|26th Ohio Regimental Association|
| The 26th Ohio Regimental Association was formed in 1880 as a permanent regimental association to preserve the memory of the 26th OVVI and to provide an organization through which the 26th OVVI comrades could keep in touch with each other. The Association was formed during the state reunion where over 80 26th OVI veterans attended.
Captain Raper wrote poignantly of that reunion:
"There were over eighty comrades present at the reunion, many of whom met for the first time in twenty years. Time had made strange changes in the interval, and ' Boys who drank from the same canteen' , slept under the same blanket, stopped rebel bullets together, and count each other almost as brothers, were unable to recognize the middle aged men, their hair sprinkled with gray, as the comrades of other years."
The 26th Ohio Regimental Association met annually, usually in September during the state fair, elected officers, and developed and maintained a booklet entitled, Roster of Survivors of the 26th OVVI.
The meeting locations were as follows: 1886: Chillicothe; 1887: London; 1888: Ashley; 1889: Columbus; 1890: Mt. Gilead; 1891: Mansfield; 1892- 1894: Columbus; 1895: Chickamauga National Military Park; 1896: Columbus; 1897- Chillicothe; 1898- Columbus.
The first officers were: Colonel William H Young, Columbus, Ohio, President; Sgt A G Beer, Ashland, Ohio, Vice President; S F Robinson, Columbus, Ohio, Secretary/Treasurer; and John T Raper, Chillicothe, Ohio, Historian. The Executive Committee was comprised of Captain Raper, Captain Nat Potter, Adelphi, Ohio, Judge James Culbertson, Abilene, Kansas, J F Doty, Delaware, Ohio, and James Withrow, London, Ohio. The initial address of the 26th Ohio Association was 98 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio.
In 1884, Color Sgt J F Doty was elected President due to the absence of Colonel Young who was living in Germany at the time. Sgt. Doty held the position until he moved to Kansas, and declining reelection, the presidency was taken over by John T Raper.
In 1888, Captain Raper remained the President and Historian, Luther Timberlake, Flushing, Ohio was the Vice President, S F Robinson remained the Secretary/Treasurer with addresses at 118 North High Street, Columbus Ohio. The Executive Committee was comprised of : David Bragg, Daniel Chestnut, Benjamin O James, Vernon Kilbourn, and S F Robinson ( all of Columbus), T S Rogers, Mt. Gilead, Ohio, J F Doty, Topeka Kansas, and Captain Walden Kelly, Osborn, Mo.
Prior to the formation of the 26th Ohio Regimental Association, the 26th OVVI held an annual reunion at Columbus Ohio as part of a general reunion of Ohio soldiers.
Two of these booklets are in the archives at the Ohio Historical Society. The rosters listed the most recent city where a comrade was known to lived. As is typical of organizations and membership rosters even today, there was a constant concern over keeping the roster current and concern over the lack of response.
The Rosters also listed comrades who had passed away since the end of the Civil War. It also provided a brief history of the 26th OVVI including the very interesting explanation for the regiment's nickname, The Groundhog Regiment.
An interesting feature was that the 26th Ohio Association elected a Regiment Historian who was responsible for soliciting and collecting the memoirs written by the veterans. The plan was to ultimately write an exhaustive history of the regiment based on the veterans' collective rememberances. Capt. John T Raper was in charge of this endeavor. The various reunions indicate progress was being made to finalize the regimental history. In 1895, it appears that the drive to publish the regimental history fell short due to lack of funding necessary for publication. At any rate, at this time, I have been unable to find such a document. We do have a detailed company history written by Captain Welden Kelly, Co E, a brief company history written by Lt. Luther Timberlake Co D, and the daily diary kept by Sgt Elias Cole, Co C.
Source: Roster of Survivors of the Twenty-Sixth Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry, 1883, 1888., The Ohio Soldier Newspaper- Various Editions
|Front Cover of Booklet developed by the 26th Ohio Regimental Association in 1888.
Source: Ohio Historical Society Archives.
|The Ohio Soldier Newspaper|
| 26th Ohio Association Annual Reunion Badge-
Belonged to 1st Sgt. John Bradley, Co, K
Thanks to his descendant, Keith Hanselman who provided photo.