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Castalia remembers Civil War

Tom Jackson • Jul 3, 2014 at 11:30 AM


The Civil War ended almost 150 years ago, but the veterans groups spawned by the war are still going strong.

One such group, the Castalia chapter of the National Woman's Relief Corps, is still active in patriotic and educational efforts.

In fact, the Thomas Neill Chapter of the Woman's Relief Corps, No. 275, is celebrating its 125th anniversary. They'll have a booth at the Stars and Stripes Celebration, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday at Washington Park in downtown Sandusky. They'll be giving away stick flags and promoting their organization. 

The Woman's Relief Corps isn't the nation's best-known veterans group, and the local chapter's secretary-treasury, Janeann Williams, has discovered that publicizing it isn't always easy.

Williams paid the City of Sandusky to put up a flower display on the mound next to Wayne Street in Washington Park for two weeks to mark her group's anniversary. The display was supposed to have the group's initials, but Williams found out Tuesday that it only says, "Congratulations Civil War Patriots."

"Oh, it's not right," said Williams, who immediately phoned the city and said her chapter's members will be sad. 

"I can just hear my ladies," she said.

The National Woman's Relief Corps is one of the auxiliary groups for the Grand Army of the Republic, the major veterans group for the Union Army in the Civil War.

Williams said her local chapter has about 20 members and is named for Thomas Neill, a Union soldier who died in the infamous Andersonville prison. Williams is a descendant of Neill. 

The local chapter sponsors a scholarship at Margaretta High School, assists at bingo parties at the Ohio Veterans Home and holds a bingo pizza party at the OVH on Veterans Day. 

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