Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Unique Gifts

Looking for unique gifts? Try our gift shop. We have books written by local heroes.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Re-enactor's Flea Market

Liberty Day's 2016 October 13, 14, and 15 By popular demand, we have added a  Re-enactor's Flea Market to the event.

Bring your spare gear, stuff your wife wants out of the house! Show up in period costume. 

$5.00 for a blanket or table.  Bring your own blanket/table.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Famous quotes about the Stars and Stripes military newspaper

"I do not believe that any one factor could have done more to sustain the morale of the A.E.F. than The Stars and Stripes."
General John J. (Blackjack) Pershing

"This newspaper should be the equivalent of a soldier's hometown newspaper, with no censorship of its contents, other than for security."
General Dwight D. Eisenhower

"I want to express my thanks to you for keeping us all informed with the Stars and Stripes."
General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

Sunday, July 24, 2016

History of the First Stars and Stripes newspaper


By James R. Mayo*

On November 7 and 8, 1861, federal soldiers from Illinois and Iowa entered the nearly abandoned town of Bloomfield, Missouri and set up their camps. They had temporarily maneuvered the pro-southern Missouri State Guard from the area. Undoubtedly, the soldiers were pleased with this accomplishment since many of them were finishing their first military mission. They did not realize they were to witness an American military legacy, the birth of the military newspaper, The Stars and Stripes. Here is that story as best we know.

At midnight Saturday, November 2, 1861, Colonel Richard J. Oglesby, commanding officer of the 8th Illinois Infantry Regiment, stationed at Birds Point, a small Missouri village across the Mississippi river from Cairo, Illinois, received a dispatch from Brigadier General U. S. Grant. His orders were to take command of an expeditionary force to destroy rebel opposition congregated in Stoddard County, Missouri. These rebel forces were under the able command of Brigadier General M. Jeff Thompson of the Missouri State Guard.

Colonel Oglesby began immediately to organize forces that consisted of about 2,200 men from his own regiment and the 11th, 18th and 29th Illinois Infantry Regiments. On Tuesday morning this Union command headed for Bloomfield, the county seat of Stoddard County. Colonel Oglesby decided to take the most direct route even though it meant crossing a huge swamp seven miles wide. The Union forces made this crossing on Thursday, November 7. One of the Illinois soldiers described the crossing as follows: "The ground was covered with black moss four inches deep and so thick that 'tis like a carpet. That was an awful gloomy road and I was glad enough to land at a nice clean stream and have orders to pitch tents."

General Grant had also issued orders to his forces in Cape Girardeau and Ironton, Missouri to send troops to Bloomfield. Thus, Yankee forces were converging on Bloomfield from the east, northeast, and northwest. Thompson, realizing his predicament, withdrew farther south into a less precarious position.

The first Union force to enter Bloomfield was the 10th Iowa Regiment, which came from Cape Girardeau and arrived about 10:00 A. M. on Thursday, November 7. This force occupied the small community until noon of the next day when Colonel Oglesby arrived with the first of the Illinois troops. Colonel Oglesby ordered the Iowa troops to Belmont, Missouri, where a battle had been fought on the seventh.

Colonel Oglesby's command arrived about 9:00 A.M. on Friday, November 8. The command was to spend that day and night camped in Bloomfield. During the day some of the Illinois troops started looting the stores of the town. Colonel Oglesby, in time, sent a police force to have this stopped. One of the soldiers described it as disgusting and listed some of the stolen items: "…women's bonnets, girl's hats, mallets, jars of medicine, looking glasses three feet long, boy's boots, flat irons, a nice side table and I don't know what wasn't there."

Another group of the Union soldiers noticed the abandoned newspaper office of the Bloomfield Herald. Its editor, James O. Hull, a native of New Jersey who had been in the newspaper business in Southern Illinois prior to opening the Herald in 1858, had left Bloomfield with General Thompson's rebel forces. During the evening hours, ten of the soldiers entered the office of the Herald. From the diary of Captain Daniel H. Brush of Company K, 18th Illinois Infantry Regiment, we read: "Some printers belonging to our regtt. [sic] and the others have taken possession of the printing office and design [sic] publishing a paper tonight." These soldiers christened their newspaper The Stars and Stripes.

The following morning, Saturday, November 9, 1861, carriers distributed the paper to the boys in blue in and around the small town. It is uncertain how many copies were in the first issue, but with over 2,000 troops in their expedition, no doubt the word was, "Read it and pass it on to a buddy."

*James R. Mayo is president-emeritus of The Stars and Stripes Museum/Library Association, Inc. ® (a 501©3 Corporation) 17377 Stars and Stripes Way; PO Box 1861; Bloomfield, MO 63825

Stars & Stripes Newspaper Founded in Bloomfield, Mo.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Get Ready...

Get ready for it, because Liberty Days 2016 is coming!

The Liberty Days committee is putting finishing touches on this year's event.  This year's event will feature a parade, live entertainment, historical encampments, military reenactments, pageants, games, food and gift vendors, and so much more!  

In fact, we're giving away prizes for best display, best demonstration, and more.

Saturday parking will be $2.00 per vehicle, so mark your calendars for this great event.

Event Schedule
Wednesday, October 12
6:30 p.m. 2nd Annual Praise in the Park (Bloomfield City Park)

Thursday, October 13 Old-Fashioned Games Night
6:00 p.m. Opening Ceremony with the Honor Guard
7:00 p.m. Pie-Eating Contest
6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Participate in some old –fashioned games, listen to music, visit the living history villages, food, crafts, and more

Friday, October 14
8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Education Day for area schools
5:30 p.m. Parade from Bloomfield school to park
7:00 p.m. Miss Bloomfield Pageants
Open until 10:00 p.m. Visit the living history villages, live entertainment, prizes, food, crafts and more

Saturday, October 15
 8:30 a.m. Memorial Service to the Veterans Cemetery
 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Quilt Show People’s Choice, inside museum
 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Silent Auction, museum library
 9:00 a.m. Buddy Heaton Choir, Barn
10:00 a.m. Bloomfield High School Jazz Band, Barn
11:00 a.m. Bloomfield’s Got Talent, Barn
12:00 p.m. Missing Man Ceremony, front of museum
 1:00 p.m. Miss Liberty Days Pageant, Barn
 4:00 p.m. Weapons and Uniform Demonstration, Barn
Various music acts throughout encampment
Living History village, prizes, food, crafts and more

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Original Stars and Stripes Staff

The Union Soldiers of 1861

The First Stars & Stripes Staff

The Publishers:

BENSON T. ATHERTON of Fairfield, Illinois was the publisher of the Prairie Pioneer. He was a private in Company G 18th Illinois Infantry.  Atherton was wounded during February 1862 at Fort Donelson, Tennessee and sent home to recover.  He later returned to duty, but by a special order of Major General Ulysses Grant was ordered discharged on November 23, 1862 due to his disability from a gunshot wound. 

CHARLES M. EDWARDS of Shawneetown, Illinois was a newsman before and after the war.  He enlisted as a private, but rose to the rank of 1st Lieutenant in Company B, 18th Illinois Infantry.  In February 1866, he was commissioned into the regular army as a 2ndLieutenant and again rose to the rank of 1st Lieutenant.  He served in the Dakotas and Texas.  In 1871 he retired on a disability.  He died July 30, 1879 in Taylor Falls, Minnesota.

The Editors:

WALTER A. RHUE of Carmi, Illinois had been a publisher before the war.  He was first a private in Company G, 18th Illinois Infantry and later transferred to the regimental band.  He was hospitalized after the battle at Fort Donelson, Tennessee and discharged on March 14, 1862 due to a lingering illness caused by unhealthy water and exposure while serving in the military.  He died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 22, 1911.

ROBERT F. STEWART of Carmi, Illinois had been an editor of The White County Advocate prior to the war.  He was the 1st Sergeant of Company G, 29th Illinois Infantry.  Becoming ill during the action at Fort Donelson, Tennessee in February 1862, he never regained his health and lost most of his sight.  While Stewart was the editor and publisher of the Carmi (Illinois) Courier, his employees read the newspaper to him and assisted him with his signature.  He died on June 10, 1913.

The Printers:

JOHN HARRIS BARTON of Anna, Illinois was 1st Lieutenant and the only officer among the ten first stripers.  He enlisted in Company I, 18th Illinois Infantry on May 11, 1861, and he was discharged on November 17, 1861 due to failing eyesight and general disability. On General John Alexander McClernand's recommendation, he was commissioned 1st Lt in General Grant's secret service and stationed in Cairo. He was an undercover agent ostensibly working for the Cairo Gazette. He bought the Cairo Gazette in 1864. During his newspaper career, he was an owner, publisher and editor.  He was born in 1837 in West Carlisle, Coshocton Co., Ohio and died on March 15, 1911 in Carbondale, Illinois. He is buried in the Oakland Cemetery in Carbondale.

JAMES T. BOZEMAN of Carmi, Illinois was a private in Company G, 18th Illinois Infantry and later transferred to the regimental band. He was an active member of the White County Bible Society and helped organize and provide Bibles to the people there. Bozeman built the Iona Mills that made "as good a flour as can be made anywhere in the country." He is buried at the Old White County Cemetery in the city of Carmi.

THEODORE EDMONDSON of Fairfield, Illinois was a Corporal in Company G, 18th Illinois Infantry.  He was publisher of the Illinois Patriot.  The 1860 census lists Edmondson as a 17-year-old printer, born in Illinois, with $1900 in assets.  During the war, he was detailed as a nurse in hospitals in Cincinnati, Ohio and Memphis, Tennessee.  He was mustered out of service on June 1, 1864 in Springfield, Illinois.

OTIS P.  MARTIN of Peoria, Illinois was serving as Sergeant Major of the 8th Illinois Infantry Regiment while in Bloomfield.  On November 22, 1862, for unknown reasons, he was reduced to the ranks.  In July of 1862, he was detailed to take charge of the government printing office in Jackson, Tennessee.  He was mustered out of service on July 30, 1864.

JOHN W. SCHELL of Fairfield, Illinois was a sergeant in Company D of the 8th Illinois Infantry.  He was wounded in a shoulder by a mini ball during the Vicksburg Campaign.  He was held as a prisoner of war in July of 1863 and paroled in September of that year.  The 1860 Census listed Schell as a 22-year-old printer, born in Pennsylvania, with assets of $150.  After the war he married and became an Alabama farmer, but served during the Spanish American War as a brigade wagon master.  He died on August 6, 1917 at Grand Bay, Alabama.  The museum has a wonderful photograph of Mr. Schell courtesy of the U.S. Army Military History Institute at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

The Stars and Stripes Museum/Library gives special thanks to Mr. Joseph Summers of Virginia Beach, Virginia for researching the Civil War pension records of these men and providing the additional information to the museum/library.

History of the Museum

When the idea of a museum of national stature was proposed to be located in Bloomfield, Missouri, many asked, "Why Bloomfield?" Ken Zumwalt, an editor who served on six editions of the Stars and Stripes after WWII, said, "Why not Bloomfield?" While others suggested that such an important tribute to history should be located in our nation's capital, or perhaps in New York City, he supported this endeavor.  

Bloomfield has turned out to be the perfect place since it is the true and actual birthplace of the original military newspaper, The Stars and Stripes. The original newspaper was printed in Bloomfield, Missouri on November 9, 1861. 

In addition, Bloomfield, Missouri is geographically centered between St. Louis, and Memphis, Tennessee; this makes it ideally and conveniently located to visitors from both major cities (virtually just minutes off of I-55/57).   

Come out and see us sometime!