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Library Gets Grant to Help Digitize Civil War Soldiers' Letters and Other Records

 

 

In 2018 terms, an Indiana Civil War soldier writes to his wife, “I know it’s a warzone between Kokomo, Indiana, and central Georgia, but I’m lonely, so please come visit.”

 

In 1863 terms, his letter read, “Dear Wife … If we stop about the 1st of October, it will be in Central Georgia and at that time it will suit you much to come south.”

 

That’s an excerpt from one of 90 written pages from the Civil War diary of John Underwood, 39th Indiana Infantry/8th Indiana Cavalry under the command of T.J. Harrison. Those letters and many more Howard County, Indiana, Civil War documents will soon be digitized, online, and searchable, thanks to an $11,000 grant the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library received.

 

“Not only is this great news for genealogists trying to find their ancestors who served during the Civil War, but it also allows people to learn more about our history,” said Amy Russell, head of KHCPL’s Genealogy & Local History Department. “Howard County is known for its patriotism and has a strong history of supporting the military. Records show that in the 16 to 35 age range, Howard County led the state in percentage of Civil War recruits.”

 

The Howard County Historical Society owns the Civil War records. The Kokomo-Howard County Public Library is partnering with it to digitize them. The grant covers the library’s personnel cost for the process and is made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Indiana State Library.

 

Some of the other items to be digitized include:

• record book of minutes from the Headquarters of the Thomas J. Harrison Post No. 30 Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), dated 24 March 1905 through October 1912, and Nov. 8, 1912, through Jan. 1, 1916;

• G.A R. Hugh H. Willits Post No. 424 ledger, financial report 1899-1928 (Greentown, Indiana);

• Civil War chest and contents used by Captain William H. Sumption, Company E, 11th Indiana Volunteer Cavalry;

• miscellaneous muster in, muster out, appointments, discharge, pension certificates, and inventory of effects of deceased soldiers; and

• letters to Serena Brannen from several soldiers.

 

Once the project is complete, the digitized records will be found on KHCPL’s Howard County Memory Project website, howardcountymemory.net, and the Indiana State Library’s Indiana Memory website, digital.library.in.gov.

 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums.