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Department of Nebraska

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

John M. Thayer Camp


John M. Thayer, had an important impact on Nebraska that should not be forgotten. He was a Soldier-Lawyer-Statesmen. He was born 24 Jan 1820 in Bellingham, MA. His father served in the War of 1812 and his grandfather in the Revolutionary War. He attended Brown University and received his B.S. Degree in 1841. He joined a law firm and became a member of the Massachusetts Militia. He continued his education at Columbia College and earned his M.A. the Thayer family moved to Nebraska in 1854, after it became a territory.

Acting Governor Cuming appointed Thayer Brigadier General and commander of the First Brigade Territorial Militia, on 23 Dec 1854 because of his military experience in Massachusetts. When the Militia was expanded by legislation in 1856 he was advanced in rank to Major General. He served as Nebraska's highest ranking militia officer in the Pawnee War of 1859.  In 1860 he was elected to the upper house of the Nebraska's territorial legislature from Douglas county.

When the Civil War broke out he took a reduction in rank to Colonel on 15 June 1861 to command the 1st Nebraska Volunteer Infantry. He led the Nebraska troops in Missouri, at Fort Donelson, and Shiloh. He was elevated to a Brigadier General in 1862.  At Vicksburg in 1863, he led a command under General Grant. He commanded the Frontier Division of the Department of Arkansas in 1864. He became acquainted with Grant during the campaigns and this would effect his political career after the war.

He returned from the Civil War in 1865 and fought for Nebraska's admission as a state. He served as one of Nebraska's first Senators from 1867 to 1871. He was appointed Wyoming Territorial Governor by Grant, 1875 - 1897. He served as the Commander-in-Chief of the Nebraska Department of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1886. and became Governor from 1887 to 1892. He died 19 Mar 1906 and is buried in the  Wyuka Cemetery, Lincoln.

 Membership in the Camp-at-Large is available for persons who qualify to join the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) but do not live close enough to one of the existing camps to benefit from membership in the camp, or chooses not to join an existing camp.  The members can be former Nebraska residents who wish to establish membership in Nebraska.  If you are interested in joining this camp, contact the Camp Commander, Norman Weber, or Merle Rudebusch Secretary, for more information and application forms. These forms can also be downloaded from the National SUVCW Website.

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