The SOLDIERS' AID SOCIETY OF NORTHERN OHIO, 20 Apr. 1861-Nov. 1868, part of the U.S. SANITARY COMMISSION, was organized as the Ladies Aid Society to assist soldiers serving in the CIVIL WAR. With the national organization, it demonstrated the potential contribution of PHILANTHROPY in wartime. A group of women from various Cleveland churches first met as the Ladies Aid Society on 20 Apr. 1861 and organized a "blanket raid" to collect quilts and blankets for troops being mustered at Camp Taylor (see CIVIL WAR CAMPS IN CLEVELAND). The officers were REBECCA ROUSE, pres.; Mrs. John Shelley and Mrs. William Milhinch, vice-pres.; Mary Clark Brayton, secy.; and Ellen F. Terry, treas. On 16 Oct. 1861 the society joined with other benevolent groups to form the Soldiers' Aid Society of Northern Ohio.

Financed by private donations, the organization cared for the sick and wounded, provided ambulance and hospital service, solicited clothing and medical supplies, and sent food to soldiers in the field throughout the Civil War. The society established a distribution center at 95 Bank (W. 6th) St. In Feb. 1864 it organized the NORTHERN OHIO SANITARY FAIR, which raised over $78,000. These funds allowed the society to establish a depot hospital in Cleveland. Following the end of hostilities, the society conducted an Employment & Free Claims agency for returning veterans before it ceased operations.

Offices of the Soldiers
Women members of the Soldiers' Aid Society of the U.S. Sanitary Commission stand in front of the Society’s offices on Bank (West 6th Street) in 1865. WRHS.


Black, white and red text reading Western Reserve Historical Society

Finding Aid for the U.S. SANITARY COMMISSION RECORDS, CLEVELAND BRANCH (Soldiers' Aid Society of Northern Ohio), WRHS.



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Brayton, Mary Clark, and Ellen F. Terry. Our Acre and Its Harvest (1869).


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