Many historians consider John A. Logan one of the best of the Union Army’s political generals. Logan, from Jackson County, Illinois, was a volunteer soldier with a Michigan regiment at the Battle of First Bull Run on July, 21, 1861.   He returned home to Illinois and recruited the 31st Illinois infantry and led his regiment into combat at Belmont in November of that same year.  He would be a natural military leader and rose to the rank of major general of volunteers.  

Following the Civil War, John A. Logan was instrumental in founding of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a veterans group comprised of former Union Army soldiers.  In March of 1868, Logan issued General Order No. 11, which called for a national day of remembrance for Civil War dead, which would later become the holiday of Memorial Day.

The local GAR, Phil Sheridan Post, No. 615 had many members.  In 1914 this post was doing its duty and leading  the Memorial “Patriotic exercises” at every public school in Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Maywood, Melrose Park and North Berwyn. 

The post encouraged that at each exercise, “Patriotic inspiration will be mutual.  The scholars will warm your hearts…. Let patriotism and love of the Flag to be the watchword.”  The three Forest Park Schools each had events on May 29, 1914, included Grant School, Garfield School and Eugene Field School.  The patriotic events at the Ulysses S. Grant School at Circle and Randolph were led by Comrades A. T. Hemingway and F.M Ellis and Dr. Clarence Hemingway, who’s office was on nearby Madison St.

Visit the Forest Park Review Historical Society blog for a full copy of the 1914 program book from Commander Wilber Crummer’s archives that were donated to the Oak Park River Forest Historical Society which lists every school in Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Maywood, Melrose Park and North Berwyn.

To read more about the Village of Harlem (previous name of Forest Park) and the 89th Infantry, the Railroad Regiment, who served the United States during the Civil War, click here.