Monday, January 14, 2008

A Note About The Union Sentinel

The Union Sentinel was the local newspaper in Osceola, Clarke County, Iowa during the Civil War. The name of the paper after the war was transformed into The Osceola Sentinel and nearly 150 years later merged with the Osceola Tribune to become its current incarnation of the Osceola Sentinel-Tribune. Today, as it was from it's very beginning, it is a weekly paper.

A microfilm copy of the Civil War issues of the paper (though some issues are missing) is currently housed at the Osceola Public Library, and is the only copy (besides the master copy which is in a Utah vault) known to exist. The State Historical Society of Iowa has been contacted, but they at this time are not interested in obtaining a copy of the microfilm for their library.

Sadly, the condition of the papers when they were microfilmed was badly deteriorated. The paper was brittle and the edges flaked. The ink had bled through the paper in many places making reading the paper at best difficult and in some places impossible. In other places, whole articles had been cut out, and there are several missing issues. The papers themselves are no longer in existence, so the microfilm copy is the only record we have of them and their contents.

I have decided to rescue as much information as possible from these issues of The Union Sentinel, transcribe and post the Civil War related articles on this blog, the Civil War pages of my website and on the various genealogical message boards on the Internet (where I will also be placing the articles pertaining locally to Osceola which do not reference the war).

I do this because much of the time, authors of books on the Civil War, for time constraints, are not able to go to places like Osceola, and search through the archives and microfilm. Instead, and justifiably so, they rely on the larger archive repositories & libraries of universities & cities all across the United States. It is my firm belief that within the issues of The Union Sentinel and indeed in other papers like it all over the country, there are to be found historical treasures unseen except by a handful of people who know of their existence, since their publication.

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