G.A.R. Post: Oliver Morton Post # 10 Snohomish, WA
Following America’s War of the Rebellion (1861-1865), now known as The Civil War, victorious Union veterans from all arms of the service joined together to form the Grand Army of The Republic. In today’s terms it could be considered to be similar to the American Legion.
From 1866 until WW1, the G.A.R. was a major social, economic and political force in this country. At it’s peak in 1890, the organization claimed over 409,000 members. Local enclaves were termed “posts” and members were known as “Comrades.” these names, including that of Prosper Fields, have been incorporated into the veteran catagoy.
Even before the groups’ peak period of membership, however, time had begun to take its’ toll on the Grand Army’s temporal ranks. In an effort to carry on that group’s memory and works, some of their male offspring (sons) formed an organization known as the Sons of Veterans. Many of the G.A.R.’s “Comrades” did not appreciate this movement. As early as 1882, the G.A.R.’s commander-in-chief noted, “I am opposed to opening the doors of the Grand Army of The Republic, to any person whatever, who was not himself among the defenders of the Union against the rebellion. No one, not even our sons, can appreciate the memories of camp and march, of bivouac and battle, as those who were participants therein; the scenes of the great struggle can never be to them what they are to us; and while purposes are akin to ours, let our own recruiting ranks be only those closed forever with the end of the war, and when the last veteran shall receive his final discharge from life’s army, let there close with him, except in its glorious record and bright memory, the last scene in the life of the Grand Army of the Republic.”1. In 1887 the group noted; “That we regret the action of the Sons of Veterans in some instances of calling their local organizations “posts” and appropriating to each other the fraternal name of “Comrade,” believing that these terms should remain exclusive features of the Grand Army of the Republic.”2. While the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War would ultimately emerge as a viable organization, from this discourse, it is obvious that the term “comrade” was one that G.A.R. members considered sacrosanct and jealously guarded.
In the latter vein, records of Snohomish’s Oliver Morton G.A.R. post pertaining to burials at the G.A.R. cemetery list several names in the “Comrade” category that, to date cannot be connected to the rebellion. Still, in light of the afore noted background for the term “Comrade,” these names have been included in the veteran category. Hopefully, at some future time additional information will come to light pertaining to these individuals’ connection to the American Civil War and the G.A.R.
1 History of the Sons of Union Veterans of The Civil War FILII VETERANORUM PART 2
Robert W. Wolz The Banner Winter 2004 page 10-11
What we know of Mr. Field is as follows:
Prosper Joshua Field was born in Athol, Massachusetts in (June) 1834. His birth date has, as yet, not been found in available documentation. His parents were Elihu (b. 1784 MA) and Betsey (nee Stratton b. 1793 MA) Field.
As far as is known, Prosper was the youngest of seven children. His older siblings were (Ira S. b. 1813), Franklin (b. 1814), Spenser (b. 1818), Maria (b. 1820), Elihu H. (b. 1823) and Sarah H. (b. 1828). All of the Field children were born in Massachusetts.
At the age of 15 Prosper left his home in Massachusetts, both his parents having been deceased and became a whaler going around Cape Horn and landing in San Francisco, California the spring of 1851. There he became a miner and meat dealer. The first census data on Prosper comes from 1852 when the twenty three year old was tallied in Tuolumne, California. as “miner”.
Coming to Washington April 1, 1861 he homesteaded 185 acres near Monroe, Snohomish County during the coldest winters ever experienced in the Pacific Northwest. Prosper married an Indian women named Alice and from that union Frank Field was born 1861 on the family farm. In 1870 Mr. Field cut one of the first trails in that area so that his son could obtain an education in one of the local school houses.
As the land was covered in Cedar and Spruce trees in 1872 Prosper partnered with another Snohomish County pioneer Charles Taylor and ran logging camps along the local rivers sending the logs down the rivers to Port Gamble.
By 1880 Prosper and his son Frank were staying in West Kittitas Yakima County, WT. with an occupation of woodsman. In 1882 they were back on the west side of the Cascades and Prosper received the patent (deed) on the 185 acre homestead land. In all living notations it does not give the name of Prospers wife Alice in yet it always notes him as married.
Prospered J. Field died 9/19/1903 in Snohomish County, WA Burial was/is in the Snohomish Grand Army Of The Republic Cemetery. The burial was handled by the local G.A.R. post.
In light of the afore mentioned background for the term “Comrade,” names-including Prosper’s have been included in the veteran category herein. Hopefully, at some future time additional information will come to light from family members or other sources pertaining to these individuals and their seemingly special connection to the American Civil War and the G. A. R.
Buried at Grand Army of the Republic
R Bruce Smith
©2016 Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State • All Rights Reserved.