Grand Army of the Republic helped promote founding of St. Cloud

Osceola History celebrates History Month each May. Throughout the month we will feature articles about local heritage organizations.

Grand Army of the Republic and
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was founded as a fraternal organization in 1866 in Springfield, Illinois, and included veterans of Union Army, Navy, Marines and the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service who served in the American Civil War. Each community group was called a “post.” Thinking ahead to when no veterans would remain, the GAR formed the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) organization in 1881. Men who could prove ancestry to a member of the GAR or veteran were eligible for SUVCW membership.

The history of the Lucius L. Mitchell Post 34 can’t be told with relating the history of St. Cloud, which was founded as a retirement community for Union veterans of the Civil War.  Advertisements ran in the National GAR publications, and hundreds of veterans and their families began arriving in 1909. Many of the men had been members of a GAR post in their hometown, so it wasn’t long before there was the desire to form one in the new community they now called home.

On December 20, 1909, the minutes of the first meeting read “As per call the veterans of the War of the Rebellion met at Postoffice building to organize a Grand Army Post. On motion this Post be & is hereby named Lucius L. Mitchell Post in honor of the first deceased Veteran of the St. Cloud Colony.”  The Post was chartered with 86 members on January 4, 1910.

Sons of Union Veterans emblem

The Lucius L. Mitchell Camp 4 SUVCW in St. Cloud was established November 14, 1996, and still has active members.

In January of 1910, the O.O. Howard Post 35 GAR was formed in Kissimmee and was soon followed by a GAR post in nearby Taft. It is unknown how long either of those posts lasted in comparison to the L.L. Mitchell post in St. Cloud. The National GAR formally dissolved in 1956 with the death of its last member.

Written by Anza Bast.

Sources:  “Kissimmee Valley Gazette” January 7, 1910, July 1, 1910;