I've written quite a lot about Daniel Iseminger Post No. 18, Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), Lucas County's largest post of this nationwide fraternal organization for Union veterans of the Civil War.
Chartered on Oct. 18, 1879, with 14 members, Iseminger was one of Iowa's older posts and during its course had a total of 260 members. It was dissolved on Dec. 31, 1933, after a majority of those members had died.
Although the G.A.R., founded in 1866, also was one of the first organized U.S. political advocacy groups, it was never intended to be perpetual. It was dissolved in 1956 when the last member, Albert Woolson (1850-1956), of Duluth, Minn., died.
But there were three other Lucas County G.A.R. posts, too --- in Russell, Lucas and Derby.
The largest of the three was Francis M. Nolan (generally called Frank Nolan) Post No. 208, chartered at Russell on March 17, 1886. That's the tombstone (above) in the Chariton Cemetery of Francis Nolen in whose honor the post was named. I'll come back to him later but, yes, the post spelled its surname "Nolan" while the man and his family spelled it "Nolen" --- an oddity that never was resolved.
Frank Nolan Post began with 26 charter members and 80 veterans had belonged by the time it disbanded on Feb. 18, 1920.
Grigsby Foster Post No. 320 was chartered at Lucas on May 15, 1884, with 22 members, but dissolved 10 years later on Aug. 8, 1894. A total of 45 veterans joined the post during its 10 years. Nine of its members transferred to other posts in 1894.
Grigsby Foster, after whom the post was named, had served as a farrier in Company E, 7th West Virginia Volunteer Cavalry. A coal miner by profession, he arrived in Lucas between 1870 and 1880 and died there on Feb. 18, 1881. He is buried in Fry Hill Cemetery.
William H. McKnight Post No. 491, of Derby, was chartered on Oct. 9, 1891, with 13 members. Although this was Lucas County's smallest post, with 25 members total, it continued until Jan. 1, 1917, when it was dissolved.
William McKnight, after whom the post was named, had enlisted as 4th corporal in Co. G, 34th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, during 1862. He died near Derby on April 8, 1888, and is buried in Goshen Cemetery.
Francis M. Nolen, namesake of the Russell post, was born Dec. 12, 1827, in Ohio, where he married Rebecca L. Mauk on May 4, 1851, in Muskingum County. They moved west and settled on a farm near Chariton during 1854.
During October of 1862, when he was 34, Francis enlisted in Company E, 34th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, a unit raised largely in Lucas County. He was commissioned 1st lieutenant on Oct. 15, 1862, under the command of Capt. Nelson B. Gardner. He served until Jan. 11, 1864, when he resigned his commission --- most likely due to ill health --- and returned to Chariton where he died two and a half years later, on April 27, 1867.
Rebecca did not remarry and lived in Chariton until her death on Sept. 27, 1905, age 74. The stone that marks both their graves appears to have been erected after Rebecca's death.