Holyoke Grand Army Men’s Ranks Are Thinning

by Laurel | March 14th, 2014

09 April 1922

Gen. Embury P. Clark

Gen. Embury P. Clark
Only Surviving Charter Member of Kilpatrick Grand Army Post, Holyoke

Only 37 Left on Rolls of Kilpatrick Post, Which Once Had 300
Organization Dates Back to 1868
Gen E. P. Clark the Only Charter Man living — Most of Early Records of Post Lost in Fire

The first charter granted to the Kilpatrick Grand Army Post was destroyed by fire so their charter that they received later was an attested copy of the original and was sent to them a year or so later. Fortunately the early records of the meetings seem to have been preserved but it does not appear that the record of the entire list of charter members has been saved. The petitioners for the charter, which was dated November 25, 1868, was headed by D.E. Kingsbury, who was elected the first commander of the post. The others were George W. Burdett, William Shaftoe, W. E. Sisson, Russell Tyler, F. L. Taylor, A.M. Snow, C. F. Quint, Dr. W. L. Draper and A. L. Graves.

Record of Organization

The record of the organization of the post, December 3, 1868, reads as follows: “Pursuant to an order from the Headquarters of the Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Massachusetts, Capt. H. M. Phillips of Post 36, Springfield, organized Post 71 of Holyoke and after initiation of charter members, ballots were taken as follows: Commander, D. E. Kingsbury, senior vice-commander, William Shaftoe; junior vice-commander, George W. Burdett, adjunct, J. D. Lovering, quartermaster, W. H. Sisson, surgeon F. L. Taylor; chaplain, E. P. Clark; sergeant-major, Russell Tyler; quartermaster-sergeant, C. R. Begley.” It was voted to meet each Thursday night at 7:30. The records of the charter meeting seem to have been included in those that were burned. There is no authentic list of the charter members except those that appear in the list of petitioners and those who served as the first officers.

The first list of candidates after the charter closed included a number of pretty well known men. They were: O.S. Tuttle, J. H. Clifford, J. D. Daniels, S.W. Knight, Henry C. Cady, George H. Carpenter, Thomas J. Fleming, J.S. Clifford, E.J. Pomeroy and George Brown. The general list: Walter Borthwick, W.S. Loomis. T. H. Orrell, S.C. Clark, Frank Marcells transferred from post 120, Henry S. Blake, Charles Hatfield, Fred E. Blaisdale, N.J. Royce, C.H. Noyes, Enoch Chase, J.H. Wright and O. Washburn. According to the charter and election was to be held the last of each December so those elected at the first meeting were in part re-elected at this meeting. This election resulted as follows: Commander, D. E. Kingsbury; senior vice-commander, E. P. Clark; junior vice-commander, C.R. Bagley, adjutant, J.D. Lovering; quartermaster, W. H. Sisson, surgeon, E. L. Draper; chaplain, W. S. Loomis; sergeant-major, Russell Taylor; quartermaster sergeant, H. C. Cady.

Meeting Places

The first meetings were held in Good Templars Hall, later in Parson’s Hall.  Still later they met on Dwight Street in the building just above the Parfitt Furniture Company. Later they had meeting places on High Street at Clough’s Block for one and finally at the present Grand Army Hall.

One honor that came to the Holyoke post a few years ago was the electing of the late Dwight O. Judd, as state commander of the department of Massachusetts. It hardly need be said to any Holyoker that Mr. Judd acquitted himself with dignity and credit.

Of the list of officers given above so far as can  be learned Gen. Embury P. Clark of Springfield is the only one living. Gen. Clark s also the only living one of the charter members. He was commander of the post from 1873 to 1870 inclusive. The first commander, by the way, was deputy sheriff for many years, and died in 1888. His widow lives in Springfield.

D.E. Kingsbury

D.E. (Daniel E.) Kingsbury
First Commander of Kilpatrick Grand Army Post of Holyoke

The List of Commanders

The list of commanders of the post with the years of service is as follows: D.E. Kingsbury, 1868-1869; Justin Brown, 1869-1870; J.H. Clifford, 1870; William Shaftoe, 1871; A.N. Ricker, 1872 and 1879; E.P. Clark, 1873-1879; G.H. Smith, 1881; Harry Crosby, 1882-1883-1884; W.H. Abbott, 1885-1886; 1900-1901-1902, 1917-1922; Peter Gilligan, 1887; A.M. Cain, 1888-1889; 1908; 1914-1915-1916; P.A. Streeter, 1890; W.S. Loomis, 1891; D.O. Judd, 1892; W.M.H. Stebbins, 1893; James Phillips, 1894-1895; Charles Ely, 1896; J.R. Howes, 1897; W.A. Babcock, 1898-1899; J.H. Howard, 1903-1904; C.H. Whitaker, 1905; G.H. Lynds, 1903-1907.

The membership at one time approximated 300 but at present there are left but 37 men living who fought in the great war of the Rebellion. About 25 live in Holyoke. They still hold meetings twice a month at the post hall Saturday afternoons. Arranged alphabetically the surviving member of the post are the following: W.H. Abbott, W.H. Blanchard, W.L. Bishop, S.P. Bush, Joseph Barsalow, E.P. Clark, H.H. Carter, R.B. Corbett, S.S. Chapman, S.A. Davis, John A. Davis, H.A. Deane, L.C. Doran, S.W. Fales, Joshua Fraser, P.J. Gilligan, James Gage, Stephen Gifford, William Keyes, Michael Kennedy, Henry A. King, James Phillips, R.T. Prentiss, Leander Pelott, John L. Rollins, S.C. Ray, C.W. Rider, T.A.Ryan, J.F. Stapleton, John H. Smith, George E. Whitaker and Michael Wolohan.

The rooms are well worth a visit from the large number of valuable old battle prints and pictures of battle scenes and generals. Not least among them is the engraving of Gen. Kilpatrick, the famous cavalry general, after whom the post was named.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Suggested Holyoke Books

Mountain Park -- The Holyoke destination we all loved.

Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College, Postcard History by Donna Albino. Many Holyoke women have attended Mount Holyoke. Author also maintains an amazing MHC website based upon her personal collection.

Holyoke - Chicopee, A Perspective

Holyoke-Chicopee: A Perspective, by Ella Merkel DiCarlo. DiCarlo, a former Transcript columnist offers a fascinating compilation of her essays. Published in 1982, this out-of-print book is worth looking for in the aftermarket.


Holyoke, by Craig Della Penna. The first Holyoke book in the Arcadia series, published in 1997.

Belle Skinner Collection

Belle Skinner Collection, by Ruth Isabel Skinner. Published in 1933, this book is long out of print but copies are still available in the aftermarket.

Mitch Epstein: Family Business

Mitch Epstein: Family Business Published in 2003, available in the aftermarket. Epstein's furniture.