civil War and their dependents. Members of the Corps had to be over age 13, and were not required to be blood relatives of Civil War veterans.
The Grand Army of the Republic was established in North Dakota in approximately 1886. The Grand Forks chapters were the Willis A. Gorman Post #6, and the Willis A. Gorman Woman's Relief Corps #2. The women in the relief corps were mainly wives of the men in Post #6.
In 1949, the six surviving members of the Grand Army of the Republic permanently closed the organization.
Additional material was received from:
Grand Forks County Historical Society, January 28, 1993; 93-1865
Daniel Sauerwein, June 2013; 2014-3245
Jay Jerde, Madison, Wisconsin, March 2021; 2021-3451
The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), Grand Forks Chapter Records contain financial records as well as membership lists, records of meetings, and miscellaneous enclosures from the Willis A. Gorman Post #6 and the Willis A. Gorman Woman's Relief Corps (WRC). The records are arranged chronologically from 1886 to 1964.
The first addition to the collection includes two scrapbooks and 3 convention proceedings of the Woman's Relief Corps, Department of North Dakota. The material dates from 1887 to 1948. The Convention Proceedings date from 1938 Convention, held in Valley City; the 1941 meeting held in Jamestown; and the 1943 Convention held in Grand Forks.
Both of the scrapbooks were created by the WRC. The first scrapbook won first prize at the 1936 Convention, held in Devils Lake. This scrapbook contains war clippings, a history of Abraham Lincoln, ribbons from the GAR and WRC, brochures and programs, Memorial Day recollections, photographs and a list of the deceased.
The second scrapbook includes photographs of GAR and WRC officers, newspaper clippings on WRC and GAR events, poems, financial information, pamphlets, information regarding George Washington's bicentennial, letters and ribbons.
A second addition consists of one ribbon from the 1900 Encampment of the Willis A. Gorman post. The Encampment was held June 26-28, 1900, in Grand Forks.