By Vicky House
OXFORD – On October 10, the Oxford Post Office put its stamp on the list of successful Civil War pictorial postmarks with over 500 envelopes stamped that day. Images of a few of the soldiers who served, the W. R. C. Home (Women’s Relief Corps Home), Post #40 G. A. R. (Grand Army of the Republic) and the 114th Regimental Flag were printed on envelopes to commemorate the men and symbols of the Civil War.
The W. R. C. Home (now known as the New York State Veterans’ Home) was established through the efforts of the Woman’s Relief Corps, auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic, to care for the aged, dependent veteran and his wife, veterans’ mothers, widows and army nurses, residents of New York. In her annual address to the Convention of 1888, Mrs. Sarah C. Mink, Department President of the W. R. C (Women’s Relief Corps,) officially introduced the subject of a home where those who helped save the nation might be cared for, together with their wives.
On October 12, 1894, the 100 acre site in Oxford was chosen by an appointed commission from a long list of possible choices which included: Medina, Batavia, Fair Haven, Oswego, Peru, Roxbury, Cold Spring and Cooperstown.
As each Pictorial Postmark event is announced, it is gaining in momentum and interest. Residents of each community are not only coming out to be a part of the event, but are providing images and sharing history of ancestors who served in the Civil War. All the images and story sharing is vital to each town in recording the history of not only everyone who served, but in the history of the town itself.
This project is just one of the many events that the Chenango County Civil War Commemoration Project is doing to remember the soldiers who served their communities – many who were wounded physically as well as mentally, prisoners and those who never came home.
The next pictorial postmark will be held on October 24 at the South Otselic Post Office. You can bring in envelopes and post cards to be hand stamped on that day or you can mail in your requests for thirty days following the event. Remember, if you mail in your envelopes or post cards to be stamped, you must include a self-addressed, stamped return envelope.
The Oxford Village and Town Offices have envelopes with images depicting Civil War events, a Civil War Commemorative Forever Stamp and hand stamped with the pictorial postmark for sale for $1 each.
Dates for upcoming Pictorial Postmarks:
• October 24 - South Otselic Post Office
• November 14 - Smithville Flats Post Office.
Following a short break for the holidays, North Norwich will be hosting the event on January 9, 2013.