History of The Grand Army of the Republic
The Grand Army of the Republic was formed in 1866 in Decatur, Illinois and rapidly spread across the country. What started as a benevolent society for Union Civil War veterans quickly became one of our nation’s most powerful veterans’ organizations. Membership was open to honorably discharged Union soldiers, sailors, or marines.
The GAR was instrumental in founding soldiers’ homes and orphan schools, and lobbying for pension legislation. When the last member of the GAR died in 1956 the organization was dissolved. The Espy Post housed in the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall is believed to be one of only a handful of GAR Post rooms in the country when at one time there were more than 7,000.
The Capt. Thomas Espy Post 153, Department of Pennsylvania
The Post is named in honor of Thomas Espy, a prominent resident of Upper St. Clair Township. He was 53 years of age when he enlisted July 4, 1861, as Captain of Co. H, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.
The Post was used for meetings and to house the veterans’ collection of flags, books, prints and relics from 1906 until the the last veteran died in 1938. Not only does it retain priceless artifacts, but it provides a unique historical record of the first part of the century.
Thomas Espy mustered into service on July 4, 1861 as Captain of Co. H, 62nd Pennsylvania Infantry. Wounded June 27, 1862 at the battle of Gaines’ Mill, VA, he died as a POW on July 6,1862. His remains were never recovered.
Click here for other GAR Posts in Allegheny County.