Monday, March 28, 2005

Medina Native Tells Tale of Civil War Preaching Grand Father

Saw this article in Today's Akron Beacon-Journal and had to retell part of the story.

Elizabeth Menges Ramirez-Graham has a leather-bound diary in a velvet-covered jewelry box. It has been in her family for more than 130 years, but it has only been in the last couple of years that she began to feel the power of the words.

"It was in my family but we never looked at it very much," she said. "We heard about my grandfather, just through the family. We always felt proud of him, but we never knew many details."
Elizabeth's grandfather was Reverend Louis Miller Albright and the diary is his 1865 Civil War Diary. Rev. Albright was not a soldier but rather a volunteer for the YMCA sponsored U.S. Christian Commission which formed in 1861 to meet the spiritual needs of soldiers in the field.

February 1865: Today I was assigned to General Hospital No. 3 in Nashville. Spent all the forenoon distributing periodicals and conversing with sick soldiers in the hospital. Distributed 50 papers and magazines and conversed on the subject of religion with six soldiers.

It was entries like this that led Elizabeth and friend and self-publisher Stanley Graham to write up the entries into a collection of his journal entries, Civil War Diary, which is available for $19.95 from Belding Publishing.

Albright attended Ohio Wesleyan University and following the War returned to campus as a math and science teacher. He married Eliza Lewis Downing in 1867 and the couple became a "Methodist Power-House" in central Ohio. Albright is the founder of Asbury United Methodist Church, which still worships in the sanctuary built in 1888.

"It just seemed the thing to do. I didn't like to think that his life and his contributions had been forgotten."
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