February 13th, 2012


On November 12, 1881 in Pittsburgh, PA the G.A.R. formed the Sons of Veterans of the United States of America (SV) to carry on its traditions and memory long after the G.A.R. had ceased to exist. Membership was open to any man who could prove ancestry to a member of the G.A.R. or to a veteran eligible for membership in the G.A.R. In later years, men who did not have the ancestry to qualify for hereditary membership, but who demonstrated a genuine interest in the Civil War and could subscribe to the purpose and objectives of the SUVCW, where admitted as Associates. This practice continues today. Many G.A.R. Posts sponsored Camps of the SV. In 1925 the SV name was changed to Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), under which its federal charter was issued on August 20, 1954. The SUVCW is legally recognized as the heir to, and representative of, the G.A.R. The G.A.R. existed until 1956 when the last veteran of the Civil War died.
For a town the size of Watsontown, S.B. Morgan Camp, No. 225, PA Sons of Veterans was the equal of many Camps in much larger towns. The camp was mustered in July 31, 1905 with 59 charter members and within two years the membership reached 104. 
The Charter Members included:
Wm. W. Albright              Harry A. Dieffenderfer     J.W. Lesher                 Jas. L. Rodarmel
C.A.F. Auten                    Wm. H. Diehl                    Chas. A. Lindauer       Geo. E. Rodarmel
David F. Barr                    Arthur Fink                       Jay V. Lynn                Chester A. Rothermel
Wm. W. Barr                     Edwin D. Fisher                Chas W. Machamer     C.E. Royer
Edgar S. Barto                  Harry Fordesman              John A. McFarland     Erb A. Sanders
Herbert Billman                John C. Fosnot                  George E. McKee       Chas. E. Sees
H.E. Browman                  Harry T. Geiger                 James H. McKee         John Springer
M.C. Browman                 Curtis Gold                       John S. McKee            Curtis Wagner
John A. Brown                  George L. Gold                 Chas Mohart               Jay H. Wagner, Jr.
A.T. Buck                         Clyde Harrison                  James Oaks                 John Wertman
J.D. Buck                          D. Curtis Hester                Amos V. Persing         Lester M. Wesner
D.W. Campbell                 Harry C. Krisher               John Raup                   Wm. L. Widell
E.C. Campbell                   William M. Lantz              Gilbert Raush              Jas. A. Zettlemoyer
Geo. V. Campbell             Robert C. Leech                William Reeser            John E. Zettlemoyer
H.A. Campbell                  Fred H. Lesher                  William Ritter            
The Company of Reserves, the military part of the order was mustered in as Co. H. Third Regiment, PA Division, on October 30, 1906 with 34 members and 25 guns.
The Camp had the only Sons of Veterans’ Band in the commonwealth and was organized on February 19, 1906 under the leadership of Charles E. Trate and was mustered in as Trate’s Third Regiment Band, S.V.R. on January 7, 1907 with 25 members, fully uniformed and equipped with a fine set of new instruments.
The Ladies Auxiliary was organized April 9, 1907 with a charter membership of 29.
The members would meet each Monday evening at 7:00 pm from October 1 to April 1; and at 7:30 pm from April 1 to October 1. The membership fee was originally $2.15 and weekly dues of 10 cents. The family of a member who died could have the Sons of Veterans’ ceremonies performed at the funeral with all brothers of the camp taking part and if a brother was absent without a reasonable excuse they were fined 25 cents. Similar to the GAR, the organization was concerned with the remembrance of those who served during the Civil War and Memorial Day services along with decorating the graves of Civil War veterans were a priority. In addition, the Sons of Veterans were also remembered on Memorial Day. One member of the organization was G.A. Patterson who served 24 years as the treasurer. Listed in the membership rolls were the deaths of current members whose names and death dates are listed here for posterity.
A.J. Keener, February 3, 1908                                         Harvey T. Geiger, December 13, 1919
John S. McKee, January 23, 1909                                    Harry Seriff, April 21, 1922
Ralph M. Huff, March 3, 1911 – killed                             J.D. Buck, April 25, 1922
George A. Seriff, Jr., August 3, 1912 – killed                   E.A. Sander, April 30, 1926
J.C. Gibson, October 15, 1912                                         D.W. Campbell, June 23, 1926
Chas. E. Trate, May 4, 1913                                            E.D. Fisher, October 17, 1927
Trenton Straub, March 26, 1915 – drowned                       H.E. Browman, February 24, 1928
Clayton Reitmeyer, June 3, 1915                                     George L. Gold, August 9, 1929
William Reeser, July 10, 1915                                         G.A. Patterson, October 20, 1931
Edgar T. Sampsell, July 2, 1916                                      A.E. Bruner, November 27, 1931
A.W. Waller, November 6, 1919                                    
On February 2, 1920 an amendment was introduced to change the name from S.B. Morgan to Jacob H. Wagner Camp No. 225 W.S.A. This change took effect on the third and final reading of the amendment on February 16, 1920.  With the end of the Bryson Post of the GAR in 1929 and the newly formed American Legion, the Sons of Veterans dwindled and relinquished its duties of Memorial Day and decorating the graves of veterans to the Clyde F. Mowrer Post #323 American Legion. The last records of the Jacob H. Wagner encampment was in 1931.
Commanders of S.B. Morgan Camp # 225, Sons of Veterans:
1905    John A. Brown                        1914    George McKee            1923    Chester A. Rothermel
1906    James A. Zettlemoyer             1915    Jay V. Lynn                1924    E.C. Kemble
1907    George V. Campbell               1916    Frank Marshall            1925    Joseph Ulrich
1908    Harry C. Krisher                     1917    E.C. Kemble               1926    Harry Fordesman
1909    Wm. W. Albright                    1918    E.D. High                    1927    Harry Fordesman
1910    Jay H. Wagner, Jr.                   1919    Aaron K. Batdorf       1928    —
1911    Charles L. Baker                     1920    Wm. H. Diehl              1929    —
1912    John T. Mulligan                     1921    Fred W. Ankstad        1930    George McKee
1913    Wm. H. Diehl                          1922    D. Curtis Hester          1931    George McKee
Last Modified: 01.28.12

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