The Seattle Times Sunday, January 28, 1923
Bothell Mail Carrier Is Whole Membership of G.A.R. Post
A one man Grand Army Post! Such is the status of the John Bothell Post of the G.A.R. [Grand Army of the Republic] in which Norman W. Ellis is the sole surviving member.
Commander, Chaplain, Color-Bearer, Chief Factotum and general utility man for the post is this 75 year old Civil War veteran. In fact, he has the unique distinction of holding all the offices in the post, for he is the post.
Other members may have been honored by election to every office in their posts at various times, but probably no one of them has ever held all the positions at the same time as Mr. Ellis is now doing. Probably, too, Mr. Ellis is the only Grand Army veteran who ever found election to office such a simple matter. Electioneering, campaigning and all other semblance of political smoke is unknown in John Bothell Post. Such difficulties are solved without the use of red tape or other office machinery when the Commander casts a unanimous ballot which elects him to every office in the post.
Fifteen Members Once
Twenty-five years ago when Bothell was young and its Grand Army Post was in its infancy, there were fifteen Civil War veterans who gathered at the meetings to talk over the days before the war and even more often the stirring scenes they had witnessed during the War of Rebellion. Those hardy veterans who were still in their prime fought over again and again, the Battles of Lookout Mountain, Bull Run, Gettysburg, Shiloh and Corinth, who rehearsed for interested audiences the exciting details of Sherman’s march to the sea or Grant’s Wilderness campaign.
But a quarter of a century is a long span of years and each succeeding season has taken its toll of that band of war heroes until today Norman W. Ellis is the lone surviving member.
Like the “last leaf upon the tree,” he has lived to see his old comrades vanish one by one until he has been left alone to tell of those bygone days. But, unlike that famous character of Holmes who “tottered, weak and wan,” Comrade Ellis is hale and hearty in spite of his 75 years and true to his colors, he is still in the service of Uncle Sam.
Now Is Mail Carrier
For the last eight years he has been in the employ of the Postal Department and he is a familiar figure in the streets of Bothell as he carries the mail to and from the station each day.
Mr. Ellis was born in Grant County, Wisconsin and when he was only 15 the Civil War broke out. Less than a year later he enlisted in the 90th New York Regiment at Sherman, New York and served until the end of the war. He was in the Battle of Winchester and Cedar Creek and one of his most cherished memories is the picture of Sheridan, arriving after his famous ride, to spur that handful of discouraged men on to a victory.
Comrade Ellis has lived in Bothell almost as long as there has been a Grand Army organization there and now, when the roll call of John Bothell Post is sounded, he alone is left to answer for that group of valiant comrades.