(Source: History of Shelby County, Ohio and
Evansville, Ind. - A. B. C. Hitchcock - 1913 - 913 pgs)
(Transcribed by Sharon Wick)
Co., Ohio, Military Index)
county bore its full share in the great contest in
the sixties. As the years have passed this war has
shown that it had far more to do with the world's
history than the mere settlement of our own local
questions. Theremopylae and Marathon
held back the lower civilization of Persia, which was
hurled against the higher civilization of the Greeks.
Lepanto witnessed the destruction of the Turkish
Mohammedan fleet and Christian civilization was granted
a new life. The hands on the dial of time moved
In the sixties the North had free speech, free schools
and above all the right to labor without stigna.
In the South free speech was at the risk of a life;
there were no common schools worthy of the name and the
laborer was put upon the level of the slave. For a
century this kind dominated its people, and they had a
lower and a higher civilization separated by the only
imaginary or natural lines. It was a conflict
between them that called forth the warriors. The
destruction of slavery lifted not only our land but the
whole of humanity to a higher plane and the conflict
continued until the grave was dug so deep that a
resurrection could never be possible. Our
political status was placed on a safer foundation and
our soldiers look at it with eminent satisfaction.
This satisfaction is very much enhanced when the results
are more fully known and realized.
Had the Southern Confederacy succeeded, the first thing
would have been the reestablishment of negro slavery on
such a firm basis, that it would have remained for
centuries, with all its evil influences, not only on
their own people but with a reflex action on our side.
They being the stronger, would have compelled the North
to enter into such a treaty as would have made every
civil officer responsible for the escape of their negro
chattels. We would have been compelled to use all
diligence, and to invoke all the powers of law to
apprehend and hold property that belonged to the other
side. From the Atlantic to the Pacific the border
would have had its fortifications which would require
armaments and men - this on both sides.
In addition to this, each side would have required an
army of revenue officers, to guard and collect the
revenue according to such tariff laws as might have been
enacted. All this expense would have come from a
divided country, harrassed by constant internecine
The right of secession would have been settled
affirmatively and we would have had that to face.
New England would have said that she had no frontier to
guard and why should she be taxed for the civil and
military expenses - and she would have seceded.
Likewise the Pacific coast, guarded on the east by the
Rockies, would have done as New England did, and how
could it be helped?
Disintegration would surely have followed and we would
have gradually become separate principalities without
prestige or power. Taxes would have increased so
that, as a whole, the amounts now paid as pensions would
be but a drop in the bucket. Opportunity for
English extension would have been manifest and in the
course of time the English flag would have floated where
now is the Star Spangled Banner.
Shelby county sent into the ranks much of its best
blood and when times of stress occurred, her soldiers
carried themselves through with credit and honor to
their country. On their return home they took up
the work their hands had laid down and never faltered in
their civil duties any more than in their military ones.
The organization of the Grand Army of the Republic
became a national one, and almost every community had
its post. A call was made April 5, 1881, for the
purpose of establishing one in Sidney. The charter
members were C. W. McKee, W. A. Nutt, Thomas Wright,
W. A. Skillen, W. M. Van Fossen, E. E. Nutt, Albert.
Wilson, J. A. Montross, G.'S. Harter, H. B. Neal, Hugo
Stahl, C. R. Joslin, J. S. Laughlin, J. C. Haines, C. E.
Fielding, H. A. Ailes, Reuben Smeltzer and Pember
Burch. The name selected was "Neal," in honor
of Capt. William D. Neal, Company K,
Twentieth O. V. I., who was killed in front of Kenesaw
mountain, June 26, 1864. At the date of compiling this
history there have been mustered 489 veterans, coming
from twelve different states and representing all arms
of the service.
The post has passed through many vicissitudes, and yet
was. generally prosperous, as it had the sympathy of a
large majority of our citizens. But age is fast
thinning its ranks. Many live at a distance and the
attendance is now small and soon Neal Post, No.
Sixty-two, G. A. R., Department of Ohio, will be
numbered among the things that were. In the organization
Neal Post has borne no small part. On May 16, 1894, Capt. E. E. Nutt was elected Ohio department
commander for one year. He appointed from the post, T.
B. Marshall as his adjutant and H. C. Roberts as
his quartermaster. At that time the department had
nearly 44,000 members in some 650 posts.
To formulate the necessary orders; receive and reply to
the thousand and one questions was a task of no small
dimensions. The year's administration was a very
successful one and much praise was accorded to Commander
Nutt in consequence. While in this connection it seems
proper to give Mr. Nutt's history, both civil and
military, as he was all his life one of the leading
citizens of the county.
He was born near Sidney in October, 1837, on a farm and
prepared himself for college. When teaching a district
school he resigned and enlisted in the three months'
service upon the firing on Fort Sumter. The regiment was
the Fifteenth O. V. I. At the expiration of his
enlistment, he joined the Twentieth O. V. I. for three
years and advanced from private to captain. From the
official records of the war, and while a lieutenant, he
was awarded a silver medal for conspicuous bravery in
the battle near Atlanta, July 24, 1864, by Maj .Gen.
F. P. Blair, His civil life was uneventful. He
engaged in the grain trade, which he successfully
pursued, and except for an interval of a few years
continued until the close of his life in 1911. Outside
of his business he was always interested and took an
active part in various municipal affairs, chiefly in
school matters. His influence was long felt and he
was considered a man of forceful character, a lifelong
republican in politics and a professing Methodist in
religion. 'The post now numbers eighty and its present
commander is Dr. B. M. Sharp.