Historic Mt. Union Church

1988 Turkeyfoot Trail Rd, Rockwood, PA 15557


Mt Union Church


Sacred Harp Singers


Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Camp 502



Auxiliary to SUVCW


Mt Union Cemetery

Ross Rush Collection
GAR Post # 361, Ursina, PA


Ross Rush was a Civil War soldier from Harnedsville, the son of Jacob & Ruth (Ogg) Rush. He enlisted Sept. 23, 1861 at age 20 in Company H, 85th PA Volunteers on  Sep 1861. He mustered in Nov. 12, 1861 as Private in Uniontown, Pa. He reenlisted in Feb. 20, 1864 at Hilton Head, South Carolina & was killed in battle at Petersburg June 18, 1864 at the age of 22. He was buried in Jersey Church Cemetery (old), Lower Turkeyfoot Twp.

When the Civil War Veterans returned from the War, they organized into fraternal organizations in most small towns. The one in Ursina chose to honor Ross Rush and was named Ross Rush Post 361, GAR. (Grand Army of the Republic) The Somerset GAR Post members rode the train to Ursina in 1883 to initiate the new Post members. This is documented in the old minutes books.



In Nov 2016, an SUVCW (Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War) member from OH notified local Commander Robert Wrigley that local minutes books from Ross Rush GAR were being sold by an antique dealer in Albany, NY. Commander Wrigley belongs to Mt Union Church Camp #502, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, located in Somerset County.

Commander Wrigley asked members of Camp 502 and itís Auxiliary if this was a project we could support. Members overwhelmingly supported it, and donations were received from members, and from private donors to cover the cost.

The books were first digitized by Auxiliary members, then sent to an Amish lady in Maine for repair. Bindings on all three were very loose and some covers were missing.

Now members began looking for the original Charter for Ross Rush Post. Auxiliary member Laurel Peirsel talked with Barbara Bowers of Ursina, who did not have the Charter, but did have a box of old papers, including 39 original applications and General Orders from Post 361. Mrs. Bowers very generously donated these items to Mt Union Church Camp to round out the collection. Laurelís favorite GO is the one issued at the time of General Grantís death, bordered in black.

Soon after, the original Charter was located in the Ursina Legion, where it had been hidden in plain sight all these years. We were permitted to photograph the Charter, and had a copy made to display during the memorial service.

Mt Union Church Camp and Auxiliary does a memorial service each year in May to honor Civil War Veterans.  Sunday May the 21st 2017, at 2 pm, we  honored the men buried in the old part of Jersey Baptist Cemetery near Ursina. The church was cleaned and opened, and Mark Miner, local historian, was the special speaker for the event. The public was invited to attend and participate.




Shortly after the Memorial Service, we received a call from a member of the Legion, who offered to give the Camp the original Charter, in exchange for the framed copy used at the Memorial. We were very happy to do so, for now the whole collection is together, and home in Somerset County.

Thank you to the Ursina Legion Members!

The membership decided that we would like keep the collection close to home (Somerset County, PA) and give supervised access to the collection for research purposes. Meyersdale Public Library graciously offered to host the collection. The Pennsylvania Room is open most days, Monday through Friday. You may contact the archivist, Jennifer Hurl, at  (814) 634-0512 OR  jhurl@meyersdalelibrary.org to arrange to view the books. The collection is on loan with the Library.


The collection is placed with Library staff 1 May 2018
L-R: Jennifer Hurl, Archivist, Commander Ronald Musser, Carolyn McKinney, Asst. Archivist

Minutes Book 1
3 Jul 1883 - 14 Jun 1887

Minutes Book 2
31 May 1887 - 30 May 1921

Original Applications & General Orders

Many thanks to:
(in order of appearance)

John Brant, of Columbus, OH
Robert Wrigley, PCC Camp 502
All members of Camp 502 who donated funds for purchase
Linda Marker, Auxiliary 502, digitizing
Laurel Peirsol, Aux 502 member - for dogged determination in tracking down the Charter
Barbara Bowers, Ursina, PA - donation of Original GAR 361 Applications and General Orders
Mark Miner, Speaker at Memorial Program
Ursina Legion - Donation of Original GAR 361 Charter
Jennifer Hurl, Aux 502 Member, and Archivist at Meyersdale Public Library
First Neighborhood Bank, Meyersdale, PA
Meyersdale Borough and Meyersdale Municipal Authority workers
Staff at Meyersdale Public Library


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