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The St. Marys of the Civil War

June 4, 2012

Photo by Colin Deppen - SMAMS students look over Civil War era medical instruments and supplies at a field hospital erected as part of the school's annual Civil War Reenactment Day.

ST. MARYS - With the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War in full swing, many will take pause to consider the toll and lasting legacy of the war on our nation. At the same time, it begs the question of what the impact would have been at the local level and what bearing the war would have had on the early residents of St. Marys and the town itself.
In 1860, with the American Civil War imminent, historian Ray Beimel of the St. Marys and Benzinger Township Historical Society said the residents of St. Marys remained relatively removed from the conflict embroiling the nation.
There are a number of reasons for this, first and foremost was the remoteness of the town itself. Beimel explained that at the outbreak of the Civil War, St. Marys was connected to the rest of the country by only "a couple of bad roads." "There is no railroad here, there is no telegraph office, there is no newspaper," Beimel said, describing St. Marys in 1860.

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