The Pullman Militia

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The Pullman Militia

During George Pullman's time, the United States had a very small standing army (perhaps 100,000 men) and would rely on locally raised militias and troop levies to fill the ranks. It was considered the height of civic responsibility to raise and train a reserve unit in one's town. Naturally, Pullman, the perfect town, had to have its own militia. The first Market Hall (which burned down in 1892) was designed from the outset as an armory. According to the Chicago Tribune, May 17, 1882: The new market is nearly ready for occupation. The ground floor will be entirely devoted to the sale of meats, vegetables, etc. On the floor above is a hall capable of seating 300 people. This will be used as an armory by the military organization to be formed in Pullman. The Chicago Times, June 9, 1882: Steps are being taken to form a military company at Pullman. The market hall was built especially for an armory, and is excellently adapted to this purpose.

The company was actually formed shortly thereafter according to the Chicago Times, Nov. 15, 1882: A military company has been organized at Pullman to be known as Company G, 2nd Regiment, Illinois National Guard. The officers are: James A. Price, Captain; William Swart, 1st Lieutenant; S.H. McNalib, 2nd Lieutenant. The organization has 45 members, and it is expected that the number will be considerably increased.

It is not clear when the company was disbanded; however, there is an oblique mention of the militia company in an article about the strike. On July 8, 1894, the Tribune reported that yesterday the fact was made known also that the Deputy Marshals were searching Pullman and Kensington for a lot of guns, purchased some years ago from the city by an independent company of militia which has since been abandoned. There were 300 of the weapons, the old pattern in use at the time of the 'Haymarket Riots.' Therefore, some time between 1883 and 1894, the militia was disbanded.

Company G Mustering Out Ceremony


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