Sharon Stoakes of Traer, and Jay McMann, have collaborated to create a reprint of two Civil War books. The wartime journal of Benjamin Franklin Thomas, Soldier Life, was first published for family and friends in 1907.
Many Must Fall, a collection of wartime letters written by his friend, Peter Wilson, was originally published in three installments in the Iowa Journal of History and Politics in 1942. Ms. Stoakes and Mr. McMann set out to research, collect, transcribe, and republish these two original documents and add any new material. They were sponsored by the Traer Museum Board, but were surprised and excited to find a wonderful resource of related papers in Captain Gallagher’s trunk at the Tama County Museum in Toledo.
Benjamin Thomas and Peter Wilson served in Company G of the 14th. Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and were part of ten known as the “Wolf Creek Rangers”, from the watercourse that flows east through Gladbrook, Traer, and LaPorte City. The new compilation book tells the story of their three-year enlistment and campaigns, but is also filled with interesting details about army life, and of their everyday experiences and observations. The compilers have also included some of Thomas’ poems, and other accounts from those who served with them. Many soldiers of Tama County are mentioned in the book, and new footnotes give information on what became of them after the War, where they later lived or are buried. The book is dedicated to those who sacrificed so much, and is available for sale at both the Traer and Toledo museums.
Fact BoxCHRONICLE TO GO INFO:
•What:Tama County Civil War presentation by Sharon Stoakes and Jay McMann
•When:Wednesday, July 7, 7 p.m.
•Where:Tama County historical Society Museum, 200 N. Broadway, Toledo.