Pictured is General Reuben Williams’ banner at the intersection of Market and Grant streets. Photo provided.

General Reuben Williams, who served in the Civil War, is one of the veterans honored on banners along East Market Street for the Warsaw Salute You Military Banner Recognition Program.

Williams was born in Tiffin, Ohio, in 1833. His family moved to Warsaw in 1845.

He apprenticed under Andrew J. Blair, who was the editor of Kosciusko County’s “Whig Organ,” according to “Combination Atlas Map of Kosciusko County, Indiana,” found at the Library of Congress.

In 1856, along with GW Fairbrother, he began publication of the Northern Indianian. On May 5, 1857, Williams married Jamima Hubler.

The day Fort Sumter fell in the Civil War, Williams issued a call for volunteers. On April 19, 1861, the first company that Kosciusko County sent into the field was organized. Williams was selected as a second lieutenant and accompanied the company to Indianapolis, where it and other companies were upgraded to the 12th Regiment of Indiana Infantry Volunteers.

The regiment had a one-year term of service, but when his term of service expired, Williams took an active part in the reorganization of the regiment. When the regiment was organized in 1861, it was sent to Evansville, where it remained “for some time”, according to “Combination Atlas”.

On the evening of the Union troops’ defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run, Williams’s regiment was ordered to join General NP Banks’ command at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. After the regiment arrived in Virginia, Williams was promoted to captain.

Williams’s regiment remained with Banks until April 1862. In the spring of 1862, it formed the vanguard of the Union Army when it occupied Winchester, Virginia.

On December 11, 1861, Williams was captured by a Confederate force under Stonewall Jackson while Williams was conducting a reconnaissance of the enemy position. Williams was taken to Richmond, Virginia, and held in “Libby” Jail, until he was exchanged in March 1862.

During the reorganization of his regiment, Williams was given his first colonel until the Battle of Richmond, Ky., where Williams was promoted to colonel after the death of Colonel Williams H. Link, commander of Williams’s regiment.

After the fall of Atlanta, Williams was selected as one of the servicemen to be summoned during the court-martial trial of the Indiana conspirators, or “Knights of the Golden Circle”, a treacherous organization emerging from the Indiana and other states, according to “Combination Atlas.” Following the court-martial, Williams joined his regiment in Savannah, where he led the grand review.

During General Sherman’s march through South Carolina, Williams and a few hundred mounted infantry accepted a mission to destroy some Confederate Army railroads and stores. For his “masterful execution” of his orders on this occasion, Williams received the thanks of Sherman and General Howard himself. Upon arrival from his command in Washington, Williams was made a brevet brigadier general, according to “Combination Atlas.”

Williams was chosen to take charge of a large number of Indiana regiments returning home after the end of the war.

After retiring from the Army, Williams regained editorial control of the Northern Indianian. In 1867 Williams became clerk of the Kosciusko County Circuit Court for four years.

Williams died on January 15, 1905.

The Warsaw Salute You Military Banner Recognition Program was started in 2020 by Warsaw Community High School graduate Elizabeth Stone for her Kosciusko Youth Leadership Academy project. It was a way of honoring and recognizing active and former military personnel from the greater Warsaw area.

According to a May 29, 2021, Times-Union article, Elizabeth said one of her inspirations for starting the project was her brother, Nate Stone, who is a Navy lieutenant.

Elizabeth managed the first banner cycles as part of her freshman KYLA project. The project was canceled due to COVID, but Elizabeth opted to complete it in her final year. However, since leaving for college at St. Mary’s College this fall, the project has become difficult to manage remotely. Miechi Petro, Elizabeth’s KYLA mentor, and Elizabeth’s mother, Megan Stone, managed the project in cooperation with the Mayor’s Office and the Streets Department.

“We are both military moms and have a vested interest in honoring the military,” Megan said.

The deadline to submit completed applications to [email protected] along with a photo and payment is May 6, and the spring cycle will roll up Memorial Day week by the Warsaw Street Department, Megan said.

To qualify for the program, recipients must be a former or current resident of the greater Warsaw area and serve or have served in the United States Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, Guard Coastal or the National Guard.

“We try to put family members together,” Megan said. “We hope to continue to honor those who have served or are currently serving. Active, reserve, retired, or memorial recipients are accepted. As long as there is interest, we will continue to create and display banners for the Warsaw Salutes You banner program.

“We are delighted with the project! My wife and I have four veterans whom we have honored with a banner. It is a very honorable outward expression of gratitude for living veterans and a very poignant memorial to the deceased. We are grateful to Megan and Miechi for their commitment to continue the project and the city is honored to provide the public space for the banners,” said Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer.