Friday, July 28, 2006

Bay City Guards

. . . No, not the Scottish pop band from the 1970s (that was the Bay City Rollers). . . .

The Bay City Guards were a volunteer infantry militia formed in Sandusky in the mid-nineteenth century. Led by a Sandusky physician, Captain R.R. McMeens, the Guards were organized in the Fall of 1851, with 62 men serving as original members. A retrospective article about the Bay City Guards in the July 23, 1875 Sandusky Register stated that the members of the guard were all native-born American citizens; the Sandusky Yager Rifle Company, another militia formed at about the same time, consisted exclusively of German-born American citizens. Also operating at that time was a company called the Sandusky Artillery. It is not clear exactly when these militias disbanded, but the same Register article mentioned above noted that the Yager Company was the only group still in existence at the outbreak of the Civil War.

The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center holds a "petit ledger" that was opened on March 13, 1854 to record financial transactions for each member (the last transaction looks to have been in 1857). It appears that the men paid dues, from which they received payments for expenses. The page shown above records the transactions of John Holland, who was a sign painter by profession, and who was the last surviving member of the Bay City Guards before his death in 1924 at age 99. Here is his photograph from the W.A. Bishop portrait collection, circa 1900.


Now that you have seen the preserved records of a military veteran, why not help to record and preserve the history of our veterans today? The Veterans History Project needs your help. This project, sponsored by the Library of Congress and hosted locally by the Sandusky Library and the Ohio Veterans Home, seeks to record the stories of living veterans through oral history. We need your help, to interview veterans and record their stories for future generations. It's not difficult -- and will even be fun and rewarding! You can record your conversations with veterans on your own, or you can make arrangements to use the facilities provided at the Ohio Veterans Home. Your contribution will help to preserve the stories of our veterans for future generations. For more information, contact the Sandusky Library or the Ohio Veterans Home.

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Adryka said...
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