Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums
Charles G. Eaton Woman’s Relief Corps. No. 188
Scope and Content
The Charles Grant Eaton Woman’s Relief Corps No. 188 records were donated to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in 1967.
The Woman’s Relief Corps (WRC), an auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), was first organized nationally at their request on July 25, 1883 in Denver, Colorado. The purpose of the organization is to perpetuate the memory of the GAR, assist veterans of all wars of the United States of America, extend care to members’ widows and children, and maintain true allegiance to the United States of America. The first Sandusky County, Ohio post of the GAR was formed in Clyde soon after the Civil War and experienced reorganization in 1881 under its previously chartered number of 55. Honoring a local Civil War veteran, the post was named after Charles Grant Eaton, M.D.
Charles Grant Eaton was born at Lowell, Massachusetts on 27 September 1825 to Abel and Julia Eaton. The family moved to Ohio in 1828 where Charles worked on a farm and attended the local schools around Licking County. As a young man he moved on to study medicine in Granville, Ohio before graduating from the Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1847. Eaton opened his first medical practice in Savannah, Athens County, Ohio. Charles married Mary H. Conant on 15 May 1849. The couple had three children; Charles Henry, Mary Julia and Frederick C. In 1853 Charles and his family moved to Clyde, Sandusky County, Ohio where he opened his second medical practice.
When it became clear that the United States would be engaging in a civil war, Dr. Eaton abandoned his practice and began recruiting troops for the 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI). Because of his recruiting efforts Charles was awarded the captaincy of Company A. In September 1861 he was promoted to Major for gallantry at the Battles of Shiloh and Corinth. He also participated in the campaign of Vicksburg, Mower’s Raid and several other independent expeditions. While he was ambitious to honor his regiment, he at the same time protected them so far as possible from rash and hazardous undertakings. Eaton was mustered out at Columbus, Ohio on 26 September 1865 as a Brevet Brigadier General. Returning to Clyde after the war, he resumed his medical practice until his death on 13 October 1875.
The Charles G. Eaton Woman’s Relief Corps No. 188 held their first meeting on 8 August 1887 in Clyde, Ohio. Nellie B. Brigham was elected the group’s first president, along with Mrs. Frances A. Little serving as secretary. The organization boasted over fifty members during its inaugural year. Formal meetings were held on the first and third Tuesday of every month. To help raise money towards the WRC’s purpose, they held a yearly “Campfire”; which included a play, entertainment and food. Additional fundraisers included dinners, socials, dances and the selling of quilts. The women also bought groceries and clothes for veterans’ families, visited the sick and placed veteran markers at soldiers’ graves. When a specific event or cause arose, a sub-committee would be formed within the organization to handle the details. In the 1940s and 1950s the WRC No. 188 began purchasing Christmas gifts for veterans’ families, making donations to charitable organizations and holding annual picnics. Records for the Eaton WRC conclude in the late 1950s.
The WRC still exists at the national level today (2012). Along with the organization’s original purpose; they now provide college scholarship assistance, send care packages to active duty soldiers, participate in community service projects and hold patriotic essay competitions. A remaining symbol of the WRC continues to be a badge in the shape of a Maltese cross attached to a bar pin with a red, white and blue ribbon. The center holds the American flag, encircled in a wreath of stars depicting five outstanding features; the goddess of liberty, a soldier, a boy, a woman and a child. The bar pin is engraved with the letters FCL to signify fraternity, charity and loyalty.
Scope and Content
This collection spans the years from 1877 – 1958, with the bulk of the materials dating from the early 1900s. There are fourteen ledger books containing meeting minutes from 1877 – 1952. The collection also includes sixteen accounting and attendance ledgers for the organization.
1. Minutes Ledger; Aug. 8, 1877 - Jan. 6, 1891;
Roll of Members to Oct. 1920;
Charter Members; By-Laws; Orders
2. Minutes Ledger; Jan. 20, 1891 - May 7, 1895
3. Minutes Ledger; May 21, 1895 - Oct. 7, 1898
4. Minutes Ledger; 1897 - 1899
5. Minutes Ledger; Oct. 18, 1898 - Jan. 14, 1902
6. Minutes Ledger; Jan. 21, 1902 - Jan. 2, 1906
7. Minutes Ledger; Jan. 16, 1906 - Dec. 18, 1910
1. Minutes Ledger; Jan. 3, 1911 - Aug. 3, 1915
2. Minutes Ledger; Aug. 17, 1915 - June 1, 1920
3. Minutes Ledger; June 15, 1920 - April 6, 1926
4. Minutes Ledger; April 20, 1926 - Jan. 5, 1932
5. Minutes Ledger; Jan. 19, 1932 - Aug. 2, 1938
6. Minutes Ledger; Sept. 25, 1938 - Dec. 18, 1945
7. Minutes Ledger; Jan. 15, 1946 - Oct. 21, 1952
1. Cash Book; Aug. 23, 1887 - Aug. 20, 1895
2. Cash Book; Sept. 3, 1895 - June 20, 1899
3. Cash Book; Oct. 7, 1902 - March 6, 1906
4. Cash Book; March 20, 1906 - March 15, 1910
5. Cash Book; April 5, 1910 - March 17, 1914
6. Cash Book; Oct. 2, 1917 - Jan. 18, 1921
1. Cash Book; Nov. 1, 1921 - Oct. 16, 1928
2. Cash Book; Nov. 6, 1928 - April 15, 1939
3. Cash Book; Jan. 4, 1949 - May 7, 1957
4. Dues Book; 1887 - 1895
5. Dues Book; 1896 - 1900
6. Dues Book; 1901 - 1906
1. Dues Book; 1906 - 1912
2. Dues Book; 1917 - 1928
3. Dues Book; 1923 - 1937
4. Dues Book; 1937 - 1962
5. Roll of Members, Attendance; 1887 - 1897
6. Roll of Members, Attendance; 1896 - 1919
7. Roll of Members, Attendance; 1919 - 1958