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Mark DeHart is pictured with the charter for the United Spanish War Veterans Camp.

 

There is one group of veterans for which there is no longer any time set aside to reflect on their memory.  They are almost forgotten.  All of the members of this group are gone with the last one dying in 1992.  These are the members of the United Spanish War Veterans.   A group of eleven of these veterans received a charter for a “Camp” in Chickasha, Oklahoma.  The camp was named the “Joe Wheeler Camp Number 9 Department of Oklahoma United Spanish War Veteran”.  The Charter was signed August 14, 1908.  Families of many of these eleven veterans still live in the Grady County area.  

In a search of the military memorabilia collections housed at the Grady County Museum, the Charter for the United Spanish War Veterans of Chickasha, Oklahoma was found.  Due to its age the large document is in fragile condition.  Because the names of the eleven veterans were written in ink that has faded, not all of the names are legible.  Of the eleven the following last names are readable: Kilpatrick, McCoy, Bridges, Montague, Wheeler, Jensen, and Hollings.  Partial names of the remaining members may be viewed.  The staff of the Museum is seeking additional information that will help to identify the remaining members of the group.  

The United Spanish American War Veterans was created “from smaller groups of the veterans of the Spanish-American War” in 1904.  It is no longer in existence but became a forerunner of the Sons of the Spanish-American War Veterans created in 1937.  

“Joe Wheeler Camps” were located in many states and were named for a Confederate General, Fighting Joe Wheeler, who fought in Cuba during the Spanish-American War.  The purposes of the local group were to recognize the veterans who served in the insurrection in the Philippine Islands, to assist former comrades in need of help and protection, and “to extend needful aid to the widows and orphans”. 

The framed charter is on view in the main gallery of the Grady County Museum located in the Dixie Building in downtown Chickasha, OK.  The Museum is open M-F from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at 415 W. Chickasha Avenue.  For additional information and/or to schedule group tours contact 405-224-6480 or gchistorical@att.net.  

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