In today’s throwback Thursday photograph, Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) members in Delaware County, New York, pose for the camera. The GAR was a fraternal organization that offered support to northern veterans of the Civil War.
Benjamin F. Stephenson founded the GAR on April 6, 1866, in Decatur, Illinois. Members were required to be Union veterans who had served between April 12, 1861, and April 9, 1865, and had received an honorable discharge. By 1890, the organization had over 400,000 members in community Posts across the country. The GAR was active in founding soldiers’ homes, crafting pension legislation, and in other relief efforts for Union veterans. The last member of the GAR died in 1956 at the age of 109.