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Sleeping Heroes - Project

History of project

In 2006 students at Glasco Grade School in Cloud County initiated this project with a grant from Save Our History. What they learned surprised them and their town of 500 citizens. Their findings included connections to “Andersonville prison and the Kansas legislature, farmers, and even the stone mason who built the first of Glasco’s important buildings.”  Students researched each of the 87 veterans buried in the Glasco cemetery, wrote reports, and gave presentations. Some even discovered that the buried veteran was an ancestor. Who knows what you will learn!

Benefits to students and community

The Sleeping Heroes project is a great way to engage your students in doing history—not just reading about it.  The Kansas State Department of Education supports this project. The project meets many social studies scope and sequence in grades three, four, seven, and eight. The project also provides students an opportunity to see the practical applications of conducting historical research using primary sources.

We are encouraging all Kansas schools to get involved, to research Civil War veterans in their communities, and submit their findings to the Historical Society’s Sleeping Heroes database. Researcher John Jackson of Chanute created the original database and made thousands of entries, most from southeast Kansas cemeteries. The database contains entries for Union and Confederate soldiers. Our goal is to add to this database through work done by Kansas students.

Another important aspect of the project is for students to use their research to answer the question “What impact did Civil War veterans have on my community?” This project is an exceptional opportunity to create a special writing project since student’s work is not just for a class grade but has real-world application.  See suggested performance assessments and projects undertaken by Glasco students for more ideas.

Where do I begin?

Visit your local cemetery and record information from the headstones.  Contact the cemetery sexton ahead of time and see if there is a map of the cemetery.

Begin your search online by using resources on the Kansas Historical Society’s websites, kshs.org and kansasmemory.org.

  • Sleeping Heroes database This is the database to which you will be adding your information. You may want to check to see if your soldier has an entry, if so more information can be added.
  • Grand Army of the Republic The G.A.R. was the veterans' organization for Union soldiers. The G.A.R. periodically published a roster of all members in good standing.
  • The 1894 G.A.R. state roster lists the names of members by county and then by post as of August 4, 1894. The veterans listed may or may not be buried in a Kansas cemetery; this roster just identifies which veterans were here in 1894.  Note:  Not every veteran belonged to the G.A.R. but the vast majority were members. 
  • The 1917 G.A.R. roster is more difficult to access geographically as the information is arranged by post number.
  • Kansas Census records (compiled by the Kansas board of Agriculture) for 1885, 1895, 1905, and 1915 include listings of military service.  Through a partnership with ancestry.com and the Kansas Historical Society, these records have been digitized and are available to anyone with a valid Kansas driver's license through the KSHS web site.
  • Both the Kansas militia rolls and the muster rolls for Kansas volunteer regiments are on microfilm.
  • The Civil War veterans in Kansas database was created from a variety of publications that lists Civil War veterans.
  • The G.A.R. bibliography has a list of publications that include Civil War veterans.

Visit the Kansas Historical Society to access these records:

  • The Kansas Adjutant General's Report, 1861-1865 contains unit histories and rosters for Kansas volunteer regiments.
  • Manuscript collections contain some muster rolls of U.S. volunteers.
  • Private papers (manuscripts) and research collections include information about and/or lists of individuals and their service.
  • The 1883 enrollment of veterans, their widows and orphans living in Kansas is available on microfilm.
  • A printed listing of pensioners residing in Kansas in 1883 includes pension certificate numbers. Pension records are available from the National Archives.
  • The Kansas G.A.R. Necrology List includes an indexed list of deaths.,
  • A GAR posts list provides the name of the post and the city where it resided.

Be sure to contact your local historical society for assistance.

Get you community involved!  Contact the Kansas Humanities Council to schedule one of their TALK (Talk About Literature in Kansas) series “Before the Civil War” or “The Civil War.”

Other resources:

Confederate veteran databases

Newspapers:

  • Look at Memorial Day news stories that memorialize the Civil War.
  • Look for G.A.R. encampment stories.  Some are on Chronicling America, an online resource of selected digitized newspapers.  You can search the Kansas newspapers for the term “GAR.” 
  • Use the dates on the headstones to locate obituaries in local newspapers.

City directories provide information on occupation and residency.

If your veteran was a farmer, check for information at your county Register of Deeds office.  Did the veteran use a military bounty to acquire the land?

Sanborn Insurance maps might provide information on veterans who lived in town.